My Home Birth After 2 Caesareans
This is my story… it’s a documentary, a comedy, my love story.
I am excited to tell you about the birth of our last born Nathan, as this has been such a spiritual journey for me. I have two other birth stories that began this journey for me, but that will be for another day as I want to tell you the good news first.
Let’s start at the beginning, the start of life. In October of 2014 Danie and I decided that we will make a promise to each other to marry in 2015. I got the most beautiful ring and proudly wore it for the world to see. And on the 3rd of November I found out that we have created a life. I gasped when those words appeared on the Clearblue stick and just started crying uncontrollably. I knew he always said that he doesn’t worry how I tell him, but please to not tell him over a phone. We still joke about it, as the first thing I did was pick up the phone to tell him. He, of course, thought I was making a joke, but as soon as he got home and saw those words, his smile lit up the room. That very same day I sent a message to a midwife I learned about on Facebook. I knew it was still so early, but the excitement overwhelmed me. Yolande Maritz replied the same day and from the get go I felt safe with her. She is such a positive person and I knew she wanted to help me make my dream of a VBA2C (Vaginal Birth After 2 Caesareans) a reality. Yes, some doctor’s “allow” for a trial of labor, just to see how your body reacts when you dilate, but those doctor’s still see the birth as a medical event, I needed someone to see this birth as a spiritual event- Yolande.
We made the first appointment with her in December and decided to travel from Clarens, where we were on vacation, to Bloemfontein. Yes, I forgot to mention that even though we stay in Pretoria and Yolande in Bloemfontein (4.5 hours drive), I still needed her to assist in the birth of our baby. The fact that she was very relaxed with the idea of a VBAC was the deciding factor. We got to hear our baby’s heartbeat and I can still remember the tears filling Danie’s eyes, he was so proud. We got to meet her and Danie (who wasn’t too keen on the whole idea of driving that far or the idea of a water birth) then became so excited about the idea. He learned at that appointment that he will be the one who catches his own baby, he will be the one who cut’s the cord and he will be allowed to hold his baby against his chest for heat. He loved the idea and so did I…
Just two weeks after our first sonogram, we got a scare, I woke one morning and without checking, I turned to Danie and told him there’s something wrong, as I was bleeding. I didn’t even want to get out of bed, as I was scared the baby was on his way out. Only someone who has endured a miscarriage will understand those scary moments. We went to the labor ward at the Kloof Mediclinic close to us, as my Obstetrician was practicing there. She did a sonogram and to our amazement, the baby was fine. I had a urinary tract infection and as soon as that cleared we relaxed again.
I never intended to see her for the birth of our baby, but because she helped and did the Down’s screen, we still saw her for a couple of appointments after. The due date was set for the 19th of July and we were set and the boot of my car packed for the 5th of July when we would leave for Bloem and await the arrival of our son. He had other ideas though…
On the 25th of June 2015 I woke up with two mild contractions, I knew they weren’t Braxton hicks, as they moved around to my back. I remember telling Danie that IF Nathan was to come today, will we be ready? He just grinned and said that he will come when he’s ready. I didn’t feel well that morning, had a newly developed cough and sore throat and after I dropped the kids off at school, made an appointment to see my GP. After I had seen her I felt worse with body aches and a high fever. I still went to work, but after an hour there, I decided to fill my prescription, fetch the kids from school early and head home. I had an hour nap and after my fever broke the first time decided to bond with my unborn baby. I felt sorry for him being in this fever home of his, worried that he also felt unwell. Danie was still at work and at 6 that evening I decided to take a hot bath to break my fever again. My daughter was such a darling, she brought me water and rubbed my forehead. After Danie came home, I sent him and my son to get pizzas, as I was just not up to cooking and it was already half past 6. I climbed out of the bath and as soon as I had dried myself, I wet myself again… I can now laugh at the irony, but that was my water breaking. It wasn’t much because I imagined a waterfall. The first thing I remember thinking was, really? Why now? I feel terrible! I called Danie and as soon as I told him what had happened he again though I was joking. He left the pizza and headed home, my mom was called to come and fetch the kids and we quickly packed all the remaining things we might need. I then called Yolande to tell her that we are on our way. She was relaxed, so I was too.
