This is the story of my third bub and second successful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean)

The day I went into labour, something just felt different.

I went to the gym in the morning as normal but included 120 squats – anything to try and get this baby moving down. I had a feeling that I really needed to be able to relax & surrender in order to get baby moving. That night, I listened to the Hypnobirthing Australia™ tracks Baby, come out & the Fear Release track but spent more time listening to relaxing music and just writing out every positive affirmation that came into my head. I then spent time reading over and saying out loud those same affirmations – really trying to relax, surrender and let go.

I knew I had to trust my body and baby.

 Things start to happen….

 

I went to bed just after 930 as normal. At 1130 feeling I was woken up by the sensation of bubs moving further down and got up to go to bathroom. My, hubby was still up – I said to him I wouldn’t be surprised if things happened the next day. Then I started feeling sensations in my butt and hips but nothing major (I seem to only ever experience surges in my bottom and hips). I went back to bed but couldn’t get comfortable and sensations were getting stronger. Got up again – asked hubby how he felt about having a baby on the 7th of July. I rang my midwife at 1230 just to check in, she suggested I try and get some rest, it sounds like possible early labour and to call her back if things change or waters break.

 

My hubby and I discussed whether to call Mum to look after my other 2 girls, ‘just in case’. We decided to do so and it turns out this was a good idea! Not long after I had hung up, things really started to pick up – I jumped in the shower thinking it might help, but it wasn’t quite what I needed at that point.

 

For this labour, I thought I would try a tens machine – so I popped this on (which was amazing!) and used my the fitball to be able to flop during each surge. I was really using my breathing to help through each surge.

 

Mum arrived not long after and my oldest daughter got up – I think she knew something was going on. We had a quick cuddle but by then I was really having to concentrate on breathing through each surge and didn’t want to be talking to anyone between surges.

 

At 130 hubby called the midwife back – saying we were going to head to the hospital, leaving in about 15 minutes or so. My midwife asked how far apart the surges were and how long they went for. All I could answer was ‘not far’ and ‘still going’ – we hadn’t even bothered to time anything, I just knew they were coming on very regularly and had increased in intensity pretty quickly.

 

Time to leave for the hospital

 

 Hubby got the car ready and it was time to go.

 

I got in the backseat hoping to be able to flop a little more easily on a pillow, however the seatbelt was locked because of the child seats, so I had to settle on sitting sideways. Without asking, my husband had put Gomez (one of my favourite bands) on in the car – this was the best thing! I didn’t really want to listen to any of my hypnobirthing tracks but Gomez was definitely the way to go. At least I thought so until the track changed – all I could think was ‘I don’t want to listen to this song’ but I didn’t want to speak as I was concentrating on just breathing. It turned out I didn’t need to say anything, my husband seemed to know what I needed and put the previous track on repeat – apparently we listened to it 4 or 5 times on the way to the hospital.

 

There definitely has to be something said about music and endorphins! When we got to the hospital, my husband mentioned that if he didn’t know better he would have “thought I was asleep I was so calm, even during surges.”

 

Getting out of the car and in the front door of the hospital was a bit more challenging as it felt like I only had about 30 seconds in between one surge finishing and the next one starting. The only thing I could do during surges was stop, flop and breathe – where ever I was – brick wall, reception desk, floor of the entrance. Hubby went to grab a wheelchair but there was no way I could sit on it – instead I knelt on the seat and leant on the back of the chair. Not very conventional – but it worked!

Finally made it to the labour ward

 

We finally made it to the labour ward and into the assessment room (about 240am)- it was like my body knew it was now ok to have a baby.

 

We were still waiting for my midwife to arrive, so the midwife on duty said she would start things off – no exams, just check how bubs and I were going, as per my birth preferences. I had previously agreed to be monitored only upon arrival but not have constant monitoring, so the monitor was put on to check on baby – which indicated that bubs’ heart rate was quite low.

 

Unsure whether this was because I was fully dilated and bubs was ready to come or if there was another reason bubs was becoming distressed, a VE was suggested. I agreed (even though I had previously said no to all VEs) as I thought that if I was fully dilated (which I thought may be the case) then I could just get on with things. Turns out I was fully dilated – and I started to feel the urge to push.
I then had to be moved to one of the delivery rooms – getting back up on that wheelchair felt like hard work!!

It’s showtime

 

I had written in my birth preferences that I wanted to labour in the water, have music playing and had told my husband I wanted to have LED candles around the room. But birth preferences are just that – preferences, as baby had other ideas and decided she wanted out. I had no sooner got to the room then the urge to bear down really kicked in and I said as much to whoever was in the room – actually I think I said that I really needed to poo. The things we say during labour! I started bearing down whilst kneeling on the floor, leaning on the wheelchair.

