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And Baby Makes 9 {HBA4C In Australia}

And Baby Makes 9 {HBA4C In Australia}

“I thought you might be interested in my HBA4C from last year. I have 9 children with 3 vaginal births, 4 cesareans, hospital VBA4C and a HBA4C. I’ve experienced many ups and downs during my labours and births. I am committed to sharing my birth stories to help give others strength and confidence that they CAN have control of their births.

My greatest achievements in life have been my 9 gorgeous children. Each of the journeys that delivered them to me has been unique. With each new pregnancy, my “risk” status grew in the eyes of healthcare providers and I became more determined each time to have the birth that I felt was not only mine by right, but what was best for myself, my baby and my family.

My birth history is quite extensive. I have had 8 hospital births. My first 3 were vaginal births (with interventions), the next 4 births were c/sections (after “failure to progress” diagnosis) 2 of those c/sections were attempted VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), 1 was a “forced” elective. My next birth was a successful VBA4C in hospital. This leads me to the birth story of my most recent little cherub.” – Gerri

This story starts during my 2nd trimester. I had booked into John Hunter Hospital for my 2nd VBA4C. I had birthed my 2 previous babies there with the last one being a VBAC. With this in mind, I expected to have my “risk” level lowered and not be subjected to the same old restrictions whilst in labour. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. In fact more restrictions than ever were placed on me… continuous monitoring, NO shower/water, laying on the bed, epidural upon arrival… it was unacceptable that there was no room for negotiation. I began looking at my options.

I met my wonderful midwife at a VBAC support group when I was about 32wks. We got to talking all things birth and one of us mentioned homebirth. It was always something I admired but never thought possible with my history. Lisa was very supportive. We met up a few times and discussed the possibility of me home birthing in detail. My main obstacles, as I saw them, were the fact that 3 out of 4 of my vaginal births were assisted with ventouse (due to posterior positioning of bubs) and I had always been a huge fan of epidurals. A homebirth meant NO medical pain relief. My husband was against the idea as well, but being the independent person I am, told him that I would do it with or without him. After much toing and froing, research and discussion, I decided that a water homebirth would be the best option for another successful vbac.

5th August 2012 – 40+5wks. BAM!!! I’m woken by a particularly strong contraction. It’s 4am. I get up and go to the bathroom to investigate if I’d had a show. Another strong contraction. Wow, this is it; we’re having a baby today!!! 1st thought… remind Rob to get Jasmine to surfing and kids to footy. I wander around a bit with contractions coming strong and regular. 2nd thought… Damn, didn’t do groceries or fold the washing! At 5am I text midwife, Lisa, and doula, Emma, to let them know todays the day.

I get the birth ball out and try some rocking. After a while I feel a bit faint and have to lie down. I text Lisa again at 6am letting her know and ask if she can come over.

When Lisa and Emma arrived I was leaning over the bed. I had started to get the dreaded backache that generally goes with my posterior babies. The girls were both encouraging me to move around and also had a hot water bottle on my back. I just wanted to get in the birth pool. Hubby, Rob, and the kids were putting it up as I was thinking it.

I don’t know what the time was but finally the pool was ready. OMG it was heaven. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be comfortable in the water, but it really helped ease the pain of the contractions. Some of my little ferals popped their heads in at some point to check out what was going on. I could hear the kids on and off all day as they kept themselves amused.

I was so tired. After 5 or 6 hours, sometime around 10am I guess, I asked Lisa to examine me. I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere and wanted to know how dilated I was. 8cm, waters bulging… this was good. 7cm had always been my hoodoo number where everything stopped. I could do this, it wouldn’t be much longer.

“Relax, release” I started thinking to myself. I was surrounded by lovely warm water. All I was missing was some drumming music and incense…lol.

Things appeared to be slowing so Lisa and Emma helped me out of the pool and tried some rebozo while I was head down, bum up on the floor. What an odd sensation and damn uncomfortable. Didn’t like it at all!!

Back into the pool. OMG, it still felt awesome! Very relaxing. I had no idea of the time. I had so much backache and pressure in my bum.

After what seemed like an eternity of contractions, I asked Lisa for another VE. I don’t think she was keen. Maybe it was for the best. I didn’t want to know if I wasn’t making progress. There was NO WAY I was transferring to hospital without it being an emergency. I could tough this out! I think I wonder aloud if the hospital would give me an epidural and let me leave? Hmmm… probably NOT!

