Kannon's Wonderful VBAC after 2 Cesareans
Thursday evening (Oct 1st) I started losing my mucous plug. I knew exactly what it was even though I had never experienced this with my 2 other births. I felt like a hypochondriac because immediately I started feeling tiny contractions J (not real though.. just in my head).
Friday 7am in the morning (Oct 2nd), I woke up with contractions that became every 8 minutes apart. They were low, focused and uncomfortable, not like Braxton Hicks so I got a little excited that this was finally it. I warned Gabe before he left for work and told him to be prepared to come home when I call and to NOT ignore my calls even if he’s busy. I continued timing them and sending the reports to Gabe for the next couple hours. I called Beth (the Midwife) and she said that she was driving down to the Valley and that if she thought I’d go quick, she’d head back but she didn’t and decided to go about her day doing prenatal visits in the Valley (2 ½ hours away- This made me very nervous). 9am I decided to lay down and rest because I thought this was my birthing day. I woke up at 11:30am and my contractions had become very sporadic; 10, 18, 28 minutes apart. I figured I better start cleaning and getting ready for birth so I took a shower, blew-dry my hair, put on makeup, started washing dishes, and cleaned the rest of the house for the rest of the day. The kids and I went to lunch at Subway. Gabe got home from work, we went to dinner and then to the store to buy food for my birthing time. I only had a handful of contractions since 11:30 this morning.
Saturday 2:30am woke up with really uncomfortable contractions that put SOO much pressure in my butt while I laid down. I had to get up and sit on my birthing ball just to get through them. They were painful. They were horrible. I tried using my Hypnobabies CD’s to get through them and couldn’t concentrate on anything but how painful they were; like someone hammering nails into my bones. These happened on and off and I continued to rest on and off as best as I could through these horrible contractions. Beth and I chatted again and she said that it sounded like I was having prodromal labor and that it could last a long time and that I just needed to rest and not time them because either me or baby getting exhausted could result in us having to be transported during active labor. We went in to Beth’s office later in the day so she could check me. I had not dilated anymore (still at 2cm since my 36 week appt) and had only effaced 10% (from 50-60%). This was not reassuring at all. I became scared. If these contractions are THIS bad and my Hypnobabies CD’s weren’t helping AT ALL during them AND this is only pre-labor… How the heck am I going to get through real, active labor? I tried to forget about them. We went to a kids costume birthday party.
Sunday (Oct 4th)-That night I started having more irregular contractions (between 8-25 minutes apart) starting at midnight and didn’t end until 9am. I was up all night again with horrible contractions. Then I got discouraged. I started posting things like, “A c-section would be WAY easier than this” and feeling like I was ready to give up. I mean, really, I couldn’t handle these contractions and they weren’t even productive. There was NO way I could handle the “real” thing. I cried a lot this day. I started reading VBAC birthing stories to give myself some kind of motivation and it worked, of course I wasn’t having horrible contractions during all this so that made it easier.
8:30pm I decided to go into my room and get some rest before I was up all night with the contractions again. When I went into my room I decided to listen to my Fear Release Hypnobabies CD because I was totally scared at this point and knew I needed to release that fear or it might stall me out. Before I went to bed I checked my email and read a comment that Konny had written me. She said, “Girl, you gotta get in the floor on your hands and knees and rock your pelvis back and forth to turn that baby”. Something about that really resignated with me so I decided to listen to my CD leaned forward on my birthing ball and then again on my hands and knees in my bed. I think this is what helps the baby turn (or something else miraculous)!
11pm I started having contractions that seemed different. They didn’t hurt like the previous ones. They seemed to be “working”, even though I didn’t really know what that felt like. It felt like a burn in my cervix, like they were dilating me, but not painfully. They felt good. I started timing them again because they seemed to be getting closer together. At midnight I realized that they were about 5 minutes apart so I went and told Gabe. We chatted and timed them for another 45 minutes. By this time they were about 4 minutes apart. I read in my book that Mom’s should go to the hospital when the contractions are between 5-6 minutes apart so I decided to call Beth. I told her about them and she said the words I had been waiting to hear for the past 2 agonizing days, “Well it sounds like this is it! I’ll get dressed and head right over”.
At this point Gabe started scrambling. All he wanted to do was wash dishes. I wanted to help him prepare everything but couldn’t, since my contractions were a good 3-4 minutes apart. All I could do was keep telling Gabe what needed to be done. I was giddy! I couldn’t believe it was happening! I would smile when a contraction came on and after it ended. I was excited! I had to keep telling Gabe to do something other than the dishes… because after he’d do what I asked, he migrated back to those darn dishes.
