Kath's Second VBAC - An Unintentionally Unassisted Home Birth

So Alert!
(Shared with permission)

So I was at Kath's first VBAC - it was actually my first VBAC too - back in December 2013.

Of course I was overjoyed when she asked me to be her doula for her second VBAC. It's always lovely working with moms a second time, like getting together for coffee with an old friend - the comfort of the past is set alight by the expectation of the future.

As always, Kath did a great job of mentally preparing herself for the upcoming birth, having to navigate the turbulent waters of suspected growth restriction and 'post dates' and threatened inductions. Fortunately labour started in earnest late on a Sunday evening. Kath and I agreed that she would message when things got started, and call if I didn't respond tim
eously, but when she messaged me at around 1:30am that things were starting in earnest, I had just woken up anyway. Just over an hour later she let me know that things were intensifying, and as I live about a 55min drive away, I called my backup doula Shelley and off we went into the night, when the only other vehicles on the road are security vehicles and trucks, driving along deserted roads that would soon be filled with bumper to bumper traffic!

This was one of a handful of
'Abdominal Lift and Tucks' we managed to do.
Actual proof that I was there! 
I'm normally the one taking pics :-)
Fuelled by a coffee stop on the way, we got there as the sun was rising and all was looking good. Kath was bouncing on her gym ball between contractions, and I applied some counterpressure when each one came. Between contractions we mixed up some labour-aid (recipe here) and did some abdominal lift and tucks to help baby engage.

Kath felt like she needed to go to the bathroom, and I didn't want to hover, so we made some tea and toast and talked about possible plans for the next few hours. Kath had let the midwife know things were happening, but that she was doing fine and would keep her updated.

After a while I thought to just check that Kath was ok. I had hovered near the door once or twice to hear if I could hear any birthy noises, but all seemed fined, and with the door closed I assumed she just needed a bit of space. This time I knocked quietly and was greeted with a, 'Please come!' (or something along those lines - it all gets a bit blurry at this point! )

'I can feel the baby!'

Her words kick things into high gear - in the calmest most birth-space-respecting way I can manage.

I help her onto her hands and knees on the bathroom floor and I go through to the kitchen where Shelley and Kath's hubby Noel are, announcing 'We have a baby on the way!'

We all bustle to the bathroom, Noel calls the midwife who shares some quick instructions over the phone as she makes her way up the hill. We try to make Kath more comfortable in her spot on the floor, and within a couple of contractions a little face appears and I step back so Shelley can get a shot of Kath catching her own baby, who emerges with quite a voice on her! I unloop the cord from over the shoulder and Kath sits back, bringing her baby to her chest, ooh-ing and aah-ing over her gorgeousness inbetween bouts of joyous and triumphant laughter! It is 6:55am - just under 6 hours after the first timeable contractions.

I stare for a second, taking in the moment and then realise we probably need to keep mom and baby warm so we grab some towels and a blanket and wrap them both up while baby pinks up beautifully. Usually at this stage of a birth the midwife is doing all the work (other than the mom, of course) and I am taking pictures and passing along whatever is needed, so my brain has to do a bit of a shift into midwife mode!

As I said, we still had a four hour plan to get through so had no idea where Kath's bags were or anything, we had all thought it would be at least a few hours still!

The midwife, Arlen, arrives shortly after and we run a bath for mom and baby to keep warm and comfortable and bring some of that labour-aid Kath didn't have much of a chance to drink after all!

Much joy!
So it turns out that Annabelle Esther Grace is the biggest of Kath's three daughters at 3.26kg! She latched like a pro shortly after birth and didn't seem to want to stop for a while after that.

What a way to start a week! All in all, it was a truly memorable experience, and I was so grateful for the privilege of sharing it with the family, although we did joke afterwards that if I had waited much longer before checking on Kath she may have surprised us all by sauntering up the passage with baby in hand!

Now a family of five!
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