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Birth story: ‘It was the most amazing, healing birth experience’

birth labour storyMy amazing little girl was born in April 2009. The delivery was hell as I was induced for pre-eclampsia via ARM and syntocin.

I had heavy intervention every step of the way and awful midwives until towards the end when there was a shift change. I chose to have pethidine which made me feel so high and out of it and then ended up choosing an epidural as well.

My daughter’s heart rate was dipping badly with each contraction and my OB told me to try pushing. After two pushes the room flooded with people and I was told baby needed to come out immediately as her heart rate had dropped to 20 beats per minute.

I was rushed off for an emergency c-section, haemorrhaged and my husband was kicked out of the operating room with our baby. By the time I was able to hold our daughter, four hours later, other family members had held her and taken photos, she had been cleaned off and put in a hospital gown and my husband was completely distressed as he had been given no answers on what was happening with me and had a new baby who was screaming with hunger.

I ended up with an infection and PND.

It took us nearly a year before we decided to try to conceive again because we were both so scared of the birth. We had fertility issues with Chlomid and Gonal-F injections both failing and it wasn’t until we got a second opinion that I had a laparoscopic surgery in July 2012 and they found severe endometriosis and that my uterus was completely adhered to my stomach wall.

The fertility specialists said my best chance of conceiving was IVF as soon as possible. My husband and I decided we were not emotionally ready to continue down the fertility treatment path and would just enjoy our family of three and discuss later.

So it was with shock that we discovered I was pregnant on my second cycle after the surgery. I took three home pregnancy tests and cried with joy and shock.

I decided to opt for an elective caesarean as I wanted a calmer birth and was scared of birth trauma.

But at 30 weeks we moved to a different area and I managed to get a spot at a wonderful hospital, where I met the most supportive midwives and OBs. The birth philosophy there was very ‘hands-off’ and their aim was to avoid unnecessary intervention. After chats with many midwives I decided I wanted to try for a VBAC, the hospital had no rules regarding progression time or not going overdue, only that I had to have CTG monitoring.

I started having pre-labour signs and irregular contractions just before 38 weeks. A stretch and sweep at 38 weeks gave me wicked cramps but tapered off in a couple of days. At 39+5 I had an OB appointment and we booked a caesarean for 10 days after my due date. I preferred a c-section to induction because the rates of successful VBAC become so much lower. The OB gave me a stretch and sweep and said she was sure I wouldn’t need the booked c-section.

That night had lots of painful cramping and my husband suggested I take some Panadol and try to rest. At 3.15am I woke up to a strong contraction. I stayed in bed thinking it was more pre-labour but quickly realised they were coming pretty close together and were pretty painful.

I woke my husband and he called his parents who live 10 hours away to let them know it was time and they jumped in the car to start the trip here. I coped with the contractions, which were about five minutes apart, by showering then rocking on my fit ball while watching some light-hearted TV shows with my husband for distraction.

Just before 6am I had a really powerful long contraction that made me cry and then my water broke. My husband woke our daughter, dressed and put the bags in the car. My contractions hit with full force coming three minutes apart. We called a friend to come get our daughter from the hospital and take her to child care.

At the hospital I arrived at shift change and a lovely midwife met me in the carpark as she was arriving for her shift. She helped me through the contractions on the way to the birth suite and took over my care. I laboured by breathing and moaning through the contractions for a bit and then fear took over and I was soon yelling and panicking.

I wanted an epidural but was scared I would sabotage my VBAC. The midwife was great and said that sometimes it is better to have one when you can’t cope – as the fear could make my labour longer and not as effective anyway.

I was 6cm and said I wanted the epidural (I think that was about 9am). It was the best choice because after that I was able to be clear headed and stopped panicking. I continued to progress well but slowly. The baby’s heart rate was perfect the whole time.

About 2pm I had a high fever so I was given antibiotics. At 2.30pm the OB said I was fully dilated but they wanted to wait an hour for bub to fully descend as low as possible before pushing.

Just before 3.30pm the midwives got me set up for pushing with stirrups that I could put my feet flat against to brace against. I burst into tears because I was scared as it was at pushing stage that it all went horrible with my daughter’s birth.

The midwife was amazing telling me it was nothing like last time, that my body was doing exactly what it was meant to and reassuring me that bub was completely happy in there. As I pushed the epidural wore off and the pain was a bit of a shock. My husband was amazing reminding me when to breathe and to bear down correctly and getting me to sip water in between. He was the picture of calm and control.

After an hour of pushing the OB came in and said I was pushing perfectly but suggested using ventouse to help me a bit as I was exhausted. I continued pushing while the OB, midwives and my husband laughed and made jokes because the OB couldn’t get the ventouse to stay on because apparently bub had a full head of thick black hair.

The feeling of pressure just before I pushed out his head was like nothing else I could ever describe – it was so intense. As his head came out he did a full rotation and was staring up at the OB and my husband.

The whole time the OB was amazing and relaxed and joking with my husband. At 4.38pm our not so little man, Wesley John, entered the world, weighing 4035g. He was placed straight onto my chest and then he let out his first cries.

I was just in absolute awe that this beautiful little creature had just come out of my belly and was mine. They waited until the cord stopped pulsing and my husband cut the cord.

He stayed skin-to-skin on my chest until I gave him to my husband for a cuddle about 15 minutes later. He had a quick hold and then handed him back to me saying he had hours of cuddles with our daughter before I was able to and this time was all mine, he had plenty of time for cuddles. We stayed skin-to-skin and Wesley had his first feed about an hour after being born, latched on like a pro.

My husband rang his parents who had arrived before Wes had and they brought our daughter to the hospital. She was so excited and gentle with him. She sat on the bed with us having snuggles.

The only time Wesley left me was for a quick minute to be weighed a couple of hours after he was born and then when the midwife helped me up to shower. I was on such a high that at only four hours after labour I was up, showered and caring for my beautiful boy. It was a completely different experience from my daughter’s birth. The hospital we were at had all private rooms with double beds so partners could stay the night (yes, in the public system too).

I couldn’t sleep because I was so elated. It was the most amazing, healing birth experience. I will never forget that feeling and am so happy I was encouraged to try for a VBAC. I couldn’t have asked for better support or care than what we received from the maternity team. they were simple amazing and empowering.


Thanks to Wesley’s mum for sharing her wonderful birth story with us.
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Image credit: tanchop/123RF Stock Photo

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