1:30am the contractions were getting stronger. I had my headphones on already but wasn’t really listening. I wanted to be a little more comfortable though so I told Gabe to start getting my birthing pool ready because I anticipated that it would take a long time to fill. Well he got right to that and when the pool had 1 inch of water in it, I jumped in (1:45am). The warmth felt SOO good. I had the water hose running on my belly and it was awesome! I decided to call my mom so she’d know. I was very happy, calm, excited and not in any discomfort at this point. Then Beth walked in. She unloaded her things and asked if she could check me. She got a big smile on her face and said, “What do you think you are?”. I said, “I don’t know but I just keep thinking 4cm for some reason”. She said, “Well you’re at least at 5cm and I think your cervix is still a little posterior so if I could reach it better, you might even be at 6cm. And you’re 95% effaced!”. I was REALLY excited about this! This was not only manageable at 5/6 cm, it was fun! So she started asking her preliminary questions in between my pressure waves and unloading her gear.
I think things really sped up at this point because I became very focused and went inward and had no idea how much time had passed and before I knew it, the 3 other midwives were here. I figured it had been 10 minutes maybe, but it was an hour. When the midwife apprentice, Liz, came in I told them that I felt something come out of me, like maybe my water had broke so she checked me. My water did not break, I was just peeing uncontrollably (which they told me was fine to do in the water, which made me SO happy J. I could not have been getting in and out of that pool easily with the contractions coming non-stop and besides, the water was so comforting, I didn’t want out of it. I ended up peeing like 4 or 5 times in the water J). She said I was now at 7cm and baby was at 0 station.
Again I went inward. Contractions were back to back and I was still very relaxed and calm. I was actually amazed at how easy this way so far and kept feeling myself going to the “but it has to get more painful” thoughts but quickly I had to let those go so my body could just do what it needed to do without fear. The only thing that made me uncomfortable at this point was that at the end or bottom of a pressure wave my body would start to spasm. It freaked me out! Not in a bad way, I just didn’t know what was going on… 20 minutes later (3:22am) I got the hiccups, started feeling lots of pressure in my back and then ended up vomiting a little into a trash can. What this means to me now is that the midwife apprentice, Liz, arrived and checked me- I was at 7cm.. 20 minutes later I was in transition.
This whole time I was sitting in my birthing pool. As I was entering transition, which I didn’t know at the time, I started floating and suspending my body during each pressure wave and grunting (those darn spasms again that I had NO idea about). I did have some discomfort in my back but it seemed to me that I was just in the wrong position for too long. I put my hand on my back to give myself some support and that helped. At this point I realized that I had been holding Gabe’s hand the whole time and squeezing when I needed. He said, “Babe, I need to go make some tea because I need the caffeine. I’m SOO tired”. And I said, “Im sorry Gabe. But you cannot let go of my hand. “ I figured that at some point I’d let him go but it wasn’t until after the baby was born that I realized I never let his hand go.
*Beth told me after the birth that most of her VBAC’s get to 7cm and stall for HOURS and that she was worried that I would do the same. So at this point (still no one knew I was in transition) she told her crew that 2 of them needed to go rest and 2 of them needed to stay and watch me. So she and Jenn started down my hallway to go to the living room when she heard me grunt. She stopped and told Jenn to hold on that she needed to check on me one more time.*
When she came back into my room she said to me, “Do you feel pushy?”. My first thought was, “Oh my God, no way!” I was sure that feeling pushy hurt. So I said, “I’m not sure what that feels like but my body is doing some weird spasming all on it’s own.” She told Liz to check me again (4:15am). She got a big smile on her face and said, “Well (so calm and sweetly), you are fully dilated and fully effaced and you can start pushing whenever you feel like it”. AHHHHHH!!!!!!! WHAT???? Seriously?????? That was IT? I just got to fully dilated and STILL wouldn’t call ANY OF IT painful??? I was still waiting for the painful part (but not worrying about it at the same time). The baby was at 0, +1 station… that means that he had already entered the birth canal! Wow! I was so amazed at myself and this process so far. *Beth said after the fact that I had broken the 7cm stalling curse for VBAC’s*
I felt a tiny bit of discomfort, more soreness, in my hip bones. So I was feeling him move through my pelvis… so cool!
