In the months preceding older daughter’s birth I was still grieving what was suppose to be but never was. I got a lot of “you and the baby are okay, what is there to complain about?” but I did feel like a failure, even though in my head I went over and over what happened and I really didn’t think I could have changed anything that happened. It wasn’t until last summer when I met a lady who teaches birthing classes and was a Christian that somehow we ended up in a conversation about older daughter’s birth and after 5 minutes I ended up crying on her shoulder and grieving with someone who understood my pain at last. it was very freeing for me and healing that I knew that I wasn’t crazy for just being happy that we were both okay. I know it was a God moment in my life when I really needed those words of healing spoken into my life by another woman. I mean, how do you go from a conversation in a bookstore with a perfect stranger to crying on her 5 minutes later?
When I became pregnant again I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. The doctor had told my dh after he had finished stitching me up that he recommended sections with subsequent children. He didn’t say why but it all ready put doubt into my head that I couldn’t birth children vaginally. So when I told my mother that I was pregnant again I know she remembered this comment of his.
I started researching my options. I looked around my town for an OB who would support a VBAC. The doctors that I did speak with were, I felt, very condesending to me and did know acknowledge that fact that I had done a lot of research on my birth with oldest daughters, what lead to it and what complications arise from attempting a VBAC and signing up for a section. Because I didn’t have an MD behind my name, well I must be like a little lamb to be led around. whatever.
Homebirth really interested me. Intially I was going to have my first in the hospital, see how it went and then have other babies at home. well, obviously my first hospital birth didn’t go too great, so I thought I was crazy for even thinking about it. I had an online friend who said after she heard my story “your next birth will be better and you will do it at home.” I thought maybe she hadn’t read my story, was she crazy too?! but she planted and idea that is for sure. And the more research I did, the more I became convinced that it was probably actually my best shot for having a vaginal birth. the fact of the matter is, most OB’s lack the skills that direct entry midwives have to get babies out. they use their “back up” a lot, which is sectioning a woman if it becomes to inconvienient or takes too long. The attitude in the town I live in is definitely conservative and I knew if I had shown any signs of problems with getting my baby out, I would be sectioned in a moment. I didn’t want stuff like “trail of labour” used around me. My body was created in a way that I could birth vaginally and I would do it.
One day, after I had met with a couple of midwives, I woke up one morning with a decision. I was going to birth at home. I felt completely at peace with the decision. I knew what my risks were, I knew the biggest one was a “uterine rupture” which sounds so bad, but there are signs before it happens. and I felt completely confident that I could do this. I trusted God completely that my peace about it was from Him, and if catastrophe was to befall me, I would again trust Him to get me through it. I had it in my head that a transport was a possibility this time.

I felt that I made my decision not out of fear, but out of trusting God and myself that this is what I was created to do. Its not to say that I didn’t have moments of doubt, but when I did, I would look into whatever question I had harder and settle it within myself. I took a very proactive approach to make sure this baby stayed where she was suppose to this time. I did chiro care every week and later in the pregnancy I started to get massage to loosen my joints so I did not have to deal with extra muscle tension. When I told my friend Amanda that the baby had come down and I was all ready 3cm and 90% effaced she said “good work! go v*gina!” I was like “yeah, I had soo much to do with it”. but then she said” actually you have worked really hard with this one, so don’t say otherwise”. again, it was works of affirmation that I needed to hear. I was going to have a successful VBAC and I really believed it.

I reached 40 weeks and by this point I had watched 2 other wonderful mothering board ladies, not only have wonderful VBAC’s, but AT HOME VBAC’s. I was so happy to see it and it strengthened my resolve yet again. Also, my mother had finally come around after doing more research and perhaps realising her daughter was not changing her mind 😛 I also sent her a great article from mothering. com about an at home VBAC. I was glad to finally have her blessing. my bio mom had everyone but me in the hospital, so she was all ready cheering very loudly for me 

so, now onto the actual STORY of her birth.

