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A Cesarean followed by a {Healing} Medicated VBAC

A Cesarean followed by a {Healing} Medicated VBAC

On October 16th, 2008, my son came into this crazy world. He was born via emergency C-section, which to this day I am still not too sure how I feel about it. I was induced not even being a week overdue. I was anxious, uneducated and just wanted to have my baby here. My blood pressure was up and I was starting to swell but nothing major, so my OBGYN could have definitely waited or tried other things first. Needless to say after 3 days in the hospital with gel being put on my cervix, not too much was happening so my OBGYN decided to break my water and start the oh so lovely Pitocin! Well I had NO SWEET CLUE what I was in for, it was HELL. I was pretty much completely bed ridden because I had to be hooked up to the monitor, blood pressure machine and IV.

After a few hours of that I lost control and needed an epidural because I was no longer handling the contractions at all. I had my epidural which took a couple hours to get because being in a small town the anesthesiologist was either in the OR or was at his house (I can’t remember), but either way, it was torture waiting and waiting for him! A few short hours after I had my epidural, the nurses turned the Pitocin off and called my OBGYN down to the room where he told us that he was going to have to do an emergency c-section as I was not progressing quickly enough and that the baby was in stress. So off to the OR we went. This was the first time I had any type of surgery, I had never even had stitches in my life!

In the operating room I was transferred to the operating table where they prepped me and told me what was going to happen. They started to cut and I screamed!! I could feel everything because I was not completely frozen; my epidural that I had hours before had pretty much worn off. I was given more medicine and they began. After that a lot of it is a blur, I remember my husband came into the room and held my hand. I was shaking so badly that it was hard to breath. I remember asking the anesthesiologist for an ice cube or a sip of water because I was so dry from the oxygen I couldn’t breathe through my nose and from shaking so bad it was hard to breathe out of my mouth because my jaw kept locking up. The list just goes on and on from my OBGYN and family doctor talking about a golf game while closing me up, to throwing up when they rolled me over to take my epidural out to having to be in the recovery room for a couple hours because my blood pressure kept dropping. Needless to say I was scarred physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Holding my son for the first time I cannot remember, all I have is a picture. It was the next day when everything came together for me and I really realized what all had happened, I finally had my baby boy why wasn’t I happier? Everyone met my son before me, they all held him loved him before I even had a chance. The following months were not great at all; it took a good 6 weeks until I felt good physically. I battled night terrors from the C-section, postpartum, PTSD, and the worst of all, guilt. Guilt for not being happier, guilt for not wanting to breastfeed sometimes, guilt for wanting a minute to myself and  guilt for knowing that I loved my son but I just didn’t have that “feeling”. I was broken.

My son has taught me so much about myself about life he is my life my pride and joy , there are no words to describe the love I have for that little man; it was always there I just did not know how to let it out with everything I was going through. We got through my darkest days together and survived! With the help of my husband because God knows I could never have done it without him he is truly my other half.

My OBGYN that I had with my son had told me at my 6 week postpartum check up that I was just not made to have babies and if I wanted another one then it would have to be another C-section! Well, that made my mind up for me; I was NOT going to have any more children. That lasted a while but I knew that I was not yet “fully complete.” So when I became pregnant with our daughter I was scared, all of the emotions I had with my son came flooding back to me but I tried to have the approach, “it is what it is,” whatever the outcome, I will have another beautiful baby, and I would walk through hell and back for that (which I am pretty sure I did the first time). I had always looked online after I had my son about VBAC stories and I would cry because I could relate to every one of those “broken” women. I knew I wanted a VBAC and I was definitely going to try for one. I had a new family doctor and a new OBGYN (go figure my OBGYN lost his licence and my family doctor only lasted a year here)! I expressed my concerns and fears to my family doctor about wanting a VBAC and she said, “Well as long as everything goes normally it should be ok to try.” TRY….TRY…try? She was so pessimistic sounding. So once again I doubted myself, I thought, “Well I will try for it…it won’t happen, but at least I know I tried.”

When I was referred to my OBGYN he was great, he saw no problem with going for a VBAC; he even encouraged it (I thought he must be sniffing glue because didn’t he know it was going to end in a C-section)! My pregnancy went great, just as it did the first time, but this time I had no blood pressure issues at all. Around 40 weeks my OBGYN did a membrane sweep and sent me home and said come back if things get going. Well, I had a few cramps and that was it, and my mucus plug had started to come out. I went back to him at the end of the week, he did another membrane sweep, and he said I’ll probably see you this weekend, if not come back Monday! Once again, cramps!

Monday morning we went back and he did yet another lovely membrane sweep and said if nothing happens then we will do a C-section on Thursday, that’s when I looked at him and said shall we call a spade a spade and just do a C-section. He looked at me and my husband looked at the nurse in the room and said no I think you will be fine.

My husband and I left and went shopping and out to lunch. I was having fairly consistent cramps so around noon I decided to start timing them. My mom had our son, so I asked her to keep him a bit longer just in case. We came home and I cleaned up a bit, had a warm bath, and then walked around our kitchen table nonstop for about 2 hours.  Around 7pm we decided to go to the hospital because the cramps (I would not admit to myself that I was in labour, they were just cramps) were consistent and kept getting worse.

When we got to the hospital they monitored me and checked. I was a couple cm, contractions were fairly consistent so they decided to keep me.  We were put in our room. I called my mom and she was going to keep our son for the night. I had a bath which seemed to help a lot, asked for a birthing ball and we were good to go. The nurses really left us alone for the most part which was really nice. Around midnight I had a shot of morphine because I was getting really tired and the contractions where getting harder to deal with the nurse checked me and I was around 2-3cms. I was able to get a couple minutes of sleep in between contractions.

I got through the night. I had a few baths and was in the bath at shift changes; our new nurse came into the room and wanted to put me on the monitor so I got out of the bath.  Everything was fine but unfortunately the contractions had faded; they were coming every 8-10 minutes my nurse checked and I was about 3-4cms and had told me you know sometimes this will happen labour can stop. Not long after my OBGYN came in and decided to break my water at 8:50am, my contractions where still roughly 7mins apart. I laboured pretty well. I used the birthing ball and went for a couple walks.

I decided to have another shot of morphine at 11:15am because once again I felt like I was losing control over my contractions because I was getting tired. At that time my nurse told me that my OBGYN would like to start Pitocin just to help things move along a bit. I decided I was OK with that but I wanted an epidural because from past experience Pitocin and I are not good friends (and to be honest I figured that at least it would be in when I needed my c-section). At 12:10pm I had my epidural and at 12:40pm the Pitocin was started.  I tried to sleep but it was hard to, I kept feeling pressure so my nurse checked me at 1:50pm and I was 7cm. About 15-20mins later I knew I had to push!!

The nurse that had checked me was filling in for my nurse who was on her break, she told me that she had just checked me and that there was no way I was ready to push! Thankfully my nurse came back into the room a couple minutes later and checked me! She told the other nurse to call the OBGYN because I was fully dilated and asked me just to give a little push which I did and she told me to stop and wait for the OBGYN. Our OBGYN came into the room checked me and asked to give a little push and said, “Woah, wait,” and quickly got his gown on. At 2:25pm I started to push and our beautiful baby girl was born at 2:45pm! I could not believe what had just happened all I could say was that her!! Is it over?!

Miss1

I cannot thank my OBGYN enough, I feel like I have been healed. My first birth was awful from the moment we walked into the hospital. Birth… the most natural thing for a woman absolutely terrified me; I was broken, how could I be broken, unable to have a baby? Was I not meant to have children? These questions always haunted me, they were always there as time went on I thought about it less and less but always knew it was there.

This time around I had the most beautiful experience, I was able to have my baby placed on my belly the minute she was born, my husband cut her cord, and I nursed her and held her skin to skin before she was passed around to everyone! I have an amazing 4 ½ year old who teaches me every day we have a very special bond and my little miss who is 5 ½ months old who helped me heal.

New Hospital VBAC Story

New Hospital VBAC Story

Hospital VBAC, from Kellie

It was a pretty intense and fast ride for my daughter’s arrival! At least, it felt that way to me at the time. I woke up around 8am to a tiny bit of blood on a Tuesday morning, and contractions started right away, but were very irregular at 5-15 minutes apart. I called my mom to come over so I could shower and get ready for the hospital while she kept my son, who had just turned two the day before, occupied. I was too nervous to take him in the shower with me, as the contractions were already feeling a bit intense. After several hours, contractions were still very irregular, but getting more difficult to walk/talk through. I sent my mom home, ate a little lunch, and got my son down for a nap around 1:00pm. I could barely get him into his crib as I had a pretty intense contraction right as I was laying him down! I was waiting for my husband to leave work at 1:30pm, but the contractions were getting quite intense by then, and had started getting closer to 10 minutes apart (a bit more regular). I called and made an appointment to come in to the hospital at 4:00pm to be checked out. However, by 2:00pm the contractions started coming about every 5-7 minutes, and they were getting much more intense very quickly. My husband got home at 2:00pm and we loaded the car and headed out. I could no longer talk through most of the contractions, so we decided to take me to the hospital before taking my son to his grandparents’ house (the original plan was to drop him off on the way!).

