Some more food for thought…the following are the success rates of VBAC’s (according to Homebirth Australia):
- 6.7% Private Hospital VBAC Success rate (NSW)
- 16.2% Public Hospital VBAC Success rate (NSW)
- 80-90% Private midwives VBAC Success rate
Most women will likely birth in a hospital – i had my successful VBAC in hospital, a public hospital (the Royal Woman’s Hospital at Randwick, NSW) and only a small percentage will homebirth even though statistics clearly show that this is the most highest success rate by far for a VBAC.
Choosing the right hospital is important if you do have a choice! I live in Sydney and there are many hospitals. I birthed my son (first Cesarean) at my local public hospital, Liverpool Hospital.
You see the first time around with Ethan – his birth was quite traumatic for me. The only preparation i did was attend the hospital provided course which just told you basically where to go after hours, what all the friendly doctor apparatuses were and what they looked like, showed us a
terrifying great video from the 80’s of some lady pushing a baby out kneeling and holding on to the back of the hospital bed and that was that. I really thought i knew my poo. But i knew nothing.
Both my brother and I were cesareans for my mum so she really didn’t have any motherly wisdom to pass onto me, and my mother-in-law sounded like she had her own traumatic births so i didn’t really hear from anyone about what to do etc. I thought that it would just come natural to me – and i would push the baby out in a matter of minutes just like in the movies! But my labour and birth was far from the ideal. I had prelabour which i could of sworn was LABOUR (at the time)…and got
rejected sent home from the hospital twice…the second time they gave me sleeping pills and panadine forte and told me to go to sleep….like hell i could sleep! By the time they admitted me i was already in prelabour/labour for about 24hrs from the very start. That equals NO SLEEP. From the last rejection at about midnight to my admittance at 7am the next morning i had dilated to 5cm all alone in my hallway TOTALLY FREAKING OUT OF MY MIND thinking OH MY GOD if this is not labour then kill me now! I remember ringing in the morning (i was booked in for an induction anyway that day!) begging the midwife on the phone to please let me come in and stay in since i really needed some pain relief as i was dying!!! Thank God when i was admitted she said i was 5 cm!!!
Normal hospital protocol usually involves on admittance being hooked up to the machines that read the babies heart rate – they are looking for a good 20 minutes of NO CRAZY HEART RATE ACTION/HAPPY BABY then they send you on your merry way to continue on. Whilst i was strapped up and being
probed checked by the midwife – my waters were bulging so much that the internal was enough to break my waters. Since i was strapped up to the machine – it caught Ethan’s heart rate deceleration below a point they are not happy with and basically told me because of this i had to spend my labour hooked up to a machine with a scalp monitor attached to Ethan’s head internally to babysit us while they try to keep up with the overload of work and not enough staff to keep an eye on us. This was even so throughout my labour not once did his heart rate ever drop again! So this meant that i could not move around alot, i could not use the bath or shower. Once i was settled in they offered me the menu of drugs available – entree:Pethadine…which did nothing for me. Mains:GAS….ooooh how i loooooved gas. Had many people tell me it made them sick, not this mumma, i loved it….spaced out of my mind was where i wanted to be to escape the pain! Fastforward 16 hours later (thats 16 hours after check in…so going on close to 40 hours from the first pain) – i was totally and utterly exhausted and apparently only about 8cm. I begged them to make it stop and they agreed that i could have an epidural. I never thought i would ever have one. The rational thought of having a needle stuck in your spine scares the crap out of me but at that point in time i didn’t care! I had given up and just needed a break. I still remember the look on the anesthetist’s face when he arrived to give me my beloved epidural….one of complete embarrassment. You see i was completely naked! and i didn’t care! i just wanted that needle in damn-it and he better make it quick… in went the needle and i was so relieved. I could rest and talk and debrief on WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED TO ME so far. I think i just about gave my mother a stroke having her witness my horrible pain filled OUT OF CONTROL labour thus far! I’m sure Jake was a very close second behind her. I tell you all this because, hell yeh i do want to scare you…to freak you out a little about how horrible the birth experience can be if you aren’t prepared – if don’t do your planning for your birth. Don’t leave it to the hands of whoever and whatever…get proactive and plan the best birth for you.
The difference between birthing there and my last birth at the Royal Women’s is a stark contrast. First time around i was pretty much hooked up to a machine via fetal scalp monitor, offered drugs immediately, a failed vacuum extraction (they tried twice!) for a large posterior baby flat on my back due to the epidural (even just being rolled onto my side would have made a difference to my pelvic outlet for Ethan to fit through!).
At the Royal Women’s they pretty much left me alone with my independent midwife – only coming in to check babies heart rate every hour for a few minutes. I was able to labour and push in the positions i wanted and even though the wireless monitor didn’t pick up a good reading for this stage the midwife held it in place whilst i laboured where i wanted! I was encouraged to try the birthing stool by my OB at the end and the list could go on. The Royal Women’s has a specific VBAC clinic just for women seeking a natural birth after cesarean! I could sing the praises of this hospital till the cows come home!
Choosing to birth at the Royal Women’s instead of my local hospital meant that i had a journey of about 35-40 minutes in NON-PEAK hour traffic across Sydney (double that time in peak hour!). But i was willing to deal with whatever circumstances that would arise on the day, just so i could birth in a supportive hospital.
Look at the VBAC statistics for the hospital you are considering. Upon my booking at the Royal Women’s i questioned the VBAC clinic midwife about their VBAC statistics since it is quite low and she pointed out to me that i had to remember that they get alot of high risk patients that are Cesarean births that i had to take into consideration as well.
There are more supportive hospitals around and don’t be afraid to travel if need be!
The above post is No.3 in my 10 tips that helped me personally in achieving my successful VBAC after 2 cesareans…the original 10 Tips post can be found here, Tip #1 – Believe in Yourself, Tip #2 – Support Support Support.