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#151 of 166 Old 02-02-2009, 01:54 PM
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Miriam June’s Birth

I was 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant when my water broke at 8pm on Friday night. I had been pumping once or twice a day for 2 weeks to make sure that I was going to have enough milk for this baby. I had a few strong contractions while pumping that night (which I believe caused my water to break) because I got up and about 5 minutes later, gush… I called Pam & Louise to let them know, and my friend and pseudo-doula, Dana, who would be coming with us. Pam was on call and told me to go to sleep because labor would most likely start by morning. I had a very very hard time sleeping because now I knew that this baby was coming soon! I got up around 7am but nothing was happening. Called Pam around 8 and she said to take some castor oil so labor would start. Paul finally found it, 3 or 4 stores later, and I quickly downed a castor oil, OJ, and ice cream milkshake – yuck! – around 10am. My mom had just come and picked up Josh so I could labor in peace. I started pumping to see if that would get contractions started and it did. Once the castor oil kicked in contractions were coming fairly regularly, and so were trips to the bathroom…

Around 2pm we decided to slowly head down to the hospital. If my water hadn’t been broken for 18 hours already we would have stayed home until I was further along. My contractions were fairly regular, 3 minutes apart, but not that strong yet. We got some lunch and got to the hospital at 4pm. Pam put me on the monitor and checked my cervix, I was 3-4 cm. dilated. I was here to stay. I had a heplock put in, which only took 2 tries, but needed to be constantly fiddled with so it would work. Over the next 8 hours I alternated sitting on the birth ball, walking, taylor sitting on the bed, listening to Hypnobabies, pumping to stimulate contractions. (Dana arrived around 6 or 7).

When Pam checked me around midnight I was 5 cm. Eight hours and ONE centimeter – ahhh! My contractions were petering out at this point too unless I was pumping. If my water hadn’t been broken 24+ hours we would’ve just tried to rest for a few hours. But since it was, labor needed to keep moving. From 12am-5am just kind of blurred together. I started intermediate IV antibiotics since my membranes had been ruptured for so long at this point. Luckily it was just 30 min. every couple hours so I didn’t need to drag around the pole yet. At some point I got in the shower and tried nipple stimulation myself, but the contractions were getting brutal and I kept stopping. I relaxed when I did my Hypnobabies techniques but my contractions would slow down too. Pam checked me again around 5am and I was still 5 cm. That’s when the dreaded ‘P’ word was brought up. Pitocin. At that point I didn’t care anymore. Until it kicked it. Awful stuff. I started begging to go in the tub, finally around 7 the nurse got it ready (Pam had gone to lay down for a bit since she had been with us and up all night too). But it didn’t help – at all. I’ve heard great things about laboring in a tub but I don’t think any of those women were attached to an IV with Pit. I stuck it out for about an hour but started asking for an epidural. I was approaching 24 hours of labor and was just so very tired. I *knew* that Pam would check me and I’d only be 7 cm. And if that’s all I was I wanted the epidural so I could rest for a few hours. So the nurse got Pam and I was only 7-8 cm.

By the time the anesthesiologist came it was 9am. The first time he ‘broke a vessel’ and had to redo the epidural. Then only half of my body went numb. He came back and tried to fix it, but nada. I wasn’t going to get any sleep with half of my body still feeling the contractions. So the third time was the charm. Unfortunately, Dana had to leave at this point to get home to her nursling. I rested from 10am until 2pm, which is when I started feeling contractions again. Miriam’s heart beat started to fluctuate so I need to lie flat on my back because it was best in that position. Louise came so Pam could rest for a while. When Louise walked in I asked, jokingly, if she was going to catch my baby, Pam said “NO!” After being up with us for nearly 24 hours Pam really deserved to catch my baby. First, Pam checked me and I was 9 cm. She said I could push a little if I felt like it. Soon I did.

At 3pm I was 10 cm. and I couldn’t not push. I still had to be flat on my back because of her heart beat so Paul and Louise would hold my legs all the way back while I pushed. Earlier Louise kept saying she had to leave, so now Pam is telling her she can go if she has to. Louise says “I can’t go now!” They kept saying I was a ‘good pusher’ and all I would think is ‘Then why isn’t she out yet?’ Every push I thought ‘This is it, here she comes’ and I really felt everything. I don’t know if the epidural wore off but it felt like it did. Once Pam put her scrubs on and they put that baby blanket on my chest I finally knew that this was going to happen. This baby was actually going to come out of my vagina. At one point they grabbed my hand and had me feel her head, and her hair. All I knew was I wanted her out as soon as possible. I pushed as hard as I could, and got pretty vocal too. I was also so hot that at some point I just took my hospital gown off. I never thought I would be one of the women who give birth naked and yelling. They brought the mirror over and I watched her pop out! Suddenly my baby, my baby, was on my chest. I did it!

Miriam was born at 3:55pm after 30 hours of labor, and 55 min. of pushing. The placenta came out pretty quickly (just like a marshmallow, Dana) and then Pam stitched me up. I tore pretty badly, probably due to being flat on my back and pushing as hard as I could. I held and nursed Miriam for an hour or so, then they measured and weighed her, 7 pounds 7.6 ounces, 20 inches. Even after a very long labor (I pulled a few stomach muscles pushing too), and lots of stitches, recovery was a million times better than a cesarean. And somehow, my other prayer was answered too, and I have enough milk to feed my baby! After dealing with a chronic low supply and using supplemental nursers with Josh this is heaven. I’m actually slowly stopping the herbs I’ve been taking because now I have too much milk – Miriam gasps, sputters, and chokes at let down. So I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum to the other in both birthing and breastfeeding. I also laughed my way through the postpartum depression survey at the hospital. Are you kidding me? I had a VBAC and now I have enough milk too! Life is bliss. (After Josh, that was another story).

Taryn-31 Crunchy Conservative Catholic SAHM with DH-32
DS 7.5, DD 5 (vbac), DD 2.5 (vbac), and DD 12/30/13 (vbac)

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#152 of 166 Old 02-10-2009, 06:12 PM
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I gave birth to my 10 lb, 10 oz baby boy on Dec 8, 2008!

My first was born by scheduled C/S two days before her due date after my OB/GYN told us scary stories about big babies. I had normal blood sugar levels throughout my pregnancy, but he estimated her size to be 10 lbs 5 oz and told us she wasn't showing any signs of being born on her own. We went ahead with the C/S and were ecstatic to have a beautiful baby girl, but as I learned more about the risks to my health and future pregnancies, I became angry with our OB/GYN'S recommendations and our willingness to go along with him. I was determined to attempt a VBAC with midwives through the other hospital in our city the next time around. A friend gave me the most wonderful gift when she asked me to be present at the home water birth of her third baby. I never imagined birth could be so peaceful, and I drew on that memory during my own labor.

My 2nd pregnancy was just as uneventful as my first. I gained more weight than average, but I was at a healthy weight to begin with and I felt really good throughout the pregnancy. At 36 weeks, our son was still breech and we scheduled a version for the following week. When they did the ultrasound at the version appointment, we saw that he had flipped on his own and settled in head-down. It was a tremendous answer to prayer that we could go along with our plans for an unmedicated birth.

Fast forward to week 42. My midwife and the two other midwives I saw during the last few weeks of my pregnancy were so supportive. I wanted to wait as long as possible before inducing labor to give my baby and my body the best chance for a vaginal delivery. I agreed to be induced at 42 weeks and 1 day. I had been experiencing contractions that radiated from my back, around to my front, and then flowed to my back again, on and off for several days.

We went into the hospital for the induction on the evening of Dec 7th. The pitocin started at about 10:00 pm. The contractions felt like a continuation of what I'd already felt, just stronger and longer as the night went on. It was a popular time to have a baby, so my husband and I were mostly left alone throughout the night. I had consented to electronic fetal monitoring, but took it off to use the bathroom frequently. I drank juice and water at the advice of my midwife throughout the night.

My husband was the perfect support partner for me. He applied pressure to my back, held my hands, reminded me to keep my voice low, and as the contractions grew stronger he kept a continuous supply of warm wet washcloths to press against my lower back. He provided exactly what I needed and was helpful without getting on my nerves!

By late morning, I was spending all of my time leaning against the head of the bed with my rear end hanging out of the back of my gown and my husband applying very strong counterpressure on my lower back with every contraction. He told me he thought this was transition, and I told him I didn't want to know, because one of my coping strategies was to constantly remind myself to relax because there was harder work and greater intensity coming. I didn't want to think that this was the hardest part and then find out that I was wrong!

At around 11:30 am, the nurses and Marty, the midwife there for the day shift, were getting the room ready for the delivery. I was at 9.5 cm. I stayed at 9.5 cm for awhile longer, tried pushing, and found that pushing only made me close more. I think that at this point I was having a very hard time relaxing. I started to think that they were going to send me down for a C/S after all. Instead, Marty suggested an epidural to help me relax enough to dilate completely. I agreed.

The most difficult part of labor for me was the time between requesting an epidural and receiving it. I think that when I requested the pain relief, my coping strategies were all forgotten with the thought that soon I wouldn't need them-- this made labor really hard!

