I’ll never forget what an awesome experience my vba2c was, I'd repeat it 100 times if I could. I had previously done my research and realised I could do it. I started to attend a vbac group many months prior and met some awesome women that made me feel normal, that it was ok to grieve over having a C-section. They provided so much information and helped me decide how I was going to birth.
By Carolynne Glover
Just a brief history of prior births:
1st C-section - was induced because of back pain at 39w2d. Being my 1st, I didn't know any different and I thought my dr was doing what was best for me. On the night of the 2nd of March, I had the gel to get my cervix to ripen. By morning I was 2cm and ready to go. Around 8am on the 3rd of march, 2009, the dr tried to break my waters. It was so painful as her nails were really long (I now call her dr claws). She got really annoyed at me because I couldn't relax so she said I needed an epidural so she could do it properly. I agreed not knowing that basically that was the end of my vaginal birth. Epidural was inserted then Pitocin was up. By 7pm I was 'only 4cm' and classed as failure to progress. I cried all the way to theatre and all through the surgery. I was devastated. Kaitlyn was born at 8.23pm. I briefly held her then hubby took her up to the ward while I was in recovery. I met her again an hour later. Recovery was hard as I ended up back in hospital 10days later with a nasty infection.
1 year later, I was pregnant again. I wanted this time to be different. Silly me went back to dr claws. She said I could have a trial of labour as long as I went into labour naturally by 41weeks. At 40w5d at 4pm I started having mild contractions every 10mins. This went on all night. Didn't get any sleep but rested and had warm baths. By 12pm at 40w6d on the 30th of November 2010, they started getting really intense and 5mins apart. I called hubby to come home. We went up to the hospital. At 3pm, the dr checked me and I was 3cm. I laboured with gas to start with but because I was continuously monitored, the pain became unbearable. I was offered pethidine so I took it. Pethidine made me so tired and I could no longer breathe through the contractions, even with gas. So I had an epidural at 7pm. At 8pm, the Dr checked me. I was 'only 6cm' and was failure to progress again. I said I wanted to keep going as Bub was fine. She said that if I kept going, Bub will go into distress and could possibly die. Hubby freaked out and begged me to have a C-section. I no longer had the support. So again I agreed and I cried all the way to theatre. I asked the dr to check again before it started. She said I'd gone backwards and my cervix began to thicken. I then asked if the drape can be left down so I can see my baby come out. They agreed. It helped but I still felt so broken after. Ashlee was born at 10.23pm. The dr whispered after that baby was posterior and my pelvis would never birth a baby vaginally. There and then I decided if I was to have another baby, this woman was to never come near me.
A year later I was pregnant again. This was going to be my vba2c! I had previously done my research and realised I could do it. I started to attend a vbac group many months prior and met some awesome women that made me feel normal, that it was ok to grieve over having a C-section. They provided so much information and helped me decide how I was going to birth. I did originally want a homebirth but hubby was too uncomfortable which made me feel it wasn't the best option. I decided to go through caseload at Nepean and have a doula so I could stay home as long as possible.
Karen was allocated to be as my midwife. At first I wasn't sure about her. She told me what the hospital policies were and I thought 'hmmm I am going to be bullied, but that's ok because I have the support to stand up for myself'. But as the weeks went on, my midwife would tell me the policies but would also say after that it is my decision what I do. It was my body, my pregnancy, my birth, my right. It made me feel that she would support me in what I decided to do. She recommended that we do calmbirth.
Calmbirth helped so much. My hubby and I really connected. He did not realise how broken I felt about having 2 C-sections. I also didn't realise how broken he felt that he never got to experience a natural birth. He also felt so guilty that he didn't support me the way I wanted. I told him it wasn't his fault, we are all supposed to believe that drs are there to help us and we are supposed to trust them. But it's not always the case. This brought us closer together and from then on, he supported whatever I needed. He may have at this point agreed to have a homebirth, but I now felt comfortable with my birthing choice as I grew to really like Karen and I trusted her.
On Wednesday the 15th of August, 2012, at 40w2d I went to bed as normal around 9pm. I think I was asleep briefly before being woken at 10pm with lower pelvic pain. I thought I needed to open my bowels so I went to the toilet. I had a small movement but had a feeling something was happening so I told hubby he probably won't be going to work tomorrow. I went back to bed and had pains every 10mins. By 11pm I could no longer lie down. I messaged my doula Emma and midwife Karen. Both told me to try and rest up as this was likely the start of it. I had a shower then jumped in the bath. By 1am I was struggling. The pain was excruciating in my back. I rang Emma and asked her to come. She lives over an hour away so I thought it would best for her to leave when she can.
