Home Birth After C-Section- A VBAC Story

Oh my goodness- what a great story!  This story shows how dedication and a great birth team are so VERY important for a VBAC mama.  Love it.  Learn from it.  Read it!
Plus these are some AMAZING pictures!  

-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 two births were completely natural, first born in the hospital and the second born at a birth  center. My third birth was to be a natural birth center birth. I was 41 weeks and my midwife suspected baby was big. She tried starting labor using a foley, castor oil and breast pump. It did the trick and I was well in to active labor within hours. Around 10 hours I was stuck at 9 1/2 cm and she broke my water. After that my natural birth was history. She discovered that baby was posterior. We tried pushing in different positions, but nothing could move him in to the birth canal at that point. We waited a few hours hoping he'd turn with no luck. We finally headed to the hospital for a c-section. (He was 10lbs 1oz) For a long time I thought it was his size that lead to my c/s. I now believe it was breaking my water with him posterior. Had my water been intact he would of had a better chance at turning into a better position to fit. And I do think he would have.

-What made you desire a VBAC when they seem so hard to come by in the current obstetric climate?

I am a passionate natural childbirther. From the moment he was born I knew I'd fight my heart out to have a VBAC with my next. I was sad for a very long time about how my third little one entered this world. A VBAC was the only option for me.

-How did you find a care provider who would support you?

I luckily had just moved to North Teaxs (DFW area) when I found out we were pregnant with number four. There is a huge natural birth community with many amazing midwives who will do VBACs. I interviewed several that I liked and decided on the one I loved. It was a very easy process.

-What was labor like for you?
Painful. I felt like it was my most painful labor because of the pressure on my scar. But, it was my shortest and I know that was because of my fabulous birth team.

-What helped you VBAC?
My birth team, my husband and my determination to give my baby the best possible start. My midwife was so loving and supportive my entire pregnancy and labor. I had three midwives attend my birth, my amazing doula and my hubby. And of course a birth photographer to capture it all! :)

-How did you prepare for your VBAC (was there anything you did differently)?
I didn't do much. I knew my body was capable of a natural birth. I knew a natural birth was the best entrance for my baby. I knew this was the right choice for us. So, I didn't do a whole lot more than hire an amazing birth team. Around 40 weeks I did have a good cry about my previous c-section, allowed myself to think about what could go wrong and then sent all my sadness, worries and fear out into the Universe. I reminded myself that my body was meant to do this and that I had hired the right people to help make it happen.

-Describe your VBAC birth story. We would LOVE to hear about it!
(my birth story written 3 days after lil guy's birth)
My Dream birth and more...

Who says once a cesarean mom always a cesarean mom? Most of the medical community does. That's who. Well, in North Texas we have a huge natural birthing community who support moms who want to take charge of their bodies and take back their births. Luckily when I found out we were pregnant this time we had just moved here. But, where to start...

I posted on a natural moms board asking for advice on local midwives with VBAC experience and got one response. A woman named Maria gave me some great resources. I noticed in her signature that she was a doula and messaged her. A few days later we talked for hours and I had found my very experienced VBAC doula. First member of my "dream team". From there I knew I needed a very experienced midwife as I not only wanted a VBAC, I wanted it at home. Maria guided me some, there are A LOT of midwives in the area and a handful that fit the bill. I narrowed it down to three and started interviews. The first two were so sweet and had plenty of experience, but there was a third I wanted to meet. Problem was she was currently in another country for another 6 weeks. I asked Maria about her and as it turned she had worked with her many times and raved about her midwifery abilities....especially as a VBAC MW. So I decided to email her, Sarah, my c/s story. She responded the next day and we chatted back and forth for a few days. I made an appt to meet her when she returned to the states. It only took 15 minutes of talking to know she was absolutely our midwife. And so Sarah became the second member of our dream team bringing her birth assistant, Gina, and a fellow midwife, Angela, along. Both amazing midwives as well. Kyska, our chiropractor, was added in my third trimester and Keri, our talented birth photographer, was added at the recommendation of Sarah. So you have it. My "dream team" was formed.

On to the birth. This past Friday evening I started getting regular contractions. Nothing painful, uncomfortable at best, but finally regular. 30 seconds long, 5 minutes apart. I knew early labor had begun. My mom got into town around 9:30 that night and Christian (my oldest) got back from Florida about 11:30. We all hung out for a bit and then decided to get some sleep as we knew we had a long day of laboring ahead. Unfortunately, by the time we went off to bed I was heading into active labor. By 2am my contractions were a minute long and about 3 minutes apart. I called Chris at work to come home and began laboring on my own. At 4am I knew it was time to call Maria. She arrived an hour later and by then Chris was home and my mom was up with us. I was exhausted as I hadn't slept yet. Maria helped me get into a position that was not only comfortable (as comfy as you can be during labor) but where I could sleep in between contractions. My contractions spaced out to 6 mins apart, which allowed some rest, but were increasingly painful. Over the next few hours active labor intensified. Maria made the call to Sarah.

We had our birth pool blown up and filled in the center of our room (I had already been in it once for pain relief), my diffuser was blowing out relaxing scents of lavender, lights were off and the room was lit with candles. Everyone worked together in whispers. Sarah decided to check the baby after monitoring his/her heartbeat and feeling that s/he wasn't in an ideal position for birthing. She was able to tell just by feeling his/her head that it was slightly transverse. That's when the fun really began (insert sarcasm). It was time to try some creative positioning and visualization to get baby to turn his/her head. Painful? Beyond words. But, I had a mantra I repeated in my head during every contraction. "I've done this before, I can do this again". Gina checked baby's heartbeat and s/he had moved!! Baby was squarely head down and low! Incredible. Once I started bearing down at the ends of the contractions, they moved me to the birthing tub.

