I found Cheryl late into my pregnancy and I’m so glad I did. My hope was to have a VBAC for my second birth, however I was finding navigating the public hospital system on my own to be suffocating. I felt my confidence to make decisions that I believed would bring positive outcomes for my baby and myself diminishing.
Cheryl provided us with practical guidance and support, with evidence-based research on topics that were the focus of my pregnancy, including big babies and mal-positioning, and additional reading on the physiological process of labour, which I found to be critical to my preparation. Meeting with Cheryl and discussing our first baby’s birth, and then confirming what we’d like my ideal birth to be this time supported me to prepare my body and mind and feel confident that my intention for a VBAC was achievable.
Having Cheryl at my birth gave me confidence that I would have support in the room to ensure I was guided in the direction that was right for my baby and me, based on the preparation I’d done, and appropriate to the way my birth was unfolding. There were times in the labour where I very much thought things were going to go in a different direction and Cheryl coached me through those moments, bringing me back to focus. Cheryl believed in me in the moments I couldn’t believe in myself. I only had my partner at my first birth, and while he did an excellent job navigating that difficult and long labour as my sole support, having him as well as Cheryl at my second birth was exceptional. They’re two very different roles.
I was able to deliver my ‘large baby’ via VBAC, with some intervention that I felt part of the decision-making process for. I’m thrilled I did it. I don’t believe I would have achieved a VBAC birth without Cheryl’s support in the lead up to and on the day at my labour.
I wanted to set myself up so that on the other side of my birth, when reflecting on my how things went, I would be confident in knowing I’d done everything I could to ensure I’d given this birth my best shot, as opposed to second guessing and wondering what if for months like I did after my first birth. It feels good now thinking back on it all and having such positive reflection on the experience. Cheryl is a mentor, a non-judgemental, friendly, informed expert on birth. I can’t believe how lucky I was to find her.