My husband actually had to convince me that he and my son were coming in with me. I was already a bit out of it, so I told him to just drop me off at the door and come back after he dropped our son off! Hah! I made it all the way to the elevator before another contraction hit, and I distinctly remember being very aware and concerned for another woman in the elevator with us… I didn’t want to scare her, I guess! The three of us went right into a room in the women’s clinic area for me to be monitored. I tried so hard not to vocalize too much through the contractions, but I definitely had to go into my own little world through each one. If I had known better, I would have insisted on heading straight to L&D. I was OBVIOUSLY in labor! My son kept asking what was going on (not worried, but curious). He kept saying, “Mommy doing? Mommy sleeping?” By the time I was checked, which I think was about 3:45pm (it felt like FOREVER), I was already at 7cm and 90% effaced, with a bulging bag of waters!

I had also decided that things were happening way too quickly for me and it was freaking me out, so I was considering an epidural. I had a lot of fear from my previous birth, which ended in a c-section due to “failure to progress” (I was stuck in transition for about 3 hours at 8cm), after 13 hours of labor, the last few hours of which I really felt like I was losing my mind (entirely unmedicated). This time, we barely made it to L&D before my contractions were too much and I was already hollering through them. My labor pattern is a bit different than the “norm,” I guess, in that my contractions never really got closer than 5-7 minutes apart, but they double. I get one huge one immediately followed by a smaller one (this was the same as with my son, too, I think). I was finding it nearly impossible to relax, even between contractions, and we were still waiting for my husbands’ parents to come pick up my son (so he was still in the room with us). I really wanted a natural birth, but mostly, I think I wanted this birth to be as different from my first experience as possible. I felt like the epidural would relax me enough that I could get rid of the anxiety and focus on enjoying this birth. While I was waiting for the anesthesiologist, my husbands’ parents arrived to get my son, and I was able to give him a hug and kiss goodbye (even with a smile!) in between contractions, which I was soooo grateful for!

When I got checked before getting the epidural, I was already at 9cm! I cried tears of joy because I knew that meant I had progressed further than my labor with my son, which was excellent news! I felt less qualms about getting the epidural then, since things were moving along so quickly (I had gone from 7cm-9cm in less than an hour), so I knew the epidural wouldn’t be in all that long. The epidural went in easily, and my pain was almost entirely gone soon after, although I could still feel discomfort with every contraction (which was exactly how I wanted it). It felt soooo good to relax!

hospital vbac labour

Since my contractions were still 5-7 minutes apart, my midwife decided to break my bag of waters to try to get them closer together. It worked, if only for a short while! When I was checked again within the hour, my midwife said, “Oh, I see baby!” I was already complete! Yay! We let my daughter “labor down” for about half an hour, and by 6:00pm or so I started pushing.

I pushed for close to an hour, and my sweet baby L was born at 6:58pm. I would have probably only pushed for half an hour, but there was a bit of a tight band of cervix causing her to not come out even though she was crowning like she should be flying out of there. I was a bit bummed that I had to get a small cut, but it did most likely prevent me from tearing much worse. My midwife felt terrible about having to cut an episiotomy, too, but in the end it wasn’t a big deal. I still tore a bit when she came out, mostly because she also had her little hands near her face! It was initially thought that I had a bad 3rd degree tear, but upon further inspection, it turns out it was more like a “generous” 2nd degree tear. So at least it looked worse than it was! And I’ll take that any day over abdominal surgery! I’m not exactly sure when “active” labor started, but if I had to put a time on it, I would say probably 1:00, when the contractions started to get more regular and intense. So that would mean only about 6 hours of labor! If you want to count all of my labor, it would still be less than 11 hours. Awesome!

mother and baby vbac

newborn vbac

It was such an amazingly different experience than my labor and delivery with my son. It helped immensely that I started labor in the morning after a restful sleep, rather than in the middle of the night. And it went so quickly that I really still felt pretty good afterward! Pushing was difficult, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And my baby was immediately placed on my belly (she had a pretty short cord) so I could see her and touch her and talk to her. It was amazing. I held her the whole time I was being stitched up, and for awhile afterward. I was a total baby hog, and I loved it! I did not take a moment of being able to be the first one to love on my baby for granted. We were all a little surprised when we finally weighed her and she came in at 8 lbs 1 oz! I vaginally birthed a baby 5 ounces bigger than my c-section baby! Woohoo! Her apgar scores were 8 & 9, and she was healthy as can be. It took her a little while to get interested in nursing (she was more interested in sleeping), but within 36 hours she was latching on like a pro!

breastfeeding after vbac

It felt great to be able to walk around easily on my own within a couple hours of delivery. I was a little sore, but nothing like after my c-section. The empowerment I felt as a mother and woman after my successful VBAC cannot even be explained in words. Now I am a little over halfway through my pregnancy with #3, and I am so hopeful and excited about this birth! I know I can do a natural birth this time (provided no issues arise, of course), and the fear is gone!

I Am Strong {Cesarean Birth and Attempted VBAC}

I Am Strong {Cesarean Birth and Attempted VBAC}

I am strong because I went into my first birth with no plan and ended up laboring and pushing naturally…

I am strong because my baby was posterior and I had horrible back labor…

I am strong because I pushed for three hours and she when she wouldn’t descend I ended up in the OR with my first cesarean…

Emma

I am blessed because I delivered a 6 lbs 12 oz baby girl named Emma…

I am strong because she wouldn’t wake up to latch and got jaundice…

I am strong because I pumped colostrum and feed it to her using an SNS system…

Emma

I am strong because she literally ripped the skin off of my nipples when she would latch, but she wouldn’t suck unless she got instant gratification (the SNS system)…

I am strong because she finally latched and started sucking with a nipple shield that lasted for 13 weeks…

I am strong because I was determined to nurse this little one and it didn’t matter what it took…

I am strong because I weaned her from the shield on my own over a couple of weeks and she was able to finally nurse without any speed bumps at 3 months…

I am blessed because I went on to nurse her for 14 months…

I am strong because I wanted a VBAC so bad with my second and all of the preparation for it was part of my recovery from the first section…

I am strong because I stood up to my OB and told him that I was going to VBAC no matter what he thought and I was going to do it naturally, even when he repeatedly said, “When you get your epidural…”

I am strong because my waters partially broke and when I went to the hospital they couldn’t determine that it had, but I knew it had…

I am strong because the doctor on call sent me for an ultrasound and my water level was low (hence the partial rupture 8 hours prior) and she tried to scare me by saying my baby was posterior again and ending up with a cesarean after a trial of labor would be very risky and that my pelvis was narrow…

I am strong because I refused pitocin when they broke the rest of my waters to get my contractions started…

I am blessed because the doctor that came on when I was finally admitted, after 8 hours in triage, was on my side, she said “We will do whatever you are comfortable doing today.”  She was my angel that day…

I am strong because I labored with back labor naturally for 6 hours and tried every attempt to rotate my baby and she wouldn’t flip…

I am blessed because I had a team of 4 strong women and my strong husband helping me that day…

I am strong because I pushed naturally for 3 hours and she wouldn’t budge past a +2 station…

I am strong because I went ahead at that point and got an epidural to rest for two hours and then I pushed for another hour only to see her head start to budge and then go back after every contraction…

I am blessed because my new OB was there helping me push the whole time with the epidural, because I didn’t know how…

I am strong because my last attempt at a successful VBAC was allowing the use of the vacuum…

I am strong because it didn’t help and I ended up back in the OR for a CBAC…

Haddie

I am strong because I asked to have my baby placed on my chest in the OR only to be shot down that it wasn’t allowed by the head of the OR (my doc said it was okay, but it wasn’t her choice)…

I am strong because I told them that nothing would change unless people like me demanded things…

I am blessed because I delivered another 6 lbs 12 oz (same weight as her sister) baby girl named Haddie…

I am strong because I did everything in my power to have a VBAC and I accepted that it failed…

I am blessed because Haddie latched immediately in the recovery room and hasn’t stopped nursing since…

Haddie Nursing

I am strong because when I was wheeled into my hospital room from the recovery room to see Emma meet her sister for the first time, I hemorrhaged and saw my life flash before me…

Emma and Haddie

I am blessed that I am still here to be the mommy of these sweet girls…

I am strong because I missed everyone meeting my sweet Haddie for the first time…

I am strong because even though I am mourning another loss, I don’t let it consume me…

I am strong because I am seeking assistance to work through this grief…

I am strong because I won’t accept that my body has to deliver my babies through surgery; I am already researching a VBA2C…

I am strong because I am going back to school this fall to get my IBCLC certification and then eventually a doula certification, to help women that have gone through the same thing I have or to help prevent it…

I am blessed to have Birth Without Fear to share my story…

Miracles Do Happen {HBAC Waterbirth}

Miracles Do Happen {HBAC Waterbirth}

Thank you Clara for sharing your story!

