James Liam

James Liam

M-20 - Copyright 2004 Birth Balance

I did it! Hospital, drug – free VBAC!!! 
Sat May 19, 2007 2:11 pm

My first child was born via completely unnecessary c/s for an induction that should have never happened, and with interventions that lead to more and more interventions. I was very naive and trusting of the medical community at that time in my life. All I knew, after I had my dd, after the initial denial I had about the necessity of the c/s, was that I didn’t want to do it again like that. That I couldn’t be separated from my baby again after birth. That I couldn’t take another unnecessary scar to my uterus. I copied this story from my blog so there are names of my family as well as religious references. I hope this will encourage some one here, as I know the many, many, successful birth stories I read here have greatly encouraged me. I went into my hospital birth very empowered. I didn’t feel like “they” were in charge this time. So here it is…

On Wednesday night, I tried every natural induction method I could think of (including eating almost an entire pineapple). I woke up ticked, because nothing worked. Thursday was a very cranky day for me. I put on an ugly maternity dress (most of my pants and skirts were getting too tight and uncomfy) and hauled myself and Hannah to a local, very large mall to go walking in the air conditioning – it was very hot outside. That night, I ate some spicy salsa, had a big smoothie with more pineapple, took the last of my evening primrose oil, and watched The Office. I had some contractions that night. In the morning (about 5:30 am) I was noticing some contrax that seemed like they were doing something and somewhat regular. I sort of had the feeling it was the real thing but remembered my Bradley class advice – ignore and go about your day. So I did just that, although, I played with Hannah a lot more than usual all morning because I felt it may be our last morning “just the two of us”. I called my doula, Cindy Jaime, to give her a heads up. She said to continue doing what I was doing, eat a good meal, keep hydrated. She’d call back later. I went for a walk in the neighborhood around 9ish. I called Jason to let him know I was pretty sure I was in early labor but not to come home yet. It would probably be a long time before anything happened.

So I sort of just did my usual thing, contrax got stronger and more regular. Made a few more phone calls to family, asking for prayers. Around 2pm Jason was home, his dad came to get Hannah, and Cindy, our doula arrived with the blessed birth ball. We practiced breathing through each contrax and bounced on the ball. She timed me, took the baby’s heart tones, and my blood pressure. Everything looked great. Jason was buzzing around like a mad man getting everything ready, going to the store for some last minute stuff I thought I would be able to do on Saturday, since no one actually ever gives birth on their due date, right? As contrax were getting more painful, the breathing really helped. Cindy had all three of us go for a walk again. I kind of didn’t want to but I was glad we did, because it really got things going. It was super hard to keep walking and get thru each contrax. The endorphins in between contractions made me feel really silly. I kept thinking how interesting it was that you feel so normal and practically giddy during the breaks.

We got back, I snacked and drank and then Cindy had me get on the birth ball next to the bed while she did some massage therapy. After that I said, “I just wanna lay down”. So I did and my contrax hurt even more. She was rubbing my neck when I felt a POP and I thought I was going to die right there on the spot. Neither one of us knew what it was at first. There wasn’t a gush of water or anything. And then I got up to change position, because laying down was killing me. I was shaking like a leaf. I went to the restroom, and oh, yeah, my water did break. That was really weird and funny. I was very uncomfortable at this point. It reached a whole new level of pain at this point. I sat on the couch a while, drinking and snacking and I was having contrax about every 3 minutes. I was trying to remain calm, but was freaking out inside because it already hurt more than I thought it would. We planned on staying home another hour, but Cindy suggested that it might be a good idea to get to the hospital now since I was progressing rather quickly, and a 30 minute car ride would be pretty excruciating the further along I got. It was around 7 pm. We made the drive, just Jason and I, Cindy following behind in her car. She gave me a couple of stress balls to hold. I’m not sure they helped but most of the ride I spent praying and turning the A/C on and off. I wanted the air on full blast during contrax, but completely off in between because I continued to shiver and shake. We finally got there and I made a very painful walk to Labor and Delivery. They offered to get me a wheel chair but I thought sitting down some more sounded pretty awful. I had to stop and “slow dance” with Jason to get through the pain. They checked me in and I had a room right away. It must have been pretty obvious I was in full labor. I got in the gown, they hooked me up to the monitors and did all that hospital stuff that, in all honesty, I did not care about at all. The midwife checked my cervix. I was at 5 cm – half way there. I was a little bummed, I thought I might be further along, but encouraged too, because I only got to 3cm with my induction for Hannah. I met my nurse and she told me she had a VBAC too, and she was very supportive. I met my midwife as well and no one was treating me like a huge risk, so that made me happy. I wanted to get a hep lock instead of the IV, but compromised for a hot shower. So much for the hot shower though because all that shower had was cold water. So I took the break from the monitors to slow dance some more with Jason. He was very comforting, and I remember thinking I liked how he smelled. Funny huh?

