When this mum fell pregnant with her fourth baby, she wanted to do everything she could to finally have another vaginal delivery after three consecutive caesareans.
Read what happened when she took matters into her own hands and how she overcame a myriad of medical recommendations against her choices to not only have a vaginal birth after c-section but an unassisted home birth as well!
Part 1 : The Pregnancy
My pregnancy itself went great. I kept healthy and put on very little weight, but that’s where the fun stopped. I knew I wanted to experience another vaginal birth to end my baby making years and a caesarean wasn’t an option unless it was medically necessary.
Trying to find a caregiver was an emotional roller coaster ride. Seeing the local doctor in Hopetoun at 5 weeks was the start of the derailment.
His first comment to me was “I guess I’m sending you off to King Edwards (hospital) to have this baby.”
My reply was “No you won’t be, this baby will be coming out naturally the way mother nature intended”
He replied “Well, that’s not going to happen and noone will support you nor will any hospital because you have had 3 caesareans”
“We’ll see about that!”
At 24 weeks we headed to Albany to finally meet the OB but all excitement of meeting her very quickly diminished because I was told very directly that she would NOT support my choice for a vaginal birth after three caesareans [vba3c] nor would the hospital. She said she would NOT risk her license. She had a great time trying to convince Jamie that she wouldn’t get paid an extra $5,000 to cut me open. By this time I was in tears. Spending $6,000 on a midwife was not financially practical for our family and now the OB we had as a backup plan was not on board. So now we have no hospital booked, no OB and no independent midwife and time was slowly running out…
Then Jamie says “Let’s just have a home birth and fuck the hospitals and doctors.” This was not something that had even crossed my mind or that we’d talked about as a possibility. But from then on I searched for caregivers in the local area that would attend a home birth. Well surprise, surprise! There weren’t any close enough so I just stayed being looked after by the doctor and CHN/ MW. My appointments with the doctor stayed monthly but the CHN/ MW were weekly-fortnightly. I also stayed in regular contact with a wonderful doula, Michelle Perkins. She wasn’t my doula and couldn’t give me any medical advice but she was a godsend to be able to talk to.
My 34 week appointment with the doctor turned out to be very detrimental.
I was there with Jamie and my three children, Jack, Sophie and Paige. While doing his normal routine scan of her heart and position he asked “Where are you having the baby?”
“Who’s going to be there?”
The doctor was furious and started yelling at me and carrying on that I wasn’t having a homebirth and that he will take this further saying things like:
“This is not happening!”
“You will not be having this baby at home. I will make sure of that.”
“I will be taking this case further.”
“If you run into trouble, don’t bother ringing for help as I will not help you.”
“You need to understand that I’m not always here locally and that the hospital is not equipped to deal with you in an emergency if things go wrong”
That was the last appointment I had with the doctor and I have never seen him again. I received a letter a week later from him, stating he had contacted someone at king Edwards who would see me and that he had advised me to go there rather than staying at home. He said he had advised me that he may not be around nor available on the day and that the hospital (Ravensthorpe) isn’t equipped to deal with births as it isn’t a birthing hospital. The closest ones are Esperance and Albany and that apparently I had asked him to be there and available on the day of bubs birth (none of which had actually happened or at least not in a nice and amicable way.)
At 37 weeks I got a phone call from some workers from the Department of Child Protection Services who were in Hopetoun and wanted to visit for a chat. So Jamie left work early so we all could all meet together.
Apparently the doctor took my case further.
Thankfully the meeting went well. They listened to our side of the story and didn’t understand why they were there. We showed them the nursery, the homebirth box of towels, the sterile pack of scissors and the cord clamps that had been purchased ready for the day. We also explained that we had an ambo friend on standby for the birth and certain friends whom were also put on standby notice should they be needed.
Part 2: The Birth
At 40 + 4 weeks, Jamie and I did our normal nightly/early am thing and had sex (to help this baby come!) It was 3.00am and I got serious leg cramp in my left leg. Bad enough that my calf muscle went really hard and was stuck in the bent position for 5 minutes. I was unable to move it and all I could do was rub and massage it and put on a hot flannel. At 4am Jamie and I got up and did our usual morning routine before he left for work at 4.30am. I went back to bed to get some more sleep before my day with the kids started at 7am but at 5.30am I started to get strong cramping across my scar and above. That came and went every 15 minutes lasting for 5 minutes at a time. I messaged my doula friend Michelle at 6.15am for a bit of clarification and she confirmed that I was in early labor (as this was all new territory.) So I got in touch with Jamie at work at about 7am to let him know and he said he was contacting the ambo (his friend), the hospital and CHN/MW to let them know that I was in early labor and was making his way home. We made the choice to tell our 13 yr old son and that he didn’t have to go to school if he didn’t want to.
7.52am : Notified photographer that I was in labor
8.05am : The photographer pulls the pin on coming around… “apparently” her business insurance won’t cover her shoot because there’s no midwife or doula present.
