Sophia’s birth story was originally published on the Crunchy Hot Mama blog by her mother on October 23, 2013. Sophia’s mommy has given me permission to share it here.
A month ago today, I held our brand new baby girl in my arms and was in love. My prayers were answered and I had a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)/HBAC (home birth after cesarean) in the comfort of my own home-think Little House on the Prairie, as my uncle referenced. The plan was to have the baby in the water since I love taking baths but that didn’t happen. No worries though, I was just elated that she was born in our home and all went well (for the most part).
finally recently did Emma’s Birth Story, I thought it fitting to do Sophia’s as well; plus the fact that many of you were curious how it turned out (it’s lengthy).
To recap Emma’s birth, I had an emergency C-section at 8cm dilated and after having my water broken by a nurse. It devastated me to no avail that my birth plan didn’t go as planned. BUT when my OB told me that I could have a VBAC, should we have another child, my spirits were lifted! That was all I needed to hear to know the next time would be TOTALLY different…and that it was. Thanks to one amazingly supportive husband and lots of prayers and well wishes, I delivered our 2nd daughter vaginally.
My alleged ‘due’ date was on September 24th…but that day came and went with no progression. Then, on the morning of the 27th at around 5:30am, I started to feel consistent contractions and worked on timing them-trying to remember what I learned with Emma three years ago. Josh was awake with me and we weren’t sure if we should contact the midwife, so I sent her a text as a head’s up. I called her shortly after that and she asked if I wanted her to come. I initially said yes but after talking it over with Josh, I told her to just wait. Shortly after, I went into a holding pattern and was glad I didn’t have her come over to just sit around and stare at each other. I already felt bad for getting her up so early as it was.
After texting back and forth throughout the day, we finally decided for the midwife (Mercy) and midwife assistant (Pam) to come over. They arrived around 5:30pm, just when the intensity was starting to increase. I did some laboring on the floor in my room, some on the toilet, and some on the bed. At around 7:30pm, we all went in the kitchen and had dinner together (gluten-free pizza from Palio’s). The midwives then suggested going for a walk around the block to get things moving. I loved that idea-it was getting monotonous going through the pain while just hanging out.
I’ve never walked while having contractions, but now I get what walking does for you…it increases the intensity! I walked once with the midwives then once with Josh. I will say, it was a nice change of pace since I love being outside and the weather was gorgeous. I also ran into a good friend of mine who happened to drive by to check on me. Talk about perfect timing!
We got back in the house just as it was getting dark and the pain of walking through the contractions was getting unbearable. The ladies decided it was time I could get in the tub to do some laboring (you don’t want to get in too soon or it will slow down contractions). It was getting close to Emma’s bed time but she was hanging out around the tub and asked if she could get in. I said yes. That girl loves taking a bath and I thought it would be nice to spend some time together before baby finally came. After trying to labor with her in there (she did well when I was contracting), I told her it was time for bed. Thankfully my mom was there to take care of that ritual so Josh could stay with me.
It was kind of a blur after that. I know I eventually got out of the tub (apparently you’re not supposed to tense up when going through a contraction) and sat on the toilet for a while, then went to the bed to see what felt better. Ha, that’s a joke! None of it felt good and I was getting anxious as to how long this was going to last. I do remember sitting on the toilet when I was farther along and having my water break. I had no idea what to expect, but I heard a pop, felt pressure, and then saw that the floor was wet. I thought it came from another end, but it was just my water.
After more laboring, they told me to get back in the tub as it seemed to be getting closer. I ended up sitting on the birthing stool in the tub, but it wasn’t very comfortable for the midwife assistant, and I was getting nowhere, so we went to the floor at the foot of my bed. A couple things I learned: you have to make deep moaning noises, not my high pitched. sounds, AND that you have to let go-literally. I didn’t know where to find that inner release so I could literally push my baby out.
When I finally figured out what I had to do, and allow myself to open up, it started to click. I went through so many emotions, asking the ladies to pull this baby out, saying ‘I can’t do this,’ and getting frustrated when they said I was doing a good job. BS! I wanted this to be over and fast. I even said in my head, that I wanted someone to cut this baby out. I knew I didn’t mean it, but I guess you get desperate when you’re in a boatload of pain.
