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Faith and Healing: A ‘Post Dates’ Home Birth After a Cesarean

Faith and Healing: A ‘Post Dates’ Home Birth After a Cesarean

(Editor’s note: this birth experience was originally posted on August 23, 2011.)

To gain a little insight of why I had a C-section with my first born, I have it written down as a “vent” on my blog. It basically started out as one intervention cascading into a ball of interventions that led me to a transfer from a “Birth Center” birth to the hospital that ended in a non-emergency C-section for being stuck at 5cm for hours and hours. I did a lot of processing and mourned the birth and post par tum bond of my beautiful baby girl, Alana.

I did my research, got in touch with my local ICAN Chapter and soaked up as much info as I could. I also found a lovely CPM who takes VBAC’s as I knew the best chance of a successful VBAC would to be at home with the least intervention and the most support. I did all my own prenatal’s, skipped the ultrasound, listened and trusted my body to grow my baby and prepare for birth. I was on top of my nutrition and got monthly adjustments from my chiropractor and even got a wonderful massage at the end of my pregnancy.

My VBAC Baby Born at Home
Wow! Where do I begin? Ethan’s birth has so many emotions attached to it. So many hopes and dreams came true the night he was born, on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010. It’s hard for me to even write what I really want to write here. Whatever I write, it comes from a deep place in my soul.

First, I just have to give praise and honor to our Heavenly Father…for knowing the desires of my heart, for loving me through some hard challenges in my life and for allowing them to grow me. Our Creator is so good. While Ethan’s birth was hard work for me, I have no regrets. I guess I could say I “wish” things had gone differently, but really I’m grateful for how it was. This is his story.

I woke up Friday the 14th (9 days after my due date) still very pregnant and no end in sight. Then around 10am I went to the bathroom to find “bloody show”. It renewed my faith in my body that things were progressing and that I would be having this baby. I was really hoping that I would be holding my baby within 24 hours, but no. Bloody show came and went and Istill had my all day, every day braxton hicks that would always go away when I went to bed. There was no way I was willing to do anything to speed things along. I knew that in order to have the best possible chance at a VBAC, I would have to allow things to unfold completely unhindered. While it was hard and uncomfortable being so big, I was so at peace with where my body was at and what it needed to do. I continued to have bloody show all through the weekend.

Monday the 17th, I felt different. Lots more bloody show and my contractions were slightly stronger. So I did some massive “nesting” and Alana was my sidekick. It was truly a wonderful day spent with my daughter for the last time just the two of us. We made a pot roast in the crock pot, went to Trader Joe’s for some shopping, cleaned the house top to bottom and made cookies! It was such a beautiful, peaceful day. A day that I will remember forever. Matt was in and out of the house throughout the day working and it allowed Alana and I some time alone together.

Monday night, as we got ready for bed at 11:30pm, I noticed that my braxton hicks were still coming despite how late it was. Usually they had died down by now. So of course I wondered. Went to bed and as I lay there, I couldn’t sleep. Contractions were still coming. I got up to find my phone so that I could start timing them. They were coming every 3-6min. Very short though.

After an hour of this, I decided to get up to pee and I woke up Matt telling him I couldn’t sleep, that I may be in labor. I went pee and had a huge gob of bloody mucus, so I knew that this was the real deal. I told Matt I was going to shower and asked him to pump up the pool. Actually, I think I demanded him to.

I felt really calm, but part of me wanted things ready in case things went quick (wishful thinking). Took a shower and tried to check myself, but everything just felt like mush. I couldn’t tell or maybe I just couldn’t reach my cervix. Matt and I then made the bed up with a shower curtain and a sheet over it while the tub filled. I went downstairs and made some raspberry leaf and nettle tea and grabbed a water and set up my birth snacks on my dresser next to the tub. I told Matt I was happy to labor alone if he wanted to sleep downstairs on the couch. So he grabbed his pillow and a blanket and headed downstairs. To help pass time, I blow dried my hair and did my makeup in between contractions.

I did some hip swaying to give room and even did some squats during the contractions. I made sure to empty my bladder every hour. I was drinking and eating to sustain energy. At 6:30 am, I text my girlfriend, Jessica, to give her the heads up that I had been in labor since 12 am. She was my birth photographer and has an almost 2 year old and knew she was up getting ready for work, so I wanted to give her time to plan for the birth and would keep her posted.

