Monday, November 7, 2016

Footling Breech VBA2C Home Birth- With Pictures!


Here is a seventh birth story, a surprise footling breech home birth after two previous cesareans (one of them for breech)! Jenny tells us about her birthing experience in this exclusive interview. So grateful to share breech knowledge for the amazing Lauren McClain for Breech Week 2016! 
Check out more info on BetterBirthblog.org

Your breech HBAC was your eighth birth. Tell us a little about each of your previous births.


My first birth, a girl in 2000, was not great but it wasn't horrible either. I was a teen and the birth was heavily medicated, but my birth team helped me to accomplish a vaginal birth of a posterior baby!

Baby two was an induced birth due to "big baby". After being on pitocin for 19 hours, my boy came out healthy but I had a minor hemorrhage.

Our third baby, another boy, was born after another induction which lead to shoulder dystocia that the doctor was not well trained in dealing with. Our son did not breathe for four minutes! Very traumatic.

Baby four was induced via prostaglandin gel. After artificial rupture of membranes, it was found that baby was coming hands first. I was still "allowed" to labor. But soon we also had a cord prolapse which lead to cesarean, birth trauma, and severe PPD.

For baby five, I knew I wanted a vbac. But with a vbac ban at our local hospital, I was forced to travel an hour away for appointments and birth. I was induced via AROM at 11 days past due (the longest anybody had ever "let" me go!). Five hours of medicated labor and we had our fourth boy!

Baby number six: We had decided we were tired of doctors telling us how it was going to go. So we opted to look for home birth midwives. None clicked with us and our baby also remained breech. We had a failed ECV attempt and resigned to the fact that she would have to come via cesarean (we were given no other options). The surgery went well, despite a small cut to baby's foot. But, I was treated poorly after she was out and I woke in recovery not knowing where she was or what had happened.

Five months later, although we'd not been trying, we were pregnant again. Sadly, we lost our angel at 11 weeks. It was painful in more ways than I can express, but I had peace as I went through her labor with no pain medications at all.

Why did you decide to do a home birth this time?

I was determined that I did not want the risks associated with another cesarean (which I would be forced into at a hospital). I was even determined to go unassisted, and had researched and studied and become familiar with every scenario I could think of and how to properly deal with it. My best friend then introduced me to her home birth midwife and there was an instant calm and peace and my pregnancy went on with far less stress than any other ever had.

When did you find out your baby was breech? How?

We knew from about 32 weeks on that our baby was breech. Our midwife was comfortable with breech births, as were we, so we never really focused on it. At 38 weeks, we confirmed with ultrasound and we tried to use spinning babies, chiropractic care, etc to turn her. Some days she was head down, others she was breech. Finally at 40 weeks she settled head down and stayed. However, while she had been head down the evening before, she turned at some point in labor as was confirmed with fetal heart tones and palpation.
What feelings or thoughts did you have when you found out she was breech?

I think my first thought was panic. I was absolutely terrified of another cesarean. I needed reassurance that my baby was healthy and that I could do this naturally. My midwife left all decisions up to me and my husband. And with their help I decided I would stay home.

I went into labor thinking she was head down. Then Rebekah told me she was breech and we certainly COULD still do this but it was up to me. Her confidence (and the fact that I did NOT want to get cut open again) kept me going.

Was there anything unusual about birthing a breech baby?

I was having extremely intense pain on my pubic bone and was starting to panic thinking maybe my previous c-section scars were tearing (of course my amazing midwife knew better and was able to reassure me). Turns out baby had her heels jammed up on my pubic bone preventing her from coming down and causing me so much pain. My darling midwife did everything she could to coax that foot off and under the bone. 

With every contraction we tried. (I realize the general rule of thumb is "hands off the breech", but this was a case in which we weighed the risks and decided it was best to help baby along) Finally two little feet popped thru and there was some relief! I got to reach down and feel her little toes!! Amazing!! But now it seemed her knees were caught up...sigh! We decided after a bit to move to the bed to lay on my back and see if gravity could help pull baby's legs down under the pubic bone. Apparently something worked because I remember hearing that her feet were out and I remember feeling her body start to come. 
Were you pushing?

