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Okay, let me give you a little bit of background information before I get to the story. My first son was born via scheduled c-section due to breech presentation at 38 weeks. My second son was born via c-section as an elective repeat cesarean due to the fact that I was uneducated and didn't realize that I had a say in what was happening to me at 39 weeks. After my second cesarean I had what I consider post-traumatic stress syndrom. I was angry, and in a depression unlike anything I've ever experienced. It went on for almost 3 years. I was determined this time to have a VBA2C. I did a TON of research, and I finally found a doctor that would let me attempt one, even though I lived 2 hours away from him. He even was fine with me using the midwife in his practice instead of him, although he was going to be around when I was in the hospital.
The players in this story are me, David - DH, my mom, Peggy - MIL, Porter and Kyron - my sons, Sherry - the midwife, Sandra - the doula, and Dr. K - the doctor.
Donovan's Birth Story
On my due date, Jan 28th (according to the doctors...from conception it was Jan 23rd), my Mom and I went to walk around the mall after Porter got on the bus for school. I was having a few pressure waves, but they were very mild. As we were walking they became pretty consistent at 10-15 minutes apart. We kept walking until it was time to pick up the boys from school, so about 2 ½ hours. I wanted to keep moving, so we went to the Family Living Center with the boys, and they got to make rope and learn how to make candles while I walked around the building. We went home, and I went to bed around 11pm. My pressure waves continued until 3 in the morning and then they went away completely. After that, I only had about 1 pressure wave an hour for the rest of the week. But, at my appointment with Sherry that week, I found that I only had about ½ – 1 inch of cervix left, because I was really thinning out. So, while I wasn't in labor, and wasn't dilated at all, at least all those pressure waves had been doing something. For the next almost two weeks, the pressure waves just about stopped. I would have maybe 1 an hour, at the most. But, through it all, I was in very good spirits, and was not uncomfortable at all. Besides, I didn't want to have the baby until February, anyway, so I was happy to be overdue.
On Wednesday, the 6th of February, I decided to try castor oil. I was just ready to have the baby by now, and I was willing to try something at this point. So, at around 3pm, I took 2oz of castor oil in a glass of Coke. It didn't bother me taste-wise, but it also didn't do anything to my bowels. However, at 1am the next morning, I woke up to a really strong pressure waves. They didn't stop, so 2 hours later, I went into the baby's room (where my Mom was staying). She sat up with me and kept and eye on the clock. They were pretty regular at 10 minutes apart for another hour, so we decided it might be a good idea to head up to Sandra's house. I called Sherry to tell her what was going on. I had practiced my HypnoBabies for about 18 weeks, I was using it and listening to my Easy First Stage script on the car ride. We had to stop about 30 minutes before getting to my doula's house. We needed gas for the car, and I had to use the restroom. We walked into the store and a pressure wave hit. I had to stop and lean against a wall and breath through it. David thought it was pretty funny, like I stopped to pray that the bathroom would be clean or something. Well, we got back in the car, and my mom started to drive away. Just before she pulled out, I said, “Ahh, Mom? David is still inside the gas station.” She almost left him there!
After arriving at the doulas house, we settled in and just kept an eye on me and the clock. We ate breakfast, took naps, I took a bath. They were still about 10 minutes apart, but they would come closer to 5, then stretch out to 20 every now and then. Sandra put my iPod on a speaker so I could listen to it without needing to wear my headphones. At one point I had Sandra read my Come Out, Baby script, and then David came into the room and did nipple stimulation while we napped. That made the pressure waves come more regularly. Around 3pm, Mom (she used to be a midwife) did an exam on me (that took a while to get straight in my head!), and found me to be 5-6 centimeters with a bulging bag of waters. So, we packed up and drove out to the hospital. I called Sherry to update her again, and she said she would meet us there.
After getting checked in, doing the question and answer session, and getting hooked up to the monitor, Sherry examined me. Mom was wrong. I was only 1 centimeter dilated and 90% effaced. That was a bit disappointing. I'm sure Mom felt real bad about that. Sandra had my iPod on the speakers again. I would use the relaxation that it taught me in between each pressure wave, but I was never able to get into Off during a pressure wave and I was feeling more than just pressure. Well, my pressure waves started slowing down, so Sherry brought in the breast pump and had me start doing nipple stimulation. It did work, but the pressure waves weren't strong or steady enough to really do anything. I also started to find my doula to be a distraction. While we were at her house, she did a great job of just letting me do what I had to, and keeping everyone quiet. But, as soon as we got to the hospital, she started talking me through every pressure wave, for the length of the pressure wave, and I just wanted her to stop talking. Around 10pm, we called Sherry in to see if I could just take a shower and try to sleep, since I was getting so tired. She thought that just going home would be a good option. Also, she wouldn't be able to use the Foley catheter on me, since I hardly had any cervix left, it wouldn't stay in place. So, with Dr. Kindred's approval, I was discharged. We didn't go home, though. We got a hotel in town. David and I in one room, Mom in one, Peggy in one, and Sandra in another. Sherry also sent me home with some Tylenol and some muscle relaxers to help me get some sleep.