I was 40 weeks and 2 days. It was Friday. I decided to get some errands done you just don’t feel like doing when you are 40 weeks pregnant. Went to see my MW, where she did some stretching of my cervix, which was kind of painful and then I went grocery shopping and finally picked up a book to write some birthing affirmations in that I had borrowed from Kym. Wandered around the grocery store, experiencing more painful than usual ctx’s. Went home, I was pretty spent so I asked my nieghbour to help me bring in the groceries, because he was right there anyway. Dh called and asked me if it was “safe” to go on an overnight with his job. He is a pilot. I hummed and ha’ed and decided it was okay. I had had ctx’s before and usually they went away.

At about 11pm that night I decided to go to bed. this was my usual litmus test to see whether or not they went away. I laid there for an hour and they only got more painful, not less. so much so my lovely dd, was waking up because I was moaning pretty loudly. I can’t seem to shut up while labouring  so then of course, I jumped on GCM. posted my thoughts and called my MW. she told me to have a bath and time them for the next couple of hours. I did. during this time, I managed to call my friend Lyssa, who lives in Hawaii, who was basically timing them for me on the phone while she chattered away about her family and kids. it was a lovely diversion. after about an hour or so chatting with Lyssa, I decided it was time to call in the troups. so I got off the phone with Lyssa and called my doula, Amanda and my Midwife named Merrie. they all arrived about an hour later. of course, at this time I realise that my hose to fill up my tub is missing and my dh, who was suppose to be “in charge” of this kind of stutf, is MIA. So my lovely friend who was both my labour support and in charge of my daughter when she awoke, had to fill the tub manually with a mop bucket!!!  I really wished I could have offered to help. I called dh, was was struggling to stay awake, but I could tell he was tired because it was the middle of the night and he did have a plane to fly home the next day.
I got in the tub and it was so lovely. at this time my dd had woken up and was hanging around. she was surprisingly happy for it being 330am! she stayed up for about 2 hours when it became apparent she was way too tired so we put her back to bed. I ran some stairs to get a ctx going so Merrie could see how the babe was doing. She was fine. then, they started to space a bit and Merrie gave me some homeopathic black cohash. it worked like a charm. I started ctxing almost immediately much closer together. Merrie checked me at 6am and I had gone from 4 to 5cm and now I was “officially” in labour. I found it hard to believe that after all these months of waiting, she was finally on her way! but I was very excited to meet her too.
I ended up doing hypnobirthing. not intentionally, I guess I just diverted to it without thinking. I was very focused and through my contractions I just remembered to breath. I really liked holding someone’s hand as I felt like that shot the negative energy out of me. my hand was quite sore the next day. I was glad my doula was a massage therapist and could handle my grip. It was also so lovely because she would push my pressure points while I was contracting and it relieved a lot of the pain. Between 7-8am I kind of took a little snooze. which sounds really funny, but I was able to relax enough for the next phase of my labour. I started to get a bit chilly, which I realise now was transition. My doula told me after that she had never seen anyone so calm during transition. I didn’t even realise I was in it! I felt a bit pukey, but I never did throw up. I also made it to the toilet for one last drain of my bowels before the pushing stage began too. which was good, because I never was able to track down one of those darn fishy nets! I also was feeling rather “drunk” and I thought it was pretty funny. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was so tired, but I was very relaxed between ctx. I was told it was the endorphines.