Ahhh....the blessed birthing tub. I was in transition at this point, most excruciating stage, but the one that almost brings you face to face with your baby. The tub provided some relief and I was able to breathe and visualize myself (now using the mantra "we're almost done. My baby's almost here") into relaxation. I fell asleep in between contractions as Chris sat outside the tub on the birthing ball at my head holding my hands and Maria sat by my side pouring water over my belly whispering encouraging words. The rest of my team sat around the tub quietly supporting me. I naturally felt the need to bear down during these contractions. Someone from my team suggested I turn onto my knees to give baby that last bit of encouragement needed to move him/her down. I turned over, wrapped my arms around Chris's arms and with the next contraction felt the urge to push. Sarah encouraged me to do whatever felt right. As I began to push I told her I felt the baby was coming out. She confirmed I was "pushing out the bag"...I didn't get it at that moment, but I soon found out what she meant.

Meantime Gina went to get my mom, mother-in-law and kids to prepare to see baby's arrival. She kept them just outside the door as I went through a few more contractions pushing baby down.

Next thing I knew everyone was in the room and there was an awe from my team as baby came out. He was in his caul!! I was told to reach down and grab my baby. I sat up, letting go of Chris' arms and reached into the water pulling up my baby that I fought so hard to bring into the world. Naturally. Peacefully. Calmly. He had broken himself out of his caul. I held him tight against my chest and began to cry. I did it. I had successfully VBAC'ed at home. In the water. With my most loved ones watching. (Pushing lasted 14 mins)

It's a BOY!! Finley River for my little water born st Patty's Day baby!

Finn and I hung out in the water for awhile while cameras flashed and we got to meet face to face. The excitement in the room was unreal. My birth team and I were riding a MAJOR birth high. We finally moved to the bed. Once the umbilical cord stopped pulsating Chris cut it.

The mood in the room was so charged. Everyone was smiling, compliments to each other and talks of the birth were flying about and with my new baby in my arms, my husband by my side, the three of us laying in bed together; I broke out into a full on cry. I told my team that this birth was beyond my dream birth. That I had always wanted a home birth, I always wanted a water birth, I always wanted a birth with my other children present. But since my c/s I wanted these things even more. I wanted to take back my body. I wanted to take back my birth experience. I wanted to feel empowered. I wanted a VBAC. I'm quite certain I was not the only one in tears or in awe of what sheer determination, trust in the birth process and a team of insanely talented birth professionals can accomplish.

Once Finn and my vitals had been taken and we were both wrapped in clean, warm towels, everyone left the room so Chris, Finn and I could have some time together. It wasn't long before one by one our other littles came in the room. They had so beautifully and quietly witnessed the miracle of birth only a short time ago and couldn't wait to shower their new brother with love and kisses. We all hung out in bed marveling over this perfect new family member. The grandmas were next in to proudly look on as our family sat in bed together. Complete.

After our bonding time Finn was ready for his newborn exam and I was helped to the bathroom to get cleaned up. They had run a candle lit herbal bath for me that I got to share with Finley once his exam was over. I could hear the flash of Keri's camera going crazy, but not a peep from little guy. He took it all in so calmly. They put him in the tub with me where he happily floated on his back, still bright eyed with not an ounce of unhappiness. We hung out in the tub for awhile with Chris watching over us. My team busily emptied the birth pool, stripped my bed down to clean bedding and made it up for us and straightened up the room.

Dressed and back in a warm and clean bed it was time to get Finn's stats and get him dressed. The kids and grandmas watched on as Chris weighed Finn. 9lbs 7oz. We were all shocked at how big he was...he didn't seem *that* big looking at him. Sarah did the rest of his measurements laughing at how big his head was.... We assured her it was because his brain was so big and smart. :) Then found out he was 21 inches long. After he was done being sized up I got to dress him. We all laughed as I tried to put his hat on him but it was too small for his big head! Okay, Sarah was right. :)

Soon the room was spotless. You'd be surprised a birth had taken place only a couple hours before. Keri got pictures of Finn with all the different, awesome ladies in my birth team and then a group photo. Lots of hugs went around and then they were gone. My dream team had done what they promised. They came into this birth prepared, knowledgeable, supportive and loving. I thanked them as best I could, though I'm not sure I could ever truly thank them for helping me get the birth I so badly wanted....my dream birth.

In honor of our little St Patrick's Day baby, an Irish blessing....

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!

- Has the postpartum experience been different than your other birth/s? What about it surprised you?
It was similar to my first two vaginal births in that the recovery was quite easy and quick. The difference this time is I had an overwhelming feeling of peace. I finally had peace in my heart for the first time in two years following my c-section. And I was thankful for that experience even. Had I not gone through that c-section I wouldn't of had the moment of catching my baby boy after a VBAC and knowing "I DID IT". I DID IT! I birthed my baby the way nature intended even though most of the medical community said I could not. It provided for the happiest postpartum I have ever had.


Unknown said…
I have also had two natural births and an emergency c sedtion. I just found out I'm pregnant with #4 and am hopin for a VBAC. I also live in the north Texas area! Close to denton. I'm comforted to find your blog post.