I found out I was pregnant on April 3rd, 2012.  This was a planned pregnancy, but I was nervous. I looked at my 4 thriving children and remembered back to their births.

My first son was induced when I was 38 weeks, but was immediately whisked away after our first feed together because the doctors felt something was wrong. They refused to let me hold him or have him in our room and later explained that they thought he had a mass in his stomach. This so called “mass” was merely fluid that had built up from his birth, but, nonetheless, they kept him for a 3 day observation. I was discharged, without my baby.

My second son was born under the care of Dr. A (anonymous). I immediately fell in love with his charisma and had full faith in him. This turned out to be my first mistake. I carried our beautiful son to 35 weeks. I went in for a routine check that week where he realized I was already 3 cm dilated. I was immediately sent to labor and delivery. A few hours later he broke my water, loaded me up on Pitocin, and I gave birth to a little boy that struggled to breath. I was discharged, without my baby. My second mistake was not realizing my first mistake. Why did I not question his actions? The answer is simple: I grew up in a generation that believes anything a doctor deems necessary, is then in fact necessary.

Our third son followed the same story. I was 35 weeks, 3 cm, had my water broken, and delivered a baby that struggled to breath. I was discharged, without my baby. At this point I was brainwashed into believing that something was wrong with my body.

When we found out about our fourth child, a precious little girl, I was told I would not carry her to viability unless I was put on weekly shots and medications. I was a good little patient, didn’t ask questions, and took my medication. At the time I began the medication I wasn’t having any negative symptoms of pregnancy. Two weeks after beginning the medication I began to cramp. Dr. A told me that this was merely what he had predicted to happen, but that this medication was my miracle that would take me to term. On February 7th, 2011 I gave birth to a teeny 31 week 5 day baby girl that was viciously ripped from me via c-section. She seemed life-less. I was not allowed to hold her, kiss her, or talk to her. I feared the worst and was on a roller coaster of emotions. Do I celebrate the birth of our first daughter? Do I cry? What do I do now? The medical team transferred her downtown to the same hospital her older brothers went where she spent the next 6 weeks. I was discharged, again, without my baby; but, this time I was mad and I had questions. I remember my 6 week appointment after she was born. We had just brought her home from the hospital the day before, my milk was barely hanging on from her absence, and I was in a state of rage. I could not even face him. He lied to me. Lies that put my children’s health at risk, my health at risk and I was done!

Would this pregnancy become the disaster each of my other pregnancies had become? No, it would not. I did my research, I asked my questions, and realized the mistakes I had made by entrusting my body to a medical community that wants nothing more than a hefty pay check. I came across Central Texas Birth Center after researching natural birth. I made an appointment to view the facility and immediately fell in love, but would they take me as a patient? Was I too much of a liability? Heather and I sat down for an hour during my first appointment and we went over my entire medical history. I was nervous she was going to decline me, but instead she told me something that will always stay with me.

“You’re not sick, you’re pregnant.”

Just writing this makes tears stream down my face. It was absolutely the most empowering statement I’ve heard. Heather helped me build confidence in my body, and I am sure there were times when she wanted to strangle me, but she had faith in my ability to have a healthy, pink, squishy baby that would stay in my arms.

So, there I was, November 2012, 35 weeks, and nervous. I was having periods of back pain and went in for an exam to see if something was changing. Heather checked me and I was 3 cm. Chills went down my spine. This was it, what I had feared; I was going to be transferred. Heather looked at me and said, “You’re perfect. Go home and put your feet up.”

Wait, what? You’re not going to break my water? Birth isn’t imminent? I was amazed. I remember telling my husband that evening that I was 3 cm, but NOT in labor!! And…that’s when it dawned on me: I was never in labor at 35 weeks with my other children!! Boy-oh-boy did this make me fume. I nearly waddled my angry little tush over to Dr. A’s office to let him have a piece of my mind, but I remembered I was a lady and it wasn’t going to change anything. 3 more weeks went by and I felt my beautiful baby getting bigger by the day. My back was bothering me again and the pressure was building. Heather checked me and I was about 6 cm dilated, but alas was not in labor. I made a visit to the chiropractor for “The Business” which relieved some pressure in my back, but still nothing. I gave up, the pain in my back was becoming unbearable, and I started thinking “What have I done? I’m 6 cm! I could waltz into any labor and delivery and have this baby!” I’m fairly positive I even threatened to do so, but Heather knew I could do it.

On the evening of November 30th, 2012 I had just bathed my older children and put them to bed. I remember the story we read that night; Frog and Toad.  I remember crying as I tucked in my youngest knowing that her life was going to change, and, unbeknownst to me this change was closer than ever. My husband and I sat down for the evening and we watched my belly dance along with the music. There’s nothing quite like being able to count your unborn child’s toes poking through your tummy. I was in a complete stage of peace and living in the moment. Then, something happened.

I felt a twinge, a real twinge. Every emotion rushed through my body. Is this it? Will I meet my baby tonight? Am I strong enough? I didn’t want to say anything, so I waited.3 minutes later I felt another twinge! Now, I must admit, I was so excited I nearly wet my pants: and we all know how easy this is to do! I filled up my bath tub and told my husband I would be right back, but this was our 5th baby and not his first rodeo – he knew! The warm water rushed over my belly and I witnessed my baby burying deep within my pelvic bone. Each wave became more intense and I felt it was time to close my eyes, connect with my little one, and become a team. My husband called Heather around 9:30 pm and she came right over.

photo

By the time she got here my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I could feel little Bean and I were efficiently and effortlessly working together. I was in tune with my body and my baby. Each pain brought a bought of happiness knowing I was closer to holding this precious life that had been growing inside of me for so long. I climbed into the birth tub around 10:45pm. Baby and I worked together during our transition and we were one step closer to snuggling. I could feel baby pushing down against my blooming cervix. I worked when baby worked and rested when baby rested. I let out deep hums in our dark bedroom where the only light came from a fireplace in the back ground: I was in birth heaven.

There was a moment during a long pause between contractions when I became nervous. Adrenaline was pumping throughout my body and strength poured into my muscles. I knew our last big birth adventure was about to take place. I looked at Heather and without saying a single word, and with just one single glance, she empowered me, calmed me, and cheered me on. Heather has a gift to talk to you without words and hum with you when you need a partner to hum with in the moment; she gives you the strength you never thought you could have. I instinctively pulled my legs back and let my body take over. My water still had not broken and I looked down to watch my baby emerge within the amniotic sac. In the midst of all the peace in the room I remember my husband proclaiming, “Oh wow it looks like a snow globe…” that’s a man for you!

Just 3 quick intense pushes later, at 11:19pm, I felt my baby leave my body and enter the water. But, as quickly as I felt this beautiful being leave, I felt it come back. I remember the warmth of our skin touching and the immediate spark between mother and child. Love poured out from my eyes; I was overcome with emotion. Gender didn’t matter I had my baby, in my arms, screaming healthy cries.

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10 minutes passed before Heather asked us if we had decided on a name and that’s when we realized we hadn’t yet peeked “down below”! I lifted up the towel and there it was, a part I am all too familiar with! Noah Henry was in my arms and joined our family as our 4th handsome boy.

Heather stayed with us as I delivered his placenta and gave our beautiful son his first warm meal. Then, after giving Noah a final scan and me a final stitch, she left for home.

So there we were, alone, lying with our newborn son, and he wasn’t  going to leave my arms.

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Heather, Thank you for believing in me and my body. You gave me the confidence that others had taken away from me. Noah was born into my arms and didn’t leave them because of you. You are our gift from God, and I am so glad that you answered your calling!

We are now pregnant with our 6th baby and I’m sure I will have another amazing birth story to tell.

Next time, I want floating candles!

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I Will Birth My Baby {Out Of My Vagina!}

I Will Birth My Baby {Out Of My Vagina!}

VBAC I

I am STRONG because I spent 9. 5 years since my first babies traumatic birth educating myself and becoming informed. 7. 5 years since my sons unnecessary, failed induction leading to my second cesarean, I learnt to trust my body.

I am STRONG because I knew I wanted a VBA2C, I also wanted a Homebirth as I had wanted to with my 1st, but I also knew I would have Gestational Diabetes. When I fell pregnant I chose to have my care done through the same hospital I’d had my traumatic birth in. I endured ‘dead baby’ cards & doubt, until one day I stood up for myself and told them enough was enough. I wrote a letter stating I am an informed woman making informed choices, in the best interests of myself and my baby I have chosen a VBA2C. From that day on my choices were respected.

