To get the full impact of my last birth, I feel like you need some background information from my first two births. All of my stories have been very unique and different from each other.
My first was induced at 40 weeks (after putting off my doctor for almost a week.) After less than 12 hours of labor I was labeled failure to progress and had a csection. I like to tell that birth story as an example of “what NOT to do.” My second birth was only 19 months after my first. I found a new supportive doctor and had a non-medicated vbac. About 12 hours of labor and 3 days after my estimated due date. This birth was monumental because I realized that my body can push a baby out!
Fast forward to my third pregnancy. I knew I wanted to give birth outside of a hospital. Unfortunately due to my previous cs, my options were limited, even in a large city. There was exactly one midwife and birth center that would take me. I wanted to plan for a water birth with the help of hynobabies. I used hynobabies with my second birth and used the techniques up until a point. I figured I would do the same this time. I also knew I wanted a doula. While my husband is very involved and likes to be part of the birthing experience I just knew this is what I needed.
I fought my midwife my entire pregnancy about my due date. She said April 28th. I said May 3rd. That’s quite a difference when it comes down to the final weeks of pregnancy. April 28th passed. She joked that I was probably right and the baby would come right on his due date. May 3rd passed. My entire pregnancy I told everyone and anyone that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was to be able to have a Bloody Mary for breakfast. May 8th (Mother’s Day) came. No baby. I ate bacon for breakfast instead.
I was now 5 days past my edd, and 10 past my midwife’s. My sister also arrive in town that day. She’s always wanted to be at one of my births. Around 2 pm I started having contractions. Headed out the door…to go get a pedicure. It’s never too late, right?! Afterwards my husband, sister and I decided to head down to the birth center since it was a 45 minute drive. Contractions at this point were 3-5 minutes apart. I used the drive to listen to my hypnobabies cds. We met our midwife, Claudine, at the birth center to get checked around 6 pm. She checked me and I was at 3-4 cm and 90% effaced. We left the birth center to go get dinner and arrived back around 8 pm. Our doula met us there. I was getting pretty tired and tried to lay down to rest between contractions. They were getting hard to sit through so we decided to walk. Our birthing room had a door to outside so we walked the parking lot. The air was cool and the sky was clear. I wasn’t even allowed to walk the halls in the hospital with my last birth, and here I was outside!
Things started picking up and Claudine checked me again. I was at about a 7 cm. I got the okay to get into the birthing tub. Such relief! I labored in there for probably 3-4 hours. I actually had no clue what time everything was happening at. My contractions never got super close together but were increasing in intensity. My doula was instrumental in everything she did for me AND my husband. I vividly remember still joking and laughing between contractions and feeling my baby move down. At one point the midwife’s assistant said she would see the head and I told her she could just pull him out then.
Around 3 a.m. Claudine told me that the baby was having compression’s during the contractions. Basically, his heart rate was rebounding great after the contraction but dipping pretty low during. She told me that we could start pushing, but we couldn’t do it forever. “You and only you are going to have to push this baby out now.” I pushed through maybe 3 contractions in the tub before making the decision to get out. The water was spacing out my contractions too much, and we didn’t want labor to stall at 10 cm. At this point there was at least 5 minutes between contractions. As soon as I got out of the tub contractions picked back up.
I pushed for maybe 20 minutes total and pulled my baby out and up onto my chest!
Avery Whalen was born 8 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long at 3:48 a.m. Three short hours later and we were recovering at home in our own bed! In the past 3.5 years I’ve had a C-section, hospital vbac, and birth center vbac. Birth isn’t easy regardless of the path that you take, but in the end it is all worth it!
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