Even harder than that was being told to hold still while the anasthesiologist tried to administer the epidural/spinal combo. I'm still not exactly clear as to what all went on back there, but the end result was needle insertions, an 8-day spinal headache, and a promise to myself that next time I will relax and avoid the epidural!

After the epidural, I immediately fell asleep. I woke up (probably only a few minutes later) to intense pressure moving down. I was at 10 cm and it was time for my baby to come! I was disappointed by the discomfort at the time because I was under the impression that an epidural would take away all sensation like the spinal did for my C/S. Looking back, I'm thankful that I was able to feel and push and experience my son's birth. Marty helped me stay calm by reminding me that the pressure was bringing my baby down and encouraging me to look at my husband. That really helped me focus.

At the time, it felt like I pushed forever. I kept looking at the nurses and Marty and asking (I don't know if I asked out loud or not) if it was supposed to take this long, if it was supposed to work this way. They were so encouraging and helpful. Sometime during this last bit, Marty went to get an OB/GYN friend of hers, "just in case" our baby needed some help with his shoulders. Up until the very last week of my pregnancy, everyone was guessing that my son was smaller than my daughter had been. I think that Marty realized he might be bigger than she'd thought. I had the mirror in place so I could see my son's head. That was an amazing experience, to watch him slowly come out, then back in, then out a little more, then back in, until finally he didn't go back in anymore. After that, it all happened very quickly and with a last push his head was out. Then a little more and there were his shoulders and I couldn't see in the mirror anymore but they were laying this beautiful baby on my belly. I could feel his skin against my skin and he was there! I have never felt exhilaration like those moments surrounding his birth!

Someone remarked how big he was as they carried him to the baby table to blow oxygen over his face (we live at high altitude and babies commonly need some additional oxygen to really pink up after they're born) and weigh him. He was 10 lbs, 10 oz-- bigger than my daughter, bigger even than they'd estimated my daughter's weight to be. But he was born just the way my body was designed to give birth to him. His shoulders didn't get stuck at all and his heart rate was strong through the entire birth.

I had a third degree tear and lost a lot of blood, so I spent the next little while getting a ton of stitches from the OB/GYN who had come to help out at the end. She did a fantastic sewing job and now, 9 weeks after my son's birth, everything seems back to normal except for some muscle tone. I had almost no baby blues this time, even though I spent the first week flat on my back recovering from the spinal headache. My milk came in faster than it did with my C/S, which was good because my little big boy likes to eat! After the headache went away, I was much more able to get around and care for my toddler and baby than I was at the same stage after the C/S.

My midwife tells me that I now have an excellent chance of successful VBAC in the future and that I need to never take no for an answer if anyone tells me I shouldn't attempt a natural birth, even with big babies. She said that my son's shoulders came out just fine, and to make sure I repeat that to any care provider I might have in the future. I'm so thankful that I live in a place that welcomes VBACs and had midwives who weren't afraid to give my baby and my body time, even though my son used that time to grow and grow. I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to experience labor and to share the experience with my husband. I'm so thankful to no longer fear the birth process and to know that I can give birth to my big babies. I'm so thankful for my daughter's birth, which taught me to take ownership of my body and my health, and for my son's birth, which gave me a profound respect for my body's abilities.
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#153 of 166 Old 02-24-2009, 12:38 AM
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Keep these motivational VBAC experiences coming! I am praying everyday for a successful VBAC for our next baby (after we ttc in Spring 2010 of course!). But I have to amazing all of you women are! To stay so strong-hearted and have so much faith in your bodies! I am in awe of you all. I hope this thread is still going when I'm pregnant again because I will need to re-read all of your stories for support! Thanks again!

Mommy to Heidi, born via c/s 08/2008 and to baby #2 due 11/2010.
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#154 of 166 Old 02-26-2009, 02:24 PM
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Birth Story 1 and 2:

I have had two children. Each birth was dramatically different and affected me in different ways. I am writing this birth story to share my experiences and find closure for myself. Birth can be an empowering experience for women, or it can be demoralizing. The kind of experience you have will depend on what you know about birth and what your care provider believes about women and childbirth.

My wish for all pregnant women is that they take the time to search their feelings on what kind of birth experience they want, and to carefully select their care providers in order to support and maximize their chances of getting what they want.

When I became pregnant with my first child, I had just moved back home to Washington State. My husband, Kyle, and I were living with a friend, trying to get settled and find permanent living arrangements. About a week after my pregnancy was confirmed, Kyle lost his job, so this wasn’t an ideal time for us, financially or emotionally, to be having a baby!

Since I didn’t have a doctor, I called my sister to find out where she went, and scheduled an appointment. He came well recommended, as my boss’s wife went there, as well as my sister and a friend. He was a very nice man.

During this stressful time, I became focused on the potential size of this baby. My husband’s mother delivered three children, all over 9 pounds each. I was so concerned that I could not deliver a baby that size. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he assured me that he would consider me a higher risk pregnancy and we would monitor the baby’s size. If things looked too big, he would induce labor early.

Essentially, my doctor validated all my irrational fears, and did not mention to me the facts that baby size is generally controlled by the mothers genes, or that most mothers are capable of birthing their own children naturally. What I heard for nine months was that there was a good chance I was defective, and that I would need the doctor to save me from myself. I was very afraid of what labor would do to me.

I did have a late ultrasound in the 38th week. My doctor called me personally to tell me that he thought my baby was well over 9 pounds and that I needed to come in immediately for induction. I called Kyle and packed my bags.

So late in my 38th week, I was induced. I went into the hospital late at night so I could labor overnight, ensuring that I would be ready to deliver during the daytime hours, when it was more convenient for my doctor. Then the hospital took over. The nurses set me up with an IV and let me know that I would have to stay in bed for the duration of my labor – hospital policy. I mentioned I had a birth plan and that I would like to do things like labor in the rocking chair. I was informed that hospital policy did not allow movement during induction and that I would have to stay in bed. I was strongly encouraged to take the narcotic Stadol right away. The nurse told me that it was important that I stay rested while in early labor, so as to have the strength for the pushing part later. I was not in any pain yet, but agreed, since she was the expert, right? I did rest, but the drug left me groggy and unable to focus. When it was time for the second dose, I refused it, and so the nurse suggested I start my epidural instead. From that point on, I didn’t feel a thing.

I labored in bed, on my back the entire time. I had drugs early and heavily and felt little to no pain at any time. But the drugs and the position I was in did not aid my labor. My son was posterior and had not dropped into my pelvis prior to my induction. The consequence was that he did not rotate and did not fit into my pelvis. I pushed for two hours flat on my back with my husband and a nurse holding my legs up. I pushed for two hours in a position that was not working. At no time did anyone suggest I try a different position – on my side, or sitting upright. The nurses just kept telling me to push with the contractions that I could not feel due to the epidural. Then my doctor came in and cheerily decided that my time was up, my baby was indeed too big, and I needed a C-section right away.

I have never felt so defective as a woman.

My recovery was long and painful, as I did not react to the drugs very well. I also did not have any help at home the first few weeks, as my husband had used up all his available time off while I was in the hospital. Much as I loved my new son, being home alone with him, having a terrible time trying to learn how to breastfeed, while recovering from major abdominal surgery was indescribably hard. I cried a lot. I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t think I could do it again.

Then I rationalized it so it would be OK. I told myself, and everyone else, that Beyer babies were just too big and that I would not be able to have another vaginally. I told myself that my doctor was right to push for the C-section; that he knew my body better than I could. He was the expert after all. Time passed and I stopped worrying about it.

Then I became pregnant with my second son, and all the feelings came right back.

I told my doctor at my first prenatal visit that I wanted to labor again. He grimaced and hedged a bit, then told me that it wasn’t safe, and I had already shown that I couldn’t handle labor. I should just let him schedule a C-section from the start. He explained that I would recover so much better from a scheduled C-section and that I didn’t have anything to worry about. He even told me that women who have had children both ways always tell him they prefer the C-section. I should just trust him.

I tried to make myself comfortable with the idea of another C-section. It depressed me to think I might have to repeat that experience. But I really tried to convince myself that it was my only safe option for childbirth. I tried to make peace with myself. I wasn’t having any luck.

Finally, late in my second trimester, I got back online and reviewed the research on VBAC birth: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I loved being a student, so the research was a kind of therapy for me. I hoped to prove to myself, one way or the other, that the decisions regarding both my first pregnancy, and my current one were the right ones. What I found was mounting evidence that my first C-section was premature and unnecessary.

I searched official sites, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. I pulled statistics from the World Health Organization, and the International Cesarean Awareness Network. I searched statement papers from Canadian organizations, as well as local ones. Then I spent time on the natural childbirth sites:,, etc. I read nearly every book the library offered on the subject. What I learned startled me.

I learned that there are several techniques during pregnancy that naturalists and midwives use to ensure a baby turns to the correct position before labor. I learned that there are things I can do during pregnancy to give myself the best odds of a successful labor. I read stories of women who had had successful VBACs, delivering babies that were bigger than their first ones, without complication. I read and understood my risks for laboring after a cesarean, namely uterine rupture. I also understood my risks of having a cesarean, namely infection for me, and respiratory distress for my baby.