I am STRONG because I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes as expected. I changed my lifestyle for my baby from the very start of my pregnancy to minimise any adverse outcomes for when my blood sugars would rise. I was told I would birth a big baby, but knew through research this wasn’t correct for my strict controlled Gestational Diabetes.

I am STRONG because I pricked my finger 6 times per day & injected insulin 4 times per day after diet & exercise alone didn’t work.

I am STRONG because I was told under hospital policy I was to have a repeat cesarean at 38 weeks because of Gestational Diabetes. I declined. My Gestational Diabetes was strictly under control and my babies well being tests were perfect. I spent all of my time researching studies, and the lack of. I knew I was making the best decision for myself and my baby.

I am STRONG because I spent week 40 crying, doubting my bodies ability to go into labour on it’s own, I surrendered and let go the day before I went into labour. I am very STRONG because I had reached 41 weeks, I had never laboured before. My body went into labour on it’s own & I rocked it!

I ROARED my baby out of my vagina after 4 hours of labour into the water. I Birthed my baby out of my Vagina, at HOME, at 41 weeks, after 2 previous cesareans, with Gestational Diabetes, to a very healthy 7lbd 7oz baby girl who had a beautifully healthy placenta.

I am STRONG because in 2011 I had a breast reduction and had 2kgs taken out of my breasts, unsure if I would be able to Breastfeed I sought out Donor Breast Milk, I wanted to give my baby the best start in life & believed donor milk was the next best thing to my own. I bought an SNS so I could breastfeed. I have 20 litres in my freezer, thank you to those wonderful mums.

I am STRONG because I am not special, I am just an informed woman who did what she believed was the best for herself and her baby. I believed in myself and didn’t let the fears of others overcome me. I refused to make decisions without evidence & it led me to a beautiful calm POWERFUL birth at home surrounded by love.

– Mel

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2 Sets of Twins, 16.5 Months Apart {IVF and VBAC}

2 Sets of Twins, 16.5 Months Apart {IVF and VBAC}

Thank you to the mother who shares both her birth stories of her FOUR children.

{Part 1}

My husband and I knew we would need help conceiving.  He had low sperm count, and I, well just didn’t ovulate.  We met with a fertility doctor and I had the impression that we would be pregnant within a month or two and we would be on our way to parenthood.  Boy was I wrong!  We tried 3 IUIs (intrauterine inseminations) which all failed before moving on to IVF (in vitro fertilization.)  The transfer for our first IVF cycle was cancelled because I hyper stimulated and it just was not safe to do the transfer.  We froze our embryos, did two more transfers which both ended up in miscarriage.  The thought of doing another cycle almost seemed unbearable- the injections, pills, patches, appointments and possible disappointment.  I wanted to be a mom so badly and there was no other way it was going to happen so we gave it one more shot- and it worked!  It REALLY worked! We were expecting twins!  The following story shares the details of our baby girls’ birth via c-section.

I knew that I had a c-section scheduled for Thursday, October 6th at 7:30am, so I spent all day Wednesday getting ready for the big day.  My mom and sister flew in from Minnesota so I picked them up at the airport and we ran errands for a couple hours afterwards.  I had so many things to do once we got home from running the errands.  I probably washed 5 loads of clothes, made homemade chicken noodle soup for after the birth, cooked dinner, etc.  

After the chores were all done everyone went to sleep at about 11:30pm.

I wasn’t really very tired so I decided to catch up on CSI which I had recorded on the DVR.  It was about midnight and I wasn’t really sleeping, but rather in that half-awake/half asleep mode when I felt some pressure “down below.”  It was a very strange feeling and all of the sudden my water broke!  It was a HUGE gush that I was totally not expecting.  I got up off of the couch and started walking towards the bedroom saying, “Honey! I think my water just broke!”  (Meanwhile leaking everywhere.)  Brian was half asleep but I am pretty sure that I shocked him awake.  We were both in a slight panic and called the hospital right away.  They said to come on in! We asked if it would be alright if I took a shower first and they said that was fine.  I didn’t know when I would be able to shower again and didn’t want to feel like yucky amniotic fluid!

My mom and sister woke up as well and helped us get the last few things put into my bag and get the bags in the car.  We drove straight to the hospital and it was one of the longest 15 minute car rides ever!  Brian dropped me off at the door to the ER and parked the car.  I went inside and told the lady that I was in labor.  She was not the speediest of people and I found it odd that she took her sweet time to get me all checked in.  

Anyways, someone came down from Labor & Delivery with a wheelchair and took Brian and I up to the birthing unit.  I was immediately hooked up to the heart rate monitors for the babies to make sure that they were not in distress (which they weren’t.)  I informed the nurses that there was meconium (baby poop) from one of the babies in my amniotic fluid.  From what I know, its not a huge deal but they don’t want the babies to inhale it when they are born.  We had hoped to wait until morning to do the c-section with our regular OB but since there was meconium they just couldn’t wait!  

Before I knew it, I was being stuck for an IV.  I have horrible veins the only place to get an IV in is in my hand.  No one ever believes me and tries somewhere else first and ends up going on my hand anyways.  I wish they would just listen the first time and save us all some pain!  

After the IV was started we signed some paperwork for the anesthesia and talked to the anesthesiologist.  When we were done with that, off we went to the operating room!

Brian had to dress in scrubs and wait outside until the spinal epidural was completed.  I went into the OR alone and must say that the spinal was the scariest thing ever!  The anesthesiologist would not stop talking and kept saying how he couldn’t get the needle in right or something.  He numbed my back first with a local (which wasn’t really working) and after what felt like forever got the spinal in the right place.  My legs went heavy right away and I was totally numb after about 10 minutes.  I did NOT like the feeling at all.  Very strange.  They let Brian in and I was so relieved to see him. They got to work quickly and before I knew it I was cut open!  I remember asking Brian if they had started yet and he laughed because I was already cut open.  

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harlotte came out first at 2:44am. She was 6lbs 3oz.  I heard her cry and it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.  The nurse took her to the station they had set up and scored her on the APGAR test to see how she was doing.  She scored a 7 after 1 minute and a 9 after 5 minutes.  Evelyn was born just after Charlotte at 2:46am. Evelyn weighed 7lbs 0oz.  I remember it taking her longer to cry than I had expected.  It felt like I waited and waited and waited to hear her cry. Her APGAR scores were 9 after 1 minute and 9 after 5 minutes.  I was so full of emotion that I almost didn’t know what to feel.  The medicine made me feel very strange and the whole experience was pretty surreal.  I was able to see Charlotte right away but didn’t see Evelyn for about 10 minutes after she was born.  They told me that they held her up but I didn’t see her I guess.  After Brian cut the cords they let us hold the babies for a few minutes before taking them.

We each got an arm band for each of the babies before they left the room and Brian made sure to snap a lot of pictures as well.  The staff in the room was also nice enough to take pictures of us holding the babies and they even took a video of the birth for us!

Before going to the hospital, we had agreed that Brian would stay with the babies after they were born.  He left the OR and they finished stitching me up and took me to recovery.  I was in recovery all by myself and it was such a strange feeling.  Brian eventually came in to recovery with me while the babies were in the nursery.  

Once the feeling had started coming back into my legs they took me to the postpartum unit where I could see and hold my babies.  I breastfed them right away and just stared at them in awe. I was so in love with them the moment I saw their beautiful faces.  Its hard to imagine loving someone so much that I had never met before, but it was love at first sight!  I had been waiting so long for this day to come and it was all I had imagined it to be.

Twin C-section, IVF

{Part 2…or 4}

When my girls were about 6 months old we decided to try for “one more” since we had so much trouble conceiving the first time.  On our first frozen transfer we were so happy to be expecting twins again!  We were thrilled, and terrified all at the same time.  Two sets of twins? Sixteen and a half months apart? How would we do it? I was happy our girls were born safely via c-section, but wanted to experience a vaginal delivery.  The next part is about how how our miracle twin boys were born via VBAC.

The induction was all set for Thursday, February 21st at 8 a.m.  The doctor said that it could take days, but I was really just anticipating going in, getting hooked up to some Pitocin and having some babies!

We woke up to about 6 inches of snow so we decided to leave the house early.  It was very slow going, but we stopped for coffee anyways because I knew I couldn’t have anything to eat once we started the induction.  We made it to the hospital about 10 minutes late, checked in at the ER and went up to the labor and delivery floor.  Once we got there, I was hooked up to the IV, started on some fluids, and then waited a little while for the doctor to come in and check my cervix to decide how much Pitocin to get started.  My cervix had been closed on Monday and oddly enough, I was dilated to 2-3 and about 70% effaced!  I was elated to hear that, because I knew if I was still closed my chances of the vaginal delivery were low.