At that point, I was so tired, and the pressure waves were hurting me, and I was having a hard time staying on top of them. I was almost to the point where I just wanted to say forget it, just give me another cesarean. It wasn’t because they were so hard to get through, but because mentally I was so frustrated with the “false alarm”, and I just wanted it to be “real”. I was crying because I had to leave the hospital, I was so tired, and I couldn't sleep because through the night, I kept having pressure waves, and I couldn't sleep through them. I was able to get a little sleep in between them, so that helped a little. I don't know how often they were coming, as I was too tired to care. While in the restroom that I noticed that I started to loose bits of my mucus plug.
The next morning, we all got up and had breakfast. While at the restaurant, I lost the remainder of my mucus plug. I'd never lost one before, so it was a real surprise to me what it looked like. Sandra went home after we ate and I was going to call her when I needed her again. I had an appointment with Sherry at 1pm that afternoon, so we went to that. The good news was that I was now at a 2, and she was able to stretch me to a 3. I was still having pressure waves, so she said I was definitely in labor. She advised me to go back to the hotel, and just try to rest as much as I could until I felt I needed to come into the hospital, and to give myself and enema. After getting back to the hotel, Mom took Peggy back home. Mom was going to play with the boys for a while, and then come back out that night.
When David and I got back to the room, I gave myself the enema. It really worked well. I've never done one before, so I was surprised at how gentle it was. Then, I got on my bathing suit and went down to the pool. I just walked around in the pool doing laps for about 30 minutes. But, after a while I decided to go back to my room. Even though being in the water felt good, I hated it during a pressure wave. I couldn't get into any position I liked. Back up in the room, we laid down to try to get some more rest, but my pressure waves were coming about every 10 minutes again. They were getting much harder to stay relaxed and focused through. David was doing a great job helping me. He would rub or press on my back or squeeze my hips during pressure waves when I needed him to. At one point, David asked me if I was going to call Sandra back. I felt bad, but I realized then that I didn't want her. She wasn't doing anything for me, and what she had to offer was the same things my Mom, David, and my midwife were giving me. Plus, it made for one less person around watching me.
With Mom gone, we were without transportation. The hotel we were staying in had a shuttle that was supposed to be able to take us to and from the hospital. So, David went down to find out the details, as I was pretty sure we needed to go pretty soon. He came back and informed me that they didn't have a shuttle. All they had was a phone number to a service that would take us there for $10 cash. We had no cash. We started to freak out a little bit about how we were going to get there. But, I finally looked up a taxi service in the phone book and found that they would take credit cards. My pressure waves at this point were 4-5 minutes apart, and had been for almost 2 hours. In order to get through each pressure wave I would breathe really slow and loudly until it ended. In between I was able to completely relax, so that helped me. But, I was worried about the ride to the hospital, so I told David to call the taxi and have them come get us. I called Mom to find out how far away she was. She was about 40 minutes away still, so we told her to go to the hospital and meet us there. Then we called Sherry to let her know we were on our way again.
We got to the hospital, and this time I was grateful for the wheelchair. During the 5-10 minute taxi ride, I had 3 pressure waves, and then I had several on the ride up to labor and delivery. Thankfully, this time, I didn't have to do the question and answer session, since it was all done the day before. Good thing, too, since I wouldn't have been able to pay attention to any of it. We were admitted at 7:07pm. Sherry arrived within minutes of us. She was such a great support to me the whole time. In fact, according to my memory (which isn’t accurate, I’ve been told), she stayed in the hospital room with me the entire time I was in labor. She gave me an exam and I was at a 4, and my pressure waves were coming every 3 minutes. Things were going well, I was sitting on the birthing ball and leaning over the bed, while David sat behind me to give me back/hip pressure. I wasn't having any back labor, but the counter pressure felt really good. Mom showed up around 7:30. You could just see that she had been rushing as fast as she could to get there.
At this point I pretty much zoned out. Sherry was there talking to me to help me release and relax, and Mom and David were there to help hold me up and rub my back. I had forgotten my iPod at the hotel room, so Sherry put on her HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation CD. (Sherry is a HypnoBirthing instructor) But, I couldn't really hear it through my breathing. I don't think she played it again after the first time through. During my next exam, I was at a 5 and had completely effaced. I was moving around trying different positions. Not one of them was great, but I found several I didn't like! My favorite was sitting on the birthing ball while leaning over the bed. However, baby didn't seem to like it very much. His heart rate starting going really high. It was up in the 180's pretty consistently. Sherry worried a bit about dehydration, so she wanted me to get IV fluids. I really didn't want to, but if it would help the baby, I was okay with it. Unfortunately, right about the same time the telemetry fetal monitor battery died, so I had to be hooked up to the machine. But, since I was attached to the IV pole now, I couldn't really move around anyway. Baby's high heart rate lasted for about an hour, so Sherry made me find a different position. Turns out the only way to keep his heart rate in the normal zone was for me to be laying down in the bed on my right side. Oh my goodness, I HATED that! After the first pressure wave I started to loose focus, and I got up and turned around and crawled up the bed. Sherry had to drag me back down. So, David and Mom ended up sitting behind/beside me and held me up during every pressure wave. Around 9:30pm Sherry sent Dr. Kindred the monitor strip so that he could take a look at it. He ended up coming over to the hospital because he was very concerned. He examined me and I was at a 6-7. He said that the heart rate being up was what usually happened before it dropped and the uterus ruptured. He wanted to do a cesarean. Especially since his heart rate was positional.