I did push and it did feel good to push. But I never had an urge. When she got right about to her armpits out, there was a slight movement of her chest, so my midwife got me quickly to hands and knees, and THEN the urge kicked in! I suddenly felt the intense need to push and baby came out arms over her head! Of all my birth experiences, this was by far the easiest and most magical birth ever. It was a "dance" and I am so grateful that my little girl chose to come in the way that SHE knew was best, for us both.


You called your birth a dance. Can you say more about that?

A dance is rhythmic, sensual, and very personal between two people. This was what my labor and birth was with my daughter. There was a connection I can't describe that just told me I needed to swat my hips this way, lean that way, rest on my side, now on my back, etc. It was like my baby was giving signals of what she needed me to do to help her make her way out. We "listened" to each other and worked together, and it was the perfect dance.

Why do you think this baby was breech?

I may never know for certain, but I do think partly because of having had so many babies already, partly because of my hip alignment, and probably because I didn't have the greatest posture...I often reclined when sitting. There is also a slightly increased chance of having a breech baby again if you've already had one, as I did. But, I personally like to think that she just liked snuggling her little face into the placenta (which she was always doing on ultrasound!)
What would you say to other women with breech babies?

I would encourage them to do what they are comfortable with, but to fully do their research. I would tell them that if they truly want a vaginal breech birth, they may need to be prepared for a fight. They will need to find a birth attendant who will assist breech birth or will be willing to learn breech birth for them, or they will need to go unassisted and be prepared to take responsibility for anything that arises. But mostly I will tell them that it IS possible and that if it is the road they choose, to hold fast and strong and to not "take birth lying down".
~

Learn about breech now! Get a free Guide to Breech (and other birth printables) from Better Birth Graphics.
Jenny and her husband James live in SE North Dakota with their children Tracy (15), Skyler (13), Tanner (12), Ethan (9), Serj (7), Elliana (3), and Makenna (18 months). Jenny is a homeschooling mother and they enjoy family games, movies, trivia, cuddles, and have recently taking up camping! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

LuLaRoe- Your New Best Friend and Favorite Addiction

LuLaRoe- Your New Best Friend and Favorite Addiction


I’m addicted.

I am not even sure how it happened, but it did. Not only do I drink Yerba Mate every morning, but when the night comes...so does the party.

The Facebook shopping party.

Oh, if you haven’t heard of the company with the funny name and the crazy patterns, you haven’t really lived.

Why do I love thee LuLaRoe? Let me count the ways…
  1. Kind labor practices- I read about how workers are treated in many garment factories and I went on a mission to find clothes that were made in America, or if not made in America, produced with kindness elsewhere. LuLaRoe has been almost totally made in America until recently when need outpaced production. Now they do have factories overseas but they are impeccable in their treatment of workers, which I love. Will you spend a little more on clothes made this way? Yes, but they also last well and are high quality. Love it.
  2. Shopping without children...yes please! Going shopping had seriously become such a yucky experience that I dreaded it and was stuck going to Kohls after the children were comatose in their beds. Now I can shop from my phone with friendly consultants after I put my kids in bed. It’s pretty much perfect in every way. 
  3. Buying from friends and gals like me-
    I know some people hate seeing all the online parties and multi-level marketing stuff in their facebook feed. I wonder what their deal is because I LOVE knowing that I am helping out a friend when I buy my clothes. I would way rather help a stay at home mom stay at home or help a couple make extra money and pay off their house than give my cash to a big box store. Plus, they are super helpful in helping me get what I want.
  4. Soft, modest, clothes that feel good to wear and make ME feel good-
    Seriously, I love these clothes. They feel so good and, they don’t make me hate myself if I ate a doughnut. Because- spandex is forgiving and it loves me even if I am bloated. Kimonos that flow- oh yes. The super long Ana dress (yes the clothes have names- because they are your friends!) that my girls say is a princess dress. Leggings- yes the softest leggings ever. Dude. Love it.
    A photo posted by April Sunshine Francom (@lularoeaprilsunshine) The whole fam in LuLaRoe- dresses to DIE for. From April Sunshine-

