This is the story of our VBAC (UBAC-unassisted birth after cesarean).
The way we chose to birth was very intentional and well planned for. I believe God designed my body to make and deliver a baby without someone telling me how. I feel having someone telling me what to do would cloud my own intuition and instincts.
My due date was set for May 13, 2011. It was arranged months before hand that my mother would come visit starting a week before my due date through a few days after. She could not stay any later than May 18 because of my brother getting married across the country. During the 9 days she was here I was doing natural things to try to encourage labor to start. I was taking Evening Primrose Oil and small doses of Black Cohash. I was also walking, bouncing on the birth ball and having sex. I was having false labor on and off throughout her visit. Unfortunately mom had to leave for the wedding before the baby was born. When my mom was about to leave, my husband and I had to decide if he would start his 2 weeks off work or not. The decision was made that he would start his time off and we would pray labor would start soon.
The labor process started on Thursday May 19. It was the day after my mom had left. I was one day shy of 41 weeks. I had laid down for a nap while the kids were sleeping. I had been a sleep about 20 min when I went to roll over and realized I was leaking every time I tried to move. Thinking my water may have broken, I text messaged (so not to yell and wake the kids) my husband who I thought was in the living room. He didn't respond so I called him. He had gone to the store down the street to get something to drink. I told him I needed his help with something but it could wait until he got back. He kept asking what I needed so I told him I thought my water had broke and I needed his help getting out of bed so I wouldn't get everything wet. About a minute later he walked in the door (without his drink).
I got cleaned up and confirmed that it was my water leaking. After a few hours I decided I wanted to go out for dinner since labor hadn't started. So we packed up our 19 month old twins and headed to Cracker Barrel.
After the kids were settled in bed and we had gotten the birth pool inflated and ready to fill, I started having contractions about 6 minutes apart. They stayed like that for 3 hours then jumped to 3 minutes a part. I could no longer lay in bed. I got in the shower for about 30 minutes but it didn't seem to help much. Sitting on the toilet seems to be the most comfortable. I had been having contractions 3 minutes a part for 2 hours when they seemed to slow down. I decided to try to get some rest while I could. I was able to sleep for a few hours and when I woke up labor had almost completely stopped.
We went about our morning somewhat normally. After breakfast we went to the park and walked trails along the river. I started having regular contractions again but they were very bearable. We later went to the store and grabbed lunch. By the time we got home I was having some contractions here and there but nothing seemed to be happening. By afternoon I really wanted things to get going again. We had some friends pick the kids up and we went to the mall and walked for hours. I started having contractions 8 minutes a part and was very excited about it. When I couldn't walk anymore we headed home to put the kids in bed. And of course the contractions puttered out again after a few hours.
By Saturday morning I had given up. I decided that this baby wasn't ever going to come out. It ended up being a normal day. I had a few BH contractions every once in a while but that was it. I even slept pretty good that night.
I woke up Sunday morning determined to get this baby out. We had a friend take the kids for the day and went out walking again. Started having some irregular contractions again as long as I was walking. Throughout the day I walked, bounce on my birth ball, swayed, and even took a bath but nothing was helping labor to start.
We found ourselves at the dawn of another day. I was getting close to the end of my comfort level having gone so long with my water broken. I had a doctors appointment scheduled for that afternoon. I called first thing that morning and postponed the appointment for the next day. I then headed for the drug store to get Castor oil. I really didn't want to take it but I was at the end of my rope. When I got home my husband scrabbled me some eggs with an ounce of the oil. It was bearable but I wouldn't want to do it that way again. About an hour later I decided to go walking. I walked for about an hour and even did some curb walking (one foot on the curb the other not). By the time I got back home I was having mild contraction. I wanted it to keep going to I paced around the house and bounced on the birth ball. Around noon (2.5 hrs after oil) contractions were getting harder. About an hour later I was having to stop what I was doing to breath through the contractions. I wasn't convinced I was in real labor or that it wouldn't stop. I fed the kids lunch and got them down for a nap. During their nap my husband started filling the pool. I sat on the couch and swayed and hummed hymns to myself for another hour or so.
