Our homebirth VBAC story

I’d been having “prodromal” labor for a couple weeks. I hate to call it that, but they were stronger than my normal braxton-hicks that I’d been having for months and they were consistently 1-1.5 minutes in length and 5-minutes apart for hours at a time. There were three specific times that I surely thought I was in labor! But every time, the contractions died down and stopped… usually after a sleepless night. I was frustrated, discouraged, and exhausted. Contractions are hard work! And I wasn’t used to daily workouts, haha.

I remember waking up Thursday morning (Feb. 23rd) and feeling normal for the first time in at least a week. I was happy, I was motivated, and most of all–my mind was NOT on labor. I was cleaning, I shaved my legs, I did laundry… I know you’re all thinking “nesting!” but it wasn’t anything crazy–I  mean, I wasn’t on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor, haha. I just felt good. I guess I had finally given up on the hopes of labor coming soon!

I think it was about 3pm that I had the first contraction. It was definitely strong enough to make me immediately say “hmmm, well this is different.” I’m going to go a head and say they were painful. (Looking back and seeing how painful it really got later on, those early ones were nothing, haha – but at the time, I knew it was real.) I called my mom in excitement and just continued playing with Ryan and doing stuff around the house.

Steve got home from work around 4:30pm and I looked at him and got all teary. A contraction came and I held the kitchen table. I told him it was real this time (FOR REAL this time!), that it hurt, and that I was nervous. He gave me a hug and then I think *he* started nesting, haha, as he worked on cleaning the whole house.

I called my midwife around 5:30pm–not thinking she needed to come yet, but to give her a heads up. She told me to call back in an hour. In the meantime, I started baking a birthday cake for Rebecca! My contractions were, right off the bat, a minute long and every 5 minutes.

I called my midwife about 6:30pm. We decided she should come over around 8-8:30pm… I was stopping between contractions, but I guess I could still kind of talk through them. (If I had any idea how intense labor would get later on, I  never would have called them this early). I sent a text to my doula and she came over at the same time, around 8-8:30pm. It was the night of a snow storm so everyone wanted to get here earlier rather than later. My mom came, too, because she was going to watch Ryan.

About 9:30pm, I went to the bathroom and lost some mucous plug–whoooo! I was so excited. BABY TIME!

this would be me at the computer–doing my early updates to facebook/twitter – that’s my mom on the couch

My cake was done and we decided to play the board game Buzzerwizzer (it’s a trivia game, so fun!) because we were all just sitting around. We kind of had a house full and I felt like everyone was watching me, waiting for me, and I didn’t know how to (re)act. Well, turns out that’s because it was really early labor, I wasn’t in full-on focused mode yet, and… had a long way to go, haha.

We never finished the game because I got up to use the bathroom and felt the contractions were more intense. It was late–maybe around 11pm? We decided to rest, take naps… I tried, but I was in and out of the shower. My doula really helped me get through the night. At 4am, I had bloody show–whooo! More excitement. I got in the tub for about an hour then, while Steve slept. I got out for a bit and then took a shower at 6:45am. Everyone was up and at ‘em in the morning, with Ryan getting up around 7am?

He made me smile, but it was hard to have him there during contractions. I ate some peanut butter toast (or tried to). At 8:30am, my contractions slowed to about 7 minutes apart. I was checked for progress and my cervix was very posterior and the opening couldn’t even really be reached. The edge felt thick and closed. Meaning… no progress. I think the disappointment was visible across my face so I was told that “mayyyybe I was 2-3 cm dilated,” but I don’t think I was at all. But that’s what I posted on facebook, 2-3cm dilated, because I was too embarrassed and disappointed to post otherwise.

What did this mean? I had been in labor for 12+ hours with no progress. I was not in active labor, maybe not in “real” labor? We all decided that it would be best if the birth team left. I felt watched and we all know a watched pot never boils. I think I had performance anxiety… I didn’t feel comfortable and that can definitely slow progression of labor.

I sobbed. Of course! I was in pain and had been for 12+ hours. I had weeks of prodromal labor that apparently did nothing. I was tired. I felt defeated, I felt disappointed, I felt discouraged. It was the only time through this whole thing that I thought… I can’t do this. I’m not going to be able to make it. I have sooo much farther to go. How can I do it?

