I had planned a birth center birth for my daughter, using Hypnobirthing for relaxation and breathing. She was born via c-section in 2005, only because she was breech and the midwife practice would not deliver a breech baby. Her position was discovered by sonogram at about 41 weeks (every prenatal visit it was, "I THINK that's the head!"), so my visits to the chiropractor, acupuncturist, and even the manual version did nothing to turn her.

After 6 weeks of recovery (for the physical incision) and months of postpartum depression, I knew that I couldn't tolerate another c-section for our second child. I looked into options for VBAC, and someone at my chiropractor's office told me about ICAN. I found my midwife through the ICAN website and after further research, I knew that things would be best with a home birth.

I thought I had started labor on my due date... the contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasted a minute. I immediately started practicing the Hypnobirthing methods. After about an hour, my husband called my midwife. She asked to talk to me, and I spoke with her for about 5 minutes. Then she told us to call back if things got to be more intense or closer together. 12 hours later, the contractions stopped!!

I scheduled an induction massage for that Tuesday. Nothing. We tried spicy foods and other natural stimulation methods. Nothing. At 42 weeks, I had acupuncture for induction. STILL nothing. We asked our midwife for other options and if we could check to make sure that the baby was ok. She suggested a Biophysical Profile, which was done at 42 weeks and 3 days. I had enough fluid and his heartbeat was fine, but they didn't see any "breathing." That afternoon, my midwife suggested castor oil and to take it the next morning in a smoothie. My hubby went to the store and bought the castor oil.

At 11:30 that evening, I started noticing regular contractions that were more intense than the ones on my due date. An hour later, my hubby called the midwife, who asked to talk to me. She felt I was still calm and to call back if things progressed. At this point, I was going between the bathtub and the toilet and couldn't get comfortable. An hour later, my hubby called again. My midwife still thought I was "too calm" at that point. Remember, I'm using Hypnobirthing! I felt the back pains, and I was starting to freak out on my hubby. My midwife decided to call the birthing assistant and send her out. I finally moved to the bed and tried to get into "the zone" with the Hypnobirthing CDs.

At 5am, the birthing assistant finally arrived. I was already starting to go crazy! 2 hours later, I was asking for pain meds and an epidural. The birthing assistant laughed and reminded me that it wasn't what I wanted, and I certainly wouldn't want an emergency c-section. She examined me and told me that I was already at 9cm! That helped calm my nerves a little, and I was able to focus on the goal. I don't remember if my midwife said she was on her way before or after that, but it was about 7:30am when she left her house... and got stuck in Wilson Bridge traffic. Zachary was delivered after almost 10 hours of labor including 45 minutes of breathing down, in the amniotic sac. Once his head emerged, it only took one more "push" to get him completely out! He was born at 9:12am... my midwife showed up around 10am! I'm very thankful that my birthing assistant was there! She was wonderful, and all went according to plan! So, on April 30, 2008 (at 42 weeks and 4 days), we became the proud parents of a 9lb, 8oz baby boy, measuring 22.5" long with Apgar scores of 9/10! I held Zach immediately, with the cord still attached, and it was an unbelievable feeling. I did have a 2nd degree tear that required stitches and some other minor tears, but it was so worth it.

Jennifer, HBAC, Oak Hill, VA

About ICAN

The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by reducing preventable cesareans through education, supporting cesarean recovery, and advocating for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Learn More About ICAN