Birth story - Jolande and baby Jönah
As a woman planning not only a VBAC but a HBAC, my hospital had already made it clear that although they would support me they didn’t necessarily agree with my decision and so I went out and found resources to empower me through my pregnancy.
I’d heard of the positive birth company through Louise Pentland’s YouTube channel and I instantly knew it was a company I needed in my life.
I practically signed up straight away and by April I attended one of Siobhan’s courses in Birmingham.
I left with so much knowledge under my belt and the techniques I learned through the course were amazing and so at least once a day I would practice my breathing and listen to my affirmations and guided meditations.
I went through the rest of my pregnancy feeling like an absolute boss! But for some reason As the weeks drew closer I could feel my anxiety levels rising!
I wanted to give my body and baby the best chance of having a successful VBAC / home birth and already knew the odds were stacked up against me because of my previous c-section and medical history so I went about doing what most pregnant women do when anxiety about the birth strikes!
You name it, I did it:
Exercises using the birthing ball
Robozo sifting (my mom is a doula)
Forward leaning inversions
Raspberry leaf tea
Evening primrose oil
Stretch & Sweeps at the local birth centre
It was clear to see I was acting like a women possessed. Maybe it was because after using my B.R.A.I.N, I decided that I wouldn’t go passed 42 weeks and so an induction was scheduled for me at 42 weeks on the dot. Knowing that there was an ‘end date’ made me want to encourage things to happen on their own rather than go ahead with my induction which I knew could lead to further interventions.
On the night before my induction there was a shift inside me. My anxiety had decreased and I felt at peace with everything.
I said to myself right there and then that what will be will be and went to bed listening to my affirmations feeling the most relaxed I had felt in a very long time.
I went in for my induction and as per usual nothing ever happens on time and my Foley catheter wasn’t inserted until 7pm. I settled down for the night and felt l was having regular tightenings but thought nothing of it and went to bed.
The next morning I woke up and I was still having these tightening 10 minutes apart but they hadn’t increased in intensity so I went about my day walking around the hospital grounds keeping as mobile as possibly. If I wasn’t walking or climbing stairs I was rotating my hips on my birth ball. I even made sure to pack the electric pump so that my knees were always lower than my hips.
Later that day the consultant came to see me to check how I was feeling. I told him about the regular tightenings and he said it was a good sign. He then went on to say that he didn’t feel confident that he would be following through with the rest of the induction unless I was ‘favourable’, when I asked him what that meant he said that baby needed to be head down and my cervix needed to be open enough for them to break my waters and it needed to be soft.
Weeeeeeell that was it! I was for sure thinking his assessment would be fine because the midwife said that baby was really low the day before and whilst I was having the foley inserted the doctor said my cervix was very soft and starting to come forward.
3 hours after our initial conversation the consultant came back to remove the Foley catheter and examine me.
After 3 minutes he said that baby was not engaged what so ever and that his head was free, he also said that although my cervix was now 1cm dilated, thinned and very soft he was not going to go ahead with the rest of the induction because he felt the babies head wasn’t engaged which could make things difficult during labour, he said I had two options: 1. C-section in the morning or 2. Speak to another consultant.
I decided to speak to another consultant in the morning. I just knew my own body and I knew my baby’s head was very engaged from what I was feeling in my pelvic area. When it came down to the crunch I think the consultant wasn’t very pro-VBAC and didn’t like the potential risks associated with going forward.
The next morning I spoke with a new consultant who was lovely. She examined me and said that I was still just over 1cm dilated she also said that baby was really low down!!!! (Funny that!)
She signed off the prescription for syntocinon and it was just a case of waiting for enough staff to be free in order to begin the next stages of my induction.
In the mean time my husband came to visit me along with my little boy Jaxon and my mom as it was my birthday!!! Not only did baby change from a Cancer to a Leo but there was also the very real possibility that we’d now share birthdays!
Once we said our goodbyes I walked around the hospital grounds again to help things along. I also had my bloody show and lost my mucus plug which scared the hell out of me as I’d never had them with my first! I knew my body was making positive changes!!
It got to about 3pm and my body was telling me to rest so that’s exactly what I did. I was then woken by a midwife at around 7pm who said it was time!!!
I moved myself and my things into my new room, the room I wouldn’t be leaving till I had my baby in my arms and it felt so surreal.
I set up my diffuser with clary sage, geranium and lavender oils, I hung up my little pack of positivity affirmation cards using peg fairy lights and I played my music and guided meditations through my sensory speakers! It was heaven!!!!
A few short moments later I had my waters broken and I was then encouraged to move around so in between surges which were getting a little intense I would walk, away and breathe really slowly and rhythmically.
After about 3 hours the surges had ramped up. I was now using gas and air along with my hypnobirthing techniques. I was checked and was found to be 2cm. I was a little disheartened but at the same time I was overjoyed! I’d never got this far before, so I kept going!
I decided I wouldn’t hold off on pain relief if I thought I needed it. I wanted to stay in control so I asked for an epidural. It worked almost instantly I was able to labour calmly and peacefully for an hour or so until the pains started to come back?!
I was so confused! So was the anaesthesiologist! The decision was made to call another anaesthesiologist in to take out my epidural and replace it with another one. Each minute I waited I tried my best to breathe! Inside I was screaming but on the outside according to my husband I was going through the surges in a somewhat controlled manner, breathing, mooing and ahhhhing along.
After the second epidural went in, everyone in the room relaxed lol! My midwives and the on call OB were all on my side and knew how much I wanted this VBAC so despite me almost giving up a couple of times (I even signed consent forms for a section) they all encouraged me to stick with it.
The one affirmation that stuck out for me was “Each surge brings me closer to meeting my baby” I truly felt that this was the case my midwife Julie would repeat it to me over and over.
I was checked again and was still ‘only’ 2cm so it was at this point that the syntocinon drip was started. I was able to rest and sleep in between getting uncomfortable but not unbearable surges.
At around 7am I started to feel different. Restless and achy. I literally felt like I needed to go to the toilet for a number 2. I told the midwife with me at the time but because I’d felt this kind of sensation before no one was concerned.
Julie came in to see how I was getting on and as soon as she looked at me it was like she knew something was happening. She checked me and she looked me square in the face and I knew something was happening! I said to her “what? What is it? What’s happening?” And she said Jolande you’re fully dilated!
OMG there were tears everywhere! I was overjoyed, scared, happy I didn’t know what to do but all I knew is that even with being attached to monitors I wanted to be up on my knees leaning forward over the back of the bed. UFO right?!
Baby didn’t like that though and so I had to move back on to my back because of the decelerations.
I’d sent my husband Jon home to nap as I was convinced things were going to go on for some time. He was so confused when I called him back but he made it.
The OB came in, a lovely Dr named Emanuel and another midwife called Lydia. He said it was time to get baby out as he was in slightly the wrong position and that he would help turn him as I pushed. I needed to push and if I couldn’t push he’d need to assist with a ventouse or failing that a c-section.
I knew in my heart I didn’t make it this far to end up in theatre and I know if my baby’s heart rate wasn’t an issue I’d have been allowed to breathe him out. But that wasn’t the case so I pushed like I’d never pushed before (literally).
With each push I could feel my baby coming down and out and literally moments later he was born and was placed on my chest!
I could not believe it! We all cried! Me, my husband, the midwives and the baby.
My sweet baby boy Jönah Mason Spear born at 08:03am on 5th August 2018 weighing 8lb 6oz!
I actually did it!!!
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