Amanda's VBAC Story

Amanda's VBAC

My obstetric history is by no means unusual, my first pregnancy progressed well although I did have glucose in urine on quite a few occasions but had a tolerance test which came out ok. Labour was induced at 10 days over and I eventually had an emergency Caesarean on day 13 when I had "failed to progress" further than 9cms. Emily Louise was born weighing in at 9lbs 5ozs. From this point I was informed by most medical staff that if I was to have more children then I would of course be having an elective Caesarean, this put me off as I didn't recover well from the first, until I read about "VBAC". Now 6 years later I have just given birth to Lucy Victoria, although I got my VBAC it wasn't without problems, if you are planning a VBAC because it will be easier than a c/s and recovery will be quicker then do not read my story, but if you want to feel a baby being born the way it was supposed to be and you want to feel your body doing this wonderous thing called labour then yes, VBAC will be for you.

My community midwife was never anything but supportive. I had told her about my first birth as there was nothing in writing as I had delivered in Germany (Forces). I knew the problem was to do with my baby's size, a maternity nurse had told me this afterwards as Emily had "got stuck" she had told me this in broken English. Because of the C/S I was under the consultant and attended my first appointment at 24wks. I told the registrar of my concerns about baby's size as again I showed glucose in urine regulary throughout this pregnancy also. He booked me for a scan at 34wks to estimate the size and to talk about options available to me then.

At 34 wks I met my consultant, I had my scan which estimated my babies size at 6lbs 10ozs. My consultant told me this was only borderline large, and the size of the baby was not really the issue as the estimation could be as much as 15% out. I had asked if I could be induced at 39 wks to give me the best chance of a vaginal birth with a smaller baby. I was told in no uncertain terms that because of my scar the only way I could try for a VBAC was if I spontanesly laboured as I was far too high risk for inducement and anyway who would want to be induced at 39 wks anyway? I had got really upset as he had indicated that I really should consider and elective caesarean section and he was quite prepared to do this at 39 weeks if I wanted. I went home very upset as at no point had anybody had indicated that I was such a high risk. That night I hit the internet and found some very interesting facts from a web site called "Radical Midwives" which then lead me to the VBAC information and support and on to Linda Hinchliffe whom I telephoned and had a wonderful chat with, she also sent me loads of information, the name of the Radical Midwife for my area and her own personal story. This gave me the confidence to carry on with my own VBAC as I was on the verge of saying to hell with it and just do the caesarean and get it over with. Why on earth should I want to put myself through this stress when there was such an easy way out? I also called my community midwife who came for a home visit and went through the options again.

At 36 wks I went back to see my consultant, this time armed with reports, tables, statistics and a lot of confidence! I told him he had treated me like a walking scar and that the information he had given me was misleading. We managed to thrash out a compromise, he was not willing to discuss the issue of babies size and my worries on this issue as he said it was not relevant but let me have membrane sweeps and as long as I spontaneous laboured I had a reasonable chance. I wasn't happy as I didn't spontaneous labour first time, drip and gel had also failed, only ARM had worked. I could however try raspberry leaf, sex, and any other remedies within reason. At least I had got something. At 37 wks I began having contractions, 5 - 7 mins apart, I went up to the hospital to have them checked out, and yes, I was 1-2cms but was sent home as it was latent first stage and could go on for hours. Infact it went on and off for 4wks.

At 38 wks I saw the consultant, still in a lot of discomfort, no change. See you again at 40wks.

Before I attended my consultant appointment I telephoned the consultant unit to ask for advice on what was likely to be discussed at the next appointment and could I ask for a membrane sweep and what it entails etc. Sadly the midwife I spoke to wasn't at all cooperative and told me in no uncertain terms to attend the appointment and it would all be explained there. I then telephoned the midwife Linda Hinchliffe had recommended, who rang me back that evening and went through everything and explained in detail.

At 40+3 wks I saw the midwife at the consultant unit and asked for a membrane sweep, she wasn't convinced it would do any good until closer to 41wks but I persisted, she did it and also booked me in for another sweep at 41wks and an inducement at 41+3 days. It was all happening exactly the same as first time, and all I could see was caesarean. I spent a day sobbing, I knew I wasn't going to spontaneous labour.

