Anas­tasiya Mein­tjies shares how a planned C-sec­tion can re­sult in a nat­u­ral birth.

Living and Loving - - CONTENTS -

Be­fore my hus­band, Byren, and I had kids, we had de­cided we wanted two. So when he agreed to have a third, I was over the moon. Not long af­ter we made the de­ci­sion, I found out I was preg­nant again. We were both shocked and ex­cited. While my preg­nancy was fairly easy, I de­cided on a C-sec­tion af­ter the com­pli­cated vagi­nal birth with my el­dest son.

The preg­nancy symp­toms were dif­fer­ent from my pre­vi­ous two, which both re­sulted in boys, so I im­me­di­ately thought I was hav­ing a girl. The doc­tor in­formed us we had an 85% chance of hav­ing a boy again, and I started get­ting used to the idea of be­ing a mom of boys. When we found out a few weeks later that we were ex­pect­ing a girl, I couldn’t be­lieve it at first and asked the doc­tor at the fol­lowup ap­point­ments to dou­ble-check.

At around 36 weeks, in the early hours of the morn­ing, I woke up with con­trac­tions a few min­utes apart and we headed to the hos­pi­tal. I knew if I de­liv­ered her then, her chances of go­ing to the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit were high. Luck­ily, the nurses were able to stop the con­trac­tions and I was kept overnight for ob­ser­va­tion. Ex­actly a week later, I started hav­ing con­trac­tions and leak­ing am­ni­otic fluid. Once again, we headed to the hos­pi­tal. My C-sec­tion was due the fol­low­ing week, but we knew we were go­ing to meet our baby sooner. I was di­lat­ing quickly and my wa­ters had bro­ken. We had no idea when I would be taken to theatre, be­cause no one could get hold of my doc­tor and there were no open op­er­at­ing the­atres. No mat­ter how much I asked for pain re­lief, the nurses weren’t al­lowed to ad­min­is­ter any with­out my doc­tor’s ap­proval.

Fi­nally, space was opened up for me in theatre and the nurses started the prepa­ra­tions. Not long af­ter, a fi­nal check was done and I was told I would need to de­liver our daugh­ter.

A dif­fer­ent doc­tor came to as­sist, and all I could hear was Byren telling me to be strong when the pain in­ten­si­fied and I was in­structed to push. I hadn’t pre­pared my­self for a nat­u­ral birth – I didn’t know any breath­ing tech­niques or pelvic ex­er­cises. When the pain be­came too in­tense, I screamed to help my­self cope; feel­ing ev­ery sec­ond of her mov­ing down the birth canal was both amaz­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing. I asked the doc­tor for an epidu­ral, be­cause I couldn’t cope with the pain any­more and he lightly laughed it off – re­al­is­ti­cally, it was too late. Fi­nally, Ca­dence was born. Byren chose to cut the cord as he hadn’t had the op­por­tu­nity with our sons.

The stand-in doc­tor had no idea the de­liv­ery was a VBAC (vagi­nal birth af­ter C-sec­tion), so the nurses had to ask him to do the nec­es­sary checks. Thank­fully, the nat­u­ral birth had been suc­cess­ful and there were no com­pli­ca­tions for Ca­dence or my­self. I was grate­ful for an amaz­ing nurs­ing team that helped and pre­pared me as best they could.

Ca­dence weighed 3.25kg and it was only when she was handed to me that it felt real enough to say, “I have a daugh­ter”.

‘The stand-in doc­tor had no idea the de­liv­ery was a VBAC’

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