Jane’s VBAC at Hinchingbrooke Hospital following induction for gestational diabetes and concerns about HELLP syndrome

Jane’s older daughter was born by elective caesarean due to the baby’s size so she had no experience of labour or how would her body would respond. Her second pregnancy had additional risk factors due to gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and concerns about HELLP syndrome she had an induction of labour at 39 weeks. Here’s her story…

jane3“We were expecting induction or caesarean at 38 weeks as I had gestational diabetes (controlled by diet and metformin) so staff at Hinchingbrooke explained it would be around there.

Unfortunately at around week 34 I developed high blood pressure which I was admitted to hospital with as there were worries about pre-eclampsia.

Over the next four week I had various appointments for monitoring etc. but baby was all fine on growth scans so I was encouraged to go to the due date to have a better chance of a successful VBAC.

One Friday whilst having monitoring it was discovered I had low blood platelets and they were concerned about possible HELLP syndrome (similar to pre-eclampsia) so after discussing things with the consultant she felt we needed to get going with induction a little earlier.

I was admitted the same day at 39+1 and induction started with a stretch and sweep and 1 prostin gel. The midwife was quite confident, she said my cervix was soft and stretchy and 1-2cm. I went on to start contractions, I was able to rest overnight whilst things progressed and Steve was with me until visiting hours ended.

Next morning I was assessed again and my cervix was similar but the midwife felt the waters could be broken so we went to the delivery unit. After two attempts my waters were broken and the contractions continued. I was able to have some time to be mobile but then due to my blood pressure still going up I decided to have an epidural on the recommendation of the Dr to try and manage my blood pressure. I felt quite despondent at this as knew my VBAC chance would go down with not being able to continue to be mobile however continuous monitoring of the baby and my BP was essential so I was already restricted plus I would need to start antibiotic drip for group strep b. So around 2pm I had the epidural and contractions continued at three in 10 minutes.

jane4At around 6pm the doctor was happy for me to have a longer session with the hormone drip to see if the contractions would build further, which they did and all along baby was fine and happy on the trace. I tried to doze over the evening but then around midnight I was asked to lay on my left side to help pick up baby’s heartbeat. At this point I had awful pain in my scar and bum and the epidural did not touch it. I really lost it, the pain was so bad and I was panicking about my scar rupturing but the midwife examined me and we were all shocked to hear that I was fully dilated!

I then had gas and air to cope with pain as baby descended then she said I needed to push about 30 mins later…14 mins of pushing and our beautiful daughter Lydia arrived safely on Sunday at 1:48am! I had a second degree tear and grazing and had stitches soon after.

I still can’t believe I gave birth like this, with so much going on I was convinced it would be a caesarean birth. The staff at Hinchingbrooke were amazing and encouraging and always reassured me that it was very much worth trying for VBAC.

I hope my story gives others hope if you have a VBAC induction for medical reasons or have maybe not laboured before.”

If you would like to connect with other local women planning birth after caesarean, join our private online support group, you can read more about it on support page.

There’s information about this hospital on Hinchingbrooke Hospital VBAC data page, including its VBAC guidelines and VBAC rates. Find more resources on our Resources page.

And for monthly face-to-face support, there’s the Cambridge Birth Choices free drop-in group, held on the second Friday of the month at Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre and the last Friday of the month at Satyam Yoga Centre.

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