I supported this mother as her doula and birth photographer through her birth of her first. She was strong and courageous through her caesarean, but this time she knew she was going to work hard for a vbac (vaginal birth after caesarean.)
I asked her to share a bit of her vbac journey through her eyes. This is what she had to say…
Mothers Day morning started off bright and sunny with us thoroughly stuffing ourselves for brunch at Restaurant 62. After brunch we bought our toddler to the park to burn off some energy. I remember sitting on the bench watching her and my husband play and thinking to myself how much I was looking forward to an afternoon nap because I had been up the night before with some random and inconsistent contractions. We headed home to put her down for a nap and I headed to bed, pretty pumped to get some sleep. After laying there restless for about half an hour I started getting increasingly uncomfortable. I hopped on my birth ball and started watching the clock. Contractions were coming about every 7-8 mins but were not too bad. We had plans to go for dinner at my in-laws and this happened to be the one night were not able to secure our planned childcare if I happened to go into labor so we figured heading to dinner might not be so bad because we could always leave her there if tonight was the night. We packed the car to head out and I remember asking my husband to pack my ball. The car had already been packed for weeks with birth bags as my doctor claimed there was no way I would make it to my May 2nd due date…he stated he would be surprised if I even made it past April 15th.
We got to my in laws and I just hung out in the living room on the ball. At this point contractions were not bad and were about every 5 mins. My only concern was that now we were about 25 mins from the hospital. I sat down to eat but really couldn’t stomach much and made my way back to the ball as everyone was getting ready to eat dessert. I walked into the living room, sat on the ball and next came the most body shocking contraction I had ever felt. I yelled my husbands name, he looked at his parents and said, “ Gotta go!!!” and off we went. How I remembered in that moment to get him to call our doula Jaydene was beyond me.
The car ride to the hospital was excruciating. As I sat kneeling in the passenger front side hugging the seat I am sure my husband ran every red light and drove at speeds I didn’t know existed. I was moaning and holding on for dear life all the while him promising we were almost there. Upon arriving at the hospital he went to go park and I demanded (yelled, screamed, begged) he drive up to the front and we leave the car there. I got out of the car and was hit with another contraction. At this point I am pretty sure they were barely minuets apart. As I leaned over a newspaper box near the entrance moaning I hear “Its ok girls, she is ok, she is just having a baby.” Oh great, I thought, now im scaring children, fantastic.” The girls’ mother ordered her husband to get me a wheelchair. I sat down and immediately stood back up and said, “Chair bad, chair very very bad.” And so we walked to the maternity elevator as I clutched on to my husband for dear life contracting all the way.
We enter the triage at about 7PM and I am told I am 7cm dilated. I was in too much pain to be thrilled but part of me was ecstatic because I had told my husband the ideal for me would be showing up to the hospital at 7cm. Game on.
We are escorted to a room very shortly and I headed into the shower. During my first birth I had major back pain and it gave me some relief even though I was rushed into an emergency section. Sitting in the shower on the birth ball second time with back labor I remember thinking to myself, “You can do this…you are already 7cm…you can do this…holy crap this hurts…I can do this?!”
About an hour and a half in the shower I come to find I was 9cm dilated. I move to a hands and knees position on the bed and try and work through the hardest part, or at least so I thought. I had gotten a TENS machine and was using that for my back labor and it really seemed to take my mind off of some of the pain…well..that and putting my poor husband in a form of a headlock every time a contraction hit.
Did you know your body starts voluntarily pushing when it thinks its ready? I didn’t. And it FREAKED ME OUT. I kept being told not to push because I wasn’t fully dilated yet and I just remember yelling “Its happening!!!! I cant stop it.” It was frightening and exhilarating at the same time because I knew I must be close. They check me again and see I still have membrane around the babys head so they try to break my water once more. After that things happened pretty fast. One push and smiles. Apparently what followed the push was a pretty nice view of dark hair. She wouldn’t be too much longer. After 20 more mins of pushing all the while me saying “I can’t do this anymore, I don’t want to do this” and being told, “Well…that’s too bad…because your doing it!” she arrived. Not breathing. 10:52PM. She is whisked away and the moment they do so cries erupted. Relief. She is put on my chest and I say “Is it a girl!?” And they reply, “Why don’t you look!” I lift up her tiny, sweet body and smile. A girl. Then she poos on me. “Happy mothers day to me I remember thinking, smiling and internally laughing. There’s nothing like being pooed on for Mothers Day.”
I ended up losing quite a bit of blood (2L) and had to be put under to be stitched for a third degree tare. But as they were wheeling me into the OR, baby safe and sound getting some skin to skin with daddy, I couldn’t have cared less. I did it. I wanted so badly to have a natural labor and I did it. I felt in awe. Although the entire experience probably wouldn’t be descried as perfect by most, but she was here. Beautiful and safe. I was now a mother of two. Sounds pretty perfect to me.
Watch Cassidy's full journey Earthside here: