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River Violet’s Birth Story: HBA2C

River Violet’s Birth Story: HBA2C

For the past nine months Raul and I have been preparing for a HBA2C (home birth after 2 c-sections). We read all the books (Ina May was my favourite), watched all the documentaries and took a Bradley class to educate ourselves on the process. We were well versed in the “mechanics” of labour, but there was a mental/emotional component that I struggled with from day one.

Deciding to do a VBAC took a leap of faith. I can’t even count how many times I was asked about our delivery plans and when I told them we were planning a home birth, I was met with everything from caution to full out dissension.  While I had done all the research and looked at all the statistics, it was hard to quiet the little voice in my head that would say “what if?”

The pregnancy itself was fairly uneventful, besides the usual aches and pains and low iron there wasn’t much to complain about. I was able to skirt past the gestational diabetes, which was the biggest hurdle (since Jackson was a GD baby) and we started to hunker down and prepare for labour.

Mentally I started to work on the little voice in my head. First, my doula knew that I was a worrier, so she suggested I write out an alternate c-section birth plan as a plan B. We never needed it, but I felt a little better knowing that my wishes were typed up if things didn’t go as planned. Then I read all the birth stories again in the Ina May book, and paid attention to her words about how the mind/body was crucial to a successful ending. Every night before bed, I would play out how the labour and delivery would go in my head.

Sunday morning (Dec 30, 2012) I woke up on a mission. I suddenly realized that I had forgotten a key thing in my labour prep process. Before I was induced with Jackson and before my c-section with Zachary I sat down and wrote a letter to them in the womb. So I sat down in the office and wrote out River’s birthday letter. I told her about my hopes and dreams for her; how much we all loved her, at one point Raul came looking for me and found me crying my eyes out staring at the computer screen.

Note: Raul says that it was at this point he knew I was going into labour that day and suggested we go to the park knowing that it would get things moving.

That afternoon we decided to take the kids to the park down the street. It was rather cold, and my hips were killing me, so we didn’t stay very long but the kids enjoyed the change of scenery. We made it home and had hot chocolate, and then I lay down for a bit of a nap before dinner. I didn’t get much sleep though; I tossed and turned, and Zachary came in a few times to tattle. So I woke up kinda grumpy.

I then decided that I needed to use the new kitchen aid food processor I got for Christmas, so with Raul’s help we put together a chocolate chip cookie pie that I saw on Pinterest (again, I was a bit of a grump and got on Raul’s case for almost breaking the new food processor, LOL). That along with meatloaf, carrots, and mac and cheese… dinner was going to be awesome!

As I was bending down to get the meatloaf out of the oven at 7pm, I felt a little gush (like when your period starts). I went to the bathroom and saw a little bit of clear discharge and when I wiped there was a tint of pink. I figured I was losing my mucus plug and texted Ginni (my doula) to confirm. I thought it would be days before anything else happened, so we sat down to dinner. I wasn’t very hungry, so I ate a little bit of macaroni and then decided to take a hot bath.

I then called the babysitter to see what her plans were for the evening and see if she could come pick the kids up to watch them overnight. I wasn’t sure anything was going to happen, but I figured it would be better to have them there just in case.

While in the bath, I started getting noticeable contractions and had a few other spurts of leaking fluid. They hurt mainly on the bottom of my belly where the cervix is. I started up the contraction timer on my phone, and it said that I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were one minute along. It was around 8pm at this time and we texted Ginni and our midwife Robin (from Multiple Blessings Childbirth Services) to tell her that contractions were consistent and coming every 3 minutes. Robin told us to count contractions for the next 30 minutes and let her know if they are increasing in frequency. Raul tried to get me to walk a little, and we got the boys packed up and sent to the babysitter’s house. Every time I would try to walk the contractions would be a minute or two apart. Sitting on the birthing ball they were 2 and a half minutes apart.

It was around 9pm when we finally decided my water had broken. So we updated Robin and Ginni and I settled in on the couch to work through some contractions. Raul was a whirlwind of activity as he moved the dog into the garage and started setting up the birthing tub. Robin showed up a little before 10pm and had me give her a urine sample and then laid down for an exam. She checked me and I was already 7cm!

