HBAC Waterbirth Story

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Here is the scoop on my waterbirth HBAC which I am TOTALLY convinced would have been another C/S had I stayed with an OB and hospital delivery plan. I will give a little background for those who haven’t read my previous posts.

I believe in the perfect design of our bodies and the process to give birth. It is not a medical event. Hospitals, doctors, and women make it into a medical event and lead women to believe that their pelvises are too small, their body just won’t progress, the baby is turned wrong, etc. They do little to advocate the proper help in labor needed to overcome most “complications” and their interventions either cause them or make it worse.

I had wanted a homebirth for my baby#1. DH was not comfortable. We chose a hospital midwife that was pro-natural and a hospital that was smaller and less invasive. We hired a doula. I told my DH not to call the doula when I was in very active labor. He finally called her in time for her to come force me to leave for the hospital. I labored at home the entire time and arrived at the hospital only to push. My doula was invaluable during the last stage though. I needed her. No drugs, no IVs etc. I did get my drug-free birth, but the hospital staff was just totally freaked out when I arrived. They wanted to hook me up to everything (but didn’t get to), made me hold my pushing for 20 minutes, rolled their eyes, had their arms folded…HELLO I already did the hard part BY MYSELF…please just catch the baby. After my son was born, he was whisked away and tortured by all they do at the hospital in bright lights and chaos even though he was perfectly healthy and born at 39 weeks.

With my 2nd DS I had a complete placenta previa that did not “move”. On hospital bed rest, I hemorrhaged for the 4th time. I had a C/S at 33 weeks. I hated the entire experience of the C/S…the feeling of the epidural…the way the baby is just taken away from you for hours and treated roughly…how nauseous I was from the epidural so I did not want to hold my baby, the recovery, etc.

When I first found out that I was pregnant with DS #3, I did feel that I needed to be at a hospital because I would be a VBAC. I was determined to find an OB and hospital that would do a VBAC with very little interventions…I have a LONG list. The more I searched; I realized this would be impossible and that I would be a nightmare patient for them fighting all of their protocols. My own GYN told me that any baby over 6 pounds would be a C/S!!!?? I hit so many obstacles that lead me to the possibility that you can VBAC at home (HBAC). My DH was definitely not comfortable with an HBAC. We researched and met with a HB midwife at about 24 weeks. My DH was sold on the HBAC, and we didn’t look back.

We hired my doula again planning to call her much sooner this time! My prenatal care from my midwife was phenomenal! Appts. were at her home, she was always on time, they lasted an hour and were peaceful and wonderful. It was by far the BEST prenatal care ever, even if I were to end up at the hospital.

So, to the good stuff…at my 39 week appt. I was 2-3 cm, 90% effaced, baby had completely dropped, lots of bloody show and mucus plug. Each day, I would have some really good ctx during the day then in the late afternoon they would go into a pattern for about 2 hours and stop.

IF I was planning to deliver at a hospital and I rushed off, I am convinced they would have wanted to start pitocin to start my labor again (and we all know everything that can go wrong with forcing labor) or go right for the C/S since I was a VBAC. The bottom line is…my body was making progress but the baby and myself were just not ready. I could have been labeled FTP or stalled at a hospital.

Finally on Thursday morning (1/31) I lost a whole lot more mucus stuff…enough that my hubby even told our other children and his co-workers that the baby will probably come today. I thought it in my head too, but I had too much to do that day. I had ctx on and off all day but not close together at all, and my boobs kept having the milk “let-down” feeling. By the afternoon I started having some really strong ctx that were a little more regular but still not close enough. I still had a few things I needed to do. My older boys (5 & 6) go to different schools not close to home. I also had to take one of them to a specialist appt. for a follow-up. I did not want to cancel that appt. since they take so long to get. So from about 2:30pm until 5:30pm I am driving around in a major metro city having ctx and telling my body that I needed to wait. I drove home in rush hour traffic too. When we got home, we went for a “family walk” to see if these ctx were “the real” thing. Each one also had this terrible pain of having a pole shoved up my a**!!!!! What was that?!!! After our walk, I walked by myself a little more. I just couldn’t eat dinner …anything but a wheat roll. I felt sick and uncomfortable and still having ctx. I could not sit on the birthing ball b/c of the rectal pain. I got into the bathtub while my DH put the boys to bed. At 8pm, we called our neighbor to babysit, so my DH and I could go for a good hour walk. At this point, he is just wondering when the heck am I going to let him call the midwife. Ctx were strong and in a good pattern. I felt like I was going to vomit at the end of our walk and had some weird pains. My DH wanted to call the midwife. I said let’s see if the ctx stay (I am in total denial here!!! They had been “staying” for hours). I do not want to be calling my doctor/midwife at only 1-3 cm or false labor. Finally, at 9:30p I gave my DH the green light to call the midwife. He was SOOOO relieved! I described everything to the midwife including the “pole in my rear” feeling. The baby is head down, but she said the baby was posterior (sunny-side up) and we needed him to “turn”. She told us some positioning to do including having my DH squeeze my hips during a ctx. My DH asked if he should call the doula. I said no, let’s wait for the midwife to make sure I am in labor. LOL My DH later told me that HE knew I was in labor and was freaked out that I wouldn’t let him make calls. ;-) like I did with our 1st child. The midwife rushed to get to our house…20 minutes!!! She knew I was in labor too. She did “check me” since we needed time to turn the baby around. I was already 7-8 cm!!!. She said she was going to be very careful not to break my bag of water since the baby needs the room the water provides to make the turn.

