Jellybean’s Arrival (VBAC)

When I learned I was pregnant with my second child, I was so excited and thankful. I immediately began planning for my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). With my first child, I had a scheduled cesarean section for various reasons: Borderline high blood pressure, high optic nerve pressure, and an unusually shaped pelvis that wouldn’t be able to birth a baby. My asthma and obesity further complicated things and my OB/GYN felt that a planned c-section would be the best option for both of us. I was young and somewhat scared of childbirth pain, so I went along with the plan. My first child arrived in 2003 at 6 pounds, 6 ounces.

I began seeing a local OB/GYN for my second pregnancy in the summer of 2010. There were bumps along the road and various things caused me to heighten my guard. I learned that my local hospital banned VBACs, so I began searching for another way to have my VBAC. I don’t think it truly hit me that I was going to have to have a repeat c-section until the OB/GYN began discussing the date of the scheduled c-section.

Bethany and Heidi, a couple of wonderful homebirth midwives and I finally connected in December 2010. I wasn’t sure if I would be a good candidate for a home birth because my “problems” in my first pregnancy were still problems in my second pregnancy (aside from the high optic nerve pressure). Some friends of mine had been successful with home births, but I was still a little apprehensive. I continued to read information online and I purchased Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Following a friend’s advice, my husband and I watched The Business of Being Born and that was a turning point for us. We were both convinced that we needed to pursue a home birth as long as Bethany agreed. After some discussion with her, we hired her as our midwife.

Throughout the rest of my pregnancy, Bethany and I were in constant contact. She gave me her cell phone number and told me to call or text any time with questions. I was also able to email her. We communicated at least once a week, sometimes several times a week. I saw her for my prenatal care and she monitored the same things the OB/GYN had been monitoring: blood pressure, fundal height, fetal heart rate, weight, urine protein levels, group b strep status, etc. Bethany explained everything to me in a very calm manner and my questions were answered to my satisfaction. This was a completely new level of prenatal care for me. I was used to being in and out of the OB/GYN’s office in 30 minutes or less and my appointments with Bethany usually took 30 minutes to an hour.

My water broke on Thursday around 6 PM, at 40 weeks, 6 days gestation. Labor started slowly and did not become “regular” until nearly 24 hours later after lots of walking and stairs. I called Bethany around 3 AM Friday and she came right away, along with Heidi who would be assisting her for the delivery. Bethany assessed baby and I. Her experience told her that it would be awhile before baby arrived. After several hours, we discussed our options and decided to try some natural things to encourage labor and Bethany and Heidi would leave for a few hours. Bethany shared a contraction timer with us and instructed us to call her when the contractions became three to four minutes apart with regularity.

Contractions picked up and we called Bethany to return around 6 PM. My pregnancy was now 41 weeks gestation and she wrote “looks serious” in her notes. She and my husband supported me through the contractions. A few hours later, Bethany called Heidi and told her it was time to come. Heidi and Bethany took turns encouraging me to breathe through my contractions and applying a cool washcloth to my head and neck. Blood pressure, fetal heart tones, and my temperature were monitored closely throughout my labor. Around 2:30 AM, I felt pushy and Bethany declared that I was complete after a quick cervical check.

Baby was now 41 weeks 1 day gestational age and he would be arriving soon. I pushed in various places and positions: standing, sitting on the couch, sitting on the birthing stool, leaning back against the couch, and side-lying on the couch. Baby’s head emerged with the cord around his neck. Bethany quickly unwrapped the cord and baby’s body came in the next minute. I had just birthed my 9 pound, 2 ounce son!

For me, the right choice was to birth with a Bethany and Heidi. If we’re blessed with more children, we will do the same again.