|Posted on 2 June, 2020 at 21:45|
A wonderful Mumma has given Birthsisters the honor of sharing her powerful story of going from a caesarean birth to an empowered vaginal birth; much love and thanks to Lisa for sharing with us.
Lisa’s VBAC Story.
My pregnancy with our first son was without complications although I did gain approximately 15kg. I’d received 2 stretch and sweeps during my 39 th week as at the time I thought this was the norm and it could do no harm. I went into early labour at approximately 10am at 40+3 gestation consisting of 2 moderate/strong contractions in ten minutes. During this stage I slow walked and tried to use gravity to get labour progressing. When I finally decided to lay down 12hrs later, and attempt to sleep at around 10pm my labour finally decided to ramp up. I found it too uncomfortable lying down and sought comfort swaying in the shower and leaning over the back of ourlounge under the cover of darkness. I had been experiencing strong regular contractions and at 4am I began to vomitfrequently so I decided to wake my husband and head to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital my cervix was found to be 6cm dilated. I began using the gas and air as offered and found myself resting on my back in the bed feeling too exhausted to get up. I recall thinking I should be upright during the contractions but I told myself that the midwives would tell me to get up if they felt I really needed to.
Progress slowed and after 4hrs of being at the hospital my cervix hadn’t dilated. My contractions were intense and felt as though they were coupling with one strong contraction followed by one even more intense seconds later. I recall feeling scared of the pain by now and had feelings that something wasn’t right. At this point an epidural was offered and administered with the hope it would give me a rest and my body would relax and open. The midwife broke my waters not long after the epidural was in place, also with the intention of progressing my labour. Another 6hrs went by with me resting on the bed with the epidural in place and my son’s heart rate being monitored as healthy via the CTG. I’d also been commenced on IV (Intravenous) syntocinon to assist in regulating and strengthening my contractions as it appeared the epidural had weakened my contractions. At 4pm my cervix had only dilated to 7cm and the decision was made to go for a cesarean.
Our son was born at 5pm at 40+4 gestation after approximately 12hrs of early labour and 19hrs of active labour healthy and well. The doctors informed me my son was in a posterior position with his head in an asynclitic position, meaning his head wasn’t pushing against my cervix in the correct position to stretch it open.
Pregnancy- After 16months of trying to conceive, fertility treatment and a 10kg weight loss on my behalf, we finally fell pregnant with our second son. We had fallen pregnant quickly after deciding to try for our first baby so this experience was completely unexpected and took a huge toll on our emotional wellbeing. I was determined to gain minimal weight this pregnancy so I continued my exercise regime and walked at least 3x/per week so as to improve, not only, my body health, but also, my mind health.
During my second trimester I attended a pregnancy and birth workshop, ‘The Inner Experience’, run by one of our local knowledgeable, empowering and woman centred midwives. This workshop provided a safe space for me to explore my inner feelings, thoughts and hopes relating to my pregnancy and impending birth. Before attending this workshop I thought I might like to merely attempt VBAC but I left feeling empowered, believing I would, in fact, achieve VBAC. This space allowed me to once again trust my body after my previous birth experience and I gained a greater connection and trust with my unborn baby. I saw that the intense coupling contractions I felt during my first labour was likely my body doing everything it could to attempt to get my baby into the correct position. I learnt the importance of maintaining a loose, open mouth and jaw promoting a loose open pelvic floor during labour. I also recognised that during my first labour, once I’d arrived at the hospital, I lost my birth power and relied on the midwife to tell me what to do rather than me mustering the courage to do what I thought was best (get out of bed).
I took away three main mantras from that day:
1. This is a different baby and pregnancy.
2. I know my body can birth my baby naturally.
3. I will gain knowledge and action my learnings so I know I have done everything I can to promote my baby to be in the correct position to birth.
I did, in fact, gain a wealth of knowledge and tools regarding promotion of optimal baby positioning for birth via the Spinning Babies website (spinningbabies.com). This website is loaded with advice for mothers wanting to improve foetal position (breech, transverse, posterior) and birth. The information I gained from spinning babies led me to regularly attend a local chiropractor with a knowledge of treating pregnant women and aligning the pelvis to allow for optimal baby positioning (this treatment also greatly helped my pelvic girdle pain). I learnt the importance of forward/side leaning resting positions and avoiding lying on my back wherever possible so as to avoid the heaviest part of the baby (its back) settling in the posterior position. I also completed daily exercises, as per the website that assisted my baby to position himself perfectly in my pelvis ready for birth.
