Tagged: HBAC

Birth Story: Jessica

This birth story is beautiful!  Please welcome our guest writer Jami and her story of her daughter’s birth! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Jessica’s HBAC Birth Story

 I knew before I was pregnant that we were going to plan a homebirth. I had had 2 traumatic hospital births prior and in deciding to have more babies, we also decided that we would never birth in a hospital ever again.  Juilanna’s birth was a horrible forced csection and Jacob’s birth was a hospital vbac filled with unwanted interventions and medical mistakes. Both were horrible experiences that left me emotionally and physically scarred and damaged. I knew if I ever gave birth again, I needed to do it on my own terms in my own home where I’d have the best chance of the birtth that I wanted.

Jessica was due 10-23-11.  She was our third miracle baby, hard tried for and such a blessing. In October 2010 we were thrilled to find out I was pregnant, but things didn’t feel right and I pushed for bloodwork which revealed very low progesterone, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t find anyone willing to supplement me, and I lost that baby at 6 weeks.  I went through the grief stages and was very determined to get pregnant again, and I did, at the very end of January, ovulating way later than anyone would ever expect to be able to ovulate and get pregnant. Again, like with my pregnancy with Jacob and the baby I lost, I felt implantation 5 days after ovulation and knew before a test that I was pregnant.  A very faint test at 12 days past ovulation confirmed it. I was so excited and at the same time, terrified. I couldn’t imagine losing another baby and didn’t think I could handle that again. I wanted so much for things to be okay, but again my instincts said there was something not right. But I felt strong and determined to make people listen to me and keep this baby safe.

The beginning of the pregnancy was precarious with extremely low progesterone levels and the threat of a miscarriage. But we convinced the dr. to prescribe supplemental progesterone and it saved her. 🙂  We chose her name early, Jessica means “God beholds” and I knew from the start that God had seen she was meant to be and helped me fight for her and for her to hang on.  Her middle name, Lea, is also my middle name, it was special to me that we share that. 🙂  I had a good pregnancy, although I had a lot of anxiety and migraines and things I hadn’t dealt with in my other pregnancies.  But I was thrilled and felt so blessed to be pregnant with her.

The week before she was due, we found out that I was severely anemic, and I was told that I’d need “transfused at delivery or die” according to doctors at the labor and delivery unit.  It felt like a familiar scare tactic that I recognized from my previous births… and  I knew that if I gave in to them and bought into the fear I’d surely end up with a third traumatic birth. I left in tears but called my midwife right away who reassured me that there were things I could do other than a transfusion to bring up my iron count before giving birth and I followed all of her advice and through supplements and diet, brought my numbers up faster and higher than the doctors said was possible. No transfusion necessary. 🙂

On Friday the 21st, I had contractions on and off all day.  I had to take Jacob in for a visit to the pediatrician and while sitting in the waiting room I counted several contractions and thought that if they didn’t call us back I’d be giving birth in their waiting room. 😉  But the contractions came and went all day, not very regular.  I just kept telling myslef it was prelabor and not to dwell on it. And I told Jessica to stay put as long as she wanted and give mommy a chance to keep raising her iron levels.  That night, Jon and the kids went to bed and I was still feeling the contractions irregularly but low and significant as I layed in bed. Sometime after midnight I decided to just close my eyes and relax but I couldn’t fall asleep so I just rested. Between 1am and 2am while I was resting with my eyes closed I counted at least 10 contractions in the hour, bigger more regular and intense contractions.. so I put on my Hypnobabies fear clearing and deepening CD and thought I’d just lay and drift and that they’d probably go away as I slept.  I ended up listening to both tracks and still not being able to fall asleep (the first time EVER that the deepening cd didn’t put me to sleep!) and the contractions got more regular and closer the whole time.  I was pretty sure it was still just pre-labor, as I had had hours of pre-labor contractions with Jacob several days before he was born.  But, at some point since I couldn’t fall asleep, I thought I’d just time them for a little while and see how close they really were.  From 2-3am I had 9 contractions. Then from 3-4am I had 8.  Then things changed around 4am and they started getting closer and I started vocalizing a little bit through them.  Between 4 and 5am I had 17 and decided to just check in with the midwives.  They were at another birth, close to my house, and I called and talked to MeriBeth and let her know what was going on, but told her about the pre-labor I had had with Jake and that I was sure this was probably nothing. She told me that if it changed to give her a call back, and I ended up calling her within the hour again, feeling a little bit silly as I still didn’t believe it was “real” labor, but the contractions were getting undeniably closer and more intense.  She said they were finishing up at the other birth and would come check me out just to see what was up.  Between 5 am and when the midwives got to my house around 5:47am, I had had 19 more contractions and was AHHing through them but still not totally believing it was real labor.

