Of course! I warn you. Its long.
About 11pm Sun night surges started coming again every 10 mins, lasting one min. This had been the 5th or 6th night at this point that we’d had warm ups. I thought nothing of it and lay in bed at 41weeks trying to sleep. They continued but ramped up in intensity so I text Lisa, our Doula about 1am to let her know again. It had also been discovered I had GBS and would need IV antibiotic in labour. I was keen to have these at least 4 hours before babys arrival so about 3am I woke hubby to tell him I was thinking of ringing the hosp. He got up and realised something was different this time so called the hosp and they told us to come on ahead in.
We met Lisa at the hosp. At this point the surges were still the same. We arrived in and I presented my birth preferences. We had no resistance with any of them at this point and I was feeling okay about being there. I got examined and discovered I was only 1cm dilated. My bp was up though and there was +2 protein in urine. (Previous pregnancy ended in EMCS due to eclampsia). Doctor asked me to go visit my GP later in the day to have BP and Urinalysis checked but was happy for me to go home and see how things went. We got home about 6am and went to bed.
Hubby woke me at about 10am to say my Consultant had called him and wanted us in immediately! I did panic for a moment, gathered myself (thank you heart breathing!) and decided I’d go to my GP as agreed with other doctor and see how things were before contacting my Consultant. She’d rang me 4 times and 2 voice messages at this point. Got to the GP and Consultant had called there too! BP was up slightly and urinalysis was fine. After speaking with GP I decided to go on home, get ready and head in to meet consultant and talk about a plan. GP did say that if I showed up in established labour with high blood pressure and protein in urine with my history it may cause staff to panic and knowing how much I wanted my VBAC it might be better to go in now and be able to negotiate my care. I agreed.
Went home, ate, showered, got our toddler sorted for her Nanas house, kissed and cuddled and bawled knowing the next time I saw her, she would be a sister!
We arrived at hospital about 4ish in the afternoon. Lisa met us there again, I was introduced to Sinead our midwife and she explained we would be admitted to the labour ward because I was for VBAC and with my history they’d feel better if I was there. I could feel the surges easing off at this point and disappointment setting in. This was not what my mind movie looked like. Surges eased off to every 15 mins and I was starting to feel quite low. Lisa was amazing! She reminded me that I was preparing for WHATEVER path our birthing takes and that just because we were there didn’t mean the end of our Gentle Birth. I refocused and chose to get comfortable in the hospital setting and allow this baby to be born. On admission we did have some discussions about the CTG and myself and Peter stood firm that we didn’t want it. I wasn’t yet in established labour so while it was pressed, there was no huge deal. I was under the impression they were going to revisit it once I was in established labour but we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.
We settled into the room, I stuck my tracks on, hubby pumped up every ball that was in the room to pass some time, we chatted, laughed and just relaxed into what it was. The surges began to ramp up pretty quickly and were soon coming every 3-5 mins lasting 1-1.5 mins. I was sure things were speeding along. We headed around to admissions to fill the bath and try to relieve some of the pressure. Lisa had a contraction timer that we were using. This was so helpful as they ramped up because either herself or Peter would say things like “You’re doing great, the peak is coming, it should be starting to ease, you’re almost there” Just knowing how long the surges were lasting was fantastic to count down through them as they got a lot stronger. We spent about 2 hours in the bath. The water was fantastic but it was small and shallow and I just couldn’t get comfortable in it. I needed to move and I needed water. I decided to get out and request the pool at this point. Midwife did say it was in use and that she’d let us know when it was available. Then another Doctor arrived who got hold of my preferences and while I was on the floor on the ball breathing through a surge, lectured me on the risks of not having CTG, demanded I make eye contact with her, and basically said that anything that happened would be on my own hands. I responded, “Yes, I know, I understand. Thank you for that but I still won’t be having it”. She huffed and snapped “Well then, Good luck!” I thanked her again and she left. That was it! Our midwife popped in every now and then with Doppler, offered VE’s but was fine when I refused. The night was going on and I asked her to check the progress and was gutted to hear I was just 2cm after all that work! At this point I knew it was going to be long. I told Lisa she was more than welcome to pop home and I’d call her if things heated up. Hubby was with me and he was doing a great job, I knew it’d be hours before anything would happen so Lisa headed off and Hubby and I walked the corridors. We talked about our wedding, holidays ect between me throwing my arms around him and swaying through surges. It was the early hours of Tuesday morning now.