Steve tried to get me to go out for breakfast with him. He thought it would take my mind off things… I was told that this labor could even possibly stop and not start again for hours or even days. AH! I considered going out for breakfast, but then another contraction came and I was like – there’s no way.

So Steve left to get breakfast and bring it home to me. I took two benadryl, got in bed, and fell asleep–hoping the labor would stop if that was the plan or that the rest would help and things would pick up again. Steve woke me up with breakfast when he got home shortly after, but I shooed him away so I could sleep. In hindsight, I’m glad I got some sleep, but that benadryl wiped me out so when I woke up only 2 hours later because the contractions were too much, I was a little slow moving.

Throughout the labor, there were definitive periods when my contractions stepped it up a notch. I mean, I could look at Steve and say, “okay, we’re at the next level.” Then my body would get used to that level of pain and it would be bearable again, until of course the contractions stepped it up again… it’s fascinating the way your body adjusts and copes. I eventually reached a point where I was just in a trance… in another world… completely focused and breathing through each contraction. One at a time. I knew that if I let myself slip up–FEEL the pain and think even for a second that “I can’t do this”–then I’d never come back. It’s so hard to relax a person that is tensing up and freaking out about pain… so I just never let myself do that. My chants through contractions were “doooooown and out” and “IIIIII can do it,” over and over. The word “can’t” was not allowed to escape my mouth or enter my thoughts.

Steve and my birth team stayed in touch all day. I think I stayed in the shower for like 4 hours–until the hot water was gone. I had Steve call the birth team that night, around 7pm. I felt my contractions were stronger, they were clearly not stopping, and were now 3 minutes apart.

I didn’t even notice when they arrived–I was in bed, moaning through contractions. I was focused. This was real.

Steve was amazing and stayed by my side the entire time, encouraging me and helping me relax. But my doula… she was something special… she had a magic touch and voice, I tell ya. Those painful contractions would come, she’d remind me to relax those muscles, tell me how strong I was for my baby girl, tell me I could do it… and the unbearable pain was suddenly bearable. I loved her.

My mom came back, too, but Ryan stayed at her house with my dad. We had wanted him there, but at this point knew it’d be better if he wasn’t.

At 8:30pm I got in our jacuzzi. I remember telling Steve, “I hope I’m not getting in too early.” Meaning, I thought I was nearly done and I’d be giving birth in the tub…. hahahaha. Ohhh if I only knew! :)

At 10:30pm, I was checked. I was scared. I did not want more bad news. My cervix was still a bit posterior, but I was 5-6cm and 50% effaced. Oh THANK the heavens, I was making progress!!! I was half-way!!! Okay, okay, we’re half-way there, we can do this! I CAN DO THIS!

So about 11pm, we tried new positions. I hung from the door during contractions with a rebozo and rested on Steve in between. I labored on hands and knees, then tried going up and down the stairs. Around 1:15am, I was so tired–I went to bed to try to rest. Every time I laid in bed to take a rest, my labor would slow down and contractions would space out… but I sooo needed the rest!

I didn’t rest in bed too long–I needed a change (to help with the pain) and I got in the tub from 2:30 to 4:30am. My contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was “sleeping” between contractions. If you’ve been through this before, you know what I mean by “sleeping” between contractions. It’s not exactly sleep, it’s… some form of total la-la land. Steve slept.

At 8:45am (Saturday), I ate a little breakfast, changed my clothes and brushed my teeth. It was a new day! I tried more positions, some swaying and “dancing” with Steve, more hanging from the door. At 11:30am, I was going up and down the stairs sideways with the rebozo on and Steve helping me. I didn’t have a clear transition phase, but this is when I kind of showed some signs of it… I was shaky and my contractions seemed to have no end. I’d feel the wave lessen, like the end of a contraction, but it’d pick right back up again before stopping completely. It wasn’t terrible though, and I never broke down and said “I can’t do this!” which is a typical sign of the transition phase.

Alright… we’re nearing a full two days of labor now. Around noon, my mom left to go to the grocery store. While she was gone, I was checked and found to be 90% effaced, at +2 station, 8-9cm dilated and very stretchy. AHH!! I can’t even describe the amount of happiness I felt at that moment. With Ryan, I got to 8cm, 80% effaced, and +1station before the c-section. I knew that sometimes in VBACs, moms stall at the dilation point they reached during the previous labor. Maybe I did, maybe I was at 8cm for awhile? I wasn’t checked often enough to know, but… at this point… I had passed it. :)

I pushed twice, just to see. I couldn’t feel anything, but my midwife felt the head moving down with each push–it was on the pubic bone. My bag of water was still intact, but bulging.

