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Wonderful Hypnobabies HBA2C (home birth after 2 cesareans)

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I never got around to actively posting here, but I derived a lot of inspiration
from other people stories. So here's mine, in the hope that someone else will
benefit from reading it. :)

Note: one of the things that drew me to Hypnobabies was my conviction that if I
could stay relaxed, my birthing muscles wouldn't be working as hard to allow
baby to be born. In my mind, this basically negated any "risk" to the vba2c that
I had my heart set on.

My hba2c birth story

2/2000: (DS1) Interventions leading to fetal distress and emergency c-section

4/2008: (DS2) Repeat c/s

Third baby "due" 3/3/12. We'd decided early on on a vba2c. Though the midwife at
Kaiser said I was an ideal candidate, she also advised I would have to get
doctor consent down the road and then again at the hospital. Since I understood
the risks this wouldn't be a problem.

I went to an ICAN meeting in October and was totally shocked to hear how many of
the women had opted to have their vbac at home. So I started researching the
safety of home birth, which I had never considered an option for me. Happily, it
turns out there is quite a good community of home birth midwives in San Diego.

Amazingly my hubby got on board quickly and we were interviewing midwives
shortly after! We both felt most comfortable with the ladies at the Center for
Natural Birth.

At my 37 week appointment, I had my first internal exam revealing that my cervix
was very posterior. Fingertip dilated and still thick but soft. I took from this
that the Braxton Hicks, which had become more and more frequent, weren't doing
much.
That week though I started having a persistent backache and these practice waves
became stronger and more frequent. Thursday night, 37+5 they went thru the night
until 5AM. It was a sleepless night as I sorted thru what all I had to do if
this was really it. As of the next night I started taking Benadryl to sleep thru
these practice runs.

Monday night 38+2 the practice waves seemed like a little more than BH. I woke
up on Tuesday 2/21 still having BH but less intense again. At my appt that
morning I asked to be checked. My cervix was now anterior but still only a
fingertip. I was 30% effaced. My take home message was that something had to
really pick up if I was going to get anywhere and I could just ignore all these
practice waves. So I did. All day.

We went to dinner at a friend's house that evening. As we departed at 7:30 I was
a little uncomfortable and knew I wanted to get DS2 put to bed ASAP so I could
relax. Thankfully he was totally cooperative and I left his room at 8.

My sister texted to ask if I was still baking and I answered "oh yes" at 8:02.

In my bedroom I leaned over the bed and swayed thru my next pressure waves.
These were different but not at all painful and I still felt they were an
extension of my intensifying BH. DH came up at 8:30 and asked how I was doing.
We hung out and chatted for a while before migrating back downstairs at 9pm. It
was at that time that I thought maybe I should time a few of the pressure waves.
They were 3 min apart, lasting just over a minute and they'd been going on for
an hour already. I told DH I thought I was in early labor and may have the baby
tomorrow. I asked him to call my mom and let her know she should come sleep here
in case things picked up over night. I also asked him to fire up the jacuzzi. He
called mom at 9:30 and she said she'd be here in two hours.

I texted my midwife, Heather. She said to get in the hot tub for an hour and if
they went away and I could sleep, great. If they intensify or my water breaks,
call her back.

I texted my sister at 9:29 to say "hmm maybe not". It seemed clear that baby was
finished baking.

DH went upstairs to blow up the birth tub and make up our bed and I went out to
the jacuzzi and started listening to the Hypnobabies track "easy first stage".   I was calm and confident and
under control. I thought I'd want the jets on my back but sitting wasn't
comfortable so I was leaning over the concrete on a towel with my head on my
folded arms. I focused on staying relaxed through each pressure wave.

After thirty minutes I texted DH to say I needed more towels. And Heather. He
came out with towels and said she'd be here in an hour. During the next thirty
minutes I was having a harder time keeping my focus. I was making trips to the
restroom, hence the more towels. I also felt that my pressure waves were easier
to handle if I bore down just a tiny bit. I thought "open open open" and could
actually feel my cervix opening. A lot it seemed. But that didn't seem possible.
Then I started shivering. It was maybe 50 degrees outside and half my torso was
out of the tub so that seemed reasonable. The track ended and I went inside.

