Have you ever heard the story about the tortoise and the hare? Well, that's how I kinda felt during my labor. SLOW and steady wins the race. I kept telling myself that, because I knew I was in for a long, slow going labor, and it was up to me to just persevere in order to have this baby at home like I wanted. And boy, did I want this home birth so bad, I have been obsessed about trying for a vbac for two years-since the c-sec hospital birth of my first son, Lincoln, which literally left me scarred and damaged. Here is my story:
My birth story really begins on tuesday night- December 7th.
I took my final exam for my first semester of nursing school that day. My midwife, Nicole, told me not to worry... that the baby would know how much I needed to get that test out of the way before giving birth. And that's exactly what happened. I began having period-like cramps right after the test, but thought nothing of it. I went to the mall with my friend and my 2 year old, just to keep busy, and to WALK WALK WALK and try to get labor moving. But, nothing happened. Just some light period cramps here and there. I went to bed after being up to late and doing way too much.
Wednesday- Woke up at 430 am, feeling the first contractions. They were seriously not bad, but enough to wake me during them, I got up.... took a shower, and facebooked "its a beautiful day" then woke my hubby to tell him the contractions were kinda constant, but not that strong. I wasn't sure if he wanted to take the day off or not, BUT I am so glad he did. It was great to have him here with Lincoln while I did my own thing. All DAY WEDNESDAY was like this- contractions 15 mins apart, enough to stop me in my tracks during, but I was able to move around and laugh in between. I walked back and forth in front of my house like a maniac. I tried to nap with my son, but laying down intensified the pain. When I actually layed down and tried to time the rushes, I felt them coming now about 8 mins apart. Which was a good sign! I still didn't want to tell the whole family about it yet, since Nicole(the midwife) had told me labor might be long, and my biggest goal is not to get over excited and use up all my energy. So we waited to tell anyone. I labored all day in my home, but was getting antsy. So the three of us took our last trip out- to target. I was walking around pretty well. Trying to get things moving. I had to stop three of four times while shopping. Zack sent me up front to grab Lincoln some breadsticks from the Pizza Hut area, since we were cooking super spicy beef stew at home (Zacks idea to speed up my labor, and Lincoln wouldn't eat it) Anyways, on my way back from grabbing Lincoln some food I felt a super strong one coming on, It stopped me dead in my tracks and I almost dropped the food. I couldn't move, I just looked Zack in the eyes, it was exciting, I knew labor was really coming on, and it was all up to me now to STAY CALM and FOCUSED! We got home, ate the super spicy beef stew, which I sorely regretted later on, but yes it did get my labor pumping a little bit more I would say, only because it kept me on the toilet constantly.
Thursday- It was now thursday, I was up all night, I TRIED to sleep in between contractions, but that is easier said then done, It actually was super painful to lay down, so when I kept moving I could ease and wiggle around once a rush was coming. Needless to say things got more hardcore during the night time. I had to moan and pant during the contractions now. I called Nicole to tell her things were coming faster now. She kept asking if I wanted her to come, but I was not quite ready. Until I took my bath at about 3 in the morning. I layed on my side so my tummy was all in the water, and once the contraction came it was stronger then ever before. Zack was in the next room trying to rest, and he came in the bathroom laughing-he said my noises scared the crap out of him. I sounded like a ghost moaning lol. So that made me laugh so hard, and I tried not to make that noise anymore since it just made me giggle. :) Our doula/midwife in training-Jess Brown made her way over-it was like 430 in the morning or so I believe. She was such a god-send! Zack went back to bed, and she helped me figure out how to get through each contraction. She kept my head on straight, and helped me focus and put things into perspective. I am very grateful for her, and would recommend everyone have a doula for their birth! I wasn't going to have any internal exams, but we wanted to get a time estimate-approximately as to when I should actually call my "team" aka: The midwife, my friend to watch Lincoln, our photographer Marnie, and my mom. She checked me around 8 am I think, and I was about 3-4 centimeters, which to me was awesome because I never even got there with my first birth. I was happy about the progress but didn't want it to stop! I took a bath, and was started talking about setting up the birth pool! YAY! I called Marnie, the photographer, who was awesome by the way. She came to the house sometime between 1230 and 130 I think. My friend Heather came around 130 too and layed down my son for his afternoon nap. Time after this point was a blur. The birth pool was AMAZING, too amazing actually. It calmed me to the point that my contractions slowed. I fell asleep in the pool, which was a nice break, but I didn't want my labor to stop after all the hard work I had put in. So I got out and GOT WALKING! I called my sis in NC, and I just walked back and forth again in front of the house in all the snow. Neighbors probably thought I was nuts. But that got things speeding up a little bit. I ate some peanut butter and tried to snack on some things, I don't even remember now at this point.
