Jamie Wolfe was born the 8th of March 2011

As a mother of 8 beautiful children, I have quite an extensive birth history. Before Jamie’s birth I had had 13 pregnancies – 3 vaginal births, 4 c/sections, 5 miscarriages & a successful VBA4C. Two of my c/sections were failed VBAC attempts.

During the early stages of my pregnancy I was still very committed to another attempt at VBAC. I began researching more thoroughly. I contacted independent midwives & the college of obstetricians to try to find data relating to someone with my history. Unfortunately, not many women have successful VBACs or even attempt them, after 4 caesareans so there was little information either way about the risks/benefits of a VBA4C. I did a lot of soul searching & began to realise that the lack of support during my labours was a big contributing factor in my failed VBAC’s (My husband, bless him, has never been very helpful during labour).

I was booked in to birth at John Hunter Hospital. As a large teaching hospital they were more open to the idea of a VBAC attempt for me. My 7th child was also born there. At one of my regular midwife appointments I mentioned my thoughts about why I thought my last births ended in c/sections. She suggested hiring a Doula. I had never heard of a Doula so was full of questions. Initially I was hesitant about the idea. After going through so many births already I was reluctant to admit that I needed someone to help me do something that should be instinctual. The more information I received, the more the idea grew on me. I contacted a doula via the “find a doula” website and waited for a reply.

When Emma Peric, from Birth Instinct called me, we hit it off immediately. She understood my need to birth vaginally again and never once gave me any negativity. At this stage I was already close to 26weeks. Over the next few months we talked quite regularly with Emma making suggestions about pain relief (my worst enemy as it slows my labours) to chiropractic sessions for my posterior baby.

In the meantime I went about my usual day to day routine working and looking after my already large family. All of my bubs have been overdue. When I got to 40+weeks, Emma was calling me every other day to see how I was both physically and more importantly, emotionally. Finally at 13 days past my due date, contractions began.

Initially I thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions. After an hour or two they became more regular and I was excited that our baby was finally on his way. I called Emma who was as excited as me.  I went to bed for a while to try and rest but I felt more comfortable moving around slowly. As contractions became stronger I began rocking on the birth ball. By 11pm, 5hrs after contractions began, I asked Hubby to call my parents to come over to watch the kids so we could make our way to hospital.

The hospital was a little over an hour drive away. The trip went by in a blur. I was in the back seat with a hot water bottle and was in the “zone”. When we arrived at hospital it was 1am. It took me some time to get out of the car and into the lift. I was taken to a delivery suite to get comfortable. The midwives were great. They did their observations & let me up off the bed to move around as I pleased. Emma, my Doula, arrived soon after to offer her support. I had enormous back pain from my posterior bub. Emma suggested getting in the shower. The running water worked wonders on my back and I could have stayed there longer.

Unfortunately, while I was happily labouring away unhindered by monitoring and a drip, the midwives had read my notes. I was ushered out of the shower onto the bed. I was hooked up to a foetal monitor and had a cannula put in. Their easy-going manner had changed to one of fear. I was a labouring woman who’d had 4 c/sections and they were freaking out a little about the right course of action. The Head of OB, Dr Nandini, was contacted and they relaxed a little but wouldn’t allow the monitor to be removed.

As I had been advised many times before, as long as I was making progress dilating & there was no hint of distress from me or bub then I could continue to labour. With the constant monitoring & the restriction of movement my labour began to slow. I tried different positions; all fours, leaning over the bed, but to no avail. It was decided to break my waters. I asked about having a foetal scalp monitor so that I could begin moving again.

With my waters broken and the scalp monitor in place, contractions became strong and regular again. The backache was horrendous so I went back in the shower for a while.  Things were getting very uncomfortable. I had a strong urge to push due to the posterior position of bub. I sat on the toilet to open my pelvis & move things along.

The contractions were coming hard and fast and the backache was becoming unbearable. My cervix had a lip which wasn’t helping things. I began asking for an epidural. I had stated in my birth plan that I wanted to avoid one this time so my labour wasn’t slowed, but I was getting desperate. After a couple of hours the anaesthetist arrived.

Once the epidural took effect it was heaven. I began to have regrets though when I came to my senses again. I felt that I had just ambushed my VBAC birth. I was examined and was 7cm dilated. From there things started to slow. My contractions became less frequent. The registrar was trying to talk me into another c/section. I wasn’t giving up on a VBAC and Emma wasn’t giving up on me. She began ‘thigh slapping’, a technique to help the cervix dilate. She left the room while my hubby did some sensual touching. I was very surprised at my next internal to find I was 9cm. It was beginning to look like I would get my vaginal birth.

Dr Nandini came in, looked me over and said “it’s time to push”. They were the sweetest words. At the next contraction I grabbed my legs and gave it my all. After a couple of pushes, bub wasn’t making much progress. He was direct OP, meaning he was posterior with the largest part of his head trying to come down a space that wasn’t quite big enough. The Dr was worried about uterine rupture. She gave the ventouse (vacuum) a go. I was laid almost flat on the bed during contractions to help bubs curve upward, while Dr Nandini tried to turn him when I pushed. This went on for about an hour & a half. Finally I heard ‘there’s lots of hair’. I gave a last big push & he was out. On the 8th March 2011 at 9.27am Jamie Roach Wolfe entered the world. Our 8th child & 6th son.  The relief was unbelievable. Dr Nandini congratulated us & told me she was glad I proved her wrong by finally having another vaginal birth. I was too.

We are now expecting our 9th baby and I’m confident of another vaginal birth with the help of my amazing Doula, Emma.

Published 29th January 2012