Katelyn’s Birth Story
This story is the birth of our gorgeous daughter, over a year ago now, she was born 9th of March, 2012. Very long, hard, but still incredibly empowering VBAC. (vaginal birth after a cesarean)
Tuesday 6th of March around 9am I realised I was having tightenings about every half an hour. I spent the day cleaning to pass the time. Tightenings were 10-15 minutes through the night, enough I was dozing between but sleep wasn’t easy until early in the morning contractions all but stopped for a few hours so I had a bit of real sleep, but I was disappointed waking to find I still wasn’t in proper labour.
Wednesday was much the same as Tuesday. Patches of every 10 minutes, but mostly 20odd minutes between and I was just breathing through them. Not too intense. Just as everyone says, like bad period pains.
Wednesday night got intense, bit of a bloody show, called the hospital, they said just hang in there but it sounds like there might be a baby soon – but again woke with no baby!
Thursday morning I was fed up, I told my partner to stay home with me (mainly because by then I was seriously bored!) we walked to the shops. I then spent the day bouncing & doing squats on the fit ball!!! I was freaking over it!!!
Around 3pm I called my mum casually – like ‘no rush just whenever you’rer ready maybe could you think about heading over to take Jasper for the night’. An hour and a half later I called demanding to know where she was?!? She was there in 10 minutes. I’d gone from uncomfortable contractions every 10 minutes to painful contractions every 3 minutes in the space of half an hour.
When we got hospital around 6pm & met the best midwife I could have hoped for, she told me i was 5cms dilated. She was from New Zealand and had previously been an independent Midwife who mainly attended homebirths, she’d only been working in the hospital a fortnight.
I begrudgingly agreed to continual fetal monitoring for my VBAC, but as I moved around or laid down, if my position if the monitor lost contact she didn’t bother me to move it, she just left me alone when I wanted to be left alone and for the first hour that’s pretty much what I wanted. I stood in the corner of the room – there was some minor drama at home, my mum was staying at our house with our eldest and she’d locked herself out and my partner had to leave to let them in, so I ‘hid’ in the corner if the room facing the wall until he got back, my contractions backed right off while he wasn’t there, my body knew I couldn’t do it without him.
Once he got back contractions resumed being intense, but between contractions I was laughing, talking, getting to know the midwide. At around 9:30ish she checked my progress because she noticed I was starting to push down during contractions. I was 8cms!
The midwife left the room and when she came back she wished she hadn’t have gone out. The birthing ward was full – literally full – they were transferring mothers to nearby hospitals because they didn’t have the beds for them. I’d been taking up space for all of 3.5 hours ‘they’ wanted the MW to break my waters. All I did was wince and shake my head and the midwife said ‘so you’re refusing?’ I nodded, she said ‘so I’ll write down you refused, I can’t make you if you don’t want to’ with a bit of a cheeky smile and we went back to chatting and being relaxed.
She started though keeping the monitor on me and adjusting it if it came off and around 10pm she told me she’d been keeping an eye on baby’s heart rate, she was having low patches. If she kept doing it we might have a problem. In my head I started freaking, I’d gotten to 8cms with Jasper, I started thinking what if I have another csection at 8cms. I’d have done anything though to get baby out safely. At that point I started watching the monitor as closely as the midwife was. Unlike with my first labour with my son where I’d been told not to watch, not to worry, not to fuss, the midwife never once tried to tell me how to feel. I almost expected she would, but she respected that as a mother I was going to keep an eye on my baby.
So we both watched my baby’s heart rate rising and falling. At one point the number on the screen dropped REALLY low and the midwife came over to me with the air of someone trying to maintain calm but all that was wrong was the monitor had slipped and was picking up MY heart rate, not baby’s, so of course it was really low.
At 11pm there was a shift change – which freaked me out, I didn’t want to lose the person I trusted with my baby possibly having trouble and people outside who wanted to put my baby at unnecessary risk purely because I was taking too long for THEM. It wasn’t good.
I also wanted to punch the new midwife on sight. I was on my knees beside the bed, feeling very ‘pushy’ during contraction, and she came in, put her hands on my shoulders and told me I was doing amazing – How dare she tell me I’m doing amazing?!? She doesn’t know me!!! (It wasn’t terribly rational, but I hated being patronised while in so much pain!)
From there it all went a bit wonky. I was in SO much more pain. I was almost screaming during contractions and sobbing between. The pain was unbearable and I was totally falling apart. My spirit was breaking. At one point the midwife told me I had to calm down because now instead of low heart rate babies heart rate was spiking- I was stressing out my baby. Being told to calm down didn’t actually make me feel calm!