At 41 wks I went back to the hosp to have membranes swept again, although my contractions had increased in intensity they were still only 7-10 mins apart and would fade away. My membranes were swept again and I was left on the fetal monitor for half an hour just for precaution. It was here that I felt rather damp below, and on checking I had left a rather large damp patch, but it could not be decided if my waters had been broken or just grazed. I couldn't now go back home so I was admitted to the ward to be checked again in the morning. I had a more uncomfortable night as my contractions were significantly more intense but I still did not think my waters were broken.

The next morning I met the consultant on duty, she asked me what I wanted to do, so I told her I wanted my waters broken and see if that set me off in established labour. She agreed and booked me in for 10.30am. No problems.

My waters were broken at 10.30am where miconium was found, and within an hour or so I was in established labour with TENS attached.

I am afraid time is sort of hazy but it was around 12-1pm that the pain got really intense and I tried the gas & air. It made me sick but I carried on using it with Marilyn Manson & Linkin Park on the MP3 player (we had brought in). By 2pm ish I needed something else and wanted an epidural. However, on checking I was 8-9cms dilated and my midwife Julie thought it would not be a good idea as I didn't have long to go, but I could have Pethidine. I did and I was sick again!! 4pm and pain was now getting unbearable and I again asked for an epidural. I was checked again and I was still 9cms, but my new midwife Donna went to ask about one. Unfortunately the anaesthetist was in theatre and would be at least 45mins but would come to me next

At 5pm I was ready to push, but I had a rim of cervix, and the baby was unable to come down. I couldn't stop the urge to push and was sick again. The consultant came to check me and found that when I did push the rim of cervix did go and baby was able to come down and she said she wanted to try and pull her out with a ventouse in theatre and if that failed I was set up for a caesarean. By now I had been pushing for over an hour and was completely knackered. I had somehow got into my head that it would be another hour of pushing in theatre. Donna told me it would be two or three pushes max, if it failed then it would be a section. I was set up in stirrups, local anaesthetics inside and around vaginal area, a theatre full of people. A midwife on each leg, one on left shoulder and hubby on right shoulder, a registrar and consultant with ventouse cap at the ready. The contraction came and I pushed for all I was worth. The consultant asked if I wanted to feel the babies head. I was expecting a bit of head but infact I stuck my finger up my babies nose as the whole head was out and facing up!! The second push and my baby was out and placed on my stomach to which we made a quick eye contact, and promptly weed on me!! We had had a little girl Lucy Victoria. Born at 18.39hrs on 19/10/03, weighing in at 9lbs 3oz.

Unfortunately Lucy didn't breath very well and was whisked away for extra help, it did improve and her breathing was fine but she was traumatised from the birth and was taken to Special Care Baby Unit. It took 45mins to sew me up, followed by 3 hrs in recovery on a syntocin drip as my uterus was not contracting down as it should.

I got to see Lucy in her incubator at about 10pm where I found out she had a fractured clavicle, shoulder dystocia, left arm palsy and a sore and swollen head. Although she had weed on me at delivery, she had not weed for first night so was being treated for renal failure also. I had a major tear and episiotomy. After visiting Lucy in Special Baby care I returned to the ward (in a wheel chair) and tried to get to sleep, it was about 11.30pm. The pain in my right bum cheek was immense so I called the midwife to ask about some more pain relief, she came and checked me out and told me she was going to call the doctor as the bruising and swelling was pretty severe. The pain relief did not work, the pain was more intense and still no doctor at 12.30am. I called the midwife on at least 2 more occasions, finally I had to put my TENS machine on my bum cheek and I was clawing the walls! Doctor came at about 01.30am and I was taken back into labour ward to be checked. I was seen by the duty consultant who advised conservative treatment which was to "wait and see". He didn't want to open everything back up unless it was absolutely necessary. I got a pethidine injection and was asleep by 02.15am and wheeled back to the ward. As long as the pain relief was given I was able to cope but my bum cheek was solid, black and very uncomfortable!!

Although I was able to drive my car after two weeks it has taken over 10 weeks to recover from this birth including a severe bout of anaemia. VBAC would I do it again - you bet!!! And it just goes to show you can VBAC a traumatic ventouse delivery with no problems for the scar

- By Amanda Garside.

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