At around 7am Matt’s alarm went off, so I went downstairs to tell him he probably shouldn’t go to work. Matt then asked if I had called the midwife to give her a heads up. That kind of annoyed me because I felt like it was too early yet. Then Alana woke up and pretty much my contractions died at that point. Matt took Alana downstairs and told me to sleep for awhile. I was really distraught because I felt like things were progressing and then the moment Matt and Alana woke, it distracted me and labor had stopped. Ugh!

So I took some Rescue Remedy to help me calm down and I layed down and slept for a couple hours. Then I woke up and took a shower to freshen up. Matt and I had an “upset” so we worked that out (I was still mad over the comment her made about calling the midwife). Nothing like getting irritated at each other when you want to be laboring. Then we ate and decided to go for a walk around 3:30 pm. While walking, I timed my contractions and there were coming every 5 min. I had to stop and lean over something for every contraction or hang on to Matt, whatever I could grab first. I’m sure I was a sight to the passing drivers.

Contractions continued to come after walking and eating dinner. I called Jessica, my mom and sisters and let them know to head on over around 8pm. Even though I had planned to labor alone for the majority of labor, I was so ready for some support. They all showed up and my sister Callie announced that she was making brownies. Grrr. I really wanted some and I never got any. I called my midwife sometime after 8 pm to give her the heads up. She listened to me while I went through a couple contractions and said they are about 3 minutes apart, but only lasting 30 sec. She was currently at another birth and I agreed to keep her posted.

I labored all through the night. Everyone found places to sleep and in the early hours, I want to say around 2am, things were  intense. I think I was pretty tired and my contractions were getting painful. I was in the birth tub for quite a while at this point, but I had been in and out and changing positions every hour. I called the midwife around 3:30 am and was ready for her to come. She and her assistant headed over. I remember about this time feeling intense energy and it was quite overwhelming. I was getting very vocal and loud.

When my midwife came in, she prayed over me and told me where to release the energy in an effective way by vocalizing in a low/deep tone. What a difference that made. I really wanted to scream the pain away, but with the direction from my midwife I was able to welcome the pain and release the intense energy in an effective way. That is what gets me through the rest of my labor.

I ended up moving to my bed to lay down and rest. Contractions spaced out to allow me to doze and get some sleep. I held on to my mom’s hand and squeezed for every contraction. After an hour or so, I was up and ready to get back to business. I labored all over my room and in the tub. Mom made me some breakfast-eggs and hash browns. I layed down again and was able to get a good sleep. I decided to not vocalize and just relax during my contractions. That was hard, but I needed the sleep.

Around 9am, I got up and decided I was ready for a check. I NEEDED to know at this point what progress had been made. My midwife said that I was about 7cm. Yay! To me, that was a good thing. I had only progressed to 6 cm with Alana, so I was happy to be past that hurdle. It was just what I needed to hear to keep me going. My midwife needed to head out for a little while and so did my mom, sisters and Jessica. It allowed me to focus on getting busy with labor.

My mom and sister Kimberly came back around 1 pm and started timing my contractions. I was in the tub, on my knees, hanging over the side and contractions started getting closer, longer and more intense. I held on to my mom for every contraction. My almost 4 year old daughter pretty much stayed in my room. She was amazing. I rubbed my knees raw from staying in this position for so long. There was lots of pressure in my bottom and at the peak of my contractions, I wanted to push. It was so intense, its all I could do. We called the midwife and she was on her way.

About this time, it started to storm outside. It was really cool. I walked the hall, did some laboring on the toilet and would hang from mom’s neck. Midwife got there and I asked her to check me and she said I still have a rim of cervix (9cm) and that I would need to relax through contractions to melt it. “Yeah right!” is what I thought. She said another option was she could hold the cervix while I push the baby past it. I told her I would try “relaxing” to melt the cervix.

