I found out I was pregnant in February of 2008. I knew finding a provider was going to be hard. Stupidly again I made an appointment with the same OB I had with the boys just so I had one. A lot of women are afraid or feel disloyal if they change care providers. I felt this way too, but this is your birth, your baby and your life. You will have to be the one with the end result so if you feel like you want to switch don't feel guilty, you are paying for their services, you don't have to stay with anyone you don't want to. I finally realized this myself and a day or so before my first visit I canceled and called a midwife for an appointment. I went in and sat and talked with one of the midwives, she was very kind and said she would love to take me on as a client but couldn't. The OB above her said I couldn't be seen by them because I hadn't had a vaginal birth prior to my c-sections meaning I didn't have "proof" that I could give birth. So I was told to make an appointment with the OB above them. I went in at 10 weeks to see the OB and he said he wouldn't take me on as a VBAC because it was too much of a "risk" but he would gladly take me as a c-section.
(Baby at 10 weeks)
(11 weeks pregnant)
He had had a rupture in the past and was afraid it would happen again, but I asked him and he admitted the rupture was because of being induced but he still wouldn't take me on. As a VBACer I would not be induced so I didn't know why he wouldn’t let me try. I was totally crushed and thought no doctor is going to take me what on earth am I going to do? I went home and got on the phone and called around to a lot of offices in the area asking if any of them would do a VBA2C. Surprisingly not, no one would. I had heard of a Family Practice doctor who would do VBAmC's at the same hospital I was looking at for the midwives so I called them and made an appointment. He said he would take me but had so many restrictions I just knew in my heart it wouldn't work out. I had a history of going "overdue" and he wouldn't let me go overdue so my due date was all the sudden a deadline for her to come out and if not another c-section it would be. I made another appointment to see his partner in practice and his partner kept asking me why I would want to take such a risk and telling me I was putting my baby in harms way. After this appointment I knew I wouldn't be going back because I didn't believe I was putting my baby in harms way.
So I was back to square one. I called my first OB I had with my boys' pregnancies. I went to him from 18 weeks to about 28 weeks. He said I could "try" a VBAC but would induce at 40 weeks. I knew this wasn't going to happen because he told me the same thing with my second son that resulted in a c-section. During this time we were researching homebirth and unassisted homebirth. I thought I had no other options. Homebirth with a CNM in my state is illegal, and I couldn't find a direct entry midwife because they kept underground to stay out of the public eye. So at 28 weeks I just stopped going to a OB altogether. At this point I was going to do my own prenatal care that I had researched online and we were going to go unassisted. I knew we could do it but I thought I would keep up my search for a midwife just in case I got lucky. We read lots of books and lots of resources online. I was finally starting to get excited about this birth.
(30 weeks pregnant)
At 33 weeks I was up late talking to a friend about birth who had said she found a direct entry homebirth midwife in our area and gave me her website. I emailed her website telling her my story and got a response right away! I was in shock. Oh my word, I just found a lady who believed in birth and believed I could do it even with two prior sections. WOW! I was so happy!! She met me that Saturday at my home, how great is that! I didn't even have to go an office. We talked and she said she had done prior VBAmC's before and like me, believed it was only a VERY small, less than 1% chance rupture would happen, especially without interventions. You take higher risks driving your car everyday. At this point I really started believing I could birth vaginally. I continued to read as much as I could and read some books she suggested.
We were set and very excited to have found a midwife with the same views we had on birth! We met every Saturday in my home for my prenatal’s until I went into labor.
And like I had thought, I went overdue. I was "due" October 30 and that day came and went. I went trick-or-treating with the boys on Halloween while every neighbor asked me "I thought you were due already". Sad how in our culture it means baby has to be out by then. I told them I was waiting for baby to come on her own and they thought I was crazy.
My family started getting worried at 41 weeks. My dad actually called me and asked "When is this baby getting sectioned out? When is the cut off date?" I told him we were for sure waiting till 42 weeks and then going from there. People will say things without realizing how hurtful they can be so you may want to nicely tell people that if they don't have anything nice to say, then to keep quiet. My midwife said she did not think I would make it to 42 weeks. I think there is a saying that is something like baby will come when you are ready mentally, your body knows when you are ready. I thought I was ready, but I was still content being pregnant until one day I just couldn't take it anymore I wanted to be done I wanted to see my baby girl and I just couldn't stand it anymore. I was 41 weeks 5 days and I knew I was going to go into labor that night. I just had a feeling. It was a Tuesday afternoon the 11th of November and I made sure to take a nap with the boys because I knew I would be up that night.
