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.
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.
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.
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.