Why I am so against HBAC – DS2 Birth Experience

Before I explain why I am so against HBAC (Home Birth After Caesarean) I must say that I am not against home births in general, if a woman can safely birth in a comfortable environment without intervention then that could be a truly wonderful experience, and I wouldn’t want to interfere with their choice. For me I am glad I didn’t go with a home birth for my first son as it did end up in disaster and an emergency section. So had I opted for a home birth neither of us would be here today.

However the risks are very low and it is all down to a matter of choice. I would only advise if you did choose a home birth for your first child that you are within a short distance to the hospital just in case things do go wrong. I am however also aware that home births often have less complications so most of the time do not pose an issue.

With a HBAC the ball game changes completely. There is a 0.5% chance of Uterine Rupture. This seems relatively low until you consider that it is in fact 1 in 200! All of a sudden the chances are higher than you imagine.

When I fell pregnant with my second son I knew that I wanted to attempt a natural delivery and decided to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean)

It wasn’t something that I had my absolute heart set on, but something that would have been nice to achieve if at all possible. I learned with DS1 that making too many plans for the birth  is pointless, you can’t predict what will happen until the time comes.

My choice for a VBAC was for several reasons. Mainly I wanted if possible to experience a natural delivery, and with a 4 year old to run after I was hoping to be back on my feet as soon as possible. With DS1 I suffered an infection and it was 3 months before I was back on my feet. I weighed up the pros and cons of a VBAC versus an Elective Caesarean and decided that the benefits of a VBAC outweighed the risks.

My due date was 6th March 2015, although due to my size and the size of DS2 my consultant thought I may deliver a couple of weeks before this, so from 38 weeks we were on high alert and waiting for those first pangs of labour to start.

After what seemed like an eternity and 41 weeks down the line my contractions started (On the evening of Friday 13th of all days) We called DHs mum to come over and watch DS1 for us, and within an hour we were at the hospital.

My labour with DS2 was totally different to DS1, my waters never broke and the contractions were thick, fast and excruciating from the onset. We arrived at the hospital a little after 11pm and went through to triage where I was just 2cm dilated. Because of my previous section and the intensity of the contractions they kept me in to monitor me and by 4am I was 4cm dilated and moved to the delivery suite.

I felt like I had reached a huge milestone and that everything was going to work out as planned, I was very positive about achieving a natural birth. I did choose to have an epidural at the earliest opportunity. I’m a great believer that if there is something to assist with the pain then why suffer (and labour is very painful)

The anaesthetist arrived at around 5am, and by 6am I had my epidural in place and fully topped up (It took longer than expected as my body was fighting the tube going in). I was told to keep self administering every ten minutes to ensure that it was topped up to the maximum (my intention was to use and abuse it for the worst of the pain and then slow down once I got to 7-8cm so that I could let it ease off and feel when to push with the contractions)

I was examined again by my midwife at around ten past 6, my waters had still not broken and I was sat at 5cm dilated. At around 7.30am the midwife broke my waters to help speed things up a little. Once my waters had broken the contractions were back thick and fast (but pain free) and again I felt positive that all would be ok and that I could do this. I was examined again at around 8am and still no progression with dilation.

My contractions were starting to get a little more painful so I was topping up my epidural every ten minutes to try and counteract them. Then at around 8.30 I was hit with the most excruciating pain I have ever felt (and never wish to feel again) It was like one long contraction that never ended, combined with someone tearing my insides apart with red hot knives. The midwife immediately pressed the emergency button and examined me.

I looked down and had never seen so much blood in my life, I started to panic, all I cared about was my son being born alive. The consultant was in the room in less than 30 seconds, and before I could say anything I was being whisked into theatre.

My uterus had ruptured and taken out my placenta at the same time!

I can remember being told they would have to give me a general anaesthetic as they needed to act fast to save us both, I can also remember screaming at them to save my son. I didn’t care what happened to me. Then it went black.

My son was born at 8.34am with an Apgar of 9, which is incredible considering the circumstances he was born in, and testimony to the speed and efficiency of the doctors. I didn’t get to meet him until several hours later as they had to continue working on me once he was out.

Had I been at home, or even in a birthing unit without immediate access to a hospital then we would both had died. Once the uterus ruptures medical staff have just a few precious minutes to save the life of your unborn child, and then limited time after that to save you!

With a 1 in 200 chance of this happening I can not understand how anyone would want to take the risk and have a HBAC. I know that people have done it successfully and they continue to campaign for more women to try. But really? You may as well take a 200 shot revolver with two bullets (one for your child and one for yourself) and then play Russian Roulette.

It’s simple math! More and more mothers and babies will die if the HBAC campaign continues, I’ve read the stories of mothers who have lost their babies due to Uterine Rupture and its heartbreaking!

I’m one of the lucky ones, and as I look at both of my boys I count my lucky stars that we are all here today!

So HBAC? Would you really want to take that chance with your childs life? I know I wouldn’t!

Bella xxx

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