Incredible VBAC Journey After Loss

I am so excited to share this birth story with all of you.  Birth is truly such a life JOURNEY.  For me, that is why I value it and the lessons and beauty it brings so much.  I think you will love this one.  Even though it is long it tells a story about a mother and the joy of birth.  



The Peaceful Birth of the Pip Squeak...A Journey

If you want to skip to the birth story, go to part 6. :0)

I wanted to start this with a disclaimer: INTRODUCTION...
I struggled with a lot of fears in all my pregnancies..Let me rephrase that, I wasn't afraid of any thing in my first pregnancy. Honestly, I was so excited to give birth! I had been raised in a home where child birth was an exciting and normal thing. My Mom had five relatively normal births- I mean some of her hospital experiences were kind of crazy. Also, I was born at home. Going into motherhood, I knew I was capable of natural birth, and nothing else was really an option.  A cesarean birth was never something I thought I would ever experience. I was unprepared for the machine that is most large teaching hospitals. For the interventions, for the horrible feeling of being completely at the mercy of that machine. I went through every intervention in the book in my *twelve* hours at the hospital. I ended up with a cesarean.

Blind sided. 

With that cut across my abdomen, a whole new world of fears was opened to me. Fears I ignored and wrestled through with my first VBAC baby. And finally truly faced this pregnancy. I finally found healing. Is there more to do? Always.
 I mention cesarean birth in negative terms, because my experience was very negative. I also mention baby loss, and death, things that I experienced or I saw become reality for others. I also share the steps I took to find my own personal place of comfort if I were to experience it too. The book Birthing From Within talks a lot about worry and fear. And what a GOOD thing it is, if you use it.

This pregnancy was my journey of learning to use it, explore it, and really walk out all scenarios. It was my discovery of where I needed to be to find peace in whatever - even the unthinkable.  It was really hard, but I explored it...and found healing.
I went from a woman who had lost all trust in the medical establishment.. Some one who (honestly, sadly) would choose a dangerous or unhealthy situation over repeat surgery (not that my first HBAC was that scenario- but had things not gone smoothly, I wonder...) I moved to a place where I could fully embrace the thought of another cesarean birth. I went from never ever, under any circumstances, being okay with a hospital birth again...To planning one, and being 300% ok with whatever that would bring me.

This pregnancy brought me so many gifts. It was a lot of work. I took a lot of time alone and a lot of space. This was my journey, and very personal experience and fears. And its conclusion is part of my story. Each baby brings something unique to a mothers journey, a gift in its own right.

My first baby gave me my voice.
RJ and Pip (1mos old)

She taught me to hear my true feelings. My experience with her taught me that happiness isn't the only emotion, and to speak my mind. She still teaches me every day.

My second baby taught me some times you just have to do some thing scared, and embrace grace and hope for a better season.

Amity and Mama 18 hours old...
Because some times, you are where you are and that doesn't mean you aren't on your way to birth in new freedoms. Amity also taught me how strong and beautiful my body is. And to respect birth and the process it brings you...And learn from it.
Amity and Mama I was 36 weeks along..
Piper taught me to explore and find what I need to have peace. If I have any more babies in the future I'm sure I'll have other (or more of the same) fears to's about putting one foot in front of the other and finding peace for you, in that season. Our children's births are just the beginning...

In a nut shell: After 27 days of insanity making prodromal labor: Piper Joy was born. January 26, 2012 at 5:55pm 7lbs 6oz and 20inches long.

The Long Version: Part One: Our baby leaves us...Then Piper comes too.

To tell this story we need to go back to February 2011. We got pregnant. We lost the baby in March. It...hit me hard. I've had other losses...Big losses, hard losses, my Dad died after a two year battle with brain cancer. He was 49. I'd even had another early miscarriage. But this one felt like a punch in the gut. That baby belonged to me.

