Kirsty’s births have taken her from an emergency caesarean; to a VBAC in The Rosie’s obstetric-led delivery unit; to a midwife-led VBAC in the Rosie Birth Centre in September 2015 and the natural birth she always wanted. Here she tells her story….
I had my first child by emergency caesarean section in July 2012 due to slow progress and her back to back presentation. Labour was spontaneous and I was fully dilated so my chances of a VBAC were good.
Seventeen months later I was due my second child, my community midwife told me about Cambridge VBAC Friends which I found supportive and informative. I knew I wouldn’t be induced in the hospital so I had a sweep at 40+1 and contractions started the following day. Ten hours later my baby was born in the ob-led delivery unit. The pool wasn’t available, there was no wireless monitoring and I struggled to manage the pain of long contractions so I chose an epidural after a bad previous experience of Pethedine. The delivery was assisted with a suction cup and episiotomy but a caesarean section was avoided. We were home the following day after an overnight stay on the Lady Mary ward.
I was due my third child 20 months later, I knew this would be the last child for our family and I really wanted a more natural birth experience. My community midwives had little idea that VBACs could take place in the Rosie Birth Centre (or if they did they were not open about the risk assessment process and therefore did not discuss it as an option). That’s really sad; because of my caesarean I felt I’d missed out on a proper birth experience and it’s not like you have many chances to give birth! I think that the community team should at least be asking women about what they want their VBAC birth to be like so that they can support them and refer them accordingly.
However, thanks to the Cambridge VBAC Friends support group I already knew that several VBAC women had had their babies in the midwife-led Rosie Birth Centre and I directly requested a referral to see the consultant midwife. I saw her at 36 weeks and a Rosie Birth Centre VBAC was agreed.
At 38+4 labour began spontaneously and I managed the contractions (briefly!) at home. We set off for the hospital two hours after contractions began and upon arrival at the Rosie Birth Centre I was examined and was 9cm. Twenty five minutes later I’d delivered my baby with no interventions and no pain relief.
Isla arrived at midnight, we were asked if we wanted to go home (I imagine we would have been discharged in the small hours) but I was tired and wanted my husband and I to be able to enjoy a few hours with Isla in the lovely birthing room before we went home to the chaos and distraction of two toddlers. It was so great that my husband could stay with me, he certainly couldn’t on Lady Mary ward with my other two births!
Although I was only briefly in the Rosie Birth Centre for birthing, it has a more relaxed and homely feel than the delivery unit. I had a better connection with my midwife and felt more in control. It was a much more private and intimate experience than on delivery unit. I am so glad that I got the chance to experience it. I would encourage all women to consider it, delivery unit is only moments away if required.
We have now completed our family and I achieved the birth I finally wanted.
We know of nine* women who have had VBAC births in the Rosie Birth Centre in Cambridge since it opened in September 2012, and many more have been given permission to birth there.
Midwife-led VBAC and place of birth are topics which come up regularly in our support group, we wrote a blog recently about how to arrange a midwife-led birth at a midwife-led unit (MLU) or birth centre.
*up to December 2015