On Day 4 of #CAM2015 we are featuring a healing HBAC birth.
Short Background From My 1st Birth (Cesearean)
My daughter was born via cesarean section September 1, 2011. I was induced at 38 weeks due to pre-eclampsia/pregnancy induced hypertension. I started the induction at a finger tip dilated, 30% effaced, and her head was floating and not engaged. I was given Cytotec the evening of August 31st. Then given Ambien which made me not remember anything that happened that night including being given more cytotec and vaginal exams. When I finally woke up, I felt very violated when they told me what they did that night. They started me on Pitocin in the morning. I started contraction right away. When I hit about 3 cm, they broke my water. I got an epidural and laid in bed the entire day. I was complete by around 6 pm but was given time to labor down because she was still so high. I started pushing a couple hours later. My epidural wore off. I pushed for about 3 hours. She would not go below 0 station. Her heart rate was not recovering well either. They made the decision for a cesarean section. We went to the OR and they removed my epidural and gave me a spinal instead. I had a reaction to the spinal and stopped breathing. I had to be put under General Anesthesia. Because of being put under general, I did not meet my daughter until she was about 2 hours old. My daughter, Kaylee, was born at 11:30 pm. 6 pounds, 5 ounces, 20 inches long, and perfectly healthy.
My Second Birth (HBAC)
On Monday, July 29th, I was 42w2d. We were planning a homebirth after cesarean with 2 wonderful midwives. Once we hit 42 weeks, we decided that we really needed to encourage baby that it was time for him to come meet his family. We spent our morning doing a labor encourager with our midwives. I went to see my chiropractor first thing in the morning, then went to get acupuncture. I had done 4 rounds of acupuncture in the 2 weeks leading up to this day and I had seen my chiropractor weekly for my entire pregnancy. After my morning round of acupuncture with moxibustion, I went home to meet my midwives. We started the herbal labor encourager/induction. It was a mixture of black cohosh, blue cohosh, and motherwort tinctures. They tasted terrible but I was excited to know that this usually kick starts labor within 12-24 hours. I took the herbs every 20-30 minutes for about 3 hours. In between each of these, I bounced on my yoga ball, took a walk to the park, or walked stairs. We checked baby’s heart rate the entire time and he handled the herbs wonderfully! Midwives left and we were excited to know that I would probably be in labor within the next 24 hours! This had worked well for my midwife so she was very confident this would work for me. Needless to say, me and my baby like to be the first for everything! 24 hours went by and no sign of labor except the braxton hicks I had been having since 33 weeks. Prior to all this we had tried every trick in the book to start labor. Everything! I was devastated that I was STILL pregnant after doing all of this.
After talking with my midwife on Tuesday, we decided it was best to consult with my back up OB and do a bio physical profile. We made an appointment for Wednesday, July 31st. We started Wednesday morning off with my doula and my massage therapist coming over to my house bright and early in the morning. We were bound and determined to make sure my body was ready for labor. We did rebozo, side lying release, standing sacral release, hip dips, and some body work. They both went home and Jon and I headed to Hudson to do our bio physical profile. Dr. Hartung didn’t have appointments so we were seeing the ultrasound tech instead and Dr. Hartung would review the results after. I was confident baby was doing well, especially after his 2 hour alien movement fest in my belly the night before! It was like he was telling us not to worry and that he was fine. The ultrasound tech did the BPP and everything was good, but my amniotic fluid was very low. They look for 4 pockets of fluid. They want to have 2 cm in at least one pocket and 5-25 cm total. I never had more than 1.5 cm in a pocket and had 3 cm total. The tech was concerned and immediately went to talk to Dr. Hartung’s nurse since he was on call at the hospital and not in the clinic yet. When she came back, we were told that Dr. Hartung wanted to see us that day. We were told to stay close to the hospital and they would call us soon to let us know when to come back. I started crying because I could see our homebirth going out the window. We went to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, drove some bumpy roads, and just hung out together. We finally got the call that Dr. Hartung did want to see us as soon as he got to clinic at 1:30. We decided to also let him give me an exam so that we could see if I had any progress since Monday. I was still 3-4 cm, 80% effaced, but his head was a little lower than before. That was progress! He said my body was very ready and we just needed to convince baby to come out! He told us he was worried about my fluid levels, but we did not need to take immediate action. He knew we were planning a homebirth and wanted us to have every opportunity for that to happen. He said he wouldn’t feel comfortable with us going a week more, but a few days would be okay. I explained to him that my number one goal was a healthy baby. Number two a vaginal birth. Number three a birth at home. He fully respected that and wanted to help me achieve all of these goals. We decided that we would do a follow up BPP on Friday morning at 8 am. Dr. Hartung would do it himself. If fluids dropped, we would induce that day or the next day. If fluid levels stayed the same or went up, we would wait a couple more days and do the BPP again. He suggested we try the herbal induction again to avoid needing the medical induction over the weekend. Dr. Hartung was very encouraging and was really positive about wanting to support our plans for homebirth. He even called our midwife after the appointment to fill her in on what he thought.
