So I've had a lot of people ask about my birth story, and thought I should just post it here to let anyone interested refer to it... I had the perfect natural vaginal delivery after a c-section 3 years prior. It was AMAZING!!!! I wrote this when baby Rhet was very small, and haven't read it since, so it's fun to think back :)
I think our birth story started 3 years ago after my first son came via Cesarean section due to his being footling breach. I learned quickly by visiting a half-dozen different OBs over the next three years that my desire for a VBAC might be more difficult than I had imagined! … Then about three months into this pregnancy I stumbled upon Bethany Women’s Healthcare and haven’t looked back! Yes, I had to drive from the East Valley where we live and it took a lot of gas and some patience in traffic, but it was oh so worth it.
I had had contractions for at least the whole third trimester of this pregnancy, and at around 40 and a half weeks, nothing exciting seemed to be going on! I went in for a check-up on the Friday the 13th of August and Diane asked if I wanted to be checked internally and I couldn’t help myself, I wanted to know what was up! She said I was at about a 2.5, 80% effaced, with baby’s head down low and a little bloody show. She smiled a little and said she didn’t think I’d make it to next week’s appointment, but I told myself not to get my hopes up…
The next day I woke up and for the first time in a few weeks I felt like actually putting make-up on and attempting to wear a cute dress – not very characteristic of me. So I tried beautifying my 60-pound overweight self and begged my husband to take me to Ikea to walk around (he refused – it was a super long drive, it’d be about an hour from the hospital). Instead, we went to fill water bottles around noon after picking up a Powerade from Circle K (a guilty pleasure that helped get through the hottest months of pregnancy). While waiting for my husband to fill up the first 5-gallon bottle of water, I felt a little “twinge” somewhere around the baby’s head then some seriously warm liquid started dribbling out onto the seat of the car! I opened the door and told my husband, “babe, my water just broke!” We were both kind of weirded out by it, so he asked if we should continue fill up any more of the water bottles and I said heck no, let’s go home!
So we called my folks who were to meet us at home to play with and then babysit our 3-year-old while we were in the business of birthing the baby. Then I called the midwives, and I was super excited to hear that Lynnette was on call. When I spoke with her I told her my water broke, fluid was clear, but labor hadn’t begun, and she said great, feel free to come in if contractions get below 5 minutes, but if nothing happens by 10 pm to head in to just check everything out. Sweet. We also called to warn our doula. I had to sit on the toilet for quite a while because the fluid just wouldn’t stop, and it would soak through huge maxi-pads like crazy for the first couple of hours, so I didn’t get to move around a whole lot J
Contractions started within the hour, nothing super consistent for a few hours though. Between my folks, my husband, and myself, I was the most calm, it was hilarious! Dad was itching to get me to the hospital, husband was busy cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry, and mom was scrubbing the stove top while I made sandwiches and watched “The Proposal” in the living room!
Around 4 pm or so the contractions started really messing with me. I would get the chills, hot flashes and/or cold sweats with each one, and decided I wasn’t feeling awesome, so I called Lynnette again and she suggested I might want to head toward the hospital within the hour if I felt like I should. The only thing was not all of the contractions were really bad. I’d have one or two easy ones, then one super intense one. Nothing too crazy, but all within 5 minutes. However, within a half hour I told my husband I didn’t want to stay at home anymore and felt more comfortable heading out. So that’s what we did.
It was easier to labor in the car, I sat in the back seat and just closed my eyes during each contraction – trying to breathe and stay calm like my hypnobirthing book said to. Although I wasn’t practiced or an expert in hypnobirthing, I really appreciated the mentality/philosophy taught in the book, it helped my labor a ton. At the hospital we walked all the way to the elevators and tried every floor until we finally found the right one! We’re such dummies – we totally forgot where to go! I’d have to stop walking for the contractions and have my husband help support me, but having his support was enough to get through them just fine…
The staff was surprised to know that I had walked up there 4 or 5 hours after my water breaking – I was getting pretty dang distracted by the contractions at this point, so I didn’t respond much. They let me settle into my room right away and I tossed on the ugly gown and laid myself on my left side in the bed and closed my eyes. I was pretty uncomfortable during the contractions at this point, but when they were done I felt perfectly fine and at ease, joking with my husband or sipping a bunch of water. Finally Lynnette came in and asked if I wanted to be checked and I said yes please, I want to make sure something is actually happening!
