My VBAC Story – 26/09/2013
It all started on Thursday 26/9/13, at around 10:30am with what I’d describe as period pain like cramps which eventually became more regular. I spent most of the morning on my fit ball, listening to music, burning clary sage, spending time with my son and hubby as what would be the last time as just the three of us. By lunch time they were 10 minutes apart and I knew that things were happening for real. So, we had a big pasta lunch thinking that we should probably carb load for a very long evening (and thank goodness I did because I needed every ounce of energy I could get!).
When my 3.5 year old son went down for a nap, my husband went to pick up my Mum who doesn’t drive and who was coming to stay to look after DS. As soon as he left, my son woke up and wanted to play! So I would play with him in between contractions and then have to ride them out which was getting harder each time as they were getting stronger and my son wasn’t sure what was happening and why Mummy wasn’t listening to him!!
Shortly after, hubby and my Mum arrived and we sat together for about 15 minutes to go through last minute stuff and eventually I knew it was definitely time to head into hospital. We said our goodbyes and headed off. Hubby rang doula & photographer to let them know we were on our way. My goodness, the contractions just got stronger as soon as we started driving and I ended up straddled over the passenger seat for most of the way, moaning and breathing through contractions. I got a few funny looks from other people on the road that’s for sure, lol.
Soon enough we were at hospital (4pm) and things were getting intense. We were finally admitted into Women’s Assessment where they briefly monitored my contractions and did a VE to confirm that I was already 4-5 cms dilated. I was absolutely thrilled with this as I’d already made it past the point where last time I had my epidural! These were all good signs and I was feeling positive and in control.
Finally, after what felt like forever, they took me up to the labour ward where our doula and photographer met us. At this stage I was barely able to talk through contractions and had to stop each time to hang off my husband’s neck and breathe through them. (Poor hubby got a bit of a thrashing throughout my labour and still has a sore neck!!)
The next couple of hours labouring were extremely full on, intense and hard work. I tried a lot of different positions and even tried the bath but because they were demanding constant monitoring, this wasn’t working so I hopped out after 10 minutes and continued labouring whilst moving around. I point blank refused to lay down on the bed though and said if they wanted to monitor me, fine, but they would have to let me move around. Best thing I ever did. I also consented to having a cannula put in my hand in case of an emergency, but it was really uncomfortable. Other than that, I didn’t feel pressured into doing anything I didn’t want to.
At around 6ish is when contractions were absolutely unbearable and it felt like the gas was doing nothing anymore. At about this point is when I started feeling a bit ‘pushy’ so they set up a bean bag on the floor for me to kneel on and start pushing. This was excruciating and wasn’t getting anywhere so they suggested I empty my bladder and try again. My husband half dragged me to the toilet and struggled to keep me upright and together, as each contraction was so strong that my whole body shook uncontrollably and I could barely move.
After heading back to the bed I tried pushing on all fours leaning over the top of the bed, but this was also getting nowhere. The pushing surges were so strong that my body was starting to push each time by itself but still, nothing was happening apart from indescribable pain.
They again moved me to the end of the bed where I now half – stood, half – leaned over the bean bag and had everyone around me trying to help me get into an optimum position to push my baby out. I was begging for drugs by this point, an epidural, a coma, death, anything! This was by far the hardest part and I felt like I was going out of my mind. After some more pushing which wasn’t working, a midwife who was out in the corridor came in because she could hear me pushing and screaming down the hall and suspected I had an anterior lip on my cervix. During the next contraction, with my foot up on a birthing stool to open my pelvis even more, she put her hand inside me and removed the lip. I want to hunt this midwife down and give her the biggest hug because if she had not have worked out this problem, I don’t know what would’ve happened. As soon as she did that, my pushing started working properly and we were finally getting somewhere!
I felt the baby moving down the birth canal and finally felt so much pressure down below that I knew the end was not far. Still felt like ages for her to crown, but that was the worst bit. As soon as I reached down and felt her head, it gave me the strength and determination to keep pushing. At this point, all I cared about was seeing my baby.
After her head was out, the rest was easy, a couple more contractions and our beautiful girl was here! At 8:24pm, with “Hallelujah” playing in the background, we welcomed our baby daughter, Georgia Lorraine – I couldn’t believe I had actually done it! I birthed my baby naturally with no drugs apart from gas, something I never dreamed possible.
Two things that I can say with certainty about my experience is:
One – If I didn’t have my doula, I would’ve taken the drugs for sure which inevitably would have led to some sort of intervention, so I’m very glad that she was there.
Two – this was without a doubt the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life, but completely worth it. It has made me stronger, more confident in myself and my abilities as a mother.
I am eternally grateful that all the stars aligned for me and through fantastic support and caring and wise care providers, I was able to have a completely different birth experience that will stay with me and shape me, for the rest of my life.
“There is so much I could say to someone who wanted advice on achieving a VBAC, however to summarise, I would say this… Stay determined, positive and in control. Hire a doula, mine was worth every penny. Don’t listen to worst case scenarios or horror stories, believe in yourself and your body and your baby!
Don’t be scared into being induced unless there is a valid medical reason, bubs will more than likely come when the time is right.
Stay active during your labour to encourage the best position for your baby.
Do lots of research and seek positive and encouraging resources – personally I found that hypnobirthing CD’s and books were great (specifically, Cut Stapled & Mended by Roanna Rosewood, A Modern Woman’s Guide to A Natural Empowering Birth by Katrina Zaslavsky, as well as the affirmation cards which my hubby read to me during early labour, anything by Ina May Gaskin and natural birth DVD’s – all of these inspired me and made me more determined to fight for what I wanted and to not give up on achieving my dream.”
~ kindly contributed by Tina Oswald