I changed my clothes (“Proud VBAC Mama!”), had a snack, and suddenly felt like my contractions barely hurt at all–I think I was so excited to be “almost done” and past the point I got to with Ryan. I couldn’t stop smiling! And maybe the pain really did lessen–maybe this was my body’s resting point before the big finish?

Since Rebecca was on the pubic bone, I laid like this for awhile–head down, butt in the air. They used the rebozo a bit too, around my belly, holding it up. The idea was to get the baby to move slightly up and then, when I changed positions, she’d move back down, off the pubic bone.

This was the next position–to move the baby back down. Yea, that’s Ryan’s potty stool, haha. And the rebozo around my belly.

About 4:30pm, I was doing some more light pushes in my bed. My contractions hurt so much, pushing was a relief–I don’t know if it really took pain away or if it gave me something else to focus on. Either way, it helped, but I didn’t really have an urge to push. I had a slight cervical lip so my midwife helped hold it back while I was pushing to help it disappear.

About 6pm, I was in the tub again and doing some more pushing. I was having some urges to push and those were my most successful pushes–it takes over your body and there’s nothing you can do but PUSH! It was an overwhelming feeling and I made some sort of moan/yelling noise with each one. I tried on my back, on each side, on my hands and knees… At 7:30pm, there’s a note that I’m pushing harder and the cervical lip was still there, but it would disappear on its own with each push.

The birth team was discussing a transfer at this point, but I had no idea. They asked Steve if *I* had said anything about it–if I wanted to transfer. Steve said no. (I didn’t know about any of this until after Rebecca was born and I’m thankful). The thought of transferring never entered my mind, not once. Of course if something was wrong or if someone had told me we needed to transfer, I would have in a second. But just because the labor was long and I was tired? No. I wasn’t giving up, baby girl was doing GREAT, she was checked (and I was checked) all the time.

I was pushing on the bed. Some sort of liquid came out with a push and I was like “did my water just break?!” Um, no, I peed. Awesome.

At 10:10pm, my membranes spontaneously ruptured. I was in bed and it was a gush. The fluid was clear.

I remember asking what time it was (I had no concept of time) and was told 11:45pm. They said my baby might have a Feb 25th birthday! That meant I had 15 more minutes to push her out… I was excited!

That didn’t happen, haha.

At 2:05am I was in the shower… for the last time. It was nearly impossible to walk–with that head between my legs–and I was exhausted. My contractions were weakening. I mean, if you lifted a weight over and over for 2 days, your bicep would give up, too. My uterus was tired. I sat on a birthing ball in the shower and although I was in complete la-la land, I gave myself a mental pep-talk. It’s now or never. There is no option, this has to happen NOW. Let’s do this.

I shot out of that shower, into the family room where I ate some fruit and peanut butter, drank some chicken broth, and was ready to go. I think everyone in the room was holding their breath. It was 3am. I thought I’d give birth in our bedroom (or maybe in the tub), but I think everyone agreed I needed a change of scenery. I needed out of that dark bedroom.

I pushed on my hands and knees on the birth ball. Then in the running start position (leaning on the ball with one leg propped up)–hated that one. I could feel the discouragement in the room. With each push, there was silence–there was no more news of progress. I finally asked, “Am I doing nothing?! What’s going on down there?” I was feeling discouraged, too. But not giving up.

Finally, a squat position. It did the trick.

Steve sat on the couch behind me and during contractions, I squatted, feet flat on the floor, with his support under my arms. Between contractions, he pulled me up to his lap. At first I tried to sit on him, but there was a head in between my legs and I could not sit! So I kind of… laid on him, haha. Oh and my VBAC t-shirt? Gone. Everything, gone.

At one point, I was told to reach down and feel my baby’s head… they thought it would motivate me. It didn’t. I felt a tiny area of her head and all I could think about was how big her head would actually be and how far I had to go, haha.

A little bit later, they got out a mirror. This time, much more of her head was showing and that really motivated me. I could see progress while pushing and I could see how close I was. ALMOST!

