Birth Story: ‘I had an emotional home birth after two caesareans’

Posted in Birth Stories.

Cassaundra, her husband in the birth pool with their newborn baby

After two extremely difficult births which both ended in c-sections, Cassaundra was hoping for a case of third time lucky when she fell pregnant again with baby number three. She decided to do everything in her power to have a vaginal birth at home after two caesareans (known as a HBA2C).

Last month, during a wild thunderstorm, Cassaundra’s dreams came true as she welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world in the comfort of her living room.

“After a failed induction with my first child David in January 2020, then a massive attempt with an unsuccessful VBAC with my second child — having a 27 hour labour in July 2021 — I was sure I wouldn’t go down the path of a c-section for my 3rd child,” she shares with Mum’s Grapevine.

“Therefore I began to explore my options. Very limited in a small country town. However, I did find my amazing team at Your Birth Midwifery. Once I met my midwife, she trusted me and my ability to birth as nature intended. This gave me an enormous amount of confidence. I also read ‘Birth with Confidence‘ which was empowering in itself. My partner Dean listened through the ‘Ultimate Birth Partner’ podcast which was amazing, giving him more confidence to better help me.

“I had a very smooth sailing pregnancy. However, baby was breech up until 37 weeks. I started going to the chiropractor at 30 weeks, maintaining regular visits. Received a pregnancy massage later in my pregnancy. I really worked on myself this pregnancy, enjoying every moment of it. I mean I had to, I had my 30th birthday when I was 36 weeks pregnant! I definitely felt the pregnancy glow.”

‘I was howling along with the wind’

A pregnant Cassaundra sits on the ground in a yoga pose

Cassaundra began counting down the days left of her pregnancy. Then, at 40+3 days, she felt the start of labour coming on.

“In the early hours of the 8th of June, we had a thunderstorm that persisted all night long, the rain and wind were relentless.

“I had an irritable uterus the previous 24 hours or so, I knew the real deal wasn’t too far away. I contacted my mum the Wednesday after she finished work to come, she was travelling three hours to be with us. It was midnight. Contractions came on the hour to start, then ramped up quickly… where I could no longer lay down. I was happy and excited labour had begun, but nervous too. I stayed out of my head and focused on the task at hand… breathing. I got mum to apply the tens machine to allow Dean to sleep, as I hadn’t yet let him know. I could no longer handle the contractions alone, I needed backup. I woke Dean to help out, with back presses which failed big time.

“So he started getting the pool ready. What methods had worked in my last labour failed me big this time round. So I jumped in the pool, it wouldn’t have been 10cm deep. However, Dean had the hot water running over my back and it was such a relief. Not long later I needed him in with me to further help me through the wild contractions.”

Now, Cassaundra could no longer simply breathe through her contractions. A primal urge took over and she started to moan and groan.

Cassaundra having contractions in the birth pool with her husband helping

A close up of Cassaundra’s face being hugged by her husband in the birth pool

“Our midwife was on her way by this point. When she arrived, I heard her quickly call the other midwife as things were progressing fast. When my midwife had arrived I could feel the shift in my body, as if I were waiting for her to be there so I could completely surrender to my body’s drive. By this stage I had instinctively started this pushing sensation, however wasn’t actually pushing if that makes sense. I eventually had a release of membranes — that was a huge relief.

“My children were here in the comfort of our own home, my mum explained my extraordinary sounds as ‘mum’s birth song’ so that settled them. Along with a book I authored and illustrated for them to better understand what was to come. We read that everyday multiple times a day for the last week of my pregnancy.

Cassaundra and her husband embrace in the birth pool as she gives birth

“With a few position changes from side to side, then on my knees, kneeling into my partners chest, I felt my strong urges to push and push hard… I heard my birth Photographer (Rhi MC Photography) encouraging me to birth this baby with the storm… Our windows were rattling… I was howling along with the wind outside.

“Grasping at Dean I gave out a cry and said, ‘I can’t do this’, he encouraged me to keep going, pointing to pictures of the kids on the wall, my birth affiliation cards and anything he could maintain my focus on when I weakened. My contractions were rather spaced apart giving me a good few minutes break in between, to rehydrate and rest.
With a few long deep and hard pushes I felt the sting of the head… I made up in my mind I wasn’t going back and forth with this burning feeling then it going away… no I pushed with all I bloody had. Grabbing my partner’s head as I turned inside out and screamed, ‘it’s coming!’

A successful home birth

Finally, Cassaundra felt that moment of huge relief when her baby’s head came out. She let out a laugh, amazed at what she could see!

An underwater photo of a baby being born

An underwater photo of a baby’s hand being born

“One more contraction along with a big push and the body popped on out. My partner and the midwife fiddled underwater unwrapping the cord, while I must have had a birth pause. When I just reached in and grabbed this perfect baby up to my chest… I wasn’t saying much at this point just staring and rubbing baby’s back. Baby started crying and so did we all… I let out the biggest cry of all I reckon. The feelings were overpowering and there is no feeling like that. Complete euphoria.

“I see my two precious children right there at the pool’s edge, front row seats soaking up the love. Our surprise baby girl was born at 9.30am after 4.5 hours of established labour. She was so perfect and looking for a feed within five minutes. She was 7.13lbs, my smallest baby yet.”

Siblings gather around the birth pool after the baby is born

A baby’s umbilical cord being cut

“I hopped out and later birthed the placenta, which was oddly satisfying and somewhat more painful than expected. I did need some sutures as she came so fast and did some mad turning on the way out. We cut the cord once everything was returned to our baby girl.

“This was such an amazing experience, I had a wonderful birth squad with people who I trusted and they trusted my ability to do this. Thank you to Your Birth Midwifery for making it possible, it’s true there is no place like home. Afterwards, I asked my birth squad if they wanted to read my book, once they did again everyone was in tears. To my realisation, they were all crying in absolute awe as I’d written my birth story for my children before it happened. I said it was written in the stars!”

Cassaundra hugs her baby after giving birth in the pool

Cassaundra and her three children

Cassaundra and her baby girl, named Sadie Esme, are doing well and adjusting to life as a blended family of seven. She hopes her wonderful experience will help to normalise home births again, and that one day they can be a readily available service to pregnant women all over Australia.

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…

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.

Birth Images: Rhia Mathlin-Cook, Your Birth Photography by Rhi MC Photography

Share On