Being the planner I am, and after some research, I had a few strategies up my sleeve for if I was to go past my due date or if my waters were to break without the presence of labour. I had planned on allowing my baby to pick his birthday up until 40+13 gestation at which point I would allow discussion regarding less invasive forms of induction. I was willing to undergo frequent monitoring of babies heart rate at this point if required. If my waters were to break I had planned on awaiting labour to commence on its own for as long as my baby was safe. I had to give my body and my baby every chance to go into labour on its own, I didn’t want to risk hoaxing my body into labour when it wasn’t ready via means of any form of intervention including stretch and sweep or breaking of the waters. I trusted that my baby would come when he is ready. This would give my body and my baby every chance at birthing naturally, not before it was ready to do so and risk another slow progressing labour.
The day before the birth I visited my chiropractor first thing in the morning, who informed me she was quietlyconfident as my sacrum was feeling super soft and ‘ready’ for birth. The day ended in doing some baking at home (although my dog spent some time un-habitually barking at me the entire time I was in the kitchen). I went to sleep that night around 10pm with no signs that I was about to go into labour.
I woke at around midnight with some mild period-like pains. I went to the toilet and wiped away a slightly blood streaked mucous plug. My heart started to flutter with excitement but I soon talked myself down as I, firstly, didn’t want to get my hopes up as a few days earlier I’d experienced similar pains that amounted to nothing, and secondly, didn’t want adrenaline to scare off my oxytocin and essentially, my labour. I left the lights dimmed very low and my husband sound asleep as I decided to stay upright and see what gravity could do with these mild pains I was experiencing. I carried on quietly and calmly putting the last few essentials in my hospital bag. By 2am I was experiencing intense pains in my lower abdomen coming very regularly about 1min-30seconds apart. At this point I knew I was in labour and even though it may not have been showing on the outside, I was ecstatic that my body had made it this far on its own and on my own terms. I felt in control and supported by my husband (who woke up to me moaning whilst leaning over the side of the bed with the more intense contractions) and my mum who came to care for our eldest son. I do recall feeling slightly nervous at this point with hopes that this labour would progress normally and quicker than it did with my first, but, my nerves were quickly put at ease with me coaching my mind to focus on trusting the process and, in turn, the obvious progress in intensity and frequency of contractions. My plan was to stay at home for as long possible, for as long as I felt safe to do so.
During the labour at home I used deep breathing, swaying whilst leaning over the edge of our bed, swaying in theshower, essential oil blends to breathe in off pretty hankies and during the process of loosening my mouth and pelvic floor I found myself unintentionally moaning loudly with each contraction. By 5am (3hrs of intense, regular contractions) my husband and my mum ushered me into the car and to the hospital. At this point I wasn’t sure I wanted to be heading to the hospital as I had mentally prepared myself for a longer stint at home but the intensity and regularity of the contractions were telling us otherwise. I was also feeling quite impressionable by this time, so before I knew it, we were on our 15min journey. Not long after leaving, to my surprise, my waters burst with great intensity during a contraction in the car. I hadn’t experienced this with our first son and it did shock me initially, but that shock soon turned to feelings of positivity and progression with my husband talking me down, repeating that it was a good thing and laughed about the mess.
Shortly after arriving at the hospital the midwife assessed my cervix as 6cm dilated. I knew this was great progress but a small part of my heart sunk. This was exactly the same dilation my cervix was at when I’d arrived at the hospital with my first son. All of a sudden history felt like it was repeating. Thankfully, the pregnancy and birth workshop I’d attended back in second trimester had prepared me for this moment. The hosting midwife informed me that I will once again come to a point during this labour that I’d been through in the last. Once I’d recognised this point it was up to me to take a different avenue, one that would promote a better birthing experience than my last. I chose not to let myself lose trust in my body or my baby and promptly talked myself out of any doubts and carried on focusing on the positives. I sat as upright as I could on the bed whilst the midwives monitored my baby’s heart rate and inserted a cannula. I had full intentions of remaining in control of my body, maintaining my birth power and standing in the shower as soon as possible, but my baby had a different plan. After being at the hospital for just over an hour I felt the unavoidable urge to push at the end of my contractions. I recall the pushing stage as extremely painful but also extremely satisfying. The emotions I felt during this stage were very overwhelming but after a short time I allowed my body to completely take over and we did it… naturally!! We beat the odds and achieved a perfectly healthy, healing and empowering birth. Our second son was born at 7am on his due date after only 2hrs of early labour and 5hrs of active labour. He was positioned perfectly for birth, in the anterior position. It is truly amazing what mindset, support and knowledge can help you achieve.