|2 Days Old|
Ina May Gaskin said that, “there is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we.”
Therefore, I’m going to brag about my uterus (it is after all, the cuterust)
Adelaide was born via an unplanned cesarean in 2012 that truthfully, was quite traumatic to me. My care during and after the surgery was subpar and I felt neglected (from vomiting all over myself twice on the operating table while my nurse wasn’t paying attention to me and then after my postpartum nurses were obviously over loaded with patients and weren’t able to stay on top of basic things like my pain medication and ensuring breastfeeding success)
Since I was told at 16 that I may never have children I didn’t dare even think I would get pregnant a second time. I did my best to cope with my first birth as my only birth experience and dedicated myself to help others achieve a birth in which they felt empowered and cared for. I became a doula and through my training and education I realized that my birth with my daughter was even worse than I had originally thought. My midwife for Adelaide's birth did many things she shouldn’t have and then didn’t do many other things that should have been done and that more likely then not, with the right care, Adelaide could have been born vaginally with no issues at all. That was a hard pill to swallow.
Fast forward to July 2014. My pants wouldn’t zip… Mitch said, “You’re pregnant” Me “nope, not possible” One week later I finally take a test and what do you know!?!? I was pregnant.
I interviewed several care providers home birth and hospital. (In our area there are very few birth centers that will VBAC) I asked lots and lots of questions and compared everything to this list. (http://www.birthblissfully.com/blog/is-your-provider-vbac-friendly-or-just-vbac-tolerant) I really liked all the providers I interviewed because they all came highly recommended. I decided to go with the care provider with the most experience with VBACs. We just clicked and I felt very at peace in her presence. She is a saint!
All of my prenatal care went great. I started going to a chiropractor during my pregnancy. Sterling was lined up in a good position and we were set to go!
At 40 weeks and 2 days a big ice storm hit our area and my contractions started….
I called my midwife and she suggested some things to slow down my labor since there was no way for her to get to us with an inch or so of ice on all the roads. Praise the Lord! It worked.
|Nana and Addy the day after the ice storm, swinging at the park|
At 40 and 3, at the same time as the previous evening my contractions started again. By 8 they were in a regular pattern and I let my midwife and doula know that I thought that tonight would be the night. Mitch and I watched some TV after Addy went down to sleep. He went to sleep after a little while and I did my best to rest in between contractions. Sitting in the bed became uncomfortable so I got on my exercise ball and leaned over the bed. It helped a lot!
|Scripture cards I made before labor|
I labored on my own with my Rend Collective Pandora playlist going until around 1:30 am when my contractions became more intense and I wanted Mitchell’s help. I woke him up to “slow dance” with me. When I stood up my water started leaking!
I let my midwife and doula know and they both headed over. While they were on their way Mitchell and I moved into the room that we had set up for the birth. He started airing up the pool and I found that our dresser was the perfect height for me to lean over during a contraction.
|Phrases and encouragement hanging on the wall in my birth room|
|Close ups: Addy traced our hands together and other phrases|
My doula arrived first and she started applying counter-pressure to my back and it felt amazing! It helped so much!
Soon my midwife followed. When she checked me I was at 6 cm 100% effaced and at -1 station.
|All his things set out: hat, outfit, mittens, and quilt|
I was anxious to get into the tub but we had trouble getting it warm enough for a little while. I was rehydrating with coconut water and laboring on the birthing ball until about 4 am when I got onto the bed and labored on hands and knees. That didn’t feel super great so I tried sitting on the side of the bed (something that I really liked during Adelaide’s labor) but it didn’t feel as good this time.
At 4:30am the tub was full and warm enough so I got in. I liked squatting while leaning against the back of the tub or leaning over the side one my knees.
|Mitchell was so helpful|
Around 5 the contractions changed and I started feeling a wee bit “pushy.” My midwife checked me and I was around 7-8 cm and the bag of waters was bulging. At 5:30 am the bag ruptured and I was at 8 cm and +1 station.
At 6 am I was at 9 cm with an anterior lip (same thing happened with Adelaide) For a few contractions my midwife held the anterior lip up over his head and it helped reduce the cervical lip.