MeriBeth and Joanna, my midwives, were very tired after being at another birth for days, and I was hoping they’d tell me that this was pre-labor stuff that was going to fade out and that we could all get some sleep and Jessica wouldn’t be here for a few days. Instead, MeriBeth wanted to check me and didn’t seem convinced it was only pre-labor.  I hemmed and hawed, not wanting to be checked in general and even more not wanting to hear any bad news about where I was dilation-wise that would put negativity into my mind about my progression, since progression was a big issue for me at both of my previous births.  Eventually I agreed to a check, and resigned myself to hearing that I’d only be a “fingertip” or so.  MeriBeth joked with me that she could lie and tell me whatever I wanted about my dilation. lol  She checked me and said several times how incredibly soft my cervix was, so soft she had a hard time feeling both sides of it. When she told me that I was already 5cms I said there was no way and honestly wondered if she was feeling things wrong. I hadnever  progressed quickly in my other labors and had been sure this was not even real labor.  She said that I was at least a 5 and she could manually stretch me to a 7 if she tried and I think I stared at her like she was crazy, not believing it. lol  I asked if that meant it was real and she and Joanna told me that yes this was real and they were staying and I was probably going to have a baby before lunchtime. It sounded like insanity to me lol and I still didn’t believe it was real. But we called Jon up, who was straightening the downstairs and told him where I was in dilation and he started getting my birth things organized down there.  We stopped timing contractions and I was waiting for them to slow down still haha  but MeriBeth said they seemed to be getting longer and more intense by how I was responding to them and I was still AHHing and now rocking on my hands and knees through them.  I was starting to think maybe this was real, but still had doubt.

MeriBeth rested on my bedroom floor and Joanna kept an eye on me changing positions, walking around, squatting, doing hands and knees, etc through the contractions as I got more and more uncomfortable with them.  My AHHing was getting louder and deeper and a few times I felt bad because it caused Jacob to stir in his sleep.  After a while, it was more than stirring and he was peeking at us from his toddler bed in  curiosity saying “who dares trespass?” which made us laugh.  Then after a particularly loud AHHHH from me he said “Can you keep it down??” and we laughed and I knew by then that I couldn’t keep it down because they were so intense and close together and I was concentrating hard to get through each one.  I think a little after 8am or so I asked MeriBeth to check me again.  I  was feeling nauseous and Joanna had gotten me a bowl to throw up into if I needed it and sweat was running down my forehead and I was getting irritable and impatient and wishing it were over. I hadn’t planned on being checked in labor, but my feelings changed in the moment and all of a sudden I wanted to know what was going on.  She checked me and shocked me by saying that I just had a lip left.  I think my eyes must have popped out of my head, I couldn’t even take it in and grasp what she was saying.. with Jacob, it took 22 hours of very hard agonizing labor before I was to that point.  I said “What do you MEAN?  Are you saying I’m almost DONE? That I’m a NINE????” and she said “No Jami, you are a nine and a half, just a cervical lip left and baby is at -1.”  I was shocked and we told Jon, who was still setting things up downstairs to move faster with the pool.  I got Jacob on his potty and woke up Juli, telling her that it was time to have the baby. She looked around blurrily and asked who was in my room and I told her MeriBeth and Joanna were here and that the baby was coming soon. She got right up and moving, wanting to be a part of the birth. 🙂

