My healing VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean)
The birth story of my third baby needs to start with a bit of a back story.
My previous birth was one that started out well but ended with an emergency caesarean. The entire experience left me feeling overwhelmed and unsupported. The guilt and grief that I hadn’t been able to give my baby the start to life she deserved was overpowering.
This is the birth story of my third baby. A birth that was was not only an incredible, empowering experience but finally started my journey to healing.
For my third baby, I moved away from the private system to the community midwife program. My relationship with my midwife was one where I felt like I was able to make the decisions. I declined any unnecessary interventions, including inductions, and felt confident doing so. This was so different from my first baby where I did exactly what I was told when I was told.
40 + 3 Labour begins
The day I went into labour, something just felt different.
I had a feeling that I needed to be able to relax & surrender to get baby moving. That night, I spent time listening to my favourite music and writing out every positive affirmation that came into my head. I then spent time reading over and saying out loud those same affirmations – trying to relax, surrender and let go. I knew I had to trust my body and baby.
I went to bed at 930 as normal. At 1130 feeling I awoke to the sensation of bubs moving further down and got up to go to the bathroom. My hubby was still up – I asked him how he felt about having a baby the next day. Then I started feeling sensations in my butt and hips but nothing too significant. I rang my midwife at 1230 to update her. She suggested I get some rest and to call her back if things change.
Almost instantly, things started to progress. I popped on my TENS machine (which was amazing!) and used my the fitball to be able to flop during each surge.
Mum arrived and at the same time my oldest daughter got up – it was like she knew something was going on. We had a quick cuddle but by then I was really having to concentrate on breathing through each surge and didn’t want to be talking to anyone.
At 0130 hubby called the midwife back – saying we were going to head to the hospital. My midwife asked how far apart the surges were and how long they went for. All I could answer was ‘not far’ and ‘still going’ – we hadn’t even bothered to time anything, it was all happening so quickly.
Hubby got the car ready and it was time to go. Without prompting, my husband had put on one of my favourite bands, Gomez, for us to listen to – this was the best thing! It helped release endorphins and gave me that ‘feel good’ factor. Afterwards, my husband mentioned that if he didn’t know better he would have thought I was asleep in the car, I was so calm, even during surges.
2:40 am – We make it to the hospital
After what felt like a very long walk, we finally made it to the labour ward.
We were still waiting for my midwife to arrive, so the midwife on duty said she would check how bubs and I were going. I had agreed to monitor upon arrival but not have constant monitoring. The monitor was put on to check on the baby, and it indicated that bubs’ heart rate was quite low. Unsure whether this was because I was fully dilated and bubs were ready to come or if there was another reason bubs was becoming distressed, a vaginal exam (VE) was suggested. I agreed (even though I had previously said no to all VEs) as I thought I was fully dilated and this way I could get on with things. It turns out I was right!
I had no sooner got to a birth suite that the urge to bear down really kicked in and I said as much to whoever was in the room. Actually, I think I said that I needed to poo. The things we say during labour!
Unfortunately, bub still wasn’t happy and seemed to be getting worse. My midwife (who had since arrived) suggested changing positions to see if that helped baby at all. It didn’t. I then became aware that there were things starting to happen in the room around me as there was concern over bubs. But I blocked it all out and concentrated on baby and myself.
At one point my midwife told me ‘we had to get this baby out NOW’. And I knew she meant it. So I focused on breathing/bearing down and repeating the same two things over and over.
I am strong
I am doing this.
And I did!
With a few more surges I felt baby’s head arrive. I honestly don’t remember the sensation of these surges – just the movement of the baby. All throughout, I listened to my body and was bearing down only when it felt right.
A few more pushes and I had done it! 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital bubs entered the world with a ‘tsunami’ of amniotic fluid (my midwife’s words). She was put straight up on my belly for skin to skin. I turned to my husband and said ‘I did it, we did it!’.
I did it, we did it!
It was only after she was born that I opened my eyes and took a good look around. There were 8 people in the room with me, including an obstetrician, paediatrician and more midwives- but I had no idea!! I had been aware of some coming and going but was so focused on baby and me, that I didn’t even realise. Such is the power of relaxation and self-hypnosis.
I look back at my labour and birth as the most incredible, empowering experience, all thanks to Hypnobirthing Australia™. Even with everything that was going on, I had complete trust in my body – it knew what to do. At 3.4 kg she was my biggest bub and I totally rocked her birth. A completely natural VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).