(Pictures may be graphic)
That night I went shopping with my sister and Mother and of course they were asking if anything was happening yet and I said “Not yet” but in my mind I just knew it would start when I got home and started to relax after the kids went to bed. I didn’t tell them this because they already thought I was crazy for all the natural birth and homebirth talk. At around midnight I was on the computer when I got the first contraction, I had been having these for a couple nights now, but they would stop after about three hours, so I just hoped this would be the night. 3 o’clock am came around and they weren’t stopping but getting stronger. I finally thought, well maybe this is really it! I walked around and paced from the kitchen to the living room and moved my hips around on the birth ball to the contractions. I was working through them nicely and thought, this isn’t so bad! I lit candles and relaxed and did my breathing from hypnobirthing. I very much enjoyed my time alone with my baby girl inside knowing we were working together. I woke my husband up at about 4am and told him I thought this could really be it. He came out and laid on the couch and we called the midwife at about 5:30am. She came and checked me and found I was a 5, 100% effaced and a +1 station. She called her assistant and she showed up shortly thereafter. My mom, sister and friend came over as well.
(My two year old getting ready to go to a friends house)
I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with people and wishing I would have waited longer to have everyone come over. My husband and the midwife started to fill up the birth pool and getting things ready for the birth while I labored alone in the kitchen.
I really liked being alone and would go off to the bathroom to be alone every now and then. At about 11am the midwife asked me if I wanted my water bag broken, I said no originally knowing from all I had learned it was best to leave everything alone, but later gave in and she broke my water thinking it would move me along quickly. I posted to my online friends that I was finally in labor and went back to laboring. The midwife had everyone leave for a little while around 1pm so Dustin and I could work through the contractions on my own to try and get things moving. I really enjoyed that part of labor, I worked through my contractions with only Dustin and things picked up and started to become more intense. They came back about an hour or so later and check me and I was at 7cm now. I got in and out of the pool for a couple hours and I was feeling like things were picking up.
My midwife had thought baby’s head was stuck up on my pelvic bone so she was having me lay back in the tub in a squatting position. I was being checked often, something I didn’t want but in the heat of the moment was not saying no. Things were starting to become intense and I was having a hard time relaxing with feeling like everyone was watching but I kept it to myself, In hindsight I should have had most everyone leave. But I was checked again and I was still at a 7. At around 6:30pm my midwife called another midwife to talk about my options. I had been in labor for nearly 20 hours and had been awake for over 24 hours and was getting tired.
She told me I could go to the hospital or stay at home. We really talked about this in between contractions for probably a half an hour. I knew going into the hospital was going to be a battle to try to VBA2C if they would even let me. (little did I know how big of a battle), but I was getting very tired at home too. I talked to Dustin about it and we decided to go into the hospital and maybe get an epidural for a couple hours to let me sleep. So at that point we started packing my bag, I hadn’t done any of that thinking I would have a homebirth. I was sad for making this decision but at the same time happy to get some much needed and wanted rest. I swear the second I made the decision to go to the hospital my contractions got worse. Either cause I was getting closer or because I was already nervous about going in. I was not relaxed the whole way to the hospital making the contractions unbearable in the car.
We arrived at the hospital at about 7:45pm, I remember looking at the clock when I walked in. Right away I got another contraction and they were getting very intense I was starting to moan through them. The lady was trying to get me checked in since I had not done that ahead of time either. Again I had another contraction, they were about 2-3 minutes apart and starting to get more intense. She had a nurse come to take me up to L&D cause she “didn’t want me to have the baby on the floor”. The nurse insisted I sit in a wheel chair cause it was “hospital policy” and I did after my contraction was over then as soon as we got to the elevator I stood right back up and worked through another contraction. There was no way I was sitting down for these, they were starting to hurt. She didn’t like this and I could feel the tension in the air. I sat back in the chair after my contraction and was wheeled the rest of the way to L&D, it was a long ride. I remember thinking Dustin is never going to remember all these turns to get to my room. (He had parked the car while my friend and I walked into the ER.) I was put in a room and that is where the chaos began.
We got into our room and the nurse came in and I had my vitals taken. Right away I knew I was in for it, I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed because of my previous sections.
A resident came in to check me and said “I think about this much” holding his hands into the air. And the nurse said “About a 5?” And he said “Ya, a 5”. I kept thinking this guy doesn’t have a clue what he is doing. He checked me for water breaking and all along I wanted to just say “Yes its broken, my midwife broke it at home” But I had to keep the prior homebirth plans hush hush. So they checked me with a swab and it was positive, they asked me how long it had been broken and I lied and said only since 3pm. While they tried to do the IV which took several tries the nurses and more residents came in asking where my prenatal paperwork was and why I had only come twice for prenatal visits. I had been all over the place with prenatal care and finally had settled on a homebirth midwife which I didn’t talk about at the hospital. So I gave them the OB’s name I went to last at about 28 weeks and they just kept questioning me trying to find answers. I avoided and just kept asking if I could get the epidural. I am here now what does the past matter, right? A doctor then came in asking me all the same questions then asking me if I wanted to go in for my c-section. I told them I was trying for a VBAC and they gravely told me what could go wrong with it. Another doctor came in and told me even worse all that could go wrong. I told them I had done my research and was sticking to a VBAC. Finally they found a doctor willing to do a c-section “if” baby wasn’t too big, and in comes an ultrasound machine. I wasn’t very happy about this and knew they were trying to get me to do a repeat c-section. The doctor kept saying the baby’s head was so low she was having a hard time getting a reading on how big the baby was. In the end they said my baby was going to be 11 pounds. I laughed at this and said “There is no way, the machine can be off by at least a pound either way”. The doctor said “Oh no, its only off by 20%”. I said I was going for a VBAC anyway. They gave in because legally they couldn’t deny me what I wanted so the student anesthesiologist who had been waiting in the hall way came in to give me my epidural. The student tried for at least 30 minutes to get the epidural in place, I kept thinking this guy is going to paralyze me because he kept poking and I would scream and he would say “Are you legs numb?” At this point the doctor said she needed to get a fetal scalp monitor on the baby’s head because they weren’t getting a heart beat because of all of the moving around and sitting up since the student was taking forever. I yelled no and said I would lay down and they could check the baby’s heart rate then try for the epidural again after they got a heart beat. My own mother argued with me to do it and I yelled at her and said “This is one more intervention they are going to do to try to get me to have a c-section” So I laid down and they got the heart rate. After that the student had to start completely over and re clean the area and try again, by this time the pain in intolerable and I was crying and out of control. If it wasn’t for my friend who was being my doula there to calm me down I would have never made it through that.
