At Ocean Midwives we support a women’s journey through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum. Each woman and baby are unique and have their own history, life experience, desires, and needs as they prepare to welcome a new life into the world. We were lucky to meet this mother who was planning a freebirth after a cesarean. She came to see us for a prenatal near the end of pregnancy for some reassurement, information, and community. It is with great pleasure we share her birth story and photos, with her permission, and can celebrate her journey with her.
Her story is all hers, please enjoy!
An Unassisted Birth, Waterbirth, VBAC, Homebirth, Freebirth!
“My birth story begins on November 16, 2011, the day I had an elected cesarean at the advice and encouragement of my Doctor. I was 41+1 weeks and he was concerned that my baby boy was too big, and I was showing no signs that labor was close. I didn’t know I had options and did absolutely no research of my own and unfortunately I instilled all my trust into him. My son was 9 pounds 6 ounces and 23 inches.
On Thanksgiving of 2014, I took a pregnancy test that was positive, as I leaned against the kitchen sink, the first thing that came to mind was that there was no way I’d ever lay helpless on an operating table to deliver another baby ever again. From that very moment I decided I was going to provide all the care I needed on my own for this entire pregnancy, and that I wanted to birth alone, with just my husband there to support me.
My estimated due date was August 7th, 2015, my birthday. Over the next 9 months I struggled with hyperemesis gravidarum, anemia, and a terrible bladder infection. I stayed active and gave myself the care and attention I needed. I wasn’t forced to take a glucose test and had no ultrasound or exams. Together, my husband and I would listen to the baby over a fetal scope, which took practice to learn how to find the heartbeat and know the difference between my placenta, my own heart, and the baby. I read ‘Unassisted Pregnancy,’ and ‘Unassisted Homebirth.’ It wasn’t until I read ‘Unassisted Homebirth,’ that I knew the importance of birthing freely without assistance, and the importance of a supportive partner, which I had. As questions came up during this time, I consulted a wonderful friend and Midwife, Felicia Beers. She answered my questions and encouraged me to birth freely, despite the “dangers” that the mainstream medical establishment would like me to believe. I also had the support of a wonderful group of women that gave me encouragement on a daily basis. At 39 weeks, I made an appointment with a local midwife, Whitney Stolman, who was also encouraging about my birth plan. She listened to baby with a fetal scope, checked my blood pressure, confirmed baby’s position and answered my questions about placenta consumption and baby’s position. She gave me so much love and support that day, I left with positive energy and excitement.
As my estimated due date came and passed, I made an appointment with my Chiropractor and scheduled a prenatal massage on Friday, the 15th of August. I had prodromal labor almost all weekend, but nothing progressed, I was 41 weeks and 3 days. On Tuesday August 18th, I scheduled one last appointment with my chiropractor, and that night I began losing small amounts of mucus plug and the following day I lost more and more. By Wednesday afternoon, my contractions were strong, but irregular. Felicia had recommended that I rest all night. During that last night, I slept the best I could, my contractions were 15 minutes apart around 3:30am but not unbearable, I would sleep in between and made sure I drank water every hour and ate often. I did not know what kind of strength emotionally and physically I would need for birth, so I wanted to be prepared. I got up from bed around 6:30am, my contractions were getting stronger and slightly closer together, they were about 9 minutes apart. I knew the consistency of the contractions were not important, but keeping track gave me hope and kept me focused. I paced my bedroom, bounced on my ball, and ate breakfast. I tried laying on my side, laying on my back and sitting up, nothing helped with the pain or pressure. All morning I lost more of my mucus plug. Around 12:00pm, I felt labor was close enough to get into the bathtub but within 45 minutes I felt my labor was not progressing, so I got out of the tub. Around 2:00pm I laid down on my side in bed which was the only position I could tolerate, then suddenly my contractions started coming quickly, 2-3 minutes apart. I did my best to focus and get through them while holding on to Nick’s hand and arm as hard as I could, with each contraction, the pressure grew greater and stronger. After laboring in bed for almost an hour, I began to have the urge to push and the sensation was overwhelming, bringing me to tears. Nicked helped me out of bed and we made our way to the tub. Last minute, I decided to empty my bladder one last time. The walk from the bed seemed like eternity, the pressure in my back was hard to look past, and hard to focus and breathe through. I was unable to stop crying and was overwhelmed with emotion. As I stood up, my water broke and I leaned against my husband to try and get my emotions under control. I got into the tub and was on my back doing my best to focus on other things than the pain.
After awhile, I realized I was fearful, and I needed to let go of the fear and anxiety and let the baby come freely, I felt my fear holding labor back. My husband helped me move from my back to my knees. We noticed old meconium in my water that was all over the floor, My husband called Whitney, and she confirmed that staying in the water was best for baby. While my husband was on the phone, I felt baby drop and begin to crown. For the next 35 minutes I pushed with all my strength, every last bit of strength I had. I struggled to get her head out all the way and had to work at it for 3-4 contractions. Once her head came all the way out, I touched her precious head and felt a handful of hair. At times the pain was impossible, but I remembered reading that this was pain with a purpose, and with every contraction I was closer to meeting my baby girl or baby boy. The last few pushes were at the encouragement of my husband, who was leaning towards me as I gripped his arm and hand, but I was careful to stay underwater. I felt his support, which is what I needed at the end. That last push gave me such relief as she came all the way out. We left her under water for a couple seconds to check for meconium around her mouth, and at the very last second, my husband took a picture, a picture that is so important to me that I don’t even have words to describe the emotion when I see it.
It was the first moment I laid eyes on her, and it was captured in a photo for me to go back to, a picture that brings tears to my eyes. A picture that shows a baby girl just a second away from entering this world from the safety of her Mothers womb. Baby Vada was born at 4:17pm, August 20. I remember saying through all my tears “omg, look” as I saw that beautiful face for the first time. I pulled baby up and held her close to my heart while rubbing her back and talking to her. Nick ran to the dryer to warm up towels. I suctioned her mouth and then she finally began to cry, a loud, healthy cry. It wasn’t until she began to cry, that I checked if we had a baby boy or a baby girl. I had to look twice, and called out to my husband that it was a girl. A beautiful, big, healthy baby girl. She was so perfect, and untouched by anyone but me, no one to take her and wash her, no one to measure her, no one to give her a score, no one to disrupt our time together. This precious first few minutes that were uninterrupted was exactly what women are supposed to experience.
I got out of the tub and moved to my bed, where I delivered my placenta 20 minutes later. I laid with my new baby girl on my chest with her placenta still attached, letting all that important blood pass through her cord into her precious little body. My husband clamped and cut her cord almost two hours after birth.
The following day we decided to weigh and measure her, she weighed 10 pounds 10 ounces and was 22 inches in length. We named her Vada Mae.
To make this story just a little sweeter, 7 years ago I bought a small Plumeria plant, and over the years was never able to get it to bloom. The day Vada was born was the day it bloomed for the first time. Just like my beautiful Plumeria, with patience and understanding, flowers bloom on their own time, and babies are born when they are ready.”