Annabella's VBAC Birth Story
My first child was born via C-section. My original goal was to have him naturally in the hospital. But the doctor induced me because I was one day passed my due date.
They kept me on pitocin for three days and tried putting a painful balloon in my cervix to help it dilate. But even after three days of this, no progress was made. So the doctor came in and told me "some women just don’t go into labor", and "we are going to have to do a c-section".
They took me down to surgery, put this big
put this big paper sheet up where I couldn't see a thing, cut me open, took my son out of me, wrapped him up and took him away. I didn’t get to kiss him or hold him or love him.
They kept me in recovery for five hours because my body went into some kind of shock. My kidneys stopped working temporarily, and I was having major clotting. I was pretty cloudy from all the drugs, but I still just wanted my baby. All my classes had said to start breast feeding immediately and five hours was not immediately.
My birth plan was gone. I was sitting in recovery without my baby and these resident doctors that I have never seen before are all staring at me. So finally I just started yelling to bring me my baby or I’m going to go get him myself. I lost five pints of blood that night and missed the first five hours of my son’s life to later find out this c-section was not necessary at all.
About a year and a half later I got pregnant again, and very excitedly I schedule my first doctor’s appointment. I regularly watch several birth shows on TV, including the Duggar’s show, so I knew that it was possible to VBAC.
I go into the doctor who was very nice. She does my ultra sound to tell me how far into my pregnancy I am. I give her a run-down of my last birth, and inform her that I am going to do a VBAC with this pregnancy. She informs me that neither my insurance nor hers covers VBAC deliveries. She also assures me that there is no need to worry about another c-section, that I just had a bad experience the last time.
Crushed, I told my friends and family that I was going to have to have another C-section. For the next five months I continued seeing my OB. I was convinced I could talk her out of another C-section. Maybe if I just waited until I went into labor I could just call her then? But then at one of my last prenatal appointments, they scheduled my c-section date. I felt horrible. I DIDN’T WANT A C-SECTION AGAIN!
Not long after this I was watching my favorite show, the Duggers, and Anna Dugger was having a home birth. A home birth! I had never thought of that! I can just have my baby at home! So I immediately start Googling, and I knew instantly this was the answer. I told my husband and he was convinced I was nuts. I told my parents. They thought I was nuts. My dad was very concerned about me doing a home birth because he was convinced that “Doctors always do what is in the patient’s best interest.”
But, after presenting all my evidence (although not much was needed for me, after my hospital experience), I received the support of my family. Well partial support. They still were very nervous.
I called a midwife and set up an appointment. My husband and I went to meet with her at her office. She didn’t have a lot of answers to my questions. I was a bit nervous. Why would she have this whole building and set-up, and no answers? She called me the next day and informed me that at the time of my due date she was actually going to be on vacation and she couldn’t take me as a patient. So my search continued.
Finally I found Faith! I’m pretty sure as soon as I sat down on her couch I knew I was in the right place. All of my questions were answered. And she also asked me many questions that I had never even thought of.
Finally my husband was on board with me. Faith also gave me the option of having her apprentice, Cathy, there to assist in my appointments and birth. Cathy has had many children herself, besides her midwifery training, and I figured, Hey why not. Two people are better than one. I had finally found my answer for having a VBAC.
Over the next few weeks I went regularly to Faith and Cathy for my prenatal visits. At each visit I got much more excited. We attended a childbirth class held by Faith, with a wonderful protein packed dinner. I didn’t even know for the first several months of my pregnancy that I was supposed to eat a lot of protein and fiber! During the class we met other expectant couples, learned many possible options and ways to labor and deliver, things we may experience in labor, contraction timing, and supplies we would need at home to prepare for our bundle of joy. I also appreciated that any questions I had anytime of day or night were always answered very promptly.
By the way, I am not the “average looking home birth kind of person”. I have several tattoos and piercings. I was a bit worried the very first time I met Faith, and a little more worried when I met Cathy, because they were obviously a lot more conservative than I. But I quickly realized they didn’t care what I looked like – they treated me just the same as they would treat anyone else.
So now the worst part was just waiting for my baby girl to arrive. All I had to do was go into labor. Week 40 quickly came and I was getting very frustrated. My due date came and went with no baby, no contractions.
My 41 week appointment came, and Faith and Cathy both assured me that my baby girl just wasn’t ready yet. They set me up for an ultra sound just to make sure everything was fine.
Week 42! I was as big as a blimp and starting to wonder if my first doctor was right. Maybe I just don’t go into labor.
But finally around 3:00 am on a Friday morning I started having contractions! Yay! Finally labor! The contractions were getting going, and it hurt. I called my friends to come get my young son, got my older kids off to school, and I just knew that I would have a baby by the time they got home. My daughter from my husband’s previous marriage was wanting to attend the birth, so I told her someone would come to school to pick her up and bring her back home when I got close to delivery.
However, all day Friday my contractions would get really close, then space way out. Ugh. The water in the birth pool was cold and I thought “I’m never going to have a baby”. By Saturday, it was pretty intense. I had really hard contractions all day. I was in and out of the pool. I think I have blocked most of the details out, but Faith and Cathy stayed the entire time.
Cathy helped me with ways to breathe through my contractions. Faith helped me do different positions and exercises to get baby in the optimal position. Hour after hour went by and I just wanted to give up. I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it anymore. But Faith and Cathy were there constantly reassuring me that everything was fine, and reminding me how it was perfectly normal for labor to take longer with a VBAC.
Annabella finally made her appearance Sunday morning with me pushing on the birth stool. My husband delivered my daughter while she took her first breath of air with my mom and older daughter there to see! I was in my bedroom and on my bed with my daughter in MY ARMS!!!!! It was fantastic! I got to bond with my baby. And I could feel my legs.
Shortly after delivery, I was easily able to get up and go into the kitchen to get myself something to eat. Then I took a bath with my new baby daughter and went to sleep together with her and my husband in my own bed, while Faith and Cathy stayed up to clean and tidy everything, and quietly locked the door on their way out.
No beeping monitors, no waking up for tests. Visitors came to my house. Faith and Cathy came back later in the day to check on me and Annabella. Everything was great. It was completely worth the few days in labor to bypass all the discomfort of a hospital and another c-section. Faith and Cathy both answered any questions I had postpartum.
It was a wonderful experience. I am so very glad I had the choice to not have to have another c-section, and I’m very glad I found Faith. Thank you Faith for being such a dedicated midwife, and for making my hopes come true. I am a VBAC mom, and had a very successful natural birth.