We got back to the room and MW offered the pool if we still wanted it. I was delighted. I was struggling to cope with the surges and was feeling very tired now. I’d been pre labouring for days and hadn’t slept more than 3 hours in nights. The pool was magic! The water was perfect and the lights were low. I rocked back and forth in the pool and relaxed. They were coming hard and heavy now and I was finding them difficult to cope with. Lisa arrived back when I was in the pool and I just cried. I didn’t know where I would get the strength for the next one and was ready to meet my baby. I got out of the pool and requested another VE. It had been hours from the previous one. Still the same. 2cm. I was prepared for slow and steady labouring but I was reaching my limit. The conversation came up about pain relief and after much discussion I asked for pethidine. I knew I needed to sleep or rest or something. I was beginning to panic that I wouldn’t have the strength to push the baby out if this went on for much longer. MW went and got the drug and gave it. I felt relief pretty soon and was able to rest. I suggested Lisa head on home for a while again. She did. Hubby lay on the floor beside me and we both slept for a couple of hours.
I was woken about 2.30 by a God almighty surge and again we were into 2-3 mins apart lasting about 1.5 mins. The midwife and Peter helped me get the TENS on. It helped. It was a distraction but soon it just irritated me! I had tracks on, hubby was doing acupressure points, I had the heat pack on, we were pacing the halls and I was falling into him with each surge, it was an absolutely beautiful time. We talked, we laughed, we cried. I really felt like we were getting somewhere now. I woke hubby about 3.30 and told him to go get my MW, I wanted a VE to see how we were going, I looked at her face and knew nothing had changed with my cervix. This was my wall. I asked for a few mins to speak with hubby alone. I poured my heart out and told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I was spent. I had no energy left and knew if we progressed this way I’d end up in theatre again with a section only it’d be another emergency situation. I refused to allow myself to be traumatised again by another emergency so I told him I wanted to request an elective section now. We talked long and deep and both decided that it would be better to have a calm, relaxed experience and feel like it was our choice than to go further with this and lose control of the situation again. So he went and got the midwife again. She sat and discussed at length with us and was so fantastic! (Lynn). She empathised with us and said she’d go see if she could get hold of a doc.
A lovely young female doctor arrived. We talked and I cried. She read my preferences and said “Becky, you don’t want this. I know you’re tired, I know you’re afraid but you can do this. You were made for this and reading your plan, you’re an educated woman who I think will regret this decision in the morning.” At the time I wanted to kill her! Now I am so glad she said this. She told me there was no way she can do a section at this time without danger to me or baby so asked again if I wanted a CTG to see how babys heartrate was but in her opinion all was well. I was desperate for this to end so I agreed. CTG was fine. I bawled!! I knew I had to carry on. She was incredible though. She held me while I cried my eyes out and begged her to please bring me now. She then asked if I’d consider an epidural. It was 5am, I wouldn’t have a hope of getting to theatre before midday with the electives on the list and she put it to me that either way I had a few hours to go before meeting baby and this way I could rest and probably have baby in my arms by the time they could take me to theatre anyway but if not, Id need a spinal for surgery anyway so they could just top that up later. Smart woman!! She knew what I wanted more than I did. Again I discussed with hubby and both agreed it was the best thing to do. I was miserable, exhausted and felt beat down. The surges were not painful. They were exhausting. First labour, and vbac, my body was being gentle on itself but my mind didn’t quite get that.
