Planned Induced Birth turns to Fast Natural Birth {Cholestasis}

I’ve recently had my second daughter – she is now 6.5 months old and after a very traumatic birth with my first daughter, I was terrified of giving birth this time around. But you know what, it was THE most amazing thing I have ever experienced. Ever!

I cant really remember the birth of my first daughter, it was a bit of a blur (in a bad way). I was a week overdue, induced, full on contractions for 27 hours, pethidine, vacuum, episiotomy and eventually an epidural because she was posterior and they wouldnt let me push. I was devestated and felt like a failure. When they were giving me the episiotomy, they went through 5 pairs of scissors because the doctor kept saying “These are too blunt, I can’t cut through!” I felt like a roast chicken they were hacking up 🙁 Then when they were stitching me up the doctor was panicking and said “I can’t see what I’m doing, there is too much blood everywhere, someone help me!” In the end, he stitched me up badly and I was unable to urinate without pain for nearly 9 months.

This time around I just assumed that things would go the same way. I thought that my body just didnt know how to give birth. I was terrified.

However, before the birth, there was the pregnancy – and what a pregnancy it was! I have a feeling my body really doesn’t like being pregnant and it told me in more ways than one!

Apart from the usual morning sickness, I developed something called Cholestasis, which affects the liver. The long and short of it is bile is produced in the liver and normally flows down the bile ducts and into the intestines where it helps with the digestion of food. However, in my case, the flow of bile into the intestines was reduced and so the bile salts built up in my blood. These toxins could overflow and spill into my bloodstream and therefore through the placenta to the baby.

Anyway, this meant being in and out of hospital for testing and monitoring from about 34 weeks onwards. Cholestasis made me extremely exhausted – to the point where having a shower would make me feel as if I had run a marathon! I was nauseated, tired, weak, had no appetite whatsoever and I also had episodes of intense itching. My liver function results kept coming back worse than the time before and because of all the complications I was to be induced at 38 weeks. This was something that I had wanted to avoid at all costs after what had happened with my previous induction. However, all the doctors assured me that this time it would be different.

The day before my induction was just like any other. I didn’t have any pains, contractions or any signs that this baby was ready to come out! I wasn’t looking forward to my induction; however I was becoming pretty fed up with this pregnancy and wanted her out!

Early Wednesday morning at around 3:30am, I needed to go to the toilet (which was a rather common occurrence during this pregnancy!). However, as soon as a stood up out of bed, my waters broke all over the floor. This was all a bit new to me, as nothing like this had happened in my first pregnancy. We rang the hospital and I told them that I was booked in for an induction at 7:30am that morning; however they told me to come in straight away as they had to monitor the baby because of my Cholestasis. They did tell us to take our time because it was super busy and they were rushed off their feet.

As soon as I got into the car, my contractions started coming thick and fast. I decided to time them (with a handy little program on my iPhone) and found that, despite being in “early labour” they were lasting around 30 seconds with a 3 minute break in between. Labouring in the car is so uncomfortable! I remember having to lift myself off the seat for each contraction while breathing through it. Finding a comfortable spot was a tad hard!

We arrived at the hospital at around 4:15am and we waited in the waiting room for around 15 minutes. My contractions were still the same, I was breathing through them; however, Abraham could tell my breathing was becoming more laboured as each contraction passed.

After being settled in one of the rooms, the midwife examined me at mentioned that it was early days and I was 2cm dilated. We had decided that I was to have an early epidural when I got to 3cm as I was still very traumatised by my first birth where it took me nearly 15 hours to get to 3cm! Although I was only 2cm, the midwife said she would talk to the doctors and get them to give me one as soon as possible. They prepped me by putting the drip in my arm and getting all the things ready on a tray for the anaesthetist when he arrived. They then left me to labour in peace.

It was at this stage that I was struggling to breathe through the contractions and began to vocalize through them instead. I did this for around an hour, just leaning on Abraham for support (while deafening him in the process!). I swear the whole birthing suite could hear me – I felt like I was roaring and yelling at the same time. I felt as if I was losing control and not coping with these “mild” contractions anymore. If I was at 2cm – I was glad an epidural was coming!