Around that point I was getting more and more irritable, sweat standing out on my forehead, feeling restless and nauseated, the contractions were harder to get through with each one and I remember saying I wanted it all to be over and I wanted to be in the DAMN pool! 😉  Joanna went to help Jon hurry it along and we decided to go down. He had had trouble filling it because the hose wouldn’t attach well to the sink.. so he and Joanna were boiling pots of water and dumping them in.  I was frustrated and annoyed and I think I told him several times that I hated him and MeriBeth assured him that I didn’t, it was the contractions. lol  I got out of my nightgown I had been in, and just into a bra, and we all went downstairs.  I wanted to get in but it was only about half full and I was very impatient  and upset.  I got in and started demanding more water and Jon and Joanna were dumping boiling pots in as soon as they were ready.  I was on my hands and knees in the pool, arching my back through contractions and AHHHing and  moaning louder all the time.  I squeezed Joanna’s hands tight and wanted to cry a few times the pain was so intense and I was having a harder time with each contraction. I kept telling everyone that I just wanted it to be over, that I was so tired.  I was doubting myself and that I’d be able to really do this.  At one point MeriBeth tried to snap me out of it by asking if I wanted another csection.  I think I flipped out and yelled at her not to ever say that and was upset, but I became more determined at that point and stopped vocalizing as much that I wanted it to be over.

We put on the Hypnobabies “pushing your baby out” track and at some points it annoyed me and I talked back to it telling it that NO the pressure waves did NOT feel good, they hurt like hell and to shut up. I think MeriBeth’s favorite part of my labor was when I said “Oh fuck you hypnobabies, this HURTS!”  lol  But it helped me to focus as well when I was contracting and we replayed it several times. Julianna videotaped me in the pool and Jacob played with his toys and watched cartoons upstairs now and then.  Jon was still monitoring boiling water and that was okay with me.. I wanted my space this time, something that surprised me.  During my labor with Jacob, I had needed Jon, and Joanna who had been our doula at the time, to constantly be touching me, holding me up, rubbing my back, holding my hand, etc.  I didn’t let go of them for most of the 23 hours I was in labor. But this time was different, I felt stronger (emotionally at least, despite the physical weakness) and wanted my space and kept telling myself what hypnobabies had drilled into me the past few months, that each pressure wave brought me closer to my baby.  So even though I was saying repeatedly that I needed it to be over, during each contraction I told myself to let it do its work and open me up.  I made a very conscious effort to keep my mouth open in an “O” shape and my hands open and un-tensed because its supposed to help dilation.  Each contraction I AHHHed or OHHHHed and tried to be open and strong and tell myself that my body was working the way it was supposed to.  And it WAS!!!  I’m still kind of in disbelief over that.. after 2 births where it didn’t feel like it worked, this time it DID.  I had been told with both Juli and Jacob that my body was broken, that I couldn’t progress, that I needed pitocin or a csection etc and felt like a failure in the most profound way.  This time I was NOT broken. My body was doing everything it was meant to do and I kept telling myself that, in my mind, that my body was NOT broken.

When I got into the pool at 9.5 cms I thought it would be fast from there out because with Jacob’s birth it wasn’t long after I was to that point till he was born.  But this time was different. This was my first labor where my water hadn’t broken to start labor and things were completely different with how I progressed.  I had MeriBeth check me again and she said I still had the cervical lip and baby was almost to a 0 station, that my bag of waters was bulging beyond the baby’s head.  I kept asking her if we could break it and if that would make it over faster.. I must have said dozens of times I just wanted it to be over.  It wasn’t just the contractions, it was the past several weeks of stress that had been weighing me down and feeling so weak and sick with the anemia, I just felt like I wanted it all to reach its conclusion. The anemia had me feeling so weak and dizzy and like I had absolutely NO energy.. which, in labor, was very difficult, it took everything I had to just keep going and there were moments of feeling like I was going to pass out. Saying I needed it to be over wasn’t just a complaint, it was absolutely that I felt I could only last so long on my very limited energy. She said it would break on its own and I was frustrated and started reaching down and feeling it. During contractions it felt like a very thick water balloon was coming out of me and I started to feel like pushing and was grunting through contractions and pushing down.  At one point after pushing through a contraction we saw that my bloody show had come out and there were bits of it all through the pool. I kept reaching down and just pulling more and more globs of it out of me and felt like I wanted to keep pulling it all out like a magician pulling a never-ending scarf out of his sleeve.