  5. The thrill of the hunt- In LuLaRoe there is a special vocabulary. For real. You have consultants. You search for unicorns. Unicorn, you ask? Yeah, a unicorn is piece of clothing that you need and is hard to find. Let me explain… LuLaRoe makes a limited number of pieces in each type of fabric. For instance, they have about a dozen designs- a few different tops, four or five dress styles, several skit styles, etc.
    My unicorn! A blue Ana dress with yellow flowers. I love it!
    LuLaRoe limits the number of pieces from each print- around 2000 or so. These are then divided into a few different style pieces, then various sizes. All the pieces are then sent out and divided up among consultants. Many consultants sell in once a week Facebook groups or in-person pop-ups. So, say you see something that you adore. Oh my gosh- it’s your size, your favorite dress, and a print that is to die for. What do you do? Well you BUY IT RIGHT NOW because it could be gone in 30 seconds and then you may NEVER EVER SEE IT AGAIN. Yeah. Did I mention Vegas?
  6. You get to dress how YOU want- I had so many clothes in my closet that kind of fit and were in a color I kind of liked. I love that LuLaRoe lets me dress how I want to dress. My favorite color is purple. I super love it. Now I can dress in my favorite color because the clothes come in so many different prints and colors. I can find stuff that fits me in my favorite color so I feel like my clothes are really mine. Love sewing? They have leggings for that! For real! LuLaRoe lets you dress truly individually and comfortably.
That phrase, “the struggle is real” is super annoying, right? Except the struggle IS real with LuLaRoe. One day you are buying some cute leggings mostly to help out a friend who is having an online party, and next thing you know you are member of 50 facebook groups with consultants around the country, searching for that perfect perfect Julia in your favorite color and size.
My loot from my personal consult with April! My favorite colors and some awesome layering pieces. Love.

I would warn you, except I am pretty sure you will be happier if you get to hunt for unicorns, wait for LuLaLoot in the mail, and be a part of dozens of facebook groups where women tell each other they look great and are kind to one another. (Yes, one of the more incredible things about LuLaRoe is how kind and supportive people are. Social media has become an ugly beast where people feel free to be NASTY behind their screens. My LuLaRoe Facebook groups are positive places where people of all shapes and sizes say nice things about each other and build each other up. Seriously, this is about more than comfy clothes.)

LuLaRoe pretty much makes life better. I love it!
Super comfy leggings and Chucks? Yes please!
No, I am not making a dime off of this post. I don't sell LuLaRoe, I just spend my money on it. You can shop with my awesome friend April right here! She does personal shopping visits on Skype. Tell her what you want, your favorite pieces and colors, and she can pull some awesome stuff for you.

Shop with my favorite consultants-
April Sunshine- April will do private shopping sessions where you tell her what you have in mind to buy, she pulls some items in your size, you get Skype, and you get to personally shop. It's awesome! I love that she does this. Check out her Facebook group and her Instagram account. A special thanks to April for providing some of the pictures for this post! Join her group by clicking here. Awesome stuff!

Ashleigh Valdez- Ashleigh is launching soon and is doing tons of giveaways on her Facebook group! Join it!

Erica Seawell- Erica is the gal that introduced me to LuLaRoe...So we can blame her. She has awesome stuff!




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Book Review- Touching Bellies, Touching Lives by Judy Gabriel

Book review- touching bellies, touching lives


There is always a moment of awe when two things I love come joined together in a new way. Judy Gabriel's book, Touching Bellies, Touching Lives marries my two loves, anthropology and birth, in one volume chronicling the lives and wisdom of a dying breed of Mexican midwives.

My first introduction to anthropology also concerned birth. In Anthro 101 at the University of New Mexico I read the book, Nisa, about the life of a Kung bushwoman. Nisa free birthed her first baby squatting by a tree. This birth story was the first I ever read and colored all my views of birth thereafter.

Judy brings anthropology, the study of culture and people, back to birth with her book, Touching Bellies, Touching Lives.

