3 years ago today I gave birth to my 3rd daughter via HBA2C. It was the most amazing experience ever. I would not be the person I am today had I not experienced her birth. Her birth taught me more than anything in life about the person I am and the strength that I have. It gave me the courage to step up and join ICAN on the national level so I could help so many other mothers out there fighting the fight to give birth on their own terms. As I began my journey to vba2c I was faced with no choice other than to birth at home (at the time). For me it was the journey I wanted to choose, but so many mothers don’t have birth options, so they choose to birth at home because they have to, not because they want to. I will be forever thankful to ICAN for educating me and supporting me in all my fears, happiness, anger etc. along the way as I planned and processed my cesarean, CBAC & HBA2C births. My first cesarean was for a breech baby. My second cesarean was a planned hospital VBAC that ended in a CBAC. In honor of my HBA2C baby’s 3rd birthday today I thought I’d share the birth story of my HBA2C.
Lexi & Christa’s Birth Story – HBA2C
On Wednesday July 14th I went to bed feeling very crampy. On Thursday July 15th I woke up at 4am feeling crampy still. I drifted back off to sleep. I woke about 10 minutes later from having a dream that I was in labor. I still felt some cramps. I again drifted back in and out of sleep every 10 minutes or so. I finally woke up at 5am realizing it wasn’t a dream. I really was in labor (but I wasn’t convinced yet). I stayed in bed for another 10 minutes thinking the cramps would die down. I had been having prodromal labor for 5 weeks & it always fizzled out before. The cramps weren’t dying down so I decided to get up & get ready for the day thinking they’d fade out once I got in the shower. Once I was in the shower they changed into feeling like contractions, not just cramps anymore. I thought they were getting closer, but I hadn’t timed them yet. Brock came into the bathroom at 5:45am when he heard my hair dryer. He asked if my water broke, since that is how my 2 previous labors started. I told him no, my water did not break, but you’re not going to work today. This is it! Fifteen minutes (6am) later my youngest daughter woke up for the day. We decided to get the girls ready for daycare like it was any other day. There was no reason to call grandma to come get them if we could just drop them off at daycare. We figured she’d just pick them up later.
So Brock took the girls to daycare and I had time to start timing my contractions. I didn’t want to call my midwives till I had timed the contractions. They were coming about every 4 minutes and lasting around 45 seconds. So I called my midwife around 7:30am. She said she would call her apprentices & they would be here in about an hour. She told me to call back if the contractions got stronger. I was breathing through the contractions which were painful, but not too bad yet. Brock finally came home & kept asking me if there was anything he could do. I told him he didn’t need to do anything except to stop asking me questions during my contractions. Around 8:30am I called my midwife back to tell her the contractions were getting stronger & lasting longer. She said she was on her way and one of the apprentices should be here any minute, since they left first. All of sudden I started having some back pain. My first thought was no, not horrible back labor again. I had Brock apply counter pressure to my back for a few contractions. I decided I wanted to go get some relief for the back pain. I headed upstairs & started to fill our tub in the bathroom. I didn’t fill it too much since I was going to use the midwives tub for labor. I just told Brock to wait for the midwives to get their tub set up the rest of the way. I never got around to putting the liner in their tub before now. I got in to our tub and the water really was natures epidural, like I had heard. One of the midwives showed up a few minutes later. She checked our vitals & we both looked good. I just decided to stay in our tub while Brock and the midwives put the liner in there tub & started filling it. During all this the other 2 midwives showed up. Our vitals were checked again by my main midwife when she arrived. We both looked good. I decided to get out of the tub because I thought the water was slowing my contractions some. Around 9:40am my contractions had picked up to 3 minutes apart. I labored for a while leaning against my dresser breathing through the contractions as they got stronger. I was chatting with my midwife between contractions at this point. At 10:17am I went to the bathroom. I went to go wash my hands and all of sudden I felt a huge gush. I yelled my water just broke & ran back to the toilet anticipating it to keep leaking. I felt Alexis drop and hit my pelvic floor when my water broke. Her head ended up plugging up the leaking water. I never understood what people meant when they described the feeling a baby dropping and hitting the pelvic floor, but now I do. I had high hopes that she would come down easily. My last daughter never dropped into my pelvis since she was posterior. I tried to labor out of the tub to keep things progressing, but my contractions were getting really strong now that my water had broken, so I decided to get into the tub now that it was ready. I wasn’t in the tub for long when I started feeling nauseous. At 10:32am I threw up & then I said I feel so much pressure. I kept trying to work through it. I had no idea how far along I was as we were not doing cervical checks, or at least that was the plan. I thought there is no way I am very far along because the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as it was with my previous labor. I remember at some point saying to my midwives “I know I can do this, but I am starting to feel like I can’t, but I know I can.” The pain was just started to get intense all of sudden. I felt like my body was starting to involuntarily push a little. I decided I did want to be checked after all, because I didn’t want to start pushing if I wasn’t complete. My midwife checked me at 10:50am & I was 9 ½ centimeters with just a lip. She thought I could push right past it. She told me to go ahead & start pushing if my body was pretty much doing it already. So I started pushing at 10:58am. I remember at one point saying I feel like I am going to rip in half. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, but my midwife assured me that I was. I felt like she was sliding back up every time the contractions were over & I’d take a break from pushing. The words of encouragement from my midwives really got me through the pushing & made me realize I was going to push this baby out. I remember asking at one point how long have I been pushing. It had been 45 minutes, but it felt like hours to me. It was still a relief to be pushing against the pain vs. just breathing the contractions. I tried laboring in a few different positions in the tub, but untimely they ended up having to pull my legs ups just like I was lying in bed on my back, only I was in the water. Finally her head was out. I didn’t even realize her head was out until they told me & I reached down to feel her head. I was having a little trouble pushing her the rest of the way out. She was stuck a little. Not quite a shoulder dystocia though. With a little easing by my midwife she was out with one final push at 12:14pm. They lifted her up & on to my chest. I remember saying “I did it!” I never doubted myself, but didn’t really believe it either until she was there lying on my chest. She was so beautiful. I instantly felt the bond with her. I really missed that with my previous births. Brock was just so amazed from it all, that he said “you can name her whatever you want”. We were waiting to name her till she was born. We had it narrowed down to 2 names, but we both favored one. I guess he felt after all I went through to get her here, he’d let me have my name choice. I did have a tiny second degree tear. My midwives probably wouldn’t have bothered with stitches, but with 2 toddlers & stairs in the house they did stitch me up just to be on the safe side. I couldn’t feel the tear at all though. My baby girl was 8 lbs 12oz. A full pound plus bigger than her sisters.
I am so amazed at the recovery of my VBAC! I never realized just how bad I had it with my cesarean section recoveries. I would never for a second trade my homebirth experience for anything. I can’t imagine ever giving birth in a hospital again. We however are done having children, so that’s not an issue. I just wished I had educated myself with my first pregnancy & maybe avoided the cesarean sections in the first place. Although then I would have never had this beautiful homebirth that I am so thankful for. It was a beautiful, peaceful, fast birth! If nothing else my births have taught me a lot about myself & helped me grow huge amounts as a person. They have brought me some great friends too. I’ll continue to help educate others on birth now that I am done having children, so that hopefully other women can avoid the things I went through.