Ok so I have been pretty wrapped up in things lately as our 2nd baby is due in 3 weeks and at the end of May we are going for a long term dream of living abroad and moving to Brisbane, Australia! It may seem like a crazy thing to do 2-3 months after the birth of your baby, but Garf has been offered a great opportunity as a head brewer in a brand new brew pub over there, so we think, why not!? After all I believe everything happens for a reason and to be honest I am truly sick of the grey, cold and wet winter months in Cumbria! I know I am truly lucky to have a supportive network of family and friends around me here, but at this moment in our lives, sunshine and adventure is calling and although they will miss us too, they all understand our motives and support us.
Planning a vbac at home
With this baby I am planning to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesrean) at home as, without going into too much detail, my last labour and birth was the total opposite to what I had imagined and although (like many women) I was glad to have a healthy baby and loved my baby so much, I was left feeling shell shocked and pretty devastated. I had planned a relaxing home birth but after going a couple of weeks over due it was cancelled, I ended up in hospital and after labouring 72 or more hours had a c-section for slow progress. A section hadn’t even entered my mind so I came away feeling emotionally raw, anxious and having to deal with the effects of major surgery. Even when getting pregnant by surprise this time over 2.5 years after my sons birth, I wondered if I was ready and was actually a bit scared, so I knew I had to do some serious research into how I could make this birth better. I’m not going to lie, my midwives and consultant weren’t so happy about it being at home, but I have researched all the risks and Garf and I have decided to make an informed decision and take the responsibility into our hands. I feel medical advice should be used as just that, advice, and then you can go away, research it a bit more and make your own informed decisions, not be forced into something just because you were told to. It may not be the norm having a vbac at home but many people around the country do it and the risks are very very low. In fact I have found a VBAC support group on Facebook that has been invaluable when making these decisions.
Support – Hiring a Doula
Since having my son and through a natural parenting group I run with a friend, called Beautiful Beginnings, I have met such an inspiring group of mothers and with this pregnancy I feel so lucky to have that around me. Most of them have given birth peacefully at home multiple times so have given me the confidence to do so too. It was through these friends I got the idea of hiring a doula to support me in a natural birth. I have found a great doula locally (which was the only one in Cumbria!) and know that she will be such a great support for me and Garf in my labour. She will be there in any way we want or need but basically as emotional & spiritual support for us both and to protect our birthing space to keep it a calm and peaceful atmosphere, so I can just let my body do it’s thing without intervention, as it should be! She has also helped me to write a birth preferences plan and I can see she will be very assertive in making sure they are read and taken notice of. The plan includes things like how we’d like the atmosphere, how often i’m happy to be monitored, that we’d like to cut the cord after it stops pulsating and many other things that you may think of before labour but in the throws of it may forget all about it yourself! I also think it will be a great support for Garf as, as much as our partners can be there for us in labour they will never truly understand what we are going through or what is or isn’t normal!
Relax, relax, relax – Hypno stuff & Yoga
After doing lots of research both online and through books such as Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and others, I have decided to let go of my last labour and to be able to feel confident about my VBAC, I need to find the best ways to relax and trust my body. Again through my fabulous group of mummy friends I have achieved this great support. One friend who runs Happy Hypnobirthing courses put on a few evenings for me and a few other pregnant friends, going through releasing fears and some deep relaxation techniques and I truly feel since then I am no longer scared at all of this birth and have had such a relaxed ‘bring it on’ attitude! Hypnotherapy has always had an amazing effect on me though, love it! I was also recommended the Natal Hypnotherapy cd’s by Maggie Howell and particularly the one on preparing for a VBAC, which I have listened to over and over since mid way through and find really relaxing.
Another really good friend, Clare Cooper, is a pregnancy yoga and birth preparation teacher so she has also been teaching me how to use yoga and the breath both in pregnancy and for labour too, which has been invaluable. I feel so lucky and so relaxed – so far so good!
My beautiful Blessingway
I didn’t even know what a blessingway was when I was pregnant last time, but this time I am so grateful to have had one and to have shared it with another lovely pregnant mother who I met at the start of our pregnancies. For those who don’t know what one is I will use the description my husband used to my sister in law, he said ‘it’s a hippy baby shower’! Which I guess it kind of is, if being hippy is all about peace and love then yep he’s right. Our blessingway was just what both of us needed to feel nurtured and supported in our future labours. It included a poem written by myself to signify the end of an era with just me and my son, poems to welcome the new babies, visualisations, meaningful music, head massages, hair braiding, ancient mantras, candles, flowers and more. The most beautiful thing and what I think will be the most valuable, both in my labour and the move ahead will be the messages of inspiration and empowerment my friends wrote me on paper hearts to hang up and read when I need to draw in the strength & support. We then shared a yummy lunch of veggie food, cakes and fresh fruit salad in front of my log burner. It was very special and has given me the confidence to go forward – I spent the whole afternoon after they left in tears, mostly of joy, but also sad at the thought of moving to the other side of the world to these lovely people!
Surrendering & Letting go
The main thing now to me is keeping calm and relaxed about my labour, but then also to let go and surrender to what will be. I got so tied up last time in having a peaceful home birth, that when I ended up in hospital with a section it completely threw me and I ended up pretty upset and actually swore my on would be an only child! This time I know I have done everything I can and feel completely calm and confident, but I also know that there is a chance I may end up in hospital and may have to have another section, and I’m ok with that. I will know that this time I have chosen it and I have done the very best I can.
The big move – following our dreams!
So yep the months ahead will be pretty crazy, I am going to have a baby and hope to have a months babymoon, to bond properly with my little one (and to get their big bro used to having baby too), but I am also trying to declutter the house, sell or rent it, find somewhere to stay in Brisbane, organise a container to ship our stuff, decide what to do with our dog, pack, organise a baby shower/ leaving party and of course get the April edition of Parent Tribe out! Phew! It’s certainly going to be a challenge but I do like one of those and think we’ll look back and think it was so worth it! After all I think it’s important to take risks and just go for things sometimes or you will always wonder what if!?