Robin's Birth of a Son
This is a Hypnobabies birth story:
My HBA2C birth story
2/2000: (DS1) Interventions leading to fetal distress and emergency c-section
4/2008: (DS2) Repeat c/s
Third baby "due" 3/3/12. We'd decided early on on a vba2c. Though the midwife at Kaiser said I was an ideal candidate, she also advised I would have to get doctor consent down the road and then again at the hospital. Since I understood the risks this wouldn't be a problem.
I went to an ICAN meeting in October and was totally shocked to hear how many of the women had opted to have their vbac at home. So I started researching the safety of home birth, which I had never considered an option for me. Happily, it turns out there is quite a good community of home birth midwives in San Diego.
Amazingly my hubby got on board quickly and we were interviewing midwives shortly after! We both felt most comfortable with the ladies at the Center for Natural Birth.
At my 37 week appointment, I had my first internal exam revealing that my cervix was very posterior. Fingertip dilated and still thick but soft. I took from this that the Braxton Hicks, which had become more and more frequent, weren't doing much.
That week though I started having a persistent backache and these practice waves became stronger and more frequent. Thursday night, 37+5 they went thru the night until 5AM. It was a sleepless night as I sorted thru what all I had to do if this was really it. As of the next night I started taking Benadryl to sleep thru these practice runs.
Monday night 38+2 the practice waves seemed like a little more than BH. I woke up on Tuesday 2/21 still having BH but less intense again. At my appt that morning I asked to be checked. My cervix was now anterior but still only a fingertip. I was 30% effaced. My take home message was that something had to really pick up if I was going to get anywhere and I could just ignore all these practice waves. So I did. All day.
We went to dinner at a friend's house that evening. As we departed at 7:30 I was a little uncomfortable and knew I wanted to get DS2 put to bed ASAP so I could relax. Thankfully he was totally cooperative and I left his room at 8.
My sister texted to ask if I was still baking and I answered "oh yes" at 8:02.
In my bedroom I leaned over the bed and swayed thru my next pressure waves. These were different but not at all painful and I still felt they were an extension of my intensifying BH. DH came up at 8:30 and asked how I was doing. We hung out and chatted for a while before migrating back downstairs at 9pm. It was at that time that I thought maybe I should time a few of the pressure waves. They were 3 min apart, lasting just over a minute and they'd been going on for an hour already. I told DH I thought I was in early labor and may have the baby tomorrow. I asked him to call my mom and let her know she should come sleep here in case things picked up over night. I also asked him to fire up the jacuzzi. He called mom at 9:30 and she said she'd be here in two hours.
I texted my midwife, Heather. She said to get in the hot tub for an hour and if they went away and I could sleep, great. If they intensify or my water breaks, call her back.
I texted my sister at 9:29 to say "hmm maybe not". It seemed clear that baby was finished baking.
DH went upstairs to blow up the birth tub and make up our bed and I went out to the jacuzzi and started listening to the hypnobabies track "easy first stage". I don't know that I ever mastered hypnoanestesia but I was calm and confident and under control. I thought I'd want the jets on my back but sitting wasn't comfortable so I was leaning over the concrete on a towel with my head on my folded arms. I focused on staying relaxed through each pressure wave.
After thirty minutes I texted DH to say I needed more towels. And Heather. He came out with towels and said she'd be here in an hour. During the next thirty minutes I was having a harder time keeping my focus. I was making trips to the restroom, hence the more towels. I also felt that my pressure waves were easier to handle if I bore down just a tiny bit. I thought "open open open" and could actually feel my cervix opening. A lot it seemed. But that didn't seem possible. Then I started shivering. It was maybe 50 degrees outside and half my torso was out of the tub so that seemed reasonable. The track ended and I went inside.
In the bathroom, I peeled off my bikini and marveled at the frayed strings and the worn fabric. I knew I needed a new one for this summer. But the places this one had been: Hawaii for our honeymoon, Israel: the med sea, caked in mud at the dead sea. And now at our baby's birth. I dropped it into the shower and put my comfy yoga pants and sweat jacket back on.
Upstairs I was so grateful to find that DH had already made up the bed and I put the same hypnobabies track into the cd player and lay on my left side, hoping to regain my focus. DH asked if he should fill the birth tub now but I wanted to wait until Heather said if I'd made any progress.
I don't know how long this went on. Maybe 20-30 minutes. It still felt good to bear down slightly with each wave. Until my water broke. That broke my concentration as I recalled hearing how this would make my contractions so much more intense. I was worried I'd only be at 4cm with hours of intense contractions ahead. So I told DH I needed the tub.
11:30. My mom arrived and told me Heather was in the driveway. I told each of them as they came in that my water had broken. Heather started setting up her tools and I made my way to the bathroom. I didn't like laboring there and came back to the bed quickly.
The pressure waves were much more intense now. Heather said she needed to check me as soon as I had a break between waves. I wasn't getting breaks often or for long at this point.
"I'm afraid you'll tell me I'm at a 2!"
"Your water probably wouldn't have broken yet if you were," she replied.
I was having another intense wave.
She said, "Don't fight it. It's your baby." And at that, I could feel myself pushing. It felt better if I did.
"But did you check?" I asked.
"I didn't have to. Your baby is right there."
I pushed through two waves on the bed and Heather said if I wanted to deliver in the tub I needed to get in. Now.
"Ok. But your baby is coming now. "
As soon as that contraction eased up I got up to go to the tub. Apparently everyone had accepted that I "couldn't" as this was met with a mad dash to support me so I wouldn't fall. I didn't feel unsteady...
I put my foot in and worried it was too warm. I was reassured it was perfect. My mom tested it with her elbow and said my feet are probably just cold. I got down on my knees and bent forward into the same position I'd assumed outside with my arms on the side of the tub. In the water I finally got a break between my waves and felt I was able to get a little bit of a grip. I was vocalizing with the next one and I heard Heather telling me "Low. Go low. Raspberries". Raspberries didn't work for me. But going lower actually made it more comfortable and since comfortable seemed to go hand in hand with effective for me so far I was reassured. When that one ended I could feel something hanging out of me. Heather said, "It's part of your membranes. If it was a head you'd know it."
I had a break again before the next pushing wave. This time it was the head (and I didn't know it). Heather said, "Stop. Do. Not. Push. Listen to me!" [She told me later the cord was draped over baby, like a necklace.] I stopped and then she said go ahead. I'm not even sure I was having a surge at that point. And she said, “Lift your left leg and I'll bring the cord around." I looked down. Baby was out. And he had a penis. Of course he did. In that moment he couldn't have been any other way. This was the little boy that had cruised around with me for the last almost 9 months. "It's our M----," I said to DH.
Then I recalled I should lift my leg and she wound the cord around in front of me. I pulled him out of the water and to my chest. In the air he cried for a moment and then was so peaceful. I sat down and held him on my chest for the longest time as he looked around, calm and content. I couldn't believe we actually did it, quickly and comfortably. Our M---- was here and it was really true: he knew how and when to be born.
Not that we could have done it without DH, who was a rock throughout. He took care of everything so that I could focus on letting M---- be born.
M---- D-- was born at 12:07AM on 2/22/12 weighing 6lbs 7.6oz and 19.5" long. He completes our family in a way that was both immediately clear and impossible to explain. But I do think a part of it was having this opportunity to experience natural birth with him. He will forever be my partner in what was a life altering and healing experience.
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Tags: birth, birth story, birth stories on demand, hypnobabies, VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean, HBA2C, water birth, home birth, positive birth stories, won't scare pregnant women