The Birth of Jude - A Calm VBAC
Jen and Justin did my hypnobirthing class in Dartford back in 2020. (Due to the Covid pandemic classes were held online) Jen planned for a home birth but due to some medical complications she had a very calm and positive c-section. (You can read Jesse’s birth story here). For her second pregnancy the pandemic was over and Jen came along to my weekly pregnancy yoga classes in Dartford. This is the story of her lovely VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) for baby Jude.
Leading up to a VBAC
As I wanted a vbac I was referred to the vbac midwife at Darent Valley maternity, who went into great detail about possible complications. I thought this was a bit unnecessary and felt at first as if I was being persuaded to change my mind. However, in the end she was fully supportive of my choice, but she did insist I went for an appointment with the consultant to discuss having an induction. I had already firmly decided I did not want an induction, after doing my own research. I was confident that I could have a VBAC, natural labour this time.
The consultant appointment was in my opinion a waste of time and resources. The consultant told me I should book an induction, even though I told him I was not going to have an induction. He told me I had to book one that day, otherwise they might not be able to fit me in! Which is crazy, as if they didn’t book people in-necessarily for inductions maybe they would have more appointments for people who actually need them! I said I wouldn’t change my mind but let him book an appointment anyway. I told him I wouldn’t attend the induction appointment, which I didn’t. The day after I gave birth I had a phone call from the hospital to check why I didn’t attend my appointment. It was all a bit backwards, co-ercive and unnecessary. I was glad I’d already read up, done my own research and knew what I wanted otherwise I’m sure my birth would have been far more stressful and complicated.
Instead of stress, I focused on planning a natural labour. I carried on with my pregnancy yoga classes and meditations, around looking after my two year old Jesse.
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It was around 7.30 in the evening in my 41st week of pregnancy when I stood up and felt a slight leak. Having had a C-section previously and never having experienced labour I suspected my waters had broken but wasn’t 100% sure. After around half an hour I started to feel something in my lower back almost like period pains and although I knew it was the beginning of labour I felt very calm about the whole thing. I carried on the rest of the evening as usual by putting my two year old to bed. By the time I went to bed myself the surges we’re a little more intense and I couldn’t manage to get any sleep. By 1am I decided to run a hot bath which gave instant relief and I even managed to have a little snooze in the bath (which I’m sure isn’t recommended but definitely helped!) That was the only sleep I managed to get that night, by the next morning surges were at regular 10 minute intervals. At this point my husband Justin called the midwife led unit who said to bring me in. This actually surprised me as I thought I’d stay at home longer. Once we’d arranged for childcare we went to the birthing centre at Darent Valley maternity.
At the birthing centre the midwife said she first needed to check if my waters had broken before checking how dilated I was. This felt like a very sharp stabbing pain which was very unpleasant and unexpected and had I known this before I’d have declined it! Afterwards she examined me to see how dialated I was and I was only 3cm which I was disappointed with. I still think I would have been further dialated before the previous procedure. I wanted to birth in the midwife led unit but was advised that if I hadn’t given birth by 7.30 (24 hours after my waters had broken) I would have to be moved to the birthing ward / delivery suite.
I was really tired at this point and was using the tens machine for pain relief. My midwife gave me some painkillers which provided some extra relief (this was what was offered to me and I just accepted it – if I was to do it all again I’d just ask for gas and air). After a few hours the painkillers had worn off and I asked for more. My midwife suggested pethidine which should allow me to sleep. However, it ended up taking around three hours before they had someone available to administer it and annoyingly I still couldn’t sleep once it kicked in. The pethidine did give great relief though. Again if I was to go back I’d just ask for gas and air but I wasn’t really thinking and it wasn’t offered to me at this point.
Around an hour later I was feeling the urge to push, the midwives were very surprised when they checked and I was fully dilated. They wheeled me into the room with the birthing pool and had it filled up in no time. The relief when I got in the water felt great and I only wished I could have spent my whole labour in there! I’d also convinced myself the birthing pool wouldn’t be available for me when I was ready to push so I was super happy to be in here and finally felt like I was where I was supposed to be. It was at this point I was offered gas and air (which have I mentioned is great) and after one hour of pushing my beautiful baby boy was born into the water weighing a healthy 9lb1. I felt totally elated and he fed and had skin to skin for well over an hour before I was back on the gas and air again while I had my stitches.
We were finally taken to the recovery ward around 3am where I got a couple of hours sleep but mainly just stared at my amazing little man. Luckily we were discharged and on our way home around 11am the next day.
Despite previously having had a C-section and being advised there was a (in my opinion miniscule) risk of the scar rupturing if I opted for a vbac, the thought of this never once crossed my mind throughout the labour.