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The Birth of Madeline

I dreamt of my VBAC and it didn’t work out that way.

Despite the turn it took, I’ve never felt more connected to my body and it was a powerful POWERFUL feeling.

I was in early labour for a couple days (from the Thursday). On the Sunday the hospital called me and said the OB on call read my file and wanted me to come in for monitoring as I’m a VBAC.

They had me hooked on the CTG for about half an hour and there was one single deceleration. The OB came in with the scare tactics ‘probably a big baby’ ‘that decel is not a good sign’ ‘you should stay in’ etc. I insisted on going home once they were happy with the CTG (the midwife really advocated for me to labour at home). The OB told me I needed to come back later the same day or at the latest the next day to be monitored again.

We headed home, I had a shower and retreated into our room. During the entire time at the hospital (ended up being about 2 hours) I had about 3 surges.

As soon as we got in the car to go home I started having them quickly and more intense than ever. We were home for all of 2 hours before heading back to the hospital as they were very quickly 2 minutes apart and lasting well over a minute. Pretty intense.

We packed up and headed out. I was heartbroken to say goodbye to Jack, our toddler, I knew it would be the last time I see him as my little baby and when we got home he would be a big brother.

We stopped at the servo on the way to get Chris some red bulls.

When we arrived at the hospital we immediately starting setting up the room. We turned off the lights and shut the blinds and set up the battery operated candles. Chris got tape from the front desk and stuck up my affirmations. He also got our friends and family to send little videos of encouragement and made a compilation video for me. I bawled my eyes out watching it and then immediately starting having intense surges.

I declined a cervical check when we arrived and made a plan with the midwife of when to do them as it’s something I absolutely didn’t want forced on me. It took a while to get the CTG sorted so I laid on my side in bed mostly. After a while the surges came back to back and more intense so I hopped in the shower, on the ground leaning over the ball with all the shower heads on my back. Chris was rubbing my back and hair (like an angel). I used the acupressure comb in my hand and had the TENS machine on my lower back for the large majority of the time. The comb was sooo helpful. I had Hypnobirthing tracks playing.

After 8 hours of back to back surges I started to lose control, I started to vocalise and cry through the surges and started to feel hopeless.

I thought for SURE I was in transition and that I would be meeting our daughter soon. The OB came in to check on me and I consented to a check on the basis she wouldn’t tell me how dilated I was. She spoke to Chris as I was not in a space for conversation at that time and they offered me an epidural.

I agreed to it and trusted Chris. The thought of any more surges made me cry. I was so defeated but also wanted to keep going so badly. The OB called Chris out of the room and she told him how dilated I was (after 8 hours of back to back INTENSE surges). He was worried. They offered to artificially release my waters. I agreed as long as I had the opportunity to continue labouring.

The fluid was meconium stained and her heart rate dramatically dropped as soon as the ARM was done. It went from a gallop to the most sluggish slow thump. It sounded awful. We immediately went for a c section. I knew it was the right thing to do and I cried on the table and all the way down to the theatre.

I listened to my tracks in headphones on the way to try and calm down. I felt like a failure and was so worried about my girl. From the c section call to meeting her was all of 30 minutes. I didn’t get skin to skin immediately, they took her to be checked over and cleaned her off as she was covered in meconium. I was so confused and I remember saying ‘why aren’t I holding her why is she over there this isn’t supposed to happen’.

They put her on my chest when the paed cleared her (it felt like a lifetime but was probably only 1-2 minutes). She nuzzled in against my face and immediately went to sleep. I’ll never forget that. Chris was crying.

When they were suturing me up Chris was holding her and the look on his face was pure love. They were just staring at each other, meeting for the first time but like they knew each other so well. It was really beautiful.

Her first feed was soon afterwards and she snuggled in and fed perfectly. The rest is so hazy but my recovery has been soooo much better and I feel so capable.

I’m heartbroken I’ll never get to have a VBAC like I always dreamt but she is here and safe and I know I did everything I could in the circumstances I was given. For the most part I was positive and excited and just so ready to meet my girl. I was 41 weeks and booked in to see the OB and have the conversation about some form of induction just 3 days later.

The OB on call (not my chosen OB) has a reputation for c sections and my heart sank as soon as I knew she was on. Chris advocated so much for me when I couldn’t speak and told her under no circumstances except absolutely necessary would I agree to it and he didn’t want to hear anything about it. I didn’t get to have my OB that I had planned the entire time. I’m so thankful for my midwives, they were sooo incredible.

I feel like this birth did heal a lot of the trauma from Jack’s birth even though it ended the same way. I’m so glad I did everything I could. I’m proud of myself and my girl. I know in my heart I made the right call even though it makes me sad.

I went into birth calm and confident and without an ounce of fear and I have Jess to thank for that.

We’ve spent the last two weeks in a total love bubble, adjusting to our new life. It feels so right like Madeline’s always been here. 🤍💗

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