Things started to happen pretty quickly after that. Robin was busy getting the birth supplies out and giving directions to the house to another midwife and Raul was texting Ginni to tell her that she needed to get her ASAP. I got into the birthing tub at around 10:15pm or so, and thought that the water was cold. Raul told me later that it was in the mid 90’s, so I think that my chattering teeth were more a result of being in transition than the temp of the water.  They kept boiling water to heat the pool up, but I kept complaining of it being cold. Jean (midwife in training) showed up sometime thereafter. I floated in the pool, moving around and working through contractions for another 30 minutes or so when I felt the need to push.

Note: Raul said that once I got in the pool I went into a “Zen” state and closed my eyes and got really serious. I only remember bits and pieces of the time in the pool so I guess I was somewhere else.

WM RS RVG Birth Day-0798

I told Robin that I thought I needed to push at 11pm, and she checked me and said I was complete and it was time to push. Raul got behind me and held my arms and I started to push. The first few pushes I had no idea what I was doing, but someone (Robin) put her fingers where I needed to push and that helped me focus. I had my eyes closed the entire time- and I focused on the feeling on her fingers. They were telling me that I had to push to get her past my pubic bone, then they had me reach down to feel her head, and then she was crowning.  It burned (as was expected) but the only way to make it feel better was to keep pushing!

They had Raul move in front of me in order to catch the baby, and Ginni was behind me holding me up and talking in my ear. I don’t remember her coming in, but I think she came in as I was pushing. I pushed for 20 minutes. After her head, there was another push or two and her body came out.

WM RS RVG Birth Day-0859

WM RS RVG Birth Day-0834

They put her on my chest, and she just looked up at me. She didn’t cry or fuss, she was very calm. They put a towel over her to keep her warm, and she was covered in vernix (very cheesy baby!). We sat in the pool just staring at each other for a few minutes waiting for the cord to stop pulsing. She was really zen, it was such a peaceful way for her to come into the world and you could tell in her eyes.

Then it was time for the placenta, which as a strange sensation. It felt like I was going to have to really push to get it out, but it sort of just plopped out. They had me cough, cough, cough instead of pushing. I thought it was funny for some reason.

The three of us then moved to the bed. Raul held the baby and started calling family, while I got dry and got into bed. I had a bit of an adrenaline rush and shook for a bit, and Ginni told me not to fight it just to let it happen. We then snuggled with River for a while, letting her breastfeed (which she latched on immediately), and oohed and ahhed over her. And then we all had awesome chocolate chip cookie pie! The midwives checked the baby out and weighed her at the end of the bed, and we finally got a cry out of her. She was mad that they were bugging her! She was 8 pounds 1 ounce, and pretty and pink.

The midwives headed home a little after 2am, and we just lay in our bed in awe of River. I think I stayed up another hour just staring at her little face, and she was so alert and stared right back. The doulas stuck around for a bit longer, cleaning up and taking the birth pool down.

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WM RS RVG Birth Day-1026

I am amazed at how good I felt after! And how amazing it was to sleep in our own bed the very same night. It took me another day or two to come to terms that not only did we get our HBA2C, but we did it amazingly fast!

Kimberly is the owner of Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent

 

Photography by M.Y. Photography

A Simple Home Birth After 2 Cesareans

A Simple Home Birth After 2 Cesareans

Silas’s birth story. Born April 12th, 2010 at 42 weeks 2 days. A VBA2C.

On Saturday, April 10th (42 weeks exactly), I started having contractions around 20 minutes apart but they were not strong or painful. By that night they were 10 to 15 minutes apart, but still not feeling like labor. I went to bed and slept through the night waking up every 10 to 20 minutes with contractions.

I had had lots of prodromal labor the weekend before that felt much stronger so I really did not expect much to happen with these contractions. As the day went on the contractions never stopped but most felt really mild.

I had some friends over on Sunday(4/11) and we timed the contractions for awhile and they seemed to be getting closer and were around 8-10 minutes apart at this point. I ended up cooking a big dinner and was eating when I felt a slight trickle. For a split second I thought I was leaking urine, but then I felt a funny pop near my belly button and this huge gush came out(this was at 7:15 pm). It was so shocking since I’ve never had my water break naturally.

My husband helped me up and I went into the bathroom and called my midwife. I went about 15 minutes with no contractions, but my midwife and I decided someone should come out and check me.