Then I mumbled a comment to Steve between contractions about how I was scared–of the upcoming pain–I used the word “uncomfortable,” which was probably an understatement, lol. Not to say I wasn’t already in pain, haha, but you know. My birth team replied that I couldn’t be afraid of that ring of fire! It’s coming no matter what, there’s no choice.

I realized I was somewhat holding back. Maybe not pushing as hard as I could–because I was afraid of that pain to come. But good point, it’s coming no matter what… time to push this baby out.

At 4:09am, Rebecca was born.

She came flying into this world in one push. It turns out her left hand was up by her face, which might help explain the long labor. I got teary, Steve cried. She was absolutely beautiful and perfect. I sang her happy birthday and held her tight, skin to skin.

We did it. It was over, Rebecca was here, everything was amazing. The experience was incredible–I’d do it all again in a second! The feeling is indescribable. Like…the last 3 days of my life were working toward this moment. Toward this beautiful baby girl. And she’s finally here, safe and sound and perfect in our arms. We did it!

I think the placenta cord was cut before I pushed it out, but we did wait until it stopped pulsating. I think it was about 15-20 minutes? And then I felt a little crampy, gave a little push, and the placenta slid out easily (4:30am). It was inspected and looked great–we saved it in our fridge for encapsulation. (More on that later.)

They offered to help me to the bed, maybe to the shower if I wanted, and I said nu-uh, no way, I’m way too tired to move–I am laying RIGHT HERE. They put a sheet down for me, but otherwise I laid right there, on the plastic and towels where I gave birth, haha.

We iced my bottom (frozen water-filled condom–best ice pack ever!) so the swelling would go down a bit. Rebecca was latched and nursing by 4:55am. She was a pro–it was really easy right from the start and we’ve never had any issues with that! I immediately asked for one of the chocolate chip cookies my mom had made and that I hadn’t been able to eat during labor, haha.

Everyone left around 7:30-8am and the three of us were alone. Steve did help me get up and get to bed. I can’t remember how long we slept, but my BIL and his girlfriend brought Ryan home around 5:30pm, I think, and he met his little sister for the first time :) “She came out!”

Other randomness:

~I hiccuped twice after every contraction. Every.single.contraction. It became a joke throughout my labor… and while I had no clear cut transition period, there was a time when my contractions–although they lessened in pain–never seemed to actually end. That was “proven” by the fact that I wasn’t hiccuping, haha. And the best part? The two hiccups I gave right after she was born = The. End.

~Total = 58.5 hours

~She was 7 lb 6oz, 21 inches long, 13.5″ head

~I had a second degree tear and I chose not to have it stitched. Everything healed great.

~The question everyone wants to know: did I poop during pushing? You bet I did. I even peed on the bed, guys. No shame.

~I ate a few times–or tried to eat (fruit, cheese, peanut butter, crackers, broth…)–but really survived on vitamin water and water. There were 2 cups with straws filled at all times and people were always sticking them in my face. I think we went through 2 cases of Vitamin Water. And lots of spoonfuls of honey.

~Steve was incredible. He was sweating right there with me. He walked the stairs with me, he supported me through contractions, I hung around his neck. He massaged me and talked to me and encouraged me. He even got in the shower once with me. He never had any doubt that I could do it and he never once wavered in his support. I couldn’t have done it without him and WE couldn’t have done it without our doula.

~During contractions some women moan, some might yell, some  may be silent. I chanted. I guess through all my reading and hypnobabies, the ONE “affirmation” that really stuck in my head was “down and out.” I think it gave me something to focus on and it was a positive thought–let’s get this baby down and OUT! So with each contraction, I’d moan “down and out, down and out, dowwwwwwwn and ouuuuuut, dowwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn and ouuuuuttt” and when they were really bad, I’d start turning my head from side to side, too. My other chant later on was “IIIII can do it, IIIIIIIIIIII can do it.” The muscles I liked to tense up were my shoulders, so Steve and my doula did a great job at reminding me to relax those. The relaxation and letting go is really what got me through it.

