The VBAC Birth of Katherine Elizabeth (10/22/2008)
My first child was born by unnecessary c-section. Partly due to my own ignorance on what happened in hospitals and what necessitated a c-section. And a lot to do with my doctor withholding information, lying to me about what was happening, and wanting to get back to his clinic patients. My water had broken without contractions and I was too inconvenient to wait around for so he sliced me open instead.
After a ton of self-education and talking to local people, I was ready for another child and I was bound and determined that I would NOT have another surgery. I found out I was pregnant on Valentine’s Day 2008 and began my journey to my VBAC. I interviewed many doctors until I found the right one, hired a doula, and we traveled an hour away to the hospital that was most likely to give me the best chance of getting my VBAC. After a wonderful pregnancy I was anxious for my little girl to finally arrive.
It all started on Tuesday October 21st (my due date lol) at 4am. I woke up to some contractions and when I couldn’t go back to sleep I decided to take a bath to calm them down. It worked a little and I was able to get back to sleep around 6am. Ioke up again at 9am and took another bath to calm the contractions again before my son woke up. They weren’t bad and I could do things through them but they had a bit of a bite to them. I continued my day like normal doing dishes, folding clothes, cooking, etc. I wasn’t sure it was the “real thing” or not because the previous Friday I had had 14+ hours of contractions that fizzled away. I wasn’t about to get all excited in case this wasn’t it.
Fast forward to about 6pm- I’m tired and these things have been happening all day now. A tiny bit stronger but not too bad. I made supper and afterward my son was exhausted so we let him take a 30 min nap. I tried to take one, but after lying down I just couldn’t sleep. The contractions were too intense for me to sleep through so I just got up and started timing them to see what they were doing. At this point I had been having about 15 hours of contractions and they were still all over the place. 5 mins here, then 7, down to 6, and up to 8. Blah!! Frustrated the crap out of me! I got my son in bed and was totally exhausted so I tried (yet again in vain) to lie down and rest around 9pm. Nope. Just wasn’t happening. My husband was getting ready for work since he had to be there in an hour. I called him in the bedroom and said “Hey do you really need to go in?” At this point I was like, “Man this is getting intense… he may need to stay home!” After seeing me through a few contractions he decided to call in. We called our doula to give her a heads up that we would probably be calling her later on. I called my mom and told her to come get my son and she did.
By the time my mom left with our son (shortly after midnight) I could NOT get comfortable anymore. I tried lying on my side (nope), on hands & knees (uh-uh), rocking on birth ball (forget it), leaning over my bed (nah), lying on my back (OH HELL NO!), and finally I decided that I wanted in the tub. So I hauled myself into the shower… OMG! That felt so awesome! I had the shower just pummeling my back for a while and then soaked in the tub for what seemed like forever. My husband called my doula and she headed over and got to the house around 1:30am or so. At this point I was lowly moaning through all of my contractions and felt this intense urge to lean back during each one. It took a LOT of focus but it wasn’t too bad. I just had to reach that peak and as soon as it was over I was happy again. Not painful, just intense. My contractions never got regular, but they did get closer. 2mins, then 4, then 3, then a few more 2’s. It made us a little hesitant to go to the hospital because we didn’t want to get there too early, but at the same time we didn’t want to get there too late either. At about 3:30am we decided that we better go ahead and head out.
I hit the transition stage in the car (oh, what fun that was, lol). My husband was so great and was talking me through it… telling me how great I was doing, that I could do this, to just breathe, that I was so strong, and that we’d soon have our baby girl. I started moaning really loudly and started to feel a bit out of control. I got a little freaked out that things were happening too fast so I made it a point to focus on everything around me to try and slow the labor down. And it worked… the contractions got a little less intense and paced out just a little bit longer. Then we made it to the hospital shortly after 4:30am. I literally could not sit down in the wheelchair that was brought out for me. It wouldn’t recline and I had been needing to move my body backwards for hours at this point during contractions. So I had to travel across a LONG sky bridge, down another LONG hallway, go up and elevator, and then take my laboring self all the way to the Labor & Delivery department. I swear a man built that hospital because no woman in her right mind would torture a woman in labor like that, lol. All the way to L&D I was leaning back against the walls, partially squatting backwards against whatever was there. I scared a poor janitor who was mopping the floor. I felt so sorry for the man.
