As a first-time expectant mum with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) – a condition in which a hormone made by the placenta prevents the body from using insulin effectively, Olivia gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 37 weeks via c-section.
After falling pregnant again last year, she wanted to try for a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) this time round, and promptly hired a private midwife to help her achieve that goal.
While Olivia, unfortunately, didn’t get the birth she wanted, she says she still felt supported and informed throughout her pregnancy and delivery of a whopping 5.9kg baby.
Here, she shares her incredible birth story with Mum’s Grapevine.
My first baby was a big baby
“My first c-section was due to a ‘big baby’ born at 4.16kgs at 37+6 when we didn’t know any better and just did what we were told. This time we hired a private midwife and had a student midwife.
“They basically operate the same as a private obstetrician, so I saw them my entire pregnancy instead of my GP. We again had a large measuring baby but we didn’t let that deter us, midwife didn’t care – said that isn’t important and not to worry about it.
“I was diagnosed with GDM again at 20 weeks this time, I diet managed the whole time with only a high number of 5.3 at 37 weeks so we decided not to do insulin.”
I wore a belly band for support
“My husband and his family are large babies 4.5kg+ so we were expecting another big baby. At 36 weeks, the hospital OB pushed and booked me for a c-section at 38+3 due to an oblique position and a big baby. I said yes in the moment but my care team, hubby, and I all chatted after and decided to cancel it until 40 weeks.”
Thankfully, Olivia’s baby turned head down and was engaged by her next appointment. She was told to wear a belly band to help support her growing tummy and keep the baby in a good position.
“I started having on/off labour around 39 weeks. By April 30th, had contractions coming every 3-5 minutes again but I thought this time it was the real thing, the midwife told me to hold out at home until I really felt I couldn’t and give her a call to come out to check me. I sent my toddler off and after nine hours it died off again.
I was 4cm dilated for nearly a week
“We had a balloon induction booked for Monday the 1st of May, so decided to head in for that as I was exhausted and wanted to get things moving. We get in to see the midwife at their clinic, and she checks me over and I’m still 3/4 cms dilated – I had been for nearly a week. She tells us to go have breakfast and meet at the hospital.
“We get in and baby is head down, so I get a cannula put in, and the doctor comes back and tells us we now have a transverse baby – cue me balling my eyes out. My midwife tells the doctor to leave so we can discuss options as they were already saying c-section. We decide to try a controlled rupture of membranes the next day to keep baby down.”
Still hoping for the best, Olivia spent the night in hospital and by the early hours of the morning, her contractions started to ramp up again. But she decided not to tell anyone in case it didn’t progress.
“Eventually a midwife doing observations noticed my stomach and my pain. All of a sudden they are doing a CTG (to monitor the baby’s heartbeat) and an OB comes in saying we need a c-section as the cord could fall out.
“I start panicking, my husband is 40mins away and stuck on the highway because there was a fire!! Like what the heck!! He contacts my midwife who heads straight in and calls me, tells the OB to go away and that she isn’t allowed to speak to me without her present unless the cord comes out or blood is present (babies back was on my cervix so was protecting the cord from coming out). This OB tries to say she didn’t say that to me! I was in tears freaking out.”
Baby turned to breech position
When Olivia’s private midwife arrived, she was able to buy them some more time. But by the next morning, the baby had turned into a breech position.
“The doctor said she really isn’t keen on trying to flip him due to my c-section scar, she sends me to get a better ultrasound to see where the cord/placenta is. We get up there 10 minutes later and the baby is head down again! The scan is estimating 5kg.
“We get back to the ward and the doctor says no to Pitocin (a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin that’s typically used to induce labour), even though the OB we saw in the clinic said yes as it’s my choice. So now we are down to breaking waters with an unstable baby and hoping he stays down. Midwife and student chat through with us and are happy to do whatever we want. They leave, and hubs and I decide to go for a c-section. I was exhausted and not sure I had the stamina to get through labour even if we could get true labour happening.”
On May 2nd at 40 weeks and 4 days gestation, baby Avery entered the world weighing a happy and healthy 5.967kgs – almost a kilo heavier than expected!
“The midwives kept bringing other midwives in and people would ask if we are the ‘6kg baby’.
“I’m sad I didn’t achieve my goal but I fought very hard and feel proud of that. I’d like to particularly focus on the continuity of care I had with my midwives in Brisbane, my lead midwife was Hannah and my student was Esther.
They fought for me the whole way to provide me with better outcomes than my first birth. I felt supported and loved the whole way through… I would not have achieved the birth I had without them.
“I should add my placenta was healthy, all intact no issues and the baby never failed any sugar checks. I listened to my body and knew that he was healthy in there, I’m happy I waited out until 40 weeks like I wanted.”
Olivia is now settling in at home as a new family of four, and says baby Avery is already in size three nappies at just four weeks old.
And, she’s still hopeful her dream of having a VBAC will one day come true.
“My midwife keeps saying I did everything I could and this doesn’t mean we can’t try for a VBAC again if I choose to have another child.”
We can’t help but wonder if baby number three would be even bigger than her last!
Got your own birth story you’re itching to tell? We’re always on the lookout for new stories to feature. Submit your birth story.
More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…
- Birth Story: Chelsi’s journey with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- Birth Story: “I did not consent to that.”
- Birth Story: “I’m a pregnant trans man and I do exist”
About to (or just had) a baby?
We know that the wait to meet your baby can be nerve-wracking, but we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. Our private Pregnancy & Baby Groups are a great way to connect with other Aussie mums who are due or had their babies around the same time as you.