THE BIRTH OF Vi­o­let

Melissa de la Croix had planned a VBAC in hos­pi­tal, but with an un­ex­pected speedy labour, she landed up giv­ing birth at home

Your Pregnancy - - Life Real - YP

My labour started on 17 Au­gust when I was 40 weeks and four days preg­nant. My hus­band Mikhail and I got into bed at 10:45, and just five min­utes later I had a con­trac­tion so strong I couldn’t move. Mikhail helped me into the bath. My con­trac­tions were strong and three min­utes apart. Mikhail called my mid­wife Mandi and her as­sis­tant Mandy, and when they ar­rived I was so happy to see them! I’d never ex­pected my labour to start so fast and strong. I didn’t have time to process or ease into it, or get my head around breath­ing for that mat­ter. But I knew once they ar­rived I was in good hands, and could labour along with­out worry.

WHEN PLANS CHANGE

Our orig­i­nal plan was for my mid­wives to come to my house, check that I was prop­erly in labour, and then trans­fer to Bayview Hos­pi­tal in Mos­sel Bay with our birthing pool. Be­cause I was hav­ing a VBAC (vagi­nal birth af­ter cae­sarean) this was the agreed plan be­tween us and my backup gy­nae­col­o­gist. When we did my first in­ter­nal check, an hour into labour, I was al­ready 5cm di­lated. My hubby and Mandy packed the car for the hos­pi­tal, and my daugh­ter Zoe was picked up to spend the rest of the night at my fa­ther’s place. By 12:40 I was cry­ing out through con­trac­tions. I stood lean­ing against the kitchen counter with Mandi mas­sag­ing my back, and I was al­ready hav­ing strong bear­ing down urges. I found great re­lief in the mas­sage, and mov­ing my hips from side to side helped ease the pain. I could feel my baby mov­ing in­side me, mov­ing into the cor­rect po­si­tion to find her way out.

STAY­ING PUT

At this stage, we had de­cided to un­pack the car, be­cause my con­trac­tions were com­ing fast. The hos­pi­tal was half an hour away and Mandi was con­cerned we wouldn’t make it. At 12:50 I was 8cm. I’d al­ways thought the first stage and labour would take hours, and I would have time to fo­cus and get to hos­pi­tal. It was now only two hours af­ter my first very strong con­trac­tion and

I al­ready wanted to push. Two hours in at 1am, I had the urge to sleep! I’d sit up in a squat­ting po­si­tion dur­ing a con­trac­tion, and when it was over I’d lean back against the couch and fall asleep. I went with what felt nat­u­ral. I could feel when my body wanted to change po­si­tion, so I just nat­u­rally went with it. Mandi and my hubby were by my side; she would help mas­sage me, and bring me wa­ter, and my hubby would take turns help­ing me up and hold­ing my hand dur­ing the strong con­trac­tions. This went on for a while and at 1:48am I was 9cm di­lated and my cervix had formed an an­te­rior lip. I re­mem­ber Mandy do­ing the in­ter­nal and po­si­tion­ing my cervix into the right po­si­tion and over the baby’s head – it was ex­tremely painful, but I got through it, be­cause I knew it was nec­es­sary to get through my labour. Mandi sug­gested I lie on my side on my bed, to get my cervix po­si­tioned right. We con­sid­ered pack­ing for the hos­pi­tal again then, be­cause it seemed as though my labour was slow­ing down.

THE HARD­EST PART… PUSH­ING

Three and half hours into labour, at 2:30am, I was ly­ing on my bed, which was con­ve­niently in the lounge due to ren­o­va­tions, fully di­lated. I curled in­ward to­wards my­self with my chin tucked in with each con­trac­tion, and fo­cussed on push­ing all my en­ergy in­wards, in­stead of just scream­ing out with pain. This was the most painful part of my labour. My wa­ters still hadn’t bro­ken, and I could feel the sac when I touched my baby’s head. I re­mem­ber hi­lar­i­ously ask­ing for some­thing for the pain, even a Panado! But, I con­tin­ued un­med­i­cated through­out my labour and birth. Mandi tried to mas­sage my back, but I had to tell her to stop be­cause it felt like a ton of bricks. It was truly the hard­est stage, and I re­mem­ber think­ing I wouldn’t be able to get through it. I looked at Mikhail and said, “I can’t do this, I can’t!” I was en­tirely in my own lit­tle world, to­tally un­aware of what was go­ing on around me. Mandi had called my gy­nae to check if she was com­fort­able with us birthing at home. Thank­fully, she said as long as I was cop­ing we could stay at home, as it was also too late for hos­pi­tal any­way.

HELLO BABY VI­O­LET!

I got up and stood by the fire, and I didn’t even think to tell any­one I was about to push her head out. I started to push hard with each con­trac­tion, and I could feel with my hand where her head was. When it popped out, I caught it! It was strange be­cause she was still in her wa­ter sac and it felt like I had caught a wa­ter bal­loon. At 3:08am I shouted, “The head is out, the head is out!”. Mandi helped hold the head and the rest of lit­tle Vi­o­let just slid out with ease. As her feet came out, the wa­ter sac broke and splashed over my feet. My beau­ti­ful baby Vi­o­let let out a good cry and I was be­yond over­joyed! It was the most amaz­ing feel­ing of con­fi­dence, achieve­ment and re­lief ever. The pain dis­ap­peared in an in­stant and it was all over. My baby was im­me­di­ately alert and her beau­ti­ful eyes were wide open, look­ing around. My hubby kept say­ing how amaz­ing it was that she was so awake. We sat by the fire, and Vi­o­let latched eas­ily. We waited 40 min­utes for the cord to stop puls­ing be­fore cut­ting it. I felt bet­ter than I ever had; I didn’t even feel like I’d just given birth. I wasn’t in any pain, and com­pared to my C-sec­tion with our el­dest, this time around was an ab­so­lute dream. I’ll for­ever be grate­ful to Mandi and Mandy for the sup­port they gave us. With­out them by my side I’d never have had such peace of mind to give birth the way I did. I never felt stressed know­ing I was hav­ing a VBAC. I was just hap­pily fo­cused on birthing my baby girl, and I be­lieve it’s be­cause of this that my labour went so won­der­fully and so quickly.

Melissa had a VBAC at home – un­ex­pect­edly.

Melissa laboured with the help of her two mid­wives and her hus­band.

A tired but happy crew en­joy Vi­o­let’s first mo­ments.

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