A vaginal birth after Caesarean section (VBAC) for a fourth time mum

After the birth of our third son, via emergency section, the thoughts of another baby were somewhat daunting. But a sunny, summer day 20 months later saw me looking at a positive pregnancy test. I knew my body could handle another pregnancy and birth but my concern was how my caregivers would “handle” me. I was surprised, therefore, when midwives at an antenatal appointment agreed that a vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC) was the best decision. Things were looking very positive indeed and I geared myself up for a natural birth.

I stood at the side of the bed and for the next ninety minutes, filled my head with a home video of our three boys. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing right down and with Mister Husband standing behind me, I swayed and rocked gently. I shut out the whole world except for my home movie.

Despite a trouble free pregnancy everything shifted towards the end as the consultant felt my fluid levels were low. Suddenly I could feel my VBAC being taken away from me. I had gone past my estimated due date and it was thought best that I go to the hospital for ARM. (Artificial Rupture of Membranes). Everything I believed about Mother Nature doing her thang when she was good and ready, convinced me I would not need any interventions at the eleventh hour. So when I was found not to be favourable for ARM, I didn’t know what to do. The doctor decided a cervical sweep might help and I would be assessed again the following day. I agreed to be “swept” and Mister Husband and I spent a lot of time walking the hospital grounds. I could feel the baby’s head and cramping was also slightly stronger.

The following morning I waited in the labour ward for the ARM assessment with just the lady in active labour across the hallway for company. Nervous? Anxious? Me? You must be thinking about someone else. This time it wasn’t so nice. I was fixated on the plastic implement the consultant kept waving as he spoke. I can’t look at an ice-cream spoon in the same way since! There was a lot of pressure as he attempted to “pop” my waters. From that moment on, I was to be constantly monitored but I drew the line at being “gowned up” and wearing the paper knickers the midwife produced. My own granny knickers were seriously unsexy but I was wearing my own clothes, thank you very much!

When Mister Husband arrived I was back in the labour ward, sitting on a gym ball and hooked up to the monitor. At 4pm, our midwife, Maria, asked if she could examine me. On finishing the exam, there was a release of water and following that, a noticeable change in my contractions. I stood at the side of the bed and for the next ninety minutes, filled my head with a home video of our three boys. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing right down and with Mister Husband standing behind me, I swayed and rocked gently. I shut out the whole world except for my home movie.

He latched on straight away and oh god, the rush of adrenalin. The power, the return of the control I thought I had lost over the previous few days. It was amazing. It was so intense.

Just three hours after true labour began, Maria said she felt our baby would be born soon and as if to give me a boost, she opened the birth pack and turned on the heat lamps. I was starting to make different sounds and I knew I was in transition.
At this stage the contractions were difficult to manage and thoughts of the epidural began to make an appearance. After about 20 minutes or so there was different pressure and the midwife asked me to climb up onto the bed when the next contraction ended. I think she thought I was going to give birth standing up. To be honest so did I! I rolled onto my side; my leg was unceremoniously and without care, hoicked up into the air. The pressure was animal, unreal. I was so aware of the ejection reflex. I let out an almighty bellow that seemed to come from deep down inside me and with one push I felt the head being born. Two more incredible pushes and our fourth son, all 8lbs and 13 oz of him was born after four hours and nineteen minutes. He latched on straight away and oh god, the rush of adrenalin. The power, the return of the control I thought I had lost over the previous few days. It was amazing. It was so intense.

Once you and your baby are delivered safely, that is all that matters. But I believe it is also very important that we as women are listened to and allowed the chance to birth our babies the way we want to. The way we are able to.

All birth stories and images featured in 42 weeks have been generously shared by members of the public in Ireland. If you would like to take part and share your story, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch through the website http://www.42weeks.ie, through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/42weeks or follow us on Twitter at @42_weeks.

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