I apologize that this is long overdue, but the past 2.5 weeks have gone by in a flash. I’ve had few opportunities to type with both hands, let alone upload the videos and pictures that I wanted to put on here to do this story justice. My sweet little guy prefers to be held basically all of the time, which suits me just fine. (Can you blame me? He’s ridiculously soft and snuggly!)
WARNING: If you don’t want to read alllllll the details about my births, you may want to skim! Sorry this is LONG!
My Birth History
Before I get into my SUPER LONG story, let me preface with a few of my previous birth stories. A “quick” run-down:
1st birth: I planned to have a freestanding birth center birth, but after my water had been broken for 30 hours (and I’d been stuck at 4 cm for 12 hours), I transferred to the hospital. After another 12 hours, which included an epidural, pitocin, and 3.5 hours of pushing in all sorts of positions, the OB declared that he could either break my baby’s collar bone OR I could get a C-Section. Are you kidding me? DO NOT THREATEN TO BREAK MY BABY. I chose the Cesarean. 9lb9oz baby girl at 41w5d gestation.
2nd birth: I was determined to have a VBAC. There were no good in-hospital options available, so back to the midwives I went. We purchased a house during this pregnancy, so I chose to homebirth VBAC (story here). After a 5 hour labor, I delivered my birthday present baby boy, 10lb1oz at 39w6d.
3rd birth: I obviously had a great experience with my last HBAC (home birth after cesarean), so I planned to do it again. I had a quick 3 hour labor and he ended up having some shoulder dystocia. It was quite scary, but he came out after some careful maneuvering, and I prayed over him immediately. Unfortunately, my body loves to clot and to stay pregnant, so I ended up having to transfer to the hospital afterward for a D&C (retained amniotic sac tissue) and 2 units of blood. It was pretty devastating to have to do it, but I was just glad we both made it! Baby boy, 9lb11oz at 40w4d and proof that position is everything.
4th birth: We moved to a new area (near Dallas), so when we found out I was pregnant, I immediately did some consults with local VBAC-friendly, hospital-based providers. I chose an OB and was happy with that choice. You can click to read my hospital VBAC story. I “knew” I was in labor from early in the morning until the evening, but it kept starting and stopping. Finally, late that evening, we decided it was time and I arrived at the hospital at 8 cm dilated and about 2 hours later pushed out my 10lb baby boy at 40w3d.
The Natural Birth of My 11 Pound VBAC Baby, Part 1
I had a few scenarios that scared me about labor and delivery prior to it actually happening. I was terrified my water was going to break at home and I’d have an accidental homebirth or cord prolapse. The only reason the accidental homebirth freaked me out was because I have postpartum bleeding issues, which is why I’ve chosen hospital births these last two times.
I was also afraid that I would go into labor at some awful traffic time and my husband would be at work and I’d have to wait on him to come home to head to the hospital. Then, the fact that the hospital is down a busy interstate that has traffic problems ALL THE TIME (it seems like) scared me, too. A drive that SHOULD take about 30 minutes could easily take 45 minutes or longer as 4 lanes go down to 1 without notice or signage or any kind of regularity. UGH!
Only one small piece of my fears actually came true, but it scared me anyway.
To try and make sure that my pregnancy and birth went well, I had regular chiropractic care, went to see my hospital-based midwives at whatever schedule they set, and tried to stay active. I am not going to lie and say that I had the best nutrition or that I exercised my way through. Yeah, no. I will say, though, that I did the best I could to stay busy and run my household as close to normally as possible throughout the whole pregnancy.
The Day Before the Birth
The day before the birth was great. It was Halloween, and since I was still pregnant, I got to go trick or treating with my kids.
This year, my husband was actually a good sport and went with us! Well, mostly. All 6 of us went out down the street and around the block. We circled back around and dropped hubby and Charlie off at home after about an hour. The big kids and I took a potty break and grabbed some jackets since it was chillier than we had anticipated. Then we went trick or treating for another hour and a half!
My kids seriously told me it was the best Halloween ever. Grace even went so far as to tell me it was the best day ever. I reminded her of Christmas and her birthday, and she quickly said it was ONE of the best days ever. Heath said any day with their Baba around was the best day ever, and Grace said also any day with Meme around was the best day ever. They are sweet kids. 🙂
We chatted with our neighbors, and lots of them were encouraging to me and saying that hopefully I was walking the baby out and good luck with labor! I didn’t realize that the time really was near.
When I got home with the kids and they ate about 5,000 pieces of candy, I made them crawl into bed. Meanwhile, I decided to soak in the bathtub with some Epsom salts to help ease my aching muscles and also combat my swollen feet. Luckily, walking made my swelling go way down, so my cankles weren’t so bad at this point. I was pretty sore from all the walking, though, so I knew a soak would be a great idea.
A little after midnight, we decided to get to bed. I was pretty pooped, but was planning on taking the kids to a fall festival the next evening “if I was still pregnant”.
Labor Begins – Saturday, November 1, 2014
As I mentioned, one of my fears was realized with this labor.
I woke up early in the morning and went to the restroom when Charlie had come in to sleep at the foot of our bed. He had been doing that more frequently, so I was used to it. I went back to sleep and actually caught a nap until about 8:45AM! I’m always thrilled at some extra ZZZs, so when I woke up at that time, I felt totally refreshed and happy. My kids were bustling around and ready for breakfast.
8:45 AM – Water Broke
As I sat up in bed, my water broke. It felt like a digusting surge of fluid warming my butt with an unwelcome wet slimy feeling. GROSS and ICK. Not only that, but it kept on coming out. Yuck.
