I went into labor on my own (there had been some mild discussion with OB regarding induction). This day would change my life forever! My first birth looked nothing like I imagined. There was oxygen, a blood pressure cuff, IV pitocin, IVmagnesium Sulfate, an epidural, several cervical checks, a continuous fetal monitor and a Foley catheter. On October 25th2012, my first born (son) entered the world via an unnecessary cesarean (under general anesthesia due to a high spinal). The next few days were a blur! Over the next few weeks when I was fully oriented I processed my birth experience, I was happy, sad, confused, and broken!
In March of 2014 we found out we were pregnant with our second child. This was a very pleasant surprise! This time would be different, this time I would be prepared! The past year I had researched VBAC as an option for subsequent births, I joined a local Positive Birth Group after being unable to find an ICAN group that was local, I talked to women who had given birth naturally, watched several natural births online and I had not read as much since my college days. There was no question surrounding how I would deliver this baby, I was NOT having another cesarean. It did not take long for my husband and me to decide that this baby would be born vaginally. I wanted this VBAC with every inch of my being. I educated myself, hired a hypno doula, hired a midwife, took a hypnobabies class, received chiropractic care, walked 1-2 miles a day, made nutrition/hydration/supplements a priority, and most importantly I believed in myself! My husband was on board, and was a huge supporter, this was all I needed.
The closer I was to my guess date, the more I became confident and positive about my VBAC. Those friends and family who were supportive were given updates as my birthing time neared. Sunday December 7th I was reminded by a few friends and family that there was a full moon, and I recall a few Braxton hicks that evening. I remained calm, but excited! I knew that I would meet our new addition soon. Monday December 8th my doula visited us at our home for our last prenatal visit shortly after dinner. I really needed this visit, it gave me a pick me up! This visit was very casual, my husband and son were both present. It was relaxing and affirming for me, we spent this time talking, discussing placenta encapsulation, birthing time, hypnobabies practice, and we even went over some positions and exercises to insure optimal position for the baby such as pelvic rocks and rebozo. I also recall losing huge chunks of my mucous plug and having some waves on this day. I would soon be holding my little one!
On Tuesday December 9th I believe that God gave my son and I some time before birthing to be alone, just he and I. He was a little under the weather and stayed home from daycare. I called into work and took care of him. We stayed in our pajamas and rested most of the day. My birth photographer/friend sent me a very encouraging HBAC story, and we of course went back and forth communicating that day about my upcoming birthing time. This made me feel even more empowered. I had what would be my last prenatal appointment at 4:00 PM with my midwife. My son and I went to this appointment, and it went well as usual. My midwife mentioned to me that the baby was “still up high”. She told me to sleep on my left side as much as possible, and to make sure I am doing pelvic rocks at home and return to see her the following week. My appointment was made for the following Tuesday. The evening was uneventful. I spent the evening running after my toddler who was feeling much better. I remember having dinner and doing a little cleaning that night. My cousin came to visit, and we had a few laughs. I went to bed a little later than usual, but felt fine when I went to bed around 10:30 PM. At midnight when I made a trip to the bathroom I lost a little bit more of my plug and had some bloody show.
Wednesday December 10th I was 39+5, I was awakened at 2:30 am by one pressure wave. I decided to empty my bladder and took a few sips of water to see what would happen. I didn’t have any more waves so I returned to bed. At 3:30 AM I was awakened again by another wave, but this time they were consistent and did not go away. I knew that this was it, my birthing time had begun. My husband was due to leave for work at 4:30 AM and I usually take my son to school around 8:30 AM before I travel to work. As my husband planned to get into the shower, I let him know that my birthing time had begun. I don’t think he believed this was the real deal, but after a few more pressure waves, and me explaining pretty sternly it was go time, he got it! The waves were about 6-7 minutes apart, and tolerable. My husband and I decided that we would go ahead and send my son to daycare. We decided months prior that we didn’t want our two year old son to see me during my birthing. So, my husband gathered everything I needed and I locked myself inside our bedroom. I had a blanket, my hypnobabies bag, CD player with ear buds, birthing ball, water, greek yogurt, and pretzels. I decided it was a little early to contact my midwife or doula. I spent the next few hours moving from the bed to the floor listening to my birthday affirmation CD. I found that opening my mouth and moaning during each wave made me feel more comfortable. My son would wake around 6 or 6:30 AM. At 5:30 AM I decided I should contact my doula, being I may need her pretty soon. I still didn’t think it was time to contact my midwife my husband was in and out of the room checking on me while he waited for my son to wake. I text my doula to let her know that I was in my birthing time. She wanted to know more about the timing of my waves, and whether or not I was in hypnosis. At this time, I was drinking water, and taking small bites of yogurt, and was listening to some positive affirmation on the CD player. I made sure I was emptying my bladder as well. My waves were now 5 minutes apart, lasting 40 seconds, and were very regular. I kept thinking about how long my birthing time would probably be, and I had not had but maybe four-five hours of sleep. I was not feeling any pressure in my back; it was menstrual type pressure only. I was in denial which turned out to be a great thing. I would later find out that this birth would not be long at all.
