Journey of my Births, Part 6

25 02 2009

Feel free to ask me any questions if I don’t answer them. These are all questions I’ve been asked since my VBAC and questions I’ve asked myself.

WHY did I choose to have a VBAC and a natural delivery? I personally could not stand my c-section. I never thought that I ‘failed’ at labor or anything like that. I just hated having my body cut open and my baby ripped from me. I seriously thought by B’s birth, I had “dealt” with all the feelings, but, after visiting the hospital where K was born via c-section and having a near panic attack, I realize those feelings haven’t completely been dealt with. I chose a natural delivery because it’s so much better for mom and baby. I hated having the epidural with K. I hated having no control over my body and of course, I can’t help but ask the “what if’s”…(would I still have had a c-section? My OB was more than willing to allow position changes so I feel that had I not had an epidural, I could have maneuvered K into a better position…maybe? maybe not…) Once I made the decision to attempt a VBAC, I knew I WOULD only do it naturally. Drugs were not an option. Having already had a c-section, getting an epidural was setting myself up for a repeat.

Would I consider a homebirth? Before this delivery, the thought did cross my mind, however, now that both my boys have had cord issues (K’s being too short and B’s wrapped around his neck twice), it scares me to think what else could happen. I would love to give birth at home with a midwife (having seen that the only thing the midwife did was ask me to get out of the tub, and then the OB sat and watched the clock and ‘caught’ B…yeh…I could do with out the hour drive!)

Waterbirth? I want this more than anyone could imagine. It wasn’t allowed at UNC (I can’t remember if *I* couldn’t do it as a VBAC patient, or if it was hospital policy – I honestly wanted to labor in the tub as long as I possibly could and then “accidentally” give birth in there….maybe next time!) 😉

Would you do it natural again? In a heartbeat. Basically, B was born, they checked him over (because of the decels), handed him to me, stitched me back up (I had 2nd degree tears), I nursed him during this process and then we slept for about 3 hours (they didn’t have a post partum room ready yet and we were MORE than willing to sleep where we were!)  In the middle of that 3 hours, I really had to go to the bathroom, I called a nurse and she was asking about my delivery and was curious what I would choose for the next birth, I all too excitedly said, “completely natural…over and over. It was amazing!” She just beamed 🙂 I honestly can not wait to do it again!

What if you had to have another c-section? What about uterine rupture? Uterine rupture can happen to ANYone, not just women who’ve had a c-section. The actual risk is so low, (I found a chart once showing how you’re more likely to be struck by lightening twice before having rupture…**I’m NOT saying it doesn’t happen, it does! But, seriously, the risk is as low as .2%…meaning there’s a 99.8% chance I’ll deliver just fine…um, yeh, I’m taking that chance!**) With that being said – labor is SO good for mom and baby (I won’t use this as my soap box…yet! It’s coming, don’t you worry!) I would have much rather labored for 36+ hours again and ended up with another c-section than just scheduling myself for major surgery.

How did you prepare for your natural VBAC? Lots of praying, reading, researching & talking. I had friends and family praying for me (atleast I hope I did!…I asked them to! haha!) I did lots of reading. Some of my favorites (I can’t remember everything I read!) were Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (PHE-nomenal!!! I could totally read this book every day! It is truly amazing!), The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, The VBAC Companion, Don’t Cut Me Again!, Birthing From Within, some Bradley Method books (this one and the corresponding workbook – I have a friend who took the classes for her firstborn and lent me her materials) and tons of articles and other women’s VBAC stories. I made sure to surround myself with women (from church, the community, and bloggers) who had children naturally or VBAC. When I had people around me asking why in the world I’d want to put myself “through all that pain” was very discouraging. To some, it may not matter how baby gets out, and that’s fine. It did (and does) matter to me. I needed the positive thoughts in my head reminding me that women everywhere do this every hour of every day. Faye was great in reminding me that I was laboring with women all over the world (even right down the hall, as the other widwife’s patient delivered at the exact same moment!) I continually reminded myself, even while pushing that my body had been created my by Maker to do this – and I honestly felt as I pushed that sweet boy into the world (and then looked at Zach and said, “wait…that’s it??” (LOL – I seriously did this, I can’t believe it!) that I was created for this. (I will add that I had Zach read Robert Bradley’s Husband Coached Childbirth. He read it cover to cover and was AMAZING during my labor – both at home and the hospital – and during delivery!)

