Melissa posted the story of her second birth on her blog. The original blogpost can be seen here: https://prettymessymellon.com/beautiful-vbac-home-birth-story/.
Melissa gave me permission to copy her story and the fotos with it. All content belongs to her.
My Beautiful VBAC Home Birth Story
I have been thinking for a week now, trying to put my perfect birth into words for this post, but honestly there are no words to properly describe how amazing the experience was.
Violet’s Birth Story
It started on Wednesday the 17th when I was 40 weeks +4 days pregnant. I had a checkup with my wonderful midwife Mandi and we decided to try some castor oil to help labour along; I was 1.5cm dilated and my cervix was very ready.
I went home at noon and took some castor oil and just tried to kill time getting things ready at home. Nothing happened and at 4pm I took a second dose of castor oil as agreed and then waited some more; by 10pm I had given up!
I was having some light braxton type pains but nothing happening so I had messaged Mandi to say we are going to bed and nothing was happening, rather disappointed actually.
How Labour Started — Active Labour
We got into bed at 10:45 that night and at 10:50 I was hit with a contraction so strong I couldn’t move. It completely caught me off guard that I actually got such a fright and my whole body started shaking.
Hubby helped me up and I got into a hot bath, by 11:00 (10min in) the contractions were so strong and 3min apart, I was struggling to sit in the bath. Hubby said he was phoning Mandi to come and she was on her way.
By 11:45 I was out the bath and waiting for Mandi and assisting midwife Mandy to arrive. I remember them walking through the door and I was so happy to see them because I had never expected my labour to start so fast and so so strong; I didn’t even have time to think about it or ease into it or get my head around breathing for that matter. I knew once they arrived that I was in good hands and could just labour along without worry. (and that is exactly why having a midwife is important!)
The Birth Plan
The plan was for Mandi & Mandy to come to my house, to check that I was properly in labour and then pack to transfer to the hospital with the birthing pool and all and go labour in the Bayview hospital in Mosslebay.
Because it was a vbac (vaginal birth after c-section), this was the agreed plan between us and my lovely backup gyn. We had even arranged specially with the hospital that we set up the birth pool there so we could water birth.
1 hour in labour
So at 12:20, when we did my first internal check, I was already 5cm dilated. Hubby and Mandy were busy packing the car for us to leave for hospital and I had sent my daughter Zoe to go sleep at my father’s place.
By 12:40 I was already moaning and crying out through the contractions; they were coming so strong and so fast, I remember standing leaning against the kitchen counter with Mandi massaging my back and I was already having strong bearing down urges.
Other Mandy was sitting at the kitchen counter observing and writing down all the birth notes as I birthed. I found great relief in the massage and also moving my hips from side to side seemed to be helping loads.
I could feel the baby moving down!
I could feel the baby moving inside of me like she was a little worm wiggling. I will never forget that feeling: I could literally feel her wiggling into the correct position to find her way out. It is so amazing how the baby works with the mother during birth.
The more baby Violet wiggled and pushed her head downwards, the stronger and faster the contractions were coming and the more I felt like pushing down. She was coming fast!!!
Decided to stay home- labour progressing too fast
At this stage we had decided to rather unpack the car because I was having bearing down urges and the contractions were coming too fast: The hospital was 30min away and Mandi was concerned about how fast things were going.
At 12:50 I was 8cm. I had always though that this first stage and active labour would take hours and I would have hours to chill, focus and get to hospital. It was now only 2 hours after my first very strong contraction had hit and I was already wanting to push.
I remember doing odd things between contractions, like fetching blankets and walking around. Not caring about anything, like even the bloody mess I was making everywhere did not matter. I remember telling Mandi not to worry we can wash it all tomorrow as I randomly just wiped blood off on the blanket I was sitting on.
Transition and pushing
2 hours in, at 1am, I all of a sudden had the urge to sleep! This was very odd to me because I was in the middle of having contractions and pushing feelings. I was now sitting on the lounge floor by the fire leaning back against the couch, I would sit up in a squatting position every time a contraction came and when it stopped I would lean back against the couch and literally fall asleep between contractions; it was uncontrollable and I was just going with what my body was naturally doing!
I was not at all thinking about it or anything; I could feel when my body wanted to change position or do something and I would just naturally go with it. Mandi and hubby were by my side, Mandi would help massage, wipe me down with a cloth and bring me water and hubby would take turns helping me up and holding my hand during the strong contractions.
This went on for a while and at 1:48am I was 9cm and my cervix had formed an anterior lip. I remember Mandy doing the internal and positioning my cervix into the right position and over the baby’s head. This was extremely painful but I sat through it because I knew it was necessary to get labour going further. Mandi suggested that I go lie on my side on the bed to get the cervix positioned right. We were now reconsidering packing for the hospital because it was now taking longer and seemed as the labour had slowed.
The hardest part: Pushing.
