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Hypnobirthing Through Horrible Back Labor: A VBAC Story

Hypnobirthing Through Horrible Back Labor: A VBAC Story

I have been laboring for an entire day. Lying in the bathtub completely relaxed listening to peaceful music and meditating. I hear the door open quietly. I open one eye and take a peek. My oldest son Cash is sneaking in. I close my eye and get back to THE work of relaxation. Feeling a surge coming, I know it will bring the severe pain of back labor. I try to welcome it and remind myself that each of these surges is welcoming my baby into my arms. It doesn’t work. I clench onto the edge of the tub and breathe my agony down to my belly and as I breathe out I suddenly feel a small hand touch my arm and softly glides down to my belly. Then I hear Cash’s voice say softly in my ear “You are strong. You can do this. You are a goddess and the bestest mommy.” He’s repeating affirmations he read on my birth flags to me. I smile and take in this beautiful moment. This is definitely a core memory for us both.

Back labor… I can’t welcome you. Back labor turned this birth into something I was not prepared to face. Two weeks postpartum and I still cringe thinking about the torment. The peacefulness I wanted with this birth was stolen. I have to remind myself that Mayuq’s birth story is still beautiful.

Wednesday night, I begin to show definite signs of labor. I was 13 days late at this point and excited to see my body and baby were making progress. We made some arrangements for the next day thinking it will happen that night. I play my affirmation tapes all night while I sleep alone in my bedroom. The next morning comes and I feel surges every now and then while the kids were in school. I feel the surges pretty hard on my back and this is nothing I’ve experienced before. We knew the baby was head down but looking to the left of me. We tried a few techniques for flipping him into a better position, unfortunately nothing was working. So, I keep affirming to myself; “my baby moves to the perfect position for birth” and went back to work on my meditation.

After school was out we feed the boys and tell them baby will be here soon and take them to our cousin Robyn’s to sleep over. I just had a feeling it would be Friday morning. The surges were so strong but still so far apart and inconsistent. My husband and I were alone that night. Along with the surges comes intense back pain. I spend the whole night trying to sleep in between surges. The back pain was exhausting. The surges were still 15-20 minutes apart and I was able to rest despite the pain.

In the morning we have a stress test and asked if they could check my progress. I’m expecting to be at least four centimeters. The baby looks great and was still in the same position but I was only dilated two and a half centimeters. I think to myself, how strange. The back pain, and the strength of the surges had me convinced I had to be making more progress than this. The midwife sent us home and said she would probably see us tonight.

We grabbed the boys and took them home. My husband sent me to birth in the bathtub while they hung out until we were able to take the boys to another friend’s house. I had to keep changing surroundings to cope with the back pain. I moved from the bedroom listening to hypnobirthing music playing, to the shower with hot water on my back. I switched to laying in the warm tub with essential oils soaking me trying to distract myself from the pain somehow.

Surges are 10-15 minutes apart still. Enough time to cope with the pain and rest as much as I could. When it came time for my husband to drop the boys off with Yuki, he leaves me alone with a heating pad strapped to my back. It helped a bit.

I lay on my bed focusing on breathing my love to this baby. I remind myself of the powerful words that my girlfriends wrote at my blessingway. Thinking of how my good friend Shana brought me to my place with my husband a month ago through yoga and meditation. I knew that this birth wasn’t going the way I expected. It was a struggle to bring myself to a place of peace. I feel the next surge approaching. I squeeze my hands on the bed and breathed in deeply. In my mind my birthing flags are connecting and spinning above me. When I breathe out they fall, spinning around my body.

The shooting pain takes over and I breathe telling myself I have less than a minute of this and I will get to relax again. I breathe out and tell myself; I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turns my birthing takes. This was going to be the affirmation to help me get through this. This is going to be my second VBAC. I hear my door open. It was Joy, my best friend. She lies quietly next to me on my bed. “Hi Joy,” I whisper.

I am glad for this visit. It helps me re-fuel. To be able to express the challenge I am facing to a good friend. She hangs around a bit after my husband gets home. We all share a pineapple that I requested. I was craving it for some odd reason. We make plans for her to meet us at the hospital when we decide to go. I know I still have a lot of work to do before heading to the hospital; we tentatively plan for 9 pm as the next checkpoint. The plan is to get there right at the end. I don’t want to labor in a hospital.

9 pm comes. The surges are closer together; the back pain was even more intense. I cry to go to the hospital but based on the distance between surges my husband suggests the shower again. I tremble in the shower. I can barely stand. I scream for him to be close. I tell him I can’t do this, the back pain is too much. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I lay back down on the bed, by now dreading every surge because I know that each one will bring this back pain. My husband disappears to the computer to search how to help. Every time a surge comes he shows up trying different things to help me cope. Nothing helped. One time he presses a spot on my lower back that redirects the pain elsewhere. This I can cope with, finally some relief. He can’t find the spot after that. Every spot he touches makes it worse. It was unbearable; I beg to go to the hospital. I see he is already packing.

The drive is only ten minutes. Every surge I have had in the car makes it exponentially worse because of the way I’m sitting. He promises only one, maybe two surges to deal with in the car. It was a least four. They were so awful that I cry out his name grabbing at everything in sight. It feels like my back is going to break. When we arrive at the hospital, everyone thought I was about to have this baby at the front desk. My water breaks right there.

I get admitted straight into a labor room. It’s the room I wanted. It has a huge bath and shower and lots of space. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I’m leaking amniotic fluid.

“Sacha, are you pushing?” the nurse asks me. It feels like I’m pushing, but not of my own volition. I couldn’t help myself. She checks me and says I’m at five centimeters. I lose it. “Fuck! Are you fucking kidding me?!!!”

My husband is telling me it’s great. The midwife says I’ve already done most of the work. I am panicking. How am I going to survive this birth? I feel like this at five how will I cope at ten? I can’t even imagine what the pain might be like then, or how long this is going to last.

I feel like I’m about to pass out. I’m on my hands and knees and I can barely stay up. More amniotic fluid. “Do you have anything for the back pain? Just the back pain?” I ask. She tells me my options are nitrous or an epidural. I do not want an epidural, the last one I had I couldn’t feel my entire bottom half. This is the path to a C-section. I repeat my affirmation as the back pain hits. It feels like my back is breaking. I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turns my birthing takes. They give me the nitrous mask and I put it on and breathe deeply through it for about a minute. Nothing. I throw it back at them, “This shit is stupid! It’s not helping my back. Please, my back I can’t fight this!” My husband tries to give me my earplugs to listen to my hypnobirthing music. I get mad and throw them; my back hurts so much I don’t care about anything.

