Miranda’s birth story has to start with some background information and a bit of her big brother’s story. We had planned an all-natural, drug-free hospital birth and had taken Bradley Classes when I was pregnant with Dustin. Unfortunately, the hospital staff didn’t like how slow my labor progressed and coerced us into interventions we never wanted. Because of all this, I ended up with a C-section after 28 hours of labor. The recovery was rough, I had a hard time breastfeeding, and I ended up in a really bad spot for a while. I was eventually diagnosed with post-partum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. We had always talked about having 2 kids, but after all this, we weren’t so sure. When we did get back to thinking about a second child, we knew we would do things very differently!
Before I even got pregnant this time, I started researching my options and sending preliminary e-mails to local midwives and birth centers. Being a VBAC patient, I knew my choices might be limited. I got plenty of responses saying that they could not take me as a client or that they had extra regulations because of being a VBAC. I was lucky to find a couple midwives (one being a VBAC mom herself) close to my house and we set up an initial consultation soon after we found out I was pregnant. We liked them a lot after the first meeting and decided to definitely go with them after an amazing review from a friend who saw them for her VBAC.
Just like when I was pregnant with Dustin, I had a smooth pregnancy with no complications. The care and prenatal appointments were so much better with midwives, though. They actually got to know us and answered questions and truly listened. We were given options and choices about testing and procedures instead of just being told what things will be done when. The reactions I got from people when the topic of a homebirth and/or VBAC came up ranged from “you guys are crazy!” and “is that really safe?” to “I wish I would have done that!” and “that sounds amazing!”
My due date (August 19) came and went with no signs of anything happening. I was really hoping since this was my second baby she would come earlier, but she had other plans. There was never talk of inductions or anything being “wrong.” We all just waited. The day I hit 41 weeks, we went out for a big breakfast and a small hike. I wanted out of the house and I was really hoping I could get something happening. Still nothing! **Side note added later- one of the major signs that labor could be close is “decreased fetal movement.” I was up that night til about midnight because she wouldn’t stop moving. She was posterior even earlier that day and I’m pretty sure all her moving that night was her getting into the right position.** Early the next morning (August 27, around 2:00), I got up to pee, got back in bed, and felt a gush. This was something new for me; my water didn’t break on its own last time. I wasn’t having any contractions so I grabbed a towel and went back to sleep. Around 3:30am, I got up to get a clean towel and Johnny woke up. He asked how I was doing (he meant sleep-wise since I hadn’t been sleeping well most nights) and I told him about my water breaking. The sound of shock in his voice was great! I still wasn’t having contractions so we both tried getting some more rest. At 4:00am my contractions started. They were coming every 10 minutes and just after 4:30am, I decided to get up and start getting some things ready. I asked Johnny to start getting the birth tub set up and then all the sudden the contractions were right on top of each other and I wasn’t getting any breaks. I got in the shower for a bit, but it wasn’t helping. I came out to call our midwives, but couldn’t even talk. I handed the phone over to Johnny and went back to the bathroom. It was now 5:15am. I was moaning through contractions and wondering why they were so strong already. Our midwives showed up one by one between 5:30 and 5:45am. At this point my body was pushing and I was thinking something was wrong; there’s no way I was actually ready to push, I must be doing something wrong, and this wasn’t going to end well. After a quick check on baby’s heart rate and such, they got me up and helped me to the tub (5:55am). I got my first cervical check of my pregnancy to find out I was completely dilated with her head right there! I couldn’t believe it! I continued to push on my knees with my upper body resting on the edge of the tub. I kept reaching down to feel the progress of her coming out and it was such an odd but amazing feeling. She was born at 6:32am and I couldn’t help but to break down crying! I had done it! I got my VBAC and it was the best feeling in the world to be the first to hold my brand new baby! We stayed in the tub for a while cuddling and nursing (she latched on within the first 10 min or so). Dustin had slept through all this and had just then woken up. Johnny went and got him and told him what was going on. The look on his face when he saw me in the tub with Miranda was priceless! I delivered the placenta at 7:05am and Johnny got to cut the cord. At this point Dustin was wandering around with his breakfast, way too distracted to eat. I was helped out of the tub and got into my bed for more snuggle time. We got to spend our first bit of time together as a family of 4 totally relaxed in our own home. Eventually our midwives did Miranda’s first check-up; she was 8 lb, 4 oz and 19 ½ inches (shorter but heavier than Dustin was). I got checked out around the same time and it was confirmed that I had a pretty good tear (I had felt it happen, which in a way was pretty cool since I was so aware of my body and everything that was happening). Our midwives cleaned up, started some laundry, packed up their stuff and after a few final checks, left us to get some rest and start the new piece of our lives.
The difference in recovery has been amazing! Sure, I was pretty sore (mostly from the tear that I later had stitched) and worn out the first few weeks but it was nothing compared to my previous delivery. After my C-section I felt totally broken and defeated; after my VBAC I felt triumphant and, for a lack of better words, bad-ass. I still get excited thinking about how everything happened. On one hand, it’s sad because I know now exactly what I missed out on when Dustin was born, but at the same time this was such a healing experience! I want to tell anyone who will listen my story and convince every pregnant woman to do her research and question everything.
Kindly contributed by Heather Trumps