"The Journey of Baby #3 Was One of Healing
By Andrea Lane
This birth story is one of hope for those mamas that dream of having a VBAC......Believe in your body as it can happen, but also remember to trust in your LMC's decisions as sometimes dreams can not be a reality as it is in the case for my 4th babies arrival (In the next blog).
I feel so blessed to have this experience to deliver a baby naturally, but I learn with #4 that c-sections can be a lovely experience depending on circumstances.
At this stage in my becoming a mum journey I had had two emergency c-sections and my birth plans for baby #1 and #2 did not go to plan..... After baby number #2 I swore I would never have any other kids as I wasn't putting my mind or body through the stress of another c-section.
For me the 2 sections I had were traumatic and I felt like a failure, but baby #3 had other ideas and the journey of #3 was one of healing.
This pregnancy was a welcome surprise.
I found out just after I had come back from a long weekend away in Australia at my cousin's wedding. I arrived home feeling tired, like I needed to vomit and craving pies (The pie craving was what made my husband suspect I was pregnant).
I thought that I was feeling yuck as I had woken up at 4am to get to the airport, the plane was delayed and it was a good 22 hours until I finally got to sleep again, the heat of Australia usually makes me feel tired and then an Italian wedding meant that your glass is never left empty.
After a weekend of celebrating and being with family I left for home exhausted but also happy after seeing family....on the flight home I felt so ill that I vomited - which was a bit unpleasant for the young guy sitting next to me and unusual for me when flying.........little did I know that I was actually pregnant and it wasn't travel sickness.
When I returned home I remember walking past a bakery and craving a mince pie and gosh it was so good to eat I'm not one to eat pies unless pregnant.
Pie cravings, tiredness, and our dog who gets overprotective when I'm pregnant......It was a dead give away for my husband who surprised me with a pregnancy test after work one day.
To my surprise It came back positive and I didn't know if I should cry as I was so scared to be pregnant again, or be happy.
The next day I rang the midwife who delivered my second baby (she was my on call midwife with #2) and asked if she had space to take me in.
I explained that I had no idea when I was due, but that I was possibly about 6-9 weeks pregnant. She was amazing and made time to see us the following day.
She knew this was a bit of a shock and knew I wanted a VBA2C, which she was happy to support and kept me informed and monitored me closely to make sure that everything was going well.
At our first appointment she did a measure and mentioned that I was bigger than expected so sent me for a scan to check in as she had a feeling it was twins from what she could feel and from the sound on the doppler.
I remember walking away in shock and a little panicked about the possibility....to say the least I was relieved that we could get a dating scan that day and they could confirm that it was one big 9 week baby.
It took us a few weeks to get our head around it all, but came to terms with our little surprise and before we knew it we were feeling positive and decided to approach this pregnancy totally differently.
My midwife was amazing at coaching me in all possible scenarios as she knew my wishes, but also needed to gently remind me that I was high risk, and knew that it was highly likely I would end up with a c-section, be it planned or an emergency.
Together we had a solid plan in place for all scenarios, I was walking regularly and keeping positive and this time it just felt so different.
Closer to delivery date I had a meeting with the obstetrician at the hospital who was looking at booking in a c-section, but also knew we were planning for a VBA2C.
She was great and said that her only concern was that my last babies were both 9lbs 9oz and my body struggled to birth them naturally, but she was happy to let me try for a natural birth as I had done my research and reassured her that I trusted my midwifes decisions, but she still wanted to book a c-section date for 11 days over due to be on the safe side.
My husband and I walked away from the meeting feeling supported and hopeful, It was such a different feeling to when I had my second baby and they were making the decision on his birth.
I walked out feeling deflated and like I had no voice.
All continued on smoothly - apart from my belly measuring big at every midwife appointment. Knowing that I would be overdue, my husband took paternity leave from my due date.
I had ten days of looking after my self, resting, walking and nesting.
On day 9 of being over due I went in for a scan to check baby was continuing to do well, but to also check how big baby was potentially going to be. Their guestimate for birth weight was between 10 and 11lbs.
I told my midwife calmly and she said that she would like to see me the next day. That afternoon I went to get some acupuncture followed by a family outing to bridal veil falls for a walk and to help bring on labor.
The walk was not as hard as I expected.... all 263 steps down...but walking back up 263 steps was a little more challenging, but I managed.
We got in the car and continued onto raglan to walk along the beach and fish and chips before driving home. I remember on the drive feeling a few niggles, but didn't think much of it.
The following day I slept in and stayed home catching up on some work for my business.
A friend whos a midwife popped in to visit and I remember her saying to me that today was the day and from the little niggles and the look of me she thought I would be in labor later today.
I laughed it off as these niggles were nothing but a few aches. From there everything happened so fast......
My husband came in from mowing the lawns to me having regular contractions. He rang my midwife who spoke to me on the phone.
She mentioned that it would likely settle down and it could still be a few days away. I hung up the phone and went to have a bath.