“I want the epidural. I’m going to have to do this,” I say as assertively as I can. I know this is my husband’s cue to talk me out of this. He knows his job. I’ve said this every time but I don’t mean it. I don’t want an epidural; I want the pain to stop. This back labor is so much more intense than anything I have ever experienced. I really do mean it this time. I am at the point where I can’t relax in between surges; I just pant in exhaustion and anxiously await the next painful episode. I make the decision and I am OK with it. I make peace with my decision.

“Warren… I will PUSH this baby out! I can still do hypnobirthing with an epidural.” I reassure my husband. The surge hits my back again and I am unable to continue my speech to him. I know he is supporting me the way he is supposed to. He is still trying to talk me out of it and I scream with agony and cry and he just stops and says “I’m sorry babe. I am so sorry you are feeling this back pain. But, you can do this. You are almost done.” He is right. I am almost done. I am now at 8 cm. I went from a 5-8 very quickly. In the moment, all I want is this pain to stop.

The surge is gone and I know they are getting the epidural ready somewhere at my insistence, and despite my husband’s objections. A different nurse pops out of nowhere and overhears me scream of back agony. She mentions they have sterile water injections and says we should try them. Warren chimes in and says something like “oh, you guys have that option? I was just reading about that.” I try to listen but the surge hits me and I can’t think straight. I want to hear them; I want to learn more about it so I can make a decision but I can’t I am trying so hard not to pass out. Apparently, Warren was suggesting we try it. The anesthesiologist tells him in her experience it doesn’t work that well and continues preparing the epidural.

I ended up getting the epidural the last hour of my birth. Warren holds me up while they stab me repeatedly looking for a gap in my spine. My history with back pain in general is extensive. The hardest part during this process was to stay still through the pain. It feels like my back is breaking into pieces. I stay still while Warren holds me. I remember crying, trembling and screaming through the back pain wishing it was just a normal contraction. I can hear the nurses telling me that I am doing great holding still. I thank my hypnobirthing to be able to do this. This takes much longer due to the anesthesiologist not able to find the right spot. She finally finds it and when the numb feeling hits my back I am relieved but feeling cloudy.

I was pleased that I actually could move my legs and body and still feel the pressure of surges. This makes me feel extremely confident with this decision. I know I can push my new baby into this world with no problem. I turned to look at Warren. He looks concerned and distressed. I know he is thinking this is going to end up like Cash’s birth. He is thinking that I’ll be too numb to push this baby out. So, I look at him and say his name to snap him back to my reality. “Warren! I WILL push this baby out! I can do this. I can still use my hypnobirthing!” Hypnobirthing is not only about achieving natural birth. It’s about believing in yourself and surrounding yourself with empowerment and accepting your birth, wherever it turns. And I did just that.

Twenty minutes later I felt the urge to push. They checked me and I was fully dilated and ready to meet my baby. It only took me 23 minutes of pushing to bring him into this world. My husband kissing me telling me I was doing amazing and the midwife and nurses coaching me so well and so supportive at this point. Honestly, it felt weird pushing without the feeling of surges. I wished to feel them but knew it wouldn’t feel like that with the back labor pain. So, I reminded myself that I am still strong and I smile and say out loud, “I can’t wait to hold him! I am so happy he is finally coming to me!” I reached down to feel his head crowning and I smiled and pushed again and then he was in my arms screaming his baby lungs out. When they tell me what time he is born I am in shock that it’s now Saturday. Two and half days have really gone by? What a warrior my body is.

Mayuq Raul
Born at 2:23am Saturday 11/12/2016
8.8 pounds 22 inches
15 days past the “due date” (just like Rowan)
Another fun one, Cash was born on a Thursday, Rowan on a Friday and Mayuq on a Saturday

It’s been a few months now since Mayuq was born. I find myself with very mixed emotions. Back labor was something fierce. I was planning on writing how awful it was and how the reader should understand why I needed to have the epidural the last hour of my birth. I was trying to justify why my birth didn’t go the way I wanted it to.

Instead I just want to say this. WOW… Women are strong. We birth our children in so many different ways. And we should be proud no matter the outcome. When I had Cash as a C-section, I didn’t feel strong. I felt defeated. Rowan’s birth healed me to help me look at Cash’s birth as a voice to be reconnected with. Fighting for my VBAC and able to have him naturally and gentle was an amazing experience. This last birth I have fought with my emotions on how to think about it.

Talking to some friends that have gone through back labor has made me feel better about my experience. One friend said to me “Doesn’t it make you feel even stronger?” Yes, it does. It also makes me cry or think about what I could have done differently. But, that’s not fair to me. So, I choose to think of the amazing parts of my birth and pregnancy such as these: My oldest supporting me in my bath, my best friend’s visit to share a pineapple, my husband telling me he was sorry for my back pain, using affirmations and meditation to help me birth for so long, my beautiful visions of mountains, my good friend’s candle lighting when I started to birth, my blessingway ceremony, touching my son’s head when he was crowning, having him instantly on my chest and having a second successful vaginal birth after cesarean. And with that I have mastered my peace.

My birthing experience has come to an end. What an amazing journey motherhood is. Although, my personal birthing is done I hope to enjoy others in the future. Possibly pursue my dreams of being in the birthing world such as get my certificate so I can hold hypnobirthing classes. I think my experiences can be helpful to others and I just cannot imagine my life without helping other women achieve their birthing wishes. Thank you for reading Mayuq’s story with an open heart.

Here are some links about back labor and what it is and how to spin your baby back into a better birthing position. My baby was posterior, which is why I think I had the worst results of back labor, a very long pre-labor and some tear:

Also, sterile water injections are for the moms that experience back labor. It might save your natural birth labor if that is your goal. It works very well with cases of pain level at a 8-10 and have an hour left of labor. I would have been the perfect candidate for that option.

When I asked the midwife “what do you have for back labor!?” she never mentioned it. The nurse that was in the room for 3 minutes did. And at that point, it was too late for me to make a clear decision. Getting consent for something like an epidural when you are in intense pain is an interesting topic, especially in light of a birth plan I wrote when I was clear headed. I also think that having a doula at this birth would have been very helpful this time around. Warren had a hard time juggling my needs and fighting for my birthing wishes during transition at the hospital. It also would have been very helpful to have a woman’s touch that knows what she is doing due to training and experience.

My favorite affirmations I used:

I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing might take
I birth with Ease
Breathing in I am Strong, Breathing out I let go
I allow my body to fully relax
Every surge brings my baby closer to me
I look forward to the day of my birthing, the day I meet my baby
My baby moves to the perfect position for birth
I breathe my love down to my baby
I am a strong woman
I am so happy that my baby is finally coming to me
My mind is clear; I focus on the miracle that is happening within me
My baby and body work together in harmony
I look forward to holding my little baby in my arms
I am calm and at peace
My body knows what to do
I tune into my body and out
My baby is safe and comfortable
I am safe and comfortable
I am loved
What a beautiful day… The day I meet my baby.

