My empowering VBAC
My faith rose up the day the OB told me he would be c-sectioning me the next morning (since I was 40 weeks and had already had a section with my first.) I got a membrane sweep from that same doc and left the hospital in labor, doing squats while we visited my friend Marci's baby Noah at the NICU on another floor. My mother in law was with me and we had an hour and a half drive back home. We stopped at the mall to walk around and let my oldest play and "mommy," as we call her, encouraged me to get back home so that I could soon turn around with my husband. We made one more stop to Haggan to fix up a "Lebanse tea" that a provider had shared about. She mentioned making it when labor begins in order to help labor progress. I grabbed some tea and some lemonade and the staff helped me find the final ingredient: rose water. Who knows if it worked! But it was tasty and provided hydration!
I attempted to get some sleep but the contractions continued to get closer together. After Solara was down for bed, I took a bath and then spent time in the living room watching a movie--taking moments to sit and rocking behind the couch through contractions. As things intensified I consulted with mommy about if she felt I should leave for the hospital and she encouraged me to wake Matt and get on our way since we had a good drive in front of us. By 3 am we were on our way back. I kneeled down in the seat of the car, facing the bucket seat and hugging it during every contraction.
We arrived back at the hospital 12 hours after my appointment. The worst part was laying down in the triage room for them to get vitals, get a 20-min strip of baby and I, and do a cervical check. I was 5.5cm and was able to be checked in to my own room. I had an amazing nurse by my side. And Matthew met my every request. I remember moving from the bath to room, the room to the bath and so on. In the bath, the nurse and Matt took turns with the shower hose pouring hot water over my back. Lights low, I asked Matt to put out my battery lit candles and play me some Alicia Keys--that is my girl when it comes to relaxation! Baths with candles and Alicia Keys are a regular thing for me. (SIDE doula note, I can't help myself: do what's already comforting to you in your everyday during labor if possible! It will create a calming environment from the get go.)
At one point I remember being hungry. Matt had gotten some Uber Eats to the room. I had a few bites of breakfast but more so wanted Skittles, so skittles he got me! The tiny bits of sugar helped to sustain my energy. I continued drinking my tea and water too. I remember feeling so conflicted during transition. I even said out loud, "I can't do this," "I don't want to do this anymore." My nurse and Matt stayed present and encouraged me saying I could and would. I had felt the urge to tell myself out loud that "I can do this," as silly as it sounds. But it gave me power and strength--as did all the praying I had to do to keep my mind right. It was really about surrendering to all the pain and sensations, and letting my body relax and work with the contractions. When I tell you I prayed, I mean I PRAYED. It was such a spiritual experience and I felt Jesus pour out a new measure of strength and grace. Soon after, I was pushing, which lasted about two hours. My midwife was so patient and remained with me the entire time.
I asked Matt to sit behind me because at this point I was squatting during the push with the contraction and then sitting back while I waited for the next one. (The next day my legs felt train wrecked! but so worth it!) The back of the bed was just so far away I needed something or someone to lean on. He looked at the staff and was like, "do husbands do this?" They answered empahtically, "If she wants you to, you do it!" ha! I can't stress how supportive my team was. Contraction after contraction I leaned in to the bar, squatting, and grunting and then leaned back on my husband. I found it so helpful to make noise during all of labor. I had heard something like this said: "open mouth open vagina, low sounds push baby low." (I even had to ask for cough drops after because my throat felt so sore, hehe.)
Anyways, once Sloane's head was out, she punched an arm through! Ouch! But what a way to show she'd live in her name from the get-go. My "warrior". I remember the midwife asking if I wanted to pull her out. I shook my head yes and she took my hands to place them around Sloane then encouraged me to give one more good push. I pulled her up on me and that was that. The tears, the adrenaline. Wow. I just remember holding her and feeling so blessed and accomplished. I had achieved the unmedicated vaginal birth after a cesarean that I so badly wanted to experience for myself--all while my husband cheered me on and videotaped, haha! He cut the cord and got a good look at the placenta with the midwife. I think he really enjoyed the experience as well.
Sloane arrived 12 hours after arriving to the hospital. She was born at 15:55 on March 22, 2018 weighing 7lbs 6oz and being 20 inches long. I give glory to God for this experience. Even the time of birth was so meaningful as the number 5 means grace, which is what I felt and also Sloane's middle name. I was so thankful to experience birth in such an empowering way, feel the presence of the Lord so near, and deepen by relationship with Matt. Birth is so incredible and life is such a gift.