So, I went with the spasm feeling and started Ahhhh’ing through my contractions. I could tell that this spasm feeling was pushing after all. It felt good to go with my body. The next thing that took me by surprise was that it felt like (ready for too much information?) 1. I was gonna poop in the pool and 2. That my butt was buldging outwards so weirdly. I quickly had to let that weirdness go so it didn’t hold me back and again started Ahhhh’ing and pushing through the pressure waves. By 4:35am my water had broke (which I did not feel at all) and baby was at +2 station. 4:39am baby was at +2.5 station and his head was starting to mold. By 4:42, he was at +3 station. This was moving along so fast and made me SOOO happy. I felt so successful after each contraction, he was just moving right on down so easily.
*They were checking fetal heart tones this entire time every 3o minutes prior to pushing and then after each contraction during my pushing. The babies heart tones were dipping and recovering so to aid in the dipping heart tones, Liz put her fingers in me and massaged his scalp to bring his heart tones back up. I had never heard of that and thought it was so neat. She massaged his scalp for the entire time I was pushing (which means she had her fingers inside me this WhOLE timeJ- it wasn’t bad at all.)*
By 4:49am, he was at +3.5 station. I was eating ice chips between waves and trying to lay my head down and rest.
*At this point (and also at 7cm) I felt like I didn’t want to go on anymore. It wasn’t painful, I was just tired and wanted to take a nap and when I don’t want to do something that I don’t want to do, then it becomes something that I dispice. So I started thinking at this point that I might not want to have another baby because I do not like the feeling like I don’t want to continue on with something and have to. This feeling slowly started to dissapate after the birth and now a week later I’m already thinking about the next birth J*
4:57am we decide to wake up the kids so they can see the baby being born. They got up and got their Big brother/Big sister shirts on and sit on the edge of our bed and watched me pushing. I started getting loud at this point just Ahhhhh’ing through each wave to bring baby down. Looking at me it could have seemed like it was hurting but still, I wasn’t in pain. But the louder I Ahhhhhh’d, the more baby came down. Baby was almost at +4 station while pushing but would back up a little between waves. This went on for a long time it seemed. I was pushing so good and afterwards Liz would say, “+4 when pushing, but +3.5 between”. I got so tired of her saying, “Almost +4” for at least 10 contractions and almost 30 minutes. She told me that since baby was at +4 station during a contraction that I could reach down and feel a teeny part of his head if I wanted. So the next contraction, I felt. They asked me if I felt something and I said, “I don’t know. I felt something weird”. It felt slimy, squishy, wrinkled and triangular (?). In the midwives notes, she noted at this point that I was VERY CALM!
At 5:24am the babies heart rate dropped a little more than it had and they told me that I might have to switch positions. I was nervous to move out of the sitting position (because if I move, won’t I squish his head?) but was ready to move and go onto my knees and buried my head into Gabe’s chest. Right away this seemed to work. His heart rate went back up after a pressure wave and I hit the +4 station, YAY finally! I was almost crowning (which scared me a little too. I had read about the Ring of Fire and wasn’t looking forward to it.. But again, I had to let go of that fear and I did.) I continued having contractions and was getting closer to closer to crowing.
5:41am still pushing. Started saying OUCH, ouch, ouch, ouch during a couple of contractions. I guess this was that ring of fire feeling and I was crowning. I felt warmth running down my back side and thought for sure I had torn and was bleeding and nobody wanted to tell me but nope I hadn’t torn.
It seemed like the contractions didn’t stop and I could continually just push. It felt good so I just kept with it and kept Ahhhhh’ing through the pushes. Before I knew it there were saying, “Stop pushing!”. I was like, “What?” They said, “The babies head is out”. I just stopped mid push and said stunned, “What did you say? Did you say that the babies head is out?” They said yes and that I needed to stop pushing because the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and they needed to remove it real quick. I could not believe that his head was sticking out of me and I couldn’t even tell or feel it… (when I would watch other woman give birth online, it would freak me out to see a babies head sticking out of them. I felt like I would freak out and be like, “Get that thing out of me!”) but again, I had no idea!
They said, “Okay Tiffani, when you feel like pushing again, push your baby out and catch him (this was at my request)”. I just couldn’t see how I was going to catch him being on my knees and supporting myself with my arms… so I started arguing with them; “How am I supposed to catch him? I can’t do that. Someone else needs to do it OK?” They said, “Just push him out and we’ll tell you what to do”. I said, “But shouldn’t I know what to do BEFORE I push him out???” I was so confused. They said, “Don’t worry, just push him out”. So another contraction came and I pushed and felt his whole body slip pass me with his little legs squirming around as they came out.
5:52am-Then they said, “Ok Tiffani, reach down and pick up your baby”. They had pushed him between my legs so I just sat up and saw his little body floating in the water below me. I quickly grabbed him and picked him up thinking, “How tiny this little baby is” and I turned and sat down and cradled him. Apparentely he was grey/blueish (I couldn’t really tell since my eyes had been closed for hours it seemed).
