A VBAC Birth story..as told by A.S.
I was so lucky to be able to deliver my fourth baby, second vbac baby, with Belinda Hodder. She and Diane were both with me when I delivered my third baby, first vbac, at Mercy Gilbert. That was a good birth, but it was still a hospital birth with hospital protocols that we couldn’t completely get away from. They sure did fight for me though, and I know it went as well as it did because they were by my side.
I was thrilled when I saw they were opening their own birthing center this last year, and I am so glad I made the choice to birth with them again. It is a three hour drive from my home to Willow, but there is a VBAC ban where I live so travel is a must to avoid a c-section, and they are worth the extra distance.
As with my first vbac, this little one did not want to come out so at 41 weeks 5 days. Diane placed a Cook’s catheter to help me dilate. Being the amazing evidence based care providers that they are, they sent me out to have lunch after doing an NST to check on baby. I started having some good strong contractions almost immediately, but it wasn’t until the next morning that the catheter fell out. For awhile the contractions persisted in an encouraging way, but by mid-morning I was concerned we were losing momentum again. Diane and Belinda met with me at Willow, and we chatted comfortably in the “living room” of the birthing center like old friends about what to try next. We had until midnight the next day to get me in active labor before protocols forced them to transfer care. We agreed to try some herbs and a stretch and sweep. So Diane swept my membranes and told my husband and I that I was at 6-7 centimeters. Excited that I was still progressing, I accepted the herbal tea and tinctures they suggested, and my husband and I left to have lunch. I hate going into labor hungry haha!
Shortly after ordering, I knew we had better get our food to go, because the contractions were coming hard and fast. We headed back to our hotel so I could labor in the shower. That worked for an hour or so before I realized that leaving the pain relief of the hot water was becoming a very intimidating prospect, and I needed to get to the birthing center which was only a few minutes away.
Belinda met us at Willow, and quickly accommodated my request to get back in the shower where I labored for another hour or so quite peacefully. Intermittently, Belinda would monitor the baby with the doppler, but it was not intrusive, and so much better than those awful continuous monitors they insist on in the hospital.
After awhile we moved to the bathtub, but it didn’t take too long before I found myself quite tired. During my third birth I felt this same exhaustion entering transition, but in the hospital that’s when they start asking you to push. Not the case at Willow. No, when I told Belinda I was tired she told me I should go rest in the bed a bit. She brought me a peanut ball, and I found myself sleeping between contractions for the next hour or so.
As the contractions became stronger I remembered reading that pushing can help with the pain, so I started pushing a bit. I just tested the waters at first. It didn’t take long before my body seemed to be on board with the new plan of action. I must have made a guttural noise because my husband caught on and called for Belinda.
I felt the need to get out of bed, and ended up back in the tub for a bit, but I simply couldn’t get comfortable. Despite my desire for a water birth, my body wasn’t happy there. I had squatted to deliver my third child, so I thought perhaps that was what I should do with this one. I was surprised that I really wasn’t sure where to go or what position I needed to push this baby out, but perceptive Belinda came to my rescue. I came out of the tub between contractions and she urged me to stand with one foot up on the birthing stool that was next to the bed and lean on my husband. I began to argue with her that I wanted to squat when the next contraction hit. My body pushed quite beyond my control. I heard someone say they saw hair, and I thought, well if she’s that close let’s get on with this. I pushed with everything I had. I felt a pop as and my waters went and out came her head. One more glorious push, and Belinda was saying, “catch your baby!” So I reached down and with Belinda’s help I did just that. I brought her up to my chest, and we unwrapped the nuchal cord around her neck together. It wasn’t super tight, and she was absolutely fine and beautiful. It was an excellent birth, and I am so grateful to Belinda and Diane for having created this amazing birthing center where moms are able to birth with their bodies taking the lead.
I'm probably done having babies, but if I should have another, I know I will birth at Willow. I love these ladies so much. They are amazing. Birthing with them left me feeling empowered and in control, yet safe and protected. I'm so grateful to have found them.