My oldest son was a c/s bc the ob thought he was too big. I was young, ignorant and swayed quite easily. He was scheduled to be cut out of me one day after his due date. I never felt labor, and I barely remember his birth. He was 9lb 6oz 21 in and a 13.5in head.
Here is my Vbac:
I woke up this morning after a night of endless cleaning and realized something. Today was the last day before my beautiful Alexander fought his way into this world. I remember. That is the most amazing part, I remember. There is no cloud of a drugged haze, no inability to walk, no nausea, I just remember. On this day I continued to have the very annoying and frustrating prodromal labor, on again off again, but that was his way. Jason and I went to Pilgrims to shop and look around because I find the place so relaxing. My due date was eight days earlier, and I was a first time labor and delivery. I was scared and more so excited. I bought some herbs and tea that I wanted for the day and we left to get lunch at Brycies, I LOVE the egg salad. We went for a walk and relished the time alone. Jackson had gone to Phil’s because it seemed to be soon we would meet Alexander. We got home and the afternoon sun was blaring in the window, so beautiful for January, just as it is today. I remember. I thought , “I should make sure the bills are paid for the next week so I wont have to worry about it”. I paid the bills online, I vacuumed, I did the dishes and made sure my birthing supplies were perfectly organized. I looked down at the birthing pool in our bedroom and longed with a fierceness I have never felt before to hold our baby in the warm water. After I felt that I had done all I could, I took a nap on the couch and felt the rumblings of a tiger I would soon meet. When I woke up from my nap I had a TON of energy so Jason and I played the Wii. I played basketball on the Wii for about four hours. Then I thought I should eat, I’m not super hungry but I felt I should. So I wanted to go to Jack in the Box, that was 10:40 pm. In the drive through at 10:45 pm I had a contraction. When we paid at the window, another contraction. I made myself not look at the clock. I had been a clock watcher for two weeks and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When I got home as I was walking in the house I had another. They were ten minutes apart and I was elated. I ate my dinner and got on my birthing ball not in pain, it just was so comfortable. They were ten minutes apart for about an hour, and Jason told me, “This is it”, I still didn’t really believe him. He decided to go to the store to get himself a few energy drinks and I was dying for gatorade. My sister Cat came home and saw me for the first time in early labor. She said, “Why didn’t you call me!!!!” I told her that I really didn’t believe this was happening. The contractions were now three minutes apart and it was just after midnight.
That was my day one year ago. I have never written anything about my birth story until now.
Shortly after midnight when my contractions were about 3 minutes apart, Jason arrived home from the store. He asked me how I was doing and while on my birthing ball rocking my hips side to side I heard him like I was under water, very muddled. I was not in pain, my body was working and I felt curious. When the contraction subsided I looked up at him by the front door and said, “I am good, did you get me the low sugar red gatorade?”….I know, weird thought to remember, but I do…remember. Jason talked to me for a few more minutes and then he asked if we should call our midwife and before I could answer I had another contraction, so he made the call.
(I had taken Castor Oil at about 5pm that evening dying to have this child born. Though I did not have the vast adverse reactions and side effects that some women have, I will not take it or any other “induction” agent again. I do not believe that the Castor oil caused complications, however, I have learned to know that my body will work and to trust my own intuition in the last year.)
I dont know the conversation that they had I just know that she told him to have me get in the shower to see if it would relax my body to sleep or we would know if we were really in labor. Best idea I heard all night! I went to the shower and I dont know if it was one long conversation or if it was two separate ones, but as I was in the dark and hot shower Jason asked me if I had had any more contractions and I told him I think maybe three in the 20 minutes. (I dont like the word contraction and yet I think waves or tightenings are not enough for the power your body possesses. I don’t have a better word I’m just simply pointing out that fact:)
Shortly after getting out of the shower and at this point still caring how my hair looked and fixing it to look better, my midwife had arrived. I was just coming out of our guest bathroom and Jason had mentioned that I had taken the Castor Oil. She was not happy with my decision because I was a VBAC and I could feel it in my bones. I understand her concern however, I had been taking herbs to hopefully get this going for a few days so to me the Castor oil was no different. She took my blood pressure and it was elevated quite a bit. I was scared out of my mind. I really thought I had ruined this entire birth and my child is in jeopardy. The great thing about a midwife is when you need to tell her what’s on your mind, you can. I cried and told her what I was feeling, that I thought I had ruined everything. She comforted me. She told me that I did not ruin everything, and yes you are still going to have your baby. ( I don’t think I had a choice at this point) All the while I am having slight contractions, my adrenaline rush of fear had slowed my progress. This was around 12:45-1:15 am. I remember.