Just a little over a month after the loss I found myself staring at the Dollar Store HPT to my shock (and let's be honest, horror) there were 2 bright strong lines. It was too soon! I wasn't ready..

Part Two: In Which I Try on Everybody

For my miscarriage care I had used a group of MW's at a FSBC (Free Standing Birth Center) about an hour away. They were who I was planning to use for the pregnancy and birth of Jacob. Through my loss they were great, compassionate, kind, supportive. But when I got pregnant with Piper- it just felt wrong for her birth.
For one thing, I was due in January AKA, dead of winter. The thought of an hour long drive turning into 3 hours in a snow storm, in labor...No thanks.
But I wanted to feel it out, so I called them up at 10 weeks (yes, I was in a bit of denial about the pregnancy) and asked if they could get me an u/s for dating and for a prenatal ASAP.  They could send me for an u/s, but they couldn't see me until I would be (by my guess) 18 weeks along. After my loss: that just wasn't happening. I needed to have a prenatal care.
Pregnancy after a loss is just different, especially if you found yourself expecting before you were "ready" (are you ever ready?).

Here is where it got tricky: I have a scar on my abdomen from the cesarean birth of my first baby (Riley Joy)  born in 2007. Which means, doctors are a little more funny about "due" dates.  I didn't want any one pushing an arbitrary due date on me, or trying to get my baby out sooner than needed. I wanted to have my behind covered. Even though I was fairly certain on the date (or at least week) of conception- I wanted to have a piece of paper to prove it.

We went and saw "Newby" (Piper's in utero nickname) healthy and busy measuring 10 weeks- just like I thought. I can't say the relief that flooded me when I finally saw her moving around on the screen..I think it was the first time I started crying at an u/s (I'm just not one to cry like that). Especially since she had been sleeping during these can (she wasn't moving) and the tech just kept scanning and scanning and I was wondering if she was okay!

I was starting to feel more accepting of the pregnancy, and felt like I needed prenatal care and support ASAP. A good friend of mine mentioned a HB MW out of R (city) that was fantastic and had 3 HBAC (home birth after a cesarean) herself. I had met this MW at an ICAN meeting and just remembered really liking her. I called D (the MW) and asked her some questions...But she was also an hour away- and her back up provider was almost 2 hours away. I decided to walk away and find some one else.

I called up the HB MW I used for my first VBAC baby (Amity Joy)...We had a few prenatals, I even went ahead and secured her for the birth. But some thing wasn't sitting right. Again, she was over an hour away and the January thing wasn't sitting well for me- what if it snowed and she couldn't make it? But more than that, I just wasn't having a peace about the birth.

I called D back (this was a few months after our last talk) because her name was on my heart- I don't know why I wanted her at the birth...Or maybe- she was the catalyst - and my heart knew that? Anyway, she said she couldn't take me on, due to client load. But that her good friend J (another MW- who had been apprenticing and assisting in the area for a few years and was now taking on clients) was located very close to me. D recommended I give her a call and maybe meet up. I did... And J was perfect for us. Ryan (hubby) and I were so impressed by her and we knew she was right for this birth. I don't think I even asked her that many clinical (what's your experience, bla bla bla) questions (I'm friends with a lot of doulas in the area and had gathered enough info about her to be impressed and excited). I just knew she was who I needed. We hired her at 27 weeks into the pregnancy.

Part Three: In which I'm scared to do some thing I have to do.

Losing baby J changed some thing for me...I tasted a little bit of what it means to lose a child. Some thing that hit even closer to home as I had become heavily involved in my local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) chapter and was fairly plugged in (albeit, more vicariously through good friends) to the "birth community". I was hearing a lot of the crazy stuff that was going on in my general area. Defacto bans at hospitals.. Forced/court ordered cesareans...Mothers being treated badly/disrespectfully in hospital situations when they transferred in from a home birth for hospital care. Crazy sad, messed up things were trickling around. And that was just locally- nationally I was hearing even more crazy and heart breaking stuff (thank you, internet).  Over the previous eighteen month period I was, for the first time, really being exposed to some hard realities of birth in our nation: Mama and babies are dying. Ugly things happening, Add to that, the grief I felt over my little loss, and for the Mamas whose arms were empty...Changed me.