~I really did want to keep everyone updated the whole time, but there are a couple of reasons I stopped posting on facebook/twitter. Mainly because everything got so intense and I was way too focused to be off typing on a computer. I was in another place… I was in la-la land… the last thing on my mind was facebook. However, all you lovely people did pop into my head a couple of times. I thought about updating a few times, but never got to it. Once, I said to Steve “wow, everyone online is probably freaking out right now! I need to update them!” and Steve replied that HE was updating for me. So at that point, it pretty much went out of my mind. I felt at ease that Steve was telling you guys what was going on throughout the labor. Of course I found out afterwards that he only posted ONCE. So… I am sorry for that, I know many of you were following and were truly concerned! <3

This post is long enough so  more to come in future posts: dealing with pain/using hypnobabies, placental encapsulation, and hiring a doula for a homebirth…

“Born at Home” – fist bump!

 

 

33 comments to Our homebirth VBAC story

  • Such a beautiful story. You are an amazing person and mother. Congratulations! You are inspiring to us all!

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  • rachel thompson

    Loved. This. Story. Especially how steve was such a good daddy and hubby. And that you admitted you pooped in the shower. :) congrats again…you have a beautiful family

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  • Alex Liz Robinson

    I love hearing homebirth stories because we are planning to do all homebirths. Those are some great pics too! My sis recently did a homebirth after 2 in the hospital and she said it was so much better, she even made dinner for the kids while in labor and it helped take her mind off it!

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  • Leann L

    Beautiful birth story! Thank you so much for posting this. You are my hero!!! xx :-)

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  • Such a beautiful story, Emily. It brought tears to my eyes. You are such a strong, amazing woman. And Rebecca is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an inspiration!

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  • stacy h

    beautiful! thanks for sharing =)

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  • I’ve been dying to hear your story. Thanks for sharing and many congratulations to you! This came at a great time; I’m overdue with baby girl #2 and starting to go out of my mind. This helped pull me out of my funk.

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  • Wonderful story. :) Wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day!

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  • What a BEAUTIFUL story, Emily. I’m SO glad you finally shared it. This is such a testament to women who labor for 12-24 hours and their doctors tell them that they need C-Sections. Such malarkey. You are amazing and I am just so in awe of you.

    And Rebecca is beautiful.

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  • Thank you for sharing your story – sounds like you were very determined and had a great support team! I admire your dedication.

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  • Bri

    Huge congrats to you for hanging in there and having the birth experience you wanted! So happy for you!

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  • Leslie G

    What a wonderful, loving, and beautiful story poop and all. :) I had toyed with the idea of a vbac after 2 certs but I was unable to find any one who would even speck of it. (I did not know it was an option with baby #2) I finally found a place that would talk to me and maybe allow me to vbac and then the worst happened. I had a bowel obstruction and ended up in ICU and three surgeries later I had a preemie. I think it is awesome what you did and I really wish I had known more about it before allowing my second c section. I was told it was manditory because my children were only 13 months apart. It was wonderful reading your birth story and it was absolutly beautiful.

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  • Isabelle

    Congratulations to all of you! It’s wonderful that you kept track of virtually every minute and were kind enough to share it.. How precious!

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  • Jessica

    Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad you decided to post the birth story for all of us to read. I know at one time you were considering making it available only to select people, and I was so bummed because I’ve been following your blog since before Ryan was born.

    I hiccuped after every contraction too! You are the only other person I have ever heard mention this. It became a running joke during my labor too. I ended up getting an epidural after 27 hours and even though I couldn’t feel the contractions for a little while, I knew when I had one because of the hiccups!

    So . . . now having had a natural birth, do you feel emotionally healed from the c-section?

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  • Lisa

    Amazing, what a beautiful birth story. Thanks for sharing, and for your honesty! You are an inspiration. I am expecting my first and aiming for a home birth (although my husband is still a bit unsure). I sometimes waiver, thinking I can’t do it. But you inspired me all over again!

    PS: By the way, what’s a rebozo?

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  • Stephanie

    What a beautiful birth! Thank you for sharing it with us!

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  • I’m so glad you finally shared your story! You still amaze me. You were so strong and unwavering. ♥ I was in labor with Hanna for 3 days but *nothing* like you were. I hope if you have any more babies they come much quicker! ;) xo

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  • Such an inspiring birth story! I’m 38 weeks pregnant with my first, and while we’re having a hospital birth, I’m planning on fighting every way I can for a natural/medication and intervention free birth!

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  • Crysi

    Loved reading your story. When I was laboring with my oldest, I yelled ow ow ow through each contraction & when I hit transition, my hubby said it was more of a Tarzan yell. Haha.

