My second birthing experience was polar opposites to my first. My first daughter was born by emergency caesarean, something I hadn’t really planned for, expected or wanted. I went into spontaneous labour and laboured for over 16 hours and through fear and anxiety my body wouldn’t open and my cervix was stuck at 4cm. We ended up with a cascade of intervention including an epidural. With very little support to allow me to continue labouring, we were advised to deliver our baby by caesarean section.
I dreamed of having a natural birth and so I was determined to do things differently for my second pregnancy.
We knew we needed to find an obstetrician that was aligned with our beliefs and someone we could trust to guide us towards the outcome we wanted. We found that in Dr Lionel Steinberg. From the very first moment I meet Lionel I knew I was going to birth my baby naturally. He gave me so much confidence and reassurance that all decisions relating to my labour and birth would be up to me.
My husband and I also enrolled in a Hypnobirthing course to give me/us the additional tools to have a successful VBAC experience.
I was 40 + 4 days when I felt the beginning of my sensations, this was after a stretch and sweep that morning. I was home alone with my 20-month-old daughter and without any panic, I began to diffuse my essential oils, turned on my hypnobirthing tracks and sat peacefully on my fit ball until my husband came home from work. He took my daughter to my mum’s house and during this time the tightening and sensations began to increase and become more intense.
As my surges became longer and closer together we called Lionel’s office and it was then he asked us to come into hospital.
Within two hours of my sensations beginning, I was in our birthing suite, breathing calmly through each surge. This is where we met our midwife who I will never forget. She was exactly what I needed, always available, but let me labour without interruption. She was calm and incredibly nurturing. The midwife kept Lionel up to date as I progressed, and at no point did I feel hurried or unsafe. The birthing suite was quiet and peaceful and I was left to labour.
As I felt my baby moving down I needed to change my breathing and began to bear down each time, my body shuttering with each surge. My husband, ironically named Lionel, was the ultimate birthing partner, reading my birthing prompts, reminding me to relax each part of my body as my surges continued. My midwife called Lionel as I had the urge to ‘push’ and he came to check on me. He calmly and casually walked into the birthing suite wanting to converse and see how I was doing.
He asked if he could check how far I had progressed as my waters still hadn’t broken. I was 10cm dilated, so with my consent, he broke my waters. The only time that he openly said to me ‘this is the only time I want you to listen to me’ was when my baby was crowning, he controlled every push to avoid any tearing. Within minutes our baby girl was with us. I lifted her up into my arms and on to my chest while Lionel allowed for delayed cord clamping.
My labour and birth was a total of 5 hours, with 14 minutes of second stage labour. All with no pain relief and no tearing. I stayed in the birthing suite for a further few hours bonding with our baby girl without any sense of being rushed out.
My birth was powerful, beautiful, calm and incredible. I had genuine care, guidance, and trust in me, that as a woman I was fully capable of a VBAC.
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