Babies died. My baby had just died...This sweet precious new one couldn't die.And if that were to happen, I had to know I had set up every thing every thing to cover any scenario. Mothers are incredible. No Mama should ever lose a the hand of a surgeon...or because the scar on her uterus caused issues.  And no Mama should be treated badly for the decisions she makes for  her body. Whether it's a VBAC or a repeat, a home birth or an unassisted birth, or hospital birth... All mothers deserve awesome, informed, and respectful care.

But it doesn't always happen.

The whole expereince was a reality check, my baby deserved the best care and coverage possible. I needed an OB. I just did. My decision to birth at home - or even just VBAC again-  could not be allowed to effect the care my baby received. And if some thing horrible did happen: I had done my part as Mama to protect her.

My c/s birth was horrifically traumatic. It was a dark ugly shadow over my second pregnancy...Which happened "so soon" (10mos) after the first. I was terrified of being on that table again. Terrified of being an object to a means (getting baby out), instead of an active participent. My VBAC was hard. It was long. It was empowering. But I did it FREAKING scared. Terrified of being on that table... And maybe even to the detriment of Amity's safety...It's just not okay to be that afraid. But I did it. We came out okay...We were blessed. But I would never give birth afraid like that again.

I had to find an OB.

Part Four...Back It Up...
Around 22weeks

Back up to 20 weeks pregnant...We went to my (former) MW's [unofficial] back up OB's practice for the 20 week anatomy scan. I had asked if I could have a prenatal with that OB as well and talk about getting care in the case of hospital birth. I was blind sided at this meeting. This OB had 3 home births herself, she was supposedly very home birth supportive (as much as any OB can say they are in the current climate). She's not VBAC friendly though. I get it, there are risks (smaller risks - in most cases- than repeat surgery though!).
I get that she can't legally support my desire to birth at home. But the amount of times the words "you die", "dead baby", "leave your other children because you're dead", "selfish VBACing at hme...risk to all midwives..'  were said was just uncalled for. I cried the whole way home from that meeting. Wept for the Mama's who've lost their babies... And for the ones who couldn't find support to birth safely they felt they were supposed to, becaue they have a scar on their abdomen.

That meeting rocked me, and drove home the fact: I needed to switch my way of doing things. I really needed to plan two separate births, not try to find "back up". I needed a real OB, I needed to plan a full hospital birth, the whole nine yards: tour, registration, walk through every scenario of a repeat. I needed to know my babies entrance into the world would be the best it possibly could be given any situation.

 I needed a doctor I could trust. And a skilled surgeon I trusted.

Part Five: In which I dive in and do a brave thing scared.

I took a few weeks and interviewed other OB's. Finally at 30 weeks pregnant, I  realized, I'm out of time: I called a (very) local OB (very close to my home) and just signed on with them. As far as any one could tell J (my new MW) didn't exisit, and I had completely ended my professional relationship with my former MW at 26ish weeks. I called and explained that I didn't have care any more and I knew a lot of people who had had babies with them (my MIL had 4!) and had had great experiences.

That office rocks. I have no idea if they viewed me with suspicion, they probably did as the EVIL-Horror-Story-OB had written "Looking for back up" on my u/s report she faxed to them (insert mean word here :mutter). But they didn't ask many questions of me. And I kept my answers simple. But either way, they took great care of Newby, I mean Piper, and me. And they restored my respect in OBGYN care. Seriously, they were fantastic!

At 34 weeks Ryan (hubby) and I toured the hospital and pre-registered. I asked about this hospital (a different hospital from where I had Riley) handled cesarean births. I asked about their mother- baby practices. I was both impressed and encouraged. Baby goes right to Mama's chest in the event of a non-emergent cesarean!  I really walked out and planned this hospital birth. I honestly didn't know if I wanted a home birth and /I was excited to have this opportunity to embrace a hospital birth.

