Friday, June 10 started out as a pretty normal day. I had been feeling some super early labor symptoms about a week beforehand, but came down with a cold which lasted my whole 39th week of pregnancy. Being sick sort of halted everything a little bit, so I had no reason to suspect anything was about to change. Since I was starting to feel better by Friday, Ben’s sister came over from Atlanta and we took our son (Thomas) to the zoo for the day.
That evening, as soon as we said goodbye to Aunt Becky, I felt what I thought might be a pressure wave. About 7 minutes later, it happened again. I didn’t think much of it until it kept happening, always about 7 minutes apart, for almost an hour. I texted Julie and told her I thought I might be in early labor, but that it was still too early to know if anything was really happening yet. Thomas’s labor lasted nearly 30 hours, so I prepared myself to hunker down for a long night of preparing for birth. [Doula note: these early waves were around 30 seconds long]
After taking a bath and putting our son to bed, I suggested to Ben that we watch a movie while things got going. After about only 15 minutes, however, I realized things were progressing much more quickly than I had expected. I decided I’d rather try and get some sleep. I didn’t really sleep much, but we did listen to several Hypnobabies tracks, which helped me relax and get into a good mindset for birthing. A couple hours later, around 11pm, I told Ben, “I think Julie needs to come over now.” I got out of bed to go to the bathroom while he called her, and my water broke!
Once my water was broken, my pressure waves started getting much stronger and closer together. Julie was at our house less than an hour when I heard her tell Ben, “I think it’s time for you to call the babysitter.” Meanwhile, we also let our midwife, Barb, know that we would be on our way to the hospital soon. As soon as our sitter arrived at the house, we left for the hospital, and I started feeling like my body was trying to push my baby out on its own! I remember I kept saying, “I don’t want to have my baby in the car!” And then, “I don’t want to have my baby in the elevator!” It was a big relief once we got to our hospital room and I could start imagining my waterbirth.
Up until this point, everything had happened so fast that I really thought my baby would come any second. But once I got in the tub and started pushing, it became clear that it was going to take longer than I had originally thought. I started getting discouraged, because my waves were so strong and close together that I had no chance to rest, and yet it seemed like nothing was happening. So much of this stage felt similar to my first birth, which had ended in an emergency c-section, and I started doubting my ability to have a natural childbirth.
Thankfully, Barb, Julie, and my wonderful L&D nurses were unwilling to let me give up. When things didn’t seem to be progressing well in the tub, Barb suggested I get into the bed and try some different positions. I actually ended up on my back, but once I was there, baby’s head started crowning. The nurse brought a mirror so I could watch, which gave me a little bit of a second wind…until she was still being super slow to come out! Her head was right there on the brink of being born for an hour! Everybody kept saying how close I was, and yet, once again, it felt like things had just stalled. Between every wave, I was crying about how I couldn’t do it anymore, that she was never going to come. But when a birthing wave would come, I would try to buck up my strength and give it everything I had.
FINALLY when I had really started to believe all hope was lost, I felt a huge surge of energy and I knew baby’s head had come out. A few seconds later, I felt the rest of her body follow behind. I was so in shock! As they brought my baby up to my chest, all I kept saying was, “I can’t believe I did it!” I was shaking all over from pure exhaustion and joy and relief.
We found out later that our daughter was 9lbs 6oz and had been birthed direct posterior position. Those were the exact same statistics as our son, whose birthing ended so traumatically in emergency surgery 2 years ago. That information made my success even more redemptive. Not only did I succeed at a VBAC, I succeeded under the same circumstances which I had previously “failed.” People had told me that Thomas was too big, that I was too small, that he never would have come out, that I was foolish for wanting to try for natural birth. If this baby had been small and well-positioned, they would still be able to think that. I take pride that I am now able to prove them wrong! 🙂
Born 6/11/16 at 5:53am via unmedicated VBAC!
9lb 6oz, 21 ¾ inches