Story and photographs submitted by Sacha Jones. 

An Unplanned, Unassisted Home VBAC

An Unplanned, Unassisted Home VBAC

My birth story begins three years ago when at 35 weeks pregnant we discovered, much to our surprise, our baby girl was in a frank breech position. Following a consult with maternal-fetal-medicine (MFM), we ultimately decided against moving forward with an external cephalic version (ECV) and instead opted to wait and see if she would turn on her own. Unfortunately, as the weeks passed, baby girl remained snug inside, head up and bottom down. Not once did the option of a vaginal breech birth present itself and I was told the protocol was to schedule a cesarean section at 39 weeks. Although I hadn’t made any specific plans for an intervention-free or non-medicated birth (my personal philosophy was a more “go-with-the-flow” approach), something deep inside me (call it a mother’s intuition) told me labor was an important part of the birth process for me and for baby, even if it ended in a surgical delivery.

Although maternal-fetal-medicine supported us in not doing the ECV and instead awaiting spontaneous labor, my regular OB was not supportive of our wishes threatened me to either schedule a cesarean or sign a waiver (“Against Medical Advice”). I left that appointment feeling bullied, powerless and unheard. Eventually, after push-back from my end along with the support from my MFM OB, my regular OB backed off and agreed to us awaiting labor as an acceptable alternative to scheduling a cesarean at 39 weeks.

At 40 weeks and 1 day I woke around 3 o’clock in the morning to a ping in my stomach that resembled a period cramp. I told my husband I thought I might be in labor but that he could keep sleeping since it would probably be awhile until we’d need to head out for the hospital. Around 6am I decided to call the hospital when my contractions were about seven and a half minutes apart. By the time we got checked into triage at 7:05am contractions were closer and a lot more intense. It had been about four hours since my first labor pain; after a cervical check, the attending OB shouted out, “She’s an eight!” From there, I was prepped swiftly for labor and delivery and although my OB told me she didn’t have time to check me again, she said she suspected I was nine to ten centimeters dilated. My beautiful daughter was born in a belly birth with Apgar scores of nine and nine. She weighed 6 lbs., 3 oz., and measured 18.5 inches long. Surgery was respectful and straightforward; the OB explained to me what she was doing at every junction; she even told me as she sewed me up I was “the perfect candidate for a VBAC.” I knew my body could birth a baby and I was already planning my VBAC in my head.

Skipping forward nine months, I watched the movie The Business of Being Born for the first time. I was so moved by the film that it spurred me to search out more information about midwifery care and natural childbirth. The more I read and watched, the more and more I realized how little I actually knew about birth and maternity care in the United States. I was more determined than ever to attempt a vaginal birth when I fell pregnant again (which I did another ten months down the road) and I knew I had to re-educate myself if I really had a fair shot at a trial of labor and a VBAC.

When I found out we were pregnant again in March 2016 my next big step was changing providers; I switched from the OB practice I had been with while pregnant with my daughter to a midwife practice. As part of my care plan, I was required to meet with an OB from the midwives’ consulting obstetrician group. I specifically scheduled a meeting with the head OB from that group who I had heard good things about and who I was told was very VBAC-friendly. Upon reviewing my health records, the first question he asked me was, “So, why didn’t you have a vaginal breech birth the last time?” My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe he had asked me that since the topic never came up once as a possible option. I knew this time around I was with the right group of providers; a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I felt I could finally start to enjoy my pregnancy.

From that point on, my pregnancy progressed much like my first (complication-free and uneventful). Starting around 14 weeks I began doing twice-weekly prenatal yoga to ensure better body balancing in hopes of giving baby the best chance of getting into an optimal position. Around 30 weeks I started seeing a chiropractor certified in the Webster technique one to two times a week for adjustments. Baby luckily got into a head-down position around 28 weeks and we never looked back. During this time, we also hired a doula/birth photographer. In the final weeks before my baby was to be born, I felt I was as prepared as I possibly could be for a trial of labor and knew every single person on board supported me and believed in me. Although I felt deep down in my core I was going to have a VBAC, I still came to peace with the possibility of having another cesarean section (I even created an amazing cesarean birth plan if we needed it).

My “due date” of 11/24/16 came and passed along with the Thanksgiving holiday. We had family in town and everyone was excited and eager to meet our new addition to the family. I had been having increasing Braxton-Hicks contractions the couple of days surrounding the holiday, but nothing that took up a consistent pattern. Early morning on 11/27/16 I woke up around 3:30am with period-like cramps. I got up and decided to start timing to see if these were the real thing or just pre-labor. I woke my husband and told him I was going to the living room for a while to time them and I’d come wake him if it looked like they were turning into something more consistent. After timing contractions for about an hour, I texted my doula to let her know I was awake and contracting but that there was no distinct pattern. She suggested I have some water and lay down to see if they might go away. I took my doula’s advice and eventually contractions dissipated around 6am and I was able to catch a couple of hours of sleep before getting up again to officially start the day.

I woke again around 8:30am on 11/27/16 and contractions picked back up soon after, although still spaced out and not very intense. I called my doula in the morning and gave her an update. We decided since they were still infrequent and mild to keep an eye on them to see if they would turn into something more consistent. Around 1pm my husband, daughter and I headed out for afternoon brunch. At around 2pm while at brunch, the contractions started to become more uncomfortable, coming about every fifteen to twenty minutes. This is when I suspected it was the real thing. My doula called me while at brunch and I filled her in. Since contractions were still fifteen minutes apart, we decided to stay in touch about progress. She suggested I go for a walk and see how they progressed from there.

After brunch we gathered our daughter and decided to head to a nearby reservoir that also had a big play area and park. It was an absolutely picturesque fall afternoon; it was crisp and cool and the sun was shining. The multi colored leaves on the trees provided a beautiful fall back-drop to my labor. After we got parked and unloaded, we enjoyed a stroll and fed the ducks in the park. As contractions got more painful, I began to hang back a bit from my husband and daughter to work through them. From behind, I watched them playfully frolic in the afternoon sun as I labored. As we made our way for the play area in the park, the contractions began to intensify and started getting closer (about thirteen minutes apart). As we approached the playground, I told my husband I was going to follow behind them so as not to cause concern for my daughter. As they came and went, I began my deep breathing, moaning, and movement to handle the intense sensations; I was squatting on park benches and leaning on park structures while swaying my hips from side-to-side. After arriving at the play area, I continued to explore on my own; I remember watching the colorful skyline and thinking that the energy I was feeling was helping to bring my baby into this world.