So we were covered. We had prenatal care coming out our ears, and I felt peace I would labor at home- like I would with any baby- as long as possible and see how it unfolded. If I felt like I wanted to be in the hospital: I'd go. If things moved fast and there wasn't time, we had experienced hands there to keep us safe.

And either way, Piper was protected (as much was in my ability to do so). I really liked doing it this way, if I was just planning a hospital birth, I wouldn't have some one at home all that time monitoring her heart rate (intermitently) and making sure every body was okay.  I really felt good about this plan. Really good.

Part Six: Baby Time...HA!
How I felt during my pregnancy...Strong!
Saturday December 31, 2011 a special day, the 4 year Birth Day of my entrance into Motherhood...And Riley into this world. I woke up that morning feeling kind of off, but was determined to celebrate with my Birthday Girl. We dropped Amity off at Nana's and took Riley to her first movie (The Muppet Movie) and out for an ice cream sundae at Friendly's. I was having strange (and strong) contractions all that day, I kept drinking water in the hopes it would make them go away...I took a nap with the girls that afternoon and woke up feeling awful. Contractions felt weird and were making me run to the bathroom...I started to get nauseous. I started to dry heave. At some point mid-dry heave I felt a gush of warm slippery and the baby dropped down ( I felt her, it was a weird sensation!). I looked down at my pants and they were wet and slippery. My water had broken at the onset of labor with both my other babies, I was in shock. I called my MW and she said to keep an eye on it and she'd be in touch... Contractions and "clean out" continued all that afternoon....and night... and the next day. At some point J (MW) came over and checked on us and did the litmus test: it changed color (meaning there most likely had been some sort of leak). She said we'd monitor it.  Monday morning we sent the girls to my Mom's for the day to see if we could get labor going. I had been a little leaky those 2 days, but really very minimally. I had so much peace about the situation and wasn't concerned at all about it. I knew leaks happen and can reseal and it just didn't seem like a big deal.

But I had been contracting a LOT, I was sore and tired and wondering if my body just needed some space to get things going. So that morning (still Monday, 1/2/12) Ryan went into work for a bit and after the girls were off with my Mom.  I turned on some worship music and walked around and belly danced through contractions. One song in particular hit me hard, like a wave washing over me: Jesus started to speak (via Jesus Culture).

"Come away with me...Come away with me... It's never too late...It's never too late...It's not too late. I have a plan for you. I have a plan for you...It's gonna be wild, it's gonna be great...It's gonna be full of me."

I heard him singing this over me, felt His comforting presence. I spent the hour with Him, letting him love on me...crying...Sharing my stress and fears about this pregnancy and birth. I felt Him say this was going to be wild...It was going to be very hard... It was going to be an intense time of healing. It was going to be LONG (I didn't want to hear that part)...And He was going to teach me what it was to Come Away. That I was going to need it as a parent to these 3 precious souls...I also heard Him say that this wasn't just the birth of a baby, this was the birth of some thing new in me...Some thing that would touch the rest of my life.

Part Seven: It was Long, Freaking LONG
39 weeks

Labor got intense that Monday Contractions were close and hard and we were hurrying to get the tub set up. And then we couldn't get it figure out.. and it fizzled. I didn't have any more leaking (at some point early that week I noticed I was completely dry...And was actually lacking most "labors coming soon" discharge). The thought was, that it was a high leak that resealed. I decided I was fine with that, and I practiced good hygiene and decided to just play it by ear. It felt right.  