Well, an hour later, I hit my wall. I started having thoughts of going to the hospital. I just couldn’t go on. I was exhausted and there needed to be progress. So I yelled down the stairs to my midwife that I would like her to hold it back. She came upstairs and got prepped. She warned me that it would hurt. I didn’t care. What could hurt worse than those contractions? I got propped up in my bed with Callie and Jessica holding each of my legs, while my midwife massaged cervix in between contractions and held it up while I pushed during contractions. It was so hard finding the right place to push. Thank goodness I even had the urge to push. I pushed 4 times per contraction and pushed hard and at one point the assistant told me to hold my breath while pushing. I tried it once and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath in time for the next push so decided that wouldn’t work and I needed to blow air out while pushing.

During this time, I was fed yogurt and drinking Recharge and Emegen-C to keep me fueled. I think I even apologized for any toots I couldn’t hold in. LOL. Finally, the cervix was gone and his head was low enough that I was able to get into a different position.

I head straight for the toilet.  It’s amazing how intense the urge to push is. Our bodies our amazing in that it just takes over and you don’t have a choice. While sitting on the toilet, I was hugging the assistant and my mom and reaching for my midwife’s hand. I think I was reaching for help, for someone to just take the intensity away. For whatever reason, it made sense at the time. I really used some muscles in my body as I was hugging on them hard. I remember saying out loud “I can’t” and the assistant saying back to me, “but you are”. That was powerful and gave me the push to keep going (not like I had a choice, but I was able to rationalize it in my head to keep going).

Some of this is really hazy and I don’t remember much detail, but at this point I was sooo hot and sweaty. I asked for cool rags so the ladies started putting cold rags on me. Then I got in the tub in a reclining position and was still cooking so they brought in a fan and aimed it right at me. I pushed and pushed, then got onto my knees to hang over the side of the tub. I had Callie put counter pressure on my lower back and that was AMAZING relief. I could feel the head come down low during pushing and then suck back up in between contractions.

Midwives suggested moving into different pushing positions since its like trying to cork screw the baby out. So I said I wanted out of the water, but when it came time to move, I didn’t want to. The ladies said “lets go” and so I finally just did it. I really didn’t want to move in fear another contraction came while moving. I squatted on the floor at the foot of my bed and wrapped my arms over my mom and sister’s necks for support. There was a mirror on the floor so that I could see the progress. That was cool and kept me going! Then I decided I wanted to push in a reclining position on my bed. I really wanted to see the progress and my legs were tired so it was time to move.

Propped in reclining position and hanging on to my mom for dear life, I pushed and pushed. There is no pain like the ring of fire. I seriously dislike those ladies who’s babies come flying out and don’t feel the ring of fire. It’s so intense. I watched in the mirror the whole time and reached down and touched his head. It was incredible! I’m so thankful it was slow so that I could process the whole experience. I didn’t want to miss a moment. I just wanted to soak the experience in…the experience that I had longed for and what I missed with my daughter’s c-section. So even though it was painful, God knew that it needed to happen slowly. It was needed for my healing. I will never forget, I was the first one to touch my baby. I was in the moment and feeling totally connected to my unborn baby.


My midwife suggested I grunt, to not push him out too fast and I did that to get his head out. Part of me just wanted to push hard and to get it done and over with. But I chose to ignore that thought since I really didn’t want to tear. Once his head was out (sweet relief!!), I reached down and started touching his face. I got a good minute of touching him and it was surreal. Then my last contraction came and out he came with some maneuvering by the midwives since there was a loose cord around his neck and wrapped around his body and then I reached down and pulled him up to my chest.


He was born on Wednesday, May 19th, at 8:01pm. My sister Callie then saw his parts and announced “its a boy!” and we all squealed in delight! His apgars were 8 and 9 and he squawked when he was born and then it took him another 45 seconds or so to get out a good cry.

The “love cocktail” is real and I got to experience it with my beautiful son. I was instantly in love with him and I smelled, touched and kissed him within minutes of him being born. My daughter got to experience and watch the whole thing. She was right at my side within a minute of baby’s birth, talking and touching him. He knew who is sister was. When she talked, he looked for her and it was soothing to him. She has been so loving with him and I know that her being there for the birth, instantly bonded them. My husband had to walk out of the room because of the intensity, but I know that his heart was full and that he was happy with the outcome. And that he was a BOY!




