Larissa also said, “If I could say anything to someone thinking of vbac/vbamc is to do the research themselves, find the true facts and have faith in their ability to birth their baby naturally. Our bodies magically concieve and grow these beautiful babies, they know how to birth them too.”
Today’s guest writer is Larissa from My Journey to VBA2C, and her birth story is amazing! There are many things that set this story apart for me including the midwife identifying the slow down in labor at her arrival as an instinctual and reaction, using gas an alternative pain management tool, and her beautiful description of her experience. Enjoy!
*This birth story contains graphic descriptions and photographs of childbirth including female anatomy and of blood* *Consider yourself warned*
Birth Story: Indee
My story begins on Saturday the 7th of July at 40weeks and 6days. My midwife had taken personal leave the weeks before and still wasnt back. Having her away and having our plans for regular cervical checks and stretch and sweeps to help avoid going too ‘overdue’ had me on edge and at times upset. I no longer had that 1 professional person who supported me around whenever I needed it. The other backup midwives were nice but to tell you the truth seemed too scared to even come near me for fear of my uterus blowing up!
I had an appointment with one midwife at the maternity unit at 3pm for a bit of accupuncture to try and help get everything ready to start. I hated every second of it however was proud of myself for giving it a go…I will not be trying it again any time soon! That night nothing really happened or felt any different. I went to bed and slept quite well.
Sunday the 8th of July i awoke and started getting contractions that were quite uncomfortable but didnt alert anything in my head as to whether labor was near or not. Contractions got quite regular, every 12-13 mins but only lasting maybe 20-30 seconds. I had this all day. That night I decided to have a bath and felt an overwhelming urge to have my husband close to me, kissing me and touching my body. Not in a sexual way at all but it was nice to want to have him touching me this way considering how sore and awkward things had been for me latley. I lay in the bath relaxing and breathing through my little contractions as my husband soothed and touched my body. The best I had felt in a wee while. I think subconsciously I knew something had changed and was different. I had an almost *open* feeling… like something was happening.
It was getting later, around 9.30-10pm I believe, so I decided to head to bed, hubby followed soon after and for the first time in a little while I felt the urge to make love to him. It was really great and not awkward or sore at all. I felt a deep connection that had been missing for a while. Hubby jokingly told me he didnt feel like going to work in the morning so could I please go into labor before 7am. We both fell into a deep sleep. A few hours later at 1.31am on July 9th, i awoke to a HUGE contraction and the need to run to the toilet. I sat there about 10minutes having to breathe through these contractions whilst emptying what i felt like was my entire stomach contents. This was it, I was in labor!! With excitement I went to wake up hubby, he seemed confused at first and then had a smile on his face. By this point contractions were getting quite painful and contractions were lasting longer and coming every 3minutes.
Hubby ran me a bath and the relief on my back was great. I also had a big mucus plug greet us as i got out of the bath. By now contractions were coming every 2 and a half minutes and lasting 2 minutes. Hubby rang the backup midwife and she said she’d be over soon to check how baby was and how everything with me was going. I could feel baby moving so wasnt worried at all. Excitement had taken ahold. Contractions were getting quite intense at this point and I had started using my voice to help me through them. I woke up my 2 little kidlets who were very interested to know what was going on. They decided to hang out a bit and watch t.v. and eat yoghurts.
By now it was about 3.30am and our backup midwife turned up. She started by asking what had been happening etc and then checked babys heartbeat. Baby was perfect and happy in there. The midwife had a few concerns that possibly he/she was posterior. She then checked my cervix and found me the be 3-4 cms. Woop woop!! At this point the contractions had slowed…the midwife reassured me that that was normal, it was the adrenalin running through my body by her coming to check on everything. She also told me this was the point of no return and we needed to start thinking of heading over to Rotorua hospital, 45-60mins away pretty soon. She was going to leave and ring the hospital to let them know we were coming and also the midwife who had been organised to look after me over there. Hubby rang his parents to come and have the kids and we started packing and checking our list to make sure we didnt forget anything. I felt like already I wanted to be naked and was doing a great job at voicing through my contractions which had come back at full force.