I can vaguely remember the trip to Bloem, just because I think I was more focused on relaxing and when my contractions will start. They did start soon enough, within 45 minutes of our trip and just when we reached Roodepoort on our trip. They were still far from painful and only 10-15 minutes apart, but it was a good sign, baby was making plans to come out. We stopped at an Engen one stop on the N1, as I desperately needed to empty my bladder and as I got out of the car ALL the water came out. Danie’s face was utter shock and mine most probably that of embarrassment. I wore boots and as I walked through the front shop to get to the toilet a water trail followed and my boots squeaked from all the water. Luckily it was night and not too busy, or I would have had to explain what had happened to everyone there. We now laugh about it, as the waterfall literally opened as I got out of the car, squishy and wet clothes and winter surely made the fever better. At 9 o’clock, we reached the Vaal Plaza and the contractions started picking up. By 10 O’clock I started having some painful ones, not excruciating, but enough for me to focus into them. All the way we were driving, Yolande kept in touch. She asked how I was feeling and kept reassuring me. By the time we reached Kroonstad, they came in regular intervals of between 5 and 6 minutes. At Winburg, they were 3-4 minutes apart and at the Verkeerdevlei Tollgate 2-3 minutes apart. Danie was calm all the way, but when they came in intervals of 2-3 minutes he put foot and drove at speeds exceeding 180km/h. I never knew my Jazz could get that speed, neither did I think I would be so calm about it. That last 20 minutes went by so fast and at 11:30, as we entered the off-ramp in Bloem, we called Yolande, who was ecstatic about our arrival. I thought Nathan was about to crown, but after an internal exam I was only 3cm’s! I sat on a bouncy ball and soon enough the waves came one after the other. After 30 minutes, I was 5cm. At 6cm’s I got in the birth pool but, unfortunately, the relief I was dreaming about never came. Didn’t you also imagine that getting into water of 40 degrees would instantly take away all the pain? Well, that, unfortunately, doesn’t happen, but I must add that being in that buoyancy of the water relieves some of the pressure. I don’t remember much of what was going on around me, I tried focusing on items in the room to take some of the pain, but, unfortunately, I had back labor and plenty of it. I would constantly change position and that did help Nathan turn from posterior in labor to anterior at birth.
At 2 am I was 9cms and almost ready to push, but how do you push when you have a fever and the flu? 03:30 was d-time, but I just couldn’t get the hang of this whole pushing thing. Danie got into the bath and I used the poor man as my support. I pulled, I pushed, I changed my positions often, and as I struggled and didn’t get him past my pelvic bone, my midwife suggested I feel where he is at so that I could direct my pushing. That helped tremendously and I was pleasantly surprised to feel he was so low. I could feel his hair and scull and it was an amazing feeling. I got onto all fours in the water, well all three, as I was feeling where to push, remember? and gave it my all. My husband, midwife, doula and birth photographer were focused in on me. I can remember the photographer (Desi) mention to Yolande ( midwife) that she also feels she now needs to push for me and smiling my way. I wish someone would take this duty from me because I felt after half an hour I could no longer do this, it was just too exhausting. The back labor was terrible, I couldn’t even feel contractions on my tummy, only this terrible, back-breaking pain. At 3:50 am my midwife mentioned that we will need to get him out with the next few pushes or she will have to help me with forceps. She didn’t mention anything, but I think his heartrate was dipping a bit. She gave me until 4 am. I remember Danie telling me that there is no need to get out of the bath, as we are having the baby here, I just need to push harder. He now jokes and says he had driven over 400km’s to catch his own son, he wasn’t letting me out of the bath. That encouragement certainly helped a lot, as our 3.09kg, 51cm baby boy was born at 04:10am. I can’t really remember him being born or that I even felt a “ring of fire”, but oh boy, once he was out my body felt amazing! Danie caught his own son under the water, held him for a few seconds and handed him to me. I can remember his squishy face covered in vernix. He was so sticky and so small… but little did I realize I just gave birth to him. I think Yolande could see my confusion and exclaimed, YOU DID IT! Wow, I had really done it, something many doctors told me I would never be able to do, I DID! We cuddled in the tub for about ten minutes, where Yolande clamped the cord and had Danie cut it. Nathan was taken to the bed for skin to skin with daddy and I got to deliver the placenta. For 24 hours after his birth, I couldn’t sleep, all I could do was stare at this perfect baby, what an amazing, supernatural high!