Thank you, Amber, for sharing your third birth story with us.
This is my beautiful home birth story after two cesareans. My first was a very traumatic birth experience, my second was a cesearan because I had no options, and my third was an evidence-based healing birth. Hope I can encourage moms through my story!
  I started my journey the second Saturday of March 2014 when the pregnancy test said “Pregnant”. I knew after all the complications I had with my two previous cesareans (physical and emotional) I didn’t want to go that route again if I could help it. I do not regret my older two daughter’s birth. Hindsight shows me the experiences with them were just stepping stones to give me courage to take this leap.  Their births ended in two healthy little girls and that is more than I could have prayed for.  I struggled with PPD (post-partum depression) with both, and with each birth it was getting worse. This time around I wanted it all to be different. So I started researching a VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans), and I found that it is recommended that even after two cesareans women should be given a TOLAC (trial of labor). This was the spark that started it all.
I met with my first OB and at my second visit I asked him about doing a VBAC. He looked at me and said, “You want to have more children right? If you do this you will kill your baby. So it’s best we just schedule a cesarean at 39 weeks.”  I asked him about a trial of labor and he told me that he had only ever done two VBACs and they both ended in a uterine rupture and hysterectomy.  When I questioned his method and asked if they had been put on pitocin, he looked at me and told me frankly I would not get my VBAC there, and if I wanted one I needed to go somewhere else. I left the appointment frustrated and confused.  I had a fear of uterine rupture, but not as much fear as a third cesarean and the major risk for myself and my baby that came along with a third surgery.
 I talked with my good friend and co-worker, a CNM who specializes in home births, about my options. After thinking it over and a scoring my risk I was found to be medium risk and had over an 80% chance of success at a vaginal birth.  After much prayer and discussion with Sam, we felt at peace to transfer my care to her and go for a home birth.  It was not a half weighted decision. I spent hours researching case studies, personal stories, ACOG guidelines, and other evidence to know exactly what decision I was making.  Even after two cesareans, my rupture rate was still below 1%, and majority of ruptures came from induced labor.
Fast forward to November 9th.
I was 39 weeks and 5 days, and feeling every bit pregnant. After weeks of bedrest from pelvic symphysis, and very painful false labor that had started at 37 weeks– I was over it.
My mental strength was draining and I was exhausted physically. So I talked to my midwife on that Sunday and said if she didn’t come by 41 weeks I was having a cesarean. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. She said above all she wants healthy mom and healthy baby, and that includes mental health for mom. So she and Sam(my husband) supported my decision.39 weeks 6 days- Braxton hicks because painful again and started at 7am 15 minutes apart, and lasted ALL DAY LONG. I remember specifically that night video chatting with my in-laws and my mother-in-law telling me I looked like I was in a lot of pain. I definitely was! I just kept trying to relax and breath and trust the process.

40 weeks 4:oopm- Braxton hicks moved to closer, more painful contractions and I had my 40 week appointment at 4pm. I had dilated to 3cm. I was so happy that I had started progressing, but I knew that I could be at 3cm for a while. I had carried my first to 42 weeks, and I was at 3 from 38 weeks on.  I decided to walk around our mall with my husband, and I could barely make it an eighth of the way around. I decided to go home and rest. So I got into bed and turned on my music and started relaxation breathing.

6:30pm- I called my midwife because the contractions were getting really painful and I couldn’t get comfortable at all. I was still thinking it was early/false labor, but I wanted to know if I was progressing or not.  I also really wanted to be in the birth pool. My midwife said she would be there shortly, so I moved between the bed and birth ball until I couldn’t move anymore. I heard my husband get busy and inflate the birth tub. I was so ready to sink into the warm water, but knew I needed to wait. So I kept on relaxing and breathing.8:30pm- My midwife arrived and checked on Reese (perfect heart rate through contractions and between) and she checked me… I was 4-5cm!! Baby Reese was coming! I was finally faced with the fact I was going to do this! I couldn’t believe it!
The contractions at this point were totally different and painful; but they were not intolerable. I was still able to talk between them and even joke a little.  I was finally given the green light to get into the birth tub. When I sat down in it, it was the biggest relief! It took the edge off the pain. So while I labored in the tub, Sam put down plastic on the floors and made the bed….my midwife made some coffee and it was just peaceful and quiet.11:55pm-My secondary midwife arrived and they moved me to the bed. They checked me and I was 9cm and my water broke on my midwife’s hand. There was meconium, so they just started monitoring Reese more often and she was never in distress. If there had been any sign of distress for either of us, we would have been whisked away to the hospital for the safety of myself and Reese.

Transition was definitely intense. I remember at one point saying, “I am going to have a long conversation with Eve. It is her fault this hurts!”  Contractions hurt, but I never felt out of control. The double peaks were rough, but my body was kind to give me short breaks between them. My husband was great at changing out the cold rags on my neck, it was the only thing that kept me from throwing up. I remember specifically towards the end of transition I started pinching my thigh and counting to ten. I knew once I reached ten twice I would be through that set of contractions. It was the only thing that kept me focused enough to keep going.
1:00am- I felt a strong urge to push. I was checked and I had an anterior cervical lip that was preventing Reese from descending. So during my contraction my midwife told me I had to push if I wanted my baby to come out. So I when I did she  pushed the lip around Reese’s head (not the most pleasant feeling at all!) and Reese came down.
1:18am- My body started its own pushing. It was an uncontrollable urge and I kept hearing my midwives say I can see her head! Just a couple more pushes!
1:20am-I pushed with everything I had…and I felt Reese leave my body and watched as she was immediately put on my chest. The relief was immediate!! I had done it! I had done what I had been told my body could never do–birth my child! I was in shock! The transition for Reese was so peaceful she didn’t even cry until the next day. She was awake and breathing, but resting calmly on my chest.
I chose to delay cord clamping for an easier transition, and it helped pink her up and give her all the extra blood cells she needed. After I delivered the placenta, I was helped up and put in MY OWN BED! I was given medication to help prevent hemorrhage, and was examined and then given an ice pack. Reese was placed on me skin to skin, and we just rested. She fell asleep almost immediately and then woke up and nursed on her own like a champ.
Sam was wonderful through the entire thing. He knew exactly when to touch me, when to back off, and when to talk. He held me, kissed me, encouraged me, and was so strong through it all. He was able to hold Reese while I was moving to the bed, and then do skin to skin with her when I got up to pee the first time.  It was perfect. It was peaceful. It was in our home. I could not have done it without him.I only ended up with a 2degree tear that didn’t require stitches.
My midwife stayed until 1030 the next morning monitoring me and the baby. She finished her paperwork, slept, and cleaned up. No one would have guessed we had just had a baby a few hours before.  She helped me to the bathroom so Sam could sleep, fed me oatmeal when I couldn’t because I was nursing and on my back….and made me breakfast (eggs, toast, and yogurt).  It was wonderful and meant so much!
 I am amazed at the ability of my body to heal so quickly. I was tired and sore, but nothing compared to the post-op feeling I had with both my cesareans. Nursing went so smoothly (after Reese had her lip-tie clipped), and since Reese and I were never once separated we were both on the same sleep cycle.


I am so proud of myself for accomplishing this. I am not broken. My body knows how to do what God designed it to do.  I am capable and strong. It is just amazing.

I could not have done this without being given evidence-based care by my midwife and her support. She always gave me a choice and if there was anything high risk or dangerous we would have gone a different route. It was always my choice how I would birth….and that is how it should be for all women.


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