We left home at about 4.50am and started the long ride over to Rotorua. About 25mins in to the drive I started having to really focus inwards and had to turn off the radio and ask my mum and hubby to not talk during them. I despretley wanted to get my clothes off now. We had fun joking that I could deliver in the car (very glad I didnt)! We got to the hospital just before 6am where I was shown to a room and got to meet the lady my midwife had asked to look after me. My first thought was she looked young but she instantly made me feel at ease. We quickly went through my wishes for a non-intervention natural birth, possibly a water birth depending on how I felt at the time. Also my wishes on a lure/IV, continuious ctg monitoring and the natural delivery of the placenta and no cutting the cord until I asked. She was completley happy with everything and soo supportive. We did a 10-15minute ctg monitoring of baby to check his/her heart tones and that was it.
At about this point she checked my cervix and found i was still only about 4cms but I was almost fully effaced which was soo great to know!
I spent alot of time squatting on the edge of the bed during contractions, then smiling and talking with hubby inbetween. Then everything amped up a little and I started getting loud. My midwife came to check on me and to check babys heartbeat…one thing I was worried about during my pregnancy was that baby would go into foetal distress. Each time the midwife checked his/her heart it was just PERFECT!!
Hubby was a great support, telling me how well i was doing and encouraging me on. He is a tad camera shy….
Id been dying to get in that pool so my midwife checked me and i was now 5cm’s and fully effaced so yah, it started filling…the relief of the warm water on my back was just amazing!!
Almost as soon as I got in the pool things stepped up and became more intense. I had got to fully dialated with my first labor but was literally strapped to the bed on the monitors and had ‘gas’ shoved at me very early on so dont remember much. This was totally different.
Once again, my midwife was just amazing, she just moved around me to find baby’s heartbeat, never once asking me to do anything I wasnt comfortable with. Once again baby’s heart was absolutley strong and perfect. Great peace of mind. The feeling of working together was just amazing!
At this point I began to feel pushy and told the midwife, she wasnt sure I’d be ready yet and I didnt want to start unless I truly was ready so she just checked me in the water.
My body wasnt ready yet, I was sitting at about 6(ish)cms, so I had to really work hard not to push. I think this was the worst part for me, holding off on what I felt my body was doing. I started having thoughts like I cant do this and this is why women opt for cser’s etc. I then had to pull myself out of that and started to say out loud “i can, i can, i can”. I found this helped alot!! However I was still having trouble, my midwife suggested trying the gas just to get me through this stage.
I had been scared to use it due to my horrible and traumatic experiances of loosing control with my first labor but decided that I needed the gas to help stop that pushy feeling. I found it worked and helped alot. At one point I felt I started to loose control and needed to stop using it, I stood for a while and leaned on my hubby who had been by my side the whole time. I remember saying, “I feel like I’m loosing control and need to stop for a bit”. After a few contractions I regained my clarity and remember saying out loud “im ok, im here”. I also had a moment where I got a bit scared of my scar tearing/ripping open. The midwife reassured me that because babys head was soo far past the scar line it would be highly unlikely as there was no pressure on it.
The midwife left for a little bit and as i relaxed through a contraction, im told afterward that hubby pulled the help cord as I’d had a small bleed, my first through all of labor so far. He didnt mention or say anything. Im soo proud of the way he handled that, not scaring me at all. It was just the bloody show, the small amount of blood just as babys ready to come. Midwife checked me and i was 9(ish)cm’s.
One or two contractions later I got super pushy and asked the midwife to check me as I couldnt fight or hold back the urge any more. She checked me and I was found to be fully dialated but with a tiny lip. As I couldn’t hold back the urge any more the midwife manually held back the cervical lip so i could start pushing. I asked the time now and it was around 9am I believe.
Still in the pool and after a little while pushing i inserted my fingers and could feel the babys head pushing down on the squishy bulging bag of waters that was still intact. Hubby wasnt too keen to feel but I made him and now he’s glad I did. A few more pushes and my still intact waters started coming out of my vagina. I asked the midwife to break them for me as i was worried it would be harder to push out the baby if they were still there. She said she wouldnt but I would be able to myself which after a little bit of touching the balloon shape of it coming out, did with just my nail. As my waters broke, the fluid was clear, another reassurance. Babys heart was still PERFECT! I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it! Hubby told me that when I first felt the waters bulging out I said “Oh my God I’m really going to do this”, with a huge smile on my face.