The more I read, the angrier I got. I asked my doctor about the research, and he kept blowing me off. He was sure that C-section was my only safe option, and seemed annoyed that I would not just take his word for it. The final straw for me was when I asked him for research to back up his professional opinion, and he could not provide me with any. I felt manipulated and bullied into decisions that were based on his convenience, and not my health or wishes. It was at that time that I realized I needed to find a new doctor.

Here I am, 28 weeks pregnant, with no faith in my doctor! I had found through the internet that the Tacoma hospital, Tacoma General, would allow VBAC labors, and that they claim a success rate of 91%. That is an extremely high success rate, and hard to substantiate, but impressive all the same. So I called TG’s birth center and asked the nurses for a list of providers that would do a VBAC and that they liked to work with. Of all the doctors they gave me, only two would consider taking me this late in my pregnancy. That made my choice pretty easy.

I chose the lady doctor after a very positive Meet and Greet appointment. She seemed very compassionate and listened to my concerns. Of course, this was the only time that I saw her in that light. Once I had transferred my file, she seemed to change. She made it clear to me that I would labor her way or else she would not be my doctor. One of my biggest fears was not being able to move around in labor. I did not want to be trapped in the bed, like I was the last time around. But due to Tacoma General’s policy of fetal monitoring, it was possible that I would not be allowed to move during this labor. Although I have the legal right to refuse the intervention of continuous monitoring, my doctor would not support that decision, and would not attend my labor if I insisted. She also emphasized the hazards of labor, and let me know that she would ask me during labor if I wanted to change my mind on the C-section, in case I became scared. I did not feel supported or encouraged at all.

I also felt that she was not giving me accurate information. I had done enough research by this time to feel like an expert on the risks and benefits of a VBAC labor. During one exam, my new doctor commented that my baby hadn’t dropped yet, and that it might indicate that my pelvis might not be adequate for a baby to pass through. However, I know that with second pregnancies, the baby rarely drops before active labor. So the fact that my baby had not dropped before I went into labor only indicated that I am an average pregnant woman. It should not lead anyone to think that I am defective. Once again, I had a doctor that was playing on my fears and suggesting that something was wrong with me.

I felt manipulated all over again. But by this time, I was 37 weeks pregnant, and tired of arguing. I had an opportunity to switch doctors again, this time having access to a midwife, and decided against it. I had looked for a midwife earlier, but state law does not make it possible for a midwife to attend a VBAC birth. This particular midwife works with two doctors at a smaller hospital, who were willing to attend my birth, and let the midwife act as my nurse. I wished I had found the midwife earlier in my pregnancy, but now, I just didn’t have the energy to switch providers again.

I realized that the only way to remain in control of what was happening to me in labor was to stay out of the hospital and away from my doctor. So I decided that I would labor at home as long as I could to minimize interventions in my labor, and then enter the hospital at a point where I probably wouldn’t care if I could walk around anymore. I was so unhappy with my doctor by now, that I hoped she would not be on call when I did go into labor. I also hired a doula to support me during labor to maximize my chances of a successful labor.

A doula, by the way, is like a birth coach. It is a woman whose only job is to support the laboring woman. She makes sure the mother is supported, and that she knows everything is progressing normally. She makes sure that the husband knows how to support his wife, and gives him techniques to help with pain management and emotional support. A doula will come to your home and help you to manage labor until you are ready to go to the hospital, and then she will go to the hospital with you to help you get the support that you want from the hospital staff. She is the mother’s advocate.

I had done all I could to prepare for this birth. I did my research, I understood my risks, I arranged for my support, and I hoped for the best. I also continued to believe in myself, and surrounded myself with people who could believe in me also.

I went into labor around 2am on a Saturday morning. I got up and watched TV on the couch until 5:30am, as my son and husband were both sleeping in my bed. By 5:30 I was ready for someone to get up with me, and also ready for my doula to come over.

My doula, Roslyn, came over around 6am, and my sister was there shortly afterwards to pick up my son for the day. By this time my contractions were consistent and frequent. For most of my labor, my contractions were less than two minutes apart, but only lasted 20-30 seconds. I was very focused on my contractions at this point. Roslyn helped me most by approving and supporting my pain management techniques. She made it clear that the choices I made were mine to make, and whatever I needed to cope with labor was acceptable. If I moaned, she encouraged it, and never laughed or tried to talk me into changing my methods, or to choose something more socially acceptable for pain management. If I ignored her and couldn’t answer her questions, she acted like that was perfectly normal. She kept me calmer than I could have been on my own, and made me feel safe. Roslyn made suggestions to help me keep my focus and to help make sure labor was progressing, as well as kept me drinking so I didn’t dehydrate.

Roslyn’s support made all the difference for me. With her help, I was able to keep my focus and cope with the pain of labor. There was not a point where I felt overwhelmed or wanted to go to the hospital because I needed pain medication. I was that comfortable at home.

At one point, Roslyn suggested I get into the tub to try and slow my contractions down, as they were right on top of each other, but still very short. She felt that slowing my contractions down might make them last longer, and help my cervix dilate more efficiently. So we went upstairs and my husband started some water in the tub. I had just gotten both legs in the tub when my water broke! It was great timing. And easy cleanup! All we had to do was drain the water and refill the tub. So we all got a little laugh about that.

It was at this point that Roslyn realized my breathing had changed with each contraction. She asked me if I had noticed any change and I nodded yes. She then asked if I was pushing with each contraction, and I nodded again. She said it was time to consider going to the hospital. I had been so focused on riding out each contraction that I was not paying attention to the big picture. I was already fully dilated and pushing in my bathtub!

The ride to the hospital was the worst part of labor, but thankfully not a very long ride. We got there in record time! I asked Kyle to find me a wheelchair as I did not think I could walk to the birth center. A nurse came right out with the chair and helped me out of the car. I apparently looked like I was definitely in labor because they didn’t even check me at emergency, they just wheeled me directly to a birthing room in the birth center. I remember getting into the bed, and a nurse casually telling me that she needed to check my progress so they would know where my labor was at. I nodded and she checked my cervix, then things got busy. Apparently I was fully dilated and at +3 station, which means I was about to crown with this baby! I completed my entire labor in the comfort of my home without complication or pain medication!

The nursing staff was running around trying to get an IV started and get the fetal monitors attached. Their policy is to have 20 minutes of continuous monitoring on file at the beginning of each admitted laboring woman’s stay. I didn’t give them much time.

The nurse told me that the doctor on call, Dr. Nickle, liked to deliver women on their backs in stirrups. This was one of the few times I actually talked during my labor, when I told her that that would not happen to me, period. I would not discuss it. I was delivering this baby sitting up, by converting the bed into a kind of birthing chair and using the squatting bar. My husband sat behind me so I could lean back into him for support. When Dr. Nickle came in, his comment to me was “well, this isn’t Viet Nam, but I guess we can try it” Followed by “how am I supposed to catch this baby, on my back like I am changing the oil?” He also made sure to lecture me on the dangers of laboring at home and how irresponsible it was for me to wait as long as I did. While his point may have had some validity, I am sure it was irrelevant and not very helpful at the time.

If it weren’t for Roslyn, I think I would have panicked at this point! But she kept me focused and reminded me that we were doing just fine without the doctor, and that I could keep on laboring as I liked. So I tuned him out and stayed focused on the contractions.

When I refused the episiotomy, Dr. Nickle seemed at a loss as to what he should do, so he took a chair into the corner and worked on his paperwork while I labored with my doula and a nurse. When I felt my baby’s head being delivered, I heard the nurse ask the doctor if he could come help out. That is when he finally became an active participant in my delivery. Baby Aidan had his right arm up with his hand near his cheek, and Dr. Nickle had to pull his arm out in order to rotate his shoulders for delivery. Then all at once, my baby was born and placed on my belly, all wet and slimy and perfect!

Once I agreed to put my feet up in stirrups so the doctor could check me for tears, he turned into a very personable man. I think he was more comfortable relating to woman in that position! And by this time, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and didn’t notice any pain. I only had eyes for my new little boy. I did have a second degree tear that required some stitching, but it was smaller than an episiotomy would have been!

I stayed in the hospital overnight and then asked to be discharged. I could have stayed another day to rest, but I was still upset over the way I was treated by my own doctors to have any faith in the hospital. I just wanted to get out of there! So once I was declared healthy, we packed up and went home.

I am very proud and amazed at how my second birth turned out. I have a new respect for myself and my body. It is amazing what women can do! My only regret is that I felt that I had to avoid the hospital in order to labor naturally. If something had gone wrong, it could have been tragic. I wish that the doctors and hospital could have supported my right to have the kind of labor and birth I wanted, and have it within the safety net of the hospital setting. But that was not the case. I had to choose between their kind of labor, with no control over my progress or interventions, or going it alone at home. I stand by the choices I made, but a part of me wonders how I could have coped if something had gone wrong. It isn’t right that I had to choose.