The pressure of the water bag was driving me crazy and at one point after MeriBeth telling me again that it would break on its own, and  wanting it broken faster, I pushed down so hard and determined to break it that I succeeded and felt a huge POP! as it broke.  I told her it broke and she confirmed that it had, and said she saw light meconium  in  the water.  All of a sudden I felt a huge urge to push and MeriBeth reached down to support my perineum and I snapped at her not to touch me. She told me to put my own hand there then and support it, and as I did, I pushed so hard I felt Jessica’s head coming down and out and the pressure of it spreading me apart was so intense and painful that I realized I couldn’t do anything to suck her back in and make it stop, so I needed to keep going until she was out. I kept pushing one huge long push and felt her entire head emerge. The relief was immediate and amazing. I said “She’s out! Her head is OUT!” and MeriBeth told me to stop for a minute while she checked for a cord.  I was on my knees still and cupping her head in my hand, feeling her hair swirl in the water. I asked MeriBeth if she could see a lot of hair and she said she couldn’t see it and I told her I was feeling it. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced, feeling my baby be born into my own hands, pushing her with part of my body  and embracing her with another.  I can’t put into words the magic of that feeling, but I know I will never forget it.   On the next contraction, I gave another huge instinctual push, a long, no-going-back push, and felt her shoulders come out of me with enormous force and her plop into the pool. MeriBeth told me to reach down and get my baby and I did, pulling her up and out of the water as I sat up and back.

I put her on my chest and looked at her and she was beautiful, so little and delicate and just breathtakingly beautiful.  Juli and Jon were videotaping and watching and we were all just saying how beautiful she was was.  She was screaming right away, and MeriBeth said to just hold her close, that she was a little shocked at having come out so fast.  They got me a towel to hold around her as I snuggled her, and we just sat there in the pool for awhile with her on my chest, me kissing her and saying that I did it! 🙂  She looked tiny, we all commented how small she seemed and guess around 7lbs.  After a few minutes of snuggling her in the towel, I asked if it would be okay to latch her on and MeriBeth said okay, so I pulled my bra aside and she latched and nursed immediately.  She was so beautiful, so perfect, worth every bit of struggle and stress and pain I had been through to get pregnant with her, stay pregnant with her, and birth her.  I was instantly in love.

Joanna told us that she was born at 10:48am and MeriBeth reminded me that she had told me I’d have a baby before lunchtime. 😉  We sat in the pool for awhile and nursed and snuggled and I got to just enjoy her.  It was the first time I have ever gotten to see or hold one of my babies first, before anyone else, before anyone had cleaned them or  checked them. It meant the world to me.  I was in shock that I had finally had not just a non-traumatic birth, but a birth so amazing I couldn’t have wished for any better.  The pool had a lot of blood in it and I kept asking MeriBeth if it was okay, we had been concerned about me losing too much blood because of the anemia.  But she said it was fine and I relaxed. One big fear of mine was birthing the placenta, since at Jake’s birth it had been so traumatic.  At his birth, the OB who assisted his birth pulled on my umbilical cord and tore my placenta into pieces, causing a severe hemmhorage and making  an emergency D&C necessary.  It was awful. So the placenta was something I was very nervous about.  I asked MeriBeth if it was okay to push it out and she felt my belly and made sure it seemed separated and told me when I had a contraction I could push.  I easily pushed the placenta out in one push, it was perfect and whole and I was so relieved.  Again, my body was not broken.  🙂  We let her cord pulse until and awhile after it was completely white and finished, I asked Julianna if she wanted to be the one to cut it.  MeriBeth put the clamps on and showed her where to cut and Julianna got to be the one to cut the cord, something I know she’ll remember forever.  She was such a big part of the birth,and that meant a lot to both of us. 🙂

