Birth Story – Isa

My husband and I already had two children, and we had thought our family was complete. Not only did I suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme morning sickness), but both my births had been C-sections, and the first had been really traumatic. We were so sure we were done my husband had a vasectomy.

But a few years ago my family started feeling incomplete. I felt there was another soul wanting to join us, and this conviction just got stronger and stronger until I couldn’t ignore it. We decided to have one more baby.

Because of the vasectomy we had to do IVF, and we became pregnant right away. Unfortunately, we lost that baby, but on the next attempt we again fell pregnant right away.

I really wanted to have a home birth, but I was considered high risk because of my two previous c-sections, and I couldn’t find a midwife who was prepared to take me on. I was a bit surprised to find out 0.7% chance of a uterine rupture is considered high risk[i]. I had done my research, and was frustrated that I was being robbed of my right to choose the birth I wanted.

In the end I decided to go with a freebirth. This means a birth without medical or midwifery assistance and a pregnancy with minimal medical checks. This meant I was taking on the responsibility of any decisions, but I was comfortable with that.

During my research I had discovered Doulas and looked around for one that I connected with, which is how I found Alison. She was very supportive of my choices from the beginning.

It was a very nice pregnancy. I only had a couple of medical appointments, which made it very low stress and relaxed.

I finally went into labour at 41 weeks and 5 days. I know if I had been birthing in a hospital that wouldn’t have been allowed, because they’re too scared of things going wrong, But my baby knew what she was doing. It was nice that I could wait until she was ready.

For three nights I laboured during the night, with contractions 10-20 minutes apart, only to have the contractions stop when the sun came up. On the third night, around 4:30am the contractions went to 5 minutes apart. I waited until 7am to call Alison, in case they stopped again, but they didn’t, and Alison came right over.

Around 11:30am my waters broke in a big gush and I had the urge to push. After 5 hours of pushing my baby still wasn’t born. My husband could feel her head, but she wasn’t moving any closer.

In the end we decided to call an ambulance. When they arrived they agreed to wait half an hour in case something happened. When there was still no progress a second team arrived, and they advised me I would need to go to hospital as this was the protocol.

As they were getting me down the steps to the ambulance things started to happen. Maybe the movement shook something loose, I don’t know, but my baby started to move, By the time I was at the doors of the ambulance my baby’s head was crowning. Alison asked if I could go back inside because she knew I really wanted a home birth, and the baby was almost there, but because of those medical protocols I had to go to the hospital.

No sooner was I in the ambulance than her head came out, and she was born on the trolley on the way from the ambulance to the birthing suite. I was disappointed not to have had a home birth, but was also at peace with the decision to call an ambulance when we did, because it was my decision, not someone else’s.

I had wanted to experience the golden hour and delayed cord clamping, but because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, even though it was not on the baby, the hospital wouldn’t allow it. I finally met my baby properly while they were stitching up my first-degree tear, which wasn’t ideal, but I had my healthy baby, and I had managed a vaginal birth after two c-sections, which I was very grateful for.

I went home after two days, and I must say, the ambos and the nurses could not have been more kind or supportive.

But the real standout was Alison.

She is honestly one of the most beautiful and caring people I know. During the pregnancy and labour she could not have been more supportive. Not just of me, but of my husband, who tends to freeze in stressful emotional situations.

After I was taken away in the ambulance, she stayed at my home and cleaned everything up so that I came home to a clean and tidy house.

Once I was home Alison’s postpartum care was brilliant. She still comes around with delicious, nutritious meals, as well as giving me massages. We even had a belly binding ceremony.

We have no family in Australia, and honestly, having Alison is like having birth mum. Her care and support are unconditional. She always knew exactly what I needed, and was there to provide it. I feel like she will always be part of my family now.

I only wish doulas were more well known. Every mum needs one. It shouldn’t be a luxury, or optional. Everyone should have one. It makes such a difference. Having a baby takes such a toll on your body, and society is still very patriarchal in the belief you should ‘get back to normal’ as quickly as possible. A doula, especially a postpartum doula, helps nurture you through.

For me, I’d like to see the medical industry update their ideas, and support women who have had a one or more caesareans if they want to try a vaginal birth. I am so grateful I got my natural birth – it was so empowering. It felt amazing to know that my body did that.

With Alison as my doula, I knew she was there for me and my baby. She doesn’t focus on the fears, but on the positive and the natural. I always felt she had my best interests at heart – I always felt ‘she’s got me’.

My family really is complete now, but if I was ever to have another baby, I would absolutely want Alison by my side.

If you would like support in your journey to motherhood, please give me a call on 0422 258 771, I would love to chat. Or contact me here.