Holy cow, was I scared. I sat up, terrified to move. I was afraid that once I stood up, I’d have intense pressure or the urge to push. I was also terrified to look down and see what color the fluid was.
What’s the normal thing to do in this situation? Vlog about it, of course:
After this video, I got up the nerve to contact my doula. She told me she did not want to freak me out more, but that she was actually at another birth. This kind of thing happens when you hire one of the most sought-after and awesome doulas in the area. (SERIOUSLY!) We had the same kind of luck last time, and my labor stalled out while she was at that birth, so of course that sort of ran through my head and I was thinking, “Labor, you better not stall!”
While talking with my doula, she asked me what color the fluid was, and I cried and told her that I was scared to scootch my butt up and scared to look, so I had my husband do it. I quickly got up and got back down and he said, “It’s clear, it’s clear!” I was so relieved. I was secretly terrified that it was blood or tinged with meconium.
Next, I called my midwives at their after-hours number. I got their answering service and was told to expect a call back from the midwife on call.
While I waited, I called my mom to let her know it was Baby Day. She was going to be traveling about 5 hours to come to my house and stay with my grandma and kids while I was in the hospital, so she needed to know ASAP. While I was on the phone with her, my midwife called me back.
My midwife told me that once I came in, they would keep me at the hospital, but that they would not restrict my movement. She said that they could go ahead and get me my first dose of antibiotics since I was GBS positive and I had opted to have that treatment.
She said I would be allowed to walk around and basically be left alone as much as I wanted once I got there. She was reassuring, calm, and very positive. I could sense the smile in her voice.
I texted my doula again. She said that the midwife on call, Lindsay, was a good one and that made me feel better about going in. You see, during my pregnancy, I saw several of the midwives in the practice. Once you are in labor, you get whoever is on call.
Here are our conversations before I left home (beginning at 9:13AM):
Me: Lindsay said when I get there, they will admit me but they will leave me alone. I had more leak out but still no CTX. I have the same dull ache I’ve had for days though. I’m still scared to stand. Doing everything bedside and about to leave. Trying not to freak out!!
Doula: Is Lindsay on? That is awesome if so. Do not freak out.
Me: I’ve been getting out lots of crying. Hoping to even out and center soon.
Doula: Ok. I’ve changed my mind. FREAK OUT. CRY. Get it ALL out. Then relax because it is going to be great.
Doula: See…you are laughing already.
Me: 😉 Heath just told me my stomach is smaller now. 😉
Doula: Have you stood up yet?
I had my husband do pretty much everything for me and I kept apologizing. He brought me two cups of water and a toothbrush with toothpaste on it so I could brush my teeth in bed. He brought me clothes to change into. He brought me tons of towels. He loaded up our car with my hospital bag, laptop and power cord, phone and charger, my purse, extra towels, and some snacks. He made me a breakfast sandwich and a large drink of water and brought it to me.
Right before we left, I had him take one more belly picture for me. I shared it on Facebook, but I didn’t tell anyone I was in labor. I prefer the no-pressure labor experience. 😉
Notice the huge sweat stains on the shirt that I had JUST put on. Nervous, maybe? YES! Scared as can be?! YES.
My friends commented that it looked like Baby had dropped. My 5 year old hugged me before we left and he said it seemed like my belly was smaller. I’d imagine so with all the water I kept leaking ALL OVER THE PLACE.
9:42 AM – Left for the Hospital
Can you believe it took me an HOUR to leave? It didn’t feel like an hour. I had my adrenaline pumping and was SO nervous and scared.
My sweet grandmother, MeMe, had been staying with us for the last few weeks of my pregnancy for just such an occasion as this (LABOR!). We were able to just take off and go, without worrying about childcare for the kiddos. They got to stay home and play on the computers and the Wii U, so they were totally cool with this whole childbirth thing.
The ride to the hospital was fairly uneventful. By the grace of God, my labor occurred on the weekend!! My husband was home since he didn’t have work and there was practically no traffic, so it only took 30 minutes to get there.
My texts with my doula:
Me: I am doing well in the car and on the way now. No crazy pressure or CTX. Having some front pelvic pressure now, more like a dull sensation. Lots and lots of fluid leaking. Yuck.
Doula: You’re a doula…you are supposed to think amniotic fluid is yummy! Not yucky!
(side note – HAHAHA!! You have to know her to appreciate this!)
Me: Hooray, I had a contraction. We are prob 20 mins from hosp now. I don’t know what to ask for from you as far as support. Ugh. Labor is tricky! Ha!
My doula was at another birth at the same time as I was in labor, so she mentioned that she had a backup doula lined up and ready. She told me to just let her know when I needed her because she was ready any time I was! The backup doula actually lives close to me, so her drive times are similar to ours. 🙂 I felt like I had things well under control at this point, so I didn’t ask her to come on out just yet. I let my doula know I would let her know when I knew something new or needed something.
I had light back pain during the ride, and some low pelvic pain and cramping, but not a lot of actual contractions. I think I had 4 the whole way there, which was discouraging to me, but also sort of a relief. I knew we wouldn’t have a roadside birth, which was comforting! On the other hand, I kept wondering when the heck this labor thing was going to kick in. The last thing I wanted was to have my labor augmented in any way, or worse yet, another Cesarean….
Once we arrived, we had to park in the parking garage across the street from the building, but more details on that, and the rest of my labor, on the next blog post.
Update! Read part 2 here!