Around this time, I felt as though I couldn’t be in public any longer and needed to go home. I tracked down my husband at that point and told him we needed to go soon; I asked for the key and told him I’d be waiting for him and my daughter in the car. Once in the car, I texted my doula that we were heading home and that contractions were about nine to eleven minutes apart. During the fifteen to twenty minutes I waited for my family, I had to get out of the car to work through my contractions; I squatted and held onto the car’s frame near the foot of the car and moaned deeply as they came and went.

On the way home I had several other intense contractions that required me to unbuckle my seatbelt in order to move through the surges. I knew this was the real thing and we were having a baby that day. As we approached our home, I told my husband that since my contractions were still rather far apart (about ten minutes) we still had some time and so I wanted him to take my daughter out for a car ride to see if he could get her to nap before we left her with my cousin to head to the hospital. Once we pulled into our garage, my husband told me he needed to run up quickly to use the bathroom; in the ten to fifteen minutes I waited in the car with my daughter, I had another strong contraction that required me to get out of the car. Once my husband got back to the car, I said goodbye to him and my daughter and told him I’d call him when it was time for him to come back home. As he headed out with my daughter I hurried up the stairs to get our final items together for the hospital. I also called my doula and told her contractions were about seven to eight, minutes apart by that time but were very intense. She said most likely today was going to be the day and that I should start making the necessary calls to arrange for my daughter’s care. She also said I should try to relax and use the last little bit of time before we left to reflect on my pregnancy journey. After I hung up, I plugged in our Christmas lights that hung across our living room windows; as I was about to put on some relaxing music. Then I had a monster contraction that shook me to my core; all of a sudden I felt a trickle of fluid and then a full gush; it was my water! Simultaneously, I felt a major shift inside of me – the baby was crowning and I was home…alone.

As the physical sensation overtook me, a moment of panic set in; I guided myself down to the living room floor into a side-lying position; I quickly spotted my cell phone on the couch and reached for it immediately. I dialed my doula to let her know my water had broken and the baby was coming. Sensing the panic and urgency in my voice, my doula told me she would be there in five minutes (luckily, she literally lives five minutes from me). I told her the front door to our apartment building was locked, but to ring every neighbor’s bell and that someone had to be home who could let her in. As I laid on my side, my contractions started to space out. I reached my hand down and could feel the top of my baby’s head; I could feel he had some hair and remembered that my daughter was also born with hair. There he was! Right there! I knew this VBAC was going to happen.

I then called my husband. Twice. But he didn’t pick up. So then I called my cousin who was supposed to watch our daughter when we went to the hospital. She answered, and I immediately blurted out, “the baby’s coming!” I also told her the baby was crowning and that I couldn’t get a hold of my husband; she told me she was on the way before I hung up and tried calling my husband again (to no avail). In that moment, I realized I needed to calm down and pull myself together. I told myself someone would be there soon, but that it was likely I was going to have to deliver my baby on my own. I knew I needed to be focused for my baby and remember telling myself to breath, that I needed to be there for him. Then, I remembered the breathing exercises I had learned in my prenatal yoga classes. I found my calm and tried to take some good, deep, cleansing breaths.

During this time, my cousin called me back and stayed on the phone with me as my body began to push. I remember my cousin trying to help me with words of encouragement while I started pushing, but she was understandably at a loss for words and just continued to listen from the other end of the phone. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a pounding on the door – it was my doula. The college-age girls that live across the hallway from us had let her in our building, but I had forgotten the door to our apartment was locked as well and my doula didn’t have a key! She shouted that the door was locked and that she needed me to let her in, but, at that point, there was no way I could physically stand up to let her in; the baby coming then and there and my body was pushing all on its own. Locked out on the other side of the door, my doula continued to talk to me. When she realized I was bearing down, she told my neighbors to call 911 for an ambulance. At a certain point, I stopped registering the words she was speaking and completely focused in on the task at hand. It wasn’t more than another push and my son’s head came out. Almost simultaneously the rest of his slippery little body followed. Incredibly, in that moment I don’t remember feeling any pain but rather relief. As he slipped out and softly landed on the carpeted living room floor, he began to immediately cry; I remember being so incredibly amazed that he came out of me so quickly and easily; the second I saw him land softly on the carpet, I scooped him up and shouted to him, “I got you! I got you!” I brought him immediately to my chest, hugging him tightly since I didn’t want to drop him (he was so wet and slippery!).

Then, it was as if my mind transported back from whatever far- off planet it had traveled to during the delivery, and I heard my doula ask me, whenever I could manage, to get up to unlock the door to let her in. After drying my feet, I quickly headed for the front door. In almost the same motion, I unlocked the door and headed back to the living room floor to lay down with my baby boy. My doula came in with the happiest glow on her face; she quickly helped guide me back down to the carpet and grabbed me two pillows from the sofa to help prop my head up. She also grabbed the throw blanket off the sofa and thoughtfully covered me up while doing a very quick check down below to make sure I wasn’t showing signs of excessive postpartum bleeding. After a quick glance over, she told me we both looked great and that the paramedics were on the way. She kept telling me how awesome I was, how proud she was of me, and what a rock star I was. She also assisted me with our first breastfeeding session, and the energy in the room was incredibly peaceful and serene. I felt an immense sense of calm and accomplishment that we both felt as we waited there for the paramedics.

As we waited, my doula warned me that when the paramedics got there it could be a little crazy; luckily, though, when the paramedics arrived (about ten minutes after the birth of my son) they were incredibly calm and professional (because both my doula and I were calm and everything was stable). The three older men looked me over to make sure I wasn’t showing any signs of hemorrhaging; luckily, other than the blood from the delivery, I wasn’t bleeding. They also looked at the baby and saw he was breathing great and was pink in color. One of them even commented that you never see babies look that good after birth. When it came time to cut my son’s cord (all of his cord blood had transferred by that point), I asked the paramedic if my doula could cut the cord instead; he had no problem with letting her cut the cord, and she happily accepted the honor.

After a few more moments, my husband arrived with my daughter in tow and my cousin arrived just a few minutes later. As I glanced up at my husband, I could see my daughter, fast asleep on his shoulder. Within a minute or two, my daughter awoke in a sort of fog; she was quiet but curious about the strangers in our home but did not appear scared or frightened. It was at that moment I especially appreciated the calm and professional demeanor of the first responders. Then, I could hear my husband ask my daughter if she wanted to see her brother; without hesitation, said, “Yeah!” She gave him a look over as the paramedics got my son buckled into his car seat and got me strapped onto the gurney. As we arrived at the hospital, I was greeted with the same professionalism and calm from the ER team. After a quick look-over, my son was returned to my arms; I was congratulated and told he was beautiful and perfect before they took me to my labor and delivery room to deliver the placenta. Once in my room, the team began to transfer me to a bed from the gurney when, all of a sudden, I felt a dull but intense cramp that pushed out my placenta. Finally, the sense of relief was immense and I realized not only did I birth my son without drugs, but my placenta too!