After the cord was cut, Jon got to hold Jessica, and MeriBeth and Joanna helped me out of the pool and upstairs to rinse off in the shower.  They kept telling me if I was lightheaded to let them know, and when I caught sight of myself in the mirror that made sense, as I was white as a sheet.  But I held together and took a quick shower and put on a fresh nightgown and was happy to be able to go to my own bed just a short time after giving birth.  MeriBeth performed the newborn exam right on my bed as I watched and said everything looked great and that Jessica was 8lbs 1oz and 20.5 inches long.  We were shocked, we all thought she looked so much smaller! (And- after taking her to the pediatrician a few days later and seeing she was 7lbs even, the pediatrician and I speculate that her birth weight was probably a little over 7lbs… not 8 afterall…?  but we will never know for sure.  By 10 days old she was up to 7lb10oz  and nursing well so we weren’t too concerned 🙂 )But she is beautiful and perfect, a very eager nurser and already so attached to mommy that she never wants to be an inch away. Which is fine with me, as I am completely in love and can’t get enough of her. 🙂   I am so happy and proud of her and of myself.  I finally feel healed from my past births and like I am not broken, but complete and blessed.  🙂

newborn exam on our bed

newborn exam on our bed

mommy and Jessica Lea <3

mommy and Jessica Lea ❤

My sweet girl <3

My sweet girl ❤

Jessica being held by her proud big sister and big brother <3 <3 <3

Jessica being held by her proud big sister and big brother ❤ ❤ ❤

my beautiful girl <3

my beautiful girl ❤
Story and pictures are courtesy of Jami McLean.  Distribution and reproduction is not authorized without the written consent of the original author. If you would like to share your VBAC birth story, please email it to combatbootmama@gmail.com

Birth Story: Aggie

Sharing stories of inspiration is one of the goals of Combat Boot Mama. I believe that sharing birth stories that are raw and real can help women everywhere reclaim the trust in their bodies and make birth a natural and beautiful event again for those who have faced traumatic birth.  Today, I’d like to share a beautiful VBAC story with you.  But not just any VBAC, a beautiful home birth!

The oh-so-incrdibly healing HBAC birth of Evren Agnes “Aggie”

“I’m laying in bed beside this angel, and it is hard for me to believe that it happened – just like that.  Everyone tells you that your body knows what to do – that you will know what to do.  But after our first birth, there was so much doubt in my own body and its ability to birth a baby.  I had so much doubt in myself.

I cannot share Agnes’ story without first sharing a little about our son Davey’s birth:

4 years before Aggie was born, in a hospital waiting room, my husband and I were recovering both mentally and physically, from the traumatic birth of our son.  It was now six days after his birth, and although I had been released, our newborn boy had not.  He had spiked a fever the day we were to be released, and when they tested his blood, the blood sample grew and they began antibiotic treatment for an infection (they were not yet sure what).  Our birth had already been traumatic, culminating after days in a cesarean after being diagnosed with “cephalopelvic disproportion”.  I had gone to the hospital at 5cm and quickly moved to 7.  I got on the toilet and had contractions there, threw up and felt pushy.  I asked my husband to call the midwife and tell her that I was ready to push.  When she arrived, however, I was checked and told I was still “only 7cm”, and that I was “probably going to stay at 7 for hours and of course I couldn’t be feeling pushy…lets talk pain management ” – they called into question my ability to read my body’s cues, and made me doubt myself.  13 hours later I was still 7cm and had lost the urge to push or to continue, but I was stubborn.  We labored another 16 hours when my care provider told me that as midwives they could no longer care for me, and that the doctor on call would have to take over.  He came in ready for a cesarean.  After days of labor, my husband was the first to hold our son.  When he was handed to me I couldn’t sit upright – I couldn’t feel myself, and so began months of hard work to gain back that important time we lost in those first hours to connect.  Our stubbornness helped to get us through those first 10 days in the hospital, where I pumped every 2 hours to feed him my breast milk that he refused to take from my breast.  When we refused to allow our newborn to be moved to the nursery to get his antibiotics rounds and made them come to us in the waiting room where we were “living”.  When we refused to allow the medical staff to use scare tactics every time we questioned what they were doing, or refused the spinal until we had more proof of an actual infection (the second blood sample came back normal, which meant that the first sample that “grew” was contaminated and he was being treated for an infection he never had).