 

Unfortunately, bubs still wasn’t happy and seemed to be getting worse. My midwife (who had arrived around the same time I got to the delivery room) suggested I change positions to see if that helped baby at all. I was aware that there were things starting to happen in the room around me as everyone was starting to worry about baby, who hadn’t responded to me changing positions. I knew there were more people coming in – including OB/GYN, paed, more midwives but I just blocked it all out and concentrated on what was happening for baby and myself.

 

When my midwife was telling me ‘we had to get this baby out NOW’ I knew that she meant it – and it wasn’t a case of ‘let’s just try and get things moving’. Because of the relationship I had with the midwives, and they knew my preferences, I knew I had to listen. So I just focused on breathing/bearing down and repeating the same two things over and over.

I am strong

I am doing this

And I did!!

Baby arrives earthside

 

With a few more surges I felt baby’s head arrive – I honestly don’t remember the sensation of these surges – just the movement of baby. All throughout, I listened to my body and was bearing down only when it felt right – my midwife was completely respectful of this. She never once told me to ‘push’ when I didn’t need to, however she did provide some fantastic words of encouragement and support.
A few more big breaths and moments of bearing down and I had done it! 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital bubs entered the world with a ‘tsunami’ of amniotic fluid (according to the midwife). She was put straight up on my belly for skin to skin and a good cuddle.

 

I turned to my husband and said ‘I did it, we did it!’.

It was only after she was born that I opened my eyes and took a good look around – it was then I realised how much had been going on in the room. There were 8 people (including my husband) in the room with me, including an obstetrician, paediatrician and more midwives other than the ones I knew – but I had no idea!! I had been aware of some coming and going but was so focussed on baby and myself, that I didn’t even realise there were that many people! Such is the power of relaxation and self-hypnosis.

Those first cuddles

 

Whilst there was still some concern over baby even after she had arrived, my midwives were completely respectful of my preferences. We had delayed cord clamping, a physiological birth of the placenta (it was the first time it hadn’t been actively managed for me) and, as soon as it was determined baby was going to be ok – straight back onto my chest where she went straight for the breast.

 

I’m so glad my husband had done Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes with me – he knew exactly what to do to support me. From telling me ‘You’ve got this’ and gently reminding me to breathe, to advocating for me with the hospital staff – everything was just as I needed from him. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that it was a bit different to my first birth where, by his own admission, he had no idea what to do or how to support me.

What Hypnobirthing Australia™ taught me – and what I learnt about myself

 

I’m also very grateful for my amazing midwives. What a difference it makes having continuity of care from someone who truly supports you and respects your wishes. I believe the whole experience would have turned out differently if I didn’t have people there who were as supportive of me and my preferences, especially as it was a VBAC.

 

Throughout my pregnancy I felt like it was ‘ok’ to ask questions, discuss benefits and risks and make my own decisions. Even when these decisions involved declining what is often considered ‘routine’ – such as a stretch and sweep at 38 weeks, 39 weeks and again at 40 weeks. I was able to have adult conversations with my midwives regarding my preferences of care for my labour and birth which felt completely different to my previous two pregnancies. This was all thanks to the Hypnobirthing Australia™ program which gave me the confidence to stand up for what I wanted and not be afraid to make my own educated, informed decisions.

 

I look back at my labour and birth as a completely enjoyable, empowering experience.

 

Even with everything that was going on, I had complete trust in my body – it knew what to do. At 3.4 kg she was my biggest bub and I totally rocked her birth. A completely natural, intervention free, positive VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).

Hi there, I’m Kate Vivian. The Mum, and the Bright, behind Bright Mums. I am a Mum to 3 gorgeous girls, a Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner, a Positive Caesarean Birth practitioner and a pre- and postnatal certified personal trainer.

My mission is to help women find the joy in pregnancy and beyond – even on the most challenging days. For some women, this might mean feeling strong and confident in their changing body. For others, it will be feeling knowledgeable and confident as they approach their birth. And for some women, it be having the tools and techniques to be able to relax and remain calm through their pregnancy, birth and into parenthood. Whatever your joy looks like, I am here to help you find it.

As a Mum who has experienced a caesarean birth, an instrumental-assisted birth, and a completely natural, drug-free birth, I know the difference it can make when you are prepared for labour and birth. My Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth classes and my Bright Mums pregnancy exercise classes will help you prepare your mind and body for birth, so that you can approach your birth feeling calm, relaxed and confident.

To find out more about Positive Birth Classes, click here

If Bright Mums pregnancy exercise classes are more your thing – click here