Giving birth naturally to my fourth child after two Caesarean sections
Today we share an amazingly emotional story from Rachel, who writes at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mum. Her birth story originally appeared on her own blog and she has kindly agreed to share it with us.
What is a VBAC?
Vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC) is a term you may come across when searching birth stories. If a woman has previously had a Caesarean, there are a couple of choices available to her when having a subsequent child. She can have an elective Caesarean, or try for a natural, vaginal birth. Of course, all cases are different and you will need to discuss this thoroughly with your medical team. If you’d like to know more, the NCT has a great feature here.
Rachel says: "On the 17th of September 2012 I did something amazing. I did something that is one of my greatest achievements ever. I gave birth to my fourth child, a gorgeous little boy. Yes, I know, there are many women giving birth every day and every single birth is an amazing achievement. The reason that his birth in particular is so special is because I did something I was told that I wasn’t allowed to do!
I was booked in to have a Caesarean section on 3rd October at 39+2 weeks pregnant. It would be my third section.
I delivered my first child naturally in 2005 but suffered a severe third-degree tear. When our second child arrived just 17 months, I had opted to deliver via elective C-section. Our third child was also born via C-section in October 2010 under general anaesthetic, due to placenta previa and placenta accrete.
I was told not to have any more children. So, imagine my shock when, just 14 months later, we got a positive pregnancy test.
My consultant was very good and kept an eye on me all the time. We found out that everything was fine, and there were no signs of the problems we had had in the previous pregnancy. However, I was advised that as I had already had two C-sections, a third was the safest way to go. I was devastated. This would probably be our last baby, and I wanted to experience a natural birth again but was told it was too risky. I trusted my consultant who had looked after me so well with my pregnancies, so I agreed to the section. I was booked in for 39 weeks, despite me raising concerns that I didn’t think I would make it to that date. I don’t know why, just a gut feeling. I turned out to be right.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I awoke at 4am with pains every 10 minutes. I didn’t bother waking my husband up, and at 7:00am I messaged my friend, asking her advice. I didn’t want to go to the hospital for nothing, but she advised me that I should, because I am not meant to labour.
I eventually told my husband about the pains; I popped two paracetamol and called the labour ward to let them know; I was told to go in. My husband took our older two children to school, I quickly finished packing my hospital bag and threw the car seat covers in the washing machine and worried about the Moses basket still sitting in the loft! But I figured if I was in labour, then it would be a C-section and I would be in for a few days anyway.
At around 9:30am we made our way to the hospital with our 23-month-old daughter in tow, convinced it was just a false alarm.
I made my way up to the labour ward whilst hubby went to get some breakfast with the toddler. I was shown to a bed and waited for the doctor. I was popped on to the CTG monitor to check that it was labour.
At 11:45am I was seen by a doctor. I was told that I was contracting every one in 10 minutes and upon examination, I was 1cm dilated. Our baby was coming that day!
Because I was in the early stages and the labour ward was busy, I wasn’t a priority but he would definitely be born via C-section that day. I texted my husband to let him know what was going on and he came up to see me briefly with our daughter before Grandad came to collect her.
Then it was a waiting game.
The anaesthetist came to see me at around 3pm to go through the consent form and what would happen in theatre. She checked that I was still having contractions every 10 minutes; I was. They were no more frequent and not painful at all. I had had no pain relief other than the two paracetamol earlier that morning. She was pleased that there didn’t seem to be any progression, and I was told that it wouldn’t be too much longer.
At 6:30pm, I jumped off the bed with a really sharp pain and a lot of pressure in my pelvis. I told my husband that something wasn’t right, that I either needed to poop or push! I pushed the buzzer for the Midwife and told her. She chuckled at me and asked if I wanted the toilet. Frightened, I declined. “What if I push him out?” I asked. She assured me I wouldn’t and offered me some gas and air to try. She reassured me that the doctor was just finishing up in theatre and I was next down.
At 6:45pm, I pushed the buzzer again and shouted to the Senior Midwife who came in that I needed to push. I was still fully clothed (awaiting my theatre robe) and she asked if I could take my trousers off. I told her no, that I couldn’t move. My husband helped the Midwife to remove them instead. She quickly examined me and left the room without a word. As soon as she left, I heard a big pop and a whoosh. My waters had broken.
The Midwife came rushing in with the Doctor and told me that I was 10cm, they could see the baby’s head and there was no way I would make it to theatre. He was arriving naturally and arriving now. I shouted at them “But I’m not allowed to deliver him. I’m not allowed!” The Doctor was brilliant and she reassured me that I could, that she had seen natural births after two sections and that the Senior Midwife would deliver me.
I was whisked out of the assessment bay and into a room, where I was moved on to a delivery bed. The Midwife told me to listen to her very carefully and do exactly as she said.
At 6:55pm, just 10 minutes later, our little 5lb 7oz healthy baby boy arrived NATURALLY!
It was the best experience ever and it goes to show that not everything goes to plan when it comes to babies - and that mother knows best!
Recently another blogger, Becky, gave birth to her second son via emergency section, after initially planning a VBAC. In an extremely rare case, Becky suffered a uterine rupture and she and her son spent some days in intensive care following his birth. She has written a very carefully balanced piece about her experience, which you can read here. Please note that uterine rupture is very rare.
If you are planning a VBAC please do read up lots before you make your decision. Knowledge is power and each individual case is different.