Morgan, second time mum to Ember, Nunhead
A POSITIVE vbac BIRTH STORY, even when things don't go to plan!
After a failed induction with my first (over 48 hours, never reached further than 4cms) I had a c section and felt very much like everything surrounding my birth had been out of my control. I was determined to try and have more say in what happened with my second and part of that was having a vbac.
My first was very overdue at 43+1 and very comfortable in there! I resisted induction but eventually caved to pressure and accepted one. Even though it was the right decision at the time I regret not waiting longer. This time I had proof that I was capable of carrying a healthy baby beyond term so was able to say from the very start that I would not like to be induced and to leave me alone once 42 weeks came.
Deciding on a home birth
I also wanted to have a home birth. After speaking to Zoe I was even more determined. I read up on all the stats and was reassured that in the event of a need to transfer we were only 10 minutes away from Kings and the Brierley midwife team were able to reassure me they could monitor me enough to be able to spot if there were signs something was awry.
Being monitored at 42 weeks
I accepted a scan of my placenta and cord at 42 weeks, more to calm the consultant's worries than mine! All was fine and they accepted my assertion to leave me alone for a few more days at least. I accepted a booking for induction for the following week but I was convinced I wouldn't get that far - I had far more signs of early labour than I had with my first (I only had a few braxton hicks with him at about 41 weeks and nothing more. With my daughter I had a lot of stop start contractions and my cervix was open to a couple of centimetres)
At 42+2 at 4am I woke to a big surge and realised things were starting. I pottered round the flat for an hour as they were only every 12-14 minutes but by 6am they were about every 10 minutes and stronger so I got in my bath. My husband and son woke around then and got on with morning stuff while blowing up the birthing pool and filling it with water.
By 8am the surges were about every 6-8 minutes and strong so we called our midwife to let her know. She came round about an hour later by which time I was in the birthing pool and they were about every 6mins. This continued with them getting stronger and slightly more frequent. My midwife would occasionally monitor me with the heartbeat monitor but otherwise she left me alone.
By midday I was about every 2-3 minutes and I felt a pop and my plug came out in the water. My midwife offered to check me to see how I was doing so I got out the bath. She checked me and I was unfortunately still only 2cm which was disappointing as I suddenly realised I could be going like this for a while. She suggested that I stay out of the bath and walk around for a bit. She said she would go and leave me for a couple of hours. So by 1 she left and I started pacing.
When things become difficult
Things started to ramp up from that point on and before long I was surging very intensely and regularly and I was also losing water. Unfotunately there was quite a bit of blood in the water and it panicked me and my husband. Frustratingly if my midwife had been there she would have been able to reassure me that this was normal. We called her first and asked her to come back. In the meantime I lost more blood and my husband was very worried so called an ambulance.
The ambulance arrived within a couple of minutes (so fast!) and decided to wait for my midwife. They were very calm. They also had gas and air which I loved! When the midwife arrived she reassured me that she wasn't worried about the blood and at first I decided I would stay home. However I then had another very strong surge and more blood and realised I had lost my zen like mojo and also lost confidence in my body a bit and had a strong need to be in hospital.
My midwife checked me first to make sure I wasn't about to give birth in the ambulance and found that I was now 6cm (my cervix was opening so quickly which is where the blood was coming from). I got in the ambulance and they took a longer route and didn't put the siren on (no idea why...everyone was very casual). By this point I was mooing and shifting in my seat (a sign that the head was ready!). We got into hospital and into the labour ward and as soon as we arrived I got up on the bed on all fours and was ready to push. Twenty minutes later my daughter was born!
"An empowering experience"
Despite not being at home and ending up going into hospital I had the most wonderful birth. I did it on gas and air and felt it all (after an epidural and c section I had felt very disconnected from my first birth) and LOVED the pushing stage as it felt so purposeful. Despite frustration that my midwife not being present to reassure me when we started to panic meant thing slightly escalated unnecessarily I still feel immensely positive and grateful for the birth. It felt incredible. And one of the things I had worries about after my first was that my body wasn't capable of going into labour on it's own or even labouring which was proved very wrong by the birth. She came entirely of her own accord and she and my body communicated brilliantly between each other. It was such an empowering experience and I couldn't recommend it enough.