The story continues…. Part 1 can be found here.
I hired Betty Vella, an independent midwife from Gymea… a veteran midwife! She was one of the attending midwives to the twin homebirth of Justine Caines who was the president of the Maternity Coalition and also secretary of Homebirth Australia. She was perfect for me. She still worked in the hospital system part-time at Bankstown Hospital and only in the birthing unit while taking on 1-2 private clients/month for homebirths and the like. This meant that she had a lot of practice in “hospital politics”, a negotiation skill which I needed with me going into hospital for a VBAC or in my case especially as I was attempting a VBA2C. She was well experienced in VBACs, VBA2C and more, and in birth in general. From the first contact, she was more than happy to chat/email me all info and answer any and all my questions I had without trying to rope me in as one of her clients.
stalked researched Dr Andrew Bisits of John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, contacted him and asked if he would be supportive my future “hypothetical” VBA2C, which he said yes. In my mind, I was considering travelling to Newcastle when my time came just to be under an entirely supportive OB and in a supportive hospital.
The heavens aligned though, and just as I found out I was pregnant, I also heard through the mother’s forum grapevines that Dr Andrew Bisits was leaving John Hunter and taking on a Senior role here in Sydney at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick as the Head of Obstetrics aka HEAD HONCHO.
I could not believe it.
I rang him on his mobile which he willingly gave me via email from the first time I contacted him (seriously What the..?) and confirmed that he indeed was finishing up and would start at the ROW in Oct (2010). I asked him if he would still support me again at Randwick and he was unphased. I told him I was out of the area being from South West of Sydney with Liverpool being my district hospital, and he said that was no problem – he would arrange that I be directly under him since I would be classed as “high risk” patient (hospital terms not his!).
I rang the hospital, and I was given a referral to the VBAC clinic they have there. I was accepted in with no problems, even though I was out of the area, it seems I was lucky as they only took in out of area “walk-in” patients when they are not full.
I had all my antenatal care with Betty, and oh my, the service I got from her was second to none. She came to my house (pregnant Mama’s take a deep breath and read THAT sentence again!!). At an agreed time that suited us both! ALWAYS on time! (not like my private Ob I paid a packet to with Amaya’s birth at Sydney South West Private – overbooked, always late, and felt like he didn’t even remember who I was at each visit. I also really loved waiting around for 40+mins for a 10min appt and having to entertain a toddler at the same time.)
Betty and I connected, and the kids loved her, she often let them help her check the babies heartbeat with the doppler! She was fantastic, down to earth and fully supportive of everything I wanted and she and Jake got on great too! She was even acquainted with Dr Bisits, so that was helpful… She came with me to all my in hospital visits with him as well.
Meeting with Dr Bisits throughout the pregnancy was fantastic. He never let me feel like I was a freak for wanting to attempt a VBA2C. He never allowed me to feel as though what I wanted was ludicrous and endangering myself and my unborn child. Most of all he believed in me. I could tell from the start that he thought I could do it and that was the most important thing of all to me. I needed to know that the people around me really believed in me, believed that I could do it. Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time for a woman, and for me personally, it wasn’t enough that I knew I could do it. I needed those around me to support and believe in me. To keep up my morale.
My first meeting with him was quite informal. He had to give me the usual spiel on risks as a duty of care. We then arranged for our next appointment closer to the due date around 32 weeks to talk details, sign off on my birth “preferences” etc. The 32 weeks came around, and we met again. Pretty much EVERYTHING I wanted was not a problem!
- Happy for me to go “overdue” – CHECK – he was happy for me to go to 42 weeks then “we’ll talk options.”
- Intermittent monitoring – CHECK – “only continuous throughout active pushing” which I was fine with
- Happy for me to labour in water – CHECK
- Length of labour – CHECK – “happy as long as I am progressing and baby is happy.”
I even asked not to have a growth scan, and he asked “why would I do that?” and then told me that the size of the baby does not play a massive issue within the birthing process…this man knew his stuff!
I was in looooove! I rang Jake as soon as I got out of that meeting and told him outright.
I’m in love with this Doctor!
He was just amazing…. he listened, I mean REALLY listened. He believed that I could achieve a VBA2C. He was quietly spoken and not your average “high-rolling” Ob. He dressed simply and had such a calming demeanour. Betty informed me that he did not have his own private practice (like nearly all Senior hospital Obstetricians) and believed that every woman should have access to high-quality pregnancy and birth care no matter what!
WHAT. A. MAN!