Although I had not planned for an unassisted home VBAC, I felt I was as prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically as anyone could be for this kind of experience. I am in absolute awe of the female body and am certain all women have the same instinct and ability to birth their babies unhindered just as I did. The love and respectful care I received from the first responders, medical team, doula and my family was priceless and I wish that for all birthing women, everywhere, under all circumstances. I have never felt more, powerful, capable, womanly, transformed and healed as I have as a result of this birth. I hope, if anything, my experience shows other moms who are on their VBAC journey that their bodies are not broken and that we all have the intuition and strength to birth naturally.

Birth story submitted by Erin D.

Photographs by Jessica Thomas of Under My Heart Birth Services.

Epic HBA2C After a Surrogacy

Epic HBA2C After a Surrogacy

The Prequel to the Sequel

There are so many ways to begin the story of Osiris’ birth, whether that be by marking the arrival of contractions and prodromal labor, the arrival of my birth posse or possibly what kicked me into active labor, a handcrafted cheesy In & Out burger, fries and a beer. But what makes this birth story unique, is that Osiris’ journey into this world began before Frank and I ever knew we’d be pregnant again. I believe we were always meant for this little boy, and by some force, he was designed to teach me and to teach others how to trust, honor and believe. In the 6 days I’ve been blessed to share with this little boy and his big spirit, I have learned so much about myself, my husband, my daughter and what it truly means to feel complete….I’m no longer broken.

I had my first daughter at the age of “barely 20”, she was a surprise blessing in a time of rapid change and growth in my life. June was conceived while I was in college, working full time and dating her father (while on the blessed NuvaRing… ….). Things happened fast for us, as I had no clue of the growing child within my womb until the beginning of the 2nd trimester, just months after her father and I began dating. At 19 with a full course load and work load, being pregnant was initially something I feared for the sake of being pushed behind the crowd, shunned, looked down upon… I considered termination, made an appointment and never walked into the clinic after seeing a “not so pleasant” woman walk in before me. I remember thinking to myself how I didn’t want to be judged as I viewed her and judged her. Now, fast forward almost 4 years and here I am, with a beautiful, fiery and fierce young lady. That woman I saw walk into the clinic wasn’t someone I look down on anymore…I cherish seeing her in her sweat pants. That stranger changed my life forever.

June was born via a c-section that could’ve and should’ve been avoided. While I attribute my induction to being young and dumb, I felt that, at the time, I knew everything. I hired a doula, had a birth plan and bounced and rolled on my birth ball for months to prep my precious pelvic floor. I was swindled into an induction after Dr. HackandSlash witnessed my discomfort with sciatica. Like many inductions, mine failed to progress and I was strapped down in an ice cold operating room due to failure to progress. I saw my daughter, covered in vernix and struggling to cry and breathe…I couldn’t touch her, hold her or soothe her. I couldn’t do the kangaroo care I was so excited about, I couldn’t even kiss her slimy little cheeks. While we suspected she’d be large and full term, she was instead tiny and had symptoms that suggested she was 35-36 weeks gestation.  She was taken from me and instead of a moment full of joy and love I felt broken, damaged and used.

It was after her birth that I pursued DONA doula training and immediately began attending births, free of charge, to low income, single, young and immigrant mothers. I did doula work for over a year before deciding with Frank that I would become a surrogate mother for a family I had been talking to while on surrogate forums online. I had played with the idea in my head even before having my daughter, just as something to check off my bucket list…next to “make a baby” on my list there was “make a family”. I did a traditional surrogacy, meaning I was the egg donor as well as the gestational carrier. We managed to get pregnant within one cycle of trying, without the use of doctors or expensive fertility clinics. June was meant to be my miracle and my surrogate daughter, Anne, was meant to be a miracle for someone else.

The pregnancy was extremely hard for me due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum, with hospital visits and IV pumps, acupuncture and hypnotherapy. While we had planned a hospital VBAC with a great OB/GYN, toward the end of the pregnancy it was an unanimous decision to opt for an elective c-section as the malnutrition caused fainting spells… not a great combo for any birth, and definitely not something as demanding as a surrogate VBAC. The parents and I were saddened, but scheduled Anne’s section during my 39th week, the Monday after June’s 2nd birthday party.

Anne’s c-section was by far the most amazing story c-section story I’ve heard and given the circumstances of the birth, it had been perfect for the situation as well. Anne’s mother induced lactation and upon Anne’s little body leaving me, she was wrapped and handed to her intended mother, who was shirtless and ready to nurse her beautiful baby. She had waited a lifetime to be a mother and until months before hadn’t even known lactation without birth was an option. Within moments, literally seconds, Anne grunted, cried, looked up at her mother and latched. I was never meant to be her mother and she knew it as well as we did… Dad was waiting in the recovery room shirtless as well and once Anne was done nursing while I was being stitched up, she was taken into the nursery for a check with her dad and her mother stayed with me until we were all reunited. The 3 of us became 4 and for the remainder of my hospital stay, a short 3 days, we roomed together, both nursed the new baby, and ate, slept and even watched Judge Judy together. The hospital staff wasn’t too sure about our situation but let us be. We separated on the 3rd day with smiles and hugs, not tears of sadness. I keep in contact with the parents and we do multiple visits throughout the year to mark special times like birthdays and holidays.

While Anne’s birth didn’t break me, I still had a feeling of emptiness. I told myself the 2nd c-section was necessary but deep down I knew my body had the ability, much like it did before,  I just never found a doctor that would give my body the chance I needed. I knew after the 2nd c-section that I would have issues finding anyone to assist my next birth. I knew I would forever be on the OB/GYN “DO NOT FLY”-list. I was a terrorist. I was blacklisted. I was not to be trusted.

BFP

When my husband and I found out about our pregnancy just 6 months after I had Anne, we were in shock… We had talked about a 2nd child of our own but didn’t expect to be expecting so soon. My heart sank when I did the math in my head, with a positive test in my hand…My due date was only 16 months after my previous c-section. Once again, the feeling of emptiness plagued me. Would I be able to give my child the birth they deserved? Could I redeem myself? Was it safe? I played with the idea of an unassisted homebirth after reading story after story of multiple c-sectioned mothers catching their own babies due to the lack of medical support for their right to a safe and natural birth. Mothers with stories similar to mine…Not one feeling of a contraction, not one birth where they were the first to see their offspring, smell their child or cry tears of joy because birth just “hurt too good”. My whole life I knew I wanted to be a mother…There are pictures of me as a child, sticking my belly out and listening to my stomach with a pretend stethoscope. I would pretend to be sick while in middle school and instead of watching MTV, I was watching TLC and learning about Pitocin, epidurals…. you name the intervention,  “A Baby Story” had it covered. I began attending hospital births of family members fairly young…by the age of 12 I had seen 3 different species birth…Yes, I count my older sister as her own species… ;).