Oh I wanted to add, when I went to the OB at 33 weeks they did some tests and discovered I had a fairly (really, actually) advanced UTI/bladder infection. I was starting to feel yucky and run down and when they told me that I had infection I went "oooooh, duh!" and I got on antibiotics right away (around 34 weeks). After the antibiotics I added  some heavy duty probiotics (supplement), and kifir and raw milk to my diet to build my gut back up. At  my 36 week appointment they did the swab for Group B strep and I was negative, they also tested me for a few other things (that I knew I was negative for) and any other infections as well as another clean catch: I was all good= no problems! That was all in 2 days before this whole thing started. So when I had the question about leakage I had that clinical information to go by as well: I was in a very good place. And had I not hired the OB's I probably wouldn't have discovered the UTI until a week or two later when I finally would have given in and called my GP to get checked out (I hate making appointments/phone calls it's a definite erm...struggle of mine).

So all that, but mainly instinct, told me that everything was okay... And I felt comfortable waiting.

And so labor insanity continued, it was hard. It got intense 2 or 3 days a week for the next 3+ weeks. Infuriating and exhausting. It would act just like real labor, start out slow and easy, and then get faster and harder until I'd actually text J and let her know...And then a few hours later, fiiiiiizle.
At some point in there I decided to splurge (it's not exactly in the budget) and go to my chiropractor and get an adjustment. I hadn't seen her much since Amity was born and we had a really great visit. She evened me out and right after that adjustment I felt Piper drop even more, walking was now very painful. But I figured, it's all part of the process right? Some where in here we (ie me) did a vaginal exam (limiting them, just in case) and my cervix was very easy to reach,  I felt that I was thinning well and around 3ish centimeters (by my guess)...That encouraged me.
It wasn't all bad...I mean sleep didn't happen easily, and I was tired. Those weeks will always be precious to me. We were more intentional about our time with the girls... And there was a definite shifting going on in that time. We were making room for Piper, each in our own way. And I certainly got a TON of projects out of the way!! It was all part of the process, and a better plan than I could have come up with. It was what we needed. Even though it was hard.

But 41 weeks found me still pregnant. I was just getting over a nasty cold, exhausted and DONE.
How Low can ya go?

January 2012 is up there on my "hardest months of my life" list. Parenting (oh not so well) 2 young children while super pregnant and dealing with constant prodromal labor, sucks. If it weren't for my Mom coming daily after work to get me through, and DH taking some early days... Would not have made it. So thankful for those two precious people!

And so we waited... Nothing was making this happen.

Not even BROWNIES!!!! (maybe because I was too lazy to climb on the fridge...)

Oh I was still laboring, but it just wouldn't go over the edge. I went and got Chiropractic adjustments, accupuncture -though they felt great - weren't getting this kid out! It seemed no amount of working through fears (though wonderful and necessary- I had a lot), talking to baby, walking, belly dancing, praying, begging, crying, weeping, gnashing of get the picture- the kid was just REALLY happy in there. And I was so ready. And yet, Piper didn't feel all that big, and I knew on some level she really did (obviously) need that time to bake. I wasn't -even on my most labory days- willing to do too much. Even with the question of the water leak, I held back. I just knew in my heart the time was meant for rest, and not work. In the center of it all,  I knew, this child had to start the process...I wasn't going to push it. I wasn't willing to do any thing drastic. And I so I waited.

It was such a roller coaster, up down up down. I would surrender, I would fight and cry, I would surrender and joyfully wait...I would fight and cry.
Birth Art: Pregnancy.

One of the songs that really ministered to me during those weeks was by Sanctus Real "Whatever You're Doing"

It's time for healing time to move on 
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong 
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me 
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you're doing inside of me 
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...

It's time to face up
Clean this old house 
Time breathe in and let everything out

And that, is really the story of the journey...The beginning, and the end...Which leads me to:

Part Eight: Let's get this show on the road!
 January 25, at 41w and change, I went into the OB for an appointment and an NST.  I consented to a check (first vaginal exam with the OB's- they were seriously so hands off, it was great) I was a "stretchy" 4cm and 80% effaced and the NST said I was having contractions every 3-5 min (nothing new). Piper was a very happy and doing great so the OB said it was whatever, she offered to induce me (I certainly was favorable for it to work!) but was fine with letting me  "wait it out". She didn't think it would be long. It *had* to be soon... I had had bloody show that weekend, and contractions were getting so intense they were keeping me up at night.