I noticed that the flowers we got from my baby shower were blooming on this day, and I knew today was the day. I focused on that flower alot during my labor, and I said to myself alot to "open" just like the flower was doing. Jess Brown and Marnie were amazing. They just seemed to know what I needed and helped me through every contraction. Marnie gave me the most awesome foot massage that I really really needed! At some point I must of hit transition, I just don't know when that was. Things progressively got harder and faster, and I got louder and more uncomfortable-but never really in "pain". My mom came by later in the afternoon/evening. Do not recall when. She helped but had this constant look of "worry" on her face, it was hard to see her daughter go through labor I guess, lol.
I had originally always pictured giving birth in the pool, but that didn't work out. When I finally felt the urge to push, it was about 730/8 pm on thursday night and I just wanted to sit on the toilet. I felt like the baby was SERIOUSLY GOING TO COME OUT OF MY BUTT! That was where all the pressure was, ugh. Stupid spicy beef stew/hemorrhoids. So I pushed with the contractions. Its not as easy as people made it sound. All the "oh, this part feels good" "Pushing is constructive, its the easy part" HELL NO! Pushing was INTENSE, and by intense I mean, not good, hurt, going to come out of the butt, whats going on. I tried every position you could think of. I was even crawling back and forth, butt naked around the kids playroom, lol. I pushed in the birth pool for a while, with my hubby behind me putting the hot towel on my rectum as I pushed. Lincoln came in during that part and said, "Daddy, you wiping mommy's butt?" HAHAHAHA. I didn't laugh then, but now its funny. I pushed on the little push chair Nicole brought. I pushed standing up holding onto the door frames. Finally 3.5 hours later or something like that (dang, was it really that long? Sorry guys) I felt the baby crowing and the burning. I was on hands and knees position on the futon. Everytime I pushed everyone was cheering me on and shouting, "ooooh there is the head its so close keep pushing its right there", but then it would suck back in, and I would do that again for what seemed like forever. Almost all the way out..... then back in! I started getting overwhelmed in my head at this point. Honestly, I was like having a major internal battle. I knew it would be stupid to go to a hospital at this point, the baby was crowning. But I started feeling defeated, and unsure if I could continue pushing like this. I finally stopped. Looked at my mother, and decided in my mind that this was it. I was PUSHING THIS BABY OUT! I gritted my teeth, and pushed with all my might. I felt crossed eyed and about to pass out I was trying to push so hard. My mom kept talking about "big baby heads" and other things I was blocking out at the time.
All the sudden, I felt the baby's head come out, but at that moment things got a little fast paced. Nicole pushed Zack out of the way, he was originally going to catch, but she noticed baby's cord wrapped a few times around the neck and criss-crossed to pin his shoulders back. He was a little stuck, so she had to get her hands in there to pull him out. She had me stand up-mid push- and she grabbed that baby out and gently handed him to me between my legs. I pulled the baby up to my chest and- ECSTASY!!!!!!!!!!! Zack and my mom were freaking out trying to pink him up a little and get him crying. But, I knew he was just fine, just needed a little rub-down and some Oxygen. I held the baby in my arms. Overwhelmed. DID I REALLY JUST PUSH YOU OUT OF ME! I still can't believe it. Its amazing. I birthed my baby, at home. I actually did it. Its the most amazing feeling. I feel like a superwoman. We had a boy. Asher Orion Pace. 7lbs 10 oz. 20.5 inches long. Big ole head, and quite bruised and swollen for quite some time, but he has healed up so nicely, and is starting to really get the hang of nursing now.
I layed down while the midwife and Jess checked me out for tearing and bleeding. I held Asher on my chest. Lincoln walked up to me, while Asher was laying on me crying a little bit. He said Asher just needs some milk, mommy's milk. It brought tears to my eyes, he hadn't nursed in over a year so I had no idea how he remembered. But it was awesome. Marnie was there taking pictures the whole time, she got some amazing shots that will be amazing memories to have forever. I did tear pretty extensively since they had to get in there pretty fast to pull Asher out. After holding my baby a few hours, I went into the hospital to get stitched up. (No fun, by the way, but it was awesome because Nicole came with me to be my advocate and make sure they treated me right. They gave me some local injections because I refused the epi, I wanted to avoid as much of that crap as I could. I was scared to be there, honestly, it was the scariest part of the whole thing. But it gave me some appreciation for what a hospital can do in situations that they are needed.)
It has taken me three weeks to sit down and write down all the details of Asher's birth. I am amazed at all the details I can remember though, since with Lincoln's I was so drugged I hardly remember anything. I am healed though. I got my VBAC. I want to do it again, I feel so amazing from the whole experience (well... except for the pain from tearing, lol). I want other women to know that they can do it too, that if you know all your options and are knowledgeable you can avoid going through the first unnecessary c-section and just have your blissful, awesome, empowering, natural birth!!!!!!!!!!