Although my doula suggested I try to sleep a little between waves on my left side, I knew that I couldn’t. However, I was drinking, pottying resting and snacking. My doula suggested listening to the hypnobabies deepening CD to get deeper into hypnosis, and turn my light switch to off which pretty much means to shut your mind and body completely down in hypnobabies language. I got my deepening CD, and got on my birthing ball around 6 AM. Being on the birthing ball felt really good. I spent the next few hours resting in the bed, bouncing on the birthing ball and sitting backwards on the toilet seat. I was clothes less, and the temperature in the room was perfect. I used a heating pad for a short period on my lower back, but since I wasn’t having much back pain it didn’t help much. My husband was gone for about an hour to take my son to daycare and run a few errands. He returned and checked on me periodically, and this seemed to work perfect. I had everything I needed. I could not believe birthing time was going this well when compared to my first birth experience, I actually felt pretty comfortable! At 9:45 AM I started feeling some pressure while bouncing on the birth ball listening to the deepening CD. I felt and heard a loud pop! My husband must have heard it too; he rushed in the room to check on me. I had previously called my midwife around 7:30 AM who told me she would head to the birth center, but it was too early for me to come in (which I wanted to wait as long as possible). From our home to the birth center is approximately 15 miles. I let my doula know that my water had broke, we discussed its appearance which was not abnormal, and she let me know that she would be heading to my home (an hour drive for her). I remember feeling calm, and felt in control.
My waves became much more intense once my water broke. They became closer and longer. I recall one wave lasting 2 minutes with only seconds between the next. At 10 AM I contacted my doula to let her know that my waves were much more intense. She was able to listen as I had a few over the phone. She left it up to me to contact my midwife again. I decided to not contact my midwife at that time. I was in denial about how close I was getting. I got into the tub for a warm bath which was very relaxing. I used that time to do some visualization, but began to have the urge to push while in the bath tub. My husband began to become anxious once he learned I had the urge to push. At 10:15 AM I contacted my doula to let her know that I was having the urge to push, but it was not a rectal type pressure that everyone had previously described to me. This was a pressure that felt as if I had to urinate. She let me know that she would meet me at the birth center, and to breathe as if I was "blowing out a candle". I attempted to breathe as she described, but wasn't too successful. I then called my midwife to let her know that I was on my way to the birth center, she was already there. She heard me pushing while on the phone and urged me to come in ASAP. My doula had been in contact with my birth photographer, so she knew to be in route as well. Since having the urge to push, I no longer had waves and pushing felt wonderful. My husband gathered our things and we headed to the car to make the short drive to the birth center. My doula instructed we listened to easy first stage during the drive to the birth center to help us prepare for the baby’s fast approaching arrival. I was on hands and knees in the back seat in the car while the CD played which helped to keep me calm as we were in route. Although my husband had the emergency flashers on and seemed very anxious, I believe the CD kept him calm as well.
My midwife called to check in and see where we were located in route. I am sure my last conversation with her while pushing had her a little anxious as well. We arrived at the birth center at 11:15 AM and greeted my entire birth team. They were very calm, speaking to me in such soft voices. This happened to not be a prenatal day so the birth center was empty. My doula helped me out of the car and up the stairs. As soon as I got in the door of the birth center, I had the urge to push. I had been pushing the entire trip to the birth center in the car. I knew that I would not make it upstairs to a birthing room. I slowly squatted down to the lobby floor to push while my birth team gathered pillows, pads and other supplies. I remember being so excited! It happened so fast, my doula on one side and my husband letting me squeeze his hand on the other; I pushed four times and birthed my beautiful baby boy onto the lobby floor of the birth center at 11:19 AM. There were tears and smiles and not much talking during this time. My doula whispered in my ear, “you’re not broken, you’re whole." There were many tears during this time.