Here is my book review of Touching Bellies, Touching Lives by Judy Gabriel

What I loved about it:


1) Judy is bilingual and spends what must have been years visiting and re-visiting midwives throughout Mexico to learn more about their art: midwifery. 


The story is truly the story of the midwives themselves. Judy is sure to quote these women extensively. There is great power in reading the real words of real women, rather than a scholars constantly regurgitated thoughts on such.

I love when the writer honors those interviewed and shares their words.

2) This book captures the words and wisdom of Mexican midwifery-


This knowledge is which is literally dying out. Gabriel returned several times to re-visit some of these women, and she often found that they had passed on. I am so grateful, and we all should be, that someone took the time to reach them before it was too late.

Too much cultural wisdom and history has been lost in our race forward. While not all that is old is good, we will never know if we forget it altogether.
Book review- Touching Bellies, Touching Lives by Judy Gabriel
Mexican midwife does a belly massage on a pregnant woman.


3) Mexico has recently had rapid shifts in the way maternity care works, where women give birth, and in the cesarean section rate. 


This is somewhat like the shift that occurred in the US but it is a more recent and speedy phenomenon there.
It is wonderful that it was documented somewhat in this book, but honestly, many more books could be written on this very subject. So glad that Judy Gabriel captured some of this.

4) Belly massages- 


When I first picked up this book, I shamefacedly admit, I thought the title was a little strange.

I totally get it now.

One of the big focuses of the book is the belly massages common to these midwives. They performed them regularly on pregnant woman. In fact, though most Mexican women now birth in hospitals, these belly massages are one of the things that brings them back to these old midwives.

Able to (almost always) turn babies to a favorable position through gentle means, this is important knowledge. Knowledge that, hopefully, may be better preserved because of this book. I see so many parallels to the modern external version (which is probably more invasive and less gentle) practiced by modern OBs, and even the Webster technique (which involves working on the round ligament rather than touching the baby and also includes an adjustment of the pelvis) practiced by modern chiropractors who specialize in care of pregnant women and babies.

I hope this wisdom can be preserved and that Judy Gabriel's book will be an impetus for more learning and documentation of the work done for centuries by Mexican midwives and which could potentially improve outcomes and lower cesareans in this country.

5) I love that Judy Gabriel is honest-


She seems to listen without judgment to the things that some midwives did to help labor. (Maybe this is what happens when a doula writes a book!) She talks about the strange things like drinking pee or drinking raw eggs- things that sound pretty weird to your average Westerner.

She does not stand in judgment nor does she seem to fully embrace them. I appreciate this. Often the writer either worships those they interview as though they can do no wrong, or views them through a more "knowledgeable" and "sensible" lens of superiority. Judy does neither.
I appreciate this immensely.
Book review- Touching Bellies, Touching Lives by Judy Gabriel
Judy Gabriel, author of Touching Bellies, Touching Lives


Perhaps my favorite thought from Touching Bellies, Touching Lives, comes on page 179. There is so much deep stuff here, I kind of wish I had written it.

Judy Gabriel lists a myriad of things that both modern OBs and traditional midwives have done to help ensure that babies are born healthy, from the cesarean section and episiotomy of modern times to narcotics, back rubs and rebozos. She even lists the seemingly ridiculous on both sides. Then she says this:
"And always...the baby is born and is, as far as we can tell, just fine. In that triumphant moment when we hear the baby's first cry, when we place the baby in the other's arms and share in her relief and joy, we experience the great satisfaction of knowing that what we did must have been exactly the right thing to do."
Doesn't this just cut to the chase of all the non-evidence based traditions of midwives and obstetricians, and even the nature of what we believe is evidence based?

Isn't it true that most of the time the baby is healthy and we love taking credit for it and believing that we had something to do with it? (Judy's interviewed midwives delivered healthy babies in the worst of conditions, in great poverty, and to what would now be considered incredibly high risk women.)

And yet, most of the time, as with today, the baby was fine.

This might be the greatest piece of wisdom I took from this book- women just work and their bodies just work and the birth process just works- most of the time.


Those that attend her love to take a little bit of credit.

In the end, maybe it is really the women and their babies that have something to teach us about life, control, luck, beauty, and birth.

