Below is a collection of birth stories from client who have had their babies with ENB. We are grateful to everyone who share their experience and bring awareness to the importance of birth in our society.
This is my story.
It has been a long and difficult journey but I found my happily ever after. For you to really understand the feelings involved, here’s a little background. I do not usually share this with people but hopefully my experience will be able to help mommies in the same position as I was.
When I was 9 years old I found out I was adopted. I was raised by an amazing and supportive family but the fact that my mother gave me away always made me feel as if I would never be good enough for anyone, even myself.
I was also raped as a child. Nobody knew I was raped until after suffering from major depression for years I finally admitted it 6 years after the incident.
When i was 16 I met Jovan. He was amazing. He was 10 years older than me but he was stable and decent and just an amazing, soft and caring person. He helped me see that I deserved love.
That was the year I got pregnant with my little girl. It was difficult because I was young and scared. But I knew nothing in this world would make me give up that baby. I was going to be a mom and I was going to give this little miracle the life she deserved.
I got married when I was 16 weeks pregnant and moved to Upington.
I went to a gynaecologist there. I was scared to let anyone see my body. The trauma came back all the time. At every single appointment the gynae would do an internal. I never asked why. After every visit I would go sit in the car and cry.
Fast forward to 40 weeks. He told me to come in on my due date at 6am! Never said why. He did a sonar and said oh baby hasn’t dropped I have a 95% chance of needing an emergency c section and that I must be at the hospital at 8. I was scared. I trusted my doctor but I was not in the least prepared for that operation. We were staying on a farm so we didnt have time to go back home and get ready and go into town again.
When i got to the hospital the sisters asked me why I didn't shave and they laughed at me. They asked me about old scars on my arm and said I was stupid.
They took me into theatre and my husband was nowhere to be seen. They did the spinal, over and over again trying to get it right. It was so painful. They started cutting into me and my husband wasn't there yet. They let him in just as they took my little Hailey out. They showed her to me and took her and my husband away immediately. I layed there crying while they were stitching me up. I woke up in recovery and was given my baby who had already been bathed and dressed.
It didn't feel like she was mine. I developed major post natal depression and it was the hardest time in my life.
When Hailey was a year old we decided to start trying again. We tried, and tried and nothing came of it. After a year I went onto meds to help me ovulate. Two months later I was pregnant. And just 10 weeks later i found out my baby stopped growing at 6 weeks. My baby that I wanted so much just didnt have a heartbeat. It was a missed miscarriage and it took weeks to try to get that same gynae to give me cytotec as I just could not go through a DNC. I needed to feel it. I needed to see it. I needed to bury my baby. He just said it won't work, my baby is dead. He said that over and over. Eventually he gave it to me. I started bleeding the same day and two days later my baby came. I got to bury my little one. It was hard but it was healing.
Two months later I was pregnant again. And that is where the journey really began. The journey to finding myself again. It was a hard first few weeks. Hoping nothing would go wrong. We were still in Upington and I promised myself to never set foot near that gynaecologist again and went to see a gp. He was so sweet and understanding. He asked if i wanted normal or c section I said no I want normal and he said ok no problem. I had never heard of Vbac being an issue until we moved to Hartenbos when i was 12 weeks pregnant. I first went to see a gynae at 15 weeks. I said i wanted a vbac and he didnt even comment but I could see by his face that wasn't an option. I then went to see a midwife. She wasnt keen on home birth and she was sweet but I really did not think I would be able to achieve my vbac with her. I went to see another gynae and he told me if I were to have a vbac I would kill my baby as my first baby was big (she was 3.67kg) and I was overweight. I presented him with facts from ACOG and he just said oh no that can’t be right! Needless to say he never saw me again.
At 22 weeks I met Amanda Busson. We had spoken over the phone and I just knew I was in the right place. She was so pro natural and in the beginning I was not keen on a home birth as we stay in a tiny complex and I did’nt want to disturb neighbours. She made me see that it was my choice and neighbours would probably not mind because everyone loves babies. It was difficult trying to find a backup gynaecologist but we did eventually have the support from a gynae in Mosselbay. I saw Mandi for the rest of my pregnancy. At the one visit I had with the backup gynae she said a “good weight for me” was a baby of 3.5kg. Mandi said she thought more like 4.5kg. She was there for me through everything. I met her assistant (another Mandy!) And we did a birth class. I loved these ladies! And I felt comfortable and safe with them which was a first. Come 38 weeks, my baby had not engaged and mostly posterior. I had been doing exercises and scrubbing floors on my knees and bouncing on the birth ball but he just would not move down. Everyone started getting nervous and the gynae then said she did not want me going past 40 weeks. I could have probably gone to 41 if I played my cards right but baby was “big”.
