I’d always planned for natural, unmedicated birth, even before I was pregnant. I’m not sure why, but it just seemed like the way it was supposed to be for me.
So when I ended up with an unplanned Cesarean section, that was ultimately unnecessary, and which left me with long term nerve damage, it was pretty devastating. The second time around, I was wiser and determined that unless there was a medical necessity, this birth would be happening vaginally.
My husband and I decided that so long as my pregnancy was healthy, that I would attempt my VBAC at home, with a midwife. Though there were some bumps along the way, and our unborn son made me wait an extra couple of weeks, he was born at home.
This is our birth story!
On a Tuesday evening in March of 2013, at close to 42 weeks, my Mother’s intuition told me that go time was close. My husband and I sent our daughter to stay with my mom that night, just in case, and sure enough sometime around 2 AM I woke with contractions. I dozed on and off for a couple of hours and we called our midwife around 6:30 in the morning. The contractions were regular and getting longer, so she told us that the tub could be filled and that she would soon be on her way.
I was trying to assess my own mood. I was excited to meet my son, and also anxious because I didn’t know anything about labor! Despite being a second time mom, I had never felt a single contraction with my daughter’s pregnancy, despite a week long attempt at induction. So that unknown made me nervous.
Once the tub was filled, I climbed right in as the intensity of the sensations was growing. The warm water definitely took the edge off. I remember that there was some creepy bug show playing on the TV, and that we would watch both Ghostbusters movies during the labor.
Around 9AM, the house got a little more full! Both midwives and the photographer that we had booked to capture the birth arrived. They all set up their respective camps and we chatted on and off. As noon neared, my contractions tapered off, so my midwife asked me to get out of the tub to walk around, have a snack, and maybe take a nap. After all this, we were at a standstill and one of the midwives suggested checking me to see what was going on. It was a good thing, because although my water had broken, a portion of the membranes were covering my cervix. There was a bulging “mini sac” that was preventing my son’s head from applying pressure to my cervix, which had caused the labor to stall. Using an amnio hook, the midwife moved the membranes out of the way, and it was game on almost instantly.
I stood up after the process and pretty much instantaneously went into transition. I made my way back to the tub and tried to mentally prepare for the next parts of the birthing process. I knew that my son was going to be a larger baby, and I had practiced the Hypnobirthing method with my husband. This birthing method calls for listening to your body and your instincts, and to allow the muscular contractions of the uterus to help move your baby down and out of your body versus the “hold your breath and bear down” strategy. I was planning to go slow and not bear down unless my instinct called for it, to let my tissue slowly stretch to accommodate my son and to try and prevent any major tearing.
Sometime during this stage I remember screaming and cursing at my husband, telling him that this was all his fault! The midwives scrambled into action, knowing that it meant delivery was getting close. I also recall the feeling of my son moving through my pelvis, and the sensation took my breath away. I felt like my hips were being pried apart internally, and that sensation was incredibly intense for me. Eventually, I felt my sons head as he crowned. I though this meant the marathon was almost over, but because I was determined not to force him into the world and injure myself, I held back.
Time was beyond me now, but he stayed at the crowning position for roughly 2 hours. The midwives were monitoring his heart rate every few contractions and noted that he was starting to have decelerations. My primary midwife looked me in the eye and told me to stand and push my son out, NOW. I stood, but felt unable to comply. The second midwife checked my son again and assisted him out into the world at around 6:45 PM, roughly 12 hours after active labor had begun. He needed suction and oxygen initially, but my beautiful boy and I had done it, together! Born at 41 weeks + 6 days, on the first day of Spring, JP was 10lbs, 2.2oz and 23.5 inches long.
After the placenta was birthed and we had recovered a bit, we moved into the spare bedroom that my husband had had prepared for the first few nights, because it was on the main floor of the house. The birth team loved on us, and our photographer caught some of the precious first moments we had with our son. I’m forever grateful for those images because the first few hours were a total blur. After making sure we were clean, fed, and comfortable, the midwives departed around midnight.
Our daughter came home to meet her brother the next evening, and it was love at first sight! Our family felt complete, and has ever since.
Pictures courtesy of Jo Price Photography