Beautiful Births #17: Kelly's VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section)

I absolutely love reading birth stories as every experience is so unique, and after sharing my own two very different birth experiences [emergency c-section and natural VBAC] I decided to ask other mums and dads to share their beautiful birth stories with me, too. If you’d like to share your birth story, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.

Like me, Kelly from NatureMumBlog also had two totally different birth experiences: her first baby was born at just 30 weeks by emergency c-section after she developed pre-eclampsia. Her second birth experience was an amazing VBAC and in this post she is sharing her story.

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The first few months of my pregnancy were the hardest. I had scan after scan to make sure everything was ok. They normally give women who have had early pre-eclampsia aspirin to prevent it coming back, but I have a blood condition so this was not an option for me. 

I was told by nearly every consultant and midwife that I would have to have a c-section under general as a natural birth was just too much of a risk. For a while I agreed, even though it killed me inside to not meet my baby as soon as it was born. I still struggle now with not knowing where my son came from. I wasn’t pregnant for long and he was just given to me like a pet from a shop. It is hard to get your head around. 

When I was around 20 weeks gone I met a wonderful midwife. I couldn’t have done as well in this pregnancy without her. I joined her yoga class and she told me about hypnobirthing.  Although hypnobirthing didn’t help me during labour, I honestly believe that along with the yoga, it helped me get to my due date. 

The pregnancy was tough; I was constantly worried about my blood pressure. But the midwife would come around twice a week then every other day towards the end to check on the baby and myself. At 35 weeks a scan showed the baby measuring smaller than it should. This panicked the consultants and they booked me in to have a c-section at 39 weeks. I was not happy about this. Does it matter if the baby is measuring small if its health is fine? It was measuring around 5lb which at 35 weeks didn’t seem small to me.

I had several midwives tell me that I would have to have a c-section and that there would be no chance of a natural birth. This worried me a lot. I searched the internet frantically looking for people who had been in my situation and that’s when I found a wonderful VBAC group on facebook. I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for the lovely ladies on this group I wouldn’t have had the strength or knowledge to fight for a natural birth. They advised me that this was my pregnancy and my body and that I didn’t have to listen to hospital protocol. 

I have had my fair share of issues with the NHS as you have read from this post, but please don’t get me wrong and think that all NHS staff are terrible. My son and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and I thank them every day for that. The NHS are horrendously understaffed and have far too many patients so I totally understand why things go wrong and how stressful each day must be. 

My c-section date came and went. I refused it as I just had to give a natural birth a go. The baby was fine; I was fine so why not try? I was looking forward to my due date and looking forward to being impatient for the baby’s arrival. But this baby was a girl, and just like her mother she is a perfectionist and decided she wanted to come on her due date. It was 3am on my due date when I felt my first contraction. They were only 15 minutes apart so we went about our day as normal. 

I had seen a lady on a YouTube video who had gone for a walk in the woods when she was in early stages of labour, I thought wow how relaxing I will do that. Who was I kidding?? 

Contractions hurt, and when I say hurt I mean HURT! It felt like someone had a piece of string tied around the top of my tummy and was pulling it as tight as they could. So the walk lasted two minutes, before I jumped back into the car and went home.

That evening I decided to head to hospital as the pain was getting stronger and I was concerned about my c-section scar. We didn’t know many people as we had only lived here a year. No one except my sister, my mum and a friend from home had looked after our son before, but we were extremely lucky to have met a lovely lady who worked with my partner. She was able to look after our son until the next day. I should have planned it all better and organised a family member to come and stay.

We spent that night in hospital where my contractions stayed the same. Every midwife kept saying I wasn’t in labour as I wasn’t dilated, I kept thinking how ridiculous that was, as I was in agony. One consultant even said they wouldn't  let me go over 10 days, I was so confused as I didn’t think I would last 10 days in this much pain. 

The next day there wasn’t much change in how regular my contractions were and after hearing for the 100th time that I wasn’t in labour I decided to go home. We had called my parents that morning to see if they could come up from Essex to have our son as I wasn’t sure how long I would be in and out of hospital.

My parents arrived at ours shortly after our son had come back home. I was standing talking to my mum whilst swaying from side to side when suddenly I felt a click in my pelvis, it was my waters. We quickly rushed to the car and headed to hospital. 

When we arrived they checked me and said I was only 3cms dilated so I wasn’t in proper labour yet. By this point the contractions were on top of themselves, one after the other without a break. I was screaming in pain, so they gave me gas and air. I thought gas and air was a pain relief but how wrong was I? It just makes you happy when you’re having a break from contractions but doesn’t stop the pain.

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I was then met by the consultant led unit midwife team who made me walk up the stairs to the labour room. This was a horrifically painful and difficult experience; I remember shouting that I wanted a c-section. Once upstairs they measured me again and said I was 4cms dilated. How could this be? I needed to push. I automatically started pushing. The second midwife checked me and realised I was 10cms dilated and the baby was coming. 

It only took a few pushes, and my baby was out. She came out with one arm up like superwomen which caused me to tear but she was out, she was out and had come out naturally!

I often get asked what was harder, a c-section or a natural labour? I say they were both painful but I would choose natural every time. The pain of labour is horrendous but it’s a pain I would strangely like to experience again. I am so proud of myself for not only coping with my premature son mainly on my own but to then go through and fight hard to have a natural birth. 

I want other mothers who read this to know that they can do it. Whether your alone, you have had a traumatic birthing experience or are just terrified about the concept of child birth. We are women, we are strong and we cope. We may need a bit of assistance along the way but we are incredible human beings and we should all be proud of ourselves!

As a VBAC mum myself, I loved reading Kelly's second birth story. After everything she went through with her son's birth I know how much it would have meant to have a positive birth experience this time.

You can read more beautiful birth stories here.

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