Unplanned Caesarean at RHW
During my 2nd trimester, my husband John and I made the decision to obtain the services of a doula for the birth of our first child. My family was in Canada and we didn’t have any familiar birth support in Australia, so we felt that having a doula assist at our baby’s birth would give us peace of mind and help us to achieve a natural birth with minimal intervention.
We looked at various doula websites and came across Virginia’s profile on findadoula.com.au, as well as in our copy of the Natural Health Guide Sydney. We were impressed with Virginia’s qualifications and that she was trained at Birthing Rites Australia under the highly respected Marie Burrows. In addition, Virginia is a herbalist, and using herbal remedies to cope with labour and to encourage healing after birth was something that appealed to me and influenced our decision to choose Virginia as our doula.
Virginia made two home visits, during which she helped us draw up our birth plan and answered our many questions. When we discovered that the baby was still in a transverse lie at 36 weeks, I called Virginia and she made suggestions to encourage the baby to turn including moxibustion, acupuncture and seeing a chiropractor who practiced the Webster technique. My three visits to Dr Darren Chan and a visit to a local acupuncturist helped the baby to turn head down by my next prenatal visit, although the baby’s head was not yet engaged.
The day following my 38 week prenatal visit, I noticed very few foetal movements and sensed something wasn’t right. I rang the Birth Centre and was advised to come in for observation. After a few hours of foetal monitoring, both in the Birth Centre and Delivery Suite, the doctor advised a caesarean section as the baby was in distress. John and I were disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to have a natural birth but we knew that it was more important to get the baby out quickly.
It was 10pm when John rang Virginia to let her know what was happening, as we had requested her presence in the event of a C-section. Within the hour, Virginia arrived at the hospital. She brought with her a bottle of Emergency Essence to help alleviate any feelings of distress and fear, and for this I was very grateful. Unfortunately, hospital policy did not allow Virginia into surgery but she waited outside to offer her support post-surgery.
After the birth, our baby girl, Lila was resuscitated and placed in a humidicrib. I was still in recovery when Virginia caught up with John and Lila, who was being taken to Newborn Care. During the settling in at NCC, Virginia was a great support to John. Lila’s blood sugar levels dropped and she needed to be fed quickly. There was no time for me to hand express colostrum (I was still in recovery) so John had to choose between a formula feed or drip. He chose the less invasive option of a bottle feed. Lila initially suckled, but then stopped breathing and the nurses suctioned her and resuscitated her using a squeeze bag. This episode was extremely distressing for john, and Virginia was very reassuring and supportive.
Once Lila was settled, Virginia left John at NCC and came to check on me in the maternity ward. She filled me in on Lila’s progress and assured me that she was healthy and beautiful. She then asked me how I was feeling and I told her that I was tired and sore, but very happy. I was getting pins and needles in my feet – the after-effect of the epidural wearing off, and Virginia gave me a relaxing foot massage and spoke reassuringly about the baby. She suggested I take Emergency Essence every few hours along with the hospital prescribed pain medication.
It was nearly 3am when Virginia went home after ensuring we were all well and promising to visit later that day after work. Virginia also visited us again the day before I was discharged from hospital, when she brought with her some herbal medicines to assist with healing of my wound and with bleeding.
Throughout the latter stage of my pregnancy, and especially during my birth experience, Virginia was a committed professional, passionate about her work, and a calm, reassuring presence. Even though we didn’t have the natural birth we had hoped for, Virginia’s support and experience was invaluable and we wish her much success and joy as a doula.