So people- read this book! Buy this book! Share this book! Ask your library to get this book!

We can't do everything. I don't speak Spanish and I have never been to Mexico. But I do believe that if we share this book and the treasures within it, we can have a small part in preserving the memories and wisdom of the often forgotten and quickly disappearing past.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

If Men Couldn't Breastfeed

Photo credit: Carol Browne via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA


If men couldn’t breastfeed they would be really sad.

They wouldn’t just want to give the baby a bottle instead. They would feel like pumped milk in the bottle or formula in the bottle shouted failure at them.
They would wonder why their bodies couldn’t accomplish a natural and manly function.
They would wonder what went wrong.
They would get angry.
They wouldn’t want to talk about it.
They would pretend to breastfeed in public, while secretly bottle feeding under the cover.
All those famous edifices erected to celebrate the male breast would mock them: Coit Tower, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Eiffel Tower- they all seem to laugh at you when you are a man who can’t breastfeed.
If men couldn’t breastfeed, nobody would say things to them like:

“At least the baby is getting food. It doesn’t really matter how.”

Or, “You can still bond with your baby without breastfeeding,” because everyone would honor the loss of that experience for that man. Everyone would understand how important it was to him to breastfeed his baby from his own breasts.
The man’s partner would never say, “This is great! Now we can both feed the baby. So much more convenient,” because she would understand the sadness that comes when something we felt like we “should” be able to do doesn’t work out.

If men couldn’t breastfeed then there would be great outpourings of money searching for a cure so that all men could enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding as could their children.

There would be money, sensitivity, and attention paid to this important issue.
~
Over the years working as a childbirth educator I have seen plenty of women have trouble with breastfeeding. Sometimes that trouble is the ever common “latch” issues or a tongue tie that needs to be clipped.
I have seen women with painful mastitis in their breasts. Then, when they get treatment, they present with painful yeast infections that cause stabbing pain during breastfeeding.
I have seen women struggle to recover from an expected cesarean, only to find that breastfeeding was also negatively impacted by their hard birth experience. (Here are some tips for breastfeeding after cesarean.)
This only compounds their pain.
I have even seen women with Raynaud's of the breast that caused excruciating pain and which was difficult to diagnose.
I have seen women with IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) who simply could not make enough milk no matter how furiously they ate oatmeal and supplemented with fenugreek. They could reek of maple syrup and still not produce enough milk for their baby.

I have seen these women fight as hard as they could to accomplish something that they felt was biologically normal and which they felt was best for their babies.

I have seen their suffering as they tried and tried. I have seen women subject themselves to great physical pain in an attempt to breastfeed against great odds.

Some will blame these strong emotions regarding breastfeeding trouble on the “lactivists” of the world who needlessly “shame” women who bottle feed. There have even been articles in recognized publications like The Atlantic Monthly deriding the “supposed” benefits of breastfeeding. These people blame the pro-breastfeeding community for sadness or feelings of failure when women can’t breastfeed.
~

Of course, there are no men who breastfeed.

Breastfeeding isn’t something that men normally do.
But often, when a woman struggles with breastfeeding, the people around her are less than supportive. Maybe they are trying to help, to ease her burden, to get her to stop beating herself up, but I don’t think dismissing these strong feelings helps her.


And while there may be mean “lactivists” out there who work tirelessly to shame women who don’t breastfeed, I think they are more rare than some would have you believe.


When I talk to real women, in real life, who are dealing with breastfeeding struggles, their sadness comes from within, not from without. They genuinely want to nurse their baby at their breast. They are sad at what feels like a deep failure of their own body. This is compounded if birth did not go as they planned.


Let me be clear, I don’t think not breastfeeding by choice or need is a failure- but we should not discount the real feelings of failure that women sometimes have. These feelings are valid and very real and powerful for women.

So what if men couldn’t breastfeed?

Why did I talk about a world in which men breastfed?

Let’s look at the world of erectile dysfunction.


I think the comparison is apt.


