I had my first baby in 2013, after 3 days in labour they found that he wasn’t actually head down and his head was stuck in the side of my pelvis, which meant an emergency c-section (something I had not prepared for as I was terrified of it so thought rather naively that I wasn’t going to have a section)
Noah was born by emergency section on 9th June 2013, 10 days early but a healthy 6lbs 13oz.
When we got pregnant a second time (well after a miscarriage) I wanted to do things differently and investigated whether it was possible I could have a water birth even after a section first time around. I have a friend who is an Independent Midwife but now lives 69 miles away (1hr 20mins, so not convenient to have her as my midwife) but she was happy to give me advice and point me in the right direction in terms of literature. I read Vaginal Birth After Caesarean by Helen Churchill and Wendy Savage, which I used info from for my case for a VBAC waterbirth.
My midwife sent me to a consultant at the hospital who didn’t want me to have a natural birth let alone a water birth. His reasons being we can’t monitor/control blood loss, my response was “Isn’t that the case for every birth??” SO, as I was still adamant, I wanted to try for a waterbirth, he passed me over to the Supervisor of Midwifes at our chosen hospital. She was lovely, went through all the risks with me, we discussed my plan and what I would do if things weren’t progressing as we would like. I was open to the fact that I may need to be rushed for another section and I didn’t rule it out.
My next mission was to find someone to teach me Natal Hypnotherapy, which I found and did a day’s class. I found this really useful and used it to relax for months before the birth, I had on/off contractions for about 2 weeks before I went into labour so used it to help me through that. Although my partner Chris found everything a joke and just kept trying to keep us all laughing, he did take it all on board thankfully as he was my rock throughout labour.
On 30th December 2016 I went into the day unit for a last scan and was given a sweep, I was 2 days over, the midwife had to be very careful as I was already 2 cms dilated and my waters were bulging. Within 30 mins I really started contracting, this lasted a few hours and then stopped again, as I was at home, I had a bath and had an early night to make sure I had some sleep, who knows when I might next get some sleep…. I’m still waiting lol.
On New Year’s Eve at 4pm while sat on the rug in the living room playing with my son when suddenly, I felt like I had been booted “down there” and pop went my waters, I grabbed Chris’s foot and screamed FUCK over and over again. WHich is exactly what got us into this happy mess. Thankfully, I was wearing a pad just in case. But immediately I felt the urge to push and I got very very scared, this wasn’t in my “birth plan”, my contractions were coming every 2 mins, very hard and fast. My body was pushing for me without me trying or wanting to. I was afraid I was going to give birth right there and then and for a while I lost control of my breathing.
We phoned my Mum to come over immediately to look after my son and my sister who lives around the corner in case Mum couldn’t get here in time. And I called the labour ward to let them know we were coming in.
My partner Chris quickly packed everything we needed into the car and got me a carrier bag to sit on – wouldn’t want to ruin my new car with heated seats!
We set off to the hospital and arrived at 4.30pm, Chris wheeled me upto the labour ward as my legs had gone. I’m sure I must have left a river leading from the car upto the labour ward and the water birth room as I could feel my waters just running out of me.
We had already called ahead told them what was going on and that I was having a planned vbac waterbirth. When we got to the hospital the bath hadn’t even been ran which got me upset as I was counting on the water to calm me down. I would assume because most people wouldn’t be in active labour when they phone up, so they don’t run it just in case.
My midwife examined me and found that I was already 6cm dilated, it was go time, they started running the bath and it took forever to fill (I believe about an hour and a half after we arrived). While waiting for the bath to fill I used gas and air to help me through my contractions but the tube wasn’t very long so I couldn’t move and it then didn’t reach the pool when it was time to get in.
Once in the water, lights turned down, fibre optics on and doing my breathing that I learnt in Natal Hypnotherapy I had myself calmed down and just went with what my body was telling me. I visualised my “safe” place and remembered everything that Maggie said.
I used my breathing techniques with each contraction and when it came to the time for me to be actively pushing. I can remember swearing at Chris when he told me to breathe, I AM FUCKING BREATHING was my response. I must have had a moment of calm while pushing her out as I remember saying to the midwife I sound like a cow mooing, I never wanted to be one of those women you see on the TV.
Everything went as hoped with no problems at all and Libby was born on 31st December 2016 at 9.21pm weighing a nice 7lbs 14oz, swimming into my arms.
I had done it! I have never felt so proud of myself and my body, I felt amazing, a high I will be chasing for the rest of my life, I’m sure!
I managed a VBAC waterbirth with gas and air and did it in 5 hours 21mins.
I would say to anyone wanting to have a vbac, do your research, listen to your midwives/docs and make an informed decision. Things don’t always go to plan, but we must remember what we are going through all this for.