Next thing I recall is lying in bed with the electric blanket on and a TENS machine attached to me. It was dark, where had the day gone? I felt like I had been labouring a long time, yet I was still surprised when I realised how quickly the time had passed. I was comfy in bed and was sleeping between contractions. The TENS machine kept stopping so I didn’t really use it much.

Random thought… I bet those kids didn’t clean the microwave like I asked!

Emma, my doula, was a constant presence. Whispering encouragement in my ear, getting me to drink her god awful labour concoction and just generally making sure I was as comfortable as could be.

Something was going on with Lisa and Emma. I asked what was happening but Emma assured me everything was fine. I later learnt that Lisa was sick and had to call in her backup midwife. I remember lying in bed and this stranger popped up and introduced herself as the backup. She’d scared the crap out of me… She explained that Lisa had reluctantly gone home and she would now be helping me. All I could think was “poor Lisa, I hope she’s ok, she’s guna be pissed she missed it”.

At some point Emma got me up to the toilet to help keep things moving. I was getting the urge to push with some contractions but it was excruciating. I had so much pressure on my back that I felt I would snap in 2. I tried to stay on the toilet to open my pelvis but had to stand and lean into Emma when a contraction came. I tried reciting the “relax, release” mantra in my head. Stuff that crap, it wasn’t helping!!!

I leant against the bed again with one leg up to open everything and help bub come down more. At some point I vomited in the shower. I had to get back in the pool. Finally the water was warm again and I got back in. Instant relief!

It was around 11pm and I remember thinking our baby wouldn’t arrive until Monday now.

Surely this can’t go on much longer. I was so tired and didn’t want to keep going. I asked the midwife for another VE. I was talking to bub, saying “come on baby it’s time now”. She examined me during a contraction while I pushed to see how far bub came down. The midwife said my waters broke, but I know she helped it happen, bless her. There’s no going back now. I tried pushing with contractions. I don’t know if it was helping. Sometimes it was involuntary and I could feel bubs move, other times it felt like nothing was happening. I was leaning over the edge of the pool on my knees. All of a sudden I felt bubs head come down almost with a whoosh! It seemed to happen so quickly. When he started to crown, I screamed. I had never felt the “ring of fire” quite like this. My contractions slowed and the pain was almost unbearable. This baby was going to rip me in two.

I tried pushing without the help of contractions but it didn’t work. Slowly bubs head made progress. “It’s breech” I heard the midwife’s surprised voice. What? “No, it’s ok. It’s just got big cheeks”. What did this baby look like if you could mistake its face for its bum…

It seemed like forever but finally his head was out. The midwife asked if I wanted to touch it. No, it was too distracting; I had other things going on. I could feel him moving inside trying to position his little body. It hurt like hell!

After a while the midwife’s voice became urgent. She told me to push harder. I was trying. Push… again… harder. “I am” I screamed. Emma and the midwife helped get me over the side of the pool to the floor. I had an enormous head between my legs and couldn’t manage on my own. What an odd sight that must have been.

I’m on all fours on the floor pushing as hard as I could. The midwife’s voice was more demanding and urgent. “Push harder! Baby’s turning blue!”

What was happening? She got me onto my back with my legs pushed back as far as possible. My hubby had called an ambulance but the midwife was still trying to get baby out.

Next thing I know, he’s out and she is talking to him, telling him to breathe. I keep asking if he’s alright. I hear a cry… THANK GOD!!!

It was 2am on Monday 6th August 2012. My brand new baby was put on my chest. I was asking if it was a boy or girl. I couldn’t lift bub high enough to see for myself. IT’S ANOTHER BOY!!! He was so very big and very pink! No wonder he got stuck. Everything seemed to be normal again. We were covered in a blanket. It was almost like there was no emergency. The midwife looked incredibly relieved.

In the meantime the ambo’s arrived. They gave bubs the once over and declared him perfectly healthy. They were only there for 10mins or so.

Someone woke the kids and all of a sudden we had an audience. They each had a little look at their new brother but couldn’t nurse him as he was still attached to the placenta. After a little while, they went back to bed. About an hour later I birthed the placenta but also some clots.

