My birth was fast and furious, 2 hours and 37 minutes. With Eli's birth, I had labored for almost 24 hours and then had him via c/s. I expected at least 12 hours of labor with my VBAC. Although, I had been contracting for a couple of weeks, though not consistently, my body was definitely getting ready for this VBAC! I awoke around 1:00 a.m. when my husband came into the bedroom after playing poker with his friends! Shortly thereafter I felt a painful sensation in my cervix. Not a contraction, but something oddly different. About five minutes later I felt a gush of water and knew my waters had broken! All I could think of was `GAME TIME"! And then I thought to myself, I'm not sure if I can do this!
I let my husband know that the time had come and we needed to call our midwife. But believe it or not, I couldn't find her number!!!!! I had put her number in a safe spot but somehow it had been moved".O.K., no need to panic"..YET! I end up calling information to get her number. About fifteen minutes have passed. I call my midwife and tell her my water has broken with contractions about five minutes apart. She tells me she will be on her way after a quick shower. I call my sister, who has had two home births already, and tell her that I am in labor. While on the phone though, after telling her my contractions are about five minutes apart, they are now barely three minutes apart and getting closer! My husband calls the midwife and she puts herself in high gear!
My grand plan of baking oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies ( my midwife loves them!) while I labor is now a ridiculous idea; my contractions are now about 2 minutes apart. I go upstairs with my husband, put on my birthing beads necklace and start running the Jacuzzi tub. My contractions are getting stronger and stronger; I am moaning, deep and guttural, through each one, floating in the tub. Beginning to get scared, not knowing how much time has passed, but knowing instinctively that my labor is progressing very very fast, I keep asking my husband if he hears the midwife and birth assistant yet. Finally, my husband says they are here (3:00 a.m.) and I feel a sense of calm wash over me. My birth angels had arrived, to guide me through the unknown. Where I had been floating, now I feel grounded, safe.
Another contraction takes over and I wonder, "Why did I want to do this again"? ! Can I handle the pain? I look into my birth assistant eyes and say, " I don't think I can do this" and she says, so kindly but firmly, " Yes you can, and you are doing it". I say to my midwife " I thought VBAC labors were so suppose to go slow"? She tells me that my body will do what it is meant to do and again I feel safe in her calm words, her faith in me. Soon I have the immediate desire to get out of the tub. With each step, a contraction, I hang onto my husband and birth assistant. I remember my midwife asking me if there was something I wanted to wear, I point to my nightgown, she has just enough time to put it around my neck and I am engulfed in a contraction. I remember my whole body leaning, wrapping my arms around her waist and hanging on as if she were my life preserver. I felt like I was on a ride that suddenly was moving too fast and I wanted to get off but there was not where to go but hang on for dear life.
I remember seeing the bed prepared for me to birth, but I knew I wasn't going to make it so I dropped to my knees at the end of the bed, digging my forehead into the footboard to get through the pain of transition. The next day my husband would tell me that he had tried to cushion my head but was unable to, only then when I touch my forehead, do I realize I am bruised! What I remember through this last stage of labor was the voice of my midwife, like a beacon in violent storm, keeping me focused, keeping me from slipping away. I feel my baby move through me, I think she must be crowning, only later do I realize I was feeling her move through me, finding her way into the world. I pushed my beautiful baby girl out in 19 minutes with a few minor abrasions and one small tear it is 3:52 a.m. Hear me ROAR, I AM WOMAN!!!! I remember saying to my birth assistant, the sun rising out the window, " I NEVER knew it could be this beautiful".
My beautiful Rachael healed my soul, the scar, the one that was not visible seemed to fade away. Without ICAN, I never would have been brave enough to take the journey. The courage of all the woman I have met has changed my life forever.