Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Baby who was Meant to Be (part 3)

Right now Cherub, one more push and your birth-story-for-your-birthday is out...

The main thing you need to know about the birth of the Cherub is Vee-back. No, this is not some yogic birthing position. It's an acronym: VBAC, short for vaginal-birth-after-caesarian.

You know how before you have babies you have this kind of tv/movie type idea of childbirth which involves one contraction at which point you turn to your support person and say I need to get to the hospital now and then suddenly you're in a hospital gown and everyone's saying push and you go red in the face for maybe 2 minutes, then a beautiful clean baby is handed you and everyone kind of mists over? Well, when I had my first, aka the Climber, the birth experience I ended up with was more along the lines of; discover have odd blood disorder so give up early on any hopes of natural labour in birthing centre. When labour finally begins (2 weeks overdue will you just get OUT of me please) only get admitted to hospital on the third time we front up, get strapped to bed with electronic gizmo belt to monitor foetal distress due to meconium in waters, and spend next 15 or so hours watching my contractions on a piece of graph paper, vomit copiously into kidney dish and watch poor Fixit try to deal with mess because midwives busy with women whose labours are actually progressing, get increasingly frustrated by non-dilating cervix, steadfastly cope without the epidural (still trying for some semblance of natural birth) then get told baby in distress and end up with emergency caesar. Which after all the above was a big relief actually, kind of like being told its okay you don't have to finish this job, we'll do it for you. But as I say he was in distress so after the caesar I got one little glimpse of him and it was off to special care with him and Fixit, and I was sent to recovery on my own with the night nurse. It was hours before I held him. It wasn't quite how I'd pictured it.
And I know it's all about the package you get at the end and not how he was delivered but still..

So I read up about this VBAC thing and I talked it through with the charming Dr Shane of the Royal Women's Hospital and he was great and supportive and I signed up. Even though at one of my visits I was seen by Dr-Old-School who put the fear of God into me about the risks because if your caesar scar ruptures during labour its straight to the operating theatre and if it comes to that would you like us to tie your tubes while we're in there (what?) and by-the-way you may end with a hysterectomy if anything goes wrong.

I found the onset of second baby labour much more sudden than first. With Climber it was pleased smile, ooh, I think that might have been a contraction!! Whereas Cherub started with one biggish contraction which caused waters to break, after which it was straight to the top of the richter scale with every one. Couldn't move without having a screechingly a.w.f.u.l cramp. At the hospital they saw me trying to manoeuvre from standing to sitting in the waiting room chairs, called for a wheelchair and admitted me immediately.

So its feeling a bit familiar now because I've vomited in the kidney dish again, and I'm strapped to the bed with the belly monitor, but after a few hours of agony, the spectre of the ruptured uterine scar was beginning to haunt me as was the pain and I called for the man with the back needle...ohh the relief. Suddenly its calm in there and I suggest to Fixit he might like to walk himself down to the shop to get a coffee for him and the crossword for us. Which unnerved him considerably. With Climber I'd made a fuss when he left the room to wee. And I'm quite enjoying myself now, the cervix is dilating away with no effort on my part at all, wheee this is so easy and I feel fine, but they have given me the top-up button to control the epidural which apparently you can't overdose with but after a while I realise I've been a bit trigger happy because I've lost all sensation up to my neck and at that point they take it away from me.

At some stage I start having blood pressure issues (went down to 50 over 30 at one stage) which sends Cherub into distress and means that every so often they have to heave me like a paralysed whale onto my right side (if they put me on my left I vomited) and of course the anxiety levels go through the roof again because distressed baby means caesar. And because I was anxious and woozy from low blood pressure I can't remember it all now, but somehow we made it to pushing. But I've got a shitload of medical staff in the room now so things aren't too hot. So for my more natural birth here's what I ended up with: stirrups, vacuum thing, two types of forceps, a tear, an episiotomy, haemorrhaging, blood transfusion and at least an hour of stitching. (We're talking salt baths for the next 3 months)

But I do get the plop of a warm, bloody baby on my chest for a little minute before the pediatric team whisk him into the corner and check the vitals. And it's another boy. And he's okay. And its not long before they let me have him again and he has a good quiet breastfeed and I hold him and look up at Fixit and I'm so happy I did it this way.

And now he's three. Our little cherished cherub. Thanks for holding on.

Happy birthday.


  1. I was laughing out loud when they took the top-up button off you!! (sorry) But isn't it amazing how you don't care about any of that stuff when that baby is put on your chest?

  2. Thank you! I kept checking back for Pt 3 and it was well worth the wait. And aren't you clever to get such a lovely hospital bed shot with the Cherub? All my mat ward pics make me look like a psychotic whale.

  3. Oh my .. so many similarities I won't go into here, all of them bloody and vomity and horrendous. What is it with this Aussie blogging community ? ;)

    This made me laugh:
    "they have given me the top-up button to control the epidural which apparently you can't overdose with but after a while I realise I've been a bit trigger happy because I've lost all sensation up to my neck and at that point they take it away from me."

    Great story, Happy Birthday !

  4. Yes, but all I see in that photo is my hideously distended hand - after the blood transfusion they pumped me to bursting with saline solution and I had these awful fat hands and fat toes. So this is the only photo I can bear.
    Eeeww the fat toes, v. depressing leering back at me from the end of the bed.

  5. Hi Stomper Girl. Thanks for visiting the other day. I'm sure we can swap some more notes in the future.

    Your three part story was fantastic. I am glad it all ended well and happy birthday to your cherub :)

  6. Congrats to you and your family!
    What a story! I am due with our first child in a few weeks and reading your story made me laugh.
    I don't know what to expect but it is so nice to hear what real women go through.
    Take care

  7. me too also a member of the vbac club!

  8. Another VBAC here. Mine was less than natural: epidural, forceps, stitches (but no blood loss - you poor thing).

  9. I was told the other day by my lovely Obs that the '2 types of forceps" gig is very rare once they mangle you the first time.

    So naturally, i'm again lulled into thinking I can puff a bit, get red in the face a little, and get a new baby.

    Lovely :)


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