We invite all ICAN of Northern Virginia subscribers to share their birth stories on our website. Current subscribers may login to add your story to this list. We welcome you to browse through the emotional and powerful words of our subscribers, past and present, and to be inspired by their strength and courage.
I have been working toward this birth since my first pregnancy. I had hoped for a natural low-intervention birth with my son, Hiro, but I was naive and scared, which ultimately lead to my c-section. Before I was discharged from the hospital with Hiro, I knew I did not want to have another c-section. Josh and I both wanted more kids, but there had to be a better way than an elective repeat c-section. Once we knew everything was OK with Hiro's health, I started to do some research into VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Around this time, my sister-in-law, Rachel, had a successful homebirth with her daughter Eva. This was my first introduction to a homebirth. Even though Rachel had a long hard posterior labor, just like I did, she had a skilled midwife who helped turn the baby so she could be born vaginally. I truly appreciated the difference a midwife can make in a birth after hearing her story. This was the better way I was looking for.
At my 40 week appt with my back-up OB, he suggested a non-stress test for the following week. I took the paperwork knowing that I would never schedule the appt. My daughter, now four yrs old, was born at 42 weeks and 3 days and I tend to have long cycles so I knew that this baby just wasn't ready yet. I had another appt at home with my homebirth midwife at 41 weeks, still feeling good and having lots of contractions here and there about every other day. Emotionally I was ready so I was just waiting for a sign from inside. On January 31st I had contractions for 3 hours straight and I really thought this might be "it," but after a big dinner, a glass of wine, and a nice shower the contractions just went away. I guess our Baby Q. just wasn't ready yet, and some wonderful words from my midwife made me feel very positive about the start/stop labor I seemed to be experiencing. She said, "Every contraction you have now is a contraction you don't have to have later." So, I adopted a wait and see attitude and was hoping the full moon on Feb 2nd would jump start things.
My labor started at 10:00 a.m. on February 22, 2007, very slowly. I felt some mild crampiness in my lower abdomen that felt like menstrual cramps. This was exactly how my labor had started with my son Eli. The cramps came irregularly, sometimes every half hour, sometimes with longer intervals. They did not cause me to stop my regular activities. I decided to rest quietly in bed for awhile and to listen to a CD on optimal fetal positioning that my doula had given me. I took this opportunity to talk to my baby, to tell her that I love her and that I would like to work together as a team to make her birth as safe and gentle as possible. I told her that I looked forward to meeting her, and I tried to visualize her in an optimal position for passage through my pelvis and the birth canal. I felt very relaxed after listening to the CD.
My first child was born by cesarean in 2003. It was unexpected but not an emergency, and I was determined to have a VBAC for my next child. I realized that my passive approach to birth the first time was partly responsible for the outcome - I put a lot of trust in my doctor and the medical model of care without understanding my own needs at birth. This time, I took a more active role in my pregnancy and looked at all my options for birthing. After much soul searching and research, we planned for a home birth with a midwife. I continued to see an OB for my medical needs, and also in case the birth required transfer to a hospital. The OB had set a due date of November 27th, but the midwife and I felt that December 2nd was more likely, based on my menstrual charting.