Almost as soon as I broke my waters things got wickedly intense and it definitely was all on. I could feel babys head dropping lower and lower and I was now pushing with all my might during each contraction. I had never got to pushing with any of my other labors so this was new to me.
With each contraction and push I could feel babys head come down a little bit and then go back in. I got a little upset at this but then with each new contraction and push I felt babys head come lower and futher down. Then it would slip back but then come down more with each push until finally we could see babys head stay there. We were at the point of no return. I was slightly scared of tearing but from what I heard when you tore it was inside the vagina and/or between your vagina and anus so thats where i was expecting the ‘burning’ pain people talk about. I didnt have any of that pain, i felt the burning around my clitorus and inner lips, especially on the left side. I dont think i was ever prepared for how much work the pushing was, nothing can describe how hard it is to auctually push a baby down your birth canal.
I was still in the birth pool pushing, I would relax complatley on my back with my head back inbetween contractions and everyone knew when the next contraction was coming as I would grab both of my legs and literally float, hubby supporting my head out of the water. At times I was so inside myself and concentrating on pushing that my ears and half of my face would go under the water blocking out all other noises and voices.
As my babys head started crowning I couldnt stop touching it. I kept my hand on my babys head the whole time. At around 9.27am I pushed my babys head into the world. It burned and hurt but the feeling was amazing!! Indescribable!! He/she was facing my left leg. I couldnt stop touching the little nose and ear. Hubby being beside me had to ask me to move my hand so he could see too. At 9.28am and with the next contraction I pushed the hardest I had and my baby’s body slid out of me, i brought him/her to the surface and cuddled her to me straight away. I started crying with pure joy. The midwife rubbed my babys tiny body to help stimulate his/her breathing but everything was soo calm and quiet. I was never once scared my baby wouldnt breathe.
The most amazing and perfect moment of my life.
Awake…Alert…Natural…Good pain…My baby in my arms.
NO feeling, NO moment, NOTHING could ever compare to having your baby born into the world the way this little baby was. Natural, no drugs, delivered into the water and into its mummy arms and held against her bare skin.
It took about 10minutes for me to look and see that i had given birth to a beautiful little girl.
I looked at hubby who had been with me the whole time and said ‘Indee’, he smiled and said im happy with that if you are. Our beautiful wee baby girl was named Indee.
About 15 minutes after giving birth I delivered my placenta into the now empty pool. I was getting very uncomfortable sitting on the bottom of the hard pool. I had asked for the cord not to be cut until I had naturally delivered the placenta and the cord had fully stopped pulsating. My wishes were kept and held to a high standard. When i was ready the midwife clamped the cord, leaving it long and we decided that i would cut it. I did so (rather awkwardly). I then was helped out of the pool while hubby held our baby. I was helped into the bed and little Indee was placed directly back on to me and i started feeding her. In this photo she is only 30 or so minutes old and already look at how alert she is!! Amazing what babys are like when their laboring mothers arent pumped full of unnessecary drugs! I was checked whilst on the bed and no tears or stitches required as i only had a little ‘graze’ on the left inner lip…excatly where id felt the most of the that ‘burning’ pain whilst her head was crowning.
After an hour and a half or so after birth we weighed our beauty and were all extremley surprised to find how big she was. I knew she would be long but had no idea id just pushed out a 9lb 12oz beauty. Ironically shes the same birth weight as my first baby who was also 9lb 12oz. Indee’s head circumference is 37cms and shes 53cms long. Beautiful and healthy and strong.
Within a few hours we had left the hospital and were back in Taupo. I decided to stay a night at the maternity hospital to get some rest, although wee Indee had other ideas. Shes an amazing feeder!!
I am soo proud of myself and the way I handled everything from the moment I found out I was expecting up until the moment I held Indee’s precious tiny body in my arms.
Welcome to the world my precious VBA2C baby.
Indee Elizabeth Faith
Story and photos courtesy of Larissa McCarthy. Distribution and or reproduction of the story or photos not permitted without the written consent of the author. If you would like to share your VBAC story with our readers, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org