The nurse hooked up the babies to the monitors, but they had trouble staying on.  She would get them on while I was sitting on my left side but as soon as I moved my hips, baby A (Elliott) would fall off the monitor.  We battled this scenario for a while and finally the nurse came in and said, “If we can’t monitor the babies, then we can’t use the Pitocin.”  Crap.

A few minutes later the nurse came back and said that I should get my epidural so that I would be more comfortable and then the doctor would break my bag of water.  Once the water was broken, they could use the internal probe to monitor Elliott’s heart rate instead of the external one that just wasn’t working out.

I was terrified of getting the epidural.  All I could think about was the spinal block that I got for my c-section when I had the girls and how awful it was.  The anesthesiologist was yelling at me and just wasn’t very friendly.

A very youngish blonde woman came in and told me she would be doing my epidural.  She was kind and very patient while I asked her a million questions about what it would feel like and what I should expect to feel, etc. once the epidural was placed.  It was absolutely great and nothing like my experience before.  Once it was placed, my lower body got heavy, but not really numb per se.  I could still shift around and move, thank goodness!  It was way better than I expected and I could sit comfortably now.

The doctor came in soon after and broke Elliott’s bag of water.  I couldn’t believe how much it gushed!  The nurse and the doc made comments as well about how much water was in there and it was only from one of the babies!

The contractions started getting a little bit stronger and closer together after the water broke.  I could see the peaks on the monitors, but really only felt pressure at this point.  I was getting excited thinking about how soon it could be that my babies would be born!  It was now about 5 p.m. and the nurse came to check me again.  I was about 7cm dilated… Hooray, I thought!  Things were moving in the right direction.  I was petrified that labor would stall out and I would end up with a c-section anyways.

Meanwhile all of this was going on, Brian and I were just hanging out, taking cat naps, and updating our Facebook.  Our friends and family knew we were going in for the induction and were checking in frequently because they were so excited for us!

Day turned into evening and I wondered if we would ever have these boys… The nurses changed shifts and so we had a new nurse for the rest of the labor.  The nurse we had all day really wanted to know the boys’ names, but we didn’t tell her.  She said she would check back the next day.

After the shift change, the nurse seemed to be more aggressive and kept pumping up the Pitocin.  The contractions got stronger and stronger and pretty soon I just about couldn’t take it anymore!  The anesthesiologist checked in at one point and ended up giving me a boost in the epidural catheter because I was really feeling the pain from the contractions and they just weren’t letting up.  My legs really went numb after that and I started having panic attacks because I couldn’t move my legs at all.  It was the worst feeling ever!  Exactly what I didn’t like about the spinal epidural from the c-section.

The fun really began around 10pm.  The contractions kept getting stronger and stronger and the pain was almost unbearable.  The really fun part about Pitocin is that it creates strong contractions that just don’t let up!  With natural labor, there is down time between the contractions but not with the Pitocin!  They were about 2-3 minutes apart for what felt like an eternity.  I pretty much turned into a crazy person at this point.  I yelled, screamed, swore, and said many crazy things because I didn’t know what else to do.  I told Brian I wanted to go home and that we should leave. I texted my mom. I wrote some crazy Facebook posts in my group of fellow twin mamas, played words with friends…. I just wanted to keep my mind off of the horrendous pain but it just wasn’t working.

About 12:30 one of the machines started beeping.  It was my epidural monitor and it was out of meds.  I called the nurse in to see what it was and she told me the “great” news.  She went to go find the anesthesiologist and she was in a freaking c-section! What!  My meds were empty, I felt like I was about to die, and there was nothing we could do about it until she got out!

Somewhere around this point, the nurse checked me again and I was 9 ¾ she said.  Great! Time to push? Not yet.  All night long I kept telling the nurse (in a frenetic voice) that I didn’t know how to push and that I was scared and couldn’t do it.  She must have thought I was a nut.  She kept telling me that it was the easiest part of the labor and I thought SHE was the nut.  Anyways, we waited for the doc and the anesthesiologist to get out of surgery to see what the plan was.  I was tired, in pain, and didn’t really know how much more I could take.  I’m pretty sure I told them 1000x that I didn’t know why I had chosen to have a vaginal birth and that maybe I should just have a c-section.  The nurse and doctor had to convince me multiple times that this was what I wanted and that I shouldn’t quit now because I had already been through so much.

At 1:25am, it was finally time to push.  I was so exhausted and had no idea how I was going to get these babies out.  I had wasted all of my energy screaming at Brian for the previous 3 hours.  He was a champ though.  He just kept saying, “You’re doing great! Keep breathing!” I told him that I was freaking breathing and that he needed to say something else.  So glad he stayed calm for the both of us….

When the pushing started I think the doc was worried that I wouldn’t have enough energy to push them out.  My pushes were horrible and weak.  The nurse said that the pushing could take hours…. HOURS? Seriously?  I had no idea how I was going to do it.

The plan was to push baby Elliott way down and when he was getting close, we would go to the operating room to deliver them.  I pushed for about two hours in the regular birthing room.  It was just me, Brian, the nurse, and the doctor in there.  It was much more casual than I had imagined.  Brian had some music playing on his phone and we were all having regular conversations between the contractions.  They wouldn’t let me drink any water and Brian was in charge of giving me the ice chips because I had the worst dry mouth I’ve ever had before!  We watched the contraction monitors and the babies’ heart rates while I was pushing.  Elliott’s took a huge dip with every push but always came back up.  I was worried when I saw this, but the doc wasn’t so I assumed everything was okay.

At about 3:15 it was time to go to the operating room.  They wheeled me down there in the labor bed and transferred me to the operating table. I was expecting there to be a crowd in there, but there were just a couple of extra nurses.

This was it!  I knew it would be happening soon and that the pain would end shortly.  The epidural was great before, but wasn’t doing a thing at this point.  With every push I felt Elliott getting closer and closer to coming out.  There was a new nurse in the room yelling at me to push longer and harder.  At one point, the doctor said that he was giving me 15 minutes to push the baby out on my own before he was going to use the vacuum to help me out.  The contractions slowed down at this point which was really frustrating.  I had to wait and wait for them so that I could push!

I pushed and pushed and they could finally see Elliott’s head!  The nurse said, “Reach down and feel your baby’s head.” So I did! Holy crap! This was really happening!  I swear it felt like he was crowing for an eternity.  Before the final push, the nurse said, “When you push him out, you will finally have relief!”  Well, okay then! Let’s do this! I think the scream I let out when I finally pushed Elliott out could have woken the dead!  I felt his ginormous head pass through my body and the rest of him just slide right out.  It was the most amazing and surreal thing I have ever felt before.  Like I said before…. I had an epidural, but I pushed Elliott out all on my own.  There was no relief from that pain.  He cried shortly after he came out and he was absolutely perfect.

“I have to do this again?”  I had no idea how I was going to have the strength to push Oliver out.  The doctor told me that after Elliott came out, another doctor was going to help hold Oliver (from the outside) to make sure he didn’t do a little flip now that his brother was out and he didn’t have to share space anymore.  The doc then asked me if I wanted to push him down or let the contractions do the work.  I told him I wanted to let the contractions do the work because I was too tired.

He asked me if I wanted help getting him out and I don’t think I could have said, “YES” faster.  I just wanted him out healthy and safe…. And fast.  I pushed for about three contractions and with the help of the vacuum out came Oliver 13 minutes after his brother.  It didn’t hurt nearly as much because his big brother had already cleared the way for him.

I was filled with a sense of relief when the boys were finally out.  I was out of breath, sweaty, exhausted, and just so happy that they were out safe and sound.

Both of my boys were healthy and perfect in every way.  They let Brian cut the cord, cleaned them off, and I eventually got to hold them.  I was so in love with my little boys the moment I saw them.  Becoming a mom for the 3rd and 4th time was just as joyful as it was the 1st and 2nd time.

They helped me deliver the placenta and for some crazy reason I asked to see it.  The doctor showed it to me and explained that the placentas were fused together.

After the placenta was delivered I thought we were done and that we were going to get cleaned up and get the heck out of dodge.  Nope.  I was bleeding.  Crap.  Did my uterus rupture? Was I going to have to get an emergency hysterectomy? What the hell was going on??

The anesthesiologist gave me more pain meds in my epidural catheter and I was instantly out.  I was so tired that I just couldn’t stay awake anymore.  At the time I didn’t really know what was happening and Brian had to tell me about it later.  I recall waking up periodically, but that’s about it.

The doctor gave me cytotec (I think to get anything left in there out) and also had to investigate the bleeding.  I was told that it was “standard procedure” to manually check a previous C-section incision if a patient is bleeding after a VBAC.  The scar was intact (thank goodness) and the bleeding slowed down.  Brian said it was pretty scary and that everyone in that operating room was covered in my blood and bodily fluids.  The doctor later told me also that I kept waking up asking, “Are we done yet??”

