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Birth Story: The unassisted home birth of Aspen Juliet after 2 cesareans
Back story: My first baby was a csection due to being breech. I simply didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that a breech baby can be born vaginally, even though I am a nurse. I went in to labor, labored at home as much as possible, and then went to the hospital and told them she was breech so I had to have a csection.
My second pregnancy, I was set on having a VBAC. I switched providers to hospital midwives in hopes that these midwives would give me better care during birth. (Spoiler, they were actually “medwives.”) I induced labor myself because I was impatient. Labor started nicely and we headed to the hospital once I felt that the pain was getting to be too much. At the hospital I labored some and eventually started using the nitrous gas for pain relief When my water broke, the pain intensified greatly. I said I couldn’t do it and I either wanted IV pain meds or the epidural. The nurse told me that the CRNA was available now and right outside my door and who knows when she would be available again to do the epidural. I felt pressured and caved and got the epidural. As I was getting the epidural, my body was pushing involuntarily. Of course once I got the epidural they laid me on my back, which I told them I didn’t want. Soon after I got the epidural, the baby went into distress. After 2 hours of baby having late heart decelerations they came in and informed me of the decelerations. They basically said at this point that my options were A) a csection or B) a csection.
I was fully effaced and fully dilated and baby was at 3+ station. They said baby was too high. They wouldn’t even allow me to push. (Not to mention that shift change was soon, but they would never admit that that was why they pushed for the c-section).
During this second c-section, I had a uterine window that ruptured during surgery. The incision also tore 5cm down to the cervix during surgery. After the c-section, the doctor told me that I could never have a vaginal birth.
With my third pregnancy, I would not take no for answer. I would get my VBA2C even if it was the last thing that I did. When I found out I was pregnant, I called every birthing center in the region in search of someone who would take me as a patient. I consulted with an OB doctor at 8 weeks pregnant while searching for a midwife.
After an extensive search without much luck, I finally found a birth center that would take me. At 21 weeks the midwife, my husband, and I went in for an anatomy scan with her attending physician (the same physician that I saw when I was 8 weeks pregnant.). This doctor was very nice but said that he was not comfortable with me birthing outside of the hospital because of my uterine window that ruptured during surgery with my second c-section and the 5cm tear of the incision also from the second c-section.
At this point the midwife said that she could not allow me to birth at the birth center. She was willing to do co-care with the OB doctor, but I had no interest in paying her $5000 plus paying the doctor’s fee and the hospital fee. By the way, the baby could not have looked more perfect on the anatomy scan, and the placenta was in the fundus which was great!
After this appointment, I started my search over and began looking for any midwife in the area who would take me as their patient. I interviewed with a midwife pair and we planned to birth in a hotel DIRECTLY across the street from the hospital. They too had the same overseeing OB doctor and he wasn’t okay with that option either. So I ended up seeing this OB doctor until I was 32 weeks pregnant. Around 28-30 weeks along, I started feeling God working on my heart, pushing me towards having my baby at home. God was telling me that everything would be okay. He was telling me that I could have the birth that my soul needed. After years of research on birth and VBAC I realized that my best chance at achieving my healing VBA2C birth would be at home, away from doctors and hospitals and unnecessary protocols and arbitrary timelines.
So I decided on an unassisted homebirth. It was the best decision I could have made! I was getting so tired of hearing people tell me what THEY were going to LET ME do with MY body. I decided to take charge of my own birth! My husband took lots of convincing, however. We had several discussions and arguments about my choice to birth at home. He was afraid of the what-if scenarios. I understood his fear but I knew that my unassisted home birth was something that I needed to do. I told him that I was having the baby at home whether he was there or not. I told him I’d love to have him there but his presence was not required. He told me he wouldn’t let me do it alone. So, we spent a lot of time preparing and specifically educating my husband so that he would feel prepared and not be fearful or panic during the birth.
Birth story: The gender was a surprise! Baby spent the entire third trimester head down on the right side (ROA) with occasional changes to either transverse or head down on the left side (LOA) but would go right back to ROA with spinning babies exercises.
On Thursday 10/17 I was 40 weeks and 4 days. Surges started around 11am. They were few and far between and I didn’t really realize they were there until about 1:45pm. I watched the Spinning Babies parent’s class video and did the calf lift exercise from the video quickly before I had to head to my chiropractor appointment. At the appointment I realized that baby was now on the left side (LOA). I was so thankful as I knew I was in early labor! Surges continued from every 15 minutes to every 45 minutes for the rest of the day. I went for a walk to the park with my husband and my kids to encourage the surges, doing curb walking there and back. We put the kids to bed and I watched the spinning babies video again with my husband. We did some of the exercises from the video to encourage engagement and dilation. I then went to bed at around 10:15pm.
Friday 10/18, 40 weeks 5 days.
