This story begins when Matthew was 14 months old. It was then that a very good friend had her first baby and I decided that it was time for another baby. It was August 1998.
When Matthew was 2-3 months old, my local doctor started me on Depo Provera injections for birth control. I had an injection once every 3 months and no periods at all. At the time I thought it was wonderful. I couldn't take the pill because of my high blood pressure history while on the pill previously and this seemed the best option at the time. I had just had an injection in July 1998, so we decided to stop there and start trying for No.2 when the injection wore off.
Six months later my periods finally returned! By early August 1999 I thought I was finally pregnant. I had many of the symptoms, but pregnancy tests were all negative. I also had worsening pain in my left side, just like I was ovulating. After "ovulating" for 2 weeks I went to the doctor. He sent me off to have an ultrasound which revealed a huge cyst on my left ovary. Within 2 days I was at the specialist and 4 days later I was in hospital for a laparoscopy to have the cyst removed. For minor surgery the recovery was awful.
When I had recovered from the cyst & the surgery we started trying again. Month after month we tried and month after month I got my period. It was a difficult time. I began to get an idea of how it feels to be unable to concieve. Seeing pregnant women upset me, as did seeing little babies. To make matters worse, many of my closest friends got pregnant during this time and had their babies, while we were still trying.
Around the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000 I began to feel that God was calling me to go on a short term missions trip with our church. There was a trip to the Philippines coming up in July 2000, so I told God that if I was not pregnant when the time came to sign up, then I would go. April came around and I was not pregnant, so when they called for people who wanted to go, I put my name down. We were now in the unusual position of trying NOT to fall pregnant!! The missions trip went from the 1st to the 14th of July. While away I shared with our pastor who was on the trip with us, some of the struggles we had been through and my desire for another baby. When we arrived back at Sydney airport, she prayed for me that God would grant the desire of my heart.
In the middle of August I conceived and got a positive pregnancy test in the middle of September!! Praise God! In hindsight I beleive God really wanted me on that missions trip and if I had had another baby when I wanted to, I never would have gone. The whole experience really taught me that God is in control of my life and He has a purpose and a plan in all that happens to me. I just have to trust Him that He will reveal that plan to me when the time is right.
This pregnancy was healthy and uneventful. I didn't have high blood pressure this time, in fact my blood pressure was low throughout my pregnancy. I went back to the doctor who delivered Matthew as he had promised to let me try for a VBAC rather than a repeat ceasarean. I had done a research assignment on VBAC vs elective repeat ceasarean while at University (approx. 6 years ago!)and I knew that VBAC was much safer. I really wanted to try for the birth that I missed out on the first time. He placed a few restrictions on my labour, namely that he would not allow me to labour for longer than 6-8 hours once in active labour, he wanted an IV in just in case and he wanted me monitored as he said that the first sign of the dreaded "uterine rupture" was a fall in fetal heart rate.
When I went for my 39 week check my doctor told me that if I hadn't gone into labour by the 18th of May (I was due on the 12th) he would book me in for a repeat ceasarean. It was the first I had heard of this plan!! He wouldn't induce me as that has been proven to increase the risk of rupture, so a repeat ceasarean was the only way to go in his opinion if I was overdue. I got everyone praying that I would go into labour before the 18th.
At 3:55 am on the 7th May I woke up with a contraction. After about 4 contractions at 10 minute intervals I woke my husband to tell him I thought this was "it". We were very excited and lay there counting contractions and talking. Matthew came in around 6am and was very excited when we told him the baby was coming. We rang the hospital, just to check if this really was it. I hadn't gone into labour naturally before so I wasn't absolutely sure. They seemed positive, so we rang my Mum, who was going to take Matthew while I was in labour. She arrived around 8-9am, just when my contractions came to a complete stop! I felt silly for calling her then. We called the hospital again and they told us this was completely normal and that we could try a bit of exercise if we liked to try and get things started again. So I decided to do the housework. After a couple of loads of washing, cleaning the bathroom and sweeping and mopping the floors I started to get irregular contractions which then lasted for most of the rest of the day. Mum took Matthew to her house after helping with the housework for a bit and we took a nap in the afternoon. I found it hard to sleep, even though I was tired.
Around 5pm I rang the hospital again to let them know what was going on and see what they thought we should do from there. They told us to come in so they could see what was happening, especially when they found out I was a TOS ( Trial of Scar). We got ourselves organised and got to the hospital around 6:30pm. Going against the usual pattern, once we got to the hospital my contractions started coming regularly every 2-3 minutes. They monitored me for a bit and decided to admit me. An internal showed I wasn't dilated at all and the cervix was still high and posterior. The baby was still really high too. The midwife made the comment that she felt I probably wasn't going to succeed at this VBAC as the baby was still high. What great encouragement!! They gave me an IV cannula in my hand and a hospital gown and sent me off walking the corridors to get the baby to move down. I was glad about this as I cope better with the contractions when I am able to move around.