I was an emotional wreck and at 39 weeks I went to see the gynae. We started talking about c section options. I felt like throwing in the towel. I tried so hard and worked so hard for what was likely to end up in a c section and I didn’t know what to do. It was 3 days before my due date and I decided that I was going to try a shot of castor oil as a last resort. My midwife was totally comfortable with it and I thought it would be much better than to have surgery! I drank it but pretty much brought it up immediately because I tried getting the taste out of my mouth with a sugar fruit cube. Not the best idea. The next morning at 6am I had a bloody show. Yay me! And from 9am my tummy wasn’t very happy with me. Not so yay… It was fine in about 2 hours.
The next day I was having back pain on and off. By 7p.m it was like cramps but in my back and my hips but nothing on my tummy. These waves were coming every 15mins but i thought it was just false labour. So I finished up all my mommy duties and went to bed. I woke up a few times to the back pain but went back to sleep. At 3a.m they started getting stronger and when i timed them they were 8mins apart. I still did not believe this was the real thing so I went back to sleep. At 5a.m on June 3rd (my due date) I woke up to a huge popping noise. I got such a fright and jumped up. I thought my uterus had ruptured and was hoping and praying it was not blood running down my legs.
It was just water.
I called Mandi with the biggest smile on my face and told her my water had broken. She told me to get some rest if I could but I was just too excited. My hubby woke up to the popping sound too and couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face. This was happening!
About half an hour later the contractions were coming about 2-3mins apart. I could not get comfortable. The back pain was killing me. My hubby started setting up the birth pool. My little girl was awake and worried about me but was very sweet and helped her daddy fill the pool. My hubby had called Mandi and said that her and our other midwife Susie, (Raven) who would be assisting us with the birth as Mandy was not back from her trip yet have to come ASAP. I was not coping anyomore and it felt like a lifetime before the pool was set up.
By 6a.m I was in the pool. It was immediate relief. I could breathe between contractions.
Our midwife team and Mandy’s daughter, Indio who would be looking after Hailey for us got to the house just past 7a.m.By then my body was pushing with every contraction.
I would lay with my ears under the water and my eyes closed. I was in another world. I was in my own space. My baby was coming. My rainbow baby would be here soon.
Sometimes between contractions I would get flash backs of the miscarriage, of the baby I lost. It was not easy but somehow I just knew everything was going to be okay. I felt at peace and so calm. I trusted my body, I trusted my birth team and I felt safe. I really do not believe this would have been the case if I were to have been in a hospital with people I didn’t know coming in and out and invading my privacy. I let me body do what it had to do.
I was most comfortable on my back in the pool. My husband supported my head and held my hand and I held onto the edge of the pool with the other hand. Mandi and Raven were so calm and relaxed and they kept telling me I was doing great. Oh how I have grown to love those ladies! A little while later Mandi told me she could see his head and that it looked like he was strawberry blonde (Just like my husband and my daughter). I was so happy. A little while later Raven asked me if I wanted to feel his head. I so badly wanted to but I just could not let go of my husband’s hand and the pool. I felt it afterwards when the contraction subsided.
Hello ring of fire!
It really was not as bad as I thought it would be. It hurt and it felt like it was carrying on for long but I just cannot describe the feeling of my baby coming out of my body. I felt like a vessel. I had carried this little life inside of me for 9 months, and now I was giving birth to him. He was such a little miracle. I can’t believe I actually did it! Mandi asked if I wanted to catch my baby and I wanted to but I needed her help. We were bringing him out of the water and Mandi said the cord was wrapped very tightly around his neck and she was struggling to get it off. All I could say was help him. It was just a few seconds and he was unwrapped and put on my chest.
I just kept repeating “my baby, my baby!” I will never forget those moments. I remember whispering to my hubby that I could not believe he came out of my vagina, we had a pretty good laugh about that! My baby was here.
We named him Caden, derived from the French word Cadeau which means miracle.
He was truly a miracle baby. He gave my reason after I felt like all was lost. He probably also never dropped until labour because his cord was very short and with it wrapped around his neck like that it was holding him back. He was a whopping 4.62kgs! He also turned from posterior to anterior and amazingly he was born with brow presentation! Brow presentation is extremely rare (the rarest presentation) and only 25% of babies who are brow can be born vaginally.
Thanks to God, my husband, Mandi, Raven and Indio, we were al happy and safe and healed. I am thankful for all the obstacles in my life as they have made me appreciate this experience even more. I have learnt to trust people again, to trust my body and not hate it as it is capable of miracles and to see and experience how precious life is. All women should be supported with their decision on how to give birth and every woman deserves the chance to experience the miracle of life first hand, the way it was supposed to be. With the right support system and being well informed about your options, nobody can say it is impossible until you have been given a fair chance to try, and you are very likely to succeed!