I had two small tears, one on each labia. I took the stitches in hopes of a quicker recovery. Baby boy weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz (major shock), 22in long and a 14.5in head! Big, happy and healthy boy milked his time in mama. He came at exactly 42 weeks with no pressure from anyone to have him before then. He chose his birthday! And it took us a little over a week to choose his name, Ethan Matthew Wright. He is simply amazing!

I am forever grateful for my “hands off” midwife who became “hands on” when I needed a little bit of help at the end to get that pesky lip of cervix to move and for her patience and trust in my ability to birth my baby!!!

I also have a picture video here.

Birth experience and photographs submitted by Melissa. 

A Healing Natural Water Birth

A Healing Natural Water Birth

This was a very healing birth for me. My first son’s birth I was induced at 41 weeks, had an epidural, and left in love with my healthy baby but feeling robbed of my birth experience. We suffered a loss 3 years later. Henry is our “rainbow baby”. It was amazing to learn to trust my body, and watch and feel it doing everything as it should. I am NOT broken! I am strong, and it was the first time I could honestly say I am proud of my body.

2 AM the day we hit 41 weeks, I woke with lots of pressure. I wasn’t sure if it was a contraction or not; it felt different this time. I woke with the same feeling of pressure at 3, 4, and 5. I gave up on sleep and woke my husband up asking him to take a hot shower with me – today may be it! Either the contractions would slow down and go away, or they would continue to get more intense. The shower brought immediate relief; these contractions were real! They were about 10 minutes apart, but more intense than the Braxton Hicks I had been having for weeks.

I let the warm water run on my belly and leaned into the wall or my husband for extra support. By 7 AM not much had changed, I sent my doulas a text message letting them know I was having consistent contractions. I truly did not think he would be born that day. I called the midwife and let her know I was in early labor. My 4 year old, Levi, woke up and sat with me on his own yoga ball. We continued with our day as usual until Levi (my mini doula) left for preschool around 11:40. Contractions still 10 min apart, but getting stronger.

While Levi was at school I tried to nap but it was not happening. Lying down was so uncomfortable for me; all I wanted to do was sit on my yoga ball! By the time Levi came home from school at 3 PM, contractions were still spaced about 8-10 minutes apart and I was starting to tire. He went down for a nap and my husband began preparing everything for the birth. We made “labor aid” and sat outside for a bit. It was beautiful outside but too warm to be out for long.

By 5 PM, I was beginning to get nervous, contractions were getting harder to handle! I live far away and did not want to cry wolf. I asked Courtney (doula apprentice and friend) to come over in an hour, I figured she could help calm me down and try different positions. It wouldn’t be a big deal if she went home soon after, she lived nearby. I STILL was in denial I was in labor! By the time Courtney arrived at 6, Amanda (doula) sent a message asking if she should head my way. She arrived a few minutes after Courtney. We updated the midwife’s assistant and she told me to call if anything changed.

My lower back was aching, and Amanda suggested I move onto my knees and lean over the ball. I rocked my hips from side to side as she dug into my hips during contractions, ah that was much better! Low moans also helped. I knew I had to let go completely so my body could do what it had to. I was a bit nauseous so Courtney was fanning me with a wet washcloth with peppermint and clary sage oil. I felt spoiled by these two!

Around this time my son left for a sleepover with his cousins. I ran outside to give him a hug and kiss goodbye. When he came back he wouldn’t be the baby of the family anymore.  I believe my contractions were around 6-8 minutes apart by now, I wasn’t the one timing and I made a point to not watch the clock. The contractions were pretty intense by now. We turned on my BANI hypnosis cd and I tried harder to focus on breathing and relaxation.

Amanda put a tens unit on my lower back to help with aching. Henry had been posterior, so I knew this could lead to back pain. I talked to the assistant on the phone and she began to head over, my midwife would come over after a nap. They believed I still had a long way to go. I went to the bathroom and lost a little more bloody show. I had lost a few tiny pieces the night before. For some reason I forgot to tell my midwife about the bloody show, I was in my own little world! This would have been helpful later on.

My midwife’s assistant showed up, checked Henry’s heart rate and my blood pressure, baby and mama were doing great – but lying down was so uncomfortable! How do people give birth this way?? I forced myself to eat, as I knew I would need the strength. I drank Labor Aid and choked down some peanut butter toast and a honey stick. Since I was running on close to no sleep, the assistant told me I should lie down and try to sleep/relax in the dark bedroom between contractions, maybe they would pick up.

