Confidently prepare for a positive birth experience – Join The Birth Class

Episode 393


You can hear Carla’s first birth in episode 188 which was a long labour and an emergency caesarean. Determined to achieve a VBAC for her second birth, she had a private obstetrician (known as the ‘VBAC queen’) and a private midwife to ensure she had support at home and advocacy in the hospital. She laboured beautifully but her second stage was long and challenging and ended in a forceps-assisted birth and a week in hospital as her baby boy developed sepsis. For her third birth, Carla knew from the outset that she wanted the healing experience of a homebirth so she rallied her support system and achieved a dream labour, birth and postpartum experience.

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“The second I came out of surgery I knew that I wanted a VBAC next time around and that I’d do everything in my power to achieve it. Farrah was just over two when I fell pregnant with Iluka and I was quite sick with him; it was a lot harder physically. I found out at 20 weeks that he was a boy although I had a very strong feeling as soon as I conceived that I was having a boy. I knew I needed more support this time around; I needed everyone in my corner and you really need to go in prepared for a VBAC. I hired a private midwife so she could support me at home and be with me in hospital for extra advocacy and I also had a private obstetrician here in Adelaide who is known as the VBAC queen and she’s in high demand.

“Having someone with me from early labour was really important to me because I felt very alone in my first labour. I did everything different this time around; massage, acupuncture, chiro, physio, I finished work at 35 weeks and really prepared, mentally and physically.

“My labour played out so differently for Iluka’s birth; everything felt so aligned. I was laying in bed at about 3am watching Netflix and I heard the pop of my water’s breaking. Within five minutes I was having contractions so it progressed quite quickly. My plan was to labour at home with my partner, Louis, and my midwife, Nikita, and then go into hospital in established labour. At about 10:30am I was grunting, my midwife had observed the rhombus of michaelis on my lower back and a recent vaginal examination showed that I was 6 cm so we decided it was time to go into hospital. By the time we made our way through the covid checks and women’s assessment and got into a room I was 10cm and ready to push. It was the best feeling and I’m so glad I had my midwife there to advocate for me. Pushing was tricky because I’d lost my groove in the car. I tried every position and it went for quite some time and it was intense and exhausting. After two hours they noticed that his head wasn’t quite getting to where it needed to be so my obstetrician – who was a back-up, not my chosen OB – told me I was on the clock and would need forceps assistance and an episiotomy. Iluka was born at 1:20pm. He came out screaming and didn’t stop screaming for hours and my midwife advocated for keeping him on my chest when the paediatricians came to check and do tests. I was being stitched up and I really felt like I wanted to jump out of my body and get away; it was a negative experience and it detracted from the fact that I’d achieved a VBAC. It took a while for me to accept that I’d done it.

“I was a private patient at a public hospital so I stayed overnight. Iluka had low levels of jaundice and rapid breathing and the paediatrician did some tests and he was quickly whisked away from me and put in a humidicrib and I was told he may have viral meningitis. It was awful because I was on my own and was told to go to sleep and I had a sick little baby and there wasn’t much I could do. It was terrifying. The next day it was confirmed that he had sepsis and they managed to put him on IV antibiotics really promptly and I had a wonderful doctor that made everything so much better. I managed to pump heaps of colostrum so he had that. We were in hospital for a whole week and after a few days I was a boarder, not a patient, so I was grateful to be able to stay there and be close to him.

“My body was in a world of pain; I couldn’t sit or lay properly as I had broken my coccyx so it was months till I felt okay. My private midwife came to me for home visits which was so lovely and I just remember the fatigue and hormones. Farrah was three at the time so it was go go go so it was right back to life. I knew I wasn’t done having babies after Iluka. I knew in my mind that three was my number.

“I booked a beautiful holiday to Fiji presuming that we would conceive there but I didn’t fully feel quite ready. However, when we were there we got engaged, it was beautiful and relaxing, the most incredible holiday in paradise, and we conceived there. I didn’t think anything of it because I had a period a week or two later and then a week after that I had some spotting. I did a pregnancy test and sure enough it was positive and surprisingly I felt really calm and chill which was really different to my previous pregnancies.


“I went through Embrace Midwifery again and planned a homebirth. I had Jo as my midwife who I knew and adored. She was so supportive and encouraging and her words of belief all the way through made me feel really safe..and I had that trust in her and myself. It took some effort to convince Louis that a homebirth was a good idea. The pregnancy and birth world is my life and I’m surrounded by that energy but he has only witnessed two traumatic births and he just wanted me to have a caesarean because he thought it was safer. But the safety and statistics show that a homebirth is a safe option and my midwife answered all his questions and reassured him.

“I find pregnancy hard because every little symptom is exacerbated. I didn’t feel great but I wasn’t as sick as I was with Iluka. I witnessed my sister’s surrogate birth – Sarah in episode 383 – and being in hospital reminded me that planning a homebirth was the right option for me. One thing I took from her birth was the way she surrendered to each contraction and wave; letting it wash over her, I really carried that with me.


“My midwife was really great in regards to dates. She said if I was approaching 42 weeks I could have a stretch and sweep or book an induction but I felt like I wouldn’t go that long. I woke up at 41+3 and I felt really defeated and flat. I decided to take castor oil mixed with a few different things and everything felt a bit different but I was also impatient. My business partner Nadia came over and she left at about 4:30pm and as she was walking out the front and was almost at the gate, I yelled at her to come back. Labour picked up and my kids came home and Louis was talking to me and I couldn’t string a sentence together; there was nothing in my head. That’s when I knew it was happening. My mum came and got the kids and by the evening I had the TENS machine on, Louis was blowing up the pool and I was very active and walking and swaying. When Sarah arrived it was almost dark and labour really increased. I was in my zone; I felt really calm and was just by myself, not really hanging off anyone. After a while the TENS machine wasn’t working and the minute I decided to get in the shower everything changed. I felt a bit of pressure in my lower back and bum and I just wanted to quit. My midwife was still half an hour away and the minute I was on all fours in the shower I was groaning and involuntarily pushing. I looked at Sarah and she encouraged me to breathe through it and reassured me that the midwife was close by. I could feel her head but I didn’t freak out or panic. I heard my dog bark and the doorbell ring and I knew the midwife was here. Two minutes later the head was born and within another two minutes, without having to push, I was just doing controlled breathing, she was out and on my chest. It was the most surreal, incredible moment of my life.


“I got on the bed, had a cuddle and feed, and I stood up and birthed the placenta which came out quite easily. We carried the placenta down to the birth pool and then I had a bath with her and waited for the cord to turn white. I was in shock at how quick it was – it was only two hours. It all felt so good and manageable. It was so healing to be in the calm, slow space afterwards, in my bubble at home. There was a lot of closure and healing for me, throughout the labour, birth and postpartum.”


Follow Carla’s postpartum care business at The Golden Month.

Topics Discussed

Emergency caesarean, Forceps, homebirth, NICU, Private midwife, private OB, Three babies, VBAC

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