FINALLY made it to L&D about 4:45am where they rushed me into a room because I was just moaning like crazy, lmao. They had me get into a gown and got me into a bed to start the 20min fetal monitoring strip that was “necessary” right when a patient was admitted. They had to lie me all the way down to check and see how far I was dilated… OUCH! Whoever thinks that a laboring woman should be on her back is WRONG!!!!!! But anywho, I was dilated to a 9 and my bag of waters was bulging. Everything started getting sooo intense and each contraction was taking me to a new place. I remember it finally actually hurting with the nurse messing up my concentration when she touched me but at the same time it was so… what’s the word… I can’t even find the words for it, but it felt so right. The pain wasn’t even a factor. I was in my own world just taking this wonderful and crazy ride. I was having a hard time breathing right through the contractions (thanks nurses for bugging me and not just leaving me alone) so the baby’s heart rate started going down a little and they hooked me up to an oxygen mask as needed, coached me a little on breathing (because I almost started hyperventilating), and they hooked me up to IV fluids. The next thing I knew, I started to push. They checked and I was dilated all the way to a 10 so they told me to go ahead and push if I needed to… Like I could have stopped if I wanted to! Suddenly my water *WHOOSH* broke all over the place and I went back down to a 9 since I no longer had the added pressure of the water bag keeping me at 10cm. There was a moderate amount of meconium in the water so that got the nurses concerned a little and they told me that they would have to suction her out right after she was born to make sure she didn’t swallow anything. But I still had to push and could not stop myself. I quickly went back to a 10 (in about a minute) and my OB walked in…
He was gowned up and ready to go in a flash. He got situated and started talking me through things. I, at that point, was lying back, but wasn’t flat. I guess you’d say I was in a semi-reclining position. It was the only thing that felt good to me and I couldn’t do anything else even if I tried (and try I did). They kept telling me to pull my legs back to open up my pelvis more but I literally couldn’t. So 2 people (I can’t even remember who) helped to push my legs back so that I could… God the urge to push was sooo intense!!! I kept letting out high pitched noises. So with a little encouragement from my OB and a few other people I started groaning and grunting while pushing. OH MY GOD THAT FELT SO GOOD! The next thing I knew, my husband was saying “There’s the head!” I rested for a minute and then BOOM! I started pushing, pushing, pushing, and then suddenly I felt relief. I had her head out!!!! They suctioned her mouth and nose out and then I pushed the rest of her body out. Because of the meconium, I didn’t hold her right away like I wanted to but that was just fine by me. I did it. After a little over 25 hours of labor and about 5 minutes of pushing I gave birth to my daughter. And it was amazing.
Katherine Elizabeth was born at 5:14am on October 22nd weighing in at 7lbs, 14oz and was 20.5 inches long.
They cut the cord and suctioned her out the rest of the way while I was watching. She was so beautiful. She started crying and I swear that was the most glorious sound ever on earth. They got her cleaned up while my OB stitched me up (I just had a minor tear that took 2-3 stitches) and told me what to expect as I came down from the adrenaline high from the delivery. I was shaking all over the place and was freezing cold. It was crazy, lol. A couple of minutes later they placed my baby girl in my arms and I was in heaven. She was staring at me like she knew exactly who I was. I waited to stop shaking before trying to breastfeed her so my husband held her. I was afraid of dropping her with all of my shaking, lol. I finally stopped and as soon as she saw that nipple she latched on for dear life and started nursing like she had been doing it for years.
After that things just went great. We stayed at the hospital (which had an amazing post-natal staff) and tried to rest as much as we could. Other than being tender from my tear, I was feeling great. Katherine got a clean bill of health and the pediatrician who looked her over said that she was just perfect.