Ladies keep that in mind when you agree to have your OB rupture your membranes just to speed up labor…it is there for a reason and you may need it later or breaking it can put you at risk for infection.

You should have seen the look on my face…”Are you serious?” I asked her. My dh called the doula who rushed over.

The midwife’s 2 assistants also arrived. Now, with the doula and midwife they had be get into some interesting positioning over the birthing ball while helping to manipulate my legs and hips so the baby had room to turn. The midwife said this has less to do with my pelvis and more to do with tight muscles and a tight iliosoas (anterior hip muscles). She said it would take about 45-60 minutes for the baby to turn. My doula is also a massage therapist so she could help with this greatly. My hamstrings would get tired from holding the positions…she would just start massaging them. She knew what I needed without any words. The midwife assistant would help give me cushions for my knees, etc. These 3-4 women TOOK CARE OF ME like I was their dearest friend. Their love and compassion was just awesome…their sole focus was me and my baby and what I wanted. Let me tell you, the things these women were doing for me to help me position this baby, NO OB ALIVE would do and no hospital environment would be patient enough to let me do this.

Sure enough, just like the midwife predicted, 45-60 minutes later I FELT the baby turn around inside me. And at that point, they could all see a bump in my low back. This confirmed the baby had turned.

When the baby is in the correct position it actually pushes out a little lump in your low back. I put my hand back there and could feel the lump myself.

Yeah!! I can now get in the bathtub. I could not tolerate bright lights or loud talking during ctx. My doula, midwife just kept talking softly always saying the right things at the right time and giving me lots of fluids to drink. Ctx were much more intense now that the baby had turned and my body could “finish the job”. Then came the vomiting….I was nearing the pushing stage and was overwhelmed with nausea and just kept vomiting. (Good thing I skipped dinner!) This is normal in some women so it did not scare me. Everyone rushed to get me something to puke in and helped me through it. Then came pushing. I just took my mind into a different place. Even with all my support, I knew I was alone in the fact that I had to be the one to push this baby out. I dug deep I prayed to God repeatedly in my head to help me get through the fear and leave my Faith with him.

My sister was there to wake my other boys (ages 5 &6) to come watch. They did awesome…they loved watching the birth and are so in love with their baby brother. My sister was in charge of their care during this.

Once I got serious, pushing took only 4-6 minutes. And no, no one had to “check” me to tell me that I could push…I just did when I was ready. The midwife had arrived at my house at about 10pm. Andrew Michael was born at 12:05am in a beautiful waterbirth at home VBAC! 8 pounds 12 ounces 20 inches

He cried and then laid quietly on my chest for a long time. Everyone helped me out of the tub with baby, cord and placenta still attached. I moved onto my bed to just wait for the placenta to come out. This can take 30-40 minutes even. Patience is key. There is important communication between the baby and placenta to help ease the transition for the baby’s systems to take over peacefully. He never left my chest the whole time.

Forcing cord cutting so quickly and placenta out early like they do at the hospital is very traumatic for the baby and can cause hemorrhage to the Mom. The placenta needs time to make a clean detachment on its own.

After the placenta was delivered, I nursed Andrew a little and then the midwife took over taking care of the baby and then I needed a few stitches..not too many though. My older boys laid on the bed with me and we just answered the questions about everything. They watched the cord, placenta, baby nurse, loved touching him and looking at him. We just didn't make anything a big deal. It was very natural.

The doula kept taking care of my needs for drinking helping me nurse. One assistant kept taking my vitals. The other assistant helped me shower and change clothes. The midwife was busy doing all the medical check of the baby and me. And, they all cleaned up everything before they left.

My husband said it was the most peaceful experience for him. He was able to relax, get things when asked, videotape and take pictures.


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