I left the appointment feeling secure in the knowledge that I'm made the right decision for now...But TIRED.

Part Nine: Okay SERIOUSLY NOW!
Birth Art: Peaceful Birth

Thursday January 26, 2012. That day found me DONE. I mean, "just sign me up for a repeat" DONE. The contractions were getting deeper and I was needing to vocalize through a few an hour...They were waking me up out of sleep and leaving me moaning. Around 4 a.m. that morning I texted my Mom and told her (essentially) "it's today, no matter what". I got up at that point and went to the store to get food for the  next few days...Amity has some serious dietary restrictions and I wanted to be sure she had plenty to eat for the next few days. Around 7a.m. my Mom came and got the girls, who were all packed up for the long haul and "weren't coming back until this baby is OUT!".
Around 10 in the morning J came to do a prenatal. She walked in the door and I started crying, "today has to be the day...It has to be...I can't do this any more. If this baby doesn't come today I'm going in for an induction..." I wasn't kidding.  She checked me, I was 5cm, "very very thin and whoa really really soft," Piper was at 0 station and well applied (as she had been for about 2 weeks- yeah, I was miserable).

So we talked about my options. It was decided: pumping for an hour (10 on one side, 10 off, 10 on the other) and then an hour of brisk walking. She left caster oil with me if I wanted to try that later... And we'd talk about AROM (artificial rupture of membranes) later that day if it was some thing I felt like doing (though J, honestly didn't feel it would come to that).

I didn't want to do caster oil unless it was my only option to get things going. So I sat with the pump and bounced on my trusty balance ball, and watched Fraiser episodes with Ryan (we just grew up enough- or some thing- to find this show funny..?LOVE it!) And we laughed and laughed and laughed...I think the laughing helped on so many levels.

After pumping we headed to the park and walked and joked, laughed and talked. After our walk we went to a local health food store/deli and ordered Tuna sandwiches- oh my word AMAAAAZING. It was kind of funny, the lady working behind the counter actually was a Mama I met at the chiropractor the week before...She went 10 days late with her first baby and she could comiserate. "Oh wow, your baby is still in there, huh?" We chatted- turns out she had a home birth as well. When she handed me my sandwich she said, "I put some extra birthy vibes in it just for you." :0D So That's what did it... A tuna sandwich from HA's cafe! :0D
Anyway, we ate our lunch and went home and I did another round of pumping, bouncing and laughing and contractions were 2-4min apart and getting intense. Around this time Ryan started setting up the tub...

I texted J around 2ish to let her know what was up with the contractions, and she said she'd be right over. In the mean time I walked and swayed and worked through contractions...I was still pretty happy.

J got there about 30 minutes later, and checked me.  I was 5 (still) but completely effaced and my cervix was even lower and baby was at +1 station... Also she said I was so stretchy she could stretch me anywhere with how flexible my cervix was. I had been starting to feel my bag of waters bulge during contractions and she could feel it too. We talked for about 30 minutes about breaking it. Note: Riley's labor was "augmented" with AROM and I think it directly lead to my having a cesarean birth. It was some thing I swore i would never EVER do again. And yet I found myself considering it... I attribute this to healing, big time.  We decided to wait until D would arrive in an hour (yes, the original MW, D!!! She doesn't often assist J but it worked out that there were no other MW's available!!!! She was at my birth!!Squee- and I pretty much completely ignored her I was in labor land! Ah wel! :0)  and see how we felt then.