(My friend and Doula Mary and I)
My contractions were literally on top of each other getting about a 30 second break in-between and I had been sitting hunched over through contractions in this process for at least 45 minutes. The doctor told me my blood pressure was getting too high, it was somewhere around 170/110, and I knew it was because of stress, I told them as soon as this was over it would go back down. They didn’t exactly believe me so they went to get the magnesium. This is the point where I nearly gave into having a c-section. I kept thinking it would be so much easier then having all this stress that was making my contractions so bad. I begged and cried for them to get someone who knew what they were doing. This really rattled the student and he gave up, I felt bad but was done with him trying. His supervisor tried, and got the needle in on the second poke and at last I could stop crying and relax. And like I said my blood pressure dropped. It was back to normal in a few minutes so they didn’t give me the magnesium after my friend realized they were going to hook it up and asked them what it was and they put it on the shelf instead. (Always ask what they are doing, cause they don’t always tell you!)
It was 11:45pm now, I couldn’t believe it took them 4 hours for me to get the epidural from the time I checked in. I talked a little bit to my friend and mom about everything and tried to rest and sleep a little. It was so nice to relax. I was put on an antibiotic cause I was getting a fever, probably because I was checked too often at home but I didn’t tell them that. At about 1:30am a friend with food came to visit and feed everyone in my room since they hadn’t eaten much because they had been with me all day. She talked to the baby and told her to cooperate and be good for Mommy.
I rested again after she left and at about 2am I started feeling lots of pressure and noticed my epidural was no longer working on my left side. I was checked and was at about an 8, but the pressure kept coming stronger. At 2:30am I started shaking and feeling like my body was starting to push on its own, they checked and said I was about a 9 ½ and had just a lip to go. It was all going so quickly for me I couldn’t believe I was to this point! I had never made it passed a 4 before. By 3am I was sure my body was pushing and my epidural was no longer working but I was ok with this because I wanted to be able to feel myself push and work through that myself. They checked and I was at a 10 and gave me the go ahead to push. I pushed through the contractions and remember feeling relief, pushing through the pain was amazing.
As I was pushing they noticed meconium and told me they were going to take her to the NICU right away to make sure everything was fine. I thought this was unnecessary but I had fought so many things I just let it go. Every time I would feel a contraction coming I would say “Leg leg leg leg leg” and they would lift up my legs and I would push with all my might, I was going to have this baby vaginally and they weren’t going to have a reason to section me. I could feel her moving down and felt her pop under the pubic bone and move into the canal. I never thought once about having a uterine rupture, funny how that works, but it never crossed my mind. About 20 minutes into pushing they said, she is crowning, and with the next contraction I pushed her out. Oh how I remember feeling that, it was so much pressure and burning then it was like she popped through and the pressure was gone.
They then pulled her out and even though I had wanted to wait to cut the cord till it stopped pulsing they cut it immediately to take her to the NICU. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it. I just VBAC’d against all odds and pushed a baby out!!!
I was crying tears of happiness and they brought her in about 10 minutes later saying she was fine. I hadn’t even noticed she was gone that long because they were stitching me up from an internal tear which I believe was from them pulling her shoulders out and that was so painful I couldn’t focus on anything else. I finally held my baby after and was in awe of what I had just done, words can’t express the feeling you have when a doctor has told you, you have CPD and will never push a baby out only to do exactly what they said you couldn’t do! They told me she was 8lbs 15 oz and I kindly said, “Well she wasn’t 11 pounds, the machine must have been off.” The doctor actually apologized for saying it would only be off 20% when it was off much more than that. After posting a bit online and texting a few people I nursed my baby girl and enjoyed her without a recovery room and without having been cut.
Emelia Lynn was born November 13 at 3:27am at 8lbs 15 oz and 21 inches long after 27 1/2 hours of labor.
(Emelia's first time nursing)
(Elijah and Evan meeting their sister for the first time)
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