I begged for drugs. Anything. They told me I couldn’t have pethidine as it was too late in labour. I could have gas but it was making me want to throw up. Baby’s head was pressing against against my spine and still not properly engaged, they kept telling me I needed to be standing, so I didn’t even ask for an epidural even though the back of my mind I kept thinking I just wanted the pain to stop.
The offered me water injections into my back – they said they might help block the pain. They warned me 3 times it would hurt a lot – I didn’t care at that point…. Until I screamed the freaking hospital down when they did it! Full top of my lungs scream! Most blindingly painful moment of my life. I don’t think I could express that in words. Like fire injected under my skin. I had a little cry afterwards.
But 5 minutes later the pain was so much less when the midwife stepped out for a minute I giggled to my partner in embarrassment that I’d screamed so loudly. The midwife then asked to break my waters. After a few rounds of me saying “no”, her saying “why not”, me asking “why?” She kept saying they’d “let” me have x amount of time and I just wasn’t in the mood to hear the word “let” again. I didn’t have the energy for a big “my body, my choice” debate. I agreed just to get her out of my face.
Shortly after I started insisting I needed to go to the bathroom. The midwife kept telling me I couldn’t stay on the toilet pushing for too long. I was SURE I needed to poo though. For the next hour I went back and forth to the toilet totally sure I needed to poo. Until the midwife told me I wasn’t allowed to go to the toilet again, that I didn’t need to go – that I needed to push out my baby.
Once I started pushing, between contractions I was begging to go to the toilet, apologising to my partner if I pooed myself, and crying that I didn’t want to poo. I made him stay on the other side of the bed while I knelt on the floor leaning on the bed sucking on gas, so if I did poo he wouldn’t see. The midwife was still trying to convince me that I REALLY was pushing a baby! I think she was getting pretty exasperated with me by that point for not believing that the feeling of wanting to push is the same as wanting to poo.
Eventually I had to accept if it happened it happened. I started to really push – part of me thinking fine I’ll poo on the floor JUST to be able to say ‘see! I told you so!’ but as soon as I pushed without holding back I felt baby’s head move down hard and then I absolutely knew I was having a baby.
I stopped crying and begging and became very focused at that stage. Very calm. My pain was so much less once I felt sure I was moving forward. I no longer doubting that I would be birthing naturally. I knew at that stage no matter what I was having my VBAC.
I was probably pushing for 30 minutes in total. I remember saying to my partner between contractions how stupid movies are where women scream once, push once and pop out comes a baby.
She crowned at least 4-5 times. The MW told me I was pushing perfectly, very controlled, very steady. She told me she might tell me to stop pushing and just breath if she thinks I’ll tear. On about the 4th time her head started coming I put my hand down and felt her hair as the contraction stopped my baby slipped back and I yelled ‘no!’, it was beyond frustrating to have felt my baby with my hand and still not have her in my arms. So the next contraction I pushed with everything I had and the midwife told me “just breath, breath, hold it” but I could not have her slip back inside me again so I kept pushing thinking I couldn’t give a flying-F if I tore. Baby was coming NOW. I kept pushing even as the contraction ended, which was like trying to run uphill in mud. But I kept pushing. I would not have her go back inside me.
Next was the weirdest sensation ever – it didn’t hurt, which really shocked me, pushing her out did not hurt, I was just so excited to feel her coming through knowing she REALLY was coming this time. Then there was a weird pop feeling and the midwife said ‘wow! There’s an arm!‘ I looked down and there was a head, arm and half a shoulder! Such an amazing thing to see! One more push and my beautiful girl came out of me. I put my hands down and demanded ‘my baby!’ She’d slipped behind me so the midwife handed her up to me.
I lifted her onto me and just was the absolute happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life. All the pain and exhaustion was instantly forgotten. I was just as vocal as I’d been in labour – I couldn’t stop talking to her and telling her how beautiful she was. I was beyond ecstatic. There was just nothing in the world but her in that moment. She was amazing. She cried and cried and cried. But I was just so excited. I’ll never forget how she felt, warm, wet, boney and long wiggly little baby in my arms. She was 3.8kgs, 54cms tall, 36cm head circumference, with long arms and legs, big hands and feet. And perfect in every way.
The best part of having a vaginal birth though was getting up afterwards having a shower and feeling like a whole person straight away. A sore and tired person – but feeling complete and able. I was a bit faint walking to maternity ward – but I WALKED! When she was 3 days old I had her curled up on one arm breast feeding while showering my eldest & washing his hair! I realised in that moment when Jasper was 3 days old I couldn’t take care of MYSELF and there I was a person, a woman, a mother – taking care of myself and my children. I was totally whole. Best thing ever!
Hope you enjoyed! If you would like to share your own birth story we would love to share it on our page and through facebook, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org