I had a midwife team that consisted of two midwives and an apprentice(she’s one month away from finishing), so the apprentice was sent out. I live far out, but she still got to my house within an hour. By that time my contractions were anywhere from 8 to 5 minutes apart and I was worried I was just wasting everyone’s time.

When she arrived she asked if she could check me and I was dilated to 6 cm all the way through my cervix(I had been 4-5 on the outside and 2 on the inside during my last visit) and she could feel babies head! At this point the contractions still felt pretty mild to me, but I had to breathe through them and was focused on relaxing when they hit.

I sat in a rocking chair in my room and watched the midwife set up up all the birthing supplies. We talked and I was still smiling and laughing between the contractions. I think an hour or so went by and the two other midwives arrived. One of them checked me again and I was 7 cm so they started filling the birth tub. I was so excited to get in the tub after hearing how wonderful its supposed to be for labor.

When the tub was full I got in and although it was very relaxing between contractions, I had a hard time feeling grounded to focus during them. After trying some different positions I found something that worked and decided to stay in the tub.

HBAC VBAC

At this point time is blurry, but I think it was around 10:30 pm when I got into the tub and my water had broke at 7:15 pm. I remember the contractions were getting more intense, but I felt in control and could focus to get through them. I know my best friend arrived around midnight and I was relived to see her since she lives 3 hours away.

I remember worrying because it seemed my contractions were not regular and I still felt I was having long breaks between them. Also some were very intense and other felt more mild. They never felt super painful, but they were still intense and I started praying during the worst of them. I started to get really nervous because they were strong, but I kept waiting for the transition feeling you read about.

I told my midwife that I did not think I could do it, because I figured I had hours and hours left to go. I also got very restless and could not find a comfortable spot. I even started to get out of the tub, but when I stood up the gravity on my body felt overwhelming after being in the water.

Shortly after that I felt a contraction coming on and suddenly my body arched on it’s own and pushed. It was the most shocking sensation and I felt the baby coming down. There was no urge, it was just like my body took over and I had no control. It felt like the baby was coming out my bottom instead of where he was supposed to and it scared me like everything was going to rip open.

I had another contraction where I felt like I had no control and then they changed or else I figured out how to work with them. The midwife really wanted to check me to make sure my cervix was out of the way, but when she tried I could not handle the feeling of her touching me so she stopped. She got a mirror and a flash light to see (since I was in the tub) and during the next contraction it was apparent he was coming and nothing was in the way.

My other two midwives had been sleeping in the living room thinking I had a ways to go so the one rushed out to tell them I was pushing. Everyone came in and I felt very secure and not scared by this point. I remember that during each contraction I felt like pushing, but would feel a burning sensation that would make me let up. I kept saying I was worried he was going back up when I would stop, but they assured me I was doing great. My body just knew to ease him out with small pushes instead of trying to bear down through the burning.

After a few more pushes they told me I could feel his head and it was so strange to feel!

Finally I was told to keep pushing even with the burning feeling and his head came out. I kept waiting for him to slide out, but I ended up having to push each part of his body out. He never slid out after the shoulders and I had to push his chest out too. It was weird to even feel his legs and feet come through, I thought I would just have a sliding sensation after the head.

VBAC HBAC

After he was out my midwife laid him on my chest and it was so amazing to see him and know that I just pushed him out myself! I felt so relived that it was so much easier that I had pictured and worried about. It really was not painful for him to come out like I had thought it would be.

Once he was on my chest he did not want to breathe right away so they had to suction him and rub him. They did all that on my chest and he started to pink up after a bit. Then he just looked around and I looked at him and it was wonderful. I was so amazed by him and it was so surreal that I actually did it. I gave birth to him right then just the way nature meant it to be.

VBAC

VBAC HBAC

By this time the cord had stopped pulsing and my husband was able to cut it. Then I handed the baby to my husband while the midwives helped me deliver the placenta.

Once that happened they helped me out of the tub, dried me off and tucked me into bed. I got Silas back and we cuddled skin to skin and nursed for the first time. He latched right on and was a natural little nurser.

VBAC HBAC

My midwives cleaned up everything and fed me a snack and then examined Silas. He was weighed and measured and examined all right there with me. I was also checked for tears at this point and luckily I just had a small skid mark and abrasion, but no real tears!

After we were both checked they tucked us both into bed and we were left to bond in our own home. It was the best experience and I’m so glad we chose a home birth!

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