Our hospital experience left my husband and I heartbroken.  It took over a year for us to talk about our experience, and much longer to even consider the idea of more children.  The ONLY reason we decided to start trying was we both knew we didn’t want an only child – but we also knew we didn’t have another birth like Davey’s in us.  I knew that if we were going to do it again, we were going to do everything in our power to have a HBAC.  My husband, while a little worried, was completely on board.  He couldn’t go back to the hospital, either.

Fast forward 3+ years later:

Once I got pregnant, I worked hard to find the midwife right for me.  I was worried though – I had thought I made the right choices with my last care providers – how could I rely on my gut feelings when I had been so wrong before?  I did my research, talked to other homebirth moms and felt confident in the midwife I chose.  I am a runner, completing my first marathon a month and a half before I got pregnant.  I believe this marathon was a test to show myself that I could go mind over body – that I could do something hard – and that my body was not broken.  When I got pregnant, I didn’t stop running.  Every run was proof that I was healthy, and my body could do anything I wanted it to do.  At 26 weeks pregnant I finished my 2nd  26.2 marathon, proving to myself that if I could do that, I could do anything.

Every urine sample, every blood draw, every run was replacing doubt with the confidence in my ability to birth the baby that was growing inside of me.  I read birth stories and looked for other ways to ensure success.  At 32 weeks I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea and at 36 weeks started to eat 6-8 dates a day (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989).  I went to a chiropractor, a cranial sacral therapist, and took prenatal yoga.  I took my vitamins everyday and ate right.  And of course, I continued to run… 

37 weeks, 6 miles

By 37 weeks I was starting to feel confident.  At least I knew that whatever the outcome of this birth, I had done EVERYTHING in my power to have a successful HBAC.  Sunday (2/10) we celebrated our son’s 4th birthday.  I quietly told baby that it would not be very nice to crash his or her brothers birthday, and that I would be thrilled whenever he/she joined us, but not that day.  After the party, I cleaned everything up – took all the thomas the tank engine stuff down, and shared with baby that I was now ready for birth whenever.  I had no expectation that it would happen soon – just that I was ready for it (due date wasn’t until 2/18) – The following morning (2/11- 39 weeks) I began to lose my mucus plug, and lost it throughout the day.  Knowing that this didn’t mean anything, I texted my midwife to let her know, and immediately put it in the back of my head.  Tuesday (2/12) I had an appointment with the back up OB.  We scheduled another appointment for a week later (which I fully intended to be pregnant for).  I then kissed my husband goodbye, and went back to work.  For fun, I decided to start timing the surges I was having on my way to work, and was surprised to see that they were consistently 10 minutes apart.  But, they were not bothersome, so I felt like it was a waste to even be timing them and decided to stop.  When I got back to work I had a couple that jostled me, but overall they were manageable and I was able to finish up my work and left at 3:30.  I traveled about an hour to pick up my son, and we headed to target where I had another good surge. Still, though, I felt they were not long enough or strong enough to be the real deal.  I called my doula and told her I was going to have dinner and tea in bed with my son, and thought it would all settle down.  We made plans to take a walk the next morning.  At 7pm I called my husband home, still thinking it was against my better judgement.  I told him that I didn’t think it was anything, but was feeling kinda crummy and needed him to come and hang out with our 4 year old and just be close.  At 9pm I started putting our son to bed, and he fell asleep at 9:30.  I read Cat in the Hat AND Cat in the Hat comes back through some surges without trouble.  I would check the clock and noticed that they were still 10 minutes apart or longer, and not consistent in strength, so I shrugged each one of them off.  When he fell asleep I went back into our bedroom to make a phone call.  While I was on the phone I had a surge and POP, felt a gush between my legs.  When pregnant with our son I thought my water had broken, but it was a false alarm.  This was in the back of my mind when I called my midwife, and I know my husband was getting worried that I was getting my hopes up, or getting excited that this might be it.  I told her I thought that my water may have broken, but I wasn’t sure.  She told me to call her back when contractions got closer together and stronger.  She said she would probably see me tonight, and I remember rolling my eyes at the thought that this was really it – yeah right!  I turned my hypnobirthing CD on and crawled into bed, still not willing to believe that it was time.  In bed I had 3 surges that were no fun in bed, and would end in my needing to use the bathroom (for 1 and 2) immediately after.  After the third one, I decided something was probably up – but the contractions were still so far apart!  I was convinced I was going to call everyone out to the house for NOTHING.  My midwife and her apprentice had an hour travel time, and I was so worried to make them drive all the way to me and have to turn around because it was nothing.  I refused to call them before I was certain I was in labor.  My husband seemed just as skeptical.  But then I vomited.  As I watched my sypathetic puker husband gag as he cleaned my vomit through another contraction, I decided it was probably time to call the midwife (11pm).  “Are you sure?!” he asked, knowing how worried I was about calling everyone too soon.  I nodded, but I still wasn’t sure!  He suggested that he time some of the contractions so he had some “data” to share with her, but all of a sudden I couldn’t tell where one stopped and the next began.  All of a sudden they were right on top of each other, and I was finding it difficult to tell Sam when to start and stop the clock.   He finally gave up on getting data and made the call.  He shared with her what we were experiencing and she told him she would be there as quickly as she could.  SHE knew that the baby was coming.  We were still in denial.  While we waited for her, I asked Sam to fill the birth tub.  He immediately got to work, leaving me to labor alone.  As soon as he left I had a couple really strong surges and didn’t like being without someone close by.  I called our doula who lives about 20 minutes away.  She listened to a contraction and I heard her tell her husband she needed to leave right away.  After hanging up with her I was continuing to have surges and started to feel pushy.  I called our midwife who was in the car on her way to us to share the information, and put her on speakerphone while I clung to the kitchen counter where I stopped for another strong surge.  I was confused – how could I be pushy if I wasn’t in labor?  “I was afraid of that,” she responded, and said, “Honey, if you are feeling pushy you are ready to push!”  She stayed on the phone and listened to another surge.  She told me to reach up inside and tell her if I could feel anything.  With my middle finger inside the birth canal I could feel something hard – It was the head!!  She yelled for Sam and told him to abandon the birth tub, there wasn’t time for it.  She told him to get towels, and prepared him for the possibility of us delivering the baby without her.  I kept telling her this wasn’t happening.  I’m not in labor!  Okay, at that point I knew I was, but I have LOOONG labors – the baby couldn’t be coming yet!  I started pushing, and for about 30 minutes I eased the baby down with every surge.  My doula arrived 15 minutes before baby came.  She helped me to breathe lower and find a more efficient pushing tone.  5 minutes later our midwife arrived, and 10 minutes later, at 12:04, I reached down from the high squat position I had been in since my first major surge in my own kitchen, reached down between my legs and caught my baby with help from my midwife’s loving hands.  I was in complete shock.  My husband and I looked at each other and I couldn’t stop saying, “Oh, my god!” and marveling at what had just happened.

