My first pregnancy and birth
My first son was in a breech position. I lived in rural WA at that time and had no option to have a vaginal breech birth. After a failed ECV (an attempt to turn my baby back in a head down position) at the end of my pregnancy, I gave birth via elective cesaraen section at 38 weeks.
Second time around…
I was more informed and educated around vaginal birth and more aware of what I want second time around. I was prepared for everything. I was ready to have a vaginal birth even if my baby was in a breech position again.
Selecting the right care providers
I started searching for a midwife that believes in a woman’s ability to give birth to her baby naturally. I think this is the most important thing and support you can have when it comes to birthing. Firstly, believing in yourself that you can do it and secondly, people around you believing that you definitely can do it!
With my midwife I felt safe all the way throughout my pregnancy and beyond. I felt well informed, supported and important. Nothing was a problem for my midwife and she would do anything to support and care for me. The relationship and trust created in this relationship is amazing and there are no surprises when it comes to the birth.
Choosing a homebirth
I was determined to have a successful VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean) and I very carefully researched all my options. Not everybody understood my reasons for choosing a home birth after having had a previous cesarean section due to risk factors attached and felt that a hospital with constant monitoring is a safer option.
My husband was shocked about my decision to have a homebirth at first for obvious reasons – he was scared and not educated yet. His concerns were gone straight away after meeting with my midwife. He felt very comfortable and had immediate trust in my midwife’s skills and experience. He did not question me once about homebirth again after that and supported me to have the birth I wished for.
I educated myself on the hospital policies for VBAC and learned quickly that this is not how I want to give birth- being attached to constant monitoring during labour, having a drip inserted into my hand just in case, rigid time limits on my progression of labour and not being able to have a waterbirth.
I didn’t want to fight for my informed decisions with the multiple different hospital staff during the birth or every appointment prior to that. I did not want to hear that my baby or myself could die or that we are in danger if we don’t take certain tests.
I also did not want to have worry about my toddler who never was left alone at home without me.
We did however organise a hospital back-up booking for my planned homebirth at the local public hospital. During that appointment the doctor tried to explain to me that a hospital birth is safer. I presented my birthplan to the doctor and he mentioned that the staff will try their best to follow the plan as much as possible but that he can not guarantee anything as he is unlikely to be there on the day.
I had a healthy pregnancy, just occasional pelvic pain which I have seen an osteopath for and had acupuncture.
During my pregnancy I had 2 ultrasound scans. I decided not to do the Glucose Test, GBS swab or have the routine Anti-D injection (my blood group is rhesus negative). I knew that my body was healthy and well and I was certain that I would have noticed a problem.
I chose to find out the sex of my baby in a genetic blood test- I was so excited that we were expecting a girl.
I decided not to do any childbirth education classes as such. I attended Rebirthing Sessions, which involved learning how to breathe properly for 1 hour of breathing. The purpose of this breathing was to be more connected with my baby and to clear cellular memory in my female lineage tree.
I felt very peaceful over last couple of weeks of my pregnancy and I have no doubt this was due to the rebirthing program that I did, which I am very thankful for.
I attended weekly acupuncture sessions to prepare my body and mind for my birth.
29/06/17- Thursday early morning I experienced sensations that I though were intense until I was informed by my midwife that they are likely just period pains I am experiencing. I was lying in bed wishing that I could get out of bed but I couldn’t with the pain. There was no brake coming for quite some time. Once I got a couple minutes without pain I got myself out of bed and sat on the fit ball leaning over the bed doing circles, waiting for my husband to come home from his night shift.
Once my husband was home, he filled up two hot water bottles, one for my tummy and one for my back and I went back to bed. This was successful and the hot water bottles were really taking off the pain. I woke up with no pain and during the day everything had slowed down. I went to my acupuncture appointment and the acupuncturist asked me if I want to induce my labor but I said no as I trusted that my little girl would come when she is ready.
Later that night I was having mild period pain again and they were getting stronger as the night went on. I put my son to bed and my husband went off to work. My first big contractions came with a tear in my eye as I realised I am at home alone. I wasn’t still sure what was happening to my body to be honest and I was unsure if I am in labor or not. My husband called me to let me know that he is on the way back home. I already was in contact with my midwife and the doula was on her way over.
Until my husband came home I had to walk off the contractions. There was no pattern to it! Lots of them together and then maybe 5 minutes break and all over again we go… Once my husband came home I asked him to apply counter pressure to my hips, which my doula had started to do and I immediately loved it as it was taking the pain off. I hated the fit ball – I couldn’t sit on it, I couldn’t bend over the bench either. The only thing that worked for me was sitting on my knees with one hot bottle water under and one on my back with counter pressure to my hips from my hubby.
The second position that worked for me was sitting on the toilet with a hot water bottle on my back. I did get a shower in the mean time and washed my hair.
I called my midwife and she told me over the phone that she is estimating that I am 2-3cm dilated. In my mind I said to myself “I am in labor, this is the real thing now, not period pain anymore”. I said to my midwife that I want to go to into the birthpool and she said that we could start filling it up half way.
My doula spotted my show and shortly after that I went to the pool. I first called my midwife though to confirm that I can go inside the pool just to be sure as she warned me before that going too early into the pool can slow or stop contractions.
I entered the pool and realised that I can’t be there on my own and that I need someone to apply counter pressure to my hips, to help me through the contractions! I said to my husband that he will have to jump in. No questioned asked, not even a second to think about it and he was there with me.
Midnight, now 30/06/17- From then on it was a huge roller coaster. Contractions were coming thick and fast. My doula was giving me tea to drink and cold towels for my neck and forehead to cool me down, which I end up using to bite on with every contraction. I remembered thinking that I can now understand why women would ask for an epidural, but also I thought there is no way I would go to the hospital.
At One stage I asked my baby girl to help me and to get out, I even said I couldn’t do it any longer. But I was focused, to get this baby out, as no one can do it for me! I completely got it what my midwife was telling me prior to the birth – you just have to let it go! So true!
Soon I felt baby moving down into the birth canal and her head was about to crown. My son woke up and my husband went to get him. Just perfect timing for him to see his sister being born. I remember that my midwife was telling me to breathe, just breathe – I did give it a go for like for a second and then I said to myself I don’t care anymore about tearing, I want this over! So I did a push and that was it. I did catch my little girl straight into my arms and I got the nicest look from her!
After a few minutes of welcoming my baby girl I got out of the birthpool for the birth of the placenta. The placenta was actually quite hard to birth as I had no strength left to push. Finally, after 43 minutes the placenta was born just with my pushing efforts.
Now it was time for the first breastfeed and a little rest for myself before cutting the birthday cake that I baked for Karolina’s arrival.
Karolina weighed 4240gr!
My experience was just perfect! I am very proud to say that we got the birth experience we wished for to welcome our little baby girl all together at home as a family.