We got to 2:30am (3h 30min into labour) and I was now on my bed (which is conveniently in the lounge due to renovations, how perfect actually). I was now fully dilated and I remember being on my side on the bed. Curling inward towards myself with my chin tucked in when the contractions came and focusing on pushing all my energy inwards instead of just screaming out with pain. For me this was now the most painful part of labour! I was pushing hard with the contractions and I could feel that baby’s head was now in the vagina.
I realized at this stage that my water had not broken and I used my hand to feel in my vagina. I could feel the water sac first and then the baby’s head inside it. I called hubby for him to also have a feel because he had said beforehand that he wants to participate and feel when the head is coming. The head was so close to the outside but yet still so stuck inside, I remember thinking she is like 4cm from out and how the hell can this be so hard to get through!
I was begging for some relief and help; hilariously I remember asking for something for the pain, even a panado!! I did not realize at the time that this was not even going to do anything.
My back, hips and ass at this stage were in constant pain and when a contraction hit, no one could touch me. It was so painful; Mandi was trying to massage my back but I had to tell her to stop because it felt like a ton of bricks on my back: it was so sore. This for me was truly the hardest stage and even though this was only 30min or so, I remember thinking that I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t handle it! I looked at my hubby and told him ” I can’t do this, I can’t!”
I was now entirely in my own little world, I remember thinking that I was alone, like no one was in the room with me. I was totally unaware of what was going on around me. Mandi had gone to phone my gyn to tell her what was happening and to check in if she was still comfortable with us now birthing at home. Thankfully my stunning gyn had no problems and said as long as I am fine and there are no problems that it was now too late for hospital anyways.
While hubby and Mandi were talking and phoning the gyn, I was still pushing on the bed with Mandy sitting by my side helping me. I had at this stage made up my mind that when I saw my hubby again I was going to ask him to help me off the bed so I could change position: I wanted to stand up!
Violet was Born!!!!!
At about 2:55am I got Hubby and Mandi to pull me off the bed; I said I was fine and just wanted to be up a bit so they let me be. I walked 3m from the bed to the Fireplace having 2 contractions in between. I stood by the fire and felt inside to see where baby’s head was, I could still feel her right there, like 2cm from out! If I pushed down hard I could feel it sting as her head was starting to crown and come out.
This all happened so so fast, I did not even think about where anyone else was in the room or anything; as I said before it was like I was just following what my body was naturally doing. I stood up in front of the fire with one hand on my one knee and the other hand feeling by my vagina.
It was now just me and my baby and I was going to push her out! I started to push hard when the contraction came but stopped as I felt it sting badly with the “ring of fire” and my bum felt as if it was gonna tear open. This was all just a matter of seconds but I then thought fuck it I am gonna get this over with and I just pushed down with my hand by my vagina so I could feel where her head was.
Her head popped out and I caught it!!!! It was strange because she was still in her water sac and it felt like I had caught a water balloon. at 3:08am I shouted “the head is out, the head is out” and in 2 seconds Mandi and hubby were by my side, Mandi helped hold the head and the rest of little Violet just slid out super fast and with ease.
As her feet came out the water sac broke and splashed over my feet. My beautiful baby Violet immediately let out a nice cry and I was beyond over joyed! The most amazing feeling of confidence, achievement and relief ever! Baby Violet was immediately alert and her beautiful eyes open big looking around, my hubby kept saying how amazing it is that she is so awake.
Mandi helped sit me down on the carpet by the fire and hubby held me and baby tight. The look of happiness and surprise on his face I will never forget; I will never forget the feeling of catching my baby by myself and holding her in my arms, her little cry and her wriggling body covered in birth slime. ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS!!!!! The pain disappeared in an instant and it was all over.
We sat for long with Violet just looking at her and she latched to drink so easily. We waited 40min for the cord to stop pulsing on its own before cutting and then hubby took Violet and sat with her on the couch and drank a glass of wine, lol. He needed that glass of wine after the quick 4 hours of action we just had.
My placenta came out at 4:35am and then we did my vaginal exam to check if I had torn. I had two little upper labial tears and we decided to stitch the one up and just neaten it all up; Mandi did a great job at giving me the local injections for the pain and the stitches were over before I knew it.
I got up and had a shower at 6am and by 6:20 Mandi and Mandy left. Me, hubby and baby Violet were all very happy in our bed cuddling! I felt better than I ever had, did not feel like I had just given birth. I was not in any pain and compared to when I had my c-section it was an absolute dream. Hubby was more tired than I was and immediate fell asleep with little Violet in his arms.
I will forever be grateful to Mandi and Mandy for the fantastic birth they gave us, without them by my side I would never have had such peace of mind to have been able to birth the way I did!
If anyone ever asks if it is worth it to have a midwife then the answer will always be YES: The care and support I got was understanding and gentle, but at the same time safe at all times with the best interests of me and my baby at heart. I did not once think of any risks or stress over it being a vbac; I was just happily focused on birthing my baby and I do believe that it is because of this that my labour went so wonderfully and fast.
If you are in the Garden Route area and looking for a midwife and fabulous birthing team then you can find Mandi and Mandy on the Eden natural birth website HERE.