As I stepped in the bath there was an almighty splash as my waters broke and the contractions really started to kick in.
I started to feel a little panicked then as I felt what felt like a heavy bowling ball pushing down. My husband called my midwife back who asked my husband to get me to the hospital.
I remember saying that there was no way that I would get into the car as it felt like baby was coming....this baby was on its way.
She then told my husband to give me some panadol to help take the edge off it (the pain) and to keep me comfortable, she would be there as soon as she could as she heard from the sound of my voice that the baby was on the way.
We called our friend who was a midwife to pick up the kids, she quickly figured out that the baby was in a hurry so she rang her mum (who luckily was an experienced home birth midwife) and asked her to come and help.
Our friend dropped the kids at her house with her husband and left (Without saying good bye, he wondered at some stage in the evening how he ended up with 5 kids and no wife).
She arrived with her mum and with my midwife just in time to push the baby out. He came flying into the world and I remember the look of relief on all three midwives' faces....as clearly a home VBA2C was not the plan and especially not such a quick delivery.
From the first niggle to him arriving on the bathroom floor it was about just under 1.5 hours in total.
Baby and I had skin to skin, then he was taken to get checked and weighed.
Surprisingly my biggest baby was the easiest to birth. He was a chunky 10lbs .2oz. your text here...
Due to his size and his hurry to be earth side, I did end up with a third, nearly fourth degree tear and a large amount of bleeding, so I was taken to hospital via ambulance about an hour after his birth as I had lost a tone of blood.
It was suggested that baby go in the car with Dad so he didn't have to be checked into hospital as that would mean it would take longer for us to be discharged and he was healthy.
So baby and my husband drove - and had a little detour via Mcdonalds for dinner on their way.
There is now a joke in our house that he loves Macca's as it was his first ever smell he remembers.
We also only have Mcdonald's on his birthday as a bit of a laugh.
I arrived at hospital with my midwife where I got checked out and prepped for surgery. My husband finally arrived with baby and waited in the post op area with baby while I had surgery. It was the weirdest feeling being in the same room that I had an emergency C-section and this time I was back even though I had this most amazing Home VBA2C.
Funnily enough the Dr who was meant to be preforming the c-section the following day was the one doing the stitching up, she had a bit of a laugh that I had just made tomorrows day less busy, but she was also was excited that I had a VBA2C and that he arrived safely.
The staff were in total shock that I had such a hurried Home VBA2C, I remember staff constantly popping in to say that they had heard about a baby who had a speedy entrance into the world that was meant to be delivered by c-section tomorrow. It was a bit of a novelty for them as it was the same experience when I arrived at the birth centre.
I was so ready to get out of the hospital and settled into waterford (The local birthing unit) that as soon as I could barely stand I was walking out the hospital door to get there.
I remember getting out of the car at waterford hardly able to walk and looking down to see me wearing three quarter pants, knee high socks and jandals.....Yup my husband in a huge rush grabbed a few things and nothing matched (lesson learnt from this experience - have a birthing bag packed)
To my horror the midwife greeting me at the birth centre was one of my daughters friends mum from kindy....she was so good about it and it didn't phase her. She was just pleased to be caring for us and to see the baby had arrived safely.
I remember being so tired that I slept for two days. When baby slept, I slept which was a lot. On day three a midwife came in to check on us and said "wow sleeping beauty is awake, Its such a pleasure to finally say hello".
Thankfully they let me stay a night longer to rest before going home with two little ones and a newborn.
Recovery was hard in different ways. I had a third degree tear to look after, I had two active toddlers and a chubby, hungry baby who wanted feeding all the time, but the high from his birth got me through.
I remember thinking that I would have a home birth ten times over if I could as it was much better than the last two births.....But I can tell you now that 3 years later after my 4th (a planned c-section) I have changed my mind on that .
Once we left the birth centre I arrived home with a bit of hesitation to enter the bathroom lol. I remember my husband telling me it was like cleaning up a murder scene.
Our lovely new towels and some of our favourite pillows were used for a soft and safe landing for baby - which resulted in them being thrown out...but the towels that survived I used for a photo in the bathroom for his welcome to the world introduction photo.
I can never thank my midwife enough for her support that got me through his delivery so calmly, but also her allowing me to try for a natural birth - now knowing what I know and after volunteering for Angel casts, I know how stressful that night would have been for her and somehow she managed to keep me and her self calm enough to get my little man here safely.
Having this experience was a game changer and something that I am forever grateful for, and definitely something I never thought I would experience after my first two births.
If you are thinking about a VBA2C and it is safe, give it your best shot. You never know what will happen and if you do end up having an emergency or planned c-section, trust that the midwife you chose to care for you and your baby made the right decision at the time to keep you safe and get your baby here safely.
This was something that I learned and had to tell myself when I became pregnant with baby #4 and my dream of a home birth or even a hospital / natural birth was taken away and I had to come to terms with the idea of having a c-section.