Shari, you are such an amazingly beautiful woman; tenacious, steadfast, and headstrong! You committed yourself to the birth you wanted it, and although you battled your mind and heart through a trying process, you came out victorious!
Your provider, although he was supportive of
a VBAC, his nurse practitioner and his back up weren't. When you
learned of his plans for vacation, you began to get worried. When his NP
started discouraging you with false statistics, induction talk, and the
benefits of scheduling a repeat cesarean, you became even more
discouraged and worried.
I talked with you about how we would
manage labor if your doctor was out of town and we discussed how to
stall any hasty scheduling of cesareans or inductions. And I reminded
you that it wasn't too late to transfer care to a home birth midwife. I
could hear the wheels turning after that conversation.
So, at 39
weeks, you hired a home birth midwife. Early labor had been going on
for days. Prodromal, bothersome, discouraging stuff... You would have
evening through early morning labor, but nothing much during the day
time. At the same time, you were starting to show slightly elevated
blood pressure and low amniotic fluid levels. Your midwife put you on a
strict diet and daily practice routine and your blood pressure
Then, one morning, you woke and labor hadn't stopped.
You were getting some mucousy show, and I felt you were really entering
your true birthing time. Your husband ran past another doula's house to
get a last-minute birthing pool and set it up.
arrived to your home to check on you before she committed to going to
another clients house a few hours away. When she got there, you were
found to be early/active laboring, and your cervix was 3cm and 80%
I headed right over and your midwife cancelled her
evening plans. You were making ready to have a baby. When I arrived, you
were very chatty and we talked a lot about your last minute choices and
how encouraged you were with your birth team. I massaged your back,
offered counterpressure, gave cold washcloths, and recommended position
You were intuitive, happy, but serious. I could tell
that days of early labor, along with the stress of your last week of
pregnancy and prenatals, had really taken their toll on your emotional
and physical health. So we set out to emotionally encourage you while
giving you as much rest as your labor would allow.
from the bedroom on your side, to the bathroom on the toilet, to the
ball in your living room... restless and active, tired and stoic. Nearly
every hour I would hear you mumble, to no one in particular "I'm
done"... And I would pipe up "Done with the bathroom?" while helping you
back to the ball, or "Done with your water?" before refilling it again.
I knew you were feeling empty, but I was going to be your optimism,
even when you felt far from finished.
Soon, you began making
lots of pushy noises and you moved from 7cm to complete rather rapidly.
You finally sank into the pool, only to have to get out right away when
babies heart rate dipped low and didn't recover very fast.
then began pushing on your side, but it only worked for a short time
before babies heart rate again began to dip. So, to the birthing stool
we moved, where, again, babies heart rate tolerated it for the space of a
contraction or two before getting wonky again.
dipping too low and staying too low too long, we talked with you and
your husband about the need to move to the hospital. We weren't giving
up the goal of a VBAC though, and we had a plan in place for when we
After you were both packed into your car and your
midwife had given me a secondary E-childbirth kit (mine was already in
my trunk) we sped off toward the hospital. On the way, I was pulled over
for our speeding, but I was glad to see your tail lights continue on
around a corner, because, although you were in knee chest position in
the back seat, your urges to push were becoming overwhelming.
I arrived about 10 minutes after you had, and you were already in your room. The hospital was not being
all that accommodating and they were attempting to separate you and
your husband regardless of the fact that you were actively pushing with
every contraction, which were nicely spaced to 5 minutes apart. When I
arrived in your room, I had had the opportunity already to talk with
administration in the hallway and notify them of why you both were unwilling to separate for admitting (which was standard practice at this hospital).
were admitted to a room and were going through preliminary paperwork
while the doctor was on his way to the hospital - the doctor who was not
supportive of VBAC. The nurses were not happy that you were 10 and
pushing at arrival, but you and I worked quickly and diligently to
change their attitudes to ones of support for your desires to VBAC.
he arrived, the doctor assigned to you was less than willing to support
your desires for a low-intervention VBAC; but with one nurses help and
both of our gentle encouragement, you began pushing again in earnest and
your baby was quickly brought to crowning. As you brought your baby out
into the world, you beamed from ear to ear with confidence - you had
Little baby girl had a slow start and they did need to
help her get pinked up, but you had birthed your baby in your own power
and in your own time. You achieved what your first doctor, your doctor's
NP, and the back-up doctor all tried to dissuade - a vaginal birth!
when we talked about what you were 'done' with, you admitted that you
were trying to convince yourself that you were giving up and ready to
check yourself in for another cesarean. Even up until you were really
getting into a rhythm of pushing, you felt like you wanted to throw in
the towel. But, in hind-sight, you said something profound, "It wasn't
that I wanted to give up, I just wanted to be done. I thought, it took me that long to get to this point,
I really didn't believe I was really almost done. It is the fear of all
that lead up to this moment being in the future that makes a woman want
to throw in the towel".
In the end, your birthing time began,
not when the first crampy contractions started, but 4 months earlier
when you sought out a more VBAC friendly doctor, and later, a home birth
midwife. Your journey was also truly a journey. You went from a
planned hospital cesarean, to a planned hospital VBAC, to a planned home
VBAC, to an unplanned hospital VBAC. There was so much uncertainty,
worry, and adversity during your pregnancy-birth journey... but also so
much growth, education, and empowerment!
I watched you wrestle
with your own very real and tangible demons throughout your pregnancy
and birthing time, and you still rose above the enemy, doubt and fear.
Your husband's prayer in the corner of your bed in the darkest hour of
your labor was right, 'you were not given more than you could handle, and you were given the strength to run the good race'.
Welcome baby girl! You have a marvelous role-model to look up to!