We are always getting asked for positive VBAC stories, so we’re really glad to be able to share a story from Wendy Wood, Calm birth School instructor from www.relaxforbirth.co.uk.
“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all Wendy’s support and squeezing us in so last minute.
I contacted you when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with my second child. I asked if there was any point in doing a private class so close to the birth – I knew I was being advised to be induced between 38-39 weeks. Fitting us in especially in the last few weekends up to Christmas was so kind of Wendy. I’m so relieved we went forward and met with her.
We had a negative experience with our first, in terms of the support we received from one of our midwives. The experience completely traumatised me and knocked my confidence. I was induced via the hormone drip and needed an epidural- the whole experience was so chaotic and distressing.
The sessions with Wendy, the MP3 tracks, combined with us being able to communicate with her for questions, advice and the occasional pep talk really helped me visualise and hope for a better experience. It was hard to know if any of it would work and I felt sceptical but until it was put in practice I knew that was the only way to know.
The run up to the birth didn’t quite go to plan but the birth did and on reflection, things not going to plan actually worked in our favour. I was booked in for my induction at 11am.
I was told that it was highly likely I would go into labour that day as it was my second pregnancy. I started getting surges but they were a slow build up, I put the tracks on, listened to music, fell asleep and from about 9pm (8 hours after the pessary was inserted) I was getting 2-3 strong-ish surges every 10 minutes.
I was told I needed to stay overnight, I wanted to go home to rest but we just followed the advice and stayed. We both had no sleep but in the morning they said they’d transfer me to the labour ward at 10:30 am to progress to the next stage – breaking of my waters. This, I was told, would definitely move things along.
Despite lack of sleep, I felt hopeful that by breaking waters early in the day, I’d still have enough energy to avoid the hormone drip and epidural. Time passed, with 4 emergencies coming through the ward I was told at 4pm it was highly unlikely I would be going up to the labour ward anytime soon. I was completely devastated, I’d been bouncing on a birth ball, breathing through the surges which were 4-5 every 10 minutes and had felt so ready mentally. My body completely shut down and unsurprisingly my surges pretty much stopped. I felt so demoralised and I was feeling so sad I would not be at home with my daughter on Christmas Eve.
I was called up the labour ward at 6:30pm and after an examination I was 2cm dilated and they broke my waters with ease. I explained to the midwives my wishes and they were supportive of my wishes to try anything that would avoid the hormone drip and epidural. They gave us 4 hours to try anything, long walks, walking up the stairs – anything. Four hours later, I knew my surges although very strong, they weren’t frequent enough. Upon examination I was now 3cm dilated and exhausted. It was 11pm Friday night and I hadn’t slept since Wednesday night. I was devastated and said I felt at a loss to what to do as I just knew that it was looking highly likely I would need the hormone drip and epidural as I was just so tired and wouldn’t have the strength to have the birth I wanted.
Andrew spoke to the midwife as I went for a warm shower. When I came out he found out what further options there were for me. One last chance was that the midwife would give me a shot of pethidine to relax me and allow me to sleep for a few hours, Andrew said he’d turn all the lights off, get the candles out, begin massaging me and to listen to my music and just relax. He felt trying to relax me would be more effective than trying to initiate labour through more active ways.
I was given pethidine at midnight and 2 hours and 20 minutes later I woke up feeling the surges incredibly strong and I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked Andrew to get the midwife quickly, only to be told she had left the ward for 5 minutes. I started to say I didn’t know what was happening to me, I couldn’t do it and I needed help. Andrew said all the time I was saying this, I was actually really calm and he knew and our midwife who had now turned up knew, I was already transitioning.
He grabbed the frankincense and SOS remedy and helped me get into position to check, which took 15 minutes, as the surges were really frequent as well as the strong urges of pushing down.
I was fully dilated and he helped flipped me over the bed so I was kneeling propped up. As I experienced each surge to push down, I just let my body do it for me. I didn’t need to push, weirdly each time I felt the pushing down and eventually the crowning – I felt a sense of relief and that I’d be soon there holding my baby – I was in a relaxed state completely zoned out. I used the gas and air which actually helped me to not forcefully push out and 20 minutes later at 3:00am on Christmas Eve – she was here, no screaming, calm, chilled and wide eyed.
The Cord wasn’t cut until it had stopped pulsating and she had such amazing colour to her skin tone. No catheters, no drip! Also my visualisations has always been trying to give birth in the kneeling position and I did that too- it really did work!
My husband swears by the hypnobirthing experience- he wishes we’d tried it for our first and should we have another there’s absolutely no doubt we’d be in touch with Wendy. Being able to message her right up until the last moment before she was born made such a difference. Wendy helped me to refocus and stay positive at what I thought was my lowest point. I also actually miss listening to the tracks!
Wendy, thank you so much for helping me to change my mindset and being so wonderfully supportive and carrying hope for me when I felt there was none. I never thought it was possible to have another child AND the birth I always wanted. Having had 2 inductions now, hypnobirthing has proven to me how it is still possible to take control and still have a positive experience. I’m still in shock I was able to avoid the drip – the staff were actually getting it ready for me!
Vanessa (and Andrew) xxxx”
If you’re based in Farnborough and looking for in person classes please check out Wendy’s website www.relaxforbirth.co.uk and if you’re unable to make the classes, remember we have you covered with our video course. Try before you buy with our free classes here