After the bleeding stopped, the doctor sewed me up and I was taken back to the room where Brian and the boys would meet me.  I was shaking like crazy as the epidural wore off.

Twin VBAC, IVF

I’m sure there are many more details that I have forgotten, but I must say that it was one of the most empowering experiences of my life.  I have found out that there aren’t a lot of doctors that are comfortable with a VBAC with a singleton, let alone with twins.  I am so grateful to my doctor and his confidence that everything would be fine (and that if it wasn’t we would do a C-section) and that he had agreed to let me try the VBAC.

2 sets of twins, IVF

Hospital VBAC with a True Knot

Hospital VBAC with a True Knot

I have had three children. The first was a c-section and the other 2 were VBAC.  I feel that I was “bullied” into the c-section simply because I didn’t follow their time schedule.  I was induced at 9 days over my due date because I was told my pelvis was not large enough to have a 9 pound baby which they said she would be.  I didn’t progress as quickly as they wanted and was given high doses of Pitocin.  I made it 13 hours before caving for the epidural which then stalled my labor which required more Pitocin. Then I needed another epidural because all the feeling returned and was so intense.  After having a midwife and resident fight over if I was at a 9 or 10 and pushing for 1 1/2 hours a different doctor came on and said I was only 9 centimeters. He said I would not progress and had to have an emergency c-section because of lack of progress and potential harm to the baby.  This baby now has asthma, had tubes in her ears, and is constantly sick.  I honestly believe it is in part or mostly due to the c-section.  Also, they were wrong about her size, she was born 8 pounds and 8 oz.

I became more educated for baby #2 and found a VBAC friendly doctor.  After my water was broken naturally for 22 hours and 3 hours of pushing, I had a vacuum assisted delivery of a perfectly healthy baby girl.  I was so thankful to be “allowed” to VBAC that I questioned nothing.  I did what I was told with no questioning.  I hated being in the bed the entire time!  I was monitored the whole time, took the awful Pitocin when told, and was checked constantly for progress.  It wasn’t awful, but it sure wasn’t what I had dreamt of for a VBAC. I was very thankful not to have another c-section.

With our third child we were stunned to find out we were expecting.  As soon as we found out we started looking for a doctor who would do VBAC.  I had heard horror stories about the Air Force hospital I was supposed to deliver at.  I managed to get a referral off base, but couldn’t find a doctor. that would allow me my right to VBAC.  I was forced to go to the hospital which I was terrified of.  During the pregnancy I was scared they would force me into a c-section.  I was never really comfortable at any appointments.  The closer the due date became the more apprehensive I was.  The birth of our son was traumatic, but I wouldn’t do it any other way.  My water broke in bed at 4:45 a.m.  I had planned to take my time in going to the hospital.  However I noticed he had meconium inside me by the blackish water leaking from me.  So I showered and ate a healthy breakfast (I knew they would starve me after I got there) and then we went to the hospital.

After 3-4 hours they kept trying to give me Pitocin.  I refused.  I kept walking, rocking on the ball and trying anything to start contracting.  I was getting angry at my body.  My waters had broken but my body didn’t seem to notice I should be in labor.  Then the reminders started that I had 24 hours before they take the baby.  I knew I needed to get something started.  My husband helped me remain in control.  We continued to walk coming back every 30 minutes to be monitored.  We enjoyed the time together and he snuck me food.  The doctors began to get more insistent that I start Pitocin.  After 3 pm I finally consented. I was still 2-3 centimeters dilated. I began to have a bad feeling at this point.  I immediately lost my freedom to be up and walk around.  Now I could only go as far as the drip, then his heart rate fluctuated a couple of times so I was placed on the fetal heart rate monitor nonstop.  I was still on my 24 hour window that they had given me to deliver from time of rupture, so was getting a little nervous. Then they turned the Pitocin up so high I had to get an epidural.  That was pure hell!  I got what’s called a wet tap, so essentially a spinal instead of a regular epidural.  I’m really sensitive to meds so that made me pass.  I remember pretty much everything including my husband’s face when I couldn’t talk or breath and baby’s heart rate was in the 50s.  Once the drugs started to wear off and the baby and I were okay he had to leave to compose himself.

Next came the internal monitors and a half dose of epidural when it had worn off.  They then decided I would be allowed no more drugs.  This is where my husband got me to focus.  I love to run so he used running analogies with the contractions and breathing.  It was the most helpful thing anyone could have done and I was managing the pain.  Baby’s heart rate then had unexplained dips and then they started discussing a c-section.  I’m told that if we do a c-section I will have to be put to sleep because of the instability of the wet-tap that the anesthesiologist caused.  I freak out and start bawling.  Not only is a c-section the furthest thing that I want from our birth plan, but I already thought I was going to die from his previous error and now he wants to put me to sleep?!

My doctor that had come on service came by to chat and told me as long as no infection he would not adhere to the 24 hour rule but if we lost heartbeat one more time he would take the baby.  I went from a 2-3cm dilated to a 9 in a little over an hour.  Thank you doctor for allowing me to finally relax!  I stalled at 9 1/2 and the doctor stayed and massaged and stretched me the best he could.  The heart rate dropped and he made me start pushing.  I pushed for 45 minutes and with each contraction there was an irregular heartbeat for baby.  I finally got his head out and there was nothing but silence.  Next thing I know doctor says “I’m sorry dear” and gives me a 4th degree episiotomy and then nurses start putting pressure on my stomach.  A vacuum is placed on baby’s head and he is out.  There is still no life from him.  Almost 2 1/2 minutes passed from his head exiting until they had him take his first breath.  The 1st cry was the most amazing sound ever!

It was a boy after 2 girls! Thanking God he numbed me before he stitched me up after effectively having zero pain meds for the actual birth of baby was a must!  I hear the nurses and doctor start saying, “Miracle Baby.”  I didn’t understand.  Then I hear something about a true knot. Jagger’s true knot is what was caused all the fluctuations in his heartbeat.  He wasn’t able to draw what he needed anymore from the cord.  He also had a broken clavicle and Corio (infection).  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done to bring him into the world but I am so thankful he is here and so amazing!  My postpartum care was awful.  I had bronchitis and they took me off all my meds and said the antibiotics for Corio for me would take care of it…wrong!  I was begging for cough syrup to help.  Imagine a 4th degree episiotomy and an uncontrollable cough…not pleasant.  I was discharged without anyone looking around down there and haven’t used the bathroom.  We had to stay 8 days because Jagger didn’t respond to his antibiotics in the first 48 hours so he had to be on a full 7 day course of meds for him.  I was put on bonding status and was able to stay in a room with him because he is nursed exclusively.  I asked everyday what to do to go to the bathroom. I tried prune juice, Colace, Miralax, veggies, almonds and chugging water.  I kept asking what to do but no one could help me because I was no longer a patient.  I asked every nurse and they all called ObGyn but no one would come.  This left me to asking friends and nurses and trying a tries variety of things.

Truly disappointed that after baby is delivered Mama is not a concern.  It would be more helpful for recovery, bonding, and overall well being if moms were treated with the same respect after little one is delivered as prior to delivery.  I am thankful that I have three beautiful children.  I am relieved I only had 1 c-section.  I do think that our culture needs so much work to make birthing babies a safer, more enjoyable, easier, less traumatic journey.  I would love to see moms with more options and knowledge about our rights and what is acceptable from practitioners.

VBAC true knot

VBAC true knot

 

Three Breech Births {One Cesarean And Two VBACs}

Three Breech Births {One Cesarean And Two VBACs}

My breech babies: Brooke, Brady and Blake.

“The road to motherhood is not always a clear and simple journey. I learned this first hand as all of my babies presented breech. I do think more women should be given the choice with breech babies – it should be an option to birth vaginally. Where we live, midwife’s are not allowed to deliver breech babies so we did have to go to the hospital [for VBAC] but it was such a different experience from my first [a cesarean].” – Heidi

Brooke Elizabeth

Fall of 2006, I was so excited to be pregnant with our first child and like lots of moms-to-be I read all the pregnancy books on what to expect. I knew I wanted a natural birth but never once entertained the thought that things would not go the way I planned. My mom had 4 natural deliveries so I assumed that I would have similar birth experiences.

On the morning of February 26, 2007, I experienced a mild backache and found it difficult to sit at my desk at work. After struggling through the snowy trek of walking our dogs, and finishing my nightly routines, I could not sleep because of nagging discomfort in my lower back and decided to get into the tub around 7 p.m., which offered some relief. After my second bath, still not being able to sleep, and getting sick, I realized I was in labour!

We called our doula at 3 a.m.; contractions felt like Braxton Hicks1 but were not going away and I could not feel the baby moving anymore. To ease our worry, she suggested we head to the hospital to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Upon arriving at the hospital, around 6 a.m., I was confirmed I was 6-7cm and in full labour. I was shocked I had progressed so far. Then the nurse announced she felt feet rather than a head. As soon as the breech diagnosis was confirmed, things started happening really quickly. I felt like a bystander, and watched as I was prepped for an emergency cesarean section.

