Natural Birth After A C-Section

I have read so many times, and I’ve also been told, that you can not have a natural birth if previous deliveries have been by C-section – but this is not true of everyone. I recently spoke about how I had 2 natural births after 2 emergency C-sections, and I could not believe the response.  It seems, like me, people are repeatedly told it is not possible.

As a rule, if you have had 2 caesareans medical staff will then recommend that you have a third, they also recommend that 3 caesareans are the most you should have. This is because the same scar is cut open each time and this leads to scar weakness. Obviously during pregnancy and with a growing tummy, the scar withstands a lot of pressure and then during labour, in some cases the scar tissue can rupture leading to severe complications and in some cases loss of life. So I totally understand that there are risks involved with having a natural birth after 2 caesareans. That being said, I had 6 years for my body and scar healing in between having Harry and Alfie and I was still quite young and fit. I was also only 28 and I didn’t want to think that Alfie was going to be my last child, which is what would have been advised had I had to have a C-section with him.

WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE C-SECTIONS?

There’s so many reasons why people have C-sections.  Some people have them as emergency intervention during labour if there’s complications; some people like to know the exact date and time they will be giving birth so they can plan around it; some women don’t want to ‘ruin their vagina’ (this is true! Im actually going to write a whole new post on this one…Ive been offered a nip & tuck by companies in the past offering this service!).  These were NOT the reasons I had a C-section.  Mine were completely medical.  With both Josh, who I carried for 42 weeks, and Harry, for 38 weeks, I had planned natural births for both but ended up having emergency C-sections.  So when I fell pregnant with Alfie, Doctors told me I was to have a planned section with him too.

WHY OPT FOR MIDWIFE-LED CARE?

I had so many concerns during Alfie’s pregnancy, exacerbated by the miscarriage I had before falling pregnant with him.  To try and relax in to the pregnancy and focus on the ‘right now’ not the ‘what ifs’, I decided to explore midwife-led care with Alfie.  This was ideal as I had a hands on professional who knew my pregnancy as well as I did and who could advise me at every single stage.  They definitely provided the reassurance you need throughout the pregnancy. I also loved knowing my midwife knew me, my worries, my concerns, she knew my pregnancy history.  She was great for settling any anxieties aside too

WHY I HAD A WATER BIRTH

After discussing all the delivery options I decided I wanted to have a water birth.  This wasn’t a left-field decision by any stretch as I had briefly been in the water with my first labour (with Josh) and found it really did work until complications arose.  I was keen to try and keep the pain relief drugs to a minimum because having drugs in my previous labour greatly slowed it down and they made me feel so sick.  The gas and air was a complete no go as previously, just the smell of it in the room made me vomit… a water birth just seemed the right and most natural delivery for me.  It ticked all the boxes and meant I could have a completely natural birth.  My midwife was amazing and totally understood me.  She wanted to give me all the pros and cons of what could happen. But she said as long as we do what’s best for baby, that she was happy to help me achieve my ideal labour.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG DURING LABOUR… BEST LAID PLANS!

By the time I arrived at the hospital I was already 10cm dilated.  My waters broke at home and within 20 minutes my contractions were less than a minute apart.  There was a moment on the way to the hospital that I thought I would be giving birth in the car!  A terrifying experience.  Everything just happened so fast I barely even had chance to process what was happening in between the contractions… but strangely when you’re in labour some bigger survival instinct just kicks in.  Despite the pain and intensity of the situation you have a presence of mind and you go into autopilot mode to ‘get the job done’.  It makes sense really doesn’t it, given the entire human race depends on these very moments!

When we arrived at the hospital I was straight in the birth pool and almost immediately pushing and then there he was, a healthy baby boy, 8lbs 12oz, completely natural birth, with no drugs, after 2 emergency C-sections.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  A 2.5 hr labour from start to finish, I was in total shock but over the moon!

the best thing you can plan for is a change of plan

When I had my 4th baby, Ella, I decided to have her at home.  I felt confident in the natural birth pool process, and having had a successful delivery with Alfie, I knew this was the delivery I wanted… I also knew I didn’t want to risk the journey to the hospital following how quickly Alfie’s labour came on.  So I decided to have the birthing pool in my living room all set up, the candles lined up, and the hypnotic birth music on.  It was completely and utterly amazing… oh apart from running out of hot water because we had a dodgy boiler!  So loads of pans of water had to be boiled to make sure the pool was the right temperature – giving birth in a cold pool of water? ..no thanks!  This is actually true and just goes to show that no matter how much you plan, the best thing you can plan for is a change of plan.

What a difference a day makes - the day before and day after Ella was born.

What a difference a day makes – the day before and day after Ella was born.

So it just goes to show, anything is possible.  It took me 3 labours to achieve my almost dream delivery.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would deliver one of my children at home.

My midwives were incredible, they kept me calm and I had total trust in their judgements.  I truly believe I could not have achieved those deliveries without them. Without the support from the midwives, my last two births would have been completely different experiences and not the ones I would have hoped for.  The other thing I have always said whenever I’m asked about my births is “Do what feels right for you. Trust yourself and your instincts.”  A birth pool delivery will not be for everyone, but for me it was perfect.  Above all though, just to be able to deliver not one but two babies naturally after two C-section deliveries was amazing.

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