Birth Story for Baby #3: Olivia
Dear Olivia,
The journey to your birth has been long and exciting for me, and even included a surprise ending I never expected.

Your daddy and I spent a lot of time considering if we should try for a third child. Was the time right, could be afford it, could we handle the extra time and attention each child would need in a house of 5…Well, the answer must have been yes, because I did become pregnant with you in May of 2008. Ironically enough, I took the home pregnancy test to confirm it the day your daddy was laid off from his job! We could only laugh at the timing….Daddy had lost his job a couple weeks after we found out about your brother too! It was stressful that time, but we made it through, and knew we would be fine this time too!

Just like with your brothers, I had morning sickness with you. I was still working swing shift at the time, and had to hide my illness from my friends since I didn’t want to tell anyone so early in my pregnancy. The worst month of it was July, and I didn’t work that month, so that was a blessing! When I started up another 5 month contract in August, I was starting to feel better.

I started my care in Tacoma with Dr. Boutry. I expected to deliver you at Tacoma General, since I didn’t know any other hospital that would allow me to labor with you. But I just wasn’t happy with the care I was getting. You were not a disease or a medical problem to be managed. I just wanted to be treated like a healthy, normal pregnant woman carrying a healthy baby! So I started to search again…I toured 3 hospitals this time, making my count 4 if you include Auburn, where I had Ethan. I called several OBs and midwives trying to find a supportive doctor. I found that the best fit for me would have been a midwife and a homebirth, but could not find one due to liability issues. My cesarean with Ethan limits my options!

Finally, I was referred to Dr Gramann in Enumclaw. So far away! But I went to meet him anyway, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask questions. Even driving in I had my doubts. He is 1.5 hours away from our home. That’s a long drive in labor! But I liked him. He was calm and honest, and treated me like a smart, informed, healthy pregnant woman. We agreed in philosophy as to how your labor and birth should play out. So, at about 24 weeks pregnant, I switched to his practice.

Everything was great after that. My appointments were interesting and normal. Dr Gramann remained very supportive of me and my right to decide how I wanted to be treated. I looked forward to having you at Enumclaw hospital. The hospital is small, but the nurses seemed so very friendly and helpful. Everything was ready to go.

Except you! I was induced with both your brothers (Ethan by the doctor, Aidan with Castor Oil) at around 39 weeks so I assumed you would be ready about then too. Except you weren’t! And as my estimated due date approached and passed, I got a little nervous and cranky! I mean, you were a good size baby and had your feet in my ribs all the time. It was getting a bit uncomfortable for me to carry you around. I even took an ounce of castor oil on the 8th to try and nudge you along for a 9th delivery date. You were just not interested!

At this point, the calls started. Friends and family wanted to know if you planned on arriving any time soon. And some were worried because of my C-Section that I was placing both of us at risk by not inducing, or having another surgery to deliver you. They were making me irritable and worried. I needed support as a full term pregnant woman, not worry! My hormones were all over the map. So I talked to Dr Gramann and he assured me that everything looked great and I shouldn’t worry. We talked about my concerns, like having a faster labor and having to travel so far while having contractions. He agreed that I should come to Enumclaw at the first sign of labor, and hang out at a hotel so I would be close when I needed him. Having a plan helped me to relax. I also stopped answering the phone and started letting daddy field all the well meaning callers!

Your daddy mentioned that this Friday was a Friday the 13th. Daddy was born on the 13th of November and thought it would be neat to have you share his day, if not his birth month. So we started hoping for that. On Thursday night, I decided to give you another small nudge, using a couple home induction remedies. I took a very small amount of castor oil to help clear out my system, less than an ounce, around 9pm. I had eaten a heavy Mexican dish the night before and hated the idea of being uncomfortable because of that. It hadn’t worked before, but even if it just cleared me out, I was OK with it. Daddy and I watched TV until 11pm and went to bed.

At 11:45 I woke up with a very strong cramp in my bowels. I got up to use the bathroom thinking it was so stupid to take the castor oil. Now I wasn’t going to get any sleep and would be in the bathroom all night. Well, I went to the bathroom and quickly realized that this was not just stomach cramps. I think I might be in labor!

The pain was so strong though, I was getting worried. I was only 4 or 5 contractions into this labor and I was already thinking I needed drugs! So much for my natural labor convictions! In my defense, I didn’t realize how serious things were yet. I thought I was still in early labor.

I have read that sitting on the toilet can help you relax your muscles and make labor more effective and possibly more comfortable. All I know is that when the contractions came, I had to shift my hips so I wasn’t centered, either sitting or standing. So you probably weren’t descending evenly. I coped with some contractions by leaning sideways against the wall with one hip cocked. The intensity worried me for a bit, but the position helped me get through them. It is amazing to me that my body instinctively knew what to do to ease my pain and help you straighten out.

I yelled for daddy but he was sleeping so deeply he didn’t wake up. So I got up from the bathroom and walked back to bed to shake him. It was about midnight by now. He was drowsy, but when he tried to fall back to sleep and heard me yell at him, he knew something was up and got up quickly!

Daddy could see I was in labor but he didn’t realize how strong the pains were. He got dressed and went downstairs to get ready to go to the hospital. He was unloading the dishwasher when he heard the next contraction and realized he needed to come back upstairs. At that point, I was leaning against the side of the tub just trying to cope. That’s when I felt your head! I gasped to daddy to get me a wet wash cloth, and he hurried to get one. I used it to hold your head so you would slow down a bit, and told daddy that we were going to have you right now, right here in the bathroom!

Your daddy was a trooper! He didn’t question me or panic at all. He just said, “I am going to call the paramedics” and walked out of the bathroom. He was back in a flash after calling 911, unlocking the front door for them, and getting some towels for us.

I got down on the floor, leaning over the tub on my knees, and that is where I stayed. I had thought about getting in the tub in an effort to slow my labor with hot water, but I just couldn’t move another step. I held your head with my wash cloth the best I could (my big belly made the reach hard for me, but I did my best!) until daddy had towels down and was ready to catch. The 911 dispatcher was on the speakerphone giving directions, but I just ignored her. She wanted me to move, roll over and get in a different position based on her emergency manual. I was not moving from my fairly comfortable position (as far as labor goes, anyway!). And daddy is smart enough to know that it wasn’t the time to try and make me do anything! When the dispatcher told daddy to cradle your head once it emerged, I let go of the wash cloth and let daddy take over that job. Then I just let the contractions take over. It didn’t take long! Daddy was watching for your head, and saw you come out with your eyes open, looking at him. Then he cradled your head and body and caught you in his arms. What a beautiful moment for all of us! Time was about 12:22am on Friday the 13th, 2009. 35 minutes of labor.

You were born without medical intervention or violence. You were slimy, I was covered in blood and bodily fluids, but we both were pretty calm and relaxed. I rolled over, taking care to unravel the cord from your neck, where it was wrapped once. Then daddy handed you to me and we waited for your first breath. I held you sideways with your mouth pointing down to help drain any amniotic fluid you might have left in you. Those few seconds were the longest of my life! But you did breath just fine and I pulled you up to my chest and we covered you up to keep us both warm. That’s when the paramedics arrived! Daddy and the lady EMT helped me to remove my nightshirt, so I could lay you on my skin and try to nurse you.

Capt. Don Wilson of the Yelm Fire Department clamped the cord and presented daddy with a scalpel to cut it. He came in the fire truck, followed by an aid car, and a transport ambulance. Of the 7 EMTs, Don was the most qualified, with me being his third birth. Two he actually helped deliver, and then you, already out! There was the lady EMT who said I was her third placenta! She had missed the actual birth three times now! I don’t remember seeing any of the other EMT’s faces from my perch on the floor between the toilet and the tub. But I did see a lot of shoes! It seemed to get pretty loud then. Like there was a party in my bedroom. I was surprised that the boys didn’t wake up with all the commotion!

Then we waited for the placenta to arrive. Except it didn’t! My contractions had really slowed at this point, and you were not interested in nursing right away. So I didn’t have any help to encourage the placenta to detach. And it was just as stubborn as can be! If it had detached, I probably would have declined the ambulance ride to St. Peters in Olympia, and had daddy take us to Enumclaw as planned. But with the placenta still attached, I was facing a risk to my health and so we agreed to go to the nearest hospital for help.

Let me just tell you, it was a short walk to the chair the EMTs would use to carry me out of the house, but it was a strange walk. The umbilical cord was hanging out of me still, and by now it was cold and rubbery. Very strange to walk with that swinging between my legs! The lady EMT joked that it was my tail, and to not mind it! I just carried it with me, trying to not get blood on the carpet!

The EMTs carried me down the stairs in the chair while daddy carried you wrapped up in towels. Then we transferred to the standard ambulance bed and daddy handed you back to me. He also got my robe for me so I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital completely naked! Thanks daddy!

It was a quiet ride to the hospital. I continued to massage my uterus trying to encourage contractions, and you just watched the world go by. You were so alert and calm. You just weren’t ready to nurse at all! Too bad for me!

