Birth in South Africa Vaginal Birth After Caesarian(VBAC)

Successful Vaginal Birth After Two Caesarians

Proud Keri-Lynn and her newborn baby

Another successful vaginal birth after 2 caesarians was achieved by Keri-Lynn and I can’t help sharing these lovely pictures of her just after the birth of her son: a whopping 4145gms!

Proud Keri-Lynn after giving birth to her 4145gm son naturally
Proud Keri-Lynn after giving birth to her 4125gm son naturally
When pregnant with her first baby, Keri-Lynn was told by her obstetrician that her baby was ‘too big’, her cervix was posterior and high and the amniotic fluid around the baby was diminishing. Too nervous to disagree, Keri-Lynn underwent surgery she didn’t really want. Then with her second baby, the obstetrician agreed to allow a trial of labour and birth. However, at 5cm of cervical dilation Keri-Lynn was told that she hadn’t progressed ‘fast enough’ and a second caesarian was performed.

Disappointed, Keri-Lynn resigned herself to these opinions: her body was not able to give birth naturally and there was something wrong with her. After private obstetricians had informed her it was ‘dangerous’ to try for a natural birth 3rd time around after two caesarians, a friend from church referred her to me. When I met her, I asked her two questions, namely: How did your mother give birth and how did your grandmother give birth? Both of them gave birth naturally of course. We then embarked on an intensive preparation programme for her VBAC2.

The following plan was followed:

  • The inclusion of Keri-Lynn’s husband in support of his wife
  • Commitment to a healthy diet plan
  • Committment to daily exercise
  • Intensive encouragement to be in touch with the baby and his responsivity
  • Awareness of and trust in body processes
  • Breathing awareness and practice
  • Establishing trust and relationship with midwife
  • Explanation of all the (small incidence of!) statistical risks
  • Signing a document of agreement

Keri-Lynn’s labour was long and slow and she needed much encouragement. After a long walk on the beach in latent phase and some much needed rest, when surges became strong, Keri-Lynn chose to be in hospital at Mowbray Maternity Hospital and she gave birth ecstatically 4 hours later. She and her baby are in perfect health and are now at home with the rest of the family and navigating their breastfeeding relationship successfully. She is up and about on Day 3 and helping to care for her older children. Her husband Wilhelm, has take a few days leave to give her a hand and enjoy time with his family.

Why is natural birth so important?

Here’s why:

  • The mother receives a good dose of love hormones which make her feel maternal and encourage lactation
  • Her body is intact and able to lift, bend over and carry a newborn baby with ease after a natural birth
  • The baby is infused with mega doses of hormones and neurochemicals during labour and birth that make adapting to life outside the womb easier
  • The baby is also infused with love hormones that initiate seeking behaviours and attachment responses to the mother
  • The baby is not separated from the mother and vice versa
  • The mother can care for her other children more easily
  • The mother feels ecstatic after a natural birth
  • The risk of infection is lower with natural birth and future births are safer

These are just a few of the reasons, and quite substantial at that, why natural birth is better and safer when mother and baby are healthy and able.

Keri-Lynn and her newborn: so proud!
Keri-Lynn and her newborn: so proud!
Well Done to Keri-Lynn and Wilhelm for their achievement!

6 thoughts on “Successful Vaginal Birth After Two Caesarians”

  1. i would like to find a midwife and doula in JHB that would be willing to do a HBAC (home birth after C-section), but i am having no luck. if anyone knows of any good midwives and doulas it would be much appriciated 🙂

  2. Hello there… I am not pregnant, but do consider having another child.. i have two gorgeous girls a true blessing from the lord i must say. my first daughter was born in 2007 via c-section apparently due to distress awhile after my waters were broken. when they suggested the c-sec i just cried uncontrollably and just wishing i was dreaming waiting to wake up but no it was REAL. i never wanted this done to me but very uneducated about the matter and young just had to accept it.. two years later i fell preggos again and decided to change gynaes as i blamed the previous one for everything. At my new gynae I expressed my desire to do a vbac and she surprisingly enough didnt oppose, carried my pregnancy very normally without any worries when the contractions started i tried to remain calm and sleep but in the middle of the night i couldnt handle anymore and asked hubby to take me to the hospital, when we got there had all the examinations done and was only 2cm still i expressed to the nurses that i wanted a vaginal birth, anyway time went by, tried to relax in the bath eventually the nurse asked me to not stay in there too long. slept in pain and the next day was still at 2 cm but still i was eager to try. and i could not have any sort of pain relief according to staff at the hospital 🙁 towards mid day i gave up and asked the doc to take my baby out ;(((((. i love my girls to bits to the moon and back, but part of me just feels so empty, so incapable, so unworthy i dont know how to explain.. with my first ddnt even feel labour pains, was given an epidural as soon as my waters were broken (who wouldnt it was painful and i was scared), at least with the second i felt the contractions and some intense one to eventually quit.

    now i am researching and Thank the Lord that Vbacs can be done in South Africa where i Live and i really want to find the right people to help me with my next pregnancy because i really want to experience full natural birth… i know my body can do it its a matter of patience and letting me dilate fully. I believe in my body and my urge to just experience birth..

    PS: i have two questions: 1 is it true that dilation can stop(i was at 2 cm forever)
    2 are there woman that cant give birth vaginally?

    This website and other women success stories give me hope and the Lord almighty.

  3. This is too beautiful….Keri’s story just inspired me to give it a try. I had 2 c-section, the last one was in February 2007. the first one due to pressure and lack of patience from the medical staff and the second due to the first one. I am not pregnant yet but we are planning to have our third child and I am busy weighing my options regarding VBAC2.

  4. I also was not able to have natural child birth because of medical reasons. I however was able to experience all of the above and my baby and I shared a bond from day one! I was even able to take care of my baby after my caecarian and even wash some floors and carry my baby. I even drove to my dr for my ten day check up! I thought I was going to feel less of a woman ! Never! It was just as great. So I do not think it makes a real difference!

    1. Thank you for your comment and it is wonderful that you are so connected to your baby and felt so strong and able after your caesarian. A caesarian section is definitely a beneficial intervention when there are medical indications. It also sounds like you were really connected to your baby during the pregnancy and I think this helps alot, because as you imply, the actual birth is just one part of the process and the relationship with your baby starts in the womb and continues after the birth. So I agree with you that the stress of a caesarian section can be mitigated by skin to skin contact with the baby after birth and no separation and I certainly help my clients experience this (those clients who require a caesarian section).

      For the mothers who feel robbed of and long for a natural birth, the experience of actually achieving a natural birth is nothing like the feelings they had after their caesarians and I believe this is due to the neurochemicals and hormones released during the labour and birth itself.

What do you think?