Our H(otel)BAC by Niki T.
Joey’s birth story began 21 months before his actual birth, during the cesarean birth of our second child. She had presented with both hands first (double nuchal hand presentation) during an AROM. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I can see each domino that landed me in that operating room fall in slow motion.
Fast forward to June of 2010 when we learned of our little surprise. The decision to Homebirth had already been made so we excitedly began our hunt for a midwife. We soon discovered that New Jersey had outlawed the presence of a midwife at a HBAC, Home Birth after Cesarean.
We continued our search but in the meantime scheduled a prenatal appointment with the OB practice that had delivered our daughter. I left that appointment having been told “Oh no hunny, you can’t do that (VBAC). Your uterus will rupture“. They scheduled a repeat section for Marche 4th.
We continued our search for a midwife. It is said that when you find your midwife there is a distinct “aha” moment and I couldn’t agree more. Jenn was referred to us by a mutual friend. She had a calming, down to earth spirit and our first meeting felt more like a coffee date with an old friend. However, while we were within her “two hour travel distance” NJ law still stood in our way of a legal homebirth. That mutual friend graciously offered us the opportunity to birth in her home but it was sadly too far from the nearest hospital capable of performing an emergency cesarean.
Not too long prior to this I read a birth story that took place in a hotel due to a power outage at the mother’s home. I suggest this to Jenn fully expecting her to question my sanity. She not only agreed, she knew of the birth story I spoke of. There truly are no accidents in the Lord’s plans. I could make this rather lengthy by telling you all of the way God provided for us I this journey but I will spare you.
However, I think it is necessary to mention, I was left doing parallel care between my OB and Jenn in order to have labs and such covered by insurance. At my final appointment with the OB, who knew nothing of our birth plan, I was handed every scare tactic imaginable when I mentioned again the thought of a VBAC. My faith in our choice was confirmed.
On the morning of Feb 6th, a day shy of 37 weeks I lost my plug. Of course, as with all things gory and pregnancy related I reported to my friend Renee. She predicted labor would start soon but I disagreed. I remember feeling off but of course didn’t realize it. Around dinnertime the nightly contraction attack began. Since Eddie was home to care for the kids I decided to just go to bed early, around 7, and avoid them. I didn’t sleep well and kept stirring but not fully waking with each contraction.
Around 10pm I could no longer sleep through them and lay awake in bed listening to the TV Eddie was watching. Unable to fall back asleep, but not on any real pain, I went downstairs and joined Eddie in the living room. I told him that I thought I may be in early labor but since I wasn’t in any pain I figured there was a long way to go. With DD my contractions began fast and furiously and felt similar to my transition with my first son. We had raced to the hospital only to have labor stall. Since these contractions felt only slightly more painful than the nightly ritual I had undergone for a few weeks at that point I refused to get my hopes up.
We decided to try and rest a bit in case we did in fact have a long night ahead of us. However, I just couldn’t sleep through the contractions. I went back downstairs and spent some time bouncing on the birth ball in the living room. We had our 37 week appointment with Jenn the next afternoon. I entertained the idea of heading up early in the morning and walking around the nearby outlet malls to keep us close in the event things picked up quickly.
As I bounced I noticed the contractions coming a bit more frequently, but the disappointment of a possible repeat stalled labor kept me in disbelief. It was now around 1am and I was hesitant to wake Jenn but decided to do so. She asked me how close the contractions were, oops now I remembered you were supposed to time them. 3ish minutes. I assured her they weren’t painful. I was told to get my butt in the car. I told her I would let her know how things were going once I got to the hotel since she was only 20 minutes away and there was no need to drag her out of bed if it was a false alarm or still very early.
Still playing doubting Thomas here I went upstairs and attempted to check myself. Unsure of what I was feeling for but hoping for validation that this was indeed the real thing before I woke Eddie. I found that validation when I immediately felt a bulging bag of water. I woke Eddie at 2 and told him it was baby time.
My mom arrived to watch the kids and we got in the car at 4am. About an hour later we arrived at the hotel to find Jen and her assistant Nicole already there. As we settled into our room we mused about what the clerk assumed was going on in room 222. The playful and excited mood was everything I hoped for.
My blood pressure and baby’s heart tones we’re checked and everyone settled in for a nap leaving me to do my thing. The contractions had slowed a bit from the car ride and change of location. I was still concerned about stalling and decided not to call any of our friends or family yet. I rotated between walking, bouncing on the ball and sitting on the toilet.
At one point there was a lull in contractions and I felt the baby shift his/her position. One of the most amazing feelings I have ever experienced. Nicole, would wake every little while and check baby’s heart tones and how I was feeling. Otherwise I was given the privacy to labor in peace. Around 9am Jenn woke and we decided to check my cervix. While there was no urgency to do so we had friends and family waiting on “the call” and figured a time estimate would be helpful. I prepared myself for disappointment. You can imagine our surprise when there was no cervix to be found, only membranes. I was fully dilated and while I had felt the last few contractions in my bottom I had yet to feel any actual pain or discomfort.
I woke Eddie by asking him if he was ready to have a baby. The look on his face was priceless. He filled the jacuzzi and the water was heaven. I had a few more contractions, maybe 4 or 5, and my water broke. The next contraction I began feeling pressure, but not the overwhelming urge to push as I has with my first. Just pressure. LOTS of pressure. I could feel the crowning but there was no ring of fire. The best description I can offer is bone on bone. This was honestly the first bit of pain I had experienced thus far. I shouted something along the lines of “Ow this hurts”. Everyone gently chuckled and Jenn comforted me, reminding me that it was supposed to.
I pushed, but not because I felt the need to, simply because it was the means to an end. That first push brought his head. The second push brought his shoulders and body.
I had been on hands and knees so Jenn caught the baby. Once I changed position and baby was passed to me I was so overwhelmed with joy and excitement I forgot about checking for gender. I just held that perfect little body and stared at it in disbelief. That was real. Someone reminded me to check. HE. He was real. He was amazing! THAT was amazing.
The cord was rather short so we decided to cut it. It had stopped pulsing and was completely white. Quite a fascinating thing to witness. The placenta followed shortly. It was noted that it was quite small and the umbilical cord was attached by a marginal insertion.
My mother arrived shortly thereafter with our older children. When the water cooled I headed into the shower and Daddy did the first diaper duty. When I was done Nicole performed the newborn exam and we spent the rest of the day snuggling and enjoying our perfect little boy. The healing began.