At 3pm my husband asked if we should get someone to come get the kids. I was a bit hesitant because I still wasn't sure if labor would stop again. shortly after that I started timing contractions and found them to be a minute and a half apart and lasting about a minute. So I agreed we should call a babysitter. Not an easy task when you are contracting every minute and a half. I called a friend of mine and there was no answer. So I called my mom (who was 2000 miles away) to have her call a friend from church. It was easier to communicate with her than someone who didn't know what was going on. The friend from church called me back shortly and said she was busy that night. By this point I am sitting on the toilet and start having a hot flash. A few minutes later I started vomiting. My husband came in to help me clean up. I told him to call a friend from my ICAN meetings to get the kids. Luckily she was already out running errands and came straight to our house. By the time she got to our house my contractions had spaced out to 3 min apart and I had taken the opportunity to get in the birth pool. I was still having to work through contractions but it wasn't as intense as it had been. I even asked my husband for a Dr. Pepper and mac and cheese. I was only able to eat a few bites before things got intense again.
I jumped up out of the pool and went back to the bathroom. I was most comfortable sitting on the toilet. The next hour was very intense and I was very vocal. I was making deep oh and awe sounds, like I was trying to sing bass. I had to keep reminding myself to relax and that my body was not trying to hurt itself. If I tensed up at all it became very painful. I began telling myself during every contraction to relax, stay open, and to let my body do what it needed to do. During this time my awesome husband was preparing a great birthing area in the dining/living room. He had Enya playing, lavender candles burning, all the lights out, and was keeping the pool warm. He would come check on me every once in a while to see if I needed anything. My sentences had gotten very short, like "keep AC on" or "tea". Poor guy had to keep adjusting the temp on the AC depending on where I was. If I was in the bathroom I wanted it on and blowing right on me, if i was in the pool I didn't want it on at all.
Around 6 pm I made it back in to the pool. my husband got in with me this time. I spent the next hour leaning up against him. It was very calming. I then suddenly had a contraction that was different. I knew it was a pushing contraction. So I decided to go with it. After that contraction was over I got up on my knees leaning over the side of the pool. I continued to push like that for the next 15 minutes. I then reached down to see if I could feel anything. About an inch inside I could feel what felt like a water balloon and about an inch beyond that was a head. After two more contraction the head was crowing. I knew I needed to go slow so as not to tear. I told my husband that the baby was coming so he would stay close by. After a few more contractions I could feel about 4 inches of the head and decided to push a little with the next contraction. I told my husband to get ready to catch. I hadn't told him what was going on or how close we were to having a baby until then.
He got in the pool behind me. I gave a small push and the entire head and body shot out all at once. My husband quickly grabbed the baby and brought it up out of the water. I'll never forget the look of shock and awe on my husband's face when I turned around. He had a wet slimy baby in his arms and he kept saying "you just...you just had a baby". He then laid the baby on my chest. He then reminded me we needed to check to see what the sex was. We both looked and discovered it was a girl. She had pinked up right away but was still not crying. She opened her eyes, looked at us then decided to go to sleep. I wanted her to cry for my own peace of mind so I rubbed her back, checked her nose and mouth for mucus, and gave her a little puff of air. She finally got mad enough she cried a few times then went back to sleep. We wrapped her in a towel and sat in the pool for the next 45 minutes examining her and talking. The placenta was delivered about 10 minutes after the birth, during which I discovered I had a rather deep tear. We chose to let it heal on its own. We tied the cord off with embroidery floss that I had braided and boiled for the occasion. My husband took the baby to diaper and dress her while I showered. We spent the rest of the evening curled up on the couch making phone calls to our family.
Later the next day we decided on the name.
May 23 @ 7:22pm
8 lb 10 oz
19 in. long
It was just over 4 days from my water starting to leak to the birth. I was checking babies heart rate, my blood pressure, my temperature, babies movements and following the "nothing in the vagina" rule throughout those 4 days for signs of distress and infection. I was also in contact with a nurse friend of mine to be sure there was no immediate reason for concern.
I can not imagine giving birth any other way. It was peaceful, calm and completely unhindered. There is absolutely nothing that compares to having a baby by candle light in your own home supported by love.