Mother of two Louise talks about having a vaginal birth, after her first birth by caesarean.
My vaginal birth after caesarean
‘I had needed a caesarean for my first birth because my baby was breech – where baby’s head is up in the womb, instead of being down. My recovery was painful, and I struggled with feelings of failure and disappointment.
‘My second baby was a real surprise but a total blessing. I happily chose the same public hospital where I had my caesarean, because the staff had been amazing. For both my babies, a midwife was assigned to me at the start of my pregnancy. She supported me and checked my baby right through to the few weeks after birth.
‘I wasn’t fazed about the idea of having a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). In fact, I was so looking forward to it that I didn’t let fear enter my mind! The hospital was very much in favour of vaginal birth, and there was no reason why I couldn’t try to have a VBAC.
‘The doctor explained at my 30-week appointment that if there were complications, like if my labour went too long, I might need to have a caesarean, because a long labour would put me at higher risk of the scar in my uterus tearing. As with my first birth, I decided to trust the medical staff and accept that I might not be able to give birth vaginally.
‘Despite what the doctor had said, I ended up labouring for more than 30 hours and still had a VBAC! Even though I was being monitored, there was a moment during labour when I started to panic a bit. My partner and I had done a calm birthing course during my first pregnancy, so I used the techniques and just focused on having the baby. I had gas and pethidine, and there were no complications or vaginal tearing.
‘It was a bit of a shock to have to go home the day after the birth.
‘My friends told me that breastfeeding would be easier after a vaginal birth than a caesarean. It was still painful, but not for as long.
‘Emotionally and psychologically, everything was easier the second time around. My son was even born on his due date! My recovery was quick – about four weeks. I think my son’s birth released all the feelings from my first birth and became part of the healing process.’
I now realise that there is no ‘right’ way to give birth. My focus is on my beautiful children – not how they were born. There is so much pressure that surrounds the birth process and so many opinions that at times a mum can become overwhelmed. I found it best to trust in my body and trust the medical staff to guide me in the right direction.