August 2, 2016
4 hr labor
I will never forget my first appointment with my future midwife, Kathaleen. She had invited me to tour All About Babies birthing center and to answer any questions. I had printed all of my health records including my miscarriage that included ambulance and hospitalization and our first delivery which was an emergency c section. I was positive she would tell me that I wasn't a candidate for VBAC nor did AAB want me since I was such a liability. Did I mention I was 36 years old- "advanced maternal age?"
That first meeting gave me hope; hope that I would finally experience my dream labor and delivery. Kathaleen sent my info to Dr. Cummings who monitored my test results but thought that I could try a VBAC. I couldn't believe my ears!
The next month I prayed and prayed that God would let me know if this was in His plan for me. I put my full faith in God and in turn in Kathaleen and Kassidy (my student midwife.) Boy did that faith pay off!
Fast forward several months... we had been trying to encourage labor by walking. It was triple digit heat in Texas so we only walked in the early morning, late evening or in places with A/C such as Walmart and Nebraska Furniture Mart. Our "due date" passed and I was trying not to get anxious. We had an appt with Kathaleen and I lamented that we had been walking and the contractions start but then fade away by the time we get home.
She smiled knowingly and reassured me that one time they will start and just keep going! We carried about our day as usual.
I walked in Lowes for about an hour with my hubby. He cracked jokes that made me loosen up and just enjoy the time with him. The contractions revved up but went away as before. I decided to watch "Call The Midwife" and take a nap. About 20 minutes into an episode, I felt something. A few minutes later I felt another something.
I called my hubby in to time them: 2.5 min apart. I told him that these weren't real and that I would take a shower to relax. In the shower they kept coming only stronger and closer together. I used the tail wagging technique we practiced in the prenatal yoga classes I took to help manage the contractions. The hot water felt so good on my back! We had been told to head to the birthing center when contractions were 8 min apart. My hubby began texting our midwife. I was saying, "if we don't make a choice now, we are going to have a home birth!"
We got the green light to go to the birthing center. There was no time to drop our older son off. We all grabbed a bag of something and took off! Luckily traffic was a breeze. I breathed (and counted my breaths as I had practiced in yoga) and gripped the door handles during contractions. Mom timed them (1.5 min!) In between contractions we all chatted. I thoroughly enjoyed the pretty drive over.
Once we got there, I knew exactly which birthing suite I wanted and made a beeline for it. I completely forgot the exam I was supposed to have in an exam room. I was ready to go! Luckily my Kathaleen examined me in the suite! I knew if I was 6-7 centimeters dilated I could get in the tub. I was SO hopeful! My midwife announced, "7 centimeters!" I was in the tub before it was even filled. It was SO relaxing...
Here's the funny part—since labor came on so fast and furious, we had no music playing, no candles lit, no essential oils diffusing. By the time we could have gotten that stuff, I had no interest! All I wanted was to be left to manage those contractions. I was completely absorbed and focused. I tried to squat in the tub and gripped the lip of the tub with my fingers for support. After some time had passed, I heard myself say, "perhaps this wasn't a good idea after all." It was funny because I was doing exactly what I wanted and I totally regretted nothing. I was just feeling a bit overwhelmed at that moment and those were the only words I could think of.
Shortly after, my hubby leaned in to whisper that I was through "transition." Outwardly, all I did was nod. Inwardly, I thought, "Awesome! I had hoped so!!!"
I drank water every few contractions and our baby's heart was monitored remotely every other contraction.
Everything was going great! My hubby tried to think of ways to support me, talking, massaging etc, but I didn't want any of that. Then at one point he started to move to get something and I asked, "You aren't leaving, right?!" I knew I sounded a bit weird insisting he not talk to me or touch me, but he better not leave his spot! He's amazing. Most of the time my eyes were closed. I was just so focused. At one point a student midwife brought a fan in to cool me off... Heaven sent!!
During this time, a stanza of a hymn kept going through my head, "Do not be afraid, I AM with you." It's from one of my very favorite songs that I sang in my high school choir. At one point I asked God to please send an angel to wrap his wings around me.
Then I heard myself grunt! The contractions changed somehow and I very much had to push. It was amazing how very automatic this was. Kathaleen encouraged me to deepen my voice when I groaned through these early pushes. I felt so primal.