The midwife tied his cord with a string with beads and Rob cut it, “every baby should have beads” she was saying. We still hadn’t decided on a name for our boy. I gave him to Rob for a cuddle, and moved off the floor to the lounge. I complained to the midwife of having a sudden headache and began feeling faint. My vision went blurry and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The midwife and Emma tried getting me to eat and drink something but I just couldn’t be bothered. Rob called the ambo’s again. I heard them arrive but didn’t have the energy to respond. They gave me some fluids and oxygen and I started to come to life again. 2 hours after my homebirth we were off to Hospital, but that’s the beginning of a whole other story.

I have NO regrets about my homebirth. I am incredibly proud of myself and feel that I can achieve anything. I birthed a 12lb 4oz (5.56kg) baby after a 22hr labour without drugs and without tearing (thanks to the magical birth pool) after 4 previous c/sections. My only disappointment was that I didn’t get to shower at home and curl up with my new baby in my own bed.

I feel complete. I finally had the birth that every woman should be able to experience.

My body, my baby, my birth.

vbac without fear

HBA4C: Homebirth After Four Cesareans!

HBA4C: Homebirth After Four Cesareans!

*Having a home birth after multiple cesarean sections is not always safe. Please speak with your care providers for more information and support and to see if you are a good candidate for home birth, or vaginal birth in a hospital. VBAC’s are wonderful and can be done, but each woman, pregnancy and birth is different. ~Mrs. BWF

Here’s my story and a photo of our son. The BWF community was instrumental in getting me to feel confident in trusting my body to birth my baby. Thanks for all you do to empower women to make thoughtful choices regarding their births.

All the best,

A Successful HBA4C Birth Story

In order to fully appreciate C’s birth story, I feel like it’s important that I put it in context: I have never before had a vaginal birth. I had labored with my first two, and after hard labors that were made even more difficult with medical interventions, both ended in c-section. My next two babies were born via elective repeat cesarean.

When we learned that I was pregnant with C, I immediately knew that I was going to look into attempting a VBAC again. (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Having a 5th c-section carried risks that I was not comfortable with, and though I knew it would be a struggle to find someone willing to attend me, I knew I had to try.

We tried various doctors and birthing centers only to be repeatedly turned down. The risks were “too high” they said. We did a lot of research during those months: reading studies, analyzing data, making sure we were still making the safest choice possible for the baby and I. We tried finding the big “increased risks” that the medical community talked about and simply couldn’t find them.

And then we found midwives who were unable to find those risks either. They confirmed what my husband and I had learned: the risk of a VBAC after 4 c-sections were no more increased than the risks of a 5th repeat c-section. Our VBAC plan was a ‘go’ with only one small detail: we would be giving birth at home.

I have to say that I was really OK with that. After reading VBAC studies and studying my own medical records from the previous deliveries, I really felt that my only chance of having a successful VBAC was away from all the “interventions” of modern technology. No, I did not want to be induced: that would put increased stress on my scarred uterus. No, I did not want pain medication. It would make it impossible for me to alert my birthing team if anything felt “off”, etc. The only way I was going to do this, was if I was left to do it on my own.

And so we did.

Contractions started on Sunday night. Pretty mild in hindsight, but that night, they were strong enough to wake me from sleep every 30 minutes. When I woke up Monday morning, I told my husband, R, to go to work and that I would keep him posted. As I got myself and the kids ready in the morning, they increased to about every 10 minutes apart, but were easy to talk through so I continued to go to work and see what the day brought.

By 2:00 Monday afternoon, some of the contractions were getting pretty uncomfortable. I preffered not to talk through them and they were coming about every 7 minutes. Shortly after that, I told my co-workers I was going to go home and have a baby. I had R pick up the kids from the sitters and we all hung out at home hoping to have a new baby by morning. I put a lasagna together so we would have a meal ready to eat after the birth and the kids and R swam.

After supper we had my mom pick the kids up and R’s sister came over ready to help with the birth. At this point, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, but weren’t increasing in intensity or pattern. At around 11:00 Monday night, we decided to all lay down and try and get some sleep. The contractions spaced back out to around every 30 minutes throughout the night.

By Tuesday morning, I was so tired from the two previous sleepless nights and was feeling really discouraged. My contractions picked back up to about every 10 minutes and were getting increasingly difficult for me to deal with, but I wasn’t sure if that was because they were indeed getting stronger, or I was just getting less able to handle them because I was so tired. One of the midwives came over around 9:30 to listen to baby’s heartbeat and provide some much needed encouragement. She said that this could last for even a few days and that it was perfectly normal, my body was doing what it needed to do, and that I should take care of myself: rest, eat healthy food and stay hydrated. And so we continued to wait.