It started on Wednesday the 17th when I was 40 weeks +4 days pregnant. I had a checkup with my wonderful Midwife Mandi and we decided to try some castor oil to help labour along, I was 1.5cm dilated and my cervix was very ready. I went home at 12am and took some castor oil and just tried to kill time getting things ready at home. Nothing happened and at 4pm I took a second dose of castor oil as agreed and then waited some more, by 10pm I had given up! I was having some light braxton type pains but nothing happening so I had messaged Mandi to say we are going to bed and nothing was happening, rather disappointed actually.
How Labour Started- Active Labour
We got into bed at 10:45 that night and at 10:50 I was hit with a contraction so strong I couldn’t move, It completely caught me off guard that I actually got such a fright and my whole body started shaking. Hubby helped me up and I got into a hot bath, by 11:00 (10min in) The contractions were so strong and 3min apart, I was struggling to sit in the bath and hubby said he was phoning Mandi to come and she was on her way. By 11:45 I was out the bath and waiting for Mandi and assisting midwife Mandy to arrive. I remember them walking through the door and I was so happy to see them because I had never expected my labour to start so fast and so so strong, I didn’t even have time to think about it or ease into it or get my head around breathing for that matter. I knew once they arrived that I was in good hands and could just labour along without worry. (and that is exactly why having a midwife is important!)
The Birth Plan…
The plan was for Mandi & Mandy to come to my house, to check that I was properly in labour and then pack to transfer to the hospital with the birthing pool and all and go labour in the Bayview hospital in Mosslebay, because it was a vbac this was the agreed plan between us and my lovely backup gyni. We had even arranged specially with the hospital that we set up the birth pool there so we could water birth. And the photos have little descriptions.
1 hour in labour...
So at 12:20 when we did my first internal check, I was already 5cm dilated. Hubby and Mandy were busy packing the car for us to leave for hospital and I had sent my daughter Zoe to go sleep at my father.
By 12:40 I was already moaning and crying out through the contractions, they were coming so strong and so fast, I remember standing leaning against the kitchen counter with Mandi massaging my back and I was already having strong bearing down urges. Other Mandy was sitting at the Kitchen counter observing and writing down all the birth notes as I birthed. I found great relief in the massage and also moving my hips from side to side seemed to be helping loads.
I could feel the baby moving down!
I could feel the baby moving inside of me like she was a little worm wiggling, I will never forget that feeling, I could literally feel her wiggling into the correct position to find her way out, It is so amazing how the baby works with the mother during birth. The more baby Violet wiggled and pushed her head downwards, the stronger and faster the contractions were coming and the more I felt like pushing down. She was coming fast!!!
Decided to stay home- labour progressing too fast
At this stage we had decided to rather unpack to car because I was having bearing down urges and the contractions were coming too fast, the hospital was 30min away and Mandi was concerned about how fast things were going. at 12:50 I was 8cm. I had always though that this first stage and active labour would take hours and I would have hours to chill, focus and get to hospital. It was now only 2 hours after my first very strong contraction had hit and I was already wanting to push. I remember doing odd things between contractions, like fetching blankets and walking around. Not caring about anything, like even the bloody mess I was making everywhere did not matter. I remember telling Mandi not to worry we can wash it all tomorrow as I randomly just wiped blood off on the blanket I was sitting on.
Transition and pushing..
2 hours in at 1am I all of a sudden had the urge to sleep… This was very odd to me because I was in the middle of having contractions and pushing feelings. I was now sitting on the lounge floor by the fire leaning back against the couch, I would sit up in a squatting position every time a contraction came and when it stopped I would lean back against the couch and literally fall asleep between contractions, it was uncontrollable and I was just going with what my body was naturally doing! I was not at all thinking about it or anything, I could feel when my body wanted to change position or do something and I would just naturally go with it. Mandi and hubby were by my side, Mandi would help massage, wipe me down with a cloth and bring me water and hubby would take turns helping me up and holding my hand during the strong contractions.
This went on for a while and at 1:48am I was 9cm and my cervix had formed an anterior lip, I remember Mandy doing the internal and positioning my cervix into the right position and over the baby’s head, this was extremely painful but I sat through it because I knew it was necessary to get labour going further. Mandi suggested that I go lie on my side on the bed to get the cervix positioned right. We were now reconsidering packing for the hospital because it was now taking longer and seemed as tho labour had slowed.
The hardest part..Pushing..
We got to 2:30am (3h 30min into labour) and I was now on my bed (which is conveniently in the lounge due to renovations, how perfect actually) I was now fully dilated and I remember being on my side on the bed. Curling inward towards myself with my chin tucked in when the contractions came and focusing on pushing all my energy inwards instead of just screaming out with pain and for me this was now the most painful part of labour! I was pushing hard with the contractions and I could feel that baby’s head was now in the vagina.
