This is my story.
It has been a long and difficult journey but i found my happily ever after. For you to really understand the feelings involved, here’s a little background. I do not usually share this with people but hopefully my experience will be able to help mommies in the same position as I was.
When I was 9 years old I found out I was adopted. I was raised by an amazing and supportive family but the fact that my mother gave me away always made me feel as if I would never be good enough for anyone, even myself.
I was also raped as a child. Nobody knew I was raped until after suffering from major depression for years I finally admitted it 6 years after the incident.
When i was 16 I met Jovan. He was amazing. He was 10 years older than me but he was stable and decent and just an amazing, soft and caring person. He helped me see that I deserved love.
That was the year I got pregnant with my little girl. It was difficult because I was young and scared. But I knew nothing in this world would make me give up that baby. I was going to be a mom and I was going to give this little miracle the life she deserved.
I got married when I was 16 weeks pregnant and moved to Upington.
I went to a gynaecologist there. I was scared to let anyone see my body. The trauma came back all the time. At every single appointment the gynae would do an internal. I never asked why. After every visit I would go sit in the car and cry.
Fast forward to 40 weeks. He told me to come in on my due date at 6am! Never said why. He did a sonar and said oh baby hasn’t dropped I have a 95% chance of needing an emergency c section and that I must be at the hospital at 8. I was scared. I trusted my doctor but I was not in the least prepared for that operation. We were staying on a farm so we didnt have time to go back home and get ready and go into town again.
When i got to the hospital the sisters asked me why I didn’t shave and they laughed at me. They asked me about old scars on my arm and said I was stupid.
They took me into theatre and my husband was nowhere to be seen. They did the spinal, over and over again trying to get it right. It was so painful. They started cutting into me and my husband wasn’t there yet. They let him in just as they took my little Hailey out. They showed her to me and took her and my husband away immediately. I layed there crying while they were stitching me up. I woke up in recovery and was given my baby who had already been bathed and dressed.
It didn’t feel like she was mine. I developed major post natal depression and it was the hardest time in my life.
When Hailey was a year old we decided to start trying again. We tried, and tried and nothing came of it. After a year I went onto meds to help me ovulate. Two months later I was pregnant. And just 10 weeks later i found out my baby stopped growing at 6 weeks. My baby that I wanted so much just didnt have a heartbeat. It was a missed miscarriage and it took weeks to try to get that same gynae to give me cytotec as I just could not go through a DNC. I needed to feel it. I needed to see it. I needed to bury my baby. He just said it won’t work, my baby is dead. He said that over and over. Eventually he gave it to me. I started bleeding the same day and two days later my baby came. I got to bury my little one. It was hard but it was healing.
Two months later I was pregnant again. And that is where the journey really began. The journey to finding myself again. It was a hard first few weeks. Hoping nothing would go wrong. We were still in Upington and I promised myself to never set foot near that gynaecologist again and went to see a gp. He was so sweet and understanding. He asked if i wanted normal or c section I said no I want normal and he said ok no problem. I had never heard of Vbac being an issue until we moved to Hartenbos when i was 12 weeks pregnant. I first went to see a gynae at 15 weeks. I said i wanted a vbac and he didnt even comment but I could see by his face that wasn’t an option. I then went to see a midwife. She wasnt keen on home birth and she was sweet but I really did not think I would be able to achieve my vbac with her. I went to see another gynae and he told me if I were to have a vbac I would kill my baby as my first baby was big (she was 3.67kg) and I was overweight. I presented him with facts from ACOG and he just said oh no that can’t be right! Needless to say he never saw me again.
At 22 weeks I met Amanda Busson. We had spoken over the phone and I just knew I was in the right place. She was so pro natural and in the beginning I was not keen on a home birth as we stay in a tiny complex and I did’nt want to disturb neighbours. She made me see that it was my choice and neighbours would probably not mind because everyone loves babies. It was difficult trying to find a backup gynaecologist but we did eventually have the support from a gynae in Mosselbay. I saw Mandi for the rest of my pregnancy. At the one visit I had with the backup gynae she said a “good weight for me” was a baby of 3.5kg. Mandi said she thought more like 4.5kg. She was there for me through everything. I met her assistant (another Mandy!) And we did a birth class. I loved these ladies! And I felt comfortable and safe with them which was a first. Come 38 weeks, my baby had not engaged and mostly posterior. I had been doing exercises and scrubbing floors on my knees and bouncing on the birth ball but he just would not move down. Everyone started getting nervous and the gynae then said she did not want me going past 40 weeks. I could have probably gone to 41 if I played my cards right but baby was “big”.