I was devastated. I asked through tears if baby would turn or if I could still deliver naturally. The obstetrician laughed; I had no choice – a cesarean section was my only option. I did not question these decisions that my caregivers made and never thought that I could advocate for a vaginal breech birth. It seemed like breech presentations meant babies could not be physically birthed naturally.

Instead of amazing memories of bringing a precious baby into the world, I will never forget feelings of utter powerlessness and disrespect. The environment did not lend itself to discussion about alternatives or my choices. I did not feel I could express myself or that I had an informed opinion. At first I thought I had failed myself and my baby—that I should have spoken up. Later I realized that even if I had the system would not have listened to me—unless I transformed myself into a screaming and angry woman, which is uncalled for. Non-informed consent and blind trust have been institutionalized for so long that no-one even notices this hospital culture. Now I see that my rights were utterly disregarded. I still cry when I think about it.

Brooke Elizabeth, 6lb 7oz, was named by her father after she was born. It felt amazing to finally meet my baby, but discouraging that I had to park myself outside the ICU in order to care for my healthy child, with good Apgar scores. I brought home a thriving, beautiful baby girl, yet her birth was one of the most painful and traumatic times of my life.

Brady James

Pregnant with my second, winter of 2008, I knew I wanted a completely different birth experience and chose the care of a midwife. I was still unsure of birthing at home, because I didn’t know anyone who had experienced a homebirth, yet this seemed like my only alternative outside of the hospital (birth centers do not accept women who have had previous cesareans, or VBACs—vaginal births after cesareans).

I had a wonderful pregnancy and felt nurtured under midwifery care. I was determined to have an unmedicated VBAC. I asked a lot more questions and educated myself about options. Approaching the time of birth, I felt happy, prepared, and informed.

During my 36-37 weeks prenatal visit, my midwife thought my baby was breech. Again! I could not believe it.

All I could think about was the possibility of being forced into another cesarean section.

I was devastated. I felt frustrated, angry and even resentful toward my baby. Why was this happening to me? I had come to terms with homebirth but, because midwives do not have the jurisdiction to perform breech births (despite the fact that they have the training to do them safely), the choice was being taken away from me. I felt angry and again disempowered.

I determined I could get my little one to turn. I learned about breech tilts, pulsatilla, chiropractic Webster Technique, Craniosacral therapy, walking on hands and knees, laying on an ironing board, even the use of ice packs and headphones on my belly. When all failed, I will never forget what my wise midwife told me, “You don’t always get the birth that you want but the birth that you need. You will just have to plan for the best breech birth possible!” It was with her support that we set out to prepare for a natural breech birth.

My midwife referred me to an obstetrician experienced with vaginal breech. Used to working with midwives, he said he was comfortable with vaginal breech and sharing my care with my midwife. I felt again like circumstances were out of my control, and was afraid of the unknown; it made all the difference to have my familiar and caring midwife with me. I was grateful that they had such a good working relationship, as I benefited from their collegiality.

On October 19, around 8 p.m., labour started as it had with my first, although 12 days after my due date! This time when I felt the dull ache in my back and it wouldn’t go away, I knew it was labour.

Our midwife arrived at our home around midnight and announced I was 5-6 cm dilated. We arrived at the hospital at 2 a.m. and I was 6-7 cm.

I was nervous, and unsure of what to expect, andI found it extremely frustrating when the hospital staff tried to deter me from my decision: pushing a detailed, scary, waiver in my face, pointing out risks involved in a breech delivery. I was told my obstetrician was working, but the staff quickly took over in their roles, and it felt as though they didn’t share the same values as my midwife, obstetrician, or me. Just like last time, the medical staff attempted to scare me into having a cesarean section. But they were not successful because this time I had done my research. I knew that in reality a vaginal breech birth with an experienced caregiver is as safe as a cesarean section, that mortality rates for women significantly increases with cesarean sections, and that cesarean sections increase the risks for subsequent pregnancies.

The dull backache was stronger and I found the hot water of the shower most effective. Since a breech VBAC is considered high risk, I was prepped for a cesarean in case things didn’t go as planned. The constant fetal monitor and IV did not allow me to move freely and were as annoying as the back labour.

By 5 a.m. I was 10 cm dilated. My water broke on its own and I was ready to push. It was exiting! I didn’t know what to expect and in the beginning was not pushing effectively: either because this was my first time pushing or my worries about how I sounded and looked inhibited my body from working as it needed to. There was extra staff in the room voicing their opinions which I found distracting, but was able to focus on my husband and midwife.

It wasn’t until I let go, my instincts taking over, that I felt me and my baby working together; I was squatting on the bed and groaning with all my inner being. I was working with my body allowing it to do what it needed to move my baby down.

As we neared the end of the 2 hr mark, my “time limit” for pushing as a VBAC, my midwife negotiated with the obstetrician to give us 30 min more as I was doing so well. It was close to his shift ending and, although he agreed, he brought in the obstetrician that would be taking over after his shift. As my birth history was reviewed the new obstetrician commented, “She’s already had a cesarean and this baby’s breech, perhaps there is something wrong with your pelvis and you cannot have a vaginal birth”.

I felt the need to prove her wrong. I touched my perineum and felt a little male part, my baby was right there presenting frank breech! I had gotten out of bed and the nurses told me, “Stop pushing. Get on the bed.” Our midwife ran to get our first obstetrician back into the room.

The minutes on my back were the most excruciating and uncomfortable I had ever felt. Eventually, I was told to push continuously without stopping; it is customary to push a breech baby within 7 minutes of seeing their body parts. My midwife was present, and my obstetrician helped deliver my baby. It was very intense, and amazing, holding my son on my chest . Brady James was born at 7:26 a.m., a healthy 8lb 1oz, on October 20, 2008.It was a very healing and empowering experience, and I am thankful for the support from my midwife and obstetrician.

breech vbac

I had nurses ask me the next day why I would try to deliver naturally when I knew the baby was breech. Having gone through both a cesarean section and natural breech delivery—I would take the breech delivery any day!

hospital vbac breech birth

Blake Carter

Fall of 2011, my third pregnancy, I was overjoyed and optimistic that I would get my home water birth.

As my first 2 babies were both breech, we were a lot more aware of the baby’s position. So when our baby was still head up at 33 and then 34 weeks, I started to worry..

For weeks we tried to turn the baby using moxibustion, hypnotherapy and acupuncture, to no avail. I tried to remain optimistic, telling myself baby would turn, and went to bed every night listening to the Hypnobabies script on turning breech babies.

Around 38 weeks I was exhausted—mentally and emotionally— with the realization that nothing was going to work. I was tired of defending my body, the shape of my uterus and my baby. My babies simply preferred to lay breech. I was frustrated and felt a deep sadness giving up my hopes for a home water birth. It felt unfair that some women didn’t appreciate their luck.

breech maternity

I knew I had been through a natural breech delivery before. My midwife reminded me that I could still have a natural breech delivery. Still I had a good cry. It was a real moment of release for me — releasing the negative feelings around what I was giving up. and it I felt as if a huge weight was lifted. I was then able to refocus on having a positive birth experience.

We planned for a natural birth with the same obstetrician that delivered our son. I was better able to communicate what I wanted for this birth— freedom to move. This translated into intermittent monitoring and a hep-lock. I saw both my midwife and obstetrician on a weekly basis.

breech belly

My due date came and went. I really relaxed and enjoyed my last days of pregnancy. It was a lovely state to be in.

This time Braxton Hicks were stronger. I thought I was in labour but then would wake, realizing I was still pregnant. Five days after my due date, contractions were not going away; it was noon. I made the kids lunch, contractions took my breath away. I called my husband at 1 p.m. unsure if it was active labour. When he got home 15 min later it was clear to him it was.

We called our midwife who said she would stop by around 3:30 p.m.. However, I felt really uncomfortable and hopped in the rental birth pool my husband prepared. As my body entered the water I instantly felt relief. I spiraled my hips and visualized this baby moving into a favourable birth position. It felt so good to be in the warm water. I felt in control, easily able to focus on my breathing and to visualize a peaceful and natural birth.

My husband could tell contractions were only a few minutes apart and called our midwife back. When she arrived, around 2:15 p.m., she confirmed that I was in labour and 8 cm dilated. We left for the hospital immediately and arrived by 3 p.m. I confided in my husband that I really did not want to leave the safety of our home and felt apprehensive about going to the hospital. As we checked in my labour completely stopped. I guess it is true your body needs to feel safe before giving birth!

Our obstetrician was in surgery and the resident on duty was very cheerful and suggested, ”Lets break your waters and get things going.” I relayed the information that had been discussed beforehand with my obstetrician—we wanted things to progress on their own naturally, with the hep-lock and intermittent fetal monitoring. I expected to be met with resistance however she was very pleasant. She explained their recommendation, but that it was ultimately our decision.