I realized at this stage that my water had not broken and I used my hand to feel in my vagina, I could feel the water sac first and then the baby’s head inside it. I called hubby for him to also have a feel because he had said before hand that he wants to participate and feel when the head is coming. The head was so close to the outside but yet still so stuck inside, I remember thinking she is like 4cm from out and how the hell can this be so hard to get through!
I was begging for some relief and help, hilariously I remember asking for something for the pain, even a panado!! I did not realize at the time that that was not even gonna do anything.
My back, hips and ass at this stage were in constant pain and when a contraction hit no one could touch me it was so painful, Mandi was trying to massage my back but I had to tell her to stop because it felt like a ton of bricks on my back it was so sore. This for me was truly the hardest stage and or tho this was only 30min or so , I remember thinking that I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t handle it! I looked at my hubby and told him ” I cant do this, I cant!”
I was now entirely in my own little world, I remember thinking that I was alone, like no one was in the room with me. I was totally unaware of what was going on around me. Mandi had gone to phone my gyni to tell her what was happening and to check in if she was still comfortable with us now birthing at home. Thankfully my stunning gyni had no problems and said as long as I am fine and there are no problems that it was now too late for hospital anyways.
While hubby and Mandi were talking and phoning the gyni, I was still pushing on the bed with Mandy sitting by my side helping me. I had at this stage made up my mind that when I saw my hubby again I was going to ask him to help me off the bed so I could change position, I wanted to stand up!
Violet was Born!!!!!
at about 2:55am I got Hubby and Mandi to pull me off the bed, I said I was fine and just wanted to be up a bit so they let me be. I walked 3m from the bed to the Fireplace having 2 contractions in between. I stood by the fire and felt inside to see where baby’s head was, I could still feel her right there, like 2cm from out! if I pushed down hard I could feel it sting as her head was starting to crown and come out.
This all happened so so fast, I did not even think about where anyone else was in the room or anything, as I said before it was like I was just following what my body was naturally doing. I stood up in front of the fire with one hand on my one knee and the other hand feeling by my vagina, It was now just me and my baby and I was going to push her out! I started to push hard when the contraction came but stopped as I felt it sting badly with the “ring of fire” and my bum felt as tho it was gonna tear open, this was all just a matter of seconds but I then thought fuck it I am gonna get this over with and I just pushed down with my hand by my vagina so I could feel where her head was. Her head popped out and I caught it!!!! It was strange because she was still in her water sac and It felt like I had caught a water balloon. at 3:08am I shouted “the head is out, the head is out” and in 2 seconds Mandi and hubby were by my side, Mandi helped hold the head and the rest of little Violet just slid out super fast and with ease, as her feet came out the water sac broke and splashed over my feet. My Beautiful baby Violet immediately let out a nice cry and I was beyond over joyed! The most amazing feeling of confidence, achievement and relief ever! Baby Violet was immediately alert and her beautiful eyes open big looking around, my hubby kept saying how amazing it is that she is so awake.
Mandi helped sit me down on the carpet by the fire and hubby held me and baby tight, the look of happiness and surprise on his face I will never forget, I will never forget the feeling of catching my baby by myself and holding her in my arms, her little cry and her wriggling body covered in birth slime. ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS!!!!! The pain disappeared in an instant and it was all over.
We sat for long with Violet just looking at her and she latched to drink so easily. we waited 40min for the cord to stop pulsing on its own before cutting and then hubby took Violet and sat with her on the couch and drank a glass of wine lol, he needed that glass of wine after the quick 4 hours of action we just had. My placenta came out at 4:35am and then we did my vaginal exam to check if I had torn. I had two little upper labial tears and we decided to stitch the one up and just neaten it all up, Mandi did a great job at giving me the local injections for the pain and the stitches were over before I knew it. I got up and had a shower at 6am and by 6:20 Mandi and Mandy left. Me, hubby and baby Violet were all very happy in our bed cuddling! I felt better than I ever had, did not feel like I had just given birth. I was not in any pain and compared to when I had my c section it was an absolute dream. Hubby was more tired than I was and immediate fell asleep with little Violet in his arms.
I will forever be grateful to Mandi and Mandy for the fantastic birth they gave us, without them by my side I would never have had such peace of mind to have been able to birth the way I did! If anyone ever asks if it is worth it to have a midwife then the answer will always be YES, The care and support I got was understanding and gentle, but at the same time safe at all times with the best interests of me and my baby at heart. I did not once think of any risks or stress over it being a vbac, I was just happily focused on birthing my baby and I do believe that it is because of this that my labour went so wonderfully and fast.
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