Wednesday, December 11, 2013

one year ago - a birth story

one year ago my son was born! it was a big event. not only did i celebrate having a new child that day, i also celebrated the kind of birth i had. i had a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) water birth in a birth center. two and a half years earlier i had a long, hard labor with my daughter that ultimately needed surgery at the end. i had been planning to birth her at a birth center with my loving midwives at Alma Midwifery. instead i ended up at a hospital. i'm glad the hospital was there to provide the help we needed, but when we decided to have another baby i hoped to be reunited with my midwives again. i found my local chapter of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and started doing research. my cesarean was due to my daughter's position in utero. i knew that if she hadn't been facing up with the cord wrapped around her neck and her arm up near her head that she would have come out relatively easily, so i felt confident that another baby, especially one with optimal positioning, would come out just fine. the decision to not only plan a VBAC, but to plan a VBAC out of the hospital, is personal (and somewhat controversial) so i didn't really tell many people about it, or blog about it. i didn't want to hear people's doubts and fears. i did my research and learned that the risk of uterine rupture is less than one percent. once i read that statistic i was convinced. read more VBAC facts here.

i met with one of my midwives and asked her if she had ever had a mama have a rupture or other catastrophic event with a VBAC and she said no. of course she had had mamas transfer to the hospital to have either a VBAC there or a repeat cesarean, but no catastrophic events.  birth is so much about being comfortable; not physically comfortable but feeling safe. i knew that for me the best chance of having a VBAC was going to be with my midwives out of the hospital. other mamas might choose differently. i have met all sorts of women who wouldn't dream of giving birth outside of hospital, regardless of whether it was a VBAC or not. it is a really personal decision.

i knew that good baby positioning was key, so i went to a prenatal chiropractor and had acupuncture treatments. one of my midwives also gave me regular mayan abdominal massage. i looked at spinning to get advice for different stretches and movements. it was kind of nuts. my husband was very supportive and helped me do whatever i needed to. it was like i was preparing for the birth olympics. i was very determined.

in the end all of my hard work paid off. i had about six hours of active labor. it progressed quickly but not overwhelmingly so. after my daughter went to sleep i labored in the shower at home for a bit and then felt the urge to push, so we got in our vw camper van and drove to the birth center. we joked that if he was born in the camper then we would have to keep it forever. it was a really nice place to ride. we folded out the bed in the back, so i could be on my hands and knees comfortably. it was a tuesday evening at about 8:30 when we arrived at the birth center. it is a beautiful old craftsman style house and each room has a big, gorgeous tub. it's like a homey bed and breakfast. when we pulled up my midwives were waiting for me on the sidewalk. they led me up the stairs into the room which had glowing candles and a fire in the fireplace. i immediately got into the tub and stayed there until he was born at 9:44. it was hard, intense, and amazing. pushing him out was the most satisfying thing i've ever done. i pushed him out into the water right into his daddy's hands. i love that the first person to touch him was vincent, and then us together.

here i am with seven week old dean talking about his magical birth in one of the birthing rooms at Alma.

i knew going into his birth that i would be bringing another sweet baby into our family regardless of how he was born. i was willing to do whatever we needed, whether that meant going through hours of drug-free labor or having another surgical birth. i am really happy with how it went and overjoyed with having him in our lives. happy birthday dean!


  1. Happy Birthday Dean! You look like a charmer like your Papa. It was delight to have served this thoughtful and fun family through two pregnancies. Dean really benefitted from his Mama's attention to movement, nutrition and mind/body alignment as he gestated. I was a witness to the victorious moment and the look of surprise on both Cassie and Vincent's faces to have Dean in their arms. Thank you for your sweet story and I am blessed that your children introduced us...See you at the Pig Races (inside joke)!

    1. Thank you Laura! I was blessed to have you by my side through both pregnancies.

  2. Such a beautiful birth story! Happy Birthday, Dean!

  3. What an amazing birth story. So fun to see a video of you, and hear your voice. My two births were in hospital but here in the UK midwife-led births are the norm. Many of my friends had water births - some at home and some in hospital - and they all said how wonderful it was and how much it helped with the pain relief. And you really did your homework with movement and positioning, wow! x