Against All Odds- A Home VBA2C!!!

I love these stories!  Women REALLY are going against the odds when they VBAC, especially after multiple c-sections.  I love her wisdom and her triumph!  You know what else?  I love that she admits that a VBAC or a home birth isn't necessarily serene and easy and just candles and rainbows.  It can be hard too, it can hurt too, it can require recovery too.  Guess what- it is still worth it.  Beautiful pictures too-
-So, I would love for you to first give a brief rundown of your first birth/s and what you feel like happened and why you had a c-section.
My first section was supposed to be natural hynobabies birth. Instead it was a section a result of a terrible OB and a failed induction. At 30 weeks my blood pressure readings went up and they stayed up until 36 weeks when she informed me that I was preeclamptic and scheduled an induction for 38 weeks. Every fiber of my being was against the induction but we had been scared into thinking that we would be endangering our baby if we went against it. I labored for 48 hours on pitocin as high as it could go with no pain meds. Got an epidural for the last 6 hours due to sheer exhaustion and still never dilated past 3 cm. Since my water had been broken for 2 days they told me I had no choice but to have a section and so they wheeled me to the OR while I cried.This section's recovery was insanely hard for me. Hormonally I was a mess. All I wanted to do was sit on the floor naked, crying trying to get my hungry baby to latch onto my breast. I didn't want to see anyone. I didn't want to leave my house. I hardly even wanted to speak. I felt damaged in every possible way. It took at least two months for me to feel like a human being again.  Later, I found out that I never had any protein in my urine or edema or any other signs or symptoms of pre-eclampsia aside from the elevated pressure readings. I also learned that those readings were just at the high end of normal. I learned that blood pressures for people over 200 pounds (which I definitely was at 30 weeks) are supposed to be taken with a large cuff to prevent false high readings. I learned that my  OB  was scheduled for vacation the week of my due date. I learned that her c-section rate was one of the highest in town.  I learned that she diagnosed me with CPD in my records instead of saying that it was a failed induction. I learned and I learned and I learned and I used it all to fuel my passion for taking back my birth. 

My second section was with a much better OB but also unnecessary. I planned a VBAC and my doc was supportive. I went into labor at 40 weeks (on my due date) and labored at home for 10 hours. When we went to the hospital and I labor for another 4 hours before they called my OB in to check me because they were having difficulty keeping baby's heartones on the monitors. He checked me then requested an ultrasound machine. I couldn't even look at the screen because I knew what was flipped frank breech and neither he nor the hospital "allowed" breech babies to be born vaginally. And so they wheeled me off to the OR again crying.

-What made you desire a VBAC when they seem so hard to come by in the current obstetric climate?
I had always wanted a natural birth and I knew (from all my research and instincts) that it was better. Better for me, better for baby. It was the way it was supposed to be. The way God designed us. I had read so many encouraging and inspiring stories on here, the Birth Without Fear blog and Mama Faith so I knew it could be done. And I knew it NEEDED to be done for my own healing.

-How did you find a care provider who would support you? 
For my first VBAC attempt the OB I changed to was very supportive of my "trial of labor" so that was not a problem at all. It was trying to find someone to "allow" me to VBA2C that proved to be crazy difficult. I called every OB in my town and three surrounding towns (including the biggest city in our state), a Birth Center and every midwife in our town. No luck. Until I got a return phone call from one midwife in my town who said that she wanted to hear my story before she turned me away. She told me that she felt very strongly that I could have a successful vaginal birth after 2 prior c/sections (and with Von Willebrands, a mild bleeding disorder) and that despite it being illegal for her to attend my birth (due to state laws against home birth after multiple sections) she was going to take me a her client. She was my angel.

-What was labor like for you? 
It was intense and the only labor I've ever known is ridiculous back labor and this was no exception. At one point during my labor I told DH that I wanted to go to the hospital, that I needed pain meds and that I couldn't do it. Luckily for me he was the voice of reason and told me that I could do it and that I would regret it if we left. Good thing another contraction distracted me and when I looked at the clock again it had been hours. The thought of having to labor in the car without DH putting counter pressure on my back was also a big deterrent for me. I labored quietly because coping with contractions required me to go completely inside myself. But when the pushing started it was a whole other story. I made sounds no human ever has. Loud sounds. The pushing (3 hours of pushing) was uncontrollable and intense. And every second was worth it.