I was going to have this baby, I would birth Alexander. I laid on my left side for about an hour and a half to bring my blood pressure down a bit and to provide Alexander with the most amount of oxygen. The contractions were close but I had breaks in between where Jason and I would lay on the bed together and he would make jokes and reassure me of how proud he was of me and then he would see me take a deep breath in and out and close my eyes and his voice stopped and he became only present in touch. I labored like this for quite some time and around 2:15 – 2:30 my midwife wanted to check my cervix to see if I had moved into active labor. After waiting for the contraction to subside she checked me and found that my cervix was 3-4 centimeters with a bulging bag of waters. I was here, I was in labor and I was ecstatic.
I spent the majority of my labor going from the dark room to the dark shower by candlelight. I loved the shower and I would rock my hips and I could feel my baby descending lower and lower. I asked for the birth playlist to be turned on and I asked for it to be turned right off again, it annoyed me mercilessly. Jason tried to rub my back once and I glared. He got the message, I wasn’t having back labor so don’t touch the back:) My midwife at one point while I was laying on my side pushed down on the top of my hip and I felt my pelvis open and that was heavenly for the beautiful head that was engaging.
I asked Jason the time and he told me that I didn’t want to know. It was about 4:30 and I was working with these contractions now. I felt in the shower the most relaxed on a quasi squat/all fours position with the hot water on my lower back. My midwife had brought me my labor aid when I was out of one of my showers and the look of it made me gag, so I never had the natural good stuff I was hoping for, but the gatorade was great and then later all I wanted was ice cold water.
One of the last showers I remember I was in a different place. My mind was merely instinctual, I was rocking and squatting and moaning quite deeply. Jason had asked me when I wanted him to call his parents and I said when my water broke so that no one is waiting for hours on end and I won’t be self conscious. Jason had brought me more water and says Sarah (my midwife) thinks you’re in transition. I thought to myself there is no way I am in transition, I thought transition was unbearable, I thought I would be screaming. I got out of the shower and there was my mucous plug and a whole deal of a bloody show. I told jason get Sarah, I need to know if this is okay. She came, saw and said, “Yep, that is normal and you are very close now.”
I walked a few steps and another contraction. I grabbed Jason’s forearms and pushed my head to his chest and we swayed our labor dance back and forth. By this time it was nearing 7:30 am and the sun had risen, but it was ugly overcast so there was a grimm ambiance in the early morning room. Sarah checked me again and found that I was fully dilated. I wanted to get in the pool. I got in my birthing pool and felt the power of my body one can not put into words. It was overwhelming. I joked after a contraction saying, “And I wanted to have a natural childbirth..” Sarah listened to his heart tones before, during and after contractions to hear Alexander. The contractions became slightly further apart, but came upon me like my insides were falling out. I laid naked in the warm water happy of my decision, but scared to let go. Here came another and this contraction pulled me deep into myself and then there was a huge gush from within myself. I felt like something had come out of me, it was my bag of waters.
Sarah, “It’s full of meconium, Reannan get out of the water!”…Nearly shell shocked, I knew my son was in distress, I leaned up as fast as I could and then another contraction. These contractions weren’t dilating my cervix, these were pushing Alexander out. I couldn’t move over the pool.
I was now in pain. I was scared. I tightened and closed.
Jason helped me over the side of the pool and got me onto our bed in between contractions. I laid down and Sarah checked me, still a lip of cervix, then it was gone. Sarah said I could push now. It was nearly 8:30 am. I pushed once with a contraction and it was about as graceful as riding a bike for the first time. Luckily your body and mind quickly learn how to work together in your first labor. I pushed again. Sarah checked Alexanders heart tones, she couldn’t find them.
My heart stopped.
