Worried about a natural vbac (Vaginal Birth After C-section) and not sure if it is possible? Here is Naomis’ 4th vbac birth story!
Thomas was my 5th pregnancy. Besides the horrible morning sickness which I get every time, this was my easiest pregnancy. No swelling, far less weight gain than the others, almost no heartburn (unless I ate chocolate late in day) the hardest thing was probably catching a tummy bug and cold around 37 weeks. The cough lingered till a week after birth.
The afternoon of the 19th when I was 39 weeks 4 days I again did the usual school run, but for some reason my son had come out a bit early and I didn’t know, there was hardly any parking at the school so I had to park far, when I realised my poor boy must be out and possibly distressed at not seeing me waiting as usual I tried to run with Philip and Claire. Really hard with a huge tummy. Anyway Joseph was not distressed and had calmly waited for me, we then had to rush to Theresa’s school as she also came out early, once again parking was an issue and I had to walk really far to get to the school.
Once the kids were all safely in the car, I remember hoping that it would be my last school run with a big tummy and that baby would arrive over the weekend sometime as it was really hard.
Driving home the usual braxton hicks were really pretty sore, but I didn’t think much of it.
I had quite a bit more of these “braxton hicks” during the afternoon, but they were irregular and not really very bad just more sore than I was used to.
I did tell hubby when he came home that perhaps something was happening, but time would tell.
We carried on as normal and put kids to bed. Watched our episode of Suits and went to bed.I slept well till 11pm and woke to these same BH being sore and coming every 10 or so minutes. Hubby was snoring so I left him and carried on trying to sleep.
Around 2pm, after dosing on and off I got up again with still the same thing, and I knew by now that it was labour although early stage. I had had no show at all, but with my 2nd baby I also had no show so it didn’t concern me.
I woke hubby and decided to phone Nicole my midwife to let her know.
She suggested I have a nice warm bath and see what happens. A false labour will definitely stop in the water.
Well, they kind of did stop while I was lying in the water, but as soon as I got out they were back. So I sms’d Nicole and told her, she said she was ready whenever I was and to put on the TENS. I said I would sleep some more and let her know in the morning how things were.I didn’t sleep, but at least rested.
As usual the kids woke at 5.30 and it was all rather chaotic. I told them that baby would arrive today hopefully and they were even more excited. Unfortunately all the chaos and kiddie noise etc seemed to have stalled the contractions, they became very haphazard and irregular again. I phoned my mother and she said to bring the kids to her so she and my sisters could have them for the time being.
Nicole lived near my mom, so after dropping the kids we went to her home so she could just see how far I had progressed.
I was 2cm almost 3, but still a rather thick cervix, she did a stretch and sweep and told me to go and get some rest at home and that a bit later things would progress again. She explained that sometimes the body only labours well when relaxed and that the kids all being excited would have stalled it. So we left the kids at my mom and decided to go home. Hubby quickly popped into the shops on the way and I sat in the car. The contractions did start coming again, but almost the whole day they would come and go, they would be regular for an hour or 2 and disappear again for an hour. I got tired and frustrated. It was pouring with rain so even a walk wasn’t possible. I did the laundry and cleaned up the rooms etc. I rested, we watched another “suits” episode. I had another bath ( which made the contractions vanish all over again) I kept Nicole informed via sms during the day and she said she thinks baby is waiting for the night.
Well around 4pm, things suddenly changed. The contractions started coming every 7min then every 5min. I also started to bleed, which scared me a bit as I hadn’t had that happen before and I didn’t know where it would come from. I phoned my mom to let her know and she asked that I bring the kids church clothes for the morning and she would keep them for the night, so we did that and went passed Nicole on the way back.
Things had definitely changed. Nicole was not concerned about the bleeding. She said it was the cervix and that its normal. She also said I was 5/6cm dilated and waters bulging and look like they about to break. Time to go to the hospital. She got me a packet to sit on in car just in case and we went to hosp.
Nicole phoned the hospital ahead of time, so when I arrived they took me to a labour ward and I waited there for Nicole.
