I had seen my midwife on Aug. 2 & I had her check me & I was barely a cm dilated & she said it didn’t look to her like I would be going into labor anytime in the next 48 hrs which was pretty discouraging since my scheduled c/s for that Monday was looming over me. The best advice she could give me was that I go home & spend some “quality time” with DH. So I went home & did just that even though DH did not think it would make a difference. That night there was a bad thunderstorm & at around 1am our power kept going on & off & we kept blowing fuses & so DH & I were up trying to make sure everything was ok. Finally at 2:30 the power came back & stayed. Just as I was falling asleep, at around 3am I was feeling some strange sensations & I thought I was feeling myself dilate & I went to the bathroom & there was some bloody show. I knew labor could still be a while away, but I was pretty excited that something was going on. About 10 min later contractions started coming about 5-7 min apart. They would continue for the next 40 hours!!! I woke DH & told him I was in labor, but that he should go back to sleep because I thought it would be a while. They continued that way throughout the morning. Even though I was so excited that things were finally happening, I tried to get back to sleep since I knew I would need my strength for later, but I would wake up with each contraction so I got up & did some light cleaning trying to get everything in order before the baby arrived. I let DH sleep because I knew I would need him to be up with me later. At 7am I called my doula to let her know I was in labor, but I didn’t feel like I needed her to come over yet & would call her back when I needed her. I called my mother & asked her if her boss would mind if she didn’t show up for work because I was in labor & needed her to watch the kids. She came & got the kids & I called up my best friend who is pregnant with her first baby & due in November & told her I was in labor. She wanted to be a part of the labor so she could have an idea of what to expect when her turn came around. We decided to go for a walk & try & get the contractions closer together. I left a note for DH who was still sleeping & we went walking. After about 10 min it started raining so we decided to go walk around the mall. The contractions continued coming every 5 min, but were getting a little stronger & I didn’t want to tire myself out too much too soon so at 12:30 we headed back home & I had some lunch & sat on my birth ball. It seemed to be the only place where the contractions were bearable. My friend went home & at around 3pm the anesthesiologist from the hospital called to talk about my c/s scheduled for that Monday. I told her I wouldn’t be needing her since I was in labor, but she thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit about the c/s just in case it was necessary. So I tuned her out while she talked & then she wished me luck, but she said that from what she knew of my medical history, she didn’t think I was going to have a successful VBAC. I knew she didn’t know much so her comment didn’t bother me, but I was determined to prove her wrong. DH & I decided to go for another walk since the contractions were not getting any closer. We walked over to the library & DH got some cookbooks so he would be able to cook for me after the baby! By the time we got home it was 6pm, we had dinner & then I called me doula to let her know what was going on. I knew I was very tense & having a hard time relaxing & thought that if she came over & we started doing some relaxation techniques then maybe it would help get things going. By the time she came over at 8pm, I was already so exhausted because I hadn’t slept the night before & was dealing with the contractions all day. She had some great relaxation techniques & she managed to put me to sleep & even though I was aware of the contractions & the pain, I was able to breathe through them, in my sleep! By 11pm the contractions were 2 min apart & DH was getting a bit nervous & wanted to go to the hospital, but I didn’t think I was ready yet so we compromised & I called the midwives just to let them know where I was at & they told me to stay home until I felt like it was time to come in. That made DH feel a little better about staying home. By 12:30 am, Aug 4, the contractions were coming right on top of each other with hardly any breaks & lasting for about 1 min. each. After an hr of the non stop contractions & feeling lots of pressure, I decided it was time to head to the hospital. My doula thought it was a good idea also so we went. It was only a 5 min car ride so it wasn’t so bad. Of course once we got to the hospital, my fear of all the interventions that could take place took over & the contractions slowed down considerably. Right away they had me in the bed & were hooking up the monitors & talking about IV’s & drawing blood. All the things I didn’t want. My doula kept reminding me that I could tell them no, but I didn’t feel like putting up the fight over the monitoring. I decided to let them get their monitoring in & take it off later. I did take a stand on the IV though & even though they gave me a hard time, I refused even the heplock & DH did a VERY good job of backing me up. I was so proud of him for sticking by me & my arms were left needle free. I did let the midwife check me & while I was fully effaced, I was a bit disappointed to hear that I was only 4cm & the baby’s head was still very high. Once they got me in my room, I was moving around a lot, trying to get comfortable. We took the monitors off for a while & none of the nurses even noticed. They got me a birth ball since that was where I felt most comfortable & I spent a lot of time on that working on my breathing while my DH & my doula massaged me. About 2 hrs after we got there, around 3:30 am, my water broke in a huge gush. That was really exciting. We all got a big laugh for a while