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James's Homebirth After Caesarean, by Sonia

When I found out I was pregnant (Sept 2005) I was over the moon, but scared of miscarriage (may 2005).

As soon as the doctor confirmed the pregnancy I was seeing the midwife. I decided to change midwives given my first pregnancy; her care was awful. At the initial booking appointment I told new midwife my plans on HVBAC; she said she was fully behind me all the way.

The next scheduled time to see the midwife is 16 weeks pregnant, so appointment booked and I'm feeling happy I have a supportive midwife this time around.
As soon as I stepped in the room with her, she turned on me.
She was rude and abrupt with me, saying that my plans for HVBAC were made stupidly and that I should reconsider given the chance of uterine rupture. I left the surgery gutted.

Time passed and by which I saw my consultant at the hospital several times. Being a previous section mother you have frequent trips to see the consultant. Through out my pregnancy I stressed to each 'health professional' that I would be having the home birth. Given my first birth experience within the hospital I knew I could not relax in hospital, would not labour naturally, therefore would need a section for not progressing - so was determined to have a home birth. Each time I visited the consultant I left in tears, uterine rupture this, uterine rupture that, I was sick of hearing it. There is a 0.2 – 0.5% chance of uterine rupture – which if I say so myself is very minimal. I looked into all risks of HVBAC before I made that decision.

Note from Angela:
As Sonia found, in most areas you will be advised to have an appointment with an obstetrician if you have a previous c-section. This is supposed to be so you can discuss how to manage your next birth, not for the obstetrician to harangue you! It is worth noting that you don't ever have to see anyone. You do not have to see an obstetrician. If you find a particular doctor or midwife unhelpful, you can say that you do not want to see that person again - but you can also choose not to have any further obstetrician appointments, or indeed, not to have any in the first place. Obstetricians are the experts in pregnancy complications, so if you develop a new complication, or an old one is giving you trouble, then they may well have useful information for you - but if you have no new issues, or you feel that the obstetrician is not listening to you, then you do not have to go. It's usually simplest if you can send a letter saying that you are declining the offer of an appointment with Doctor X as (for example) you felt that the doctor was not listening to you or supportive of you making your own informed choice, but if you're not up to writing, you can just phone up and say that you are cancelling the appointment.

Back to Sonia:

Approx 36 weeks pregnant I saw the consultant again. This time she was very rude to me, she looked at me and told me this (or words to this affect) "You CANNOT give birth at home, it is a stupid decision to make, you WILL give birth to a DEAD baby and IF you survive you WILL need a hysterectomy". I left the hospital in tears, wondering if I should give in to an elective caesarean, then I thought of how I was forced to have the section in the first place and thought no way am I going to be bossed around, my baby, my life, my decision.

Another note from Angela: This is absolutely outrageous! The obstetrician is there to inform and advise, not to abuse you! Anyone who finds themselve being treated like this should read Mary Cronk's phrases - a set of 5 lines you can memorise to handle just about any situation like this. One approach would be to tell the obstetrician that you expect her to provide references to back up her statements. I think many of us, at that stage of pregnancy, would just forget what to say and feel upset - but do look at Mary's phrases - they are perfect for this scenario.

Back to Sonia:

On my due date, 1st June I had a slight show. I also had slight shows 2nd 3rd and 4th June. Eventually 9th June late evening, I was talking to a friend on the Internet saying I was having minor sharp twinges and on her advice I went to bed (11pm). I then woke up at 7am with the same pains, to the look of horror on my husbands face and his comments "my god, what are you doing up this early?" You see I’m not a morning person; so seeing me at 7am was a real shock! I told him I was still having these pains, which to me were nothing, I knew they were there, but they weren't strong enough to annoy me.

At 14.00 I realised they were getting stronger and closer together, so I called the on-call midwife, who asked me to describe the pain. I told her like bad period pain, she then said "Sounds like this baby’s eventually on his way then" and said she will be over soon as she can. It's then that it hit home, after being over a week late, this was finally happening for us. I started to use my tens machine.

My husband made lunch as I hoovered the lounge floor in between contractions. She finally arrived and said I was approx 3cm dilated. She then proceeded to set up a 'resusitaire' where, if the baby was born not breathing etc, he would be given care. She got the little mask out and to see that got me worried.

At 6pm she called out the other on-call midwife and the head of midwifery within the hospital, to make sure there was no foul play with this birth (Because of first birth).

At 8pm I decided to try out my water pool which was set up in the kitchen, the water helped and all I can remember is being in agony while the husband and midwife talked about casualty! Finally my little boy went to bed, and as he went I had a strong contraction; I gave out a scream which he copied pitch for pitch! Funny boy! It was then decided I was to go onto gas and air. Which to take makes you feel light headed and drunk, but as I say without the hangover! I recommend it highly! After getting out the pool I actually forgot to use my tens machine again. I went on labouring on the sofa in the lounge.

My husband was in the kitchen when I heard an almighty gush, and him then shout "Oh my god!" I was labouring hard and couldn't get up, so was shouting "what.. what is it?.. what's happened?" the midwife went out to see a mini flood – the pool had come away at the seam!

Eventually I felt ready to push. With the first push over the baby’s head was shown to me via a mirror, with the first push out the way I waited for another contraction.. Here we go, pushing.. then handed a wet slimy baby – I was completely shocked, on the 2nd push I delivered my baby, all healthy, NOT DEAD, and perfect in every way.

My husband then cut the cord. The midwives kept on at me to deliver the placenta, and I said "Give me a minute, I'm cuddling". 35 minutes later I decided to deliver it just to shut them up.

I did it, my body did it. Words cannot describe just how happy I am I got this experience, it was just what I needed and I got it.

This home birth was magical in every way possible.

After my caesarean section, I felt my body let me down, and I didn't properly feel like a mother. In my views a mother gives birth to her child; I felt the caesarean was simply an operation. This home birth makes me cry when I think about it – but for good reasons. It couldn't have gone better, it was Perfect and so was my baby, Perfect with a capital P.

In hospital a standard procedure for a section mother is to continually monitor you from 3cm dilated, meaning being on the bed full stop. A water birth is also out the question for hospital VBAC mothers. At home every 30 mins my blood pressure was checked as well as a quick check with the Doppler and every time they checked it was 'Perfect'.


Related pages:

Home Birth After Caesarean

UK VBAC/HBAC (Home Birth After Caesarean/ Vaginal Birth after Caesarean}) group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukvbachbac

Waterbirth at home

The Third Stage of Labour - what are your options, and the pros and cons of each?

Home Birth Stories


Home Birth Reference Page

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