If a man is having trouble with erectile dysfunction, nobody would ever say to him, “It’s OK. Your partner will still love you even if you can’t have intercourse. There are other ways to make this work and have a healthy relationship and intimate life. Don’t beat yourself up. It isn’t important anyway.”


Of course there is some truth in the above statement, but it is in no way helpful.


No, the ability to perform in this area is highly prized and applauded. There ARE buildings built in honor of the penis. There ARE drugs available in order to help things work in that department. They are advertised widely. Entire cultures have many natural and expensive remedies to encourage robust health in this area.

Yet, when a woman struggles with breastfeeding and cannot do so as she desires, we tend to be dismissive.

We tell her it doesn’t matter.
We tell her not to listen to the crazy “lactivists.”
We tell her that breastmilk isn’t that important anyway.
We fail to address the underlying birth culture of high cesareans, high interventions, and separation of mother and baby after birth that we know contributes to the myriad of problems with breastfeeding. (Research is clear- natural birth does help with breastfeeding.)


Who cares anyway? It’s not like men can’t breastfeed. That would be a serious problem.
I, however, refuse to act like breastfeeding doesn’t matter, isn’t important, and isn’t healthy and ideal.
It is.

Let’s not sweep it under the carpet and act like it doesn’t matter when it doesn’t work.

Breastfeeding matters to women and babies and it should matter to us.

We should treat breastfeeding difficulties in women with as much compassion as we would treat erectile dysfunction in men.

We should search for solutions to the underlying problems that occur in breastfeeding and then work tirelessly to address them.


Monday, November 23, 2015

An Australian Hospital VBAC- Birth Story

So excited to share another birth story! I haven't been sharing many lately, but I still love them and know they need to be shared. And so awesome to find people inspired by this blog and your other birth stories. Enjoy this Australian hospital VBAC birth story!
~

An Australian Hospital VBAC- Birth Story

Growing up birth was a normal and simple event in life.  

My Mum had eight babies. She birthed us all without pain relief and without any tearing. My older sisters married and between them birthed four babies in the same fashion. My oldest sister’s second and third babies were three hour water births.  

Not long after I married in 2011 I found Mama Birth’s blog and read almost everything I could find. Of course I wanted to deliver my babies in my husband’s arms in the bath. Five months after marriage we discovered that we were going to be parents. 

My pregnancy was a dream pregnancy until I hit 27 weeks. I began having regular painful contractions. When I hit 29 weeks we had a nasty episode with it and my mum called the ambulance…

Thankfully everything settled down and I was discharged from hospital three days later. We were living in an outback small town in Australia which was too small to deal with premature babies. Within days of being discharged we headed North to stay with my husband’s mother who lived near a big hospital that could deal with a 30 week baby if necessary. 

Due to regularly experiencing regular painful contractions I spent a lot of the next seven weeks on bedrest. I counted the weeks til it was safe for the baby to be born. Around the time I was 39 weeks I went into prodromal labour.  During this time I had acupressure and chiropractor appointments. Despite my hope that everything would happen, my baby was still baking at 41 weeks.  

A day or two later early labour began. Friday evening I couldn’t sleep due to contractions. We walked the street at 2AM hoping things would progress.  

Saturday I still couldn’t get any sleep but things were irregular and didn’t seem to be progressing.  As the sun set I called my birthing centre midwife, Suzanne. She encouraged me to come up to the hospital and we’d see what was going on. 

As we drove the hour to the hospital the contractions became very intense and regular. A foreboding sense told me that whatever happened I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until our baby had arrived. Heading up to the labour and delivery unit we met our midwife. Unfortunately she was very ill and called in another midwife from the birth centre to care for me. 

A vaginal exam found that I was 4cm. The birth centre midwife ran the bath and told me I could hop in if I wanted. During the next four hours my contractions became irregular and the midwife urged that we agree to the waters being broken if I hadn’t progressed within two hours. At the two hour mark I was still 4cm. 

She broke my waters. Two hours later of really strong contractions there was still no progress. At this point the birth centre midwife transferred me to the public ward. Here they gave me an epidural and started syntocin to attempt to get progress happening. Naturally the syntocin overstimulated my already 2 min apart contractions and had to be turned off.  