Now that I was at the hospital, had met the staff, who were on board with our wishes—I started to relax. I could again focus on my labour and meeting our baby. I started walking the halls, taking deep breaths in hopes this would bring the contractions back.

After a few minutes of walking, the contractions came back. I spent the next hour or so between sitting on my birth ball and having my husband rub my back and then in the shower/tub.

I heard the nurses discussing transferring me to the operating room to give birth. I tried not let it distract me but I yearned for the depth, space and privacy of our birth pool at home. It was now 6:30 p.m. . It felt like I was stuck at 9 cm and I was starting to feel an urgency for things to happen. Me and my midwife decided to take 30 min before considering breaking my waters.

A few minutes later my obstetrician came in; it was 6:45 p.m. and he was off duty at 7 p.m. He told us that he was going to stay but would not help deliver our baby if he was off duty. He broke my bag of water and relayed to the other obstetrician that I was still 9 cm dilated and he felt feet rather than a bottom. My baby was a footling breech! Within 10 min of breaking my water I was fully dilated and ready to push, it was 7 p.m.

I was apprehensive of experiencing pain being propped up on the bed, yet this time was different; I was better able to work with my body. With coaching from my midwife and nurse, and after only 17 min of pushing, I gave birth naturally to Blake Carter! I was supported by the obstetrician on duty and a resident as our obstetrician and midwife watched—it was an amazing experience!

breech vaginal birth

breech hospital vbac

The tone in the room was so positive and encouraging with this birth, as opposed to questioning why I would birth a baby breech, as with my second. The obstetrician and resident were great and genuinely interested in my well-being and in being involved with a natural breech delivery.

breech newborn

Having 3 breech babies, with very different birth stories, I have learned so much. With Brooke, I learned that things don’t always go the way we plan and sometimes things happen outside our control. With Brady, I confronted fears from my first birth; I realized that I could have a natural birth in the hospital. It was through Brady’s birth that I healed from my first. With Blake, I was grateful to experience a shift in the medical system in regards to attitudes toward the safety of vaginal breech births.

breech newborn photo

sleepy breech newborn

breech siblings

I hope that my personal birth experiences help to educate others about vaginal breech birth: that breech does not necessarily equal a cesarean; that women can ask for a second opinion or find a caregiver to assist in a natural birth; that women should feel empowered in their birth choices and experience and should trust in their inner strength and natural ability. Natural unmedicated vaginal breech births can be done and can be a wonderfully amazing and beautiful birth experience!

smiley breech newborn

More photos and a birth video can be found at Vanessa Brown Photography

Born Too Soon {A Story Of Loss and Life After Birthing Micro-Preemie Babies}

Born Too Soon {A Story Of Loss and Life After Birthing Micro-Preemie Babies}

[Trigger warning: This post contains loss]

A heartfelt thank you to Abby, for sharing your stories with us xxx

In 2008 I was thrilled that after 3 years I was finally pregnant. My excitement grew when I had my first ultrasound and found out I had twins, although it was also tainted with fear. I have a congenital heart condition and had gotten pregnant against the advice of medical professionals… How would my body cope with the strain of twins?

I was heavily monitored from about 16 weeks with frequent checks on my heart, the babies hearts and their general growth. All was going well until 19 weeks where I was then told I would be admitted to have a cervical stitch as my cervix was short, thin and funnelling. I was basically told if I didn’t have the stitch my babies would be born in the next week or so. Terrified I went to theatre and had a spinal block while they stitched my cervix closed. A few days later I was out of hospital and recovering nicely at home expecting that I still had a while to go before I’d meet my babies…

Only 4 weeks later I started cramping which turned into severe pain. At only 23wks I was in labour. No medication would stop the labour, but I managed to hold on til 24+2wks before my babies were born via c-section due to breech presentation. The c-section went really well – my beautiful firstborn son was brought into the world weighing a tiny 784gms, but showing signs of life. My son was taken over to a table to be worked on while Drs tried to get baby number 2 out. My 2nd son was transverse so after having a vertical incision in my uterus they finally got him out. Twin 2 was a tiny 767gms and he too was taken away to be worked on… We named our tiny miracles Taite and Seth.

Although I was awake I didn’t get to see my sons until some 3 hours later when  I was finally able to be taken to the nursery. Unfortunately I was only able to see Seth, as Taite’s room had a sterile procedure happening.. I was very anxious and upset, but was so amazed by this tiny little person that was mine.. I loved Seth instantly and couldn’t wait to meet Taite. It wasn’t until the next day I met my other tiny miracle… Instant love!! It was so hard only being able to touch my babies through the isolette.

[Taite on the day he was born]

micropremmie twin cesarean

[Seth day of birth]

micropremmie twin born 24 weeks

I stayed in the coronary care ward so they could monitor how my heart was coping with the stress of the birth. My heart was fine and I moved the maternity ward after only 2 days.

Being born at only 24wks, my sons had many medical problems. One thing was certain though, they had an amazing twin connection and did most things together. I watched my sons fight for life. Unfortunately they both had too much and they died peacefully together at 12 days old with their Mummy and Daddy. I was heartbroken and had no idea how I’d ever smile again…

[My first twin cuddle, the day they passed, 12 days old]

micropremature twins

[My babies at peace, 12 days old]

babies at peace, born at 24 weeks

2011 brought a reason to smile when saw those precious 2 lines appear. I was finally pregnant again after another 3 years. This time, there was only one baby and medical professionals discussed how this could change the outcome. After a few scares of bleeding in the first trimester, I then had a stitch placed at 14wks, things looked positive and I settled in for what I’d hoped was going to be a long pregnancy. 19wk scan showed another complication though, I had placenta previa.. I was terrified of birthing another premmy, but tried to relax and rest as much as possible. I had progesterone pessaries from 16wks and I knew that there was nothing else I could do to prevent another prem birth if that’s what was to happen. When I reached 24+2wks I breathed with relief.. I was still pregnant! Then it happened, at 25+3 wks I woke up soaked in blood..I went straight to hospital and was monitored. Bub was doing well and my bleeding slowed. The stitch was holding my cervix together nicely so I set my pregnancy goal for 28wks. Just 3 more weeks I begged bubba to stay in for.

It was only 2 days later when I had more haemorrhages and my contractions turned from Braxton hicks to the real thing. A blood transfusion was ordered for me and theatre was arranged. The Obstetricians didn’t want me to labour as I had a previous classical (vertical) incision with my last c section. All of a sudden I was screaming that I had to push. We were on our way to theatre but bub didn’t want to wait. My waters broke with a huge gush, nurses checked bubs presentation and told me to push this baby out. I was terrified. The baby’s father hadn’t arrived yet and I was on my own. I was so scared of having another premmy I didn’t want to do this.. Eventually I succumbed to the contractions and went with it. I pushed my perfect 3rd son into the world and got to hear his cry and touch him before he was taken away to be worked on. I named him Jett, he was my biggest baby at 874gms.

[The day of Jett’s birth: 25w 5d]

25 weeks premmie

Soon after I felt I had lost a large amount of blood. The Drs explained they couldn’t get the placenta out and I was bleeding. They gave me an epidural so they could take me to theatre. I lost more and more blood. I was taken into theatre. By this time I had bled so much my body lost all clotting capabilities and I was bleeding out fast. I was awake as I heard Drs discuss the urgency of the situation..They were trying to gain IV access but my blood pressure was so low they were having trouble. I was so scared, I begged them to knock me out. They didn’t have time, they had to gain IV access and try to get blood into me as fast as it was coming out. I asked if I was going to die they responded “We are doing all we can”…

3 hours later I was stable.. I had vaginal packing to prevent anymore haemorrhaging and 5 IV access lines. 1 in each arm, 1 in each groin and 1 in my foot. I had plenty of bruising and mental trauma. That afternoon I was finally taken to see my son. I don’t really remember much of it, I was still very unwell, but I know, just like with his brothers I fell instantly in love…

[First cuddle, 16 days old]

first cuddle with mum at 16 days old

Born at 25wks, Jett still faced many issues from being a prem. We were lucky this time though and after 157 days  (just over 5 months) I took my Earthside miracle home. He is now 19 months old and developing beautifully. He is small for his age and is moderately hearing impaired, but apart from that you would never know the trauma we went through to get him home… Jett is amazing  and I strongly believe that we are both alive today because we had our very own guardian angels Taite and Seth.

[First breastfeed at 135 days old]
first breastfeed 135 days old

[1st birthday – photo by atomicbutterfly photography]
micropremmie first birthday

[Still Boobing at 18 months!]breastfeeding 18 months old

Abby has also shared her complete journey on two blogs: www.taiteandseth.blogspot.com and www.mybabybutton.blogspot.com

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