David asked that we have a few minutes to talk about it. So he and Sherry went out of the room. Throughout this pregnancy, we have had many prayers and blessings about how my pregnancy and birthing would go. Several of them promised me that I would be able to have this baby the way I desired, and with no medications. I knew that I wouldn't need the surgery, but how do you convey that faith to a medical doctor? David and I decided that we would tell the doctor that he needed to check me one more time, and that if I was close, that he needed to let me continue to try. My mom gave a prayer, and though I don’t remember what she said, I do remember that it gave me peace and confidence. Later he told me that he also told Sherry that this wasn't just a desire to have a VBAC, but that my last cesarean was a huge cause for my postpartum depression. So it wasn't just my physical state that was being threatened, but my emotional one as well. Sherry seemed to understand. Dr. K wasn't happy about it, but he grumbled that it would be okay to see. David was praying that my body would do what it needed to, since he didn't know what else he could do. The doctor came back in the room and examined me during a pressure wave. That was one time I definitely lost my focus and started to freak out a bit. However, it was worth it. In just 2 pressure waves I went from a 7 to a 9! He agreed to let me continue to labor, but he definitely stuck around and kept an eye on baby’s heart rate.
Almost 5 hours after being admitted to the hospital, I started feeling the urge to push. I had entered the second stage! Whoo-hoo! I became quite vocal during this part. My breathing had always been loud, but now I started grunting with my breathing/moaning. (Unfortunately David does a great impersonation of it, but it is funny) I learned very quickly what it felt like to push “right”, but it was so intense that I didn't want to do it. So, I held back. When a pressure wave ended, I very quickly stopped pushing, even if I could have pushed for longer. My bag of waters was still intact this whole time, and it was bulging like crazy. I heard the nurses rushing to get towels and stuff laid out for the big splash that was eminent. But, Sherry asked if she could just prick it so it wouldn't explode. I agreed. Then the nurse got the mirror set up so that I could see what was going on. I was able to see a little sliver of his head! During my next pressure wave I gave in to the urge and really pushed. His head was out in that one pressure wave! Without a pressure wave to guide me, I pushed the rest of his body out. It happened so fast! I pushed just shy of 1 hour, and Donovan Larry was born on Saturday, February 9th at 12:50am, 16 days past my due date. He weighed 6lbs 15.2oz and was 19” long. His head was 34cm, and his chest was 32cm. Six minutes later I delivered the placenta. I can't believe it! I had a wonderful VBA2C Hypnobirth! It's true, the female body is amazing.
They put him on my chest immediately. He was so wonderful. He was so alert and aware of what was going on around him. Of course, following his big brother's footsteps, he peed on me! He started nursing right away and did an excellent job of it. He's only 2 days old now and my milk has already come in. When he was on my chest, I was able to see the umbilical cord, it was very long and skinny. But, that is good, because the reason he has such heart rate problems was because the cord was wrapped around him 4 times! It was around his neck, his arm, his chest, and a leg. After the cord stopped pulsing and was cut, I asked Sherry if I tore. She said yes, and it was very unusual. I had a tear on my inner labia and the side of my vaginal wall. I guess it was pretty bad. In fact, the tear inside occurred just as his head started crowning, not as he was coming out, and I lost a lot of blood from it. After all was done, they asked if I need to use the restroom. I said I'd like to try to get up to go. So the nurses helped me into the restroom. But then I got light headed, and I passed out. David told me that they needed to give me smelling salts to come to. I was escorted back to bed and wasn't allowed to get back up for a while. I later ended up needing to get a blood transfusion, they gave me two units. Scary, but I'm glad that everything worked out.
While I was in the moment, I was a little bit disappointed with my Hypnobabies. Since I didn’t once use my scripts while I was in the hospital (when I was REALLY in labor), I assumed I didn’t use it, and therefore it didn’t work. However, looking back, I realize that I actually did use it, and it worked wonderfully. My midwife and my Mom both tell me how amazing it was to watch me go in and out of hypnosis. That they had never seen anyone get so completely relaxed in between pressure waves. And that is was really neat to see how calm I was through the whole thing. I think I thought that in order to DO Hypnobabies, I had to be listening to a script and consciously go On and Off. However, now I see that I had practiced enough that I was able to just BE. I don’t know if that makes any sense or not.
It was an absolutely amazing experience that I will never forget. Being able to have a vaginal (and completely natural) child birth has healed my heart. It has helped me become a better mommy, more connected to my child. I know that it was because of my persistence, all the reading I had done to educate myself, my determination to do it MY way, and the help of my wonderful husband, mom, and midwife.