“Tears of Joy” – Madeleine’s hbac story

My first son, Joshua, was born via “emergency” C-section in February 2016.


I wanted to have a natural delivery but was uninformed and therefore trusted my doctor. After he was born I only held him for about a minute in theatre before he was taken away again. I felt like something really special was stripped away from me…


I fell pregnant again in April 2017. We were blessed with birthing classes where my husband I learned so much, especially regarding the benefits of a natural birth. I felt the Lord pressing on my heart to have a natural delivery at home – to use my story for His glory.


As I came to realise, it wasn’t easy finding midwives that were willing to attempt a VBAC at home (they preferred a birth centre or hospital that had access to an emergency facility). I almost gave up on my dream of a homebirth until I came accross a reputable midwife in JHB. When I called their assistant and asked about having a VBAC at home the answer was this:


“Yes, they do prefer doing VBACs at home.”


I actually had tears of joy!!!


And so started my journey to my perfect birth…
I had an ob/gyn appointment at 36 weeks to give the final go-ahead for a vaginal birth. She did mention that if I do go overdue, I may need to face a repeat C-section as induction wasn’t an option due to the strain it puts on the scar. So far everything was on track for my homebirth.


My birth motto was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.


My due date approached and I did what I could naturally to ensure my body was ready (the day I went into labour I actually got stung by a bee while swimming so maybe the adrenaline helped hehe)


I went into labour on the 7th of January 2018.


I took my son to shower and started getting contractions but didn’t pay too much attention to it as I had loads of Braxton Hicks from around 38 weeks. While in the shower I had to stop and breathe through each contraction and that’s when I thought it was possibly time. When I got out and saw a part of the mucus plug I knew we were about to meet our baby. My contractions started at about 19:30. It worked out well as Joshua’s bedtime is at 20:00. The doula, Jessica and midwives were informed and my husband, Jarred started timing my contractions. From the beginning, my contractions were about 3 mins apart. Much of that evening was a blur as I felt extremely dreamy and calm, possibly due to dozing off in between each contraction. It was amazing to be in my own space, walk when I wanted to, lay in our bath as long as I wanted to, sit on the loo if I wanted to and rest on my own bed! Everyone had a copy of my birth plan and encouraged me to walk more as I did specify I wanted an active labour. When the midwives arrived 4 hours into labour I was already 5cm dilated. They set up the birth pool and prepped everything they would need, monitoring my blood pressure and my baby’s heart rate every so often.


My husband and doula attended to me and just let me work through each surge in the position I wanted. Having a doula was my best source of pain relief!


I eventually asked when I should get in the birth pool as I had an urge to push. I got in the pool at about 01:00 and was 9.5cm dilated. I still remember the midwife clearly saying as if it happened yesterday:


“If you feel you need to push, then push. Listen to your body.”


30 mins later on the 8th of January, we welcomed our baby boy, Caleb, into the world at approximately 01:35, after a 6-hour labour. We didn’t know what gender our baby was until he was born. He was immediately placed on my chest.


How empowering!


I was overwhelmed seeing my baby come out, being hidden in the candlelit quiet of our spare room. No machines beeping, no strange faces, no bright lights. We opted for delayed cord clamping and weren’t rushed in any way. My husband then had skin-to-skin while I was helped out of the birth pool and lead to our bed. I was evaluated and stitched up right there while breastfeeding Caleb. He was checked and perfectly healthy with a birth weight of 3.96kg.


I had such a special night bonding with him. The best was introducing Caleb to his big brother, Joshua when he woke up the next morning.


I was just amazed at how my body took over and lead me. Our homebirth was a healing one and I would encourage any mom to consider it as a birthing option. We were chatting to the midwives after the birth about how women’s options get reduced when going to a hospital and something they said that has stuck with me is that the first intervention you take in labour is by walking out the door and leaving your house and I couldn’t agree more!


My birth was Unmedicated, Unhindered and Unforgettable!

VBACs are not so dangerous and scary as it often gets portrayed. I hope this story can encourage other mommies, especially moms considering a VBAC. We DO have a say and choice as to how and where we birth our babies.
by Madeleine