Guest Post from Cainna B.
After my first son was born via c-section for breech presentation, I knew that I wanted to attempt a VBAC for any subsequent children. I got in touch with Bonnie on the morning of my positive pregnancy test (she was so wonderful during my first birth that I hurried to snap her up again at the first opportunity!), and I asked her to suggest some VBAC midwives in our area. After meeting with a few and exploring our options, I realized that the hospitals near my home are not very VBAC-friendly, and that I might have to fight a bit of a battle to be successful there. This ultimately led to our decision to plan a home birth with Abundant Life Birth Care, because one of my biggest priorities was to make sure everyone present would be completely supportive. I didn’t want skeptical nurses or overbearing doctors convincing me to be afraid.
To be honest, I was a little nervous at first. The other women I know who have given birth at home were first time moms when they did it, but I had to consider the additional complexities associated with VBAC. My husband did not want to be anywhere near a hospital, so it was his enthusiasm that first steered my thoughts in the direction of home birth, and I did a lot of research (with Bonnie’s help) on the risks and benefits of VBAC at home. As the months went on, I began to develop such a wonderful relationship with my midwives; at some point I looked up and realized that any semblance of fear or doubt was gone from my mind. Just walking into the room with them made me feel at peace. My baby was growing, my body was healthy, and no one was treating me as “high risk” simply because I had a prior cesarean. I was excited to have this baby!
But when my due date came around, he wasn’t quite ready to make an appearance. As the days went by, I began to worry that I might not get the home birth I had been looking forward to all this time. If I was still pregnant at 42 weeks, I would need the backup obstetrician’s approval to legally have a home birth, and what if he said no? I was willing to wait without intervening until my baby was ready, but I was frustrated and a little angry that an arbitrary legal timeline might rob me of the birth experience I wanted for myself and my child. Fortunately, my water broke in the middle of the night just 2 days shy of the 42 week deadline, and I felt all that anxiety melt away.
Because I never labored with my first baby, we were all prepared for a long, drawn out birth process this time, as is common for many first time moms. It was quite a surprise to us all when my contractions started right away and began intensifying quite quickly. Within a few hours, both Bonnie and Maya from Abundant Life were on their way to my home. They arrived around 7:00 am, and when Maya checked my dilation I was already past 7 cm. I believe the cervical check sent me into transition, and the next two hours brought some of the most intense pain I have ever experienced in my life. While Maya was busy caring for my health and the baby’s, as well as setting up her medical equipment, I had Bonnie’s undivided attention and emotional support to get me through the worst contractions.
I don’t believe anything can truly prepare a woman for the experience of childbirth, but I knew that my body had been designed for this and had just decided to let the labor happen without trying to control anything. I also had the double blessing of Bonnie and Maya calmly reassuring me that everything was happening normally, and that the pain and contractions were good, bringing the baby’s head down a little more each time. I labored in my bedroom until his head was almost visible, and then Bonnie helped me into the birth pool so I could push. Until that moment, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to actually give birth in the pool, but the feeling of relief once my body hit the water convinced me that it was the best choice.
My son was born into the water at 9:05 am, after 5 hours of labor and 20 minutes of pushing. He spent a few minutes on my chest, and then we got out of the pool so I could deliver the placenta and clean up a bit before snuggling into bed with him to rest and nurse. Everything felt so natural and so calm, and although I was in pain, I was never afraid. I gave birth while surrounded only by people who believed in me and believed that my body was not broken. I also loved recovering in my own home, without nurses taking my blood pressure at 3:00 am or waking me up because I had fallen asleep with the baby in my arms. I feel so blessed to have two beautiful and healthy children, as well as the unwavering support of my family and my birth team. God has given us so much, and I sincerely wish the same joy and happiness to every mother and her family. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story!