At 6:30 am I decided to move to the bed. I rested in a side lying position. Over the next 30 minutes I got to 10cm but then the cervical lip slipped back down and I went back to a 9. I started feeling a tightness across my cesarean scar during contractions as his head would pull down on the tissue. My midwife was able to quickly slip it back up and then had me push his head past the scar and then the pain totally dissipated and stayed away for the rest of the labor. During this time I was scared but my midwife was calm and collected.
She trusted the birth process but also knew when to intervene to prevent any issues. From the time that I started feeling a bit of tugging to the time she had it fully ameliorated was only 3 contractions. My midwife kept me feeling safe and actually safe through my whole birth
I was “officially” fully dilated at 7 am.
At 7:20am I had a honey stick and my midwife did the McRoberts maneuver to help move his head down further because although he had been OA, as he entered the birth canal he turned OP (sunny side up). I was making fair progress in my pushing but still wasn’t “in the zone.”
Around 8 am my midwife had me sit on the toilet because it tends to help lots of women figure out pushing since it’s a natural place of release. At 8:15 am she did the McRoberts again.
During my pushing my midwives and doula were audibly praying over me. It was so wonderful being lifted up to the Father while I pushed. At 8:45 am we got the first visual of his sweet little head.
This is where it got really hard for me mentally. I felt like I would never push him down. I continued to make good progress but even as they said “he’s coming down” “reach down you can feel him” and Mitch saying, “I see him, I see him.” I still doubted myself and my abilities. I was exhausted. My arms were tired from holding my feet back and my legs were fatigued (probably from all the squatting I’d been doing earlier)
At one point I asked my midwife if she had forceps, not because I really wanted her to use them but because I needed to know that I had to do this! No one else would be able to do it for me. She assured me that I could do this. I love that she was able to see through my question and to my heart and worries.
As I started crowning I had more fear. I could feel his head but he still felt infinitely far away. The second midwife said that she could tell that as I started to feel the pain I was backing off and at the point I was backing off was when I needed to push past it. I took her advice and at 9:20 am he was nearly crowned.
At 9:27 am he delivered. 8 lbs 3 oz (4 oz bigger than his sis) Since he was OP the first part of him that I saw was he sweet, squishy face! It was so amazing. As a doula I’d never attended an OP birth. It was pretty amazing to meet my baby face to face. He was also acynclitic so he had a goofily molded head. Then instead of getting a break between contractions and him turning he decided to cannon out with transverse shoulders. Woo, wee, that part was crazy! His cord was a little bit short (14 inches compared with the average being around 18 inches) so he wasn’t able to be lifted to my chest but rather, rested on my belly as we waited for his cord to stop pulsing.
|Just born! So relieved and exhausted :)|
|Look at those sweet brown eyes!|
As soon as my mom and daughter heard his sweet cry they came in to meet their grandson and brother. I kept telling my mom, “I did it. I did it!”
|Nana, Addy and "Baby Stella" being introduced to Sterling by Mitch|
|Smitten from the beginning|
Sterling peed on me while he was laying on me. Haha. It made me laugh, just his first of many times to urinate on his parents.
|Checking on little man|
At 9:47 am the cord stopped pulsing and Mitchell cut it and held his son. The placenta delivered about 5 minutes later.
|Mitch and Sterling|
At 10:30 am we nursed for the first time (I wasn’t able to nurse Adelaide for more than 8 hours after she was born because I didn’t have the help I needed since my arms were still numb from the too large dose of epidural I was given) I ate a cinnamon roll and drank orange juice.
|Goofy newborn face, still figuring out his eyes|
Birth is hard but I am strong.
Women are strong.
We are designed to endure hard things, persevere and to be victorious.
I share my story to renormalize birth. For 3 or 4 generations we have told women that birth is something to be scared of, something that we need to be rescued from but the truth is that birth can be empowering. You are capable and you are strong! With God’s hand of blessing and protection I delivered my son!
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” John 16:21
|My precious bundle|
|My little loves!|
|Here its easy to see his molded head and how amazing my midwife is, look at that smile on her face :)|
|We all were guessing weight! I was only 1 ounce off ;)|
|8 lbs 3 oz|
|Big sis helping with the newborn exam!|
I’m forever grateful for everyone that supported me during my pregnancy and birth. I am so amazed at what my body can do! I am so happy that I was able to have my VBAC. The VBAC didn’t erase my cesarean birth or my scar but it did put my trust back into my body: that it was made with a purpose and that it works and functions!
As Ina May Gaskin says, “Your body is not a lemon!”