Sarah had me get on all fours with my chest on the bed to relieve the pressure from his head in the birth canal. Sarah told Jason to call the ambulance. Terri, Sarah’s assistant called the hospital to prepare for a homebirth transport, “Get Brett Penny” Sarah said…. I remember this too…
Terri gave me oxygen to keep me giving oxygen to Alexander. “Don’t Push!”, Sarah says while holding his head inside away from pressure to keep his heart rate up. (If you do not know what “not pushing ” feels like, the next time you have to throw up, hold it in and then hold it in again every 3 minutes for 40 minutes and that is what it “kind of” feels like. )
“Reannan, Talk to your baby, tell him you are here”, Sarah says. I reach down to the bottom of my belly where I know that his precious head is and say, “Alexander, Mommy is here and You are too…don’t you leave me, I haven’t held you yet, you haven’t met your brother and you still have to see your Daddy. Don’t leave me yet Alexander, Don’t leave Mommy”, I whimpered.
The paramedics are in the room now. I am helped onto the gurney in the same knees to chest postion with Sarah holding my son inside me. They cover me in sheets so I am not exposed before we leave the house. I see my sister out of the corner of my eye, she is scared, maybe weeping, I can not tell. Jason is helping the paramedics get me out of the house and into the ambulance.
More contractions. Amniotic fluid spewing. Don’t push. Don’t push. I remember.
In the ambulance the paramedic is trying to offer comfort, I want my baby out, he needs to come out. Off we go to the hospital that is five minutes away. The paramedic is trying to get an IV lock but is unable to due to the bumpy drive. Finally we make it to the Hospital, and i feel my son moving lower and lower.
In the ER the nurses and whoever else are wanting me to deliver there and Sarah tells them I need to be on the L&D floor, Alexander will probably need resuscitation. Jason makes it to me, he is at my face wiping the tears away, I will not lose this baby is all I can think. I scream at him, “Tell them to cut him out of me, flip me over and cut him out, if he needs to come out to live then cut him out!”
They start moving me to the delivery floor. Going over the door entrances is excruciating. The contractions have slowed immensely. I am shutting down. I feel my body stop working to get this baby out. Moments later we are in the room I am transferred to a delivery bed, I have an IV and Dr. Penny is in front of me listening to Sarah telling him my case.
She is a VBAC. I saw his face and he was displeased, but he moved past that to my imminent child, and for that I am grateful.
Just as I felt relaxed, a contraction came and Dr. Penny said I could finally push. WHOA, that was a powerful feeling. This baby was on the cusp of life and I was right there with him. Sarah held my right leg, Jason held my left hand and a L&D nurse held my right hand. The nurse went to walk away to get a towel and I reached out and grabbed her arm with this contraction, the ring of fire was blazing fiercely. I thought this really hurts now. Dr. Penny looked up at me and said, “One more push and you will have your Baby”. Really? Well alright then I can definitely do one more. Then the contraction came and I felt my entire being stretched, and it burned, stung and I felt every bit of my child’s entrance. Dr. Penny lifted up Alexander who was slightly blue in color and I saw my son. He had taken a breath but needed to be suctioned to prevent meconium aspiration of his lungs. I could not believe he was here. As Dr. Penny awaited my placenta, my eyes were fixated on Alexander in the corner. The nurse brought him to me to see and said he needed to go to the nursery, Jason went with our Son.
Delivering the placenta was interesting, and seemingly boring. Then I began to lose a lot of blood, it poured out of me. Pieces of Alexanders amniotic sac were still adhered to the wall of my uterus and required Dr. Penny to manually scrape the walls to remove the excess. This was the most painful feeling I have ever felt. He gave me morphine, I never felt relief. Finally, he got all of the placenta and my uterus began to contract to stop the bleeding.
It was done.
I had birthed my Son, Alexander Mark Keene at 9:20 am January 23, 2010 weighing 8lb 8oz, 21 1/4 in and a 14.5 in head.
Alexander most likely had a partial prolapsed cord when my water broke, giving good merit as to why his heart rate normalized when I was on all fours, knees to chest. The odds of his cord prolapsing are between .12 and .56 %, it was a one in a million chance and would have happend anywhere, home or hospital. His meconium could be contributed to the castor oil, the stress of my blood pressure on his oxygen supply, or was just there, which can happen too.
This is my birth story. The hours that followed Alexander’s birth were the deepest tribulation I have ever endured. Though I transferred, I had my VBAC and know now I am fully capable of birthing my child(ren). Having Alexander has set me on the path to becoming a homebirth midwife. I believe in women and their innate ability to birth. Someone asked me recently how I could want to be a homebirth midwife since I had such a difficult delivery and it is obviously not safe. My response was, “Yes it was incredibly difficult however, will you not birth your child at the hospital under induction because women and babies have died?”
I needed the hospital and it was there. I will birth my next child at home as well, no second thoughts.