My first pregnancy sadly ended in a crash section where sadly I was put under general anaesthetic and missed the whole thing. I had hoped for a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) with my second and third child but unfortunately I was not aware of my rights and choices and was forced into a further two caesarean sections ….when I found myself pregnant with baby number four, I became an internet junkie and became armed with so much knowledge and so many facts, I was determined that this time I was going to at least go into labour spontaneously and try to give birth the way I always wanted, naturally!
Upon my searches I came across a Doula who had herself achieved a vaginal birth after 3 previous Caesarean sections (VBA3C) in a hospital setting and she put me in touch with an Independent Midwife who may have been able to help me. She went through my medical history and found no reason for why I should not be able to birth naturally and was more than happy, under close supervision, for me to try at home in water the way I had always dreamed!
My pregnancy went without complication and my birth date came and went…in fact I went over by 17 days which at the time felt like an eternity but my baby just wasn’t ready yet. On the Sunday evening 11pm the contractions started…they became regular and before I knew it had reached 6 minutes apart this was it, or so I thought at 6am everything stopped I could not believe it!! And so I tended to my children and went about my day. Evening fell and just as the night before, contractions started again at 11pm they became regular but just as the day before 6am everything stopped, what was going on?? I truly believe I was stopping them as I knew my other children would be waking soon and I was worried in case I scared them and so I asked my Mother to take them to hers overnight to see if this would put me at ease?
Night time fell I shared a glass of wine (medicinal of course) with my husband and tried to relax. We went to bed early to get some rest as we believe a long night may lie ahead. My husband blessed me and my belly with Holy oils and I drank three sips of Holy water asking the Saints to keep us safe and I drifted off to sleep. Like clockwork 11pm the contractions started again, I asked my husband to fill the pool and light the candles. We burned oils and put the radio on; I surrounded myself with pictures to give me strength, Holy icons, pictures of my grandmothers who had birthed 23 children between them and finally the scan pictures of my baby girl whom I was yet to meet. I remember singing along to 80’s classics being played on the radio…you can’t beat a bit of Wham! to get you through a contraction!!…about 5am things started to move along and I asked my husband to call my midwife…in fact I believe I said “Get her here and do not let her in this house without the gas and air in her hand!!” I believe I was slightly losing my sense of humour and so the midwife came and my husband and I had never been so happy to see anyone in our lives!! (Can I just add my husband had let her in without the gas and air in her hand!! Men eh!) I asked to be examined and my midwife agreed. Due to the last few night’s events we had to know if my body was doing as it should, and thankfully it was we were at 7cms!! The next few hours passed by in a blur, I was in the pool surrounded by people I trusted my Husband, my Midwives and my Doula.
I was aware of the oils, the lights, the support I was receiving with each contraction, having water poured on my back, oil massages, cool towels on my head and most importantly words of encouragement telling me how well I was doing and that I was actually doing this!! Suddenly I broke down I said I couldn’t take anymore I couldn’t do it!!…basically everything I was told I would say once I was in transition and I was! Suddenly the urge to push came, I had never expected the feeling to be so intense, I could feel her head moving down. It all happened so quickly the noises coming from my throat low deep sounds I never knew I could make…I remember asking for a bowl as I thought I was going to vomit, when I realised this wasn’t the case I used it as my cave to hide in, at the amusement of those around me!! At each contraction I would force my head into the bowl…I think I was trying to hide and pretend it wasn’t happening but nothing was stopping this, it was just to strong…my midwife took my bowl from me before I hurt myself (I was getting a bit forceful ramming my head into the bowl, as you do!!) and suddenly after a few intense pushes my baby was out we had done it! We lay in the pool no rush to cut the cord, my baby was fine and we left the cord to finish doing its job waiting for the pulsations to end then my husband cut the cord. I moved out of the pool to finish the job and birth the placenta just as nature had intended.
My perfect baby girl all 9lb 12oz of her was finally here. I had finally given birth the way I had always dreamed of totally naturally in water at home surrounded by people I trusted. I had waited 15 years from the birth of my first child to achieve my dream and now I have it, finally all my dreams have come true and it was definitely worth the wait and so much more than I could have ever imagined.