I thought for sure labor would fizzle once J arrived (???) I don't know why, I just thought this couldn't be it. And I felt bad that D was driving all that way- it was probably going to be hours and hours and hours yet.  My weeks of prodromal labor had kinda conditioned me to be a bit of a wet blanket. :0#

And then things got intense.  My pants started to annoy me, I changed to looser ones...Then my underwear was annoying me...I found bigger ones... Then my socks weren't right...Then I felt a little queasy... Contractions were every 1-2 minutes and I was vocalizing and or crying with each one. I was mainly crying because they were overwhelming and big. And because I couldn't believe that they were real, and my body was doing it! and then I was crying because- what if it wasn't "it"??? I was so happy, and sad, and all over the place and weepy. I was (unbeknownst to me) in transition.  I stood against the side of the couch for contractions while Ryan either came to hold me during contractions and I would press back into him, or was hurrying to finish getting the tub filled (so glad we did that earlier, when he set it up I was sure it wouldn't get used- ha!).

During one particularly hard contraction I realized my pants felt wet: that slippery warm "oh it's my water!" wet like a few weeks before. I mentioned it to J. Around this time I stopped vocalizing, it wasn't helping me...It was making me want to panic.(J said at this point I was getting up on my toes during contractions and she was thinking that I was in transition)... I started a breathing technique the assistant taught me at Amity's birth... Iiiiin Out out ouuuuuuuuut. I did that 3 or 4 times with each contraction and it gave me some thing to *do* to concentrate on. It also made me feel like the contractions were effective. Like I was breathing out of both my mouth and out below.

Around 4:20 (so after about 20 minutes of the breathing) I announced that I needed to get in the tub, the contractions were all in my lower belly and I was feeling an immense amount of pressure. I got in the water and floated: relief.

My contractions immediately spaced to every few minutes and were a little easier to manage. I suspect I was complete at this point (we never checked) because the contractions changed from being the burning "open" sensation to this awesome pressure in my bum and tail bone. J checked on Piper at points in here...But I was still gearing up for the long haul. I wasn't even convinced I'd been through transition yet...Sure it was SUPER hard and intense work...But I don't know. I guess I was in denial? I just remembered it all being like a freight train with Amity (who came out LOT, ear first with her arm cocked over her head).

I think around 5:00pm - just after D arrived- I felt a massive pressure and need to pass gas (I thought) I tried, and WHOA! HUGE bubble of amniotic fluid came wafting out- so neat! A few contractions later I had the same thing happen, And yet, I still wasn't super convinced that things were really happening (???)...3 weeks of prodromal labor really can mess with your mind. For the most part Ryan was busying himself keeping the water warm. And I think D and J were in the bedroom talking and finishing getting stuff together for the birth.

And I was alone...And it felt so right. Eventually (I think when Ryan told them that I thought m water had really full gone) every one was sitting quietly around the tub. I felt like I was the most boring birthing Mom ever. I didn't need any one, I didn't want any one talking, I didn't need encouragement or coaching. I was just floating in my own little world. And every one was sitting on the edge waiting silently.

Contractions were huge, all encompassing. When I felt one coming I'd lift my self up to a full float in the water and would sway/twist my hips. I'd breath and float and wait for it to pass...Riding it out like an ocean wave.  I remember wanting to complain that it was really hard and I was done. I remember wishing there was some thing I could do to make it be over. I wondered if I did some thing else if it would be easier. But I couldn't bring myself to change positions. And anytime I tried talking, I'd want to panic.  I just had to "Come Away". I started to pray when I felt a big one coming "Jesus, thank you...Hold me...Holy Spirit, show me who I am in you..."

I was just there, and he was with me...He was holding my face in His hands and whispering, "It's okay... Breath... These can't be stronger than you, this is you...this is you....this is you...You're fantastic...You're doing it... Don't think about any thing but this moment. Stay here...You're doing it...You're here, in this moment...this is you... be here."