They wanted them to last longer than they had been. But remember, lying down was awful for me! I did NOT want to move. I began to doubt how much longer I could deal with the contractions and I half joking asked for an epidural. I knew I couldn’t have and didn’t want an epidural but it felt good to just say it! With the assistant’s advice, I moved into a lunging position and could feel Henry moving into the right position.

She told me to go pee and try to lay down, she was going to rest downstairs, too. I went to the bathroom and my water broke into the toilet. I wasn’t positive if it was my water or pee.. I threw up and then knew “I must be in transition!” Contractions were one on top of the other the moment I stood up. I leaned against my bed for support and had a slight urge to push. No way was I going to sleep, Henry had other plans! They started to fill up the birth pool and I could not wait to get into that pool.

With each contraction I could feel a little gush of fluid, but not enough to splash on the ground. That’s when I realized my water had actually broken. The pool was taking a long time to fill. I got in even though it was only a few inches deep and sat on my knees with my chest leaning over the side onto my husband. Towels were thrown into the dryer to heat up, water boiling on the stove.

My body began to push very hard on its own within seconds of getting into the pool. I was never checked so this freaked me out a bit. Courtney asked if I was pushing, and I said, “I don’t know!” Once she reminded me this was ok I said I felt lots of pressure, and had to push. At some point my midwife was called and began speeding to my house.


I did not expect it to change this quickly and neither did my midwife or her assistant. I continued to push on my knees and I tried to feel his head but couldn’t. I changed positions to almost lying down in the pool, to get into the water as much as possible and my body continued to push with each contraction. I was screaming with each push, and the doulas reminded me to use low tones, and my screams turned to deep roars. My body was working so hard whether I wanted it to or not and roring helped.

I could feel Henry’s head coming down, it was amazing. Once he was crowning they told me to slow down and ease his head out, I didn’t want to tear so I tried my best to not push super hard. His head was out! I felt relief immediately. I reached down and felt his soft head and hair, I was in total shock. I asked how long he could be like that; did I need to push his body out immediately? No he is ok, I breathed and took a little break between contractions, and then my body pushed very hard with the next, his shoulders came out.


His cord was wrapped around each shoulder, almost like he was wearing a vest. They lifted my knees up and I pushed out the rest of his body. It felt so overwhelming! Our bodies are so powerful! They un-wrapped his cord, and handed him to me. I was in total shock and could not believe I did it, or that he was here, it all was so surreal.


His cord was pulsing for a long time, we were in no rush to cut it, and we would wait until my midwife arrived. I did not really have urges to push the placenta out. And it did not want to come out. I held Henry and did not really have a care in the world. I was told sometimes it can take up to 40 minutes. We got out of the pool, me walking next to my husband; he was holding Henry and I still had the placenta inside, Henry’s cord still attached. I laid down into bed and held my baby. Shortly after my midwife arrived, she was sad to have missed it but immediately got to work.

She helped push on my tummy a little to get the placenta out and I pushed a bit. It was huge. By now Henry’s cord was not pulsing and she clamped it, my husband cut it. I wanted to burn it off but had not prepared things ahead of time to do it, so I said go ahead. I was checked and cleaned up – I had no tearing!

Henry and I took a warm herbal bath together. I held his neck and head and floated his body in the water, he looked so peaceful. While we were doing this everyone else was cleaning up. It was such a nice bonding time. I still could not believe my baby is here.

We got into bed and checked on baby. He is perfect! The midwife weighed and measured him and everyone guessed how much, we all laughed when he was 10 lbs 8 oz. Amanda said “that’s not a newborn!” His skin was perfectly pink when he was born, he really did not look like a baby just born! He wasn’t interested in nursing in the birth pool, but once we were in bed he latched on great. I was on cloud 9. Everyone made sure we were comfortable and about 2 hours or so after the birth they left us to ourselves. Henry slept great that night, he worked hard too!


Levi came home at around 9 am the next day and was so excited when he saw his brother. He was very proud and still calls him “my Henry”. I am so proud of the amazing big brother he has become. Finally our family of 4 is all together! I had my healthy rainbow baby in my arms and a new faith in my body.




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