There was finally a point when the midwife had to sit in front of me, while Josh sat behind me, and hold open my cervix. Seems I really didn’t want to let go and push my baby out. I had no idea what it was going to feel like to push and apparently didn’t want to let my body do so. So, when I finally realized what I needed to do, and after much pleading for help from my helpless mom, the magic started happening!
I was actually pushing and I actually felt the RING OF FIRE through several contractions. The ring of fire is when the widest part of baby’s head is in the cervix…and it literally feels like you’re on fire! So while trying to work through that, the midwife asked if I wanted to touch the baby’s head. I was a little skittish at first but thought, why the heck not? I’ll never get to experience that again and I was in so deep being crunchy, that this would just add to the experience. It was crazy yet neat to feel my little one’s head before she made her worldly debut.
Around 12:30am on Saturday the 28th, and after about two or three intense pushes, where I bared down on it and didn’t care if I tore or got hemorrhoids, out came the baby. The coolest part was being the first to see that it was A GIRL! Josh was the first to find out what Emma was, and I was the first to find out what Sophia was. I instantly said, ‘Here’s Sophia Audrey!,’ since that was the name we finally decided on. Side note: her name came to me at Josh’s grandmother’s funeral back in February. Her name was Audrey and I don’t know why it came to me then, but apparently it was a sign.
I thought all was well after she came out, but that was just the beginning. It turns out that since Sophia was all wrapped up in the cord (which can be normal), and came out rather fast, she was starting to detach the placenta. Since that was happening so fast, I started to bleed A LOT. The midwives kept telling me to smell my baby, which releases oxytocin and aides in stopping the bleeding. Well, that wasn’t helping. And if you read my post on Placenta Encapsulation, I was not opposed to sucking on a piece of my placenta since that can stop hemorrhaging as well. Unfortunately, that did not happen since it hadn’t been delivered yet.
They decided to move me from the birthing stool down to the floor to lie on my back to help slow down the bleeding. The whole time I was shaking and trying not to black out. I hurt down there from tearing and was not excited to deliver the placenta. Since the bleeding still wasn’t stopping, they shot me up with Pitocin twice, gave me homeopathic pills to calm me, and had me drink my bottle of chlorophyll to help with the effects of blood loss and help build up my blood supply.
Let me tell ya, I was actually worried. It’s easy to think since baby is out; all is well with mama, too. Not the case…just ask Josh. He practically had his finger on the 9 for 911 since he was panicking just like he did with Emma. I swear I don’t try to freak him out with each birth. One neat thing he did get to do was cut the umbilical cord once it stopped pulsating (delayed cord clamping).
After some time, and a few deep breaths from the oxygen tank, the blood loss subsided and I was finally coming to and not seeing spots anymore. Then, they had me get in the shower to rinse off and get on the toilet to go to the bathroom.
That next part was a blur, too, but I do remember that Sophia wasn’t latching like I had hoped. I started having flashbacks from Emma’s nursing experience and was about to lose it. I didn’t want to go through that again, especially after what I just went through with this birth.
I remember being proud of myself for delivering vaginally and I know there were lots of sighs of relief, but the healing process still had to happen. It turns out I had a 2nd degree tear and the midwives decided to wait til the next day to sew me up. They had me use ice packs all night and morning which helped the swelling go down tremendously!
Sunday brought the midwives back over to sew me up while Sophia got adjusted to help with the latching issues. I really can’t sing enough praises of chiropractic care, especially when it comes to a breastfeeding relationship. Also, on that day, I got my placenta pills from the midwife assistant. I know it seems crazy, but I have recovered way better than I did with Emma…and I’ve had several people tell me so. Who knows if it’s a placebo effect or a combination of things working together, either way, I feel great!
Overall, it was quite an experience and if you’d ask me right after if I’d do it again, I’d say heck no! But after having some time to reflect, it was an amazing experience and I couldn’t thank my wonderful midwives, husband and mom enough for believing in me and supporting my dream of having a VBAC/HBAC!
After a month into being a family of four, we are going strong and adjusting to having a little one who makes cute noises and can’t get enough love from her sister. It has been heartwarming to watch Emma love on Sophia and constantly want to hug and hold her–these are the precious moments of being a parent that’s for sure.
I know this was a long post, but I wanted to chronicle my journey in hopes of helping others and showing other options out there. There are definitely differences between a hospital and home birth, and IF I had to do it again, I do it at home all the way!