We got released the next day at 2pm much to our pleasure. She slept through the whole ride home and we got settled in. We had that 1st nights to ourselves to catch up on some much needed rest and her big brother came home from Grandma’s house the next day. He gave her lots of kisses and wanted to hold her. He absolutely loved her and would often come over to pat her head or try to share some of what he had, lol. With her, our family was one step closer to being complete <3
I am Momma, hear me Roar- The HBAC of Matthew Evan (9/28/2011)
My first child was born my an unnecessary c-section in 2006 and we had had a successful natural VBAC birth at the hospital in 2008. We moved shortly afterward to an area with VBAC bans at all of their local hospitals. I was not willing to consent to another c-section without medical necessity and the drive to our previous hospital was now too far away for me to personally consider. It didn’t help that I had been fantasizing about having a homebirth for years at this point, so the decision was easy for us. I had wanted one with my first VBAC but wasn’t able to find a midwife who was able to take me on at that point. But I was lucky and found an AMAZING midwife this time and we started our journey to our second VBAC and my first homebirth.
I had a great pregnancy. I was in pretty good shape, eating healthy, and just feeling wonderful. We found out that we were having another boy! Two boys and a girl for my family!! I had calculated out two different due dates- September 29th based off of ovulation or October 3rd based off of my LMP. I had no expectations of when labor would come and I just gave myself over to nature to do whatever she wanted with me.
I went to work on the 27th of September and was working from 12:15 noon until 6pm. Around 2pm I started getting nauseated and noticed some menstrual cramp feelings. One of my coworkers/besties who was due 6 days after me made a joke that maybe I was in labor and we laughed all day about it since we were both having contractions. Slowly over the rest of my shift they got stronger and when I left for work they felt somewhat steady. When I got home and started timing them. 5-6 mins apart. Okay- No big deal. We did this 2 days ago and the contractions stopped. Let’s just see where this goes and not get our hopes up in the meantime. So we continue on with our evening and they are getting progressively uncomfortable. Nothing that was unmanageable, but it def felt like stronger menstrual cramps. My husband’s best friend came over and we were just hanging out for a couple of hours. Towards the end of his visit my husband went ahead and called the midwives to see what they thought. (from this point on let’s refer to them as M [midwife] and A [assistant midwife]). They both told me to get some rest and to call if anything changed. So around 10pm I went to bed after they slowed down a bit (7-8mins apart). Our friend left and my husband went to work shortly before 11pm.
I wake up and it’s 11:30. I can’t sleep through these. It’s really uncomfortable. I’m rocking through them and timing them. 3-4mins apart. I take a bath which seems to relax me and go back to bed around 12:30 midnight. I wake up again around 2am, piddle around on the computer for about 30mins, drink some water, and go back to bed. Wake up again at 4:30. OMG… I just can’t sleep. What little sleep I AM getting between these contractions is very short and interrupted. For every 2hrs of sleep, I got maybe 30-45mins of actual rest. Another bath and I lie back down. Back to sleep and the alarm goes off at 6:45am. I get up, get my son dressed, my husband takes him to school, and I call M. I tell M that I just can’t sleep and that these ctx won’t go away. M is concerned that my lack of sleep is stopping things from progressing. She tells me to take something to help me sleep and just rest. My mom agrees to take my daughter after M tells me that I NEED to get someone to take her or I won’t get enough rest. I’m frustrated. I don’t know if she’s taking me seriously or not or if I’m just being silly. I’m tired and emotional. It’s been 17 hours at this point and I just want to SLEEP. I started crying. My husband gets me something to help me sleep and I go lie down around 9am. My husband comes to bed about 10am and we both sleep.
I’m up again at 10:30am. Something has changed. I’m moaning through these. I can’t stay quiet. Each peak brings a soft “Ooh” from my lips. I struggle through them for about 15-20mins and then come to the living room so I don’t wake my husband up. I’m on the couch sleeping between the contractions, which are about 4-5mins apart. Just as I doze off, another one hits me and I’m writhing, rocking, moaning. I call M again. “I’m moaning through these. I can’t get comfortable. Something is different.” We had a prenatal appt for 1pm that day but canceled it for me to get some sleep, but she went ahead and said she’d come over. She calls A and they both start driving over. Waiting for them, I’m yet again sleeping through the contractions, getting what little sleep I can.
