Vaginal Birth After Ceasarean – it IS possible, even after 2!

Stan’s birth – a VBA2C. This story is shared with permission in the hopes that it will provide inspiration to other women who would like to VBAC. Many thanks to our wonderful client for allowing me to share it here!

My third beautiful boy, Stanley, was born on January 24th. After two caesareans I finally got the
natural delivery that I hoped for. It is hard to know where the journey started, but I should give some
quick background and say that I had my first 2 babies in Brazil, a world champion of C sections! I
have always queried the need for both (DS1 – SROM followed by induction and failure to progress at
39 weeks, DS2 – SROM at 37 weeks followed by doctor could not wait and you already had one CS –
seriously!). I was determined and confident that with number 3 it would be different; especially as I
was now having my baby in the UK where natural deliveries are the norm.

How wrong could I be?? My first meeting with the registrar was literally appalling and left me crying
for a few days as he just wanted to book me for an elective caesarean and told me I wasn’t going
to be allowed a natural birth because of the risks I was putting my baby under. After a few days I
picked myself up with the help of a friend who had the most amazing home birth and started looking
for support online. I joined a couple of online support lists and started reading everything on the
subject. The turning point of my pregnancy was the decision to hire a doula to support my VBA2C
and this was indeed the best decision I could have ever made.

My wonderful doula Maddie suggested I had shared care to ensure I would definitely have someone
available during labour and introduced me to the lovely Candie, both of them were fantastic! From
that, I met the Supervisor of Midwives at my local hospital and was surprised to find a lot more
support for my decisions. I had chiropractice sessions to ensure my pelvis was aligned, had a lot of
support from my homeopath and took HypnoBirthing lessons. Everything was coming together and I
was in the right state of mind, despite going through major endless building works at home, the only
thing that stopped me from choosing a homebirth. I prepared a detailed birthplan with the help of
my doulas and husband and felt confident.

As both my boys arrived earlier, I was very surprised when 40 weeks came and went. I started
worrying about getting to 42 weeks and having to renegotiate with consultants. I woke up on Sunday
(40+5) and had a show, which was great and thought things are starting, yay! Sunday night my
surges were picking up on intensity and I kept breathing through them. At around 1am on Monday I
texted Candie and we thought it was time to go in. I was checked at 3am by the most lovely Midwife
who established I was 3cm and with irregular contractions but they were doing the work and she
was happy for me to keep going and agreed to check me later, promising I could go to the pool when
4 cm and have the water birth I so hoped for. She gave me a TENS machine to help with the pain on
my back which really helped, while Candie helped by holding and slightly squeezing my hips.
Unfortunately it was end of her shift and the new midwife looked at me breathing through my
irregular surges and decided I wasn’t in established labour and should just go home without
checking for any progress. I was upset about going home and having to labour with all the builders
and noise around and also trying to deal with the fact that despite having really strong surges I was
apparently not in labour, so would I be able to cope when real labour started? Could they be a lot
more painful than what I was feeling? Although I could cope with the tightenings, my lower back was
in agony. Monday night came and I was still having really irregular contractions, some horrendous
others mild, sometimes 10 minutes apart then 3 minutes, so I kept telling myself I am not in labour
but really thinking I can’t cope any longer. The only comfortable positions were sitting on the loo or
on the birthing ball. At one stage I was sitting on the loo with a blanket and a travel pillow, sending
messages to friends and the online support group asking for reassurance. In hindsight this was
transition and the end was very near, but little did I know.

All of a sudden I noticed the contractionshad changed
and my body was pushing! Still in completely irregular fashion… Then my waters went.

I called my doula and the hospital and God knows how we made it there. With every surge I had
to go on all fours in the hallway leaving the house and in the car. My poor husband was wonderful
getting me there. We arrived at the hospital just past 11pm (I think… it is a bit of a blur). The new
midwife established I was 10 cm and happy for me to keep pushing. I held onto the upright head of
the bed and with each surge I could feel my baby coming to me. My doula Maddie and my hubby
kept coaching me through the surges, all was progressing well. Then a registrar came in to ask a lot
of questions about previous CS and scar pain and we need to put a cannula, and Maddie dealt with
all that. Unbelievably it turned out they had misplaced my birth plan, so I had a clueless MW and
registrar insisting on all the things we had already negotiated and there I was pushing my baby out!
Then baby’s heartbeat started slowing down at the end of contractions and the registrar asked me
to sit on the bed and put my legs on stirrups so she could help out. I seriously panicked and said I
wanted to have one more goal of doing it myself. All I remember was Maddie saying in my
ear: “don’t be scared, push through the fear, really go for it” and then looking my hubby in the eyes
and holding his hand tight and he said: “come on babe, you can do this, push him out” and with the
next contraction I pushed with my body, heart and soul and spoke to my baby to come to me and his
head was out! I touched his little head and felt really empowered. The cord was around his neck so
the midwife asked me to pant while she freed him. The rest felt so easy and surreal, I birthed the
rest of his body and my baby was there in my arms. We had skin to skin and waited for the cord to
stop pulsating before my hubby cut it. Then I just sat there drooling over my newborn while the
midwife was getting worried about my lack of contractions to birth the placenta. After sometime she
just asked to have a look and it turned out it had already detached and it was all out and I hadn’t
even felt it. My beautiful Stanley was born at 12:15 am, just about one hour after we arrived at the
hospital, weighing 7lb 12oz (3,510kg) at exactly 41 weeks.

Due to the speedy super pushing, I ended up with a second degree tear, which needed stitching
unfortunately, instead of my planned breathing baby out calmly. I didn’t get everything I asked for
in my birthplan and I definitely did not have a textbook labour. I should have trusted my body a lot
more and I am very thankful for my doula who coached and supported me and briefed the staff
when it became clear they had lost my birthplan. Also my hubby who believed in me when I needed
support. I still can’t quite believe I did it, I had my VBA2C! I hope my experience helps other women
out there who want the same. Surround yourself with supporting people and trust your body. I am
thrilled with the output and totally in love with my beautiful baby.

Maddie Headshot 2020