At around 6:00am, 3 hours after my water broke, I told Abraham to go and get the midwife because I felt like I wanted to push. I don’t think he took me very seriously – I’m known for exaggerating at times! The midwife came in and told me to calm down so she could examine me and see where we were at. I shouted, “Please get me my epidural!!” and the midwife exclaimed, “Sorry honey, its too late for that, your baby’s head is right here!”

Then I completely lost the plot! This wasn’t how things were supposed to turn out – I needed my epidural! I had never pushed out a baby without pain relief (I had an epidural with Bella after 24 hours because she was posterior and they wouldn’t let me push!) The midwife was trying to get me to lay down on the bed and get ready to push, however I kept clamping my legs closed – in denial that this was actually happening!

At 6:10am, I pushed through my first contraction. I screamed the whole way through it and didn’t push effectively at all. The midwife looked at me and said, “Right, Naomi. When the next contraction comes I don’t want to hear a sound come out of your mouth! Push instead of screaming!” Was a bit of a slap in the face, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I pushed through the next contraction and her head came out. The midwife asked me if I’d like to feel her – it was the most amazing experience! As the next contraction came I pushed for the third time and Mayah Hope Schultink entered the world. The first thing I said was “I did it! I just did it all by myself!” Apparently you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!

cholestasis pregnancy

So I went from facing an induction, to going into labour naturally and delivering my baby girl drug free in less than 3 hours! Who would have thought?! I cannot begin to explain how empowering it all was – I felt like a woman, a powerful, capable, maternal woman. I Birthed Without Fear! {Naomi}

cholestasis baby


  • Bailey

    This is really inspirational! I’m nervous about birth, haven’t every done it so I don’t have any trauma with it. But stories like this really put my mind at ease. <3

    Thank you

  • candy

    crying !!!! wonderful story. my first child was an emergency c section at 33 weeks… although i did go through my waters breaking..contractions etc.. so when i went into labour with my son @ 31 weeks i thought the same might happen.. from.first contraction to him being born was 2 hours.. it took me 9 mins to push him out. i wish i took the moment in more…but when i look pretty proud of myself

  • sarah

    This gives me hope for my second birth (someday). I, too, had a very traumatic first birth so I am so comforted to know that consecutive births can be completely different!!

  • Brittany

    I’m currently 21 weeks with my second son. My first was induced at 37 weeks due to cholestasis and I am so nervous about a repeat induction with epidural and episiotomy with this little guy. Your story gives me hope that it might be better this time! Thank you for sharing!

  • Kaylah

    I’m glad to read a good outcome of Cholestasis and inducing. 🙂 My experience was terrible to say the least. Beautiful bub 😀

  • Nikki

    Very inspirational… I have had cholestasis with my 1st 3 babies and am now pregnant with my 4th! Haven’t been officially diagnosed with this one but I’m already showing the symptoms. I’m hoping to go into labor before induction with this one… Haven’t before but fingers crossed!! (:

  • Emily

    I’m all for people making whatever sounds they need to during labor, but I was the same as you! I was using all my energy to groan and not directing any of it towards actual pushing. My OB helped me focus–first, she told me to use that energy for pushing instead, which helped, and then she made all the difference by putting two fingertips on my perineum, just inside my vagina, and telling me to imagine pushing *them* out. That was when I finally started pushing effectively and after that I believe it was a total of three pushes to get my daughter out. With my son, I got the hang of it again pretty quickly.

  • Cara

    Love this! I just delivered in an unplanned induction due to ICP. It is so scary, but every itch was worth it! I’m so glad you were able to go into labor on your own!

  • KC

    Thank you for sharing your story. This is my first pregnancy and I just found out this morning that I have Cholestasis and will need to be induced at 38 weeks. It made me feel in good company to read your story about how you gave birth to your second while dealing with Cholestasis and induction.

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