Friday, November 18, 2011

The 5th Little Reason - A Birth Story.

After having my 2nd caesarian {4th baby},  I knew that I didn't want to go through one ever again.  I did lots of research and asked a lot of questions.  There was no need for my 2nd caesarian.  Obviously Joshua's emergency c/s meant that we are both alive, but Oliver's planned forced c/s was unnecessary.

When we finally decided to have a 5th baby, I knew I was going to have a VBAC {Vaginal Birth After Caesarian}.  In my case, a VBA2C.

After the 12 week scan came back with low risk of problems, I gave up all private cover and booked into The Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital - knowing full well that my private OBGYN and the hospital were not pro VBAC let alone VBA2C.

I went to my first appointment at the hospital and was determined from the get go.  I was really surprised when I was accepted into the midwifery care program... one down from the "Birthing Centre" program.  I was looked after by 3 lovely midwives throughout the pregnancy.  I saw an OBGYN twice... once at 25 weeks for a check up, and one at 36 weeks to sign all the forms - mainly a VBA2C "attempt" form.

I was told if baby hadn't arrived by 12 days over, I would be admitted for a c/s.   I was told I had to have a canular inserted on arrival to the hospital - this was "in case" I needed a c/s.  I was told I would be monitored A LOT throughout the labour.  I was told I wouldn't be allowed to push for longer than 1 hour.

I was ok with all of their "demands".  In my head, I didn't care... I just didn't want to be cut open.

Brett and I went to a VBAC antenatal class, which was great as the midwife running it, gave us little pointers on how to respond to the hospital "demands".

32 weeks.

At my 39 week appointment, I asked the midwife to do an internal and a stretch and sweep.  I was 1cm dialated.

7 more days past, and at my 40 week appointment, I was over being pregnant.  I had NEVER made a due date before, so I was really discouraged.  I knew baby would come when it was ready, but the 5th pregnancy was taking it's toll on my body.    The midwife did another stretch and sweep - this time, I was 2cm and she was fairly rough.  I prayed it would work.

41 weeks came and went.  It was now just a waiting game.  I went to my Friday appointment, and was booked in for a c/s for the following Friday. I would be 12 days overdue.

That night, I started having contractions.  Finally.  I sat on the couch and timed them for 3 hours.  They fluctuated from 10-15 mins apart.  I decided to go to bed to try and get some sleep.  I would need the energy for the birth the next day.  WRONG.  I woke the next morning to nothing.  Bump still there and contractions gone.  We went for a long walk, up and down gutters, to try and restart the contractions.

After dinner Saturday night, they started again.  They were painful enough to stop me in my tracks.  I spent the night bouncing on the fit ball and Brett gave me a massage and foot rub.  I again went to bed hoping to be woken with the real deal.

I woke Sunday morning and burst into tears.  NOTHING.  NADA.  GONE... AGAIN!!!  Brett decided to take my mind off it, so we headed into Surfers and had breakfast by the beach.  I was so uncomfortable.  Baby was very low and every move hurt.  I couldn't sit, I couldn't stand, I couldn't walk.  I sat at the table on the edge of the seat with my bum twisted to the side.  The only comfortable spot I could find.

Sunday night, I went to bed and was woken to contractions every 15-20 mins throughout the night.  They were so painful, I would jump out of bed and lean up on the bathroom doorframe.  I would have to breath and rock through them.  They were increasing in pain with each time.

I woke Monday morning by a contraction.  I was sceptical and wouldn't believe it was "happening".  We had a parent-teacher interview with Lucy's teacher at 8am, so after dropping Joshua off at kindy, and having a contraction in the carpark, we headed to school.  I had another contraction as I was getting out of the car.  20 mins later, another one walking out of the interview.

We decided to head to our local shops to get some last minute things for my hospital bag and to get a coffee at Zarraffas.   As I got out of the car at the shops, I had a really strong contractions.. again 20 mins since the last one.  I still didn't think this was it.   I had another contraction at the checkout at woolies, and I think it finally hit me that I think this was it.

