The story of Abram’s birth is a VBAC story. So not only did I see Karen and Christy for all my prenatal visits, I also occasionally saw a backup OB at the local hospital. I chose to have an OB because if I happened to need a repeat c-section I wanted to know the surgeon who would perform it.
I first noticed I was having contractions on Thursday night. I was on the floor trying to find a comfortable position to sit. As I was moving into different positions I noticed that sometimes I felt completely comfortable and then a few minutes later I’d be fidgeting followed by another sense of complete comfort. After about a half hour of this I realized that I was having contractions.
I continued to have contractions in an irregular pattern for most of the evening and into the next day. At around 3pm I lay down to get some rest and started to pay more attention to the contractions. They were coming into a pattern. And then they settled into the 5 minutes apart lasting for about 1 minute pattern by 9:30pm that Friday night.
At this point I lose track of the time. But I know we waited until well into the night before we started asking people to gather at our house. By Saturday morning Karen, Christy, Lori, my Mom and my sister had all arrived.
During daylight hours I hit my first wall. I began feeling this nagging pull in the back of my mind. I tried to just breathe it out. I tried to acknowledge it and move on but it persevered. I should have said something to someone sooner but when I finally voiced my self-doubt I feared it was too late. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue so why not just throw in the towel now. I felt I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to withstand any more. Then Karen and Christy came into the room.
I remember hitting a low point and yelling at everyone. I yelled at Lori and Christy. I yelled at Karen and said that she wasn’t listening to me and that I needed her to listen. She seemed to get closer to me repeating, “I’m listening. I hear you.” At the same time Christy was face to face with me telling me that I could do this, that they were all there in support of me, that I wasn’t alone. I could do this. They were listening and I could do this.
For some reason when I labor I feel the urge to push too soon. And we tried lots of different things to combat the urge. The birthing tub worked the best. At one time I remember feeling at lot of joy at being in there and being told that I could try pushing beyond the lip that remained in my cervix. I also remember while in the tub and making wonderful noise, my three year old daughter came over to me and said, “Good job Mommy. I’m proud of you.”
Sometime that afternoon I began to get tired again and I could feel that sense of being overwhelmed creeping up on me again. Christy suggested that I try some herbs, something to help me get some rest. We had been doing all sorts of things to make progress and to try and rest in between. The movements and positioning, the tub and the homeopathy all worked, to a point. I think I just got too tired. Too tired to try anything new. Too tired to continue in the same way. I was feeling like I wanted to go to the hospital and have an epidural to rest. Again they listened to me.
At the hospital the epidural didn’t work as well as I had been hoping. I was still feeling every contraction but luckily I couldn’t feel the urge to push. I rested for a short while and then Christy suggested we turn the epidural off.
After some maneuvering to get the baby in the right position it was time to push “for real”. And pushing this time didn’t feel like it had earlier. The medication made it difficult for the first hour or so. Karen and Christy had me try pushing in every possible position they could convince me to try, including flat on my back with my legs in the air. Luckily for me Abram didn’t like that position either so I sat more upright after that.
Pushing took a total of 4 hours and I thank Christy for her forethought. If the epidural had remained on any longer I would have had that repeat c-section. At the end of those 4 hours, Abram’s head was born slow and steady, and again I thank Christy for giving me that look to help me take things slowly. Feeling his body slide out of me was the most satisfying feeling I have ever had. I was filled with such a sense of relief while holding his beautiful body against mine.
Childbirth takes you to places you never even knew existed. Physically you feel things happening in places you never even knew existed. But you educate yourself on how to deal with those sensations. You try to place yourself in “labor land” before you get there so that you can handle what’s happening physically. You try to do the same thing with your emotions. But they’re a little trickier because they change constantly. And this time around I found that I had little understanding of just how difficult that aspect of childbirth could be.
Six months later I’m left with sadness for not getting to experience the homebirth I wanted. I know that I allowed myself to walk away from it because I wasn’t emotionally prepared for this childbirth experience. I am also left with the feelings of love, compassion and trust that Karen and Christy shared with my family and me. Mostly I’m just having a good time with my baby boy.