-What helped you VBAC?
My husband and my midwife. Just kidding. But really they were the biggest support for me and without either of them I don't know that I would have had the mental/emotional strength to fight for it. Other than that I just tried to continuously read encouraging positive stories about successful VBAMC and home births. I needed to keep reminding myself that why I wanted it and reinforce the fact that it was the right decision for me and my baby.

-How did you prepare for your VBAC (was there anything you did differently)?
I actually did a lot LESS than I did with my other two births. I didn't take any classes or read any books or do any strange exercises. I read a lot of encouraging stories about VBAMC and I prayed a lot. It was mostly about feeling confident in my decision to home birth. My midwifery care was probably the biggest difference from OB care the first two times. We used nothing but homeopathics, I started eating a much cleaner diet and I just enjoyed being pregnant.

-Describe your VBAC birth story.  We would LOVE to hear about it!
 At 40 weeks 3 days (or 39 weeks 6 days according to early ultrasound and ovulation) my labor began.
The night of the 7th we got home from church around 7:30 and I started having pretty strong contractions about 6-7 minutes apart. I timed them until we decided to go bed around 10:30. At around 11 they suddenly seemed much closer so I started timing them again and they were already 3 minutes apart. I knew it was the real thing so I thought I should probably call my midwife and let her know. As expected, the back labor set in and I needed tons of counter pressure to help take the edge off. My midwife arrived and after this the details get a little fuzzy, all I know is that I labored. I labored in the shower until I couldn’t stand up anymore. I labored kneeling at my bed. I labored in the bath tub with my midwife talking to me through each contraction. I labored and I prayed. Five hours in I told Dustin that I needed pain meds. I told him that if we went to the hospital they could not FORCE me to have a c/section, that I would have to sign for it. I told him I couldn’t do it, that it hurt too much and I wasn’t even at the “hard part”. He told me that I *could* do it and that I was just psyching myself out. He said that I would regret it and that if I left the house I was going to have a c/section. He said he would support me whatever I wanted to do and that if I wanted to leave we should tell my midwife so we could get going. So he called her upstairs and I told her what I was feeling. She told me if we left the house it would be a minimum of 2-3 hours before I could get an epidural but if I wanted to go we would go. I was scared. I was really scared I couldn’t do it. I was scared it was going to get harder and we were going to end up transferring anyways. I don’t know what really changed my mind but I know the thought of having to labor in the car was a huge deterrent for me and I really didn’t want to disappoint Dustin and my midwife. I don’t remember making the decision to stay, I think I just got distracted with another contraction and when I saw the clock again it had been hours. I do remember repeating to myself “replace fear with faith, replace fear with FAITH”. 

They filled the birth pool and I continued (and would end) my labor in there. I have no idea what time it was but my midwife checked me and I was 8 cm dilated. That was exciting for both Dustin and me to hear since I’d never been past 4 cm. Very encouraging. I don’t know how much longer it was before I started having the urge to push. My midwife told me to listen to my body and if I felt like I needed to push, push. I started pushing at about 8:15 am. My body’s reflex to push was beyond that of anything I’ve ever felt. My quiet coping turned into incredible, uncontrollable, animal-like sounds that even now I am surprised came from me. Dustin told me later that he thought the neighbors might call the police because it was so loud. My back was on fire and nothing was helping. I just leaned over the edge of the pool, fought back the urge to vomit, begged Dustin not to stop putting pressure on my back and pushed with everything I had. I pushed for over an hour then I sat up and said “I need help”. When I said it I was fully expecting to be told that *I* had to do and no one could help me but instead my midwife didn’t miss a beat and with the next contraction she told me to push longer and without vocalizing and then she reached down and “helped me” (it felt like she was stretching me but she says she was applying counter pressure to the baby’s head and so the baby’s head was actually what was stretching me). Dustin reminded me how close I was and she told me to push exactly like I had just done again and she helped me again. I could feel progress being made! Three or four (or a hundred, it seemed) more pushes like that and baby’s head was finally out. I couldn’t believe it. I just wanted to rest my back so badly but they told me that it wouldn't stop hurting until the baby was out. So with the next contraction I mustered all my strength and I pushed one more time. The rest of my beautiful baby girl came flying out (“torpedoed” in Dustin’s words). I turned around and picked my baby up out of the water and held her to my chest. She was here and amazing and in MY arms. I did it. I pushed her out. Praise God. Brooklyn Jane was born at home in the water after 2 c/sections. She was my fastest labor (about 12 hours) and my biggest baby weighing 8 pounds 9 ounces and 20.5 inches long. 

