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.
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.
Every woman has a notion of an ideal birth. My first pregnancy was a beautiful time and I educated myself about my labor options... my husband and I believed in natural birth and enrolled in a Bradley class, read extensively, exercised religiously, and were expecting a difficult but hopefully fulfilling birthing experience. Unfortunately after gestating 41 weeks, an almost 30 hour labor with no medication and reaching full dilation, due to my daughter's malpresentation I had an emergency cesarean birth under general anesthesia.
Jacob's birth was supposed to be my easy one. I was having a nice normal pregnancy and planned to deliver at home with my midwife, C. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with homebirth and it only happened because I had come to know so many women who had done it successfully and had wonderful healthy births. The agreement I had come to with my husband John was that if my pregnancy continued to be uneventful and healthy, I would deliver at home. If any problems arose, I would deliver in the hospital under Dr. T's care. I had established a relationship with him early in the pregnancy and felt comfortable with his approach and VBAC-friendliness.
What an experience - laboring and birthing . . . something that I hadn't completely had the opportunity to experience until this day. Not the picture perfect HBAC that I had dreamed about, but I wouldn't have done it any other way!!
Around 12:30am on June 30th, I awoke to a contraction. Several minutes later, another contraction. Could this be it? Could this be the day that I've been waiting for for over nine months? The contractions were mild, coming about every 6-8 minutes probably, though I was hesitant to time them knowing it didn't mean much. The feelings: excitement, worry, peace, calm, joy . . . all mixed together in my being. Excitement that I would actually have a fair opportunity to birth my baby the way God intended, which I had never previously had. Worry as to what the road ahead of me would bring. Peace that I would trust my instincts, my body, my supporters, and birth my baby! Calm that I was remaining at home for this sacred day. Joy that I would soon birth my baby and meet this joy that I had nurtured and loved for over nine months.
Our son Luke was born at home on April 23rd at 12:55am after seven hours of active labor. But really, the labor started about a week before that. On April 15th, I had a very busy day and at the days end I started to contract regularly. I realized that I needed to rest and put my feet up, which was exactly what I needed. Then on Wednesday April 20th, I had another couple hours of contractions, but this time it was in the wee hours of the morning and I couldn't go back to sleep. My body was preparing for labor, but in small spurts!