Rachel’s first child was born in 2012 by crash emergency caesarean which left her with postnatal depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Her second birth was a gentle caesarean after caesarean (CBAC) experience which has really helped her healing.
This is Rachel’s story..
My contractions started on the Wednesday night, whilst out for a meal. Having studied a hypnobirthing programme I embraced the surges and was enjoying relaxing my way through them. They continued irregularly for three days and I attended triage at Peterborough City Hospital for a routine monitor and was advised a growth scan would be wise to ensure all was OK in there. The scan showed that I was carrying a dangerously low level of amniotic fluid, which could compromise flow from the placenta. So a caesarean was offered which of course I really didn’t want. I’d worked so hard towards my VBAC and immediately felt like it was all falling apart.
I needed fresh air and having been presented with the pros and cons, I chatted them through with my husband and doula, a few tears and weigh up of all the facts; I made the choice to divert my VBAC journey.
I enjoyed my walk back to the ward with a smile on my face and a real sense of calm. It was a last resort, but “mummy instinct” kicked in and I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. (As it turned out, the cord had a tight “true knot” in it and we all glad we’d chosen this path in the end!)
So I made a few requests, like no screen up, I watched the whole operation, my husband was lucky enough to stand next to the surgeon and observed, I had immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping, so we got a very gentle and slow birth that was just incredible.
By pure luck, the surgeon was actually my consultant; which was fabulous, played music, allowed my doula in as well as my husband… Just amazing!! He knew I’d suffered with PND and PTSD from the first caesarean, so pulled out all of the stops to give me the best start possible.
I’ve managed to establish a huge and consuming bond with my son along with breastfeeding. Beautiful things I never got last time.
Whilst this is my last baby, and I’ll always be curious to know what it feels like to birth a baby naturally – oddly, I don’t feel robbed anymore. I got to experience that rush of mother/baby love that I never thought I’d get to feel. My amazing consultant, husband, doula & midwifery team helped me achieve this. I made an informed decision and I don’t regret a single thing. It was beautiful.
I hope more women can experience this and be healed, not scarred by a caesarean birth after caesarean.”
Rachel has kindly shared her birth plan with us here: Rachel’s gentle caesarean birth plan.
If you are looking for support, Cambridge VBAC Friends is a peer support group for women planning birth after caesarean in Cambridge (UK). We have a private online support group and run monthly face-to-face meet ups.