My VBAC journey came to a shining end 2 weeks ago, when I gave birth to my beautiful little girl. Like my first pregnancy, I sailed on through without any health ailments, except for morning sickness in the first few weeks. However, unlike my first pregnancy I was riddled with residual emotional issues from the birth of my son. I felt so ripped off for how that birth evolved and was still very bitter toward my obstetrician. Emotionally I had a lot to overcome, but underneath all of that I was always confident that I could birth my baby naturally and without pain relief.
So to make this dream come true I surrounded myself with people who supported me 100%. Firstly I hired my own midwife and swapped from the private to the public system. Hiring my own midwife ensured that I was well informed when it came to all medical decisions that had to be made along the way. As all VBAC ladies would know, you are considered high risk and as a result are told you have to follow many procedures ‘just in case’. My midwife always presented the benefits and risks of each procedure and as a result gave me the confidence to decline a procedure if I felt necessary. For example, I opted to decline monitoring during labour and instead have my midwife use the Doppler on regular intervals to check the baby’s heart rate. Knowing all the risks and benefits empowered my partner and I to make the decisions we felt right for our baby.
I was adamant I was going to birth my baby vaginally and without pain relief, so to assist in this I joined forces with my amazing HypnoBirthing teacher @. I started the course early in the pregnancy and over time I learnt ways to relax during labour and to release fear that I had toward the birth – I was so concerned I would end up in another caesarean. Relaxation techniques and fear release sessions became an integral part of my amazing birth and I believe without it I could have ended up in a completely different and undesirable scenario.
The last 7 weeks of the pregnancy became relatively stressful, or very consuming to say the least. At 35 weeks I was told my baby was breech and that ‘there is not a lot we can do for you in this situation’. I was left feeling flat and deflated but picked myself up and went on a baby turning mission where I tried moxa, acupuncture, yoga postures and acupressure to turn my baby. At 37 weeks I was told my baby had turned, I immediately rejoiced and started to daydream about the arrival of my baby.
The daydreaming went on and on as 40 weeks arrived and passed. 41 weeks arrived and so did the pressure to be induced. 42 weeks arrived and I was wondering if life was just too comfortable on the inside, my baby was well engaged but just hanging around. I wondered, will I be the first ever woman to be pregnant forever?
I spent 2 weeks from 40 weeks onwards having where-to-from-here discussions with the doctors, my midwife and partner. There was pressure to be induce but we confidently declined, we ensured our baby was safe by having regular scans and CTG monitoring. At 16 days overdue I was told it was really best to be induced soon because the risk of the baby becoming distressed during labour was increasing. I finally agreed and the induction was booked for the following morning at 8am.
I felt confident about the induction appointment, mainly because I had a feeling I was not going to make the appointment at all. I left the hospital, the day before the planned induction, and went straight to an acupuncture appointment for some induction acupuncture. During the acupuncture I started to get contractions. On the way home I had 3 surges. I got home, tried to eat, but ended up in the shower with the hot water soothing my lower back. I had been told hours earlier that my baby was posterior. I was bracing myself for a longer and possibly more painful birth. However, I felt ready and calm.
I spent the next 3 hours or so listening to my hypnobirthing music and breathing through each surge. At 11ish my waters broke, I continued to relax, sleep even, through surges. At 1am the intensity in surges increased, I made my way to the birthing pool and my partner rang the midwife. Once I entered the water I knew our baby was not far. I was resisting the urge to push, the surges were more frequent and intense – I remained calm and decided not to tell my partner that I thought the baby was on its way. I did not want to stress him out, turns out he was pretty sure he knew what was happening and was bracing himself to become a temporary midwife. Fortunately however the midwife arrived shortly after and to my joy announced I was fully dialated. Because of this I was unable to transfer to hospital – thankfully because our beautiful little girl was born into my arms 20 minutes later. I even got to announce the sex myself. It was truly amazing.
So my advice to anyone who is looking forward to their VBAC with a little apprehension is to remember we are designed to do this – trust that your body and your baby know what to do. Make informed decisions by doing your research. Know what you want and stick to it. Get a supportive team on your side. I ended up with my partner (of course), my midwife, HypnoBirthing Teacher (and a whole bunch of HypnoBirhting Mummies), acupuncturist and homeopath all backing me and who all had the same philosophy as me, and that is – baby’s know when the time is right, if all is well and healthy, why push them? I wanted my baby to come when she was ready and that she did!
The birth story of Olivia, kindly shared by Anika Wulff