Surges continued throughout the night, interrupting sleep, about every 12 minutes. I had to concentrate and breathe through the surges while sleeping in between them. I got up at 4:55am since the surges were simply getting too uncomfortable to lie down through anymore.The surges were about 5-8 minutes apart, and though they varied in intensity, they were not too intense.
Around 7:15am, my husband and I went out for breakfast. I had to breathe through the surges but again, they weren’t terrible and I was fine between them.
When we got back home, I went to the bathroom at 8:48am and saw that I had lost my mucus plug and that it had a strand of bloody show. Things were happening and I was excited!
After losing my plug, the surges spaced out some so I went to lay down and rest for a bit. At about 10:30am surges were 6-8 minutes apart and started picking up in intensity. I was supposed to let the photographer know when surges were 3-5 minutes apart, so we weren’t there yet.
I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I could to get baby to engage and dilate the cervix and do all the right maneuvers to have the perfect home birth. My husband found a link on the Spinning Babies website about doing a maneuver called the abdominal lift and tuck where you and a partner lift your abdomen up and inward with your hands while kind of tucking in your butt for 10 surges. I ate a chicken sandwich to recharge my energy, it was delicious, and then we did the abdominal lift and tucks for 11 surges since we kept missing some when I would go to the bathroom. I would go to the bathroom after each surge so that my bladder wouldn’t get in baby’s way. We started the abdominal lift and tucks at about noon. Those surges were getting pretty intense but all was still well between the surges, and they were still about 6 minutes apart. (I believe they were likely closer together than I realized since I wasn’t tracking the surges I was having in the bathroom because I had left my phone in the other room).
After that, I saw a video that in order to ensure that baby descends during labor, do lunges with your left leg lifted on a chair (if baby is in the LOA position) during surges So I did that for a couple more surges.
Then at 1:13 I lost some more plug. At 1:18 I had some very light leaking of translucent, odorless, pink-tinged fluid. There was a small trickle with the next surge. My water broke! I texted my photographer to come and had my husband start filling the birth tub.
While my husband was in the other room working on getting the pool filled, it became quite clear that This Was It! I was about to have my baby! I realized that I would not get the water birth that I wanted and I would not get this sweet labor or birth on video like I had longed for! But there wasn’t time for me to care about that. I was about to have my baby!
I was leaning into my husband and then got on the floor on my knees leaning over our ottoman. With each surge I SCREAMED and screamed and clawed at my husband’s arm as my body pushed and I pushed with it. Between the surges, I begged God to help me and had my husband give me cold water to drink and had him put the cold water on my face and neck. It was incredible to feel my baby coming down through the birth canal. As the baby was crowning I could feel all the tearing and pain. I reached down and felt with my hand. To me it did not feel like a head. It felt too slimy and squishy. I told my husband to look. He said he didn’t know what it was. I told him to tell me what it looked like. He said he thought it might be the cord. I told him to get me a mirror so I could look. He brought a mirror attached to a huge picture frame that would never work. I knew it wasn’t an arm or a leg. I thought then maybe it was the placenta. I told him to call 911. (We were both clearly too dumb to have him take a picture but that is neither here nor there haha). I never truly believed that what I was feeling was the placenta, since the placenta had been in the fundus the entire pregnancy and baby had been head down and engaged, but in the throes of labor I was not thinking clearly and I didn’t want to take any chances.
My husband called 911 as I continued to scream and push. Just then, the photographer showed up, and I yelled at her to come and tell me if it was the head or not.
Well of course, it was the head! She said “The head is out!” I kept pushing. The photographer told me to grab the baby but I told her I couldn’t grab the baby. I was working so hard to push baby out and holding myself up on the ottoman. I kept pushing and out came baby, head first and perfect!
The photographer actually caught the baby from behind me (which of course was not the plan but we improvised) and handed the baby to my husband. They then passed the baby up to me. I grabbed the baby and looked to see the gender. A girl!!! I couldn’t believe that I had just pushed out my baby and that she was a girl! It was AMAZING!!!
The ambulance showed up just after baby was born and checked us both out. She was absolutely perfect and I was a successful, victorious birth warrior! The placenta came about 10 to 15 minutes after she was born.
Aspen Juliet was born at 1:57pm, weighing about 10 lbs, 20 inches long, after about 35 minutes of pushing! We were so blessed to have a beautiful, healing, restorative, cleansing home vaginal birth and to have a completely healthy and perfect little squishy baby!
We did decide to go to the hospital to get checked out. I had some extensive tears that were bleeding and that needed to be stitched. We were going to go to the hospital anyway to get checked out in hopes that that would make getting a birth certificate and Social Security card easier for baby.
So we didn’t get the much anticipated water birth and we didn’t get the actual birth on film like I REALLY wanted, BUT I got to have my triumphant, healing, cleansing, restorative vaginal birth that I knew in my soul that I could have!