In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, we are featuring some great birth experiences from moms who ended up having a cesarean for different reasons and moms who have had vaginal births after a cesarean.
A HBAC is a Home Birth After Cesarean. This is Ashley’s HBAC Birth Story.
My first birth, was a long homebirth turned c-section. I call this my Rainbows and Unicorns HBAC because it was as ridiculously perfect as a birth can get. I don’t know how I got so lucky.
My water broke Monday morning, but I had no more than 2 or 3 contractions in a row over the next 24 hours, despite my best efforts to get labor started naturally. So Tuesday afternoon I took castor oil, which worked pretty quickly. 2 hours later I was in labor, starting off with contractions 2 minutes apart. It was pretty intense skipping the early labor part, and getting my oldest out of there and everything (well, the pool) set up was a bit stressful. Contractions did eventually space out, thankfully, but they were strong. I went from 3cms to 10cms in about 3 hours.
The thing about progressing that fast is I was afraid I wasn’t doing it. With my first, labor was strong and long, but somewhat irregular and I had lots of back labor. This time it was strong and regular with a bit of back labor. I was dealing with things ok, but it felt like I was progressing quickly and I was so afraid I wasn’t. That sounds a bit convoluted, but hearing my dilation progress so quickly with so little trauma (I was dealing with it much better than the first time around) really upped my confidence.
Also, compared to Evie’s, it didn’t hurt that much. Sure, it hurt, but it wasn’t that bad. At no point did I have the burning sensation in my bones that sent me running to the hospital with Evie. I never even went through transition. I’ve talked to so many moms and read so many stories about reaching the point when you feel you’re going to die, or that you can’t do it, or that you’ll split in two; it never happened.
The hardest part was pushing against a cervical lip, and then my midwife holding it back. It took something like 10 contractions with her fingers in there to move past it, which sucked, but once it was gone everything changed. The urge to push felt great, but it wasn’t overwhelming and it wasn’t uncontrollable. I just really wanted to push. Not pushing during a pushing contraction sucked, even when it was only long enough for me to stop a push, catch my breath, and start another one. And those contractions were LONG. The joy of homebirth is that you don’t have people yelling at you how to push, but I was still doing something like 4-5 pushes per contraction. Also I’m apparently a stealth pusher. It wasn’t until the 2nd or 3rd in a series that I made any noise at all.
Pushing took an hour and a half after that lip was gone, and it was hard work. Having had a c-section I wasn’t totally confident that I could do it, and for a long time I wasn’t making much progress. This was probably when his head was molding and it was normal, but I felt that hour and it was a long hour. Then, suddenly, he was coming through. Crowning was amazing. The ring of fire was nowhere near as bad as I feared, though it was intense. Yay water birth. The truly amazing thing was I knew I’d birth on my hands and knees, and I saw myself catching, but I didn’t know how that’d work out logistically. Well, for the record, it was on my knees, face on the side of the pool, and hands reaching down to feel his head come out.
Pushing a head into my hands was the single coolest experience of my life. Feeling his hair THEN his forehead THEN his ear (as opposed to Evie’s forehead and ear coming first), his cheek all slide out of me was amazing. That was when I realized there was a real person in there, and he was almost out! I felt him kick and turn, which was really unpleasant, then pushed out the shoulders and chest and pulled him out of my body myself. That moment was incredible, I don’t think I can explain how amazing it was.
His apgars were probably 8 and then 10, and he was so calm after birth. It was just this amazing ecstatic peaceful entrance. Literally, I had my ideal birth.
Tavian Miles Alexander
9lbs 13oz 22″ long 14″ head
And no stitching needed!