Why do you want to be a doula? To encourage other women, especially women who’ve  had a c-section and want to attempt a VBAC, that they CAN do this! (that’s my summary!) 🙂


Way to go, Time Magazine!

19 02 2009

I was oh so excited to get word that Time Magazine had published an article on VBAC’s and the “Trouble with Repeat Cesareans” – very exciting that VBAC’s are getting mainstream attention.

Journey of my Births, Part 5

18 02 2009

Here is the birth story I typed up for friends, family, my local ICAN group and eventually posted on my family blog. I’ve added some revisions as I remember them (and as I’ve been told by my doulas and Zach).


I’d been having “real” contractions off and on for about a week before the “big day” (as with the first, I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months on end).  Thursday (8-14) I woke up to Keaton crying out around 345am. I went to the bathroom and came back to bed. After laying there for about 20 minutes or so, I realized that I had had 3 real, intense contractions. I looked at the clock and saw that it was only 405am. I waited until 420 (and 2 more contractions later) before telling Zach. The contractions were very short (15-20 seconds) but coming every 6 minutes. I called my mom to see if she could come down and help with Keaton (knowing if it wasn’t that day it would be the next). She agreed and got to work getting ready & heading down. I called my midwife to ask how long they needed to be (I knew they needed to last longer than 15 seconds!) and she asked me to wait until they were 60-90 seconds long.

Throughout the morning, the contractions stayed fairly regular, but after lunch, they “fizzled” out and became very sporadic. I talked with our doula, Faye, and she suggested I call my chiro and see if she could get things going again. I made an appointment for 430pm and Zach went with me. A good thing, too. Basically, as soon as she was done adjusting me, my contractions picked back up to 5 minutes apart and started to get a little longer (30-45 seconds) and even more intense.

We headed home with dinner and my contractions continued throughout dinner. I got a shower and they still continued. I called Faye and she encouraged me to rest, rest, rest. After a couple more hours, they were lasting between 45-60 seconds with a couple lasting closer to 90. I called the midwife she asked me to wait just a bit longer. I was getting antsy! I really didn’t want to be laboring at the hospital, but I wanted to be there SHOULD something go wrong. I wanted to be in the comfort of my own home, but, I knew we had a 45-60 minute drive! Faye came over, showed me a couple of things to get things going even more. So I’d do these things for a few minutes and rest (rest mainly between contractions).

At 930pm, I decided that it was time. I wanted to be 7cm when we got to the hospital (less time for me to “agree” to an epidural…closer to the finish line!) My contractions were starting to feel like they did when I got the epidural with Keaton (at 6cm) – which is what lead me to believe I was at 6cm or getting close! We called our second doula, Shanna, and she headed on over and our entourage headed to UNC hospital. On the ride to the hospital, my contractions went from roughly 5 minutes apart to 2-5 minutes apart (I won’t lie – at a few points, I thought we may not make it to UNC!) I was already having the urge to push with every contraction. I really did not feel that I was that far along and to suppress the urge to push, I would push my feet on the floorboard of Zach’s truck and lift myself up. I never told Zach I had to push until after we got to the hospital, I knew he’d freak!

We got to UNC and checked into triage and they started to monitor Benjamin and myself. I got checked and the nurse informed me I was at “a good 6cm” – I was bummed, but glad I was that far along. They got me a room with a tub – something I waited ALL day to get into! – and started to get me hooked up to the monitors. After some time, I finally was able to get in the tub. As SOON as I sat down, the midwife came in and informed me that they weren’t getting a good read on Benjamin’s heartrate and were picking up some “decels” (decelerations in his heart rate). She informed me that they were going to break my water (NOT what I wanted) and do internal monitoring on Benjamin (also, NOT what I wanted!) I was very irritated, but knew the monitoring was for the best. I got out of the tub (not after demanding 5 more minutes and not getting that!) and headed back into my room. The nurse tried to find my veins to start a hep lock for an IV if one was needed – took her two VERY painful tries and then she went to get another nurse to help her out, she eventually “got” it.

