My birth story starts long before contractions began for this labor. This was baby number five. I had been through this a few times and knew what I wanted, and I knew what I didn’t want. I knew that I wanted the same midwife that I saw through my last pregnancy and helped me deliver Chantelle. I also knew I wanted a water birth this time with my husband getting in the tub with me.
Our family has been blessed with four healthy happy children and we thought we would have one more to complete our family. We are a homeschooling, breastfeeding, non-vaccinating, close bonded family who serves the Lord in all we do.
After asking around to find a doctor or midwife who would take me for a VBAC I finally found my midwife, Darlene Scrivner. She was the only one in my area who would allow me to have a VBAC. Up to this time I had no idea that most of the hospitals and birth centers in my area could not do VBAC. It was my birth with my daughter, Chantelle, that really opened my eyes and gave me such belief in my own body. I was able to make decisions, I was asked my opinion, this was my pregnancy. After my midwife arrived while I was in labor, my baby completely turned around and was breech. Darlene gave me the option of transferring to the hospital or staying at home. After discussing this in private with my husband we chose to stay at home. I then delivered a beautiful baby girl about two hours later. I was in complete awe that I not only got a VBAC but that I gave birth to a breech baby so easily. I should say here that while I felt it was easy on my part, my midwife did have to reach in and bring down one of her arms to get her out. Even so, it was done with such grace that it didn’t disrupt a beautiful birth.
Fast forward, and here we are in September of 2013 and my baby had been transverse for months. I was going every few days to the chiropractor, I was doing all the techniques from Spinning Babies, acupuncture, I did everything I could to try to get this baby to turn. Nothing helped. My midwife urged me to see an OB to get established should the need to transport become a reality. I refused. I decided if I needed to go to the hospital it would be for a c-section and I would get what ever doctor was on call anyway. I actually gave my midwife a long birth plan of sorts outlining what I wanted for this labor and birth. I wrote that I wanted to labor at home as long as baby and I were fine. I did agree to transport to the nearest hospital if my water broke when my baby was still transverse. This seemed very reasonable considering the possibility of cord prolapse increased and the likelihood of baby turning would be slim.
I was five days overdue and was secretly convinced that I was not going into labor because there was no pressure on my cervix. For days I have been having contractions all day and into the night. Some people like to refer to contractions as pressure waves, or other terms, but this time the word contraction allowed me to imagine that my uterus was contracting upon my baby to get him to turn. I welcomed the word, I used it often. Not in association with pain, but to move my baby.
In the middle of the night I couldn’t sleep any more due to contractions waking me. They were not unbearable, just strong enough to not allow me sleep. I got up and started doing all the movement exercises that I thought would move the baby into a better position. I thought about the reality of maybe needing a c-section to get this baby out safely. I thought about so many things while I was up trying to get the baby to move. At one point I remember even getting angry that the baby was in this transverse position in spite of everything I did. I was ok with another breech, but babies can’t come out vaginally in this position.
When morning came I had my in-laws come take the kids, and my mom and sister came to be with me. My sister was a labor and delivery nurse, so I wanted her there with me. My husband made us breakfast. My midwife, being the caring person she is, was seeing another mother at her office this Sunday morning. I don’t know of anyone else who would go in to check on someone on a Sunday morning. After that she was coming to my house if I was still having contractions. I wanted to wait for a while before asking her to come but when a few more difficult contractions came, it scared me a little.
My baby was still transverse at this time and I was afraid my water would break before she got here. When Darlene got here I was only 3-4 cm dilated. It was kind of hard to tell since there was no presenting part against the cervix. She reassured me that the contractions were more for turning the baby at this point. She offered me a transport to the hospital once more. I declined. She began working her magic as we worked together with each contraction and in between.
I will never forget that feeling when he turned from transverse to oblique. It was such a joy and relief. I knew if he could turn that much, then he could make it the rest of the way. I danced around the living room and into the kitchen for a drink, stopping to do figure 8’s with my hips when the next contraction came. My midwife followed me around to listen to baby making sure his heart rate remained in good standing with all the movement. He did just fine.
I continued to do different movements to get him all the way onto my cervix. Once I felt that first contraction with his head directly on my cervix I didn’t know whether to be happy and excited or cry because the intensity became very strong. I didn’t know that the contractions I had been feeling were lessened because his head was not applied well to my cervix. At one moment I even seriously considered going on to the hospital just to get pain medication. But as soon as Darlene held me tight and told me that this was what I was waiting for, the reason they were so different is that I didn’t get the opportunity of a slow build up of intensity as with most labors, I was able to get a grip and continue in a more calm manner. His head was suddenly in place after hours of contractions and pressing strong against the cervix- that was powerful.
I asked to be checked. I was already at a 6-7cm and ready to get into the birth tub. I relaxed completely. The water really helped the intensity and I no longer had to work hard through every contraction but now only had to find comfort measures.
It seemed like I was in the birth tub for a long time, but it was only about 30 minutes before I wanted to get out. I needed to go to the restroom and then wanted to sit on the birth stool instead of getting back in the tub. As soon as I sat on the birth stool the pressure became so intense I thought he was going to just fall out right there. My midwife took my hand and put it on the top of his head. My husband quickly followed and touched his head. With the next contraction my water broke and his head just emerged while I was thinking about getting the courage to push. It was an amazing feeling, so intense, yet so surreal that I was actually having my baby here in my home instead of an operating room. I was excited, nervous, scared, excited, in pain, so so excited but I just gave in and let my body take over.
I reached down to touch him again and felt his body as he slipped out into my husband and midwife’s hands. I reached for him so he was put right into my arms. I felt like I sat there for hours holding him and kissing him over and over crying in disbelief that he was actually here. It was only a few minutes, though. We looked to see if we had a boy or girl. My husband got to announce it was a boy. I didn’t even notice my midwife listening to his lungs, heart or checking on his cord. I never even noticed her checking on my bleeding or anything else. I never noticed my sister taking pictures or my mother bawling her eyes out on the chair at the end of the bed, she was still in shock. I was just lost in my baby’s beauty. My husband was kissing me over and over in tears that we did it and we were at home in our own bedroom.
I could not have done this with out all the numerous prayers that went up on our behalf. It has taught me that no matter what actions we take it is God who is in control at all times. I could not have done this without my in-laws taking my children to give me time alone to concentrate on this birth. I could not have done this with out the support of my sister and mother during my labor. My sister was the designated person to call 911 if my water broke before baby turned or if there were any other emergency. I could not have done this with out my husband’s constant belief I me and that my body could do this. I especially could not have done this with out my midwife who told me of all the risks and benefits and allowed me to choose this birth for my baby.
My kids were brought back home to welcome their new brother. Once we had everyone together my husband announced his name; Oliver Thomas.