We arrived at St Peters in Olympia and met with the nurses and an intern who tried to forcibly pull my placenta out. That really hurt, and after a while, I had to ask her to stop. They could not give my any medications until they processed me, and were waiting for daddy to do that. So it was a bit of a painful waiting game until that happened. Then the doctor arrived! With him came my admission paperwork and a shot of morphine! Thank you Dr Bell! Now while the doctor tried to remove the placenta, I had a bit of pain relief to help me cope.

Dr Bell looked like a really cute teenager, and daddy was worried that he didn’t have enough training to be a real doctor! I just remember thinking he was really young, and hoping he knew what he was doing! Then I closed my eyes again to focus on coping with the pain.

St. Peter’s does not take VBAC patients, and Dr Bell was really uncomfortable with me. It was as if he didn’t know what he could give me, that wouldn’t affect my previous scar. Since the placenta was still attached after 3 hours at this point, his recommendation was a D & C surgery to remove it. He went over this long list of risks with me. I just wanted to know why he didn’t just give me a pitocin shot. I think he knew that pitocin is not recommended for VBAC patients, and wanted to avoid that. But I knew that my uterus was not going to rupture when the baby was already out, and I definitely didn’t want surgery as my first option! Dr Bell was reluctant, but finally agreed to try a small dose of pitocin. It took less than 5 minutes after that and my placenta finally gave up and came out all in one piece! Thank you placenta!!

You looked so good that we didn’t have to admit you at all. This saved us on the hospital bill, but created a bit of a hassle in regards to getting your birth registered and getting you a vitamin K shot. But we worked out the shot with your pediatrician, and Capt. Wilson was able to certify you so we could apply for a birth certificate.

Your birth was so fast, that it was over before we had time to process that we were even in labor. It took a while of thinking back to remember the details of what had happened. What an amazing experience! And I have a great birth story to tell. I have now done it all: Failed induction with a C-Section, home induction with a natural drug-free hospital delivery, and precipitous labor with emergency unassisted homebirth with daddy. What else is there to do?

All I know, is I am so happy to finally meet you! You have been a calm and easy baby this first week, aside from the nursing, and we love having you here. Nursing continues to improve each day and we look forward to having you in the family. Ethan loves to hold you and have pictures taken. Aidan loves to rub your brown hair and tell me “nice hair!” I think we will be fine!
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#155 of 166 Old 03-12-2009, 08:38 PM
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mom to all boys B: 08/01ribboncesarean.gif,  C: 07/05 uc.jpg, N: 03/09 uc.jpg, M: 01/12 uc.jpg and far too many lost onesintactlact.gifsaynovax.gif

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#156 of 166 Old 04-16-2009, 11:35 PM
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Just wanted to announce that on April 7, I had a beautiful, complication-free completely natural VBA2C.
I live in Oklahoma City. There is one dr. in the entire state who would take me as a patient. My husband and I did lots and lots of research beforehand and I decided I wanted a natural L&D.

At 5 a.m. on 4/7 my water broke. My husband stayed home from work and took care of our 1 & 2-year-old boys. I rested and just puttered around the house that day. Had some contrax but nothing terrible and nothing regular. At 4:30 p.m. my MIL took the boys to her house. At 5 p.m., my contrax were suddenly 10 min. apart. At 6 p.m. they were 5 min. apart. At about 7 we arrived at the hospital.

I was 100% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I was disappointed to hear that I wasn't dilated more. I hadn't planned to be at the hospital until I was 8 cm or so (at least!). At 8:30 p.m. our doula arrived. At 10:20 or so, I was bearing down involuntarily with some of the contrax. They checked me and I was complete! They let me labor down a while longer. After only 4-5 pushes, my gorgeous son, Hudson Cash was born. He was 21 in. long and 7 lb. 5 oz. After only 5 hours of hard labor, my son had arrived!

After the delivery I wanted to stand on a mountain and scream, "I am woman; hear me roar!" I did it! I did what most of the medical establishment said was "dangerous, risky, irresponsible" name it. But I'd done my research; I was more comfortable with the risks of a VBA2C than a ERCS. And I did tons of research on common obstetrical interventions and the risks of those; how to avoid to have a successful natural L&D. It all paid off!!

And the recovery after a vaginal delivery! WOW! TOTALLY different than the recovery after a C/S!!! My husband and I can't believe it.

So now we're at home having our babymoon. Our 2 older boys are getting to know their new brother. I'm on cloud 9.

Thanks to all the beautiful women on this forum who offered encouragement, advice, reassurance. I owe much of my success to you. Women are amazing creatures!
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#157 of 166 Old 04-21-2009, 09:51 PM
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I had my HBAC Monday, April 13, our anniversary. It was very long and difficult - about 42 hours of labor (not counting the 24 hour build up), nearly 5 hours of pushing, and a very healthy and strong 9lb., 10oz. baby boy. I don't know if I'll post a full birth story or not. I'm still a bit overwhelmed by it all. I lost a lot of blood and am still recovering. It was in many ways more difficult than I was anticipating and more painful and exhausting. There were a lot of times I thought about how much easier it would have been to go to the hospital for a repeat c-section, and a lot of times when I didn’t think I could do it. But the memory of the emotional recovery last time and my amazing midwives and husband kept me going and at home. There’s no way I would have had a vaginal birth in any US hospital given how difficult things were. It will take me a while to recover physically, but I can’t find the right words to describe how incredible this experience was.

Crafty Mama to 5 year old DD and 1 year old DS.
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#158 of 166 Old 05-04-2009, 03:20 PM
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Mom to Sam (3/2007), Bekah (4/2009)
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#159 of 166 Old 05-10-2009, 04:28 PM
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I just wanted to post my story, brief though it may be. I went into labor two days after my due date, the day after being told the OB associated with my midwife practice wanted to induce me even earlier than originally thought. Smart little boy I have in there. My water broke on a walk home from the bagel store about 12:30. 10 minutes later I was having contractions 4 minutes apart and one minute long. 5 minutes later I was having them 3 minutes apart, well, you get the picture. I called my husband home from work, we got to the hospital by about 1:45, 4 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and no time between contractions, except enough to catch my breath occasionally and start on a new one. By 3:00 I was completely dilated, and at 3:50 my boy was born, 9 lbs. 6 oz. 2nd degree tears, but even with that, an amazing amazing experience. I will never forget the feeling of his head crowning, an incredible experience.

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#160 of 166 Old 05-17-2009, 03:02 PM
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My first birth was supposed to be a natural Bradley birth. We knew the baby had a two-vessel cord, but no other problems. After laboring at home for 24 hours, I had a feeling we had to get to the hospital. The initial check showed DS was fine, but the next check 30 minutes later showed his heartrate in the 60's. It never went back up despite multiple position changes, etc. After an emergency C-section we found two knots in his umbilical cord that appeared really tight. That was the only cause that we could find for his persistent distress. DS turned out fine.

Here I am two years later, planning for a VBAC. I'm working with a midwife group who collaborates with the OB group I used last time. They wanted a 20 week ultrasound to check for placenta placement, and I reluctantly agreed. (Off Topic: Why do I feel like I need to keep them happy? They are the only midwife group in a reasonable distance and the only VBAC supportive hospital. Still...) The ultrasound showed great anterior placenta placement and a baby who was 4 weeks further along that anticipated. They promptly changed my EDD from June 5th to May 5th. After a discussion with the OB, we believe that I got pregnant the month before I originally thought. My last "period" was probably a subchorionic hemorrhage.

For this birth I planned to use Hypnobabies. Since February I zealously did the activities, listened to the CDs, followed the program in detail. I had several episodes of pain (rib pulled out of place, symphysis pubis pain) that responded beautifully to the Hypnobabies anesthesia approach. I was really excited to see it in action during my birth.

On Monday May 4th I had mild crampy contractions about 6 minutes apart for 13 hours. They were no more bothersome than Braxton-Hicks, and I was able to sleep through them. I had them intermittently for the next several days.

On Thursday May 7th I started having the mild contractions again around 2 pm. Again, I just went about my business. I had no idea this would be the beginning of actual labor. I nursed DS (23 months) to sleep around 8:30, and noticed the nursing really kicked up the intensity of the contractions. Around 9 pm as I was browsing MDC, I decided to try To my surprise, my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. I got a burst of energy to finish packing - hospital for me, to Grandma's for DS. I went to bed but had trouble getting to sleep. Finally got to sleep around midnight, and woke up at 1:30 with increased intensity of the contractions.

I told DH to get as much sleep as he could. I couldn't get back to sleep, so I went downstairs to listen to my Birthing Day CD. To my surprise, I just couldn't stand the sound of the voice on the CD. I was confused - this had never happened before. I tried my techniques that didn't involve listening to the CD - they helped for a short while. I ended up on our futon mattress on the floor, kneeling over our beanbag or sidelying. I put down some waterproof pads just in case. The intensity was very strong but manageable with relaxation. I was still trying to get into that hypnosis state that I was doing so easily for the last several months.