At around midnight a VE showed I was 6cm. A couple hrs later I hit 7cm. It was at this point the young lady Dr found that my baby was posterior and a brow presentation. She shared with me that six months previously she had been in labour and her baby had been in the same position and she had had to have a csection. 

Mid Sunday morning I signed the consent papers for the csection. My Dr did another VE in theatre to check if there was any hope of the baby being born naturally. I was still 7cm.  At 1PM we heard our daughter’s first cry.  

I can’t put into words my devastation of being unable to move and unable to hold my crying daughter. 


Two years later my hubby agreed to try for our second child. A couple weeks later we discovered our second was on the way. Straight away we knew we would try for a VBAC. Once again I had a very easy pregnancy. None of the previous symptoms returned. The day before my EDD I went into early labour with our son at 7AM.  

We were on the way to the hospital for a prenatal appointment  As the Dr could see I was having contractions she offered to do a VE. She told me I was 3cm.  We headed to our doula’s place and hung out for the day as labour continued at 10PM I finally felt ready to go to hospital. 

I took three copies of my birth plan to ensure it wouldn’t get lost. I laboured in the dimly lit hospital room two hours before I permitted the midwife to do a VE. At 12:30 the midwife told me I was 4cm.  My contractions had become irregular after the Dr had done the cannula.  

5:30AM another VE found I was still 4cm. I headed into the shower and cried. My husband blocked the doorway into the bathroom so the Dr couldn’t see me. He was insisting that I have my waters broken. We managed to avoid him until his shift ended. 

 The dawn of day brought a lovely young lady Dr. After discussion with my husband and doula we decided I would have an epidural and have my waters broken. 

I asked my doula to contact my midwife from my first birth.  After the epi was done Suzanne walked in. Crying, I asked her what I could have done better. Heartbroken I told her of the screaming I’d heard in the night of the women and then the cries of the newborns.  Five babies had been born during the night as I had laboured.

Within hours of the epidural I could feel my baby descending. This again brought tears as I knew that our son would be born the way they should be born. Christine, my day midwife had had three c-sections but she cheered me on and was thrilled when I hit 10cm just as she had to clock off. She was so disappointed that she would miss the birth.  

She encouraged me to breath the baby down. An hour after I hit 10cm our lovely Dr came in for the pushing. An hour and a half later despite the epidural I was screaming “this is caning”.  Everyone assumed the epidural wasn’t working but it was my csection scar that was really painful.  

At this point I told the Dr I wanted her to do a ventouse (vacuum) delivery. In my memory it gets blurry what happened as I was so tired and had my eyes shut. I know she asked me if she could do an episiotomy. During this time I heard a snap and opened my eyes to see the suction cap fly off. Suddenly I found the room had filled with people. 

I thought I was hallucinating as I saw a man standing at the end of the delivery bed in street clothes. The Dr continued to encourage me to push with all my might during each contraction while she pulled. Finally I felt the incredible sensation of my son sliding out.  

In one smooth motion the Dr pulled the baby up onto my chest.  My husband was standing by my side cheering with teary eyes. Holding his hand I said “I’ve done it!” They quickly grabbed my son who was struggling to breath. At that point the man in street clothes congratulated me and quietly walked out of the room. We later found out he was the head of obstetrics for the hospital. 

Our little baby’s birth apgar was 2 and they took him away to the special care nursery. The Dr stitched me back up and very shortly afterwards they brought my little boy back. They laid him on my chest and he did the breast crawl and latched himself on.  

After he nursed, hubby and I enjoyed dressing our little one for the first time. As soon as I could move my legs the midwifes sent me for a shower. Struggling to hold my head up, sitting in the wheelchair, Suzanne came back and congratulated me on our successful VBAC. 

On our son’s second day of life, Ben and I were trying to finalize his name.  We’d been considering naming him Josiah Nathaniel. Ben asked me if I had ever looked up the meanings of those names. To my wonder, Ben shared that they meant ‘God’s healing gift’. We knew instantly that that was his name.  As I write this story, our little boy is 12 weeks old and he has been a very healing gift for me. 

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