|Meriel meets Carys|
Before I attended Birthtalk I felt passionate that we are able to birth naturally but with doubts about my own ability after my son got ‘stuck.’ After coming along, my knowledge base increased, even though I thought I’d done my homework last time. The more comprehensive info is another helper in embracing birth as an experience to behold not be afraid of. Ironically the stories of some others in the classes about unpleasant power struggles with their care providers galvanized me even though my own care providers both times have been awesome.
I would recommend Birthtalk to first-timers and anyone looking to improve on previous birth experiences. It was just lovely to meet with like-minded people who are interested in embracing this incredible part of being human when so much of society treats it as a terrible thing to be endured and minimized.
I was determined to give VBAC, maybe as my mother had had me by C-section and my sister VBAC I had some sense that I’d be fine but I knew I needed more info than that knowledge. I couldn’t go back to the birth centre so I applied and got into the midwifery group practice at Mater Mothers. Thankfully VBAC is not considered too complicated to be cared for by this model (unless there are other health complications as well).
Again I was past my due date, this time I was armed with heaps of info about what was safe and I was actually feeling on top of the world as I had got my iron levels sorted out. I had to have a check with an obstetrician at about 40.5 weeks but by then I was ‘ripe’ and 1cm though they booked me in for a review in another 5 days, our midwife was just great, she was as keen as us for our natural birth and I discovered the key to support for this was to appreciate that she had to come from the point of hospital policy but if we asked what other options were she could elaborate. 2 days after that check she visited me at home and was able to do a membrane sweep. All these little positive steps were good for me mentally as I knew we were ‘getting there’ in our own good and healthy time. We also booked an acupuncture induction for 41.2 weeks if we got that far.
2 days after the sweep I lost my mucus plug, I felt on top of the world, (even though it’s weird when it happens). 2.30 a.m. the next morning I woke up and felt an unusual internal pop sensation, went to the toilet to discover my waters had broken. At this point I had only been having Braxton Hicks, I called our midwife, it was another midwife as my midwife was on her day off but I knew this other midwife well too so this was no worries to us at all, we made plans to meet at hospital. At this point it was to meet at the review centre as that’s std policy for VBACs when waters break without contractions. As this was to be in about an hour we had some time at home while Andrew gathered things and I sat on the ball with my music on. Drinking loads of water and eating honey on toast, hoping that this was preparing for labour starting.
During that hour contractions did start so that by the time we were on our way to hospital I called the midwife again to suggest we go straight to birthsuite, I was paying attention to the contractions by now these were no BHs!
We had done our birthplan and everything we had asked for was considered, we didn’t try to fight against hospital VBAC policy, just work with it. So we were given time to settle in before worrying about getting some time on monitors, time before having a canula, mainly so there was no risk of the change of scenery getting in the way of labour staying established. At this point the obstetric registrar on duty came and introduced himself, told me it was great that I was going for a VBAC and that I had no reason to worry about it at all.
I laboured with the ball for some time, with the monitors and had a scalp clip for Carys as that meant only one belt for me and better quailty reading for her, we were also pleased that I was 4cm when we arrived. Then I was in the shower, my sense of time from this point is gone but it felt like hours with Andrew and our friend Judy taking it in turns to hold the showerhead on my back. I put so much physicality in at this point, made all the noise I wanted to, so much that the resonance overpowered the sense of the contractions, however, I needed to pull myself up for each contraction and that is what exhausted me (my shoulders actually ached the next day from the work I put in holding onto the bars!). After all that I was 7cm, at this point I felt a bit demoralized, knew I needed a rest and lay on the bed on my side and started using the gas. I am good at using the gas and it worked a treat. I did not want to move from here. At some point we got to the last bit of cervix, I never felt worried that I wouldn’t fully dilate but Andrew remembers that that’s where we got stuck last time and was really hoping it wasn’t heading the same way, for a long time I had the urge to push without being ready so I was letting all the energy out vocally instead.
Finally we got to full dilation, I vowed that we would celebrate getting this far and I do remember punching the air with a ‘woo hoo’ when the midwife declared that we were there!
Then everyone was assembled for using the ventouse (I must point out that I was not at all bothered by the number of people), I got onto the bed, legs up and what do you know, her head shows up. I didn’t even notice the team leave the room but by then Carolyn was there with Anne and we birthed Carys without extra help!
Carys was put straight onto my chest, I had my ‘soggy baby,’ the cord was left until it stopped pulsing and the apgar tests were done while she was on me (I didn’t even notice) We had ages without being disturbed as I had to wait to be stitched up. I just didn’t want to leave the room it’s like I just wanted to stay in that incredible moment forever.
We were home the next day and our son Evan came home with his Grandparents to meet his baby sister.
©Meriel and Birthtalk 2009
© Birthtalk 2002-2009