My successful VBAC story.
I first learnt Hypnobirthing in early 2017 for my first pregnancy and birth. For many reasons, I absolutely feared birth and I no longer wanted to feel that way. After my husband and I completed our weekend course I walked out a different woman. I embodied Hypnobirthing with my first pregnancy and birth. We welcomed our beautiful son in May 2017. As the affirmation says ‘I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing will take’ and my son was delivered via emergency caesarean. I shared my birth story on my practitioner Shari Lyons website.
Here I am 3 years later sharing my journey of my second baby and birth. The question is where do I start...there have been so many obstacles I met throughout- not only having a baby within the COVID-19 pandemic is enough for most with rules and regulations around birthing but I’m also here for my redemption as I like to call it my vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). I went through many highs and lows during my pregnancy-mentally and physically. Struggling with debilitating morning sickness, eventually getting a handle on it with medication. Luckily I got a reprieve of it at 19 weeks. I quickly realised and learnt that pursuing a VBAC I went into a particular category. I felt incredible pressure to tick the boxes, abide by timelines, rules, regulations and ultimately started to feel like my birth was no longer mine. These feelings arose each time I visited my antenatal appointments. It made me not look forward to my visits and sometimes more than not I left frustrated, emotional and certainly not in control. Throughout my pregnancy, I did have hints of encouragement but felt overshadowed by the pressures and risks that were constantly shared with me.
When these feeling arose I starting practising my Hypnobirthing again to help calm my inner self and in a sense take control of my birth. I took the time to do new affirmations cards for my bedroom and bathroom. I massaged my growing tummy of day and night. I would read my affirmations concentrating on positivity and nurturing my baby. As the weeks and months passed I listened to my affirmations of a night before going to bed. I constantly envisioned birthing my baby girl how I intended. I envision her coming down, opening and welcoming her in my arms.
At 34 weeks pregnant I was recommended by my maternity doctor that I was to have an iron infusion as my ferritin/iron levels were incredibly low. All the while I was trying my best to supplement it just wasn’t helping quickly or effectively. I was incredibly fatigued, struggling physically and mentally. It was the best decision I made to go ahead with the infusion. Very quickly it began to restore my energy levels. I started feeling like myself again. It was also perfect timing as it was around 6 weeks until my estimated due date. It completely set me up for the best outcome for birthing. I now could very much see the end of my pregnancy was near and became so focused and ready...
I wrote up my very birth plan preferences in which it was clear and precise about what I wanted to achieve and how. May I say a few days after I gave birth I re-read my birth preferences, I was overcome with emotion as absolutely everything that I wrote was respected and fulfilled.
In my last few antenatal appointments, it was clear what my intentions were, I began to feel respected and understood.
As time drew closer to my estimated due date in my 38th week I started having pre-labour sensations of an evening and right throughout the night but soon after the sun rose and my son woke up it soon fizzled out. I experienced this every night for 6 nights with sporadic Braxton Hicks during the day before I went into labour. I was becoming very tired as anyone could imagine. I practised almost all the natural things to help bring on labour found in my Hypnobirthing folder. Clary Sage was once again my best friend as I massaged it on my tummy and feet multiple times a day. I knew my baby was getting closer as my pre-labour never really stopped. Throughout that day my husband, son and I took some secluded walks in our local botanical gardens. Stopping when needed, breathing through my surges and slowly off I went again. Later that evening around 8 pm my husband and I rugged up with warm clothes and hand in hand went for an hour-long walk around our neighbourhood.
I timed my surges throughout our walk, they were constant. After returning home from our walk I began to be totally in the zone, completely tuned in to the body, baby, relaxed and calm. I swayed, massaged, the light touched my tummy and listened to my affirmations. At 2 am I decided it was time to go to the hospital I phoned ahead and let them know I would be coming in soon. We kissed our son goodbye knowing that before long we would be a family of four and him a big brother.
