Birth Story | Liam Saunders | 13 October 2015 | 8lbs 7 oz (3.84 kg) | 56 cm | South Africa

Written by Chantal Saunders

Herewith my birth story from 12/13 October 2015 (he was born on 13/10/2015):

When I fell pregnant early this year I set about getting my birth team from very early on. My amazing midwife Elmarie Peters and fabulous doula Leigh Jansen were that team. It was harder to find a backup gynae at a hospital in the durban area that offered waterbirths. I eventually found Dr Garrib at Crompton Hospital who was a very nice gynae but unfortunately had some conditions, as all the backup gynae’s in durban do. These were that baby be head down, less than 3.5 kg and spontaneous labour before 40 weeks. Well baby Liam was head down from quite early on and stayed that way, tick one. Then at my 36 week appointment (only had 2 with the backup) he was happy that his size would likely be below 3.5 kg and because he was so low in my pelvis that he would come before 40 weeks. At 39 weeks and 3 days I went to Elmarie for a checkup. She did an internal, unfortunately I was not dilated/effaced enough to do a proper sweep. I saw her again at 39 weeks and 5 days and she could do a proper sweep. 40 weeks (sunday 4th October) came and went and I got a bit depressed. I tried to call the gynae office that afternoon to set up an appointment as I assumed I had to do. Their phones were down and I couldn’t get through till the next morning when they told me Dr had no available appointments till the following Tuesday (I thanked my lucky stars for a whole extra week plus). That Saturday (40 weeks plus 6 days) I saw Elmarie and she did another sweep. I was at 2 cm dilated. On Monday at around 14:00 I started getting contractions and some pink bleeding (woo hoo!) Unfortunately they didn’t get closer together than 6/7 minutes and then at about 01:00 they fizzled out. I was devastated. Tuesday morning when I woke up the contractions started again at about 13 minutes apart and got to about 8 minutes apart by the time I had to leave for the gynae appointment. Saw the gynae and he said I have two options, he could do the ceaser the next day, or, because he thought my cervix was favourable (3 cm dilated) and baby was still measuring small I could have Elmarie break my waters in the hopes that this would progress the contractions. I called Elmarie and Leigh and they met me at the hospital, luckily we had brought our hospital bags, and Elmarie broke my waters at about 14:00 and on checking my cervix said I was more like a 4 than a 3. Contractions got a bit stronger and Leigh and I climbed some stairs, did some rebozo sifting and the rollover, baby was posterior which was a concern. Elmarie checked me at around 16:30 (I think) and I was at 5. My heart sank, only 1 cm! So hubby and I tried climbing stairs, did some more positioning work with Leigh and I really zoned out here, clearly my hormones were working well as i felt zonked. After more stair climbing or something Elmarie checked me again (not sure what time) and I was still a 5. I was really starting to feel distraught now. But one foot in front of the other, did more work and more stairs and hallways. By now I was having to stop every half floor of the stairs for a contraction and more fluid was gushing out with each contraction (thank goodness for postpartum pads!). I needed to go to the loo (really felt like I needed a poo) so I went and couldn’t do anything as I had had diarrhea since Monday so was empty. I had a contraction on the loo and noted there was a lot of blood. I told Elmarie and Leigh that the contractions were closer and it felt like fluid was gushing out with each contraction. Elmarie confirmed that this and the blood was a good thing and wanted to check me. It was now 22:00 and I was a 6. So all this time since my water broke I had only progressed 2 cm. I rally started losing hope. As well as that my legs were shaking and before the check in was sure I must be at least an 8, shaky legs = transition right. Elmarie said I could get in the pool now if I liked. I thought this was good as I was struggling with these contractions. The pool felt amazing for a few minutes until I had a contraction and it felt much much stronger. Then they started getting longer and closer together and I thought I was surely going to die. These contractions would kill me. I gripped poor hubby’s hand so hard through each one and just tried to cope. I remember saying “no” a lot and dropping an f bomb even. Then I started to feel what felt like his head descend into the top of my vagina but I didn’t say anything as I was just a 6 a little while ago. Then I felt him move down my vagina with each contraction and I told everyone “he’s coming”. A few contractions later and he was crowning, I hadn’t pushed yet at all the contractions were moving him down and I could feel his head with my hand during a contraction, I was amazed and overjoyed but at the same time the death contractions were still happening. I got onto my knees with my arms over the edge of the tub holding hubby (so in an all fours position) and with one contraction I decided I had had enough his head was almost out and I pushed once and managed to get his head out. With the next contraction I pushed and out came his body. What an amazing feeling!!! The time was now 22:46. So in around 45 minutes I went from despondent 6 cm to baby, I was over the moon! I then sat in the bath with him for an hour, nursed a bit cord cut when stopped pulsating and delivered the placenta. Then I needed to get some stitches, a couple of first degree tears but nothing major. Cuan and Leigh weighed baby Liam and he was a whopping 3.84 kg! So despite the conditions, the stop start labour and the initially posterior baby I had my vbac at 41 weeks 2 days and am so so thrilled. I would not have been able to do it without my amazing birth team and my super star hubby. He has even said countless times since last night how amazing this was (he was initially against vbac), how much better it was than the cs and how in awe he is by what the body can do. And now my baby is less than 24 hours old, I am chilling at home and haven’t needed as much as a Paracetamol 🙂




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