Lucky for me, I was at about a 6.5 and she joked that I was about 98% effaced, that was music to my ears! I had secretly hoped to not get to the hospital until after 6 cm, I know it’s silly and just a number, but it was one of those crazy little mental goals I was looking for. Unfortunately, there was another gal trying to have a baby at the same moment as me, so poor Lynnette was trying to juggle both of us. I still feel bad about that J. I totally forgot to bring up the birth plan from the car, so when they ladies asked what my birth plan was, I just said “no drugs please! And no knives!” They said “okay!” and that was that!
My doula really helped me out after this point, because not too long after I was checked did I start getting really uncomfortable during those dang contractions! She helped remind me to focus on the parts of my body that weren’t experiencing the intense discomfort during the contractions, then she helped remind me to come back to center in between contractions. In between, she suggested opening my eyes, looking at my husband, and getting grounded again. That was huge. I remember thinking at one point, “thank heaven they’re not offering me drugs because at this moment I might take them”, but then I remembered hearing from so many others’ birth stories that that usually means I’m almost done. And guess what? Pretty soon I blurted out mid-contraction “Oh my gosh, he wants to come out!” I even remember my legs twitching a bit when I tried to suppress the urge, it was so cool to feel my body tell me what to do.
I don’t even remember what time it was, but I remember toward the end of one contraction I totally thought I needed to push him out, but refrained because I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. Then the next one I couldn’t even stop myself! I remember again reiterating that he wanted to come out and I really wanted to push, and then I heard someone say, “we always believe the mother when she says that!” That was so amazing to me – they trusted me and my body and didn’t try to play God and mess with what I and my body was saying. I loved it!
Unfortunately, Lynnette was still with the other mom, so I was on my own for a while until Lylaine was sweet enough to come early to her shift (at least I think she did?) and help out. So she got there during the pushing and was just amazing. Between she and my doula they helped me to work with my body to help baby Rhet ease his way into the world. At first I was a little timid with my pushing, I didn’t feel like I knew what to do and wasn’t sure if I should push very hard, but then after pushing for a while (and getting pretty tired, to be completely honest), I bore down even more each time. I remember at the end it seemed like my body was taking a little bit longer rests between contractions, as if to let me save up a little more energy to make the next one count even more than the last. It was awesome when Lylaine asked if I wanted to feel the top of his head, which I did. It actually bummed me out a little because I was hoping more of him would have been out, but I remembered not to worry, and everyone reminded me that he was just going to take a little time to try to keep the perineum in tact J. Not much longer after that, Lylaine said something like, “I think he might come with the next one” and I got even more determined. I did feel some burning at the end (which I think was from tearing), but mostly just a ton of pressure as he was coming (I was pooping out a 14 cm head, after all).
Finally after a few more pushes I felt some serious relief as my baby boy’s head, then shoulders slithered on out! Sounds weird, but that’s how I felt it – he slithered out after the head emerged. Lylaine had asked me earlier if I wanted baby on my chest right away and of course I wanted to. I got to hold him right away while she worked on the afterbirth, my husband cut the cord after it finished pulsating, and as she stitched up my weird tears (yeah – I tore in an unusual way she said – very superficial but kind of all over!). Baby Rhet got to nurse right away and hardly every cried – he was very chill and oh so handsome!
All in all, it was the absolute perfect birth, and I couldn’t have asked for anything to go any better. After a while of some amazing bonding, baby Rhet was weighed and measured – 8 pounds 5 ounces and like 21 inches or something like that. EVERYTHING has been easier during this postpartum in comparison to the C-Section. I truly believe that letting him decide when to come, and having his entry to the world as nature intended it resulted in the best start we could ask for! Thank you, thank you to all the midwives (and Dr. Chambers before she left) at Bethany Women’s Healthcare! I really loved and appreciated all of you and your calm, joyful approach to pregnancy and childbirth. I especially thank Lylaine and Lynnette for the VBAC class I attended, which was both therapeutic and useful in preparation for BAC, and then for your help on d-day too! My family and I were just so impressed with how awesome everything went, and especially for Lylaine’s help with the delivery and the first few hours we had with our son. I’d literally recommend you guys to anyone – and already have a number of times!