My midwife went to break my water which took a good 5 minutes atleast and then found Benjamin’s head and inserted/started the internal monitoring. I was still “allowed” to get up and move around, but at this point, I was getting frustrated and didn’t feel up to it. Faye came over and reminded me that this was for mine AND Benjamin’s good, birth‘s don’t always go the exact way we planned, but it’s more likely to go as planned with the internal monitoring. I labored a bit longer, alternating between standing and sitting. The contractions were getting more intense. I remember looking at Faye and apparently, I had “that look” (the look of I’m not really sure I can do this!)

*Backing up, when we met to talk about what I did and not want during my labor, she asked if I’d like to be reminded to “vocalize” the contractions. I told her probably not as I just did not picture myself “being loud” during labor….

Faye came over and quietly suggested I moan deeply through the contractions. I kind of laughed and told her I didn’t want to. She informed me that keeping the noises long and low throughout the contractions would help immensely with the discomfort (not PAIN!) I was feeling. So two more intense contractions later, I finally gave in. I closed my eyes (I didn’t want to see the nurses staring at me like I had 18 heads while I was moaning!) and just moaned through the contraction….HOW much better that felt!!! It was amazing!

I continued to labor and after some time I was checked again and was told that I was “9 and a lip” (basically just about a 10) and if I felt the urge to push, I could GENTLY do so to get around the lip. I’d been having that urge for a VERY long time so it was nice to be “allowed” to!

The urge to push was much more extreme by this point and this is when I really began to doubt myself. Faye was very encouraging in “teaching” me how to get through these rough contractions. She continued to remind me of my goal and how close I was to holding our sweet boy! I would be lying if the thought of another c-section didn’t sound AMAZING at this point! However, I didn’t voice that concern and had to work really hard to push it out of my mind – I knew it was too late for an epidural and my only two ways out of this was a c-section or pushing this guy out!

That’s when things started to get scary. Benjamin’s heart rate began to drop during the contractions when I was pushing – the same point Keaton’s did. I started to really get discouraged by this. It didn’t help that the Attending OB was standing right there witnessing this (I could see dollar signs in her eyes as she was picturing my c-section!) ((The attending was there because the midwife had another patient who was pushing before me. She left to be with her and said she would return as soon as that baby was born – turns out, both our babies were born at the exact same time!))

I got on my side to push, then to my other side. After about 30 minutes of this and his heart rate continuing to drop, they told me my last resort was on hands and knees and oxygen between contractions (they gave me the option of squatting, but I didn’t have the energy to stand). As soon as this position/method started, I was wishing for more rest. If I didn’t need the oxygen, I could have relaxed a bit between contractions, but unfortunately, I had to continue to hold myself up with one hand and the mask with the other (I did have help from Zach, Faye & Shanna in holding myself, but things would have gotten worse if someone was forcing that mask against my face!) Shortly after being on my hands and knees, Benjamin started crowning and everyone yelling that they could see him encouraged me to press through!

However, at 3am, I was really starting to get tired. Also, hearing his heart rate drop in between contractions and take some time to rise again was not encouraging – I felt like I was doing something wrong to him by pushing. Shortly after 3, the attending said that I needed to get serious and get him out soon. I thought that I had been trying with all that was in me before, but when she said that, all I heard in my mind was, “Get him out NOW or it’s another c-section…” All I could think was how much I wanted to avoid that surgery, that recovery, those feelings/thoughts that still plague my mind…. I was screaming “GET OUT” in my head through the next contraction. For most of the contractions, I could get out 3-3.5 pushes (if there is such a thing as half!) For the last contraction, I got serious…5 pushes and then, before I could realize it, he was out & I heard his sweet screams!

I didn’t know what to do with myself once he was out! I just collapsed against the head of the bed and tried to catch my breath and wrap my mind around what just happened (and what I just did!) I remember looking at Zach seconds after I pushed him out and asking, “That’s it??” (WHY in the world I asked this, I’m not sure! I think it was because after his fat head, the rest of him just plopped out and I was not expecting that at all!)

I heard one of the nurses comment about his cord being wrapped around his neck twice (causing the “decels”). Zach said it had to have been loosely wrapped because when he came out, by the time he could realize he was here and look, there wasn’t anything around his neck.

I got some help turning over and finally got to see my sweet, sweet boy. It was so amazing to be able to see, touch and HOLD him immediately after birth (as opposed to stare at him from across the room for a couple hours, like I had to do with Keaton).