Throughout the day, the contractions remained about 5-7 minutes apart. Ingrid went home and we assured her we’d call if anything happened. By 9:45 Tuesday night, I woke R up and told him I needed help getting through the contractions. I thought that things must be picking up and started to feel like I REALLY WAS going to have a baby someday! R started timing the contractions and they were coming every 3 minutes. I was also becoming increasingly uncomfortable during them. We decided to time them for a while to make sure it was the real deal and then we would update the midwives.

At 11:00 there was a change of plans: my water broke all over the living room floor. R actually heard it ‘pop’ from the other side of the room. I immediately felt a welcome relief of pressure. But that nice feeling only last a few minutes because after my water broke, the contractions immediately picked up in intensity and frequency. We called R’s sister and the midwives and by midnight, the whole team was assembled for the job ahead.

As everyone was arriving, I was on the floor on my hands and knees trying to work through the contractions, but my legs were starting to shake and I felt like I needed to get off of them for a while. The midwives helped me lay down in bed on my side and we labored like that while the birth pool was getting filled up. I couldn’t wait to crawl into that pool!! My body was starting to get that pushy feeling and I had even asked for the bucket to throw up in so I was feeling happy, assuming I must be getting close. I got in the pool and my body continued to push and I remember thinking, “Well, the midwives got here just in time! This is happening so fast!”

After I was in the pool for a while, my midwife asked to check and see how dilated I was. I crawled out of the pool and was devastated to learn I was only about 6-7cm! My mood immediately changed. This was exactly what happened with my first two labors: I got the urge to push “too early” and the reminder of my first two “failed” vaginal deliveries just completely devastated me. I started to try and beg R and the midwives to just let me go to the hospital and have a c-section since I was convinced my body was betraying me. But as hard as I tried to tell them that I couldn’t to do this anymore, the more they told me that I WAS doing it — one contraction at a time. And a half hour later, when the midwife checked me again, I was at 9cm.

I was still having the urge to push, but the midwife said that it obviously wasn’t swelling my cervix at all and I was progressing well, so to continue to work with my body rather than fight it. She just kept telling me to give each contraction only the amount of energy it required and nothing more. Wise words!

The next time she checked me, she noticed that I had a stubborn lip on one side of my cervix that wouldn’t thin out. She recommended that I lay on that side of my body and she gave me the option to let it work itself out or she could help push back the lip during contractions. Her pushing back the lip would be “pretty intense” as she said, but it may make baby come faster. I decided I wanted my baby here faster and so she worked on the cervical lip while I clung to R’s hands.

And then it was time to push. The midwives could feel that C was coming down a bit crooked. They recommended that I get in some different positions to help move him down. Moving around during that part of labor was not exactly fun, but it worked. I could literally feel his little body moving and adjusting with each change that I made. I was so proud of my tiny little son doing his part to help with his own birth. So amazing.

Once it got to the point where I could reach up and feel his little head, it was game on. I was so ready to meet this little person and ready to do whatever it took to get to the finish line. We were about half way into the 1 hour it took to push him out when I made a stunning realization: If I got his head pushed out to his ears, I was going to have to sit there like that with him halfway out until the next contraction. I said this to the midwives and they got a good laugh over the fact that I was just now realizing that. So, yes, indeed I got him out about halfway and then had to wait for the next contraction to push the rest of his head out. That was probably the longest minute of my life, but after that, he was out and on my chest and life was perfect.


He came out so calmly and peacefully alert. The midwives joked saying “Does he even know he was born?” He pinked up really quickly and immediately started nursing like a champ. He had a little bit of extra fluid in his lungs that the midwives helped him take care of, but his Apgar scores were both 8s and they declared him A-OK.

I still am not sure that I have fully processed the culmination of a 7 year journey. I am so happy that we finally got to give birth on our terms, just me and my baby doing our thing together that God designed us so perfectly to do. I wasn’t a hero — I didn’t handle it with quiet grace and poise like I had hoped I would. Ha ha ha! I moaned and grunted and even cried my way through it all. But I wouldn’t take it back or change it for the world. Birth is truly transforming… and I can finally say I got to experience that beautiful transformation. I am so very blessed!

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