In the bathroom, I peeled off my bikini and marveled at the frayed strings and
the worn fabric. I knew I needed a new one for this summer. But the places this
one had been: Hawaii for our honeymoon, Israel: the med sea, caked in mud at the
dead sea. And now at our baby's birth. I dropped it into the shower and put my
comfy yoga pants and sweat jacket back on.

Upstairs I was so grateful to find that DH had already made up the bed and I put
the same Hypnobabies track into the cd player and lay on my left side, hoping to
regain my focus. DH asked if he should fill the birth tub now but I wanted to
wait until Heather said if I'd made any progress.

I don't know how long this went on. Maybe 20-30 minutes. It still felt good to
bear down slightly with each wave. Until my water broke. That broke my
concentration as I recalled hearing how this would make my contractions so much
more intense. I was worried I'd only be at 4cm with hours of intense
contractions ahead. So I told DH I needed the tub.

11:30. My mom arrived and told me Heather was in the driveway. I told each of
them as they came in that my water had broken. Heather started setting up her
tools and I made my way to the bathroom. I didn't like laboring there and came
back to the bed quickly.

The pressure waves were much more intense now. Heather said she needed to check
me as soon as I had a break between waves. I wasn't getting breaks often or for
long at this point.
"I'm afraid you'll tell me I'm at a 2!"
"Your water probably wouldn't have broken yet if you were," she replied.
I was having another intense wave.
She said, "Don't fight it. It's your baby." And at that, I could feel myself
pushing. It felt better if I did.
"But did you check?" I asked.
"I didn't have to. Your baby is right there."
I pushed through two waves on the bed and Heather said if I wanted to deliver in
the tub I needed to get in. Now.
"I can't"
"Ok. But your baby is coming now. "

As soon as that pressure wave eased up I got up to go to the tub. Apparently
everyone had accepted that I "couldn't" as this was met with a mad dash to
support me so I wouldn't fall. I didn't feel unsteady...

I put my foot in and worried it was too warm. I was reassured it was perfect. My
mom tested it with her elbow and said my feet are probably just cold. I got down
on my knees and bent forward into the same position I'd assumed outside with my
arms on the side of the tub. In the water I finally got a break between my waves
and felt I was able to get a little bit of a grip. I was vocalizing with the
next one and I heard Heather telling me "Low. Go low. Raspberries". Raspberries
didn't work for me. But going lower actually made it more comfortable and since
comfortable seemed to go hand in hand with effective for me so far I was
reassured. When that one ended I could feel something hanging out of me. Heather
said, "It's part of your membranes. If it was a head you'd know it."

I had a break again before the next pushing wave. This time it was the head (and
I didn't know it). Heather said, "Stop. Do. Not. Push. Listen to me!" [She told
me later the cord was draped over baby, like a necklace.] I stopped and then she
said go ahead. I'm not even sure I was having a pressure wave at that point. And she
said, "Lift your left leg and I'll bring the cord around." I looked down. Baby
was out. And he had a penis. Of course he did. In that moment he couldn't have
been any other way. This was the little boy that had cruised around with me for
the last almost 9 months. "It's our M----," I said to DH.

Then I recalled I should lift my leg and she wound the cord around in front of
me. I pulled him out of the water and to my chest. In the air he cried for a
moment and then was so peaceful. I sat down and held him on my chest for the
longest time as he looked around, calm and content. I couldn't believe we
actually did it, quickly and comfortably. Our M---- was here and it was really
true: he knew how and when to be born.

Not that we could have done it without DH, who was a rock throughout. He took
care of everything so that I could focus on letting M---- be born.

M---- D-- was born at 12:07AM on 2/22/12 weighing 6lbs 7.6oz and 19.5" long. He
completes our family in a way that was both immediately clear and impossible to
explain. But I do think a part of it was having this opportunity to experience
natural birth with him. He will forever be my partner in what was a life
altering and healing experience.
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