M walks in the door 15 minutes after 1. Just moments after she walks in another contraction hits- “OOOOH!” I moan. She tells me that I’m sounding beautiful and that it looks good. She watches me through a few and times them. After about 30mins or so, I agree to a palpation and vaginal exam to get an idea of a what’s going on. Something just felt “off.” She knows I wanted a hands off labor, but with my lack of sleep and my personal feelings of something not quite right we feel okay with going ahead. She tells me his body is in a good position and then she checks me (1st vaginal exam in my pregnancy). I’m 2cm and about 30-40% effaced. She can’t feel suture lines on his head and thinks his head isn’t in a good position. 23hrs into labor and I’m 2cm. *sigh of slight disappointment* I remind myself that it’s okay, but I can’t help but be discouraged. A shows up and they talk for a minute. We’re going to try some knee/chest for 20mins to get him off my cervix and then try to reposition him with 20mins of squatting. OWW- Knee/chest and these ccontractions are REALLY uncomfortable. We wake my husband up shortly after 2pm so he can get the heating pad for my back from the bedroom where he’s sleeping. He’s tired after only 4hrs of sleep. He helps hold the heating pad on my lower back, providing wonderful counter pressure, while I’m squatting on the birth ball. My 20mins is almost up so he gets me something to eat. I’m still singing my birth song through every contraction. Loud “OOOHs” permeate the room. This makes eating my bowl of cereal very interesting as I’m rocking through each contraction and moaning loudly. Moan, rock, take a bite, rinse & repeat. He turns on soft new age music that is very relaxing hoping that it will help- it does. It’s so soothing. I get off the ball and onto the couch.
It’s time to go get my son from school so my husband leaves to do that. He decides to go get my daughter and my mom and bring them back as well. During this time, the MW’s turn the lights down low and leave me alone to do my thing. I start to sleep between the ctx once again. My moans get louder. They become more primal. I agree to one more check to see how the knee/chest and squats worked, although a little hesitant. They tell me that I can decline, but I tell them to go ahead. I need something more than 2cm. Anything. I’m 3cm and 70-80% effaced. It’s something and that makes me happy. But I’m just tired. I just want to rest. I just want to hold Matthew. It’s been 26hrs. M & A think that the introduction of the kids and my mom might change the atmosphere. As I’m making the call to try and hold them off, they pull up. My daughter’s asleep so we they lie her down in her bed. My son hears my moaning about 2mins after he walks in and my mom takes him to his room to talk to him about what’s going on. He’s excited. The moan scared him at first, but my mom and husband told him that that’s what all mommas do when they have babies and it was okay. Now he comes up to me, holds my hand, and tells me hi. I can see from the smile on his face that he’s okay and that makes me feel better that I’m not scaring him. He hangs out with my mom in his room and they do his homework.
I decide to go off into my bedroom shortly after everyone arrived at home. The living room no longer feels right. The pool is waiting, but unfilled. I pile pillows on the bed and try to lie down to see if I can rest. Nope. Not happening. So instead, I squat over the side of the bed with pillows supporting my upper body as I sway my hips and squat deeper down during each contraction, moaning loudly into the pillow. I want the pool. I’m afraid to get in too early, but I want the pool. I NEED the pool. Things are getting pretty intense and I can’t relax well enough. My husband starts to fill it while boiling more water on the stove. It’s 5pm and M & A decide to go get something to eat since I’m only 3cm. They tell my husband to call if anything changes and they leave. The pool is finally ready. I step in and the warmth feels sooo good. The ctx slow down, but I don’t care. For about 10 minutes I get some rest. Not completely, but I have about 2 ctx where my moans are quieter, where it’s a little less overpowering.
I’m leaning over the side of the tub and suddenly a contraction comes on that took me by surprise. I get loud. Really loud. Something is different, but I can’t place what it is. Another one hits. I scream. My moan turns high pitched and my husband comes in there. I tell him that I’m feeling it more. Another one comes on. I scream again. I hear my son in the background and he starts crying. My mom takes him outside and I can hear her saying “It’s okay.” I have a weak contraction and no noise comes through my mouth. The next one comes and it’s like it took all the intensity from the previous contraction and doubled it into this one. I scream louder than before, making my throat hurt. I ask for a cough drop to help soothe my throat. He goes off, brings me one back, and then I can hear him dialing numbers on the phone in the background. While he’s gone I feel pressure after the next contraction. It confused me. I had been feeling downward pressure for hours at this point, but this was different. I ignored it. The next contraction brought on the same sensation… I was involuntarily bearing down but I was still confused. I reach down out of curiosity but can’t feel anything- I think it’s all in my head. No way could I be pushing. I was JUST 3cm.
