Mountain Summit-My HBA2C story
Where should I start? My first two sons were born via cesarean section, induced with pitocin. For my first birth, I trusted that my doctor and the hospital knew what was best. I had planned on a natural birth, and took Lamaze. I went overdue (42 wks) and was induced. The contractions were quick & on top of each other, I labored this way all day & around 7 pm that night he was born via c-section, and rushed off to the NICU in a helicopter across town. He was in about 2 weeks, with a collapsed lung, heart murmur & meconium pneumonia. They told my husband that he might not live 24 hours, and if he did he would have to be transported to yet another hospital for surgery. I also had some problems (anesthesia does not work well for me-I became fully awake as I was being sewed up) and needed to be given blood. I remember being left in a recovery room alone and freezing, no blanket or anything to cover me. I called for what seemed hours for my mother, as I was coherent enough to know that my husband had left with my son. We were blessed that night, his murmur closed fully & he was getting better. Rarely has he been sick since. I truly believe now that his not being ready to be born, added to the pitocin induction did this to him.
For my second birth, I did a little research, and was exposed to the book Spiritual Midwifery for the first time. Wow-they still birth at home? I picked a female ob gyn that had had a vbac herself, and had midwives in her practice. I saw the midwives & I saw her. I picked a hospital again because at the time I felt it was safest. Again I planned on a natural birth. This time while walking on the beach, I fell on my bottom on some slippery rocks, and went into labor by myself, again at 42 weeks. Went to the hospital and was induced again to speed things up. Luckily he was born, although via c-section again, without any problems, just a bit jaundiced. At this point I did not want anymore children, and considered tubal ligation. My ob talked me out of it, and put in an IUD.
A couple years pass, we moved to the Pacific NW and I met quite a few women who had their babies at home. I just thought this was the neatest thing ever, but still was adamant about not wanting anymore myself. I became close friends with a woman (S.) who had both her children at home, and was expecting her third. I learned more about homebirth from her, and then finally looking around on the internet, and reading quite a few books. Last summer I felt a presence, a soul that wanted to come into our lives. I had not had this feeling before with my boys, and it was too strong to ignore. I got my IUD removed and we started trying right away. I still wasn't sure about the whole homebirth thing, for me anyway, too risky. I don't remember just where I first learned about HBAC, and trying after 2 c-sections, but I still was nervous. All the what ifs really came into my head.
Well I got pregnant fairly soon after having my IUD removed, and was worried about how far along I was (I am a bigger woman) so I went to an OB. Large, huge mistake. I was high risk when I walked in the door. I told OB of plans to homebirth, as him being my backup (I had 2 midwives to interview that did hbacs) and whoa that was a mistake. I had high blood pressure that first day. (also had with my 2nd) I weighed 268 lbs-another risk. All I can say about that day is I have never felt so broken. In tears I called S. told her what happened, she told me to take a warm bath, calm down, light a candle, etc. Dh and I also talked quite a bit this day, I finally calmed down enough to decide not to go back. I interviewed both midwives, and again picked someone who had also had a cesarean, and then gone on to birth her other 4 children at home. From the beginning, I felt completely at ease with her. Every blood pressure reading from then on, (done at my home) was normal. Imagine that.
I exercised, ate well, saw a chiropractor and a prenatal massage therapist, took some supplements & drank a prenatal tea that tasted like dirt daily. I read tons, joined the ICAN email list, and a few other homebirth-oriented lists. A few issues came up for me (from the c-sections) and every time, I had support unimagined in my previous pregnancies. I read many, many, birth stories, imagined what mine would be like, and did some birth art. Also,this pregnancy we went on hikes quite a bit, and I began to associate this pregnancy & birth like a mountain, with many paths leading up. My midwives, C. & G. & S., my friend (& other support person) and my dh were incredible. They had such faith in me, and were so empowering. I felt so strong.
The last week of my pregnancy, I was feeling worried about going over again. Even knowing that my midwives were not the intervening type. Thursday I lost my mucous plug, and Friday after feeling a couple times like I was leaking something while on the phone with S. telling her I needed to go to the store to get a fishy net for the birth tub, my water broke! It was classic, down the legs and all that jazz. I couldn't believe it! I told dh, called S. back & told her, and then called C. She told me to take some vitamin C and garlic caps, and drink lots of water, and she would bring me some herbs. At this point, I was having mild contractions, but they were way far apart. In fact, that night I ended up sleeping fairly normal, although after 12 am I kept waking up during my contractions. Even then they were about 15 min apart.
Around 7 am the next day (Saturday), I called C. and told her what was happening. I told her that while they still were pretty far apart, and irregular, they were getting stronger. She told me she would be there in a little while, and so would G. My friend/support S. said she would be there around 12-1 pm which I was fine with, because things were going so slow. My boys were still at the house, and beginning to irritate me. (I previously thought I wanted them there) They left with friends around 12 or so. Dh was there, cleaning, making lunch for all of us, bringing in the tub, he was taking care of everything. He was also in charge of the music, which actually ended up being only 3 cds, playing over & over. One was Indian sitar, another was ambient, and Krishna Das, and Mermaid (song) by Sade. That song just makes me think I am swimming in the ocean. He was amazing.