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  • Carolyne

    Yoyr story is amazing Emily, congratulations. I hope you know how truly lucky and blessed you are. I attempted a home vbac and my uterus ruptured after only 6 hours of labor. Your dream was my nightmare. My little boy did not survive.

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  • Lindsay

    Amazing story!! Congrats on your VBAC and homebirth from another VBAC momma! I think its funny you hiccuped 2 times after every contraction. I hicupped too (just once) after all my contractions until she was born. My Doula and Husband said it was how they knew the contraction was over. I have never heard of anyone else doing that.

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  • Erin

    Thank you for sharing your powerful, beautiful, honest and loving story! What a great support team, and such strength and determination on your part all culminating in the arrival of a gorgeous little girl :)

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  • Long time stalker, first time commenter. I came to “know you” through the drama on facebook. I felt so awful that it unfolded on this, the day of your birth (said in my best God Father accent)… you came through like a true champion and I hope you know that we all did a collective “YESSSS!!!!” for you with huge bouts of love and amazement. You’re story is beautiful one. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

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  • marie

    your newborn pictures are just beautiful!! i also had prodromal labor for almost the last month and finally had my daughter at 41w4days. it was the hardest labor out of my 4!

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  • Jenny W

    I loved this post. Thank you for sharing your experience and for being so honest. I’m due with my second as well next week and we’re going for another natural birth, so this was so encouraging for me – I can do it!
    PS: You are quite the trooper!! Way to go

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  • I just love her. Love your story. Good job, Mama!

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  • Di

    Great job mama! Such an amazing story! You have a beautiful family!

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  • OMG, I have goosebumps up and down my whole body. SO moving. Brave, brave woman. And your baby is freaking ADORABLE (my ovaries just started singing a duet).

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  • Schuyler

    So proud of you! You did it! :)