My husband came in and told me that the MW’s were coming back and should be here soon. Next thing I know, I’m pushing down on the side of the pool with all my strength, lifting my body up out of the water while keeping my pelvis in the water, and throwing my head back as I ROAR. I spilled some water over the side with the downward force I put on the pool so my husband told me to use him instead. I pushed again and screamed out “HE’S COMING!” My husband keeps encouraging me, telling me to do what feels best. I leaned down and bit into his shoulder, yelling out as I felt Matthew’s head come down. I kept instinctively lifting my body up and roaring him down. My mom comes in with my son and I hear the MW’s walk into the room. I feel this intensity and yell out “There’s his head!” M grabbed the flashlight to look and I roared out once more and his head came out all the way. It felt so amazing and I cried out “His head! Oh my god, that feels great!” I stopped for a minute, my body giving me a small break. They mentioned that he was still in the caul. I angled my pelvis forward, trying to see and started to reach down when another contraction came. I wanted to catch him but my body didn’t like the angle I was at. I reached up for my husband only to find that he had hopped in the pool behind me. I bore down on the side of the pool, once again lifting my body up and angled to toward the back.
SWEET RELIEF! His body shot out and my husband grabbed him as the water sac broke open and he lifted him out of the water. M & A stood there watching, letting us do everything, never once touching any of us. My mom was in the corner by the pool crying and my son was in her arms with a huge smile on his face. My baby cried as my husband held him in his arms.
Matthew Evan was here. After 28 long and intense hours, he was here- born into Daddy’s arms at 6:08pm on Sept 28th.
I turned around, finally sitting and carefully avoiding the cord. Once I sat down and got comfortable, my husband handed him to me. There was nothing but silence and the sweet sounds of his voice & joyful crying from everyone in the room. My daughter somehow slept through it all so my mom went and got her and we introduced her to Matthew. She was confused at first, not knowing what had happened, but soon got excited and was trying to hop in the pool and love on “Baby Maffew.” We finally got the camera- OOPS! That’s why I have no pictures of the actual birth- everything just went too fast! 3cm to 10cm in just over an hour.
We sat in that pool a good hour, just enjoying everything. No rush. He pinked up right away, was nursing, and we looked great. After that hour we decided to try and get the placenta out, thinking the counter pressure from the water might be delaying it. The cord had long since quit pulsating and was limp & white. So we clamped it off and my husband cut the cord. Nothing there- Matthew had gotten everything he needed. My husband takes him into the living room. I get up and deliver it and we all check it to make sure it was whole. Matthew wants to nurse again so my husband brings him back to me and we just relax in the bed while A gets my herbal bath ready. We decide to do the newborn exam… 2 hours after the birth, lol. The MW’s are happy to finally get to hold him. He’s perfect. And we’re all shocked when he’s weighed and comes out to 7lbs & 13oz. He looks sooo tiny and was all swore he was smaller than my son, who was 7lbs & 9oz. Nope- just had a MUCH smaller head than his sister’s whopping 15cm head, making him look tiny in comparison. They check me now and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had not a single tear, skidmark, stress point, OR hemorrhoid! Not one! I have a super vagina! In fact, M told me it was beautiful, he he. I take my herbal bath and get cleaned up. I’m feeling fabulous. Tired but fabulous. M & A leave, giving me instructions on how to take care of myself and what to look out for. The kids go to bed and I got on the computer to announce Matthew’s birth to friends since family had been notified. We just hang out and bask in the glory of what had just happened a few hours before, all of us in awe. My mom was about to go home so I go lie down in bed, snuggling with this perfect little person. Everyone leaves and I fall asleep, holding my beautiful new baby boy in my arms.
Happy Birthday, Matthew. Welcome.