Birth Story: Success Against The Odds
Here’s a story about faith, determination and team work
It’s a success story which I hope will inspire you to strike out for what you want and achieve your goals, even if the odds are stacked against you.
It’s a story in which I faced my fears, followed my gut instincts and believed in myself when some medical practitioners wouldn’t. Today is my second son’s eight birthday and I’d like to share his homebirth story with you.
Best of all it’s a story with a very happy ending. Well, more of a happy beginning really, the beginning of Max’s life with us.
Having experienced a caesarian section with our first baby in 1998, and almost dying after the surgeon left me with a bleeding artery, I dreamed of giving birth to my second baby in the comfort and privacy of my own home. After that caesarian in an Auckland hospital I needed eight units of blood, and went back to surgery under general anesthetic for a second operation to stop the bleeding. There are six hours missing from my life, my first six hours as a new mother, but I’m lucky to have survived.
Statistics say that caesarian sections are more dangerous for the mother than vaginal births, and I was unfortunate enough to experience that first hand. I wanted to have a home birth with my first baby but I ended up going to hospital and being convinced to have a caesarian because the doctor thought I was having a big baby. They got that right as Luke weighed in at 10lb 12oz (4.9kg).
Since baby Luke was a week overdue, and so large, I wanted to have my second baby early in the hope that she or he would be smaller. I was delighted when I went into labour ten days before my due date on a Monday morning.
At first labour was very slow and I wasn’t sure if it was the real thing. I went for a long walk on the beach, had a siesta and was examined by Alison at 4pm and found to be 3cm dilated. So far so good. For the uninitiated I’m referring to the cervix, which needs to be 10cm dilated before the baby can squeeze through it. I slept a little that night.
By Tuesday morning I was 5cm dilated. My friend Jayne arrived and another friend, Mel, looked after three year old Luke for us. Me, Jayne and Rich hung out, picked flowers, pottered round the garden, and got things ready. Alison came back at 2pm and I was happy when she said she was going to stay now and started setting up her equipment. The four of us laughed, chatted and listened to reggae. The pain got worse but not too bad, I was in and out of the bath and took a few walks, kept eating and drinking throughout. Around 6pm Alison broke my bulging waters ~ woosh, I was soon fully dilated.
Pushing that baby out was hell, but thank heavens it only lasted 45 minutes. I was in agony and changed position with every contraction. I touched the baby’s head as it crowned, then Alison said the baby had the cord round its neck and I let out a terrible wail. “But not tightly” she added. I gave a huge push.
Out the baby came, strong and healthy, another big boy. My entire body had split twain in two, at least if felt like that, but my amazing doctor came to the house and sewed me back together again. I was so exhausted I fell asleep while she did it.
None of us could believe that the baby weighed 11lb 1oz (5kg), even more than Luke, who’d been delivered by caesarian because he was so big. We decided to call the new arrival Max which means ‘the greatest’.
I soon recovered and healed fast. I felt vindicated ~ now I knew not only could I grow big strong babies, but I could push them out the natural way too. I was so happy that I’d finally had the home birth I wanted, surrounded by people I knew and trusted.
That night our oldest son, Luke, stayed with Mel and the next day me, Rich and baby Max had a well deserved lie in.
Good luck with all your plans! I hope you succeed in making YOUR dreams come true.
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You are true inspiration to me, Annabel.
Are you trying to put me off? haha My heart almost stopped when I was reading that…You should put that story in young girls magazines hahaha Another great excellent story from the life and times of Annabel…What a woman!
Yes, it needs a disclaimer: not suitable for women who haven’t had babies yet but might want to in the future:)
After reading that story, I am so glad I had a caesarian section that was planned well in advance. Noting went wrong and my strongest memory of the whole birth is saying, after Jake was born, ‘Oh he’s beautiful’.
Then I threw up, but that was after babe was taken off to get cleaned up. That was fifteen years ago, and my boy is even more beautiful now.