It took a couple minutes to realize we didn’t check the gender yet.  I opened the blanket we covered her in and were surprised to find that we had had a girl!!  Evren Agnes was born at 12:04, just over an hour after calling our midwife to come, and less than 3 hours after my waters broke.  She weighed 7lbs, 7 oz.  We are over the moon with love, but also with the joy of how our little Aggie made it into the world on her own terms.

And, of course…I GOT MY HBAC!!!!

First photo taken less than 18 hours before birth, 2nd taken on my due date, 5 days post partum.

From Aggie’s Proud Papa:

It is important to note that the birthing experience with my son did not go according to plan. We had wanted Natural Childbirth. The Hospital and “Midwives” there did nothing to help us get what we wanted. Instead, they found every way in the world to defeat my wife’s spirit, and deny us the gift of having our son born naturally. I was the first to hold my son; he was delivered via C-Section. While I wish that he had not been born this way, and that this was not what we had wanted, it left my wife with an emotional scar that I feel responsible for.

When my daughter was born, I felt that this helped to partially heal that wound for her. This proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that my wife can do whatever she sets her mind to. Run a marathon? No problem. Run a marathon pregnant? No problem. Give birth to a baby in our kitchen? No fucking problem. The female body is an amazing thing. My wife is an amazing woman. I am proud of her, and our family. This experience was great. I recommend Home Birth. Check it out.”

Story and photographs courtesy of the beautiful and strong Sara Gage Danks. Reproduction and distribution of the story and photographs is not authorized without the consent of the original author.