because the water kept gushing out & there was a mini flood on the floor that the nurses were having a hard time cleaning up. The contractions were coming on stronger & stronger & while I was dilating & making progress & baby’s head was moving down, it was going very slowly. I am lucky that the midwives gave me the time I needed & did not put me on the clock. We knew the baby’s head was not in an optimal position. My dilation stalled out at 7cm. I remained at 7 cm throughout the morning. I found out later that the baby’s head presentation was asynclitic. During the time I was in the hospital, 4 other women had come in after me & had their babies! I was getting discouraged & I was beyond exhausted. The pain was so unbearable. After being at 7cm for over 8 hrs & not making any progress, the midwives talked over a few options with us. Option 1 was to go for the c/s which was absolutely out of the question. I knew that I was not dealing well with the contractions anymore & was having a very hard time relaxing & was sure that if I could just relax things could progress.. After 35 hrs of unmedicated labor of which I am so proud that I was able to get through & so thankful to my DH & doula because they were so amazing & such wonderful support, I was exhausted. I should also mention that while I was drinking, I wasn’t able to eat much. I was throwing up throughout my entire labor, even through the pushing stage! It was a hard decision to make, but I decided to get an epidural to try & relax a little. I had epidurals with my other labors & never had a problem with progressing to 10 cm so I was sure it would do the trick, but I was worried that the intervention would affect my pushing which is where I had problems in my previous labors. The anesthesiologist (not the same one I spoke with earlier) was really wonderful though & assured me that they would turn the epidural down for the pushing & it should be ok. Well, luck was on my side, sort of. After the epidural was in place, they had me on a pump so I could self medicate if I started to feel any pain. Well, after a half hr of wonderful, much needed sleep, the pump broke! They couldn’t get another one so I was left with whatever was in my system & that would be it. No more pain relief. They were worried that my contractions were not strong enough at this point to help further dilation & the baby’s head was still way up high so they then gave us the option of using a little pitocin. The midwives themselves were not even sure that it was a good idea & needed to ask the attending OB for permission. I knew the risks involved, but I didn’t want to have the c/s so I agreed to the light dosage of pitocin. Two hrs after I got the epidural, I was at 10 cm, the baby had come down somewhat, but not completely & so we decided to push & see what would happen. I had regained complete feeling by this time & was able to move around. I was a little worried about what to expect with the pushing since I had never done it without an epidural & was scared of the pain. I wasn’t doing any very effective pushing at first since the pain was so bad so the midwives thought it would take a while & let me push on my own while they got things ready. My DH & doula backed off at this point too. I had gotten my focus & didn’t really want anyone near me. I just kept thinking “I have to get this baby out of me!” I was pushing on my hands & knees on the bed & the while the pain was so bad & I felt like I was tearing up inside, I just went with my feelings & it was so amazing when his head finally came out. It was worth all the pain just to have that first feeling of relief. At the point when his head came out, the midwives were not watching & it took them by surprise when I said, “was that the head?” I stopped pushing for a moment & the midwives told me that I could continue pushing on my hands & knees, but if they saw that the shoulders were going to get stuck, like my previous baby, they were going to have me move. Of course, just as they anticipated, his shoulders got stuck & they quickly had me flip over, brought my legs all the way up & he popped right out. He was stuck for only 30 sec, much less that the 5 min that my daughter was stuck & they handled it so well with no tugging & pulling. I just needed to change positions & he did the rest. He was born on Friday Aug. 4 at 7:02pm just 40 min before our Sabbath was due to start. Although I felt as though everything was tearing inside me, I only needed 2 stitches! After he was born, I was in such amazement that I had actually done it. That this little wonder had actually come out of me. I was crying, DH was crying & of course it was exciting to see that we actually had our very first boy. He was so beautiful even from the very first moment. The one thing I regret was that my husband had to leave 15 min after I had the baby so he could get home in time for the Sabbath. He did not even have a chance to hold his first son until he came back the next day. We were able to start nursing right away which is something I did not do with my other kids so that was really special. I spent that first night alone with my son which was a little hard since I was exhausted & he was in the room with me. Amazingly enough he slept through the night, a whole 6 hrs. I guess he was tired too. Throughout my labor, never once did I think about UR & I think that is what one of the reasons I was able to VBAC. I just approached this birth as I did every other labor, not thinking about the complications that could arise. My husband was so supportive the whole time & I really feel like we did this together! As painful as it was not to have medication, I would do it all over again because it really brought us so close. I definitely feel a special bond with my new baby boy. My VBAC was without a doubt the most powerful experience of my life. I can’t until the day when I can share with my son the wonderful journey of his birth.