At 3:30 DH woke up and heard me moaning downstairs. He came down and asked if I needed him. I told him not yet - still working on the Hypnobabies thing. He realized that this was looking very much like labor, so he went back upstairs to his home office to email his boss - "my vacation is starting now!". Contractions were now about 3.5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute. I had changed into my Binsi birthing tank and skirt, and planned to wear them at the hospital as well. While sidelying during a contraction, I felt a jerk in my abdomen and felt and heard a "thunk!" against my pubic bone. That was a surprise. After the contraction was done I had a gush of fluid as I stood up. I hollered up to DH - water broke, you'd better pack, call your parents for DS. The strength of the contractions increased dramatically after my water broke, and I needed DH to be there for counterpressure. Poor guy - running upstairs for 2 minutes of packing or calling, running down when he heard me moan. He worked up quite a sweat.

DH's parents live an hour away. Our hospital is 45 minutes away. I planned to show up as late in labor as possible - pushing would not be too late! However, I didn't know close I was. We called the midwife - she said to come in whenever we wanted. We called our doula to see if she could come over. She was at another birth, and said she would have her back-up doula call us. This was not a surprise - due to my due date change she warned me that she was really busy in early May. This labor was far more intense than with my previous labor, and we decided to head into the hospital. DH's parent's had not arrived, so we called a neighbor to come over and wait at our house in case DS woke up before grandparents arrived. We arrived at the hospital at 6 am.

Our doula met us at the hospital. The nurse brought us to our room, and gestured to the hospital gown on the bed. Then she noticed my Binsi skirt and immediately said "oh, I see you don't need the gown!" and removed it. My initial exam showed me at 4 cm, 80% effaced, but I don't remember the station. Because I'm a VBAC, the hospital requires an IV Hep-Lock and continuous fetal monitoring. I agreed to the Hep-Lock (I'm a hard stick and didnt want to wait for an emergency like last time) and promptly put a stockinette over it so IVs or meds couldn't be given casually without our notice. I planned to remove the EFM periodically, but the labor was so intense I physically couldn't do it. The midwife had to hold the monitor and press it to my belly during each contraction. It was the source of a lot of my pain, and it really pissed me off. I couldn't seem to argue about it though - I told them it was really hurting. It was pressed for every contraction until Baby was born. This was the main negative thing about my birth. There were so many positives, though.

My doula and DH were the primary caregivers. The midwife sat back, pressed the fetal doppler, and made quiet suggestions for positions occasionally. They were very hands-off midwives, and DH and my doula were so perfect in their support. I labored on a mat on the floor, kneeling over a birth ball, on the toilet, in the Jacuzzi tub. At around 9:30 I started getting pushy during some of the contractions. I expected to be told not to push or that I needed another exam. No, the midwife just asked if I was pushy, I said yes, and she said OK. I stayed in the tub and gave a tiny push when I felt like it. When on the toilet I had a couple of reflexive pushes.

During this whole labor the pain was far worse than last time, and each contraction I was struggling. I was praying silently for an epidural during each contraction, but refused to say it out loud for fear that they would believe me. I strongly believe in an unmedicated birth - I can't have narcotics because of an allergy/sensitivity to them. I tried using my Hypnobabies - still couldn't stand the sound of her voice, but was able to relax a little between contractions.

Around 10:30 I quietly mentioned to the midwife that I was getting tired of all this and wanted it to end soon. She cheerfully mentioned that I might be in transition and would I like an exam? Since I had been getting progressively pushy I agreed. I got out of the tub and assumed I needed to be on the bed. She suggested I lie on the mat on the floor - cool! No bed! I was fully dilated, ready to push. As I sat upright on the toilet the pushing urge really kicked in. I pushed on the toilet, kneeling over the ball, sidelying, standing, kneeling on the bed facing the head, on a birthing stool, and tried the squat bar. I ended up on the bed because I was getting dizzy and was too wobbly to hold myself upright. The biggest problem is that I have exercise-induced asthma, and would have panicky gasping after 2 pushes.

After 2 hours the contractions petered out. I had been drinking Recharge (natural gatorade), but now they suggested I try an energy bar if I had one. What? Eating in a hospital? I did have food because I planned on eating anyway if I wanted. The food didn't help, and at this point I barely felt any contractions at all. The midwife suggested augmentation with low-dose Pitocin, but didn't pressure me. If I were at home I would just rest, but being in a hospital, VBAC, with waters broken, I made the decision I swore I never would - I agreed to the Pitocin.

The Pitocin worked great - contractions picked up to what they were before. I ended up pushing for another hour, and the position that worked the best was on my back. I still tried all the other positions frequently because I wanted the upright gravity assist. I remember feeling discouraged - the midwife was sitting down by my feet, but she wasn't even wearing gloves. Obviously, I had a long way to go. Once baby got out from under my pubic bone, he crowned in one contraction. She suddenly called for a baby nurse and jumped into gown and gloves so fast. Baby was out in the next contraction.

The midwife told me to reach down and catch my baby. I helped bring him up to my chest and covered us with blankets. The baby cried for a minute or two - just enough to clear his lungs. The nurse wiped him briefly, then left. No suctioning, no other interference. He stopped crying and lay quietly on my chest. Cord was clamped after 5 minutes and placenta came right after. After a few minutes, the midwife asked if we knew the gender. Oh, yeah! DH and I were so entranced we forgot to look! Another boy!

Baby lay on my chest for the next hour. I shifted him over and he latched on like a champ. I was stitched up - first degree tear with 12 stitches. After an hour I really needed to pee, and the nurse offered to weigh and measure him on the warmer in the room while I was up. DH carried him over and watched while the doula helped me to the bathroom.

Brandon Robert
Born May 8 at 1:18 pm
7 lbs 5 oz, 20.5 inches

So, two interventions - fetal monitor and Pitocin. However, the other natural processes were great for a hospital. Midwife, birthing ball, birthing stool, rarely on the bed, mat on the floor, suggestions to eat, use squat bar, minimal exams, delayed clamping, baby on chest for an hour. They didn't bat an eye when I declined Hep B or eye abx.

I wish the Hypnobabies had worked. I have no idea why that voice irritated me so much during labor. I worked so hard for so many months, and it worked beautifully for other pain. I'm still a strong supporter of Hypnobabies. I wish I could have handled the pain out of the tub more so I could do more upright positions - maybe I could have avoided the Pitocin.

We went home the next afternoon. This baby is so calm, so relaxed, and nurses like an expert. So, a successful hospital VBAC is possible!

: DS - June '07 : DS2 - May '09 : (may be delayed a really long time!)
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#161 of 166 Old 05-18-2009, 08:37 PM
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My DS was born 8 days after EDD - induced with cervadil, then pitocin, had an epidural, pushed for 4 hours, but he was posterior and 8 lb 9 oz, and never made it past 0 station. Total labor in the hospital bed with all the interventions of 27 hours. Ugh. Off to c-section we went.

2.5 years later, I was due May 10th with second child. I decided to use a midwife group who would let me go past due date by 2 weeks, and very VBAC friendly.

Sure enough, May 10th came and went and I started getting nervous and antsy. Even though the midwives were supportive, they still wanted extra testing done after due date and it made me worried that all the other interventions (or just another c-section) was imminent. But, I held out.

Tuesday, May 12 I had a regular check up and was 3 cm and 70% effaced - more than I had ever gotten to without pitocin with my DS. I had been having tons of BHs from 30 weeks on, so I was glad to see that my body had been getting ready. Midwife did a membrane sweep, and we set up an appt. for a week later, just in case.

The next day I had regular contractions all day long about 10 minutes apart. I could literally feel them on my cervix. I went about my day, but really thought labor was coming. We packed our bags. But...I went to sleep that night and slept fine and there were no contractions the next day. That night came and went and no contractions the day after. I was so discouraged at this point.

Friday afternoon, I had a very spicy Thai food for lunch and took a nap with DS. Around 5:00 I noticed some contractions coming. I started timing them around 5:30 and they were all 6 - 7 minutes apart and strong, but totally doable. I played with my son, and asked my hubby to do a few chores and pack the car. The contractions got to be 4 minutes apart for awhile so we called the grandparents to come pick up DS and called the midwife. She said that I might as well get ready and come to the hospital if we felt we were ready.

Soon after, the contractions suddenly got much more intense, my water started leaking in little spurts, and they were coming every minute or two. I mostly sat on the toilet or was on my hands and knees and told my hubby we had to go NOW.

The hospital was only 15 minutes away, but 5 minutes into the ride, I had the unbelievable urge to bear down. I told my hubby, "I have to push" and the poor guy was trying to drive in the rain and telling me "Don't push! Breathe!" I had to use all my might NOT to push, but my body was involuntarily doing it anyways.

We got to the hospital doors and I was just yelling "Help me" and my hubby managed to get a wheelchair and some nice people helped him carry our bags into the hospital. I got to L and D and said "I need to push!"

They put me in the first room to check me. She did an exam while I laid on my side and held on the bed rail for dear life and tried to breathe while everyone said "Don't push!" I heard her call the midwife and say, "Your patient is at complete, the head is low, she needs to push." Then I had to WAIT for the midwife. This was the most intense time of my life. I simply had to push this kid out and bear down at every contraction which were coming every minute or so. I could not open my eyes, all I could concentrate on was the pressure.