Around the time the shift changed, approx. 10pm they decided to put me on the monitor again to see how things were going. It was only going to be for a short time however it then stayed on till I was wheeled off for a ceasarean about 15 hours later!! Anyway, that is giving the end away too soon. They checked the baby's position again and I was pleased to learn that baby had moved down with all my walking.
They called my doctor, who recommended a shot of pethidine to help me sleep. This was given and we settled down for the night. The pethidine did nothing for the pain, but at least I slept between contractions. I think I did anyway, my memory was very hazy between then and the next morning. Now that I was in bed I no longer felt like I was coping with the contractions so I requested the gas. Kerry was awake for a while, so I squeezed his hand during each contraction while puffing on the gas. After a while Kerry fell asleep, so then it was just me, the gas and the monitor.
In the morning they checked me again and I was now 4-6 cm. I was pleased as it looked like we were going to succeed at this VBAC. The midwife offered me a shower. I was really not coping with the contractions now, so I asked for an epidural instead. At this point I even asked for another ceasarean!!! This was around 7am. Soon I was sitting leaning over a pillow while the aneasthetist put the epidural in. I was so relieved to be out of pain at last and settled back to get some rest. Only thing was that by now I was ravenously hungry and I couldn't sleep. I wasn't allowed to eat though, doctors orders.
After the epidural went in my doctor ruptured my waters and an internal fetal monitor was attached. Up went a drip to keep me hydrated and I now had tubes everywhere. Still I was encouraged to see the midwife get out all the equipment ready for the birth and felt that maybe they believed I could do this after all.
As soon as the epidural went in labour slowed right down. The contractions were still coming every 2-3 minutes, but now they were registering about 30 on the monitor instead of the 90 they had been registering before. Around 1pm my doctor came in again and found I was still around 4cm so a repeat ceasarean was suggested. If I wasn't so hungry that I felt ill I don't think I would have agreed. But I really wanted it all over and I knew they wouldn't let me eat till this baby was born, so I said yes.
All the equipment for vaginal birth was packed away and I was wheeled off to theatre for another ceasarean. The epidural had worn off by now, but when they tried to top it up I had a persistent window on the left side. I had the option of a spinal or a general and I opted for a spinal. So they took the epidural out and put the spinal in. The spinal was scary as the block went so far up that I felt like I couldn't breathe. The aneasthetist was very reassuring though.
Joshua Thomas Slavin was born at 1:32pm on 8th May 2001, weighing 6lb 12oz and 48cm long. He was fine and healthy and taken after a quick look to the nursery to be checked over. Kerry went up with him while I was sewn up. Once in recovery I got the "epi shakes" which was pretty awful. ( I had them last time too) At least Kerry was allowed to come and sit with me in recovery and let me know all about my little boy. He wasn't allowed to do that with my first ceasarean. My mum stayed with Josh in the nursery, luckily she happened to be visiting around the time a ceasarean was decided on. I got my first cuddle a couple of hours later when I got to my room.
The next morning I remembered why I hadn't wanted another caesarean. It hurt to move, it hurt to do anything. My doctor came to see me and told that next time he would schedule a repeat ceasarean. I replied,"the way I feel right now, there won't be a next time". I took it easy for the next 6 weeks. I knew from last time that I would pay for it if I didn't. At least this time I had no post op infection. But I hated not being able to pick my son up without it hurting, not being able to look after my family properly, having to rely on others to do my washing etc, not being able to pick Matthew up and give him a proper cuddle. It was at least 2 months before I felt "normal" again. It was a long time too before I could really enjoy my little boy.
When I look back there really wasn't any "need" for a ceasarean. Josh was not distressed, I was just not progressing. I was taking too long. To give my doctor some credit though he did let me go a lot longer than the 6-8 hours in active labour. I was going to be really assertive in this labour, really fight for my VBAC, but when the going got tough I crumbled. I have been really angry with myself over that. After a lot of umming and ahhing I have decided that I will try again for a VBAC next time. I feel I didn't give it my best shot this time and I want to try again and really give it my best shot next time. I have been doing a lot of research and reading since Josh was born and will be doing everything I can to ensure I have the most ideal circumstances for a VBAC next time.
Through all of this I have come to beleive in natural unmedicated childbirth. God created women to fall pregnant and be able to birth their babies. Our bodies know how to labour and birth a baby. Medical intervention in childbirth has it's place. If it were not for the intervention of doctors in certain high risk pregnancies and deliveries, then the lives of those mothers and babies would be lost. However medical intervention in normal risk free childbirth is unnecessary. In fact medical intervention in these cases, in the form of inducing labour, epidurals, artificial rupture of the membranes etc, is actually more likely to cause a cascade of problems and interventions that eventually necessitate a ceasarean. For more information on this please check out the links on natural childbirth on our links page.
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