Harvey's VBAC Homebirth Story
With my first child, Grace, I knew it was important to have a calm natural birth
so I took a Hypnobirthing course. It was excellent and I can honestly say I had no
pain with labour and it was very calm and relaxed…until, I was put on the clock
by the hospital and along came the cascade of interventions that led to a
caesarean. I was told I didn’t know how to push; it just didn’t come naturally to
me apparently. I really struggled both physically and emotionally after the
procedure and suffered some PTSD.
When I found out I was pregnant with our second (a year later) I immediately
started reprocessing my daughter’s birth and the negativity came back. So I set
out to ensure this wasn’t going to happen again.
I knew that I didn’t have the right support people last time so I looked for a doula
to support me in a hospital birth and found Shari. After chatting over the phone
and meeting with her we discussed what I really wanted, and that was a
homebirth but I didn’t believe this was an option for me. I was given the contact
details of a midwife who may help but it wasn’t something that she was currently
So I met with an Obstetrician, and trusted my instincts, as I knew that I was
never going to get the birth I wanted and needed at that hospital and especially
not with him.
I took a chance and rang the midwife, and she agreed!
This pregnancy was a breeze, and all my antenatal appointments were so
positive without talks of what ifs and inductions etc. I did a refresher
Hypnobirthing class with Shari, and this really helped me focus again and firm
my belief that as a woman I was meant to give birth and trust my instincts.
At 37 weeks and 39 weeks I believe labour started and stopped. Then at 40
weeks and 2 days I woke from a nap knowing that labour was going to start that
night, but because of my previous ‘false’ starts I didn’t alert the press and just
kept it to myself.
That night at about 2:30am I woke to some mild surges. I was able to continue
sleeping through them until about 6:00am when I woke my husband and got him
to get the birth pool ready and my daughter up and fed. The surges where 10
minutes apart but picking up in intensity, so I sent a message to one of my
midwives so that when she woke she would give me a call. I went to the
bathroom and all of sudden started having all sorts of crazy thoughts, “What if
the midwife gets here and I’m only 3cm?”, “It’d be easier if I just had a
caesarean!”, “I don’t want to do this!”. It was then I realised that I was in
transition and the surges before I knew it were back to back. I caught my breath
and rang the midwife at 7:00am (an hour had passed, and it felt like 5 minutes!).
Still wasn’t in any pain from the surges but it was definitely intense, things were
moving quickly and I was very vocal. I was desperate to get in the birth pool, it
was about 7:30am – wow, the relief of the water was amazing. I had a bit of calm
before the mother of all surges, all of a sudden in one surge the baby had come
all the way down and was crowning. I called my husband in, and said the
midwives aren’t going to make it, are you going to be okay with this – he had no
choice! I just continued breathing letting my body decide what was happening (I
never ‘pushed’, my body was naturally expelling the baby) whilst my husband
was frantically trying to get my iPod playing the hypnobirthing track “Prompts
After a few more surges, about 40 minutes, the head was out, first
thing I asked was which way was it facing – the whole pregnancy the baby had
been posterior and I was dreading it, trying everything I could to avoid this – it
was face up, anterior. I couldn’t believe it, my midwife had told me, to trust the
process, the baby will turn if it’s meant to. With the next surge the whole body
was out and my husband guided the baby under the water to me. There was no
screaming, just a little cough to clear the lungs - a quiet content baby at roughly
The midwives were still about 20 minutes away, it didn’t matter we
were both perfectly fine but we had a paramedic monitor us just in case.
Once the paramedic left and it was just us and the midwives in the room, I told
my husband it was a boy, Harvey, 9lbs 8oz – he was thrilled (I was positive it was
a boy, I even purchased some boy things!).
There was my moment, I looked around, people fussing about, my daughter
desperately trying to get the floating duck thermometer in the birth pool, and
here I am with my beautiful boy, it just felt like we were in a bubble. Truly epic!
For my husband it was a moment of shock, awe, excitement, stress, and pure joy.
We weren’t sure whether my husband was going to be an active participant – it
wasn’t something that he wanted to ‘see’, but he didn’t have a choice, and now he
wouldn’t have it any other way! He has had such a close bond with our boy.
Whilst everything went to plan, nothing went to plan. I had over prepared with
snacks, aromatherapy, tens machines, baby sitters, cameras, notes, birth plans
etc.; but none of it was used/needed, because the birth went as perfectly as it
should when undisturbed.
I always knew I could do it, I always knew that’s how it was supposed to be.
Penny & Adrian - Biloela, Queensland