Luckily, the midwife lived close and she showed up a few minutes later. Because I was so close to delivering, I avoided all interventions (hep lock, etc.) except for some external monitors. The baby's heart rate was dropping very low with the contractions so the midwife said I had to push the baby out NOW (that's what I'd been trying to do for 30 minutes now!!!!) or they had to get the vacuum. So I literally roared like a lion in the jungle and pushed with all my might for two contractions and her head came right out. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so the midwife took those off, and a tiny push later, her shoulders came right out.

My husband annouced it was a girl (we didn't know!) and they laid her on my chest for a minute then took her to the warming table to clear out her sinuses since there was a little meconium. Nothing to worry about, she had apgar scores of 9 and was a healthy 7 lb, 13 oz VBAC baby!

Although I had intended on waiting as long as possible to get to the hospital, that was a little nuts trying not to push in the car! But in the end, I'm so happy because I got to labor all by myself at home, had no interventions, had my all-natural VBAC and most importantly, a healthy beautiful baby!
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#162 of 166 Old 06-04-2009, 09:25 AM
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First baby born via c-section (9 pounder) November 2007 after 15 hours of labor and no movement through my pelvis.

Second baby born last week vaginally after 7 hours of labor and no augmentation...but medication for pain

I started having random contractions the week before and then finally 2 days before my due date labor started on its own. I went to bed on Wed. at 10:30 pm and at 11 my contractions started at 3 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. I called my doctor and went to the hospital for a "labor check". I was 6 cm when admitted to the hospital at 12:30 am.

I did get an epidural because I was petrified of feeling the delivery but because of issues with the IV I didn't get the epi until 9 cm. Contractions were painful but not awful like the first birth. I had back labor with my first child and no back labor with this delivery.

I was at 10 cm and ready to push at 4 am but the doctor that delivered me allowed me to labor down. I highly recommend this if you can stand the pressure. This meant for less pushing and less strain on the uterus. Basically, she let nature do it's job for about 1 1/2 hours.

I started pushing at 5:30 and my beautiful baby was born an hour later at 8 lbs 13 oz! I have a 2nd degree tear which is nothing more than an annoyance and my recovery so far has been fantastic. The difference between the c-section recovery at 1 week and the vbac recovery is night and day.

I have more energy because I'm not dealing with a newborn AND trying to heal from major surgery, I'm able to move around much easier...especially moving around in bed to nurse during the night (that was the hardest thing to do after my section).

I strongly encourage any woman out there who is considering a VBAC to GO FOR IT!!!! As corny as it may sound, our bodies are made for this and as long as your baby is in a favorable position it really is a good experience...Good luck to all of you mama's out there!!!! You can do it!!!
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#163 of 166 Old 07-01-2009, 12:56 AM
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It has been a year since our successful VBA3C at home. I don't have my story written out but I do have the video that we prepared that will hopefully inspire others that are going through their own journey.

Here it is: ... english version ...spanish version
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#164 of 166 Old 09-03-2009, 08:40 AM
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Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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#165 of 166 Old 09-08-2009, 09:36 PM
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: I get to share mine!!
My birth story actually began back in June of 2007. That is when I made the choice to allow my OB to give me an elective c-section due to both of my twins still presenting breech at 38 weeks. Little did we know that three days later one of the boys would move head down. Whether or not the other boy would have followed eventually who knows but there is a part of me that will always wish I had waited it out...however even though it was a c-section birth it went very smoothly and my boys entered this world without any issues.

Fast forward about 15 months. We find out we are being blessed with a baby again! Unlike last time where we had to try and try and eventually received medical help we did this one all alone without even trying. What an amazing surprise! I originally planned to go for a repeat c-section. My first one went so well I figured why not. Several of my friends had just had repeat c-sections and everything had gone perfectly for them. So that was my tentative plan for the first few months of my pregnancy. However something kept nagging at me inside. It just felt like this time should be different. I really can't tell you what it was that made me change my mind and decide on a VBAC...I think a big part of me was still in the debating stage when I met with the OB I used for the twins. In talking to him I got such a medical vibe. He basically told me that while he would support my 'attempt' at a VBAC he really didn't understand why anyone would want one. He kept throwing around the word catastrophic. When I talked to him about a drug-free VBAC he was once again supportive in theory however as I mentioned various things like walking around, alternate birthing positions and such he really wasn't open to these. He also told me if I went one day past 40 weeks he would insist on a c-section. We left his office feeling annoyed and more interested than ever in doing a VBAC. So we left and the next day I scheduled a consult with the midwives at one of the local hospitals. I was accepted and odl I have about a 90% chance of a VBAC and that most of their clients go medication free. I really liked all of their birthing principals so we signed on and never looked back.

June was a stressful month for us. We were supposed to move (and then had paperwork problems) we had the boys' second birthday and their birthday parties and then we had Becca's due date all wrapped together. Becca's due date came on the 23rd of June...and went. Over the next 13 days I analyzed every 'sign' I got that I was in labor. Sadly these were few and far between. On our anniversary June 27 I had contractions that were close together and steady for several hours but eventually they puttered out. I even lost my mucous plug but nothing else. For the next week I did lots of visualizations, 'Come out baby' from hypnobabies, red raspberry leaf tea. We tried sex, pineapple and spicey foods. The only thing I didn't try was castor oil since I felt pitocin was better than castor oil! I would have contractions off and on but nothing really steady or close together until July 4th. That night I had pretty consistent contractions until 3 am, but eventually they once again puttered out and I went to bed. On Sunday July 5th I had contractions pretty much all day but only about 2-3 an hour. Around 3:30 or so in the afternoon they started to get more and more regular however it wasn't until around 10ish that things started to really pick up. It was then that I started to realize this really might happen. Dave was going to go to sleep but I was in enough pain that I asked him to stay awake. I took a bath but honestly it really didn't help much. I ate, drank, walked around and tried (unsuccessfully) to sleep. Nothing was helping. Between eleven and twelve I took to lying in bed while Dave just rubbed my lower back. I would say 80-90% of my pain was in this tiny spot in my lower back. Nothing made it feel better but Dave made it bearable. He was the most amazing coach ever! Every contraction hurt so much. They were right on top of eachother with only 2-3 minutes apart. It felt like non-stop pain. He kept massaging and talking to me and assuring me that I could in fact do this. He believed in me long after I stopped believing in myself. Around midnight I started my 'obsession' with the toilet as David later called it. I felt like I had this horrid diarrhea. I was also so nauseous. I never threw up but man I thought I was going to. Sitting on the toilet felt good. It was also during this time I felt like I needed a break from my DH. I was in such intense, never ending pain that I thought to myself there was no way I could make it any longer. I was still convinced these contractions were just going to fizz out like the others had. I thought there was no possible way that I could do this anymore. I tried to figure out how I could get an epidural without having to leave the house since I was in too much pain to even do that! Around one I decided that it was time to go to the hospital. Not because I thought it was time for us to go, but because I figured with the intensity of my back labor pains that perhaps if I couldn't talk my DH into an epidural that perhaps I could instead get some sterile saline injections to help. David, knowing my plan was to stay home as long as possible (and knowing my 'secret' plan to plead with him for drugs) discouraged us from leaving, however I put my foot down so he called his mom to watch the boys and she showed up about 1:30. We left immediately. On the way we called our doula to meet us at the hospital and the midwife's answering service to page her. I somehow wobbled to the car and we made the 20 minute or so drive. It took us forever to get into the building. Since it was after hours it was nearly impossible to get it! Once in the contractions were about a minute apart so we found a wheelchair since that was the only way we could make any time! I still had to stop for every contraction! We got to the L&D floor around 2:30. It took them forever to check us in. They finally took us back to triage. They asked a bunch of questions but I just ignored them and let David answer. HE was still doing such a great job of supporting me! He would still massage my lower back for every contraction and continued to praise me the whole time. Once we got to triage they were asking if I wanted an epidural. Everything inside of me was screaming YES but somehow I found the strength to say no. She asked me to rate my pain, I said about an 8...she asked how intense I have ever had pain without taking medication, I told her 'we passed that about three hours ago'. So the brand new fresh outta med school resident wanted to check me for dilation. I made them wait out a contraction and let her go ahead. She took forever feeling around (okay like a minute but it felt like forever since I only had a minute between contractions) then the chief resident wanted to check me also. I told them to wait til after the contraction. Once he was able to check they were shocked (as was I) to find I was between a 7-8. I was so relieved to find out all that pain had been worth it! I could DO this! I didn't need drugs I could handle this! So they paged the midwife and took me to the room. They were telling me how I would be able to use the whirlpool or walk the halls and such (I kept thinking to myself, ummm I am a VBAC I don't think I am allowed to do any of that) but I decided to keep that all to myself! The nurse wanted me to lie on the bed so they could get some baseline measurements and to get my heplock in. For some reason or another the chief resident checked me again and said something about my bulging bag of water. It was about 30 seconds later that I had another contraction and my bad BURST. It was shocking to me just how obvious it was when that happened. Things started moving much faster then. They checked and saw that there was meconium in the fluid so the nurse called down to the NICU to have their staff come up for deep suctioning. The nurse was sounding kind of panicky. She kept telling them to hurry because this baby was coming! I remember thinking: It is?? AWESOME! I am almost done. My doula and my husband were both so encouraging during this time. The nurse told me to let her know if I was feeling 'pushy' so I said okay and then with the next contraction I said "Oh...I'm feeling pushy" that's when things moved into crazy high gear. There was so much movement around me they asked me to stop pushing and I totaly ignored them. They got the chief resident and the other resident gal in the room and made sure I was completely dilated. They were trying to break down the bed and I just kept pushing along with the next contraction. The nurse was paging the NICU staff to report to my room stat to be ready for suctioning. With contraction number three they told me I could start pushing. I pushed throughout that one and her head was almost all the way out. It burned so much but I kept trying to relax as much as I could. To be honest I was feeling kind of panicky. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I felt out of control, my body was just acting instictively without worry or care to what I mentally was contributing. Since everything was happening so fast and because of the meconium they wouldn't let Dave catch the baby or to cut the cord. So he stayed by my side while Dusti rubbed my cramped foot. Next contraction came and I pushed with everything I had. I squeeze Dave's hand so hard. He told me 'you are doing it!!' and all of a sudden I felt it! The head came through, I took a deep breath and out came her body. She was all covered in green yuck...they cut the cord and handed her off to get suctioned. Dave went with her. They wanted to start pitocin since I was bleeding 'too much'. I asked if it was necessary (yes) could it wait til after I started nursing (no) did they have to do my stiches at the same time (yes). They then put in an IV for fluids (not really sue why they did that, I started to argue with them about it but decided to pick my battles and let it go). Then Dave carried Becca back in and handed her to me so I could nurse her. It had been a short few minutes but it seemed like forever. It felt so great to nurse my daughter. She took to it so fast. During this time I learned I had a second degree tear that they were stitching up. Eventually it got quiet in the room They checked out the baby mostly while she was in my arms. I refused the eye goop and vit K shot. I asked them to save the placenta (there was a pregnant pause with that question) but they did so. At some point they weighed her 8 pounds 4 ounces. 20.5 inches long. Her apgars were 8 and 9 due to color. It was around then that the midwife showed up and was very apologetic. The call center never called her when we had left the house. They didn't call until we were checked into our room (a little after three) which didn't give much time for her to get across town since she was born at 3:17! I really hate that she wasn't there. I think had she been there Dave could have caught, we could have avoided pit and the unnecessary IV, but in the end it didn't matter. Our baby girl came into this world nearly two weeks late but in a blaze once she decided it was time to get here!
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#166 of 166 Old 09-14-2009, 02:05 AM
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My life was changed forever on 12/27/2007 when I found out that I was pregnant with my second child. The following months brought changes and decisions that would exponentially grow me as a person and a mother. My life took a final and wonderful bend in the road during the journey that would bring our sweet Henry Patrick to us, on September 9 2009.