10.30am : I let our babysitter know and asked if I could drop Paige off in an hour as it was hard to relax and concentrate with a busy 2.5 yr old in the house.
11.30am : I drove 15 minutes into town and went to the shop to pick up some baby wipes and dropped Paige off at our babysitter and drove home.
At this stage I’m just pacing the house, doing some washing and hanging out laundry.
Jamie has notified the hospital, who keep ringing him for updates every half hour. So I tell him to tell them to f*ck off, I don’t need their bullshit time frames or limitations.
4pm : I drive back into town to buy more nappies for Paige as the sitter is running low. I’m still in early phase at this stage so I also checked the mail box at the post office and got told off by people for not being at home resting. But I wasn’t at the uncomfortable stage so wasn’t worried. My waters are still intact and the contractions are still irregular-ish and 30-60 sec every 30-45 minutes.
7.10 am : I have been in labour for 26 hours so far and starting to get very tired and sore. I’m trying to rest but can’t. I’m starting to doubt myself and wondering if I should to the hospital and have my waters broken.
Contractions are going crazy
Meanwhile I’m on the toilet (most comfortable place) struggling to cope with contractions. Jamie is running around like a headless chicken preparing our room. Setting up our camera to try and get her birth on video (charging batteries and clearing the memory card so that it’s empty for recording.) Stripping the bed and putting the doonas from the birth box on. Sorting out towels where they should be, organising bub’s nappy and outfit AND THE F*CKING POWER GOES OUT BECAUSE OF THE STORMY WEATHER !!!! So now it’s HOT and muggy, no water, no power, no fan and no bath that I wanted to lay in.
8.52am : I have a feel inside to see how things are going and her head is right there! It feels like it’s still in the sack (weirdest feeling ever!) and my cervix is still facing backwards and a tiny bit open.
The contractions are so much stronger and hurt like hell by now and I’m struggling to get off the toilet to get to the bed but also struggling to stay sitting still with each contraction. Any noise I make has Jamie running in asking if I’m ok. I tell him that her head is right there and get him to reach in and feel for himself… “Holy f*ck her head’s like only an inch away from coming out!” he says.
9.10am : I finally get off the toilet but can only make it to the edge of the bed and Jamie can’t get the camera to work!
I’m having back to back contractions, pushing her head down and it’s hard to get a grip and take a breath before the next one. I’m on my knees with my arms on the bed and Jamie is still trying to get the camera to work when I yell at him
“She’s coming! Her head is coming out!”
He rushes to the floor to have a look and says “I can see her head. Looks like we have a blondey! Keep pushing babe”
I keep pushing and only get half her head out (only to her nose) and Jamie starts freaking out and panicking “You need to keep pushing babe, she’s turning purple, you need to push and push her out now. She can’t breathe!”
His little melt down where common sense isn’t there ‘cause she doesn’t need to breathe. At the moment her oxygen is still coming through the placenta.
I tell him that “I have to wait for the next contraction so shut up”
The next contraction felt like it took ages to come but it didn’t.
All I hear is “Her heads out! That’s the hard bit done. Now keep pushing”
The next contraction got her to her shoulders, then the rest of her body.
Finally, after 30 hours she was born, vaginally, at 9.24am.
I turned around and held her. She was nice and pink and she cried straight away so I put her straight on the nipple. I ask Jamie to record the time and then grabs the equipment from the birthing kit to clamp the cord, make the cut and also takes a specimen for her blood type to be checked.
Jamie has finally managed to get the camera working and I move to the bed and wait for my placenta to make its way out. Jamie weighs our baby by standing on the scales by himself first, recording his weight and then standing on the scales holding Hailee and calculates the difference. He then records her length and head circumference too. We dress her and she remains nappy free until that afternoon as the cloth nappies I had for her are too big for her tininess.
I can feel the placenta is ready to be delivered so I ask Jamie to bring an ice-cream container underneath me but the placenta misses and hits the bed! He picks it up, puts it in and then finally leaves us to rest while he goes to the shed to hook up the generator so we can get some power to the house and he clean himself up.
He calls the hospital and ambo to notify them that our baby girl had arrived but refuses to give in to their demands that he bring Hailee and I in immediately. He does agree to take in our cord blood sample and placenta though while we rested and then we went in the following day.
Part 3: The Aftermath
Unfortunately, that’s where our happy birth story ends.
When Jamie arrived at the hospital, the doctor refused to look over the placenta until he was good and ready so Jamie wasn’t able to fulfil my cultural wish to bring it straight back home. There was an aggressive [but non-physical or violent] disagreement between them and as a result, a few days after Hailee was born Jamie was arrested at home and charged with assaulting a public officer. He now faces a mandatory 3 months jail term and is not allowed at either of the two doctor surgeries or hospital unless it’s a dire emergency.
The dispute between the doctor and ourselves is ongoing and we will continue to fight for our right to birth our children in our own, safe and researched way.
This real story was written and submitted by Danielle Pivott. Please note that the writer’s choices, opinions and decisions were that of her own and not associated with or endorsed by Mum Central.
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