We headed home and rang my mum to come over to look after Oliver.  She would also have to pick up the 2 big kids from school and Joshua from kindy.  I organised dinner and rang the hospital.  I had a shower and packed some last minute things in my bag.

Finally at 2pm, we hit the road.  I was not looking forward to the 40 minute drive to the hospital.

About to leave for the hospital!

I was right - it was HELL.  Sitting was my least favourite position and every tiny bump in the road and every corner was excruciating.  The contractions were now 5-7 minutes apart.  We arrived at the hospital and as I was leaning on the car having another contraction, Brett got our bags out of the car. A nurse who had just finished a shift, was getting into her car beside us.  She said "I will get a wheelchair for you dear" to which I shouted "No!  I will walk!  This baby is coming OUT!"  I couldn't sit and was so scared that if I did, the contractions would stop.

I had another contraction on the carpark staircase, and another one leaning up against a lightpole at the hospital entrance.  I am sure onlookers thought it was a great show!

We arrived at the admissions desk and were lead into the examination room.  The midwife came in and said she was going to see if I was in labour enough to be admited.  I asked what was "enough".  She said 4cms means I would be going home with a baby... under 4cms and I would be sent away to labour at home for longer.

4.5cms - HORAY!  It finally hit me that I was going to have this baby TODAY and I burst into tears.

At 4pm, we were escorted to our labour room.  On arrival I was hooked up to the monitor and a nurse tried to put the canular in my hand.  30 seconds later, I had a horrible pain in my hand, and as I looked down, the back of my hand was swollen with fluid.  The nurse had missed my vein.  She tried again in a different spot.  Missed again.  Hospital procedure says that after missing twice, someone else has to have a go.  So another midwife tried for the 3rd time on my other hand. Bingo.  I had bruises on my hands for days afterwards.

It is funny how some of my "little" things were thrown out the window during the labour.  Throughout the pregnancy, I had put together a selection of rock and roll, pop and inspirational music on my ipod.  But at this stage during the labour... all I wanted was silence.

The midwives turned the lights off - all except one where she worked at her little desk in the corner.  Brett and I sat in silence.  Breathing though the contractions that came harder and faster.

Finally at 8pm, I said I felt "pressure".  The midwife checked and said the head was still high, but  was fully dialated.   She said that when I was ready, I could push.

Brett put the head of the bed into the maximum vertical position, and I rolled over and knelt with my head buried into my pillow.  I was determined to be in the most natural position possible.

I pushed, and pushed and pushed.


We watched the head come down a little more each time.

After 1 hour, the midwife whispered.  "I need you to give us the best push you can."  I rolled onto my back.  I was exhausted. "It has been over 1 hour of pushing, and if you don't get this baby out soon, I am going to have to call the on duty OBGYN" she said.

Brett says he remembers seeing my demenor change dramatically.  There was no WAY I was going to have an OBGYN walk into my room.

I gave 3 more mighty pushes - screaming with all my might.  The head popped out and two beautiful blue eyes looked up at me.

WTF?  Why is she looking at me?  The midwife looked at me and said "Well, it all makes sense now!  This baby is Direct Occiput Posterior Presentation.  She is facing the wrong way!"

Not only was she "Sunny Side Up" but she didn't rotate her head to the left or right - making it even harder.  The midwives were amazed.   No wonder I had to push for so long!  No wonder the end of my pregnancy was so painful.  No wonder I had stop/start labour for 4 days!

Finally, at 9.15pm, Monday September 13th, 2010, Camille was born.  7lbs 10oz.  I reached down and grabbed my baby girl.  Every thought disappeared.  Brett and I stared at her for what seemed like eternity.  She was the most beautiful creature we had ever seen.   We called the 4 Little Reasons who were anxiously waiting for the news.   They were over the moon!

I was unaware that I was haemorrhaging.  The midwives quickly called an OBGYN.  I was given a local and was blissfully unaware of what was going on... down there.

As I sat naked with my baby girl on my chest, the doctor stitched me up.  I had a slight graze on my perineum, however I had 3rd degree tears right through my vaginal walls.

