My birth story starts way before labor started with my 4th pregnancy. After having a c-section with Camp I knew that in order to fully feel like my body was working again it would require having another healthy pregnancy and birth. Lot’s of praying and stretching of my faith was done during my pregnancy and I really felt confident and equipped going into my VBAC. I was 40 weeks and 4 days when I started having some contractions that were stronger then what I’d been having, it didn’t slow me down but was comforting to be reminded I wouldn’t be pregnant forever! The next day was Sunday December 13, we started the day as normal after a good night of sleep and got ready to head to church. Our church is close to the birth center (both around 30-40 minutes from our house) so I packed my bag and we loaded the carseat just in case. I swayed through worship and tried to just distract my mind as much as possible, after church we grabbed some lunch and went to visit some friends, contractions were still coming but they were very sporadic and when I’d sit down they stopped. Early afternoon we got home for the kids to nap and Jeremy headed off to a gun show, I laid down for a little while but was awoken by a contraction that felt stronger then they’d been up to this point. I got up and again tried to just stay distracted but gave Jeremy a heads up that it may be getting closer. By the time he got home I was starting to turn inward and concentrating through contractions, since this isn’t the first time Jeremy’s seen me in labor he called our midwife and gave her the heads up that he knew me and this was real labor. We agreed to give it a little while and then head towards the birth center cause we didn’t want to wait too long. We took the kids to a friend house and headed towards the brith center, we arrived around there around 8. Donnellyn checked all my vitals and listened to baby then checked my cervix, I was 4cm dilated which I was encouraged by but discouraged at the same time cause I really wanted and felt like this was going to be a fast labor. We started to get settled into our room at the gorgeous birth center!
I walked around, bounced on the birth ball and tried to mentally get myself prepared while listening to worship music and preparing my heart for what was ahead. We applied oils and diffused them to keep things going steadily. When I would lay down or stop moving contractions slowed down so I tried to keep moving without completely wearing myself out. At 12:30AM I was 5cm dilated and starting to feel discouraged by slow progress, we all agreed I should get in the bath and relax some so I didn’t argue! The bath felt AMAZING! There isn’t much in labor that feels better then sinking into a big bath of warm water and letting everything relax! But unfortunately being in the bath slowed labor down some and I wanted a baby more then I wanted to relax so I got up and begin walking again, I would just move around and then when a contraction hit I would lean against a wall or Jeremy and try to relax through it but that was getting harder and harder to do. This is when things started to get foggy but I got in and out of the bath a couple times while in between doing some creative positioning to convince baby to apply her head to the cervix better so I’d dilate faster. This is a pattern I’ve had with all my labors, my babies hang out up high and have to really be convinced to come down and apply their heads to the cervix so that I dilate! Around 4am I asked to be checked again in hopes of more progress, I was 6cm but baby seemed to be positioned better so I asked to have my bag of waters broken, that happened right away and there was moderate meconium in the water (meaning baby had pooped in utero and can be an indication of fetal distress but isn’t always), baby had and continued to sound great through labor so we had no reason for concern at this point. I got back in the tub and continued to labor there while occasionally getting out to use the restroom when needed. Contractions intensified and I could tell we were getting closer to meeting our baby girl.
Around 5:30am I mentioned feeling “pushy” and Donnellyn reminded me to work with my body and push when it felt right. By 5:40am I was pushing and baby girl was born at 5:49. I reached down and put her on my chest, it was an amazing feeling! All the emotions in the world happened at the same time but the feeling of relief that my baby was out and that my body had birthed a baby vaginally after a c-section were stronger then I can explain! I cried, tears of joy, tears of relief but mostly tears of thankfulness that our daughter was here safely! We moved out of the pool and into the bed to deliver the placenta and Eloise immediately nursed like a champ. All of her vitals were great and I ate some food and drank juice while they prepared an herbal bath for us. The herbal bath is a highlight of home/birth center births for me and is a precious bonding time with my baby. After we got out of the bath and got settled into bed to do the newborn exam and wait for my Dad to bring our big kids to meet their new sister. Her newborn exam went perfect and the kids got lots of snuggles and got to dress her like they’d talked about doing for weeks! My Dad and Mom took the kids home and we started getting our stuff ready to head home, I could not wait! I loved the birth center but couldn’t wait to get home and snuggle my baby in our own bed!
Eloise’s birth built my faith and reminded me of just how good our heavenly Father is. He cares about the details and knows the desires of my heart! The labor was hard and long but I have since resolved that its just how my body births babies, long! I don’t have fast births but I don’t have complications and have resolved that is just ok. I felt redeemed, like my body worked again and validated in my belief that a women body was made to birth babies. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my birth team, Donnellyn and her team are amazing and I can’t imagine having a baby without her there! One of my dearest friends, Cindy, who is also a midwife and chiropractor has been at all my births and her adjustments keep my body functioning at its best and I love that we’ve celebrated birth together so many times. I invited Morgan to come because she is one of my closest and dearest friends whose birthed 4 babies naturally but had never been anyone else birth. She is a rock and one of the strongest people I know and I knew I’d need that during labor.
My Mom, well I just can’t imagine a labor without my Momma! She prays and gives me the look that says “I know this is her but you can do it” yet doesn’t say anything. She’s given birth every way possible and I draw so much comfort from her presence.
Jeremy is my constant companion during labor, my rock who never leaves my side. He’s compassionate and loving yet reminds me how strong I am and to push through when I’m ready to give up. He knows what I want and is willing to fight for me to get that when I can’t fight anymore! Bringing our babies into this world is the most bonding experience we’ve had and he amazed me every time with his strength when I don’t have any left.
Eloise has been a joy to our family every moment since this day! Our first week didn’t go as we’d hoped or planned but thats another post which I’ll get to next!