I might at one point been whispering "it's's's you.." and "oh wow oh wow oh wow..." I remember thinking "I hope they don't think I'm saying "oh ow", it doesn't hurt it's just so big." :giggle

I continued to float and dance my hips side to side, floating on my back, bracing my head against one end of the tub and my feet against the other... And then it hit. This lightening bolt of ...I don't know how describe it...But suddenly I couldn't relax through the contraction- some thing was happening.

At first, I was sure I just needed to throw up "Oh Transition is here, finally!", I thought. (HAHAHAHA) I had 2 convulsions where some thing just ripped through my body and I guess I was grunting. It didn't feel like pushing. Ryan said J and D saw what was happening and jumped up at that moment and started grabbing gloves and blankets and towels. I said, "I think I'm going to throw up" and asked for the bowl. I honestly didn't think I was any where close to having the baby. I rolled to my hands and knees and grabbed the side of the tub and suddenly, I was being turned inside out. Wait, what?!??! I'M PUSHING?!?  Oh it didn't feel good. I wouldn't say it hurt, but it felt weird and big and I had no control over it. I pushed and J said "Hannah, reach down and feel your baby's head."

Wait, what? The heads out?!?! There was no ring of fire (though maybe a little stinging?) and I felt her soft fragile little head down there. So soft and squishy. At this point I was scared it would be forever until the rest of her would come out I remember saying, "Oh please get it out!" and J told me I was doing great and to push again with the next contraction...I did and I felt Piper's slippery little body slide out. INCREDIBLE.

When Friendly came out it was so intense and fast I didn't feel any thing but burning and power. Being in the water I could really feel every thing. I quickly flipped my leg over her and pulled her out of the water to my chest. Her cord was so short she barely reached high enough on me to keep her face out and every one was trying to support us up and out a little.

I had been looking forward to that moment for almost a year, holding the fresh new life, it was incredible. After a minute I peeked between her legs and saw what I knew was true: It was a girl. I started yelling "Oh a girl! Girl! a GIRL!!!! Oh Piper Hi!! Oh hello Piper!! Oh I'm so glad it's you!" (we caught all of this on video- I'll hopefully post the birth video soon).

It was perfect, just perfect.

Eventually we got out of the tub- the placenta fell out when I stood to get out. Every one helped me dry off and get set up on the couch. We had a bit of a time getting Piper situated, we hadn't cut the cord yet- and she was still attached to the placenta. She was angry, she wanted milk and it took a good  bit of practice to get her to latch on- she wanted her fingers and couldn't understand why food wasn't just coming to her as it had been before when she sucked on her fingers inside of me.

After a nice long nursing session we did the newborn exam.

7lbs 6oz and 20 inches long. 
Perfect 13inch head, no molding. 
Every thing was perfect.  

I had no tears, or even any bruising- I feel fantastic...At one day postpartum I feel better than I did at 3 weeks  postpartum with Amity! Though I've been in bed ever since I got out of the shower, and don't plan on leaving for another 6 days.

After the exam I got my shower and got out just in time for big sisters to come home and meet Piper.

I feel like Piper has brought the balance we needed to this little group of girlies, I am so excited to have two big helpers around - and they are both so excited to see every thing she does. We're all so in love.

I can't say how thankful I am for this journey...for the growth...the peace and the gentle, surprising, and just absolutely amazing birth experience. I can honestly say, that was some of the most difficult work I have ever done...It wasn't physically hard like it was with Amity. It was mentally just took every thing I had to stay in that zone with Jesus, my doula. It was the most over powering and biggest thing I have ever experienced. And I am so thankful for it.

I am also just blown away and blessed by the Mamas I've met around the world (thanks to message boards and  support groups) who were lifting me up and encouraging me the whole long month. I felt your prayers...And I thank you.
Piper Joy- 4 days old. 

6 mos old...Chill'n


Cyndel said…
Oh Wow!
Your journey was amazing! So much thought and prayer and listening to instincts. Thank you for sharing you beautiful story!
Jesus is so amazing!