With each ctx, I also remembered my friend Allison’s words that “I am the biggest wimp in the world but even I could get through a moment of pain”. and that is all it was, a moment. I also had my affirmations read, which helped a lot to. I had to concentrate on keeping my voice low to I didn’t sound “distressed” either. As well, to me these ctx were a WALK IN THE PARK compared to my labour with oldest daughter. with oldest daughter it was excruitiating. my whole entire body was consumed in pain every time I peaked with her. it was exhausting and disheartening because with her I was hypobirthing and it seemed to do nothing. but I know it did, because I didn’t get my epi until 17 hours of labour had passed.
Merrie told me to do this funny thing with my facial cheeks called “horse lips” I needed to relax my face more because apparently every time I contracted my butt cheeks got all tense.  which I find really hilarious. at first I didn’t want to do it, but when I tried, I really felt the tension leaving my body. Merrie got me to sit on the toilet for the psychological effect and it also helped a lot. she set me up in a different position on the bed, on my hands and knees propped up by pillows. she said I was 9.5 with a small lip and on the next ctx she wanted me to push and get that last little bit of cervix away. now that HURT HURT HURT. but it was effective. then she told me to PUSH!
It was now 1030AM. my dh was still not there. the odd thing was, when I had envisioned my birth, he was not usually in it. now I am not talking when the baby actually came out, but for the labour phase, he wasn’t around. kind of strange, but I think I was preparing myself for it. I told him that if she was coming, I wasn’t telling her not to! I knew at that point, it was on his way and hopefully close.
I really had to learn how to push. with oldest daughter, though I had pushed for hours, I was numb from the waist down. there is nothing like feeling that baby’s head move its way down. I would do the classic 2 steps forward, one step back thing. They had me in the tub, where my daughter came in and was trying to help me by putting some water on my back and patting me. it was so cute. She would wander in and out of the room and point at me and say” mummy’s yucko, ewww” I had a bit of poop floating around in the tub. Amanda was watching her this entire time and has some pretty funny stories of what she was going while I laboured. she was completely relaxed and unfazed by the whole thing. I was very glad I was at home for her to be able to be that way.

At 1130 my dh finally arrived. I was very happy to see him, though I still felt like I was in a naturally drug induced state. you don’t notice much when you are in labour except what your body is doing. they got me to lay on my back with my legs as wide as they could go to get her turned in my pelvis. this one hurt the most I think. they held my legs back while I pushed. it was hard because I wanted to push longer, but I also really needed to breath. I requested oxygen, but they couldn’t find a piece to the mask that was needed. that kind of sucked, because I knew I could go longer if only I didn’t need AIR! I should also mention that this is the time I started to experience orgasms.  These weren’t the kind of orgasms you have during intercourse exactly, I thought of them as “minis”, just small ones that were happening completely involuntarily. So though I was in pain, I was having these bits of pleasure thrown in there for good measure. I admitted this to no one for YEARS, I didn’t say it out loud until the birth of my son actually.  But I didn’t make this up, I really truly had numerous “mini” orgasms while in the pushing stage of my second daughter.
Finally they stood me up and I leaned against dh and pushed with one leg on the birthing stool and one leg on the ground. this also hurt. they were checking the baby constantly as this is also the most likely time for a uterine “rupture” to happen. finally they got me to sit on the chair and said “its her head, you got her head out!” and I said ” it is?” in this kind of whiny voice but finally one more push and OUT SHE CAME. I had been feeling the “ring of fire” for a while now, but it wasn’t constant, this was a constant pressure. I was SO RELIEVED and I looked down and saw my babies face for the first time. she looked, well surprised! and I started to cry because well, I DID IT! I even said “I DID IT!” I sounded pretty exhausted.
When Merrie first saw her she guessed her to be a niner. the placenta came out about a half an hour later and we left it on for about 2 hours. we finally wieghed her at 8lbs and 12oz. her head was also huge, 14 1/2 and to boot, her head was also acynclitic. I must have a great pelvis if I can get that out!
My bottom was extremely swollen, I have a genetic propensity for it and Merrie didn’t even want to see if I had torn I was so sore. Basically it took a week to get everything back in place so I could actually SIT for longer than 2 minutes.

I also feel more at peace with my first birth. I think its because I realise even if I had tried to do it, I probably would have had to have been transported because I needed some kind of pain relief. I do not describe myself as a wimp, but the ctx for the births were night and day for me. If I had gotten an incredibly skilled MW and maybe had skipped the epi and gotten something less strong, maybe my posterior acynclitc baby would have come out. I think though, if I had lived a long time ago, I strongly suspect my labour may have stalled out out of pure exhaustion and maybe we both would have not made it. I don’ t know. but I feel better about my section now then I did before ironically enough.

I was also pleased I could put on my own pants after having given birth 😉

– Candice