It was such an honour supporting Corinne and Steffen in the birth of Alina. Corinne did many things to help her get her much wanted VBAC. Although we never know what will happen in birth feeling empowered and supported going into the journey is really important.
She did lots of research, joined VBAC groups, surrounded herself with people who supported her, spoke openly with her caseload midwife about what she wanted and didn’t want and was ready to give it her all!
Here is her story.
On the night my daughter was born, I took my son out to see the stars. For the first time, I showed him how the constellations make patterns in the sky. As we walked down to watch our chickens going to bed, I explained to him that I had been having pains for a few hours and that his little sister would most likely soon be here. It was a bittersweet moment to know that this was our last time alone together as just mother and son but also knowing a very special little girl would soon be entering our family.
My contractions steadily picked up their intensity and remained regularthroughout the evening. I felt relieved as I knew this was a good sign for me to achieve my much-longed for vbac. I had had a few nights of pre-labour as well so I was feeling confident that everything would be OK. I watched some TV including ‘Call the Midwife’, which proved to be a bit too much when a woman had to give birth in a public toilet! I tried to rest, I had a shower. I burnt a candle a close friend had given me and visualized how I wanted the birth to be.
I called Lu, my doula, and asked her to come soon at about 12 pm. I knew it would take a while for her to get to my house and I wasn’t sure how fast things would progress. When she arrived, we all talked and drank tea while my son slept.
At around 3 am, I decided to go to the hospital. It was a tough call but I had a feeling that I was fairly progressed and the idea of the car ride was something I just wanted to get over with. I struggled to find some appropriate clothes to wear while my partner got my things into the car. In the car, I focused on my breathing and shut my eyes.
We arrived at the hospital and went up to the birthing unit. Getting admitted seemed to take forever and was accompanied by annoying questions. Finally the doors were opened and I thought ‘What kind of a place have I come to to birth my baby?!’ and ‘Why didn’t I just stay at home?!’ but I banished those thoughts as soon as they arose. I had confidence in myself and my carers and knew I was ready to birth this baby vaginally.
We went into one of the birthing rooms and Lu got busy filling up the bath and I quickly got in, heaven. I stayed in there for many hours, humming my way through the contractions. My midwife checked me after a couple of hours and I was elated to learn I was at 9 cms. She kept checking on the baby via the Doppler but I did not have any constant monitoring. After a few hours, though, we knew I needed to shake things up a bit to get things moving more. I stood while my partner showered me and soon I reached the point where I wondered how much longer it was going to take and if it was really going to happen. My midwife asked me to feel for the head and it was right there. “No caesarean for you this time!” I got a new burst of determination to make it happen. Lu and my midwife encouraged me to stop focusing on my breathing and start bearing down instead. And so the really hard work began! At some point, a registrar came in and started her spiel about the dangers of having a vbac without monitoring etc. She was quickly shown out of the room! I shuffled around the room with my partner who held me and my waters broke. It was close to 10 am at this point and I was getting tired. I lay down on my side in the bed and there was some meconium coming through. We decided the bed would be the best place for me to birth my little girl. I pushed hard for around 40 mins. Lu and my partner supported my legs whilst my midwife watched the baby’s progress. I felt a burning and knew it was not much longer. I felt as though I would split in two through the effort but soon the head was through. Alina. I said to my partner “We did it!” Something I had longed for since my son was born had finally come into fruition. The elation was incredible. The body came through easily and I brought my baby up to me and held her for the first time. We left the cord till it turned white. I tried for quite a while to deliver the placenta. Different positions etc. For the first time during the birth I felt some pressure to ‘perform’. The other midwives in the room had not experienced a natural third stage so it was something of a novelty and they became a bit concerned. I decided to have the in as I just wanted to get on with things. I then realized that I had torn and would need some stitches.
And so the day passed. Getting stitched up, hospital forms, waiting, all the while with my beautiful partner and doula by my side. And my new beautiful baby, of course. Finally around 5 pm we were ready to leave and to pick up our son from my friend’s house. Outside, it had been showering and there was a warm, hazy March glow to the afternoon. I felt so incredible, like I could do anything. It was a moment I will cherish forever.