Immediately the midwives started patting his back and saying, “Talk to you baby Tiffani. You’ve got to keep talking to him”. Beth started giving him puffs of the oxygen pump and slapping his little back. He made a tiny peep and everyone said, “Good Job baby.. Come on, you gotta breathe!”. He got a couple more puffs of the oxygen and made a little bit bigger of a squeak and started making swallowing noises and everyone backed off. I was like, “Is he breathing?” and they said, “Yes, he’s doing great!” He didn’t even cry. I sat there holding him, gazing at how precious of a little baby he was and watching him blow bubbles. He immediately wanted to chew on his fist. For a good 5 minutes or longer we sat there in awe, with Kylie, Jacob and Gabe talking about him and everyone meeting this brand new little baby. Then someone said, “Are you EVER going to check to see if it’s a boy or a girl?”. I hadn’t even thought of that. It still didn’t matter. He was healthy. He was amazing! But I checked anyway. It’s a BOY!!!
I sat holding him for a really long time in the water. He was so relaxed, so calm, so amazing! He wanted to suck on something SO bad so I offered him my breast and he immediately latched on and was feeding. It was time to cut his cord. The kids wanted to do it so they took off their shorts and jumped in the birthing pool with us. Kylie cut half the cord and then Jacob cut the rest. What a special time that they’ll never forget!
The pool water was getting a bit chilly and I was nervous to move or get out. I didn’t want him to get cold. Finally Beth told me I had to bear down and birth the placenta. WHAT??? I have to do that again??? I forgot about that part.
6:26am- I pushed out my placenta which was nothing. Beth gave the kids and Gabe a little lesson on how the placenta works, showed them the parts and let them touch it. She said that mine completely turned itself inside out so it encapsulated all the blood into itself. So much so that she didn’t realize until after she was handling it that she didn’t even have gloves on.
I finally got out and handed the baby to Gabe. I got into my bed so Liz could check to make sure I didn’t have any tears, which I didn’t, and to check my uterus and my bleeding. Everything looked great! They said that most births they see about 2 ½ cups of blood and with me they maybe saw ½ a cup which was amazing!
They made an herb bath for him and I. We sat in there for 30 minutes or so until I felt like the water was getting chilly. So we got out and headed back to our bed. They had already made the bed with clean sheets so we climbed inside. This is when the midwives check the baby and did the eye drops and weighed him, almost 2 hours after birth!
Everything was great! The midwives packed up their gear and left and we all layed in bed until we feel asleep as our new complete family J
Gabe was doing awesome in his birth partnering. Besides him lending me his hand, which was MINE during the birth J, he was using some techniques from the Hypnobabies scripts. He was placing his hand firmly on my shoulder and when I’d lean my head back, he was placing his hand on my forehead. He would blow breathes on me when I was hot and stroke my hair when I was relaxing. Without my CD’s, the water and Gabe’s partnering, I couldn’t have done it.
Also, I don’t remember actually “listening” to my CD’s. I just know I had on my headphones and it was playing. I only remember one time actually listening and relaxing to what they were saying. I had practiced so much already that I just needed the comfort of knowing it was there if I needed it but that I could do it without actually listening. When I was almost about to push the baby out, I realized that my mp3 player’s batteries had run out and I was without any Hypnobabies for over an hour or more and I didn’t even realize nothing was there, in my headphones…lol. I just felt comforted with the headphones on my head I guess.
*Side note: I have the “OMG” feeling that I delivered a baby out of my vagina but not as much as I thought I would. Each day that passes I am more and more empowered about the whole event. I think, though, that when I started listening to my Hypnobabies CD’s and decided that I WAS GOING TO DO THIS, that my belief’s turned that way too. I definitely thought all the what if’s, but I quickly found the answers to them and decided to release them as a fear. Entering into the birthing time, I had no doubt in my mind that I COULD DO IT and that I WOULDN’T HAVE TO TRANSFER to a hospital. I had learned to believe in myself and not dwell on the what if’s, because if I had, that’s what would have happened. I instead dwelled on the What if… I do have this baby vaginally, What if… I get to catch my baby and pull a slimy baby onto my chest, What if… this could be the most empowering thing I’ve ever done, What if… I get to birth this baby and then go straight to sleep in my own bed with Gabe and the kids snuggled in next to me and our new little baby, and What if… I could actually have a vaginal birth after 2 c-sections, at home, in the water, and the birth be fast, easy and comfortable?
So now I know, set your mind to do something and BELIEVE that it can happen and it CAN!