We were moved down to delivery suite for the epidural and it was put in and we discussed releasing the waters which I agreed to. The pressure from the surges eased, my mind relaxed and I drifted off to sleep. I slept probably 3-4 hours! When I woke up Lisa was back, hubby was right there, my old MW (Sinead) was back and I felt amazing! Epi was low dose. I could still move my feet and feel the surges but they were not exhausting me like before. I asked for a VE when I woke and was elated to hear “a decent 5, pushing 6!, things are moving!”. Well Jesus himself could have walked into the room and I wouldn’t have noticed, I was absolutely walking on air to hear that! So we just chatted, I read, facebooked and relaxed for another hour when I asked for another VE and Sinead looked at me, wide eyed and said “Hmmm, interesting. Suppose those waters just needed to pop! You’re a good 8 Becky, we’ll have a baby by2pm!” I couldn’t believe it! This was finally happening. I felt amazing! I was energised and ready. I pop my tracks back on and zoned out for the next 2 hours. I refused any VE’s until then (MW stated we could only “allow” an hour of passive decent once we reached 10cm but if I didn’t consent to VE there was no way of knowing!)”. What a woman. So about 2mins later I looked at Peter and said “I’m going to be sick!” Yep, I was ready! Baby had descended well but was star gazing!
We had coached pushing as I had an epidural and I struggled with that a bit. I got the hang of it but baby just wasn’t coming back up. The epi was low dose and with the position my body was in I got this awful pain in my right hip. Lisa and Peter took turns pushing on it really strongly with each surge. I think they we’re pushing on my hip just as hard as I was pushing baby out! I wasn’t comfortable for this part. It felt good to push but I knew my body wasn’t happy in this position but I couldn’t move. We tried side laying but babys heartrate dipped quickly and I moved back to sitting upright. My body was telling me I needed to turn around on all 4s but I knew I couldn’t support myself. It had been over an hour of pushing and I reached down and felt her head, that gave me the last boost to press on. Lisa was repeating affirmations in my ear, THANK YOU SO MUCH! “Whatever path our birthing takes” is the affirmation I responded best to. This was so far from my mind movie that I was beginning to shake from believing this could still be amazing. I was pushing with everything I had but she just wasn’t getting around that bend. MW said we may need some “help” and she had to call a doc. Doc arrived and after I realised that she was prepping scissors and blades I had a moment of panic and Lisa grounded me pretty quickly again with affirmations. She was saying them in my ear but it wasn’t until she made eye contact and had me repeat “I can do this!” a few times that I was grounded again. I found my voice and spoke out. I totally refused to allow anyone to cut me and shouted that pretty strongly. My midwife eventually said “she doesn’t want the episiotomy!” This is when the doctor sneered and asked “you’d rather tear?” as if it was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard! There was a resounding “YES!” from me, Peter, Sinead and Lisa! A few more pushes and still baby wasn’t coming. Sinead came to me and said now that baby was not happy anymore and we really needed to get her out now and suggested we try a kiwi cup, she said she figured one good push and we’d have a baby so I agreed. Lisa has her hand on mine, Peter had the cold cloth on my head and we were chanting “I can do this!” She was right! One good push and Sinead shouted “Ok, just breathe, breathe, breathe, DO NOT PUSH!” So I trusted her and did what she said. Lisa and Peter were each side telling me how amazing I was doing and how they could see her being born! I felt electric! I felt her head stretch me and her body turn, then her shoulders stretch again and slither out! I cried, sobbed and screamed!! “My baby!!” This was it. All the preparation, all the relaxing, all the work, the days of pre labour and I was about to see my girl face to face. Oh my God she was everything I imagined and more. I looked to Peter and tears were streaming his face. We sobbed hard…
This was the single, most beautiful experience of my life! I had the man I love by my side every step of the way, I had a woman I connected with on a whole new level of understanding and trust be with me and hold my hand and tell me just what I was made of when I needed her most. Both my midwives were honest, respectful and so very kind. That beautiful, wonderful doctor who knew me better than I knew myself at that point came back about 15 mins after delivery and I hugged the breath out of her lungs! She could well have shipped me off to theatre but she knew I wanted this more than I needed air in my lungs. There were many twists and turns I didn’t expect to take. Apart from when I begged to go to theatre, it was a calm, relaxed, long, but gentle, wonderful Vbac! I thought I’d be gutted about the drugs but they were just tools in my kit to get us the incredible experience we wanted and oh my goodness, it was more than anything we could have dreamed of. Looking back I now realise that what I really wanted from my VBAC GentleBirth was to use a pool, deliver with an intact perineum, avoid all surgical wounds and vaginally deliver a healthy baby. I got it all.