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Robert's VBAC, by Katherine Male

Katherine planned a homebirth for her first baby, but accepted a hospital induction at nearly 3 weeks past her estimated due date. Unfortunately her induced labour did not progress smoothly and it ended in a caesarean. This is the story of her second labour, for which she planned a home VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). However, this baby was in there for the duration too, so Katherine again accepted an induction in hospital when she reached 14 days past her EDD - this time with much happier results. A very positive experience of hospital induction - and for all of us planning homebirth, it's good to know that if Plan A doesn't work out, Plan B can still be a triumph.

Robert Michael arrived 26th May 00.47 weighing in at 8lb 3oz - nearly a pound lighter than his brother.

After all our planning and arguing with medical authorities about home birth, we ended up going in to be induced at 14 days over. So, on Thursday 25th May, we had our first dose of prostin at 10am - no dilation at that time. We went for long walks, played cards, etc. I was having surges that weren't painful at all - but had been having these as Braxton hicks for weeks, so didn't really think anything of it. They started getting more obvious thru the next few hours, but still not painful. We were checked again at 4pm and were 'nearly' 1cm. Wow. I wasn't really that shocked as this was the same as previous labour which ended in a section due to lack of progress.

Initially we were told we'd only have one dose of prostin as they didn't want to risk scar rupture, but they did agree to give me another dose. We had that just after 4pm and as surges were getting more frequent, decided to stay in the room, so I got changed into a lose large t-shirt and got settled in for the wait. The hypnobirthing breathing was fab, and I felt very chilled and in control. However, when I was checked later on and still hadn't progressed at all, the disappointment got to me and I started to lose control. Poor ol' Darren tried the Hypnobirthing scripts and to talk me thru breathing, but just got yelled at to shut up...

At about 10pm I was checked again as I was convinced we were going to end up with a c-section again, and just wanted them to get on with it so I could stop fooling myself about a natural birth. They said I was a 'stretchy' 1-2cm. Although a part of me was really pleased as I'd never got that far before, I was mainly disappointed and upset as I wasn't allowed another induction gel, and the staff were concerned about the time I'd been in labour already. It was decided that they'd give me an epidural it was virtually certain that I'd be going in for a c-section soon. The guy who did the epidural was fantastic - waited til I'd had a surge (they were coming at a minute apart and had been for hours) and I only had a couple of surges while he put the needle in. Not a pleasant experience, but 10 mins later, I couldn't feel a thing.

I was then told they'd give me another couple of hours, but within half an hour of the epidural I was having break-thru pain and started to worry about a few things which meant my breathing went out the window... The midwife suggested gas and air, and I think that helped a lot with concentrating on deep full breaths.

Not long after that - about 11.30pm - I suddenly felt a lot of pain around my scar area from the previous caesarean section, and felt certain I'd had a rupture. We called the midwife over and all went mad for a while as there was a lot of blood too. The consultant was called, Darren was sent off to get changed into operating gowns for the theatre, and I was left crying and asking if the baby would survive. Darren came back shortly (felt like a lot longer but I'd only had one surge, so I know it can't have been that long at all), and I was still crying convinced that we'd lost the baby. I could hear people trying to talk to me, but I think I was worried about what they were going to say, so it took a while for me to realise they were telling me I was FULLY DILATED and ready to push!!!

My immediate reaction was to tell the midwife that she was joking, and I really felt angry that she was winding me up at this point. No way could I have gone from 1 to 10cm in less than an hour and a half!! After all - with Jonty, I was being induced for 4 days and never got to 1cm!!

Once I realised what was happening, a massive change came over me and I knew I didn't want to push lying on my back, so I pushed everyone off me and got onto my side and asked Darren to hold my leg in the air to maximise baby's exit site! I felt very calm at this point, and although I could feel the baby moving down, felt no real pain (prob due to epidural - although don't think I'd have felt anything if epidural was still working).

They were telling me to push, so I ignored them and used the J-breathing from the Hypnobirthing course and just breathed down. I could feel the baby moving down and there was a load of action from the midwives as they realised how imminent the baby was. 10 minutes from being told I was fully dilated, Robert arrived in the world, quite calm - at least I don't remember him crying - and I had to stop the midwife from trying to clean him up and wrap him up as I wanted immediate skin-to-skin.

Can't believe I got my VBAC!! I'm so pleased! I'm amazed as I don't regret not having a home birth or the epidural - I'm just so happy that Robert arrived naturally! Maybe have a home birth with the next one (don't tell Darren that!).

Kat, Darren, Jonty and Robert xx

Related pages:

Home Birth Stories

Hypnosis for labour and birth

Overdue - what are the risks? What are your options?

Home VBAC stories

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean - what are the issues?



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