After an hour and a half of enjoying our new baby girl,  Brett went home to the other munchkins.   The plan was that he would come back in the morning with them, and take us home.   I had a shower in the birth suite and we were taken up to our room at about midnight.

I slept all night with my baby girl on my chest.  I wasn't letting her go.

Brett arrived about lunch time the next day and we took our 5th little reason home.

For the first time in my life, I felt 100% totally complete.  I knew this was our family.

3 days new.

And that was the beginning of Five Little Reasons.

Hayden 7 years,    Joshua 4 years,    Oliver 22mths,    Camille 2 weeks,    Lucy 6 years.

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  1. This had me in tears. What a beautiful story.

    In both of my pregnancies I've had serious 'hold onto the wall and scream' contractions into the hospital, and yet I've never seen anyone else doing the same thing. Probably a good thing, because it would make me cry. I find labour stories so beautiful, and so powerful.

    You did an amazing job, VBA2C and DOPPositioning- wow. You are incredible :)

  2. All kinds of wonderful lady. And I love the two last photos. They make my heart sing and my ovaries twitch! ;)

  3. I cried reading that Danielle, I can totally identify with your story for many reasons. We had the same OB last time and i fully understand what you mean by "forced" c/s. Our birth stories are so similar VBAC with OP babies.

    You should be so proud of yourself, it is such an amazing achievement and the perfect way to complete your family xx

  4. What a beautiful story and so well told. Thank you for sharing! VBA2C and DOPP? You should be so proud of yourself. Camille (and the rest of your family!) are just gorgeous.

  5. What a beautiful family you have. Well done for sticking to your guns too. After onlhy 1 hour or so of pushing, I was told I needed a CS also, with my first baby! I will always regret letting them do it...

  6. Our babies share the same birthdays :)

  7. I was so inspired by your story, my first bub was a caesar because of being Op. Second was breech, no labour allowed, third was transverse, (can you believe it), so by the fourth, I had conceded defeat and had my 4th C.S. Still, I feel incredibly blessed to have four beautiful kids, my youngest is now 15, when I look at your pics, I get so emotional, they grow up so fast-too fast. Enjoy, and dont waste a moment doing something else if you have the option of spendind it with your family.

  8. Oh my goodness. You have made me so determined to go VBA2C now. First with miss Amity, was an emergency, I had the same labour as your last, expect her head got stick in my hip. Explains why I couldn't walk. They nearly lost us both so I didn't have a choice. I was begging them not to do it, but the power came down to my partner as I had been in labour for well over 24hrs. (mind you im 26 and he wouldn't give consent untill he rang my parents and they made a joInt decision). My second was only 13 months later, and no dr I could fine in a 1.5 hr radius of me (we are regional nsw) would let me go natural, so I had to admit defeat. Reason being the traumatic birth before and not having long enough between pregnancys. I'm hoping as my son will be at least 2.5years before we will fall pregnant and ther is a new obgyn he may let me go VBA2C. But this story has made me really think about standing my ground this time. Thankyou.

  9. Just read this and got to the end and realized this all happened 2 years today!!!! Happy Birthday!!!!

    This post is so encouraging as my second was an emergency c/s and I NEVER want another one!!! The post c/s complications were a marathon experience and it took me 4 months to physically heal! Let alone the emotional issues, you have really encouraged me to want for a VBAC!

  10. So happy for you! I had a VBAC with my second, and it was one of the most proudest moments of my life :D And I feel for you with the cannula - with my first, I had to have one (was induced), and I think they missed 3 times all up >.< Oh the bruises!

  11. Did you plan to have 5 originally? I had always wanted 4 and had to argue with hubby to get #4 as he was happy with 3. I thought I'd be satisfied once my dream of 4 was realized but I am left feeling unfinished. Do you feel complete, done, do you know this is it or do you still have the longing for more?


I am a Mama of Five. A wife to one. I believe in documenting life using stories. I love telling you mine and would love to hear yours.

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