Arriving at the hospital the midwife welcomed us calmly with lights already dimmed. Within my birth preferences, I requested a minimum to no vaginal checks to be done. Although sometime after we arrived I obliged to be checked but requested not to be told how many centimetres I was. I was told because of my VBAC that multiple vaginal checks were to be conducted throughout my labour to see how I was progressing. The thought of that made me absolutely cringe...although with my knowledge I knew this would be something I would have to agree upon and decline if I wanted to. A canular was inserted into my left wrist area as I had Group B Strep which concluded to have antibiotics administrated during my labour. I also had a wireless CTG monitor wrapped around my tummy to constantly monitor my babies heart rate. This was very important to me to have the monitoring but also to not be restricted in movement. This kept an eye on things throughout my labour for any fetal distress in which ultimately resulted in my emergency caesarean with my firstborn. In the early hours of the morning,
I was recommended that I rested when I could. I actually managed to pass a few hours doing so laying on my side, in and out my consciousness while I breathed through my surges. My husband also managed a rest too. At about 7:30 am my labour slowly but surely was progressing as I no longer could lay down and feel comfortable. I turned on my affirmations and slowly walked back and forth, the room dimly lit, eyes closed, hands-on belly. When I felt my surges coming I turned to my husband or just simply nodded my head to let him know I needed him and he would come to me. He was my anchor as I bared my weight around his shoulders and neck while I breathed through my surges. He spoke affirmations to me, he gave me strength when I needed it and reminded me of my breathing.
For the rest of my labour, this is what I did. Slowly walked, listened, breathed, completely in control, in touch with my body taking everything in, feeling her coming to me.
Discretely without any fuss from doctors or midwives I had two doses of antibiotics administered to me throughout my labour for my Strep B. I kept focused and didn’t allow this to take away from my zone.
Hours passed and things started to change in how I felt. I knew my baby girl wasn’t far away. I started to feel full and her transitioning down. I no longer could walk and felt like I needed to climb almost and anchored myself on a large sitting chair that was in my birthing suite. My waters broke which filled me with excitement knowing she was truly coming. I never experienced my waters breaking with my firstborn.
I felt the desire of needing to push very soon.
During this change, two midwives heavily persuaded me to have a vaginal check just to be sure everything was okay to push...I had declined all vaginal checks during my labour (apart from when I arrived at the hospital)
Of course, I knew what I was feeling was right but deep down of course I needed to know it was all okay and safe to do so. I had come this far I didn’t want anything to be jeopardised. After getting into position on the bed after a few surges a quick check was done. As hard as it was for me to allow this to happen it was quickly confirmed that YES she was right there...I turned around on the bed got into position with my arms up resting upon the inclined bed. Deep roars came from within me, up until now I was practically silent. I had the power and strength that I never knew existed. Within 3-4 powerful surges, I delivered my beautiful, baby daughter into this world!!
I felt it all -just the way it was intended to be.
It will be the proudest, most empowering, emotional moment of my life!
I was overcome when I reach between my legs and brought her up to me. I have done it!!
Our beautiful healthy daughter was born at 1:25 pm on the 1st of June 2020.
I birthed my baby and my placenta all without pain relief or medical intervention from start to finish. Delayed cord clamping was preformed, uninterrupted skin to skin until she had the first feed 40 minutes after birth. I got to see my placenta and admired with respect in the job it did for myself and my baby girl. I’m so grateful I did as unfortunately, this was something I didn’t have any interest or capacity to do with my firstborn due to the circumstances.
I tore naturally which resulted in stitches to be done. When the time came for my stitches, I talked to my doctor and midwives throughout and asked plenty of questions. I breathed deeply, took myself to my zone when needed and admired our new darling having skin to skin with my husband to the right of me. It didn’t bother me that I tore as I had no expectations of what was to be.
Afterwards, I was able to stand up and have an assisted shower with a midwife which was wonderful and a caring experience. Within a few short hours, I was standing, holding my baby girl, watching her have her measurements done and leisurely talking to my midwives. Oxytocin radiated from within me. I have done it! I’m so grateful it was everything I had envisioned and more and I could not be prouder of myself.
Every birth is different. Every mother will remember the details of her birth as it is monumentous. Both my births were the opposite end of the scale but one thing remained the same.. strong Hypnobirthing women and mother.
For anyone who may to doubting and questioning a vaginal birth after a caesarean, it can be done and you can do it!
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