My baby was born at 41+4 via unplanned Caesarean. Wasn’t the VBAC I had hoped for however I’m incredibly proud of how I went!
First baby - planned caesarean @ 39 weeks for breech October 2020 - never laboured.
This pregnancy- I declined GBS swab, 36week growth scan, had it clearly documented I didn’t want CTG monitoring (after many heated conversations with OBs at a public regional tertiary hospital).
40 week appt - clarified using bath during labour - it was very unclear in the policy for VBAC if it was going to be supported, every appt I had I discussed using the bath. It was clarified if I went into spontaneous labour bath could be used for labour however not for the birthing of baby & monitoring was required. If I required Syntocinon then I couldn’t use bath. I asked the consultant OB to clearly write it in my notes so I could get people to check it when the time came.
41 weeks appt- explained I didn’t want any intervention to induce labour until after 41+4 (my family genetically don’t birth until after 41 weeks )- DR asked if would I accept to book induction at 42 weeks (which I was shocked I didn’t have to put up a fight for- I was okay with it).
BP was slightly elevated so was requested to go to maternity assessment unit for CTG & BP monitoring + bloods to check for pre-eclampsia.
BP & pre-eclampsia screen was all fine however noticed on the CTG baby having some slow heart rates. A doctor had recommended at that stage for baby to be born asap, she understood I wanted a VBAC so said I would need a balloon catheter in overnight and ARM in the morning. When bubs HR reduced I had just sat up and was eating dinner. I asked for 30min-1 hour more monitoring to make a decision as I just didn’t feel it was right. After the hour baby was doing well, and then they hospital had no beds for induction so I went home and agreed to going back the following day for more monitoring +/- induction.
41+1 - monitoring was good. No decelerations in HR - had still been advised for induction - once again bed situation wasn’t favourable, I asked if they could do a membrane sweep. I was happy to find out I was 2cm dilated. I had never laboured with my first so it was a massive step for me.
41+2 - woke up during the night with surges every 40mins to start with and then by morning every 10-15mins. I was sooo happy. During the day I had a nap and surges completely fizzled out for a few hours. As I had agreed for daily CTG I went back to hospital for monitoring and surges were distant. Around every 10-15mins. Monitoring was fantastic so we came home. Went to bed at 10 in anticipation things would kick off!
41+3 woke up at 12.30am with surges, by 2am I was out of bed and in the shower! I was in labour. All throughout pregnancy I wanted a spontaneous labour and it was happening! I laboured in the shower, on a fit ball with use of a labour comb and TENS. I was unable to sit down as my surges were in my back. 4am I woke my husband and said I needed to go to hospital (my plan was to labour at home as long as possible). Surges were 5mins apart and they were consistent. Soon as I woke my husband I vomited. I called the hospital and said I was headed in and asked if I can have the room with the bath - I got told it’s not allowed for VBAC! I said read my 40week appt as it was clarified then. I knew it was going to happen and I was so angry at it.
Headed into hospital and surges slowed right down - 45min drive. Once I got there surges were every 10mins. They didn’t pick back up. I accepted CTG - despite not wanting it my whole pregnancy and fighting to not have it for so long. After the decelerations in bubs HR I felt comfortable with it. At 10am I accepted a VE (4cm) The staff offered me to go home. I however didn’t feel comfortable with it - I knew I couldn’t sit in the car. The staff suggested I go to the postnatal ward and labour there as they needed the room. I agreed and walked the (once again could not sit). The walk really kicked things off. I was in the post natal room for around a 1.45hrs before moving back to birth suite as my contractions were every 5mins again (12.30pm). I got my bath at around 1.30-2ish. Until this point I had been labouring with shower, labour Comb +/- TENS.
Things start to go a little hazy from then. Surges were so intense. I often had to use movement throughout surges. I accepted a few VE’s. I can’t remember when or how dilated I was.
I think around 4pm I requested some Gas. Around 5pm I said “I don’t want to do this anymore” “why on earth did I want this” & “if this baby isn’t here by 7 I want a epidural” (never had I wanted it before) I was spent after the pervious two nights not getting much sleep. I was done. Absolutely done. My husband, Sarah (Geelong Born midwife I employed to assist) and midwife from the hospital we’re all incredible at supporting me. I tried some hypnobirthing tracks which helped short term.
7pm came and I was hysterical just wanting it over. We did a VE and I was 7cm dilated. However I started getting pain in my left lower abdominal where my pervious scar was. I told the midwife who got the Dr and was assess very quickly. My scar was fine - must have been ligament pains however it made everyone very nervous for 10-15mins. Epidural was put in at around 8pm (after it being a effort of getting me on the bed and staying there) I could still feel surges and move my legs however I was able to rest! Not sleep but rest! I consented to a VE at the 10pm and I was still 7cm. I started having some decelerations in bubs HR. We discussed ARM and I consented to it to see if it would help things move along - there was meconium. 12.30am my surges were back to every 10mins and I remained 7cm. The doctor came in and discussed Syntocinon (wasn’t advised as I had already laboured for so long) and recommended a caesarean - apparently during the VE she could feel my cervix moulding around babies head (I think that’s what she said). As much as I didn’t want it I knew it was the best. There was an emergency in theatre so I had to wait a bit before heading there - I did hypnobirthing for caesarean track (I previously had purchased for my first caesarean- it helped me accept what was happening and to relax). I felt a shift in my bum and I asked the midwife to do a VE before we left for theatre. Who knew I was 9.5cm. The midwife called the Dr and they said they would assess me in theatre. I was so hopeful they could do a trial of forceps. In theatre I was 9cm however the Dr ask me to push and I got to 10cm. Problem was baby was in Occipital transverse position . The Dr had tried to manually move bubs head on a contraction when I was pushing however it didn’t budge. The consultant asked if he could try and I said absolutely- however one feel and he said with the occipital transverse position that it’s not safe for forceps and safest option was for cesarean, I was okay with it.
I had asked everyone in the room when baby was being born to go quite so first voice it heard was mine, I wanted immediate skin on skin. (However baby needed some breathing support so I had 10min wait first). I got my skin on skin after that and baby was able to stay with me in recovery (this didn’t happen with my first).
Baby was born at 4.12am (41+4) weighing a healthy 4050g.
I thought I was going to be super upset with having a caesarean even a epidural however I know I gave it my all and it was the safest thing for baby especially with his head position.
I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing midwives who were working during that 24hr window I was labouring at hospital. They never made me feel like I was on the clock. I didn’t see the doctors at all until I felt the left sided scar pain. Sarah from Geelong Born who knew how to help me when I didn’t think I could do it any longer. It was a marathon of not much sleep and surges overnight. We're home now and I have my baby in my arms.
Amy was supported by Sarah Burchell - Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse and IBCLC.
Sarah can be contacted directly at https://www.gentlebeginningsparenting.com.au/
To find out more about Geelong Born Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes CLICK HERE