All was going well but my midwives were so on top of things they gave me suggestions for my position before I wore myself out squatting. I lay back against the pillow in the tub and immediately relaxed. I even swayed in the water in between contractions. It felt good to have the water flowing over and around my belly! But then, the midwives added some warmer water to the tub and tried to stir it in. That was more than I could handle and I protested. Luckily, they were super quick and patient with me! They kept repeating, "whatever works for her." I felt like royalty.
About this time, my midwife noticed the bag of waters bulging. She had asked me earlier if my water had broken and I thought it had. Oops! I asked her if she would break it now. She gave it a quick pinch and I could feel an immediate relief.
Then during one set of heart rate monitoring, we realized our baby's rate had dropped a bit. Donnellyn rolled a little oxygen tank over and put a mask on me. Wow! That did me some good! All of a sudden, I could follow their directions better. They asked me to change my arm position. In my head I thought, "How am I ever going to do that?" I moved one arm at a time so I didn't lose my focus.
One to two contractions later, we had a baby!! All the midwives and student midwives were gloved to their shoulders and surrounding the tub. They easily caught our baby and put him on my chest. That was amazing. Just amazing.
Now, when I stand my blood pressure goes down. In normal people it goes up. Knowing this, I handed off our baby to Donnellyn just in case I got dizzy getting out of the tub. I wasn't risking dropping our new love. As I stood up, the cord tugged a bit and my placenta started to fall out. The midwives had me cough to make sure it came out completely. It's funny because I had heard that delivering the placenta can be frustrating after you did all that work. One less thing to worry about! I was wrapped in towels and helped to the bed.
I got to rest while they checked the baby right there! No one took him away. It was around this time that I realized two very special things: 1.) I wasn't wearing a medical bracelet. Everyone knew who I was! 2.) I never took my wedding ring off- not only did I not swell this pregnancy but I never worried that something might happen to it at the birthing center as I did with the hospital.
My mom got to cut the cord. She was thrilled! Baby and I got to get back into the tub for a special postpartum tea soak. That was magical. I got to really look at him and marvel- by God's grace, we did it!!
After all that work, I just kept telling folks how tired I was! I did require stitches- lots! Then I nursed our baby and ate some food we brought. I remember craving PB and jelly! Our little one got a full exam right there at the foot of the bed. It was wonderful to be able to just relax as our boy got to finally meet the midwife and student midwife who had been eagerly waiting to meet him. We realized he had an upper lip tie. This made nursing a challenge for the first few weeks until we had the frenulum lasered.
After I proved that I could use the restroom we were released to go home! I couldn't wait to get some sleep. Aside from our baby clearing some gunk he had in his chest during the night, it was a great night of rest.
The following day, Kathaleen and Kassidy came for our home visit. It was so nice being home and having them come to us. Like they said- we had a very redeeming birth.
In hindsight, I can't help but hope that some of the things I did with this birth vs my first helped.
Here's what I tried this time:
1.) food: grain free, very low sugar (including fructose), grass fed meats, pastured eggs, organic produce, grass fed butter and yogurt, occasional glass of raw full fat milk, lots of Real sea salt. I tried to eat lots of protein and healthy fats with my veggies. This diet led to me being 20 lbs lighter upon conception than I was with our first and not having fluid retention this time.
2.) supplemented based on blood results- iron free multi since my ferritin was way high, food-based b-complex, food-based Vit c, probiotic and magnesium as needed
3.) prenatal yoga starting second trimester with an instructor who really supported natural birth. I did home practice following a 20 min prenatal video and did kegels daily. Lots of squats and lunges as well!!
4.) adjustments with two fabulous chiropractors5.) lots of vitamin d from the sun
5.) young living ningxia juice last trimester (I called it my ninja juice)
6.) Red raspberry tea daily from second trimester on
7.) evening primrose oil the last handful of weeks
8.) perineal massage the last few weeks
9.) ate a handful of dates almost daily for the last couple of weeks
10.) Epsom salt baths a couple times a month
11.) Slept with an Earthing mat under my feet from first trimester on
12.) kept seeking and reading scripture passages as well as quotes that promoted the idea of "no fear." I also prayed for God's will to be done and that this all happened in God's timing.