Join my next week for my recap of it all! 🙂

The Journey of My Births, Part 4

11 02 2009

For the past month, I’ve been recounting my first pregnancy. You can read my first 3 parts here.

When I found out that we were pregnant with #2 – we were very shocked and surprised. This was not in *our* plans. We wanted to wait til K was a bit older – older than 7 months! – before ‘trying’ again! After the shock wore off, we were very excited (this took about 12 hours, lol)

I went back to see the OB that delivered K and we sat down to talk about a VBAC. He was all for it – we were thrilled!

We found out around 18 weeks that we were having another boy – we were beyond elated!

About 10 weeks later, at a routine OB appointment, my OB (the same that delivered K) mentioned that B was measuring a bit big and if he continued to do so, we’d just schedule another c-section. I asked about the VBAC and he said there was “no way” I’d push out a baby over 6lbs. I told him then and there I would get a second opinion. He snickered and said OK.

I’d been seeing a chiropractor throughout this pregnancy due to various aches and pains – mostly my sciatic nerve pain. I talked with her about it as well as some ladies in the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group I am a part of. I made the decision to switch to a midwifery practice in the area.

I was so thrilled at my first appointment when the midwife informed me that my OB had no idea what I could or couldn’t push out and cutting me off at 6lbs, knowing my first son was 8lbs.9oz., was absurd. She promised me she would do all she could to be certain I got my VBAC – barring any emergencies. She helped me realize that I would be fine with a repeat c-section in an emergency situation, which I was thankful for.

Then, began my search for a doula. I had a playdate with a lady in the ICAN group to talk about her HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) and seek encouragement. She informed me that she was a doula and would love to help me in any way, even be our doula. We got along great and it was settled – she would be the one!

About a month before my due date, a friend from church contacted us about being our doula. She was completing her Doula training and needed some ‘observation’ hours. I was hesitant at first, but decided to give it a go.

I met with both doulas to go over my birth plan. Faye (from ICAN) encouraged me to not have the “traditional” birth plans that you find on the internet that can turn into 3 pages of “I would like”‘s, but have 2-3 MUST HAVES and focus on those. For me those must haves were:

1. Avoid a c-section at all costs, barring any emergency, and if there is time, seek a 2nd opinion before agreeing to the c-section

2. Have a completely natural, drug-free birth

As my due date drew near, I was anticipating going “past” my “due date” again, as I did with Keaton. B’s due date was August 16th – imagine my surprise when I woke with contractions at 345am on the 14th!

Join me next week for a recap of my birth story with B!

Looking ahead

31 12 2008

I decided to share some of my goals for 2009. I’ve never been one to make ‘resolutions’ but, for some reason, I feel compelled this year to set some goals… I think it’ll be neat to come back to this post in 365 days and see ‘how’ I did…Feel free to hold me accountable…ahem…

*I need to up the ante on my quiet times. Since B’s birth, I’ve really been slacking in my time with the Lord. I feel I’m lucky if I breathe most days…deep down I know that if I take that time with Him, it’ll all go much smoother…

*I want to ‘green’ up our home more. We’ve made the switch to cloth diapers, slowly to cloth wipes and I’ve been re-evaluating (and experimenting) with our cleaning solutions. Growing up, recycling was a big deal in our home and I looked forward to it every week (I’m a nerd, lol) however, since getting married, we haven’t recycled once. As this past year drew on, that really started to bug me. Zach could care less, so it’s all on me…

*Go through the alphabet with K (a letter a week, or so) and really focus on teaching that to him (OK, so I’m missing teaching too! haha! I’m excited to break out my pre-school curriculum and start working with him!)

*Make sure Zach knows just how much I appreciate and adore him

*Be a better steward of our money, especially in regards to meals in our home

*This is more of a long term goal, but, I have to start sometime…but, look into becoming a doula. I was encouraged by our doula to do so. It was something I thought about as B’s birth drew near, but I wanted to see how his birth went. I knew if I had another c-section, there was no way I could attend births of other women and see them fulfill their dreams while I quite possibly would never experience that. Since it turned out way better than I could have ever imagined, it’s made me more of an advocate for natural birth, and VBACs. So…yeh 🙂

What about you, what are your goals, dreams, ‘resolutions’ for 2009?