I spent the time on my knees using the TENS. This little machine was amazing! It made a huge difference. During the one contraction I dropped the tens and it went off, I felt the difference. Of course it doesn’t take the pain away, but has a similar effect has when someone presses your lower back during a contraction, only its continuous and has a boost button for a contraction. It has 15 levels of intensity, I only ever got to 5 or 6.
While waiting for Nicole the nurses in the ward did bp and temp etc and spoke about my other births. 5 babies!!! And vbacs!!! Wow, they hardly ever hear of that. And they were excited I was planning a water birth too!
Nicole arrived soon after and did all the paper work etc. I had 5-10 min fetal monitoring etc and then said I needed the loo. She took it off and it never went on again.
We were admitted around 6.30pm.
I asked Nicole where the pool was going to go and at that moment she realised that in the excitement she had forgotten the pool. I was very disappointed for a few minutes, water birth was something I really wanted to try. But, I quickly got over it. This was my 5th birth and the first one that I was able to do as I wanted and just have a midwife, so I figured that no birth pool wasn’t really a big issue and I would still have a great birth.
So I laboured for about an hour on my knees, after which Nicole broke my waters and boy was there a lot. The contractions were pretty continuous by now. We didn’t really time them or anything, Nick helped me through them really well, could not have been without him. Nicole got me a birth ball and that felt really good. After about 4 really really intense contractions I suddenly felt the need to push. Obviously that wasn’t working so great while I sat on the ball. So I got on the bed. I was on my hands and knees and pushed, Nicole said I needed to be more upright, so she raised the back of the bed so I could lean over it. I had another huge contraction and pushed really hard, in fact my body just took over. Nicole said baby’s head was coming too fast and I could tear, she asked that I don’t push, a little hard at that stage, but next contraction I didn’t push, but my body did, head was out, one more push and baby came out with a huge gush of water. In fact there was so much water it sprayed right over the edge of the bed!! It was 8.37pm. I had only been in active labour for about 4 hours.
My first thought as baby was out was relief- its over and I did it yet again.
Then Nick says to me- “its a boy!!!”
I turned around to see my son for the first time. I was in love straight away. I couldn’t lift him up just yet as the cord was too short so I just stared at his perfection for a minute, he was totally covered in vernix, none of my others had had that much, Nicole said it was the most she had ever seen. Well, she said it was the first time she had seen mother as well as baby so covered in it. She couldn’t even tell if I had torn or not as there was so much.
After a minute some more cord came out and I was able to lift Thomas to my chest. It was amazing, he had his first breastfeed.
After a few min the placenta was out, I didn’t even feel it coming out like I did with my other births, it was a very small placenta. Nick then cut the cord as obviously by now it was not pulsating anymore.I also for the first time had a good look at my placenta, that amazing life giving organ that had grown my baby so well. The other births I never had the option.
After Thomas had his feed, I passed him to his father for the first time. It was so special to see Nick hold his newborn son. I took a photo. And then got up to go shower. It was a great shower!
After that, Nick went with Thomas to the nursery to be weighed and checked while Nicole took me to my private ward. Thomas was back pretty soon and I put him skin to skin on my chest and just drank in the newness of this baby.
It was really late and Nick and I were really tired. Nick had to look after the other children the next day, so I told him to go home and get some sleep.
I spent the whole of that first night holding and feeding Thomas, I didn’t dress him till the next morning and only then because it was cold and I wanted him to be warm.
I went home that day and we are now loving every minute of Thomas. His birth was exactly what I always wanted, drug free and intervention free and even though my other Vbacs were something I will always be proud of, this birth proved to me, that a women in labour left to do it her way has a far easier and better time.
For me, the way I birth my babies is very important, and this time I can finally say, I would not have changed a thing. Thank you Nicole for being the best midwife I could have asked for.And thank you Nicholas for once again being a wonderful birth partner. And most of all thank you God, for trusting me yet again with another precious soul, I will do my best to bring him up so that he may one day join You in heaven.
Written by Naomi Mitchell