I was an emotional wreck and at 39 weeks I went to see the gynae. We started talking about c section options. I felt like throwing in the towel. I tried so hard and worked so hard for what was likely to end up in a c section and I didn’t know what to do. It was 3 days before my due date and I decided that I was going to try a shot of castor oil as a last resort. My midwife was totally comfortable with it and I thought it would be much better than to have surgery! I drank it but pretty much brought it up immediately because I tried getting the taste out of my mouth with a sugar fruit cube. Not the best idea. The next morning at 6am I had a bloody show. Yay me! And from 9am my tummy wasn’t very happy with me. Not so yay… It was fine in about 2 hours.
The next day I was having back pain on and off. By 7p.m it was like cramps but in my back and my hips but nothing on my tummy. These waves were coming every 15mins but i thought it was just false labour. So I finished up all my mommy duties and went to bed. I woke up a few times to the back pain but went back to sleep. At 3a.m they started getting stronger and when i timed them they were 8mins apart. I still did not believe this was the real thing so I went back to sleep. At 5a.m on June 3rd (my due date) I woke up to a huge popping noise. I got such a fright and jumped up. I thought my uterus had ruptured and was hoping and praying it was not blood running down my legs.
It was just water.
I called Mandi with the biggest smile on my face and told her my water had broken. She told me to get some rest if I could but I was just too excited. My hubby woke up to the popping sound too and couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face. This was happening!
About half an hour later the contractions were coming about 2-3mins apart. I could not get comfortable. The back pain was killing me. My hubby started setting up the birth pool. My little girl was awake and worried about me but was very sweet and helped her daddy fill the pool. My hubby had called Mandi and said that her and our other midwife Susie, (Raven) who would be assisting us with the birth as Mandy was not back from her trip yet have to come ASAP. I was not coping anyomore and it felt like a lifetime before the pool was set up.
By 6a.m I was in the pool. It was immediate relief. I could breathe between contractions.
Our midwife team and Mandy’s daughter, Indio who would be looking after Hailey for us got to the house just past 7a.m. By then my body was pushing with every contraction.
I would lay with my ears under the water and my eyes closed. I was in another world. I was in my own space. My baby was coming. My rainbow baby would be here soon.
Sometimes between contractions I would get flash backs of the miscarriage, of the baby I lost. It was not easy but somehow I just knew everything was going to be okay. I felt at peace and so calm. I trusted my body, I trusted my birth team and I felt safe. I really do not believe this would have been the case if I were to have been in a hospital with people I didn’t know coming in and out and invading my privacy. I let me body do what it had to do.
I was most comfortable on my back in the pool. My husband supported my head and held my hand and I held onto the edge of the pool with the other hand. Mandi and Raven were so calm and relaxed and they kept telling me I was doing great. Oh how I have grown to love those ladies! A little while later Mandi told me she could see his head and that it looked like he was strawberry blonde (Just like my husband and my daughter). I was so happy. A little while later Raven asked me if I wanted to feel his head. I so badly wanted to but I just could not let go of my husband’s hand and the pool. I felt it afterwards when the contraction subsided.
Hello ring of fire!
It really was not as bad as I thought it would be. It hurt and it felt like it was carrying on for long but I just cannot describe the feeling of my baby coming out of my body. I felt like a vessel. I had carried this little life inside of me for 9 months, and now I was giving birth to him. He was such a little miracle. I can’t believe I actually did it! Mandi asked if I wanted to catch my baby and I wanted to but I needed her help. We were bringing him out of the water and Mandi said the cord was wrapped very tightly around his neck and she was struggling to get it off. All I could say was help him. It was just a few seconds and he was unwrapped and put on my chest.
I just kept repeating “my baby, my baby!” I will never forget those moments. I remember whispering to my hubby that I could not believe he came out of my vagina, we had a pretty good laugh about that! My baby was here.
We named him Caden, derived from the French word Cadeau which means miracle.
He was truly a miracle baby. He gave my reason after I felt like all was lost. He probably also never dropped until labour because his cord was very short and with it wrapped around his neck like that it was holding him back. He was a whopping 4.62kgs! He also turned from posterior to anterior and amazingly he was born with brow presentation! Brow presentation is extremely rare (the rarest presentation) and only 25% of babies who are brow can be born vaginally.
Thanks to God, my husband, Mandi, Raven and Indio, we were al happy and safe and healed. I am thankful for all the obstacles in my life as they have made me appreciate this experience even more. I have learnt to trust people again, to trust my body and not hate it as it is capable of miracles and to see and experience how precious life is. All women should be supported with their decision on how to give birth and every woman deserves the chance to experience the miracle of life first hand, the way it was supposed to be. With the right support system and being well informed about your options, nobody can say it is impossible until you have been given a fair chance to try, and you are very likely to succeed!