My first child, our little love, Colin, was born via C section in 2007. And while his birth was uneventful and my recovery was easy, I found it difficult to put myself back into another operating room with the only reason being that my last birth had been a C section. This decision brought us out of our comfort zone to a hospital that we had to travel quite a distance to get to, just for the opportunity to VBAC.

But after months of preparation for a VBAC, we suddenly found ourselves looking at being 41 weeks pregnant with a likely 8 1/2 pound baby. While we wanted to have a delivery that carried as few risks as possible, on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, Matt and I found ourselves in a small white room with a doctor who told us the same thing that she had been telling us for 5 weeks. The baby was still too high, my cervix had not progressed and was not favorable for birth, and that my chances of being successful with a VBAC were slim to none.

One day was all we had. I knew that major surgery was looming, but couldn't imagine that I wouldn't go into labor naturally by 41 weeks. Our C section was scheduled for the next day. I had one day to prepare for a spinal anesthesia, staples, being cut open, a serious recovery with a very small child at home and the knowledge that with a c section came a maternal/infant mortality rate of 2-4 times the risk that comes with a vaginal birth. While still small, still there. Until that reality faced me, I hadn't faced it fully. I spent the rest of the evening and into the next day mentally preparing, talking to my sister in law about it and quietly wondering what I was doing to my son, who spun happily in his playroom.

I slept little that night, and was up early the next morning. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him and definitely wanted to linger on each and every hug and kiss. Hours after I got up, Matt and I said goodbye to our sweet boy and explained to him what was going to happen. He responded by pointing to his green shades and saying, "sunglasses".

Matt and I arrived at Tampa General at 10:40 am. While I was starving, I was nervous and very uncomfortable which made me nauseated. Matt and I walked into recovery/pre-op and immediately laid my eyes on a precious family holding their baby boy in a blue knit hat, and I realized that this C section was simply the means to a very wonderful end. We got settled and our fantastic nurse got me hooked up to two monitors, and set up my IV. The anesthesiologist came in to get a consent, and we comfortably chatted about our kids, and the risks of the spinal as well as surgery. He was terrific and really put me at ease. We continued to wait, and the surgery that seemed to be coming soon seemed to become delayed. Noon turned into 1:00, which turned into 1:45. At this point, a surgical resident came in to acquire my signed consent for surgery. She asked me why I wasn't VBACing and I explained our circumstances to her. Our nurse chimed in and told her that I was contracting, and this sweet resident asked if I wanted to be checked. At this point, I was geared up for a C Section, and so I was almost annoyed that the slight chance of a VBAC was even discussed, but I submitted.

While I was not effaced or dilated mere hours before, surprisingly, I was a 2-2.5 and 20% effaced. The resident optimistically called the OB that was on call that night and returned saying that she still felt as though I was not a good candidate, even though I was making some progress. So we continued to wait. 2:00 turned into 3:00, and I started to get really annoyed, really hungry, and really uncomfortable. I told Matt that I was glad that Henry would have picked 9/9/09 as his birthday anyway, and seconds later, my water broke.

This time, nobody called my OB. Matt told the nurses that my water broke, and after some confusion about a glass of water, they came in to verify. While the test came back questionable, my bag of amniotic fluid had indeed ruptured. The surgeon came back and checked me, and I was 4-5 cm dilated and 80% effaced (in case you are counting, that is 2cm in 1 hour). She optimistically said that she would take a few tubals ahead of me and my nurse walked us to labor and delivery. That walk was very difficult, I was suddenly faced with an incredible amount of pain that I was unsure that I could walk through, and as of the previous evening, I had ceased being prepared for a long and painful labor. My brain simply didn't know what to do with the pain.

At 4:20 pm, we arrived in our fantastic L and D suite. When we arrived, I was in a great deal of pain and tried squatting near the bed and using the birthing ball. I asked for an epidural immediately, but felt like such a weakling to ask for one so soon. My nurse was a bit concerned about my pain level and speculated that I was moving quickly, that was confirmed when she checked me and I was a 6-7. After watching (or not watching) a video about epidurals, we saw that terrific anesthesiologist again and he administered a wonderful epidural that gave me the opportunity to rest a bit. By 5:00 pm, I was able to sit in bed.

The end of the painful contractions brought a new challenge, a hot spot, it was called. While we thought that it was simply a spot that the epidural hadn't helped, in actuality it was my son's head grinding against my pelvic bone. I was determined that he would descend, so as soon as I had some feeling back in my legs, I leaned against the back of the bed and rocked until he descended enough that his head was no longer grinding against my pelvic bone. I tried to nap from approximately 8-9:00 pm, and around that time, my body began to beg to push.

Our new, terrific nurse checked me and announced that I was complete! Then, Dr. C arrived and said that I was actually an 8. The nurse argued with her stating that that part of my cervix could be pushed back and I began to push a bit. Then, for whatever reason, they left the room for about 45 minutes. During that time, I let my body labor down a bit.

Both the nurse and the doctor came back and at 9:35 I really started to push. At this point, my epidural had worn off almost completely. The next 40 minutes were some of the most intense and challenging of my life. I pushed for 40 minu Henry started out as being sunny side up, it appeared as though his shoulders were stuck, and his heart rate decelerated tremendously. As soon as I got him under my pubic bone, Henry quite literally flew out. The medical staff who had been urging me to "push, push, push" were now telling me to "stop!". The bed was broken down and medical staff members were called in, and almost as quickly as it had begun, I finally was allowed to give one final push and deliver my sweet son.

I immediately told Dr. C that I knew that I could VBAC.

Almost everybody laughed.

His apgars were 9/9, and the cord was wrapped around his neck one time. He weighed 9 lbs, 8.4 oz and was 21.5 inches long. Seems as though 9 is his number.

He was perfect.

As soon as I had accepted that I would be having a C section, quite literally right after I spoke with the anesthesiologist, I went into labor. We are amazingly blessed with our labor and delivery experience and the birth of our precious and sweet boy, Henry.
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