I spoke with our midwife after the appointment. Cried lots of tears not knowing what was going to happen with out birth plans. We decided that we would try the herbal encourager again that night at 8:00. Nickie and Kate came over and we got started with the herbs every 20 minutes. I bounced on my yoga ball non stop the entire time in hopes to get things moving. Around 9:00, I started getting a little crampy and a few waves here and there. I had been peeing every 15-30 minutes from all the water I drank that day trying to increase my amniotic fluid. By 10:00, waves had begun to get regular. I lost my mucus plug and had my bloody show. I texted my doula to let her know that labor had begun and waves were getting more intense. I told her that we may have a baby that night or the next day and that the midwives were still at our house. I asked her to notify our photographer as well. Shortly after texting Lindsay, we decided to time the waves. They were already 2 minutes apart and getting very intense. I kept moving on my yoga ball for awhile. Then asked to go take a shower. I went upstairs and by the time I got up there, I could barely move through a wave. I asked Jon to come help me. I leaned on him during the waves while I was trying to move into the shower. I kept going between waves on the toilet and waves leaning on Jon. I finally got in the shower. The water felt great but standing was a challenge. I got out and got on the toilet again. During all of this upstairs, I started getting vocal through the waves. Lots of moaning to make it through them. I have no idea how far apart they were, but they felt very close. I told Jon that I needed them to set the pool up because I needed to get in it now. By this time, my midwives were setting everything up for the birth. I texted my doula a little before 11:00 to come now. She asked if the midwives were there and all I said was Yes. She asked if she should let he birth photographer know to come, and I said Yes. That was the last I looked at my phone. I took the top half of my clothes off and put on my nursing sleep bra that I planned to wear during the birth in the pool.
My doula got to my house at about 11:45 and my photographer got there at about 12:00. I was sitting on my yoga ball in our bedroom while everyone scrambled to get the birth pool set up. I started feeling pushy around midnight. I was begging for the pool to be set up. My body started pushing without me trying at all. The midwives were trying to get the pool filled fast. The hose was not quick enough! They brought up pots and pitchers of water from the kitchen to the nursery upstairs where we had the pool set up. I kept begging to get in. Shortly after, the pool was full and ready for me to get in.
I took off my bottoms and climbed in the pool before another wave hit me. The water felt amazing! The only position I was comfortable in was kneeling and leaning over the edge of the pool. Jon held my hand pretty much the entire time. He was truly my rock through all of this. My doula helped me with Hypnobabies affirmations, staying relaxed, and breathing my baby out. My moaning got louder and the pressure waves more intense. I can’t say it wasn’t painful, but I was able to keep my body relaxed and not tense up. I thank Hypnobabies for being able to keep me calm and relaxed through this stage. I spent awhile on my knees hanging over the edge letting my body push. As baby moved down, I needed to move to open my pelvis. I didn’t want to and I said that many times, but I did move. I alternated between one knee down and the other knee up in a lunge and then the same thing on the other side. It was very uncomfortable but its what baby and my body needed. They also wanted me to sit up so gravity would help bring baby down. This was incredibly hard to do. I certainly tried my best to stay upright, but I couldn’t do it every wave. I said many times “this baby needs to come out!” I was getting close to crowning when they brought Jon a band with handles on it that he wrapped around his body and I held onto the handles to keep myself upright. This is when the intense pushing began where I really gave it my all. Shortly after, I felt the ring of fire. I remember saying it burned and they said that was good and to take it easy and his head was almost out. A couple pushes later and his head was out. He had the cord around his neck so my midwife unwrapped the cord from his neck. His shoulders were stuck and my midwife told me I had to push and get him out. I pushed with all my might as she helped get his shoulders lose and out he came. I remember hearing everyone tell me to reach down and pick up my baby. I reached down and grabbed him into my arms and said “I did it!” about a million times! Carter was born at 2:14 am. His whole labor was 4 hours long! He was 9 pounds, 9 ounces and 22.5 inches long.
Carter’s birth was absolutely perfect and everything I dreamed of. It was the healing birth I needed and it brought a beautiful baby boy into this world!