By 3am, I was beginning to think I would need to go to hospital as soon as Emma got here so we called hubby’s mum to come and watch the girls. Both mum and Emma were there within the hour. When Emma got here, I told her I wanted to go to hospital as I couldn't handle the pain, especially in my back. Emma suggested we do a few things. I went back into the bath. Emma believed bub was posterior so she got me to lie on my side. She put on some lovely music, nice aromas and told me to breathe in her calming voice. The pain started becoming more bearable. I started feeling nauseous and the contractions were still quite irregular, about 8-12mins apart. She gave me homeopathic remedies which really helped.
Emma also made me an awesome labour drink which kept me hydrated. For the next few hours, I spent most of the time in the bath and sometime lying on the bed while Emma massaged me through contractions. The contractions would become regular but then as soon as I changed positions and environments, they would become irregular again.
Every few hours, I wanted to go to hospital as I was getting so tired. Thankfully, Emma would remind me of what I wanted and kept me focused. At one point, we went for a walk to the park opposite my house. I had quite a meltdown and began telling Emma how much I wished my mum was here (she passed 5 years ago). We talked for a while and she told me how proud my mum would be and that she was with me. I suddenly felt like she was there as the most refreshing breeze came.
My contractions became further apart like every half an hour. I was really happy with that as I started missing my girls. I took the opportunity to spend some time with them as it may be the last opportunity as a family of 4. Before I knew it, the contractions became closer together so I was back in the bath and laying on my bed. I started losing a lot of mucous which made me really excited, my cervix was doing what it was supposed to do! This is real! I don't think it really clicked till then. I messaged my midwife around 5pm that I was still labouring and losing my plug. She called me at 7pm and advised me to come into hospital to be checked as it had now been 21 hours. I was torn. I wanted to go because I wanted to be sure Bub was ok, but at the same time, my contractions were still every 5-8mins apart and I felt it was still too early.
My doula Emma texted her friend who is an independent midwife Lisa to see if she was currently local and could come and see me. I wouldn't have said she was local, she was nearly an hour away but still decided to come and see me. I would forever be so grateful to her for doing such a wonderful thing. She came at around 7pm.
Lisa checked my BP, baby's heart rate and my cervix. I was 5cm! My contractions had spaced out again while she was here which was ok as it gave me time to gain some more energy. I rang my midwife back and told her the contractions had spaced out and I was going to stay home. She was ok with that and told me to take the opportunity to rest.
For about 2 hrs, the contractions were every half an hour but really intense. I went back in the bath as it became unbearable. Contractions were now every 5-8mins apart at 10pm. They were becoming really ouchy and by 11pm, and 25hrs later I decided it was time to go in. I was in so much pain and totally exhausted. I rang my midwife to meet me there. I got to hospital around 12am. I was so worried about the car trip. Thankfully I only had one contraction when we were about to leave and one when we pulled up. The midwife checked me and I was 6cm. I did worry that I'd only dilated 1cm since 7-8pm but I quickly dismissed it and remained focused.
I was on the monitor for 15mins, bub was doing great! Once off, I was taken to my room that I would later birth my baby in. The contractions became regular, every 3 mins lasting 1 min. I remained standing whilst 'dancing' with my hubby. I was in such a good place for several hours. I had a bloody show so I was confident transition was near. But by 3.30am, I became so exhausted that my legs were like jelly. I really wanted to lie down but knew lying down made it really unbearable. I decided to use the gas and lay down.
The gas really helped but during each contraction, I felt the urge to push. I asked to be checked, I was 8cm. This continued for a while and I kept having the urge to push, it was so intense! I kept asking to be checked. My midwife suggested I have my waters broken. I trusted her and just wanted my baby out. Plus she was starting to worry a little that bub’s heart rate wasn't picking up as quickly as she would have liked. I agreed to have the clip on bubs head to make monitoring more reliable. Not long after, the urge to push was worse. My midwife told me it was time!
So around 6am I started pushing. I was worried about coming off the gas and how painful pushing would be. I was amazed that I was no longer in so much pain. The contractions were no longer on top of each other and sometimes I'd question if I was having a contraction or not and when I was supposed to push. I pushed when I thought there was a contraction. Bub was starting to get really tired so my midwife started preparing me for an episiotomy. I really didn't want one so I pushed as hard as I could.
Bub was born at 6.43am. I did it! I finally did it!!! My hubby caught him and brought him up to my chest. The cord was so long and it was wrapped around his neck and body quite a few times, not tight though. I was so happy and relieved. We didn't know the sex of this baby and when I lifted up the cord and found out we had a boy, it made the experience even more incredible!!
Lucas stayed on my chest for hours. I delivered the placenta after the cord stopped pulsating, and needed stitches on my perineum as I had a 2nd degree tear. Lucas had a great feed and by 9am we decided to check his weight etc. he was 9lb4oz and 52cm long, the same as my 2nd. He was perfect. We are so in love. I could not have done this without my incredible doula Emma, my midwife Karen, my hubby and also the lovely midwife Lisa who visited me out of her own time. I’ll never forget what an awesome experience my vba2c was, I'd repeat it 100 times if I could :-)