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