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  • […] Birth with Balance Introduction: After three days of labor this Momma has her dream vaginal birth at home despite having a previous c-section! Her strong will and birth team really helped! I remember waking up Thursday morning (Feb. 23rd) and feeling normal for the first time in at least a week. I was happy, I was motivated, and most of all–my mind was NOT on labor. I was cleaning, I shaved my legs, I did laundry… I know you’re all thinking “nesting!” but it wasn’t anything crazy–I mean, I wasn’t on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor, haha. I just felt good. I guess I had finally given up on the hopes of labor coming soon! I think it was about 3pm that I had the first contraction. It was definitely strong enough to make me immediately say “hmmm, well this is different.” I’m going to go a head and say they were painful. (Looking back and seeing how painful it really got later on, those early ones were nothing, haha – but at the time, I knew it was real.) I called my mom in excitement and just continued playing with Ryan and doing stuff around the house. I called my midwife about 6:30pm. We decided she should come over around 8-8:30pm… I was stopping between contractions, but I guess I could still kind of talk through them. (If I had any idea how intense labor would get later on, I never would have called them this early). I sent a text to my doula and she came over at the same time, around 8-8:30pm. It was the night of a snow storm so everyone wanted to get here earlier rather than later. My mom came, too, because she was going to watch Ryan. About 9:30pm, I went to the bathroom and lost some mucous plug–whoooo! I was so excited. BABY TIME! We went through the night… At 8:30am, my contractions slowed to about 7 minutes apart. I was checked for progress and my cervix was very posterior and the opening couldn’t even really be reached. The edge felt thick and closed. Meaning… no progress. I think the disappointment was visible across my face so I was told that “mayyyybe I was 2-3 cm dilated,” but I don’t think I was at all. What did this mean? I had been in labor for 12+ hours with no progress. I was not in active labor, maybe not in “real” labor? We all decided that it would be best if the birth team left. I felt watched and we all know a watched pot never boils. I think I had performance anxiety… I didn’t feel comfortable and that can definitely slow progression of labor. I sobbed. Of course! I was in pain and had been for 12+ hours. I had weeks of prodromal labor that apparently did nothing. I was tired. I felt defeated, I felt disappointed, I felt discouraged. It was the only time through this whole thing that I thought… I can’t do this. I’m not going to be able to make it. I have sooo much farther to go. How can I do it? Throughout the labor, there were definitive periods when my contractions stepped it up a notch. I mean, I could look at Steve and say, “okay, we’re at the next level.” Then my body would get used to that level of pain and it would be bearable again, until of course the contractions stepped it up again… it’s fascinating the way your body adjusts and copes. I eventually reached a point where I was just in a trance… in another world… completely focused and breathing through each contraction. One at a time. I knew that if I let myself slip up–FEEL the pain and think even for a second that “I can’t do this”–then I’d never come back. It’s so hard to relax a person that is tensing up and freaking out about pain… so I just never let myself do that. My chants through contractions were “doooooown and out” and “IIIIII can do it,” over and over. The word “can’t” was not allowed to escape my mouth or enter my thoughts. Steve was amazing and stayed by my side the entire time, encouraging me and helping me relax. But my doula… she was something special… she had a magic touch and voice, I tell ya. Those painful contractions would come, she’d remind me to relax those muscles, tell me how strong I was for my baby girl, tell me I could do it… and the unbearable pain was suddenly bearable. I loved her. Time went on… At 10:30pm, I was checked. I was scared. I did not want more bad news. My cervix was still a bit posterior, but I was 5-6cm and 50% effaced. Oh THANK the heavens, I was making progress!!! I was half-way!!! Okay, okay, we’re half-way there, we can do this! I CAN DO THIS! I didn’t rest in bed too long–I needed a change (to help with the pain) and I got in the tub from 2:30 to 4:30am. My contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was “sleeping” between contractions. If you’ve been through this before, you know what I mean by “sleeping” between contractions. It’s not exactly sleep, it’s… some form of total la-la land. Steve slept. Alright… we’re nearing a full two days of labor now. Around noon, my mom left to go to the grocery store. While she was gone, I was checked and found to be 90% effaced, at +2 station, 8-9cm dilated and very stretchy. AHH!! I can’t even describe the amount of happiness I felt at that moment. With Ryan, I got to 8cm, 80% effaced, and +1station before the c-section. I knew that sometimes in VBACs, moms stall at the dilation point they reached during the previous labor. Maybe I did, maybe I was at 8cm for awhile? I wasn’t checked often enough to know, but… at this point… I had passed it. I changed my clothes (“Proud VBAC Mama!”), had a snack, and suddenly felt like my contractions barely hurt at all–I think I was so excited to be “almost done” and past the point I got to with Ryan. I couldn’t stop smiling! About 4:30pm, I was doing some more light pushes in my bed. My contractions hurt so much, pushing was a relief–I don’t know if it really took pain away or if it gave me something else to focus on. Either way, it helped, but I didn’t really have an urge to push. I had a slight cervical lip so my midwife helped hold it back while I was pushing to help it disappear. About 6pm, I was in the tub again and doing some more pushing. I was having some urges to push and those were my most successful pushes–it takes over your body and there’s nothing you can do but PUSH! It was an overwhelming feeling and I made some sort of moan/yelling noise with each one. I tried on my back, on each side, on my hands and knees… At 7:30pm, there’s a note that I’m pushing harder and the cervical lip was still there, but it would disappear on its own with each push. The birth team was discussing a transfer at this point, but I had no idea. They asked Steve if *I* had said anything about it–if I wanted to transfer. Steve said no. (I didn’t know about any of this until after Rebecca was born and I’m thankful). The thought of transferring never entered my mind, not once. Of course if something was wrong or if someone had told me we needed to transfer, I would have in a second. But just because the labor was long and I was tired? No. I wasn’t giving up, baby girl was doing GREAT, she was checked (and I was checked) all the time. I pushed on my hands and knees on the birth ball. Finally, a squat position. It did the trick. A little bit later, they got out a mirror. This time, much more of her head was showing and that really motivated me. I could see progress while pushing and I could see how close I was. ALMOST! I realized I was somewhat holding back. Maybe not pushing as hard as I could–because I was afraid of that pain to come. But good point, it’s coming no matter what… time to push this baby out. At 4:09am, Rebecca was born. We did it. It was over, Rebecca was here, everything was amazing. The experience was incredible–I’d do it all again in a second! The feeling is indescribable. Like…the last 3 days of my life were working toward this moment. Toward this beautiful baby girl. And she’s finally here, safe and sound and perfect in our arms. We did it! To read more about this birth: http://babydickey.com/2012/05/12/our-homebirth-vbac-story/ […]

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