My back finally started to relax and I got out of the tub and onto the bed still holding my girl. I started to cramp and pass a lot of clots and blood and my midwife was getting concerned because the placenta was not coming. After 45 minutes, I delivered the placenta and everyone started to calm down. Until I passed more huge clots and blood. I was feeling a ton of pressure still, so much that I couldn’t move my legs. I had lost pretty much all color and was hardly able to hold Brooklyn. I passed yet another set of clots and at that moment Dustin, the midwife and I simultaneously said it was time to go. Dustin called the fire station (his crew was on shift) and the ambulance arrived and they carried me downstairs in the stretcher. The ride to the hospital was kind of blurry but I remember they went to close the doors after they loaded me up and I said “NO! Dustin is coming” and he climbed up with Brooklyn in his arms and we were off. They started IV’s and got me checked in. I was checked (very painfully, despite them being gentle) by three nurses until they figured out that the reason I was experiencing so much pressure was because I had a very large hematoma (bruise filled with blood, about 7 cm by 5 cm) on the right side of my vaginal wall. I also had a pretty deep second degree tear from the delivery and had already lost about 1600 cc’s of blood. They got me into surgery pretty quickly and had to open up the hematoma, drain it, then pack it to stop the bleeding and they also stitched up my tear. There was another 200 cc’s of blood in the hematoma and after the surgery I was told that my blood levels were critically low so I would have to have a transfusion (two bags, with a third discussed). All went well and I am recovering. Slowly, but everyday is better. It was not exactly the serene, romanticized homebirth experience I had envisioned but it was also more intense, empowering and healing than I ever imagined. It was attitude-adjusting and life-changing for me. Even with the complications, I feel transformed and very, very happy, blessed and at peace. Honestly, I would take my homebirth (that some might even call traumatic) 100 times over another section and I am and will forever be beyond grateful for my incredible, selfless midwife. I am more in love with my husband that I have ever been. I know I could not have made it through any of this without him. He is the most incredible man I know. I am truly, truly content for the first time in a long time. And mostly I feel an overwhelming love for my children. They are amazing little beings that God has entrusted to me and I am so proud to call them mine. My heart is full. All praise and glory to the Father. He designed me for birth and He gave me the strength to follow HIS birth plan. He is so good.

- Has the postpartum experience been different than your other birth/s?  What about it surprised you?
Because I lost so much blood and was extremely anemic, the recovery was not just super easy. It took me awhile to have normal energy again and I needed help with 3 littles under 4 because it was a challenge to even wash my hair. But physically I hurt a lot less despite having a 2nd degree tear and the surgery for the hematoma. And honestly the absolute worst part of this recovery was bowel movements because of the hemorrhoids I got from pushing and the pressure I still felt from the hematoma.  I still felt well enough to go to a closing on our new home 4 days after she was born, two days out of the hospital. Emotionally I felt about a million times better than after my sections and I would take my home birth experience 100 times again over another section (despite it being what some people might call "traumatic"). Nursing has been great (11 months and still going strong) and my milk came in much earlier than with the other two babes and had absolutely no latch problems like I did with the other two.  And our beautiful Brooklyn Jane is the most peaceful, happy baby I have ever seen. People constantly comment on how happy and sweet she is and i always just get a crazy goofy grin because I want to shout "SHE WAS BORN AT HOME AFTER TWO C/SECTIONS!"
If you would like more details about this mom's journey you can find more below-

Youtube video of my journey to HVA2C...