I received an ultrasound early in the pregnancy and until near my 15th week, I had it in my mind that I would just be pregnant and trust my body.  I didn’t want to hear negative feedback from “medical professionals” about my aspirations to have a vaginal birth and didn’t want to have to explain why I just wanted a chance. I shouldn’t need to defend my body’s natural ability to birth. Frank ended up asking questions about prenatal care, and I’d laugh it off…No Hyperemesis this time (well, when compared to the hellish time I had with the previous pregnancy), I took my vitamins, baby moved great early on, I had great energy and my weight was stable, there’s some peace of mind when you’re on your 3rd pregnancy and have been a blog follower of Birth Without Fear for years… 😉 By week 18 I had a pregnant freak out and was uncertain that I could have a vaginal birth…No OB/GYNs in sight would take me as a VBA2C with my insurance and the house we were living in wasn’t suitable for a homebirth, whether that be with a midwife or unassisted. One bathroom, three bedrooms, four adults and a three year old lived in our home. Sure, doable, but the space was small, cramped and, honestly, the bathtub sucked. I felt trapped, and for the first time, and only time during the duration of this pregnancy, I felt like a failure again. This was it. I was going to be scheduled to be given a baby, I wouldn’t HAVE a baby and laboring was just something my body “didn’t do”.

A friend of mine asked if she could share my unique situation in a local midwife group… A mother aspiring for a homebirth after 2 c-sections, with the last section being 16 months prior to my due date. Three midwives responded and I interviewed with two, knowing instantly that one wasn’t going to work for me (hey, it happens, right?). The first midwife was outstanding….very spiritual while also extremely educated on anthropology and sociology with ties to birth… In all honesty, I wanted to stop interviewing midwives but she insisted I meet with the other midwife before making my final decision.

The Midwives

I was nervous before meeting Judy… I was familiar with her webpage, it had come up in a Google search at some point in the years between June’s birth and getting pregnant with Osiris…And while I didn’t know at the time, I read portions of “Our Bodies Ourselves” in high school for ammo during a student debate (Judy was a contributing writer). Judy was, in my eyes, the “best of the best” and, if I couldn’t birth at The Farm, I could at least find a midwife that suited my every desire… A spirited, dynamic, encouraging and most of all, an inspirational woman with a belief in my body even in times I doubted myself. I probably can’t convey my instant emotion in words…but I can try….The moment I saw Judy, with this big welcoming smile and an aura of warmth and her left over New England accent, I was nearly breathless. I knew instantly she would be a cherished token in my experience to birth. I just knew she was right.

I was reluctant to believe that anyone would believe in me…And what set Judy aside from the previous midwife was one simple sentence that I would ultimately repeat to myself on a daily basis…”You’re no different than a first time mom”. Truthfully, that’s all I ever wanted after I had June. A chance to re-do my first labor and birth experience. I longed for a chance to be that first timer again.

Judy is an amazing woman… Truthful, sincere, clever, considerate and even with my scattered brain, she was always able to keep up with my questions, concerns and even when I didn’t have questions she answered questions she knew I needed answers to. Talk about the complete package. She’s a ball of energy and whatever it is she has, it’s contagious.

Judy’s partner midwife, Lael, brings balance… a yin and yang. They aren’t opposites, but instead perfectly complement each other. Lael has a soothing tone and just something about her puts me at ease. It’s a feeling that I’ve felt before with very few others…not quite déjà vu, but a spiritual match, a “we’re on the same page”/*thumbs up* type feeling. She’s bright and has a realistic and tenderhearted disposition. I’ve never once felt judged or compromised around her. And as our relationship developed over the months, my awe of Judy transpired into an admiration of both women. Lael’s unique and refreshing personality goes far beyond babies and birth…I came to Lael with questions on how to handle transitioning my VERY MUCH of an only child and she always had a suggestion I hadn’t heard before, or it was put into terms even a freaked out “attachment parent” could understand. Sometimes distraction and kisses just don’t work…

The two of them are a force to be reckoned with. I can’t imagine a better team of midwives and I’m sorry to those reading that aren’t in the Bay Area…Judy and Lael have got to be the standard for what midwifery care is really about. The smartest women I’ve ever been around, the most compassionate, direct, fun and trusting people I know. I hadn’t felt so perfect in my own skin until I met these women that put faith and understanding in the natural concept of birth. I wasn’t broken to them. I wasn’t even a challenge. No “high risk” classification. No special needs here.

And what they have done for more goes far beyond prenatal care, my labor and bringing this baby into the World. They inspire me… I love people that inspire me.

Osiris, Lord of Eternity

My contractions began about 2 weeks prior to Osiris’ birth. Every evening they would begin and slowly drift away before bed time… On Monday I had noticed a difference in the intensity of the contractions and began to feel my whole uterus contract, with lower abdominal cramping and, as I described to many friends, it felt as if I was getting hugged at church while on the first day of my period. Classy, I know.

Things stayed at 7-8 minutes apart and I stuck to my normal routine… Being a mom to my 3 year old. I packed June in the car and picked Frank up from the train after work, we went home and upon lying down I’d have a contraction. I couldn’t sit, it hurt. I couldn’t even roll around on the birth ball, which hurt too. I knew things would get stronger and that the beginning could be a long, long, long experience…I called Ruthie to give her a heads up as she lives over an hour away. We agreed I needed to keep the photographer and doula in the loop. I called Sophia to let her know and to my surprise, she was already attending a birth and had been there for some time, we agreed to keep in contact if anything changed. Leah was next, I let her know things were “happening”.

It’s all funny to think about now….Being a doula can prep no one for a vaginal birth if they haven’t had one yet. HAVING a doula can prep anyone, but being one?!! No way. Within hours of contractions starting I was in excited, OMG, I WANT THIS TO HAPPEN mode and jumped the gun. Ruthie ended up driving with June’s birth buddies Indigo and Raiden with her AHHMAZING daughter Morgynne. We walked while Frank and Morgynne watched the girls and while the contractions would come and go within good time, they eventually faded. Maybe because of the kids being kids (no one wanted to go to sleep!)…Most likely because Osiris heard too much girly chitchat between June and Indigo. Monday came and ended….