So I was really having a hard time, I got on the bed again and spent most of my labor sitting straight up, and then the very last part laying on my sides. I started to lose control and was saying how I couldn’t do it any more. I wasn’t breathing how I was supposed to and started whining, crying. Cindy let me know I was in transition, and that’s what every one says at that point, and that it’s the shortest part of labor. I didn’t really believe her for some reason. But I somehow pulled myself together and started focusing on a light bulb above my head, and breathing and moaning AWWWWWW. I remember hearing a correlation of open mouth and an open cervix. Cindy kept reminding me I was so close and each contraction was bringing my baby closer. I suddenly started feeling pushy. It was the weirdest feeling. Like I HAD to push. I had this odd, frog in my throat feeling. Pushing sort of just happened. I still was not really believing I was doing it, and wasn’t sure I really wanted to either. Cindy told me to go ahead and push a little. They called the nurse. Cindy also pulled one of my legs up to give the baby a little more room, which helps with his heart tones as the baby descends, and keeps the hospital staff off your back. So far my little boy was a trooper. It was truly pushing time, and this is when I really flipped out. Any calm I had was a distant memory. The nurse told me to not push until the midwife got back. I think I said with some attitude, “whatever.”

The midwife got there 5 minutes later, checked me, and said I was ready to push. No kidding. Thank you. When it was “official” pushing time, they had me lay all the way back down. I found this very, very awkward. But either way, baby was coming. And then I freaked out. For some reason, I thought that pushing wasn’t going to hurt that bad. I remember reading in Husband Coached Child Birth by Dr. Bradley, saying how the pressure from the baby coming down was a natural anesthesia. Um, no, not really. I though I was going to die. Or that my girl parts were going to rip open – sorry. I started to scream and shriek. I was saying things like, “No way, you guys. No way.” At this point Cindy got out the video camera and I am embarrassed to say captured me with a very foul mouth. I tried to bite, yes bite, poor Jason’s hand twice. In an arm flail, I ripped out my IV which made the nurse very nervous and she kept telling me to leave my hand down. And in between those lovely moments, I was praying Lord have mercy repeatedly. Once again, I somehow managed to pull myself together. Everyone was encouraging me and saying to push past the burning. The midwife was giving me a perinneal massage to avoid having to cut me, and reduce tearing. I could see Jason with a giddy expression. The baby was crowning very well, according to everyone around me. I distinctly remember looking down at my belly and thinking, I am so hungry. Let’s get this over with. So I took some deep breaths and pushed with all I had. In about ten contractions or maybe 15 minutes, James Liam was placed on my chest, all sticky and new. He was so alert. His eyes were scanning Jason and myself. It was amazing. The pain was instantly gone. I held him for a while, and they did some of his newborn stuff they like to do in hospitals while he was on my chest. Then they took him to the little warmer right next to my bed to finish whatever they do. He was completely healthy and awake. I got some juice while I was attended to. I made it without an episiotomy, and only got a couple little tears that were sutured much to my annoyance.

It was a great experience, and I feel like I can do anything now, if I really put my mind to it and pray it over, and over, and over. James is already part of our family. Hannah adores him, although it has been an adjustment for her. Jason has been wonderful. I have a great husband. He really made it happen for me with taking classes, hiring a fabulous doula, and praying for me every day. He also really believed I could do it, maybe even more than I did. And I have to say, if anyone is in a situation like mine, and is planning a hospital birth, a doula – an experienced, well known and praised doula, in my opinion, is an absolute necessity. Hiring her was expensive for us, but she was worth every penny. It was as if she had orchestrated my birth for me, only she was so in tune to my cues, she knew just what to say and do. If she were not there, I would have absolutely gotten drugs, and maybe I would have still had my VBAC, but who knows? I am convinced the best way to have a VBAC is a natural birth. And it is so good to feel like my body really works. One of Dr. Bradley’s favorite lines for natural birth is, “It’s not nice to mess with mother nature,” – or God’s creation, for that matter.

by Lauren Simpson


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