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My son Judah was born via C section just shy of eighteen months ago. At my 34 week check up it was discovered that he was breech and nothing that I tried over the next three weeks could get him to turn. I was forced to have a C section at 39 weeks 1 day. While my C section was as positive as it could have been I still felt so distraught that I was not able to experience labor and delivery. I had never even experienced a contraction and felt as though I had lost something special about becoming a mother. I knew that if I found myself expecting again that I would do anything to have a natural birth.
My husband and I were shocked to find that I was expecting again less than 9 months later. We were blessed with an easy pregnancy and were ecstatic to learn that we were having another son. At every ultrasound and check up I nervously asked the midwives if the baby was head down and time after time I was told that he was breech but we continued to plan to have a VBAC delivery. I sobbed with joy when I found that my little guy had turned head down at my 30 week appointment. From that day forward he stayed head down.
On Monday, November 19, 2012 I had a normal 39.3 week checkup scheduled and my midwife determined that I was 3cm dilated and agreed to do a membrane sweep. Knowing that my options for induction were very limited, she also gave me a recipe for a drink that she claimed would get things started (1/2 cup orange juice, ½ cup Champagne, 2 teaspoons almond butter and 1 oz caster oil). I headed home feeling positive that I would have my little guy that night even though I had yet to have any real contractions during my pregnancy.
That night I cleaned the house and spent the evening playing with my son and talking to him about the baby. After I put him to sleep I mixed the drink and enjoyed my first taste of alcohol in nine months! With still no signs of anything other than a mild cramp or two I headed to bed at 9:30pm.
At 11:19 p.m. I woke up from a dead sleep and felt my water breaking. I jumped out of bed and as soon as my feet hit the floor a huge gush of water soaked my pants and the floor around me. My husband shot out of bed and began frantically moving around asking what to do. I calmly cleaned up and told him to calm down as I hadn’t even had a contraction yet. I called my mother and told her to head over to the house to stay with my son but explained that she didn’t need to hurry. I started to gather some things to take to the hospital and my first contraction hit hard. I doubled over and got through it while starting the stopwatch on my phone. I began contracting every two minutes and knew that we had to go immediately. I called my mother again and told her to get to the house NOW! She arrived at 11:40 p.m. and I struggled to get to the car.
During the drive to the hospital my contractions moved closer together and were just over one minute apart when we arrived. The ER took us straight to Labor and Delivery and we arrived on the floor at 12:06 a.m. with contraction less than a minute apart and dilated to 4 cm. I was admitted and they placed the monitors on my stomach and ran IV’s. I had to have an extra IV ready in the event that I would have to have a C section. I had to remain on a monitor at all times during the deliver (policy for the hospital for VBACs). The monitors irritated me so badly and I was so frustrated at being confined to a small area.
I was left with my husband to labor and found that I could not focus with any interaction from him. He sat quietly behind me as I labored on a birthing stool for the first hour. I kept my eyes trained on the monitors and watched as my contractions peaked off of the paper over and over and continued to move closer together. At 1:15 am I was at 5.5 cm and was struggling to get through each contraction. At that point I was moaning and praying and doing anything to fight through contractions. At 2 pm I was almost at 7 cm. After much hesitation, I decided to get the epidural. The doctor arrived within minutes to place the epidural as I was nearing the point where it would no longer be possible. The epidural process was so difficult as I struggled to remain relaxed and it took several minutes to be placed. The effects were nearly immediate and I was pleased with how I felt. I was still able to move my legs and feel contractions and pressure but the pain was minimal.
After the epidural I was able to rest for a few minutes and joked with my husband about how the night had progressed. At 3:25 a.m. I had reached 9 cm. At 3:45 a.m. the midwife brought in a birthing bar and set up to begin pushing. With just my husband, a nurse and the midwife in the room the setting seemed to be surreal. The lights were low and everyone stayed very quiet and calm during the process. I began to push at 3:50 a.m. My midwife was so quiet and encouraging that I was able to focus on every contraction with ease. After thirty minutes of pushing, Josiah Owen arrived and was placed directly on my chest. I held him close and gasped at how large he was. He immediately began to cry and squeal and my husband and I held him close and welcomed him. He weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 12 oz, 21.5 inches long at 39 weeks 4 days. I had a few small first degree tears that required six stitches. From water breaking to holding my baby was just over five hours.
I feel so blessed to have had to opportunity to have a natural delivery and I am grateful that I was able to make it through the process with such a large baby. My midwife team was so supportive of my decision to VBAC from the start and helped to give me the courage to move forward with the process. I am so lucky to live in an area where women are given the opportunity to give birth in any way that they choose.
Giving birth to Josiah was a healing experience after the disappointment of my first delivery. My beautiful boys entered the world in very different ways but they are both amazing blessings in my life and I am so thankful to have delivered healthy babies regardless of how they found their way into the world.
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