I can hardly believe that the healing VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) birth of our littlest love was over eight weeks ago?! Where, oh where, does time go. The truth is three kiddos has me all sorts of busy! But none the less, we are here and I am excited to share our story.
It has been a whirlwind of incredible proportions these last eight weeks. We have been soaking up all that is our newest addition and working to settle into a new routine as a family of five.
Wanting Something Different
To get a better understanding of what led me to the journey of a VBAC birth, read the story of my unexpected c-section birth with our middle daughter as well as my journey with birth trauma and the lasting effects.
Bearing all this in mind, I longed for a VBAC with our newest little one. I was looking and hoping for healing and control. I spent hours researching VBAC friendly providers and talking with local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) representatives. And I eventually even switched to a more supportive provider.
I spent hours praying for a healthy pregnancy and supported birth. I worried endlessly about every step of this pregnancy.
I am excited to share with you today the birth of our newest little one, Amelia! Prepare yourself… this is a long read!
Early Labor Begins
The fun all started in the midnight hours of Thursday, 8/22 into the morning of Friday, 8/23. I woke around 1 am that night with a painful contraction. The pain was enough to urge me awake and when another one came a few minutes later, I decided to use my contraction app and begin timing them. I knew that these weren’t yet, active labor contractions, but we were certainly moving in that direction.
Now if you follow me on Instagram, you know I was not so patiently awaiting our little one’s arrival. We were officially beyond 40 weeks (maybe even 41 if my OB’s calculations were correct) and I was ready to meet our lady.
In the midnight hours of Thursday into Friday, I had consistently, painful contractions but they were only happening every 15-20 minutes, occasionally 12 minutes. I knew this was still very early labor but I wasn’t keen on staying home with the older two by myself Friday so I begged the hubs to stay home from work Friday.
With the hubs home for the day, he was able to take the older two with him to drop Asher off at school and I attempted to get some rest. After drop-off, the hubs, Ellery and I went for a walk around the neighborhood, to the local park. My contractions had all but stopped at this point and I was hopeful that a walk would start things again.
The 2+ mile walk only slightly picked things up but it was fun to have some time with the hubs and Ellery before our little one arrived. Looking back I am so grateful we decided to go for that walk.
After our walk, the Hubs and Ellery went to pick up Asher from school and grab lunch. Despite my protests, the Hubs declared I needed to stay home and rest and he would take the kids for a bit.
So while they were out for a few hours I took a warm bath, caught up on Stranger Things, and then took a short nap. During this time contractions had mostly fizzled out and thankfully I was able to get some shut-eye.
Into the Evening
Because I was over 40 weeks, my doctor had already scheduled a non-stress test for me to complete on the 23rd just to get a gauge on how baby girl was doing. So we headed up to the hospital to complete that test shortly after the Hubs and kiddos returned home that afternoon.
My doctor met us at the hospital and the test was quickly completed without any issues. We decided to head to the mall to grab dinner, walk around a bit, and see where the night went.
Shortly after dinner and walking around, contractions picked up and began coming every 10-12 minutes. I knew this was the real deal because these contractions were much more painful than the ones before. It was time to get back home and get ready for what would be a busy night.
Since things were picking up I called my mom and asked if she could come over for the night. I knew this baby was coming! The contractions continued as we finished up for the night. We got the bigger kiddos dressed and into bed and I tried to settle to sleep myself but that didn’t happen.
I tried to lay down around 10 pm but sleep wasn’t possible as the contractions had grown stronger and much more painful. Contractions were happening every 7-8 minutes and lasting upwards of a minute at this time.
I tried to rest as best as I could between 10 pm and midnight but I struggled to get comfortable. I found that during this time laying on my back or sides increased the pain in my back and hips. Inevitably I ended up on all fours or walking around our room.
Because I wasn’t sure how long things would continue, I didn’t wake the Hubs until around midnight. Around midnight things picked up. I found myself struggling to do it alone. Walking, swaying, and leaning was no longer helping and I needed some help.
I woke the hubs and asked for him to provide counterpressure on my low back. Just like my labor with Asher, this labor was felt almost entirely in my low back. Over the next hour, contractions continued to stay 7-8 minutes apart and lasting nearly one minute in length.
My labor with Asher lasted 48 hours so I was hesitant to get “too excited” about anything with this labor. I wanted nothing more than to labor at home, with the Hubs, with freedom of movement, change, and control.
My Do-It-Myself Hour
As I mentioned before I was worried to get too excited about any stage of labor. I have a history of a long labor and I was prepared to be at this for some time. So in order to make sure one of us was useful for driving in the later hours, I told the hubs to go back to sleep at 1 am.
I told myself I would handle at least the next hour’s worth of contractions. Let me tell you, I have never experienced a longer hour in my life. From 1 am to 2 am, I worked through every position and laboring tip I could remember. I bounced on the ball, rocked on all fours, walked, swayed, leaned and so on.
It was in this hour I realized I was getting everything I had dreamed of with my other labors. I was in the comfort of my own home, with my husband, and taking on the trial of labor without interruption. Even with the pain, I was filled with joy that I was doing exactly what I had prayed for, for the last 9 months. In that hour, working through each contraction in our dimly lit master bedroom, I thanked the Lord for this journey.
I spoke with our baby, urging her to work her way down. Talking to Amelia and reminding her (and myself) that we were a team and that each contraction was a step closer, was so helpful in managing the pain. These mantras kept me in the moment and focused in a time when I could have reeled out of control.
As I was sitting on my exercise ball, working through the contractions, I counted down the seconds until 2 am. I held on to my silent promise that the Hubs could sleep for an hour. He would have been more than happy to stay awake and help, but I am glad he was able to get some sleep. I vividly remember the last contraction of the 1 am hour and then poking the Hubs to wake him up.
2 am – 3 am
Things picked up during this time. I was at a point where I was debating when we should go in. Because I was working towards a VBAC birth I didn’t want to get to the hospital too soon. We live 30 minutes from the hospital so while I didn’t want to labor long in the hospital, I certainly was not prepared to deliver in the car.
My contractions continued to pick up and were now averaging 6 minutes apart and still requiring my full attention to work through them. Sometime during this hour I gave into my inner animal and began vocalizing a low moan during each contraction. Prior to that night, I would never have guessed I would give into labor in such a way, but it really, really did help manage the pain.
My favorite part of this hour was working together through the process with the Hubs. He was so attentive and with me during each contraction and then we would talk and joke between the contraction. I absolutely loved this time with him. With two (and a half kids) the Hubs and I don’t get much one on one time, so I will forever cherish this time together.
3 am – 4 am
During this hour things really picked up! As contractions picked up to 5 minutes apart the Hubs filled the bathroom tub with warm water and together we sat in the bathroom chatting while I worked through contractions for 30ish minutes. Around 3:30 I decided it was time to get out of the tub and start thinking about getting on the road.
At one point the Hubs said “your contractions aren’t yet 4 minutes apart, are you sure you want to head in?”. At this point, the contractions were still averaging 5 minutes apart, but as though Amelia was telling us she was ready, only minutes after he said that I experienced 4 contractions 3 minutes apart from one another. This was it! It was time to head to the hospital!
While I dressed, the Hubs went downstairs to wake my mom and let her know we were going to be leaving for the hospital. The Hubs made sure we had everything for the hospital, and I whispered a “good-bye my loves” as I blew my two babies a kiss as they slept. I was off to bring their sister earthside.
Read Part Two Here