My elde st daughter was born in 2013 by elective caesarean.
When my husband and I fell pregnant with our second daughter in August of 2015, we decided that we wanted to experience birth in a much more natural way. Our first experience with child birth was rushed, clinical and very impersonal.
I started with my research on what is called a Vbac (vaginal birth after caesarean). This is not a birthing choice supported by many gynaecologists which eventually led us to Midwives Exclusive.
Esti, the midwife we met with, explained that Midwives Exclusive’s objective was to support you in writing your own birth story and so the journey began.
When attempting vaginal birth after a caesarean, epidural is not an option. Scary right? But I was ready to do this thing, to take control and to feel like my husband and I had a say in how things happened concerning our daughter’s birth. With the birth of our first daughter, we felt that we were bullied into things we did not know enough about, to question.
I went for regular check-ups with Esti from Midwives Exclusive at Femina hospital as well as with Dr de Gouveia, a gynaecologist who supports vbac’s. From beginning to end we felt acknowledged, supported and comfortable with both our midwife and our gynaecologist. We also had a chance to look at the two birthing rooms at Femina beforehand so we knew what to expect. This was important for me as I need to prepare myself as best I can for big events like this.
As we came closer to our due date, Dr de Gouveia informed us that our little girl was growing fast. Vbacs are usually not allowed with babies over 4kg but everybody was confident and we stayed the course.
38 weeks came and went, 39 weeks came and went, 40 weeks came and went…….. In week 40 we visited our gynaecologist who assured us that mommy and baby were healthy and that we could hold on for another week before we needed to start thinking about alternatives. In my 41st week we visited Esti again and we had to start talking about inducing me (not an option) or alternatively, another caesarean. My husband and I decided that we would hold off on intervention until the very last minute and then settle for another caesarean if it came to that.
We were so discouraged because we had invested so much in this process and we really wanted this baby girl to come on her own. That Friday evening, just before I would reach my 42 week mark on the Saturday, contractions started. We had friends over who didn’t want to leave because they wanted so much to be part of the action. Eventually they left and so began a night of contractions resulting in no sleep at all. At 4 o’clock I sent Esti a message telling her that my contractions were becoming longer and closer together but we were not quite there yet. At 6 o’clock a sent her another message saying that I need whatever drugs she had, now! She told me to come to the hospital. Granny came and watched our eldest and so we were off to Femina. Esti met us there and showed us to our birthing room. Everything was prepared beautifully. There was a big warm bath surrounded by candles waiting for me. We could even bring our own music so DJ daddy set up the laptop and the wait began…….
Esti sat with us and talked us through everything. The atmosphere was so calm and relaxed. Even though I was in a lot of pain, I felt comfortable and safe.
Contractions intensified and if it wasn’t for my husband holding my hand, pressing on my lower back to relieve the pain and cheering me on, I would probably not have made it through, but at 13:45 on Saturday the 18th of May 2016, after an intense few hours, a beautiful baby girl named Annemieke Zoè Fourie, made her appearance at a whopping 4.9kg and 57cm.
It was an intense experience and I am fairly certain my third child will be adopted, but because of the support, guidance and freedom that Esti, Heather and the rest of the Midwives team provided, this was the best, worst experience of my life. I look back on it proudly, with no regrets and a lot of gratitude.