I first met Bridie back in 2017 for a coffee in Melbourne. Although not yet pregnant, she had already started her planning for her healing VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). She was carefully considering her options for care providers, place of birth, support crew and how she would prepare both physically and mentally. Her first labour experience was incredibly challenging, and Bridie worked hard to ensure this birth would be different. I just loved her drive and determination!
Bridie and her partner Edd attended my Geelong Born hypnobirthing course via Zoom in May of this year. They went on to have an amazing birth in July…just when lockdown 2.0 was hitting the state.
Thank you for sharing Bridie and Edd and a huge congratulations to you all!!
Thought I'd send you an email rather than just a text with all the juicy details of what was the best experience of my entire life!
I was convinced that I wasn't going to go into spontaneous labour - but had negotiated with the hospital certain milestones in my pregnancy. I'd declined a stretch and sweep since my 38 week appointment, and then at my 41 week appointment I was assigned a different OB and I had a bit of a cry to her when she asked me what I wanted to do. Induction was pretty much off the table because of my previous caesarean section and secondary tear, so I insisted on waiting as long as possible and to book repeat caesarean section instead for when I would be 42+3.
I was booked into twice weekly fetal monitoring and I had an appointment on the Tuesday where I had higher than average but still ok levels of amniotic fluid. Baby fine but not moving heaps and heaps - nothing concerning but definitely noticed a change.
Anyway when I was in the appointment Dan Andrews announced lockdown pt 2. Edd and I had been on a big walk that morning, but I had an urge to go to Chaddy to make the most of the open shops - and that's when I felt the first surges! I played it cool though and didn't tell Edd.
He cooked up a fabulous roast, oblivious to the fact I was having contractions lol, and i got myself ready for bed with a long shower, cleaned everything up, took hospital bag downstairs and read Scarlett about fifty stories in her bed.
We watched Breaking Bad whilst I bounced on the fit ball - and then I noticed my mucous plug started to come away but there was no blood - so I wasn't convinced it was labour. Contractions coming in about 1 in 10 mins/1:10
After doing some gutter walks like I'd done every night for weeks, i went to sleep around 12am.and awoke at 3 unable to sleep through the pain.
I rang the hosp but as I was getting 2:10 they said have some paracetamol and come in when it's 3:10 or I can't bear the pain. Having done the hypnobirthing course I knew I wanted to stay home as long as possible.
By now it's around 5am and the paracetamol did nothing and the contractions really amped up so I rang my mum. As soon as she got to my house she felt my belly and she's like 'this is it'!...so I finally woke Edd and he showered and shaved???(men) and we left for the hospital at 6:15.
The car ride there and walk up to pregnancy assessment was horrific! The contractions were stronggg. But all these people who saw us kept saying congrats and good luck .. someone even gave Edd free parking lol. It was a sign haha
I was assessed and told I was breathing through contractions really well and got sent to birth suite straight away - no idea how dilated I was.
Anyway then it hit us - we were in birth suite!!! Baby was coming!!
I laboured for about an hour as they hooked me up to CTG then doc came in and gave me a cannula and the antibiotics then some more time went by and I was vomiting and I started on the gas and air lol.
I had a dilation check and I was 5cm yay!
I kept labouring and baby was so so so low they thought she was going to come in the morning! They had me push but it wasn't time. I started to get an uncontrollable urge to push at this point and I felt like every bone and organ in my body was trying to come out and I had to breathe through the pain and stop it. That was unbearable. An hour or two later the doc broke my waters and after two hours of writhing around in pain abusing Kate middleton lol (whilst turning into a roaring cow, my labour animal) I had another check and I was 7cm but the midwife was worried as my cervix was swelling.
She suggested epidural so my body could relax. The pain from involuntary pushing and trying to stop that was terrible. I was worried the epi would stall my labour but she said it was likely going to be my best shot of vbac.
I agreed and even though it took an hour to come it was absolutely amazing.
I was still having surges and could feel pressure but no pain. For the hour I had the epidural in Edd went down stairs and I relaxed using hypnotherapy techniques and physically relaxing myself.
I was still having 3-4:10 contractions so I had another check and the doc goes "you're going to have a baby within the next hour! You're 10cm!" My body did it! It relaxed and opened up!
I rang Edd and after about half an hour of room set up including wheeling in the little baby cot, I was pushing. We put on some EDM music it was a rave party we were all so excited..
Then I started pushing! She told me she might need to give me episiotomy and I was so not interested in that so I used everything in me to push bubs out myself. My midwife kept me updated on progress by showing me with a mirror! I couldn't believe that was my body when i saw the little head crowning.
The pushing was so pleasant I didn't even feel myself tear and it was all over in 20 minutes! Within the hour as the doc said.
It was just awesome!! The feeling when I pulled her up to me omg I wish I could bottle it!! The most incredible experience.
I am so proud of this birth. My first birth was the worst experience of my life. This one was the absolute best.
I used hypnobirthing throughout, even though I didn't labour in water and had the epidural. The strength of self it taught me, the breathing techniques and the power of affirmations and visualisation contributed greatly to the success.
I also had incredible continuity of care - no more than 2 staff were in the room at one point and that wasn't because of covid.
I also had an incredible midwife. Supportive yes and quick thinking. Didn't Molly coddle me or be too hard. She was perfect.
I can't fault the experience..my vbac journey started years ago and lots and lots of mental and physical work went into it to give myself the best possible chance of success.
Thank you for being part of my story Rosie! Starting in 2017 with you and culminating this year in the weirdest of all years!
Thanks for believing in me and always being in my corner.
Rosie Fitzclarence is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator (Geelong Born) and a Hypnobirthing Australia™ Certified Practitioner.
Rosie is based in Geelong and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about her Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes CLICK HERE