Tuesday we woke up, hit the road with the kids and headed to Dr. Hanses’ for a chiropractic adjustment. It made me feel GREAT! My ligaments were tense and tight, so having Dr. Hanses stretch them out really must’ve helped Osiris drop lower. Also, cute chiro doing acupressure for induction? I’m 99.9% sure the first words out of my mouth once walking back to Ruthie after my adjustment were, “AM I SUPPOSED TO BE REALLY UM..TURNED ON RIGHT NOW? THIS WASN’T THE POINT! OH. MY. GAWD. I LOVE HIS WIFE.” I was red faced! Thank GOD for a cool water dispenser… Moving along…

Sophia and Leah (and mini doula Clara) ended up coming to Bonney’s Birth Den (my grandma’s house which ended up being the “homebirth” location) that evening. I didn’t have a blessingway, but if I could do it all over, this is what I’d do again. A group of birth junkies surrounding me while early labor contractions were transitioning from prodromal labor to ACTUAL early labor. I was getting pepperminted, lotioned…and even sang to (“My dick need no introduction, Your dick don’t even function, My dick served a whole lunch-in, Your dick, it look like a munchkin”…Sophia must have a HORRIBLE taste in music).  We were all laughing; even Frank was a part of the group, which is a change from his normal video game routine. It all just felt right…the kids were asleep, Ruthie, Morgynne, Sophia, Leah & Clara (they count as one doula entity) and Frank….All just hanging out and having a blast. Sophia had come from a birth and was exhausted…We all turned in and tried to get some sleep. Well, they tried to sleep…Frank and I tried to get “busy”.

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Labor Day…I’m a Believer

Wednesday began with chaos…Breakfast for everyone; getting the kids situated…We were all exhausted. Sophia said what the others were thinking…It was time for them to leave and we would all meet back again when things picked up. Once everyone left, go figure, things picked up… I spent the afternoon in bed with my headphones listening to Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Stevie Ray Vaughn…I’d lay on my back to rest and when I’d feel a contraction brewing, I’d turn real fast on to my hands and knees. Like a ninja. Thinking back at the intensity of the contractions, I have NO idea how I was able to get up and turn myself while hugely pregnant…I could hardly turn in bed for the previous 4 months (coughGREATCHIROPRACTORcough).

I called one of the midwives after I saw some bloody show following some (more)  “let’s get this party started”-sex. Lael (midwife, not to be confused with Leah the doula) came by to do a status check while another client of hers had been pushing for hours and hours with Judy. A stretchy 3cm. WOOHOO! I was on cloud 9. Not only did I dilate, but I had ZERO previous vaginal checks with this pregnancy…I hadn’t dilated with labor EVER. I couldn’t believe it. 3 centimeters. I could’ve been ½…or 2…and I’d still feel the same. I did it. It’s open… I trusted myself and it happened. After a stall and sending everyone home it was exactly what I needed to hear. Not that I did it…but that I was doing it! It was happening! With every breath and every contraction early labor was coming to a close. I’d be done with this crap soon! Once the stalling would just stop and I could get into my groove I’d get my birth posse back and have my epic birth party that I had envisioned for months…

Evening came and Rachel (Dr. Hanses’ wife, as previously mentioned) and Eliza came over to play with June and bring my LAST EVER pregnancy craving. In & Out Burger and a beer. Leah & Clara came as things were starting to get rough for me (Perfect timing. Literally. Perfect.) .  Frank was able to focus on me (Yes, AGAIN. Nudge nudge, wink wink) and while I didn’t have to worry about June I went from early to active labor. Rachel had to leave but gave me a great boost of confidence… I could do this! I WAS doing it! It was going to happen!

Shortly after Rachel left…And I mean an HOUR after Rachel left, BAM. Active. That’s also when I got naked. No idea how ladies labor in clothes…Screw that. Crazies. I would lean over the birth ball during a contraction….get up, walk around, giggle with June…Back on my hands and knees/birth ball in total hard-to-talk intense contraction mode. I went from 6 minutes apart to 2 ½ minutes within one contraction. I remember feeling my body just “give”…My cervix must’ve  opened up within one contraction.

I Love James Brown

Frank put the Rocket Man station on Pandora and I found a spot in the bathroom, hovering myself on the window seal of an open window with a nice breeze. My poor neighbors… I would moan through one breath and then breathe through the rest of my contraction. They were probably really confused with all the sex noises…I really didn’t feel pain. It was a blissful feeling for me. Not orgasmic (I had done enough of that between Monday and Wednesday night…no more orgasms were happening…) but a calm, intense feeling. I went from the window to the ball, from the ball to the window… Little Clara would come up and rub my back like her mama did, and she’d wipe the hair from my face. Best. Doula. Ever.  All the doula power from one big doula just concentrated into little itty bitty hands… I specifically remember a huge contraction while Leah was changing the sheets on the bed…It was almost an SOS call for some back rubbing when suddenly, there Clara was, with her little fingers running down my back. I lifted my head (which was RARE during all of my labor and pushing…VERY RARE) and saw Clara, not scared by my noise or intensity. Just little Clara, my 16 month old doula. I do know for a fact she helped during this birth as much as all the big girls.

Leah called Lael at some point, geez, I don’t even know. But I’m glad she was called when she was! Lael came, did a quick check and I was a good 7cm. Lael got things ready in the room and I remember saying “I LOVE James Brown” (which was playing on Pandora)…She laughed and found a spot to rest and waited until she could hear me “ripen” so to speak. I guess not many mamas talk about James Brown while in active labor?  Sophia and Ruthie weren’t far behind the midwife… I had a photographer and I’ll be damned if my face was even out of the pillow to get a picture of me in labor!

I remember peeking from my head-in-pillow position and seeing Sophia and Ruthie…THEY MADE IT! I was totally into myself and remember the “conversation” I had in my head during labor… When Ruthie and Sophia came I told myself it was time to just let go and start the real stuff. Upon Ruthie showing up, it reminded me that the Birth Beads she had blessed upon me during my third trimester were “nowhere to be found”. I didn’t say much while in labor…but I uttered “I can’t find my beads!” to Ruthie. I was so bummed…I meditated with those beads for weeks.

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I turned in and began to use my mind to guide and instruct my body. I have a great friend that sent me a book early into my pregnancy about meditation in martial arts… Sounds crazy, but I used more from that book than any birth book I *tried* to read. I knew I’d have a wall like a marathon runner and I knew I’d have to break it down… I thought to myself, “Or, well, how about I skip the wall completely, focus on breathing and visualize the prize?” There’s a passage from the book the mentions a world class sharp shooter….He didn’t even pick up a rifle for a year, but instead went to the shooting range and visualized hitting his target. He won a world competition the first time firing his gun in over a year.

That needed to be me. And I had spent months and months visualizing my cervix opening…I’d imagine the muscles in my uterus contracting, squeezing my baby down. I saw myself from within. I saw my baby, I saw his head moving down the birth canal and I felt everything. I was into this vision when I felt an overwhelming urge to scratch everyone’s eyes out, bite them, tear them apart… I did a “get THAT OFF ME!” freak out and upon hearing my own voice I KNEW…CHECK! Transition.

