April 25, 2017, 3PM—Miss M 6lbs 12oz, 21 inches, @ 41+1 weeks
It was now time for my second birth. I was armed with Ina May Gaskin’s book, The Guide to Childbirth and was determined to have a birth the way I wanted. We hired a doula, interviewed many doctors, and only allowed one ultra sound. My pregnancy was mostly uneventful (yay), but I did end up going past my due date. My doctor told me that he would let me go past my due date as long as baby was doing well. I was so grateful because my other potential doctors said they would induce me at 40 weeks on the button–I had an expiration date. However, I had a goal, and that goal was to have a natural, vaginal birth which I knew hinged upon starting labor on my own. This was a big battle that I needed to win to have a successful Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
At 41+1 I went into labor at 12 AM. I labored at home, stood in my shower, and stretched on my living room floor. I remember turning on Friends and being so giddy. This was my first time experiencing contractions naturally and as I bounced on my birth ball in front of the TV, I couldn’t help but grin with anticipation. I called my doula around 2:30 am because I felt that the contractions were so intense that baby HAD to be almost here (nope!). At 3AM we made the trip to the hospital—my labor of course slowed down but I was determined to do this. I walked the halls with my doula, sat on our birth ball, and was building with nervous excitement. My labor was still going slowly at which point our doctor advised he break my water to help speed things up. I agreed and had been tolerating contractions pretty well up to that point. After they broke my water labor went from tolerable, to excruciating.
I went into the hospital shower laboring there for awhile as well as crying on and off. I also moved to the rocking chair, and tried a birthing peanut cushion (I hated that position!). Everything was excruciating. I couldn’t believe the amount of pain I was in. My body was surging with power and moving baby down but I didn’t know how much more of this I could take. At 8cm I began to beg for an epidural (nothing can prepare you for transition or active labor).
My husband knew I didn’t actually want an epidural and so he told the nurses to ignore me. After a few more pleas from me the nurses told my husband they couldn’t ignore me anymore. A nurse left to go get the epidural. I felt pain like I had never experienced before and I just wanted to run away. I literally wanted to just keep her inside me forever and just leave the hospital. “The only way out of this is to give birth,” I told myself. I knew I was going to meet my baby soon because I couldn’t manage another minute. After I had Miss M my husband told me he was prepared to bar the door and keep the anesthesiologist out of the room. Luckily, it didn’t come to that, because before she got back my body began to push.
The nurses began to yell for me to stop and wait for the doctor. It was impossible to stop my body! My doula whispered in my ear that I was doing great and everything was okay. My body contracted, and pushed as I squeezed my husbands hand I felt Miss M slide out. We heard her cry and felt her warmth as she laid on my chest. I did it. I pushed her out in about 8 minutes–unbelievable!
My heart exploded with love and gratitude. Miss M and I laid there together for hours. I told everyone to leave us alone. She began to nurse right away and was such a champ. A nurse mentioned a nipple shield and immediately and firmly said no. I didn’t want the same breastfeeding struggles I had with Little Man. We snuggled together and never left each others side. I watched her as she got her tests done, and held her when it was all over. I sang to her, walked around our room, I changed her diaper, and I took a shower (STANDING UP)!
We left the hospital and I was able to pick up my eldest, my Little Man. I held him and kissed him and reminded him of my deep love for him. I rocked Miss M, and sat on the floor building block towers with Little Man—introducing them to each other. I was filled with gratefulness– I reached my goal. I finally had the birth I so desperately wanted.
Birth. It shouldn’t be done to you. YOU are the one who should participate, and through all your power and feminine might bring your baby out of the womb and into the world. It’s our right to birth the way we want, and no one should be able to take that away from us. Unfortunately, sometimes we need to fight for what we want and be our own advocate. My experience didn’t come without trial, or pain, but it was worth it to have a healthy strong baby and a healthy, positive birth.
Miss M is now a strong willed, tender hearted 3 year old, and we can’t get enough of her.