Editor’s note: This is part nine in a series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Today’s birth story was submitted by Emily from Mama Living Manic. This is the moving story of her second son’s birth, a midwife-assisted, unmedicated vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). To learn more about VBAC, visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network or VBAC.com. If you would like to share your own birth story, please read this post to learn how. ~Olivia
I never saw it with my first baby. I never envisioned it. Oh of course I dreamt of birth. I longed for the bringing forth of life. The desire burned within me. But I simply could not see him entering the word via my vagina. Not for a lack of belief in birth or fear or any socially constructed fallacy regarding the capabilities of the female body. I just never could picture that piece of my birth puzzle.
And he never did come out that way. The long and short of it – regular contractions started on a Monday. I was GBS+. My water broke Wednesday at 6pm. There was faint meconium staining. I was 6 cm. We moved from a home birth to hospital. Everything slowed to a grinding halt (even though it was an awesome hospital setting). He was occiput posterior and not turning. I had Pitocin to 18 units…for about 8 hours before an epidural. The epidural helped me get to 10 cm. And he never budged. We waited about 6 hours. No turning or pushing moved his little presenting eye closer.
He was born at 3pm and had a 6 inch cord. I was OK with it. But it hurt so much to work so hard to end in a surgical birth.
But this time, this pregnancy, I could literally feel myself touching my gooey vernix covered baby. I dreamt it. I envisioned it. It gave me peace that I could see it.
I was worried about how it would start. I was scared of passing my due date and facing pressure (though I knew I wouldn’t cave to any suggestions of induction). How would it happen?
Well, I learned my body cooks babies to 39 weeks and 2 days. Both my boys came at that point in gestation.
It was a blur. I woke up and saw my husband off to work around 7 am. By 8 I was feeling sporadic but STRONG contractions. I sent him a text for a heads up but not to worry. I took a bath thinking the contractions would disappear. By the end of my bath my phone app suggested I get to the hospital immediately and call my care provider.
Somewhere between then and leaving for the hospital I contacted my husband, made popcorn for my 3-year-old, called the midwife, and basically got stuck in the bathroom because my contractions were on top of each other. I really have no clue of the timeline.
Midwife and husband arrive simultaneously. I’m 10 cm. “Are you sure your water didn’t break? ” Uhm…pretty sure?
We head to the hospital. Left my phone behind. Trying to coordinate our emergency childcare person. Trying to alert the birth photographer. Get to the hospital. No time to fill the tub for my water birth. Get in the shower…and wait.
3 hours laboring at 10 cm and 3 hours of pushing. Pushing on the toilet. Pushing on the bed, hugging the head of the bed. Pushing on my side. My little person was not descending very well. Though no one shared this. They continued to cheer me on. Slowly progress was made. I was having an intense dialogue with myself about how I WAS IN CONTROL. I WOULD DO THIS. Then I would think about lying that my c-section scar was painful to just get out of it. Then I would think that baby was close enough for a vacuum delivery. Then I would start talking to myself again.
Then my midwives suggested pushing on my back. SAY WHAT?!!! That was clearly stated in my birth plan…But they didn’t tell me, they suggested it. They put up the squat bar and had me place my right foot on the bar and pull on a towel hanging from the bar. Sure enough we were making progress. (They told me after that they could only see baby moving down on one side during my upright pushes and this new position helped open up the “stuck” side). I was ready to give up. I felt so discouraged that I had been pushing and pushing and pushing. And pushing and pushing and pushing. My midwife told me to reach down and feel my baby. I touched my baby. I looked at my husband and grinned. I think I said “I’m going to do this!” I pushed more…and I did it.
Baby O, my Milkdud, my 8lb 14oz baby boy came into the world at 4:06 pm. It was incredible. It was intervention free. I owned it and it was so very powerful.
Though there is so much more, I think those details are for my heart and his to keep. Remember – you are not broken nor does anyone else get the opportunity to prey on your vulnerability. You are in control and oh so very powerful.
Images Credit: Sasha Veitch Photography.
Emily is a Registered Nurse from Canada with a passion for all things birth (and mental illness). Her number one duty at the moment is being mama to MasterKie (3.5) and The Milkdud (3 months) and wife to D. Her dream is to provide empowering birth warrior preparation to women looking for an “outside of the box” option for birth education. You can find her at Push Birth Baby.