“Holy, fuck, Lyndsie, we’re doing it. And we’re close.”  I was getting deeper and deeper into my meditation…probably too deep as I heard Ruthie say “um…She’s not breathing. Lyndsie, breathe”.  I then started to focus on bringing oxygen to my baby. I told myself this was going to be quick. I felt the urge to push and didn’t believe it…. So I went 1-2 contractions trying to breathe out the push. I didn’t realize I could be ready yet. Lael wanted me to roll over for a check, which she never got to do… Once I was told I didn’t HAVE to wait for some signal from the midwife to push, I was PUSHING. And pushing HARD.

I asked how close he was…. “Closer than he was!” “He’s close!”…. I didn’t want to know that. I wanted to know where the fuck this little kid was….because I had been guiding him down my birth canal for months in my mind… “CMON, BABY”. I was getting heated, angry…”OSIRIS, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU,” I heard in my head… THEN…a h-u-g-e POP. While  for a nanosecond I did a “WTF OMG UTERUS RUPTURE”, I then  heard my mind say “FUCK THAT WAS MY WATERS!”. Confirmed by the midwife…Yup. Check that off the list, too. Immediately after, I told Frank…”Frank! I want YOU to catch the baby!” (We had talked and before he didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of catching OR cutting the cord).

Ooo, Baby, baby… Ah….Push It Real Good

Now, if you haven’t been lucky enough to push with hot compresses on your perineum, let me tell you this… I’d marry Lael if I planned to have more children. Warm water counter pressure on my prized perineum? I didn’t even feel pain while pushing! Lael used fancy pure olive oil (out of our pantry) to lube my chute and I was loud and encouraged to be louder… but I think I was yelling because I had expected pain and I was pissed that I wasn’t feeling any. Like maybe I wasn’t pushing HARD enough? “Oh yeah? Take this!” Two more pushes, a Chewbacca cry and out came my baby. How’d I know he was coming out?? I heard Ruthie’s war cry…”FRANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”…He was downstairs getting more hot water.  He ran up the stairs and scooped up his son. Ruthie jetted downstairs to wake up June (she couldn’t find her at first…June fell off the couch and ended up under the coffee table).

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I stayed on my hands and knees for a moment. I didn’t even turn around to look at the baby. I was so amazed with my body and then heard the baby cry…I knew he was okay, with his dad…and I had to soak in my moment. I did it. I FUCKING DID IT. I kept saying it. Over and over.

Osiris Nova was born October 18th, 2012 at 2:28AM. He was 7lbs even, 19 inches long. 3 ½ hours of active labor and 20(ish) minutes of pushing. No tearing. No stitches. No pain.

I finally felt someone pick up my leg and toss me over after I even made an excuse like “I don’t want to kick the baby!” (eyeroll). I was put on my back and looked around the room. Osiris, Frank, Lael, Ruthie, Leah, Clara (who had fallen asleep next to me, on her mama), Sophia and my Grandma Bonney. I raised my arm in the air and yelled, “I DID IT!!!!!”. I kept sarcastically yelling things like…”16 months between? No we won’t VBAC you”…”vaginal after 2 c-sections? Are you crazy?” “What if you rupture?!!”. Oh, and an epic…”SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE OF THIS *cord hanging out* AND SEND IT TO MY MOTHER IN LAW WITH THE CAPTION: NOT EVEN A TEAR!” (she isn’t very pro homebirth…).

June was nervous…Lots of things going on to be woken up to. A room full of happy smiling ladies, a naked mommy, a crying baby and a bowl of placenta. She was glued to her daddy, just figuring out what was happening. My mom came within minutes of getting a phone call, at the same time Judy made her way. Once Judy and my mom arrived, June warmed up and welcomed her brother with a smile (and a poke into his soft spot…sigh…siblings).

Frank cut the cord and there we were… They handed Osiris  to me and I had to make a point to say he smelt WONDERFUL. Birth and pure olive oil. I can still smell it. And I hope I never forget. Osiris latched almost instantly, only after grabbing my nipple with his fist. Boy has grip.

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Not Broken

I mentioned how I idolized Judy…But it’s funny. I felt like I could do this because I had her as my midwife. People would ask if I was nervous and I’d reply, “No! I have the best midwife EVER!”…But really, I could do it all along. Her care and her confidence in my body directed me to trust and believe in myself. Even when we first met, on a park bench while June was running around and climbing all over, I knew she’d be a big aspect of this birth. She apologized for missing it…And I replied that she didn’t miss a thing. It meant I had a great midwife and she prepped me well, inside and out. She gave me power through her knowledge and faith in birth. I am forever changed. I did it.

Judy and Lael never saw me as damaged goods. They never lost faith in me. I was never actually broken or destroyed like I felt for the last 3 years.

And, while I can highlight how amazed I am that they believed in me, the most amazing thing is that I believed in myself. I read the studies of VBACs, I knew the risks of a homebirth VBAC and I decided that for me, my baby and for my family, a homebirth after 2 c-sections was right. I am so happy with this birth. It was perfect.

Now, 2 weeks after the birth, here I am with my squishy baby, next to a rockstar big sister and the most amazing father. Frank has been more than supportive through all of this, and he even pushed himself further than he expected. He caught his son, went downstairs for a Guinness and came back up (after the cord stopped pulsing, of course!), set his Guinness down on the window ledge and cut the cord. Osiris brought us so many things… new friends, a whole new community of people and support, the inspiration to go (back) to college, new job opportunities… Our family is closer than ever…Frank and June literally fight me to hold Osiris. I only get to see my sweet boy when he wants a boob!

A little funny about those Birth Beads I thought I lost… I woke up on my first day as a mother of 2 with a kink in my neck. I had slept on something and  reached into the pillow case that I had bit into during pushing, the pillow that I moaned into, basically, my life link during labor… Sure enough, there they were. I had my beads the whole time.

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I want to thank everyone that played into this wonderful experience…Even went it was tough, having my groupies made it worth every moment of confusion and misdirection. We have found our way now that Osiris is here…And know that we appreciate every little bit and cherish our relationship together. This little guy began more than just his own life…He changed ours and will continue to inspire us (just as his sister inspired us to grow the fudge up 3 ½ years ago). I could’ve done this without you…But I’m glad I had ya’ll! Special thanks (in no special order, except Ruthie): Ruthie and Matt Davis, Morgynne Rees, Jasmin Miltose, Rachel and Mark Hanses, June Melissa Park, Diana Hurwitz, Sophia Williams, Judy Luce, Lael Stimming, Leah and Clara Coppa, Jordan Cummings, Lynne Gomez, Lynn Heinisch, Elizabeth Ochoa, Ellie Cook, Yvonne Hightshoe, Kristi McCoy and all those along the way that believed in us!

Photographer: Sophia Williams of Sophia’s Special Deliveries. You can see more photos of this birth and many others at Sophia’s facebook page or website.

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