Joanna's Birth Story

Joanna’s Birth Story

“I am so proud of myself for…reaching all of my goals!”

After months of preparation for my VBAC utilizing the Hypnobabies program, my waves slowly crept up on a Friday morning, less than a week before my guess date. As the day went on, I knew they were here to stay. We went out to dinner, walked around the mall and settled our son in with Grandma for the night. Back at home I took a nap until I was awoken at 12:30 am by the waves, which were now coming every 3-5 minutes. Midwives and doula alerted, I then went to work doing circles on the birth ball. Shortly after I felt a strange and powerful *pop* in my pelvis- my water had broken! Intensity picked up and soon my doula was by my side to help me stay steady. AN hour later we headed to the Birth Center!

My waves gained intensity but spaced out. I had trouble keeping anything down and began to lose energy. I ‘hid’ from the pressure and power of the waves by always leaning forward. Thankfully, my doula helped me cycle through different positions in the tub, shower, toilet, stairs and bed to get my body to move and progress. We used several Spinning Babies techniques and even called in a Chiropractor to help because my waves were still spaced too far apart. They helped, things picked up again! In the evening on Saturday I agreed to having my cervix checked. I was at an 8 (with quite a bit of lip around the head)! I was so relieved to know that I was getting so close to meeting our baby! Over the next few waves, Rebecca helped moved my cervix off the baby’s head. We also learned during this time the baby felt happiest when I was horizontal- not my favorite position! We did more spinning babies techniques and I felt more and more pushy through the waves over the next couple hours.

We decided to check my cervix again to see where baby was sitting, I was spacing out again and began to feel exhausted by the lack of food. This check was not as encouraging- I was the same with the bit of lip still around the head. We tried to manually push that lip out of the way again, flat on my back. When the wave came- an extreme amount of intensity flooded over me and it was too much- I freaked out. I couldn't do it. After I calmed down a little, my midwives talked me through my options: power through my pushing in this position and get baby out, or head to the hospital and get nitrous or an epidural. I hated that I had to make this decision. I kept telling myself in my head, "You're in a highly suggestible state! You can't pick the hospital! You wanted a med-free birth- at a birth center! It's just one day of pressure! Your body was made to do this!"..... but it was also saying "You are really effing exhausted. You need something to take the edge off so you have the energy to push this kid out". My husband and I verbally talked it out, and the exhaustion won. I defeatedly chose to go get some Nitrous. As I told my decision to my midwives, a third choice came into play: I would be getting an IV bag of fluid to help perk me and baby up while everyone packs their things up, no matter what, BUT I could try pushing in the flat position for 10 minutes and then head to the hospital if I still needed. My exhausted brain didn't want to agree, but I did since it was a great compromise.

I got my IV and everyone began the packing up process around me. I sat on my birthing ball and rode out the waves. I began to feel intensely pushy, and everyone could very clearly hear it in my grunty voice. After 10-15 minutes someone suggested I head to the toilet to get through these waves/pushes. I got to the toilet, and it was crystal clear I was going to be staying at the Birth Center- and having my baby in the bathroom! I started out facing backwards leaning up against the toilet with my husband pressing behind me on my hips. After a few waves my midwife came in and instructed me to face forward so she could see a bit better in there. As I did this, pads and blankets were brought in for the baby to land on and everyone took their places: my husband next to me in the bathtub, my doula also in the bathtub, my birth photographer perched up on the sink counter, and my three midwives one by one out through the door! It was quite the setup in this small bathroom! Several more waves and I was brought down onto the ground with a rolled up yoga mat bolstered underneath me, ready to meet my baby! I was able to reach down and feel my baby's head, and they had a mirror so I could watch my baby as it crowned (this was *insanely* helpful and the perfection distraction through the powerful waves & sensations I was feeling in my birth canal). After enough waves, I was able to look down and see it's head! I wasn't sure if I should have kept pushing so often because I couldn't quite tell if I was feeling a wave, or if I was just feeling a baby between my legs, so I just got my breath level and would push with all my might. Once the head was mostly visible, I pushed and pushed until baby was fully out at 8:55pm! It was a boy!! I couldn't hold him right away- they had to force air into him for around 4 minutes, which was worrying for my husband.. But they kept saying that his heartbeat and color were perfect, and his cord was still attached, so I wasn't as concerned. Eventually he took a breath and cried/grunted! I finally got to hold my sweet baby boy!  

I still am in shock of how things turned out, I had completely given up, but my body and baby had other ideas! I am so proud of myself for rocking this VBAC and reaching all of my goals! I am forever grateful for my extremely supportive husband, doula, team of midwives, chiropractors, and craniosacral therapist who all made this experience possible for me.