The rest of the (hot!) day passed, G. & I took a walk around the neighborhood, I drank more water & watered down Recharge than I ever had in my life to this point. When I was at home, I paced around a lot, bounced on my birth ball, and sat in a hard chair. It was so peaceful, I really enjoyed the company, and we talked & laughed a lot. It was really one of the best days ever. S. & I took another walk (this time backyard) and then we all sat down on the shady side of the house. I kept contracting, I had a pillowon the grass, and another on the chair, and I would kneel there with my head in my hands. Dh later told me this time was the most at peace he has ever felt. I moved back into the house, because I kept needing to go to the bathroom, and hung out in the living room for a while. One of my favorite laboring positions was dancing with my dh, I would hold on to him and sway my hips, he felt so sturdy and it was very loving. Even with the midwives & my friend there it was very intimate, and we felt OK kissing & just generally loving each other.
I should mention that I called my family back east when my water broke (they did not know my plans to homebirth) and they kept calling, wondering what was going on. I ended up telling them that I was sent home because labor stopped. That pretty much stopped the calls, but then my dad called around 4-5 pm. After this things kicked up a notch. Funny, eh? Also I told S. my worries about holding everyone up. I kept feeling like nothing was happening, and that I should tell them to go. She said things were happening, and for me to relax. I told S. to put in the Rainbow meditation (hypnobirthing) tape so I could rest a bit, as I was getting tired (It was time for my daily nap, ha ha ha) I was able to relax a little, but had 2 contractions I couldn't ignore (I think I waited too late to use my meditations) and decided to get up again. We did use the affirmations, my dh told me lots of the script he made up (involving the ocean waves) and the breathing (4-8 & J breathing).
At this point I also asked if we could fill the tub, as things were getting intense. After all this, things got mindless for me. I think subconsciously, or consciously I wanted to feel every bit of this birth. S. had brought a fabric painting of Sheila-Na-Gig! and it was by the birth tub in my dining room. I have a wood rail all the way around and made a miniature altar (I already had a bigger altar in my living room that had been there since the beginning of my pregnancy) I also read my tarot cards a couple weeks prior to the birth and pulled the Ace of Pentacles-Pure contentment, attainment, prosperity, bright prospects-both material and spiritual. Wow. I had on the rail a small wooden Akua, African Goddess of birth, pregnant women & children, my Grandmother's locket, and a small wooden mermaid nursing a baby mermaid. I had so many things on my other altar, but these meant the most to me, as focal points. My youngest son had also picked me some flowers, among them being a wide open pink rose, which also took my attention.
Ah! The tub was filled! My midwives, C & G, S., and my dh were in a circle around me by the tub, I would get bits of things they would say to me-incredible, empowering, loving words that helped between mindless contracting. I felt my body opening, I felt my baby moving down-what a marvelous feeling, and totally new to me. My contractions were on top of each other pretty much at this point, I kept shifting in the tub, sometimes holding on to my dh while in the tub (dancing) Normally I am a fairly inhibited person, but all that went out the door at this point, I got really loud too! I live in a historic district, the houses are pretty close together, and before the birth I worried about being loud-this evaporated too! Ha ha! Then C suggested I sit on the toilet again, to get baby further down-that was rough, moving from the tub into my bathroom-I had to walk (when I could-the contrax were happening all the time now) with my legs spread way out-crablike. I sat on the pot, did a contraction/push then during a break stand up, hold on to dh then squat & push again.
At some point, I moved to the bed-don't ask when-I just ended up there! I was propped with pillows behind, so MW could check to see where baby was, a few pushes later she was crowning! She told me to touch the head-I was in complete disbelief!! No way!! But I reached down and sure enough, it was there, wet & full of hair! I really hated being like that in the bed-the whole time pushing it was best when I could get my legs spread far apart, usually on hands & knees or squatting. So I moved onto my hands & knees, way far apart, kinda like a frog. Not too long after this her head came out all the way, but then her shoulders got stuck! It continuously burned! Wow! C. did some maneuvering, I pushed a few more times (my contrax slowed down then-grr--but I kept pushing anyway) and felt the rest of her body slip out-felt like a big fish!
I don't remember who said it was a girl-but I just couldn't even speak. My dh started crying at this point (I never did, I just remember complete elation & surprise) and telling me it was a girl. Had a bit of getting her going with some oxygen, talking to her, rubbing her feet, then finally a cry! After all this she latched right on, nursing like she always had! There was a short cord, and a large heart shaped placenta. It came out pretty quick after, then I bled a bit, C gave me some herbs, and some Chinese herbs that I sucked through a straw that were rather nasty. I did end up tearing, in two places, I did not really notice. 6 stitches is a tiny thing for this incredible healing experience.
I never once during labor worried about my scar or rupture. My midwives didn't check my blood pressure once during labor, there were no interventions. I feel reborn, and completely high on birth, still. I did it, I finally reached my summit.