Sarah's caesarean and VBAC

Sarah describes the slow labour that lead to the caesarean birth of her son, and the VBAC birth of her daughter that followed a much shorter labour.

Al's birth

The labour for my first child was a long and difficult affair. I am rhesus negative and so had to be alert to any bleeding, so when I had a 'show' on the Friday morning (a day before my due date), I went to hospital for advice and was told all was well. It was during Friday night and Saturday, that I began to have some mild contractions. Strong enough just to disrupt my sleep!

On Saturday night my waters burst, so I went back into hospital to be checked. Again I was told that all was well, but that my cervix had not begun to dilate, but was effaced (I should have guessed at this point that things were not going to be easy). I returned home, the pains continued off and on that night, and through Sunday. By Sunday night I felt stressed and exhausted.

I returned to hospital late Sunday night and decided to stay in on the antenatal ward, as I was not yet dilated. I managed a couple of hours sleep that night. The contractions became stronger on Monday, but were still irregular. Finally by Monday teatime I was examined and told that I was 6 centimetres. I was admitted to the delivery suite only to be told that I was 3 centimetres.

By late Monday night the midwives were talking about inducing me to speed things up. I resisted this until 10 am the next morning when I was finally 6 centimetres. I was chuffed that I had managed so far with no pain relief, but exhausted. So I then had a syntocin drip and an epidural.

By late afternoon I was still only 9 centimetres and concerns were expressed about Al, so they took a blood sample from his head to test his oxygen levels which were fine. As Al was in a slightly difficult position a doctor tried to manually turn him, now that did hurt. By 5 pm I consented to a caesarean and Al was born 15 mins later. On reflection I am happy that I had the caesarian as I don't think that Al was going to come he was a big baby 9lb 2 oz and poorly positioned.

However I believe that the caesarean made it slower for Al to feed and therefore for my milk to 'come in'. Al became dehydrated and I had to give him formula for a while and then wean him back to breast milk, which was not easy. I was so exhausted and for a combination of reasons had to stay in hospital for 8 days with Al which had its own stresses.

Anna's birth

In comparison my second labour was a walk in the park. As I had had a caesarean with Al, I had an appointment to see a doctor at 36 weeks. At this appointment this doctor was all set on inducing me on my due date which I refused. At my second appointment to discuss my delivery, I was told that I would be 'allowed' to go for 5 days over my due date, and then I would be admitted. I knew that I wouldn't consent to this, but was sure that I would go into labour by then, so I did not argue.

The doctor had told me that at the start of any contractions I must contact the hospital so I could be monitored. My contractions started Monday night (3 days after my due date), but had stopped by morning. I phoned the hospital and was told that I could stay at home until I was ready to come in. By mid afternoon the next day the contractions were every 5 minutes and continued at that rate for a few hours. By 5 pm I was ready to go to hospital and was 6 cms on arrival. I was supported throughout my labour by a fantastic midwife and student. They encouraged me to move around and would periodically monitor me for 20 mins, but would allow me to be in any position that I chose, and would hold the monitor on if necessary.

I consented to having my waters broken as they were concerned for the baby. This did not seem to make the contractions worse, but I had had a shot of diamorphine by that stage. Anna was born just before 11 pm that night and it was only when I was pushing did I really believe that I was going to have a vaginal delivery. Anna and I were home the following afternoon.

I really feel that the support from the midwives during my second labour was fabulous. They were in no doubt that I was going to have a vaginal delivery and spoke about keeping the doctors away from me!

© Sarah 2005

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