My first labour with my son was a 3 day back to back, including 6 hours of the syntocinon drip due to slow progress and only dilating to 4cm, when he got into distress and it ended in a category 1 Emergency Caesarean.
Whilst I was delighted that he was fine and healthy, I found the recovery after the C section hard as I developed an infection, and 2nd time around I was keen to try something different.
I kept going back and forth between wanting a planned C-section due to the ease of organising and at least not having to go through labour again, and then wanting to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) because it was an experience I really wanted to have and because for me I felt it was the braver decision.
At about 6 months I decided to go for it – I saw a statistic that said 90% of people are eligible for a VBAC but only 10% try, and I wanted to be part of that 10%. As a coach, I support and challenge my clients to take smart risks, and giving it my best shot was in line with my values and who I want to be.
In the end my birth story was pretty straightforward. I had minor contractions from mid afternoon, and in the evening we settled down to watch a cheesy Christmas film. The contractions started to ramp up about 10pm when I found the need to lean over the sofa for some of them. I decided to sleep in the other room to let my husband get some rest and the contractions continued through the night whilst I breathed.
At about 1am we called the midwife and she said to continue doing what we are doing, as they weren’t yet long enough in length. Around 3am I noticed a shift in contractions getting much stronger and felt like I was entering a different phase. I think one of the books talks about first room and second room and I did really feel a change.
My little boy woke up around 6.30am and was collected by his grandparents around an hour later. Suddenly then everything ramped up, I felt like I could really let go and I started being much more vocal with more primal noises.
Our doula, Zara (www.doulabud.co.uk) arrived and said to call the midwife, Heather, as it sounded like I was bearing down. She arrived after 8am and from there on in she just sat quietly and enabled me to get on with it myself, in hindsight by doing less, she actually did more.
Zara massaged me with aromatherapy oils and my husband came in and let me squeeze his shoulders for the tougher contractions. After about an hour or so I started pushing and also felt a need for more energy. Zara gave me a couple of spoonfuls of honey which was just the boost I needed.
I continued to push and Heather suggested I get up from the all fours position I had been in the whole time and stand up over the bed to help use gravity, and open my legs wider. This was the only intervention she suggested the whole time, and it was very much offered if it worked for me.
Zara used a rebozo scarf wrapped around my tummy to help shake from side to side and help ease her out also.
EJD was born at 10.09am in the superman position – with her arm up by her head. She came out all in one go and literally flew into the world!
After the birth I held her in my arms whilst we waited for the placenta to come, I was happy to have the injection but Heather advised as I hadn’t bled much to wait a little longer. Within 20 minutes of sitting of the loo it was out and we’d managed to have a birth without any medication at all – it hadn’t occurred to me to put the TENS on or ask for gas and air at any point as I didn’t feel I needed it.
During the birth there were times I doubted myself – I felt like the pushing stage was taking too long and I wondered if I would need intervention, and to be honest I had doubts all the way through pregnancy if I would be able to do it.
However, I felt amazing afterwards, like I could honestly do anything I put my mind to – quite like wonder woman! It made me realise again the power of listening to my body and intuition and I couldn’t quite believe I had done it – it felt so surreal.
Surrey Hills Client November 2018