Happy New Year!

Baby time!

20 12 2008

NO, we are NOT pregnant (ask me how I know…and I’ll tell you, lol)

However, Marcy suggested I write about how we knew it was time/how we decided to have children. For fun, I decided to tackle this tonight because there are two really simple easy answers – one for each child.

Let me start by sharing our “birth control.” Before we got married, March to be exact, I started on the pill. I never had any of the side affects that many people experience. In September of ’05, I started getting really bad migraine-like headaches once a month (wink wink, nudge nudge) – so bad that I couldn’t go to work. It was awful. In Feb. of ’06, I had my ‘yearly’ and talked to the OB about it. She decided that it was an estrogen overdose- she checked what I was taking and found out that I was on the lowest amount of estrogen possible. So she put me on a higher dosage (ie: different birth control). this only made things worse. The head aches weren’t “once” a month, they were almost everyday for about 2 weeks (the time frame I took the new birth control). Finally one night, Zach came home and decided for us that I was no longer taking the hormonal birth control (this was a decision made not only from my “side affects” but from a class we were taking, “Ethics in Marriage and Family”). We decided that Natural Family Planning (NFP) was the way to go (I can discuss this more in the future if anyone is truly interested). We used NFP from March – May to prevent a pregnancy….

Keaton’s story (he is now 20 months) – Zach and I were married June 4, 2005. We agreed from the start we’d wait at least 2 years before trying to have children. Shortly after (and I mean like MAYBE 2 months) we got married, we made the decision to move to NC to start Seminary. In this planning, we agreed we would wait until Seminary was finished, we each had our Masters (mine in Biblical Counseling, his M.Div.) and he was in a full time ministry position. “No way” could we do Seminary AND have children. Imagine our surprise upon moving into our apartment and finding neighbors with children…and I don’t mean 1 or 2…I mean 4, 5, 6, one neighbor 8 children! Granted these people had been in Seminary for EVER, but, they had beautiful families! Par for the course, I got baby fever. BAD. I kept my wanting at bay. On June 3, 2006, my room mate from college got married. We attended her wedding and came back home. We decided, on a whim that we would go out to eat that night to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. We got home from the wedding and had some down time. We were watching TV and talking. Zach got very serious and said, “So I’ve been thinking…” (NOT a good thing…usually…) “I think we should try to have a baby…” Imagine my surprise! I just looked at him and said, “Reallly?!” We talked about it for a few minutes, I of course was all for it. We decided to make a go of it and see what would happen. We were truly blessed with no fertility problems and 6 weeks later, I was holding a “stick” with two lines on it! In April of ’07, on Easter Sunday morning, we welcomed Zachary “Keaton” into the world after 36 hours of labor and an emergency c-section. I honestly couldn’t tell you what we talked about that June afternoon. Zach said, “baby” I said “OK!”

Benjamin’s story (he is currently 4 months old) – I was still nursing Keaton at the time. We were again using NFP (for the record, NFP is super hard whlie breastfeeding, I’d just like to say!) I had one cycle in October and at the end of November, after spending the night in the bathroom sick to my stomach after spaghetti, I tested. I was indeed pregnant. That’ss how we decided on having Benjamin! 🙂

Were we scared? I think I was more scared than Zach. He was pretty excited. I was worried what I was going to do with 2 under 2! I was also very concerned because I had a c-section with Keaton and desired a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for my next birth. The “desired” wait time is 18 months between births.

What are we using for birth control this time? You guessed it…we’re rolling the dice again 😉

Sorry, Marcy. I wasn’t a lot of help 🙂 I guess I can say this, in response to your comment. We knew that if we waited for the “right” time, that time would never come. There would always be something that made it the wrong time.

We’ve had to sacrifice some things. I’m no longer in school working towards my Masters. I miss it so much, but I can’t imagine doing anything else right now, other than staying home with my sweet boys. I’m also not “working” (not getting paid – you bet your sweet bippy I’m WORKING, lol) so we don’t have all the luxeries we’d LIKE to have. Do we have everything we NEED? Yes. We are not WANTING for anything. Are there things we WANT (ie: desire) that we can’t have/can’t do? Absolutely, but those sacrifices have been totally worth it.

Was that a bit better answer? 🙂