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.
Joining ICAN was pivotal in my journey after C-section. I owe many thanks to the many members who have provided and still provide so much support to me.
My first baby, Theo, came via C-section 9 days after his due date, after about 30 hours of contractions, half of which were spent on my back in the hospital after my epidural. He was posterior ("sunny-side up") and despite two and a half hours of pushing when I was dilated to 9 centimeters, he never made it down. A quick slice across my belly and he was out, safe and sound. But I had wanted a natural birth, and so when I became pregnant again a year and a half later, I joined ICAN at the recommendation of a friend. I knew I wanted a new OB but wasn't sure who, so over the course of several months I tried out three OB offices for my prenatal visits, meeting with 6 OBs in all.
My first child was born via cesarean in 2006. It was not what I had planned - I had studied the Bradley Method and was hoping for a natural childbirth. Towards the end of my pregnancy my OB's were warning me that the baby was big and that they may want to induce me at my due date. I think the stress of that was causing my blood pressure to rise - which was another concern of the OB practice I was with. My water broke three days before my due date (contractions starting soon after) and my son was born 2 days later via c-section (a 39 hour labor). The c-section was for "Failure to Descend" and I had a "large" baby. The OB's called him large, but he was 23 inches long and 9lbs, 3ounces and did not look chubby at all! That c-section left me feeling like I had missed out on the birth experience - when it was time to push with my son the OB had told me it was already looking like a c-section as the baby was too high. There was no encouragement from the OB. Instead of my husband announcing the sex of my baby, someone else in the operating room did.
It was 2 days before my due date and I was fixing dinner when my water broke. I was not happy. That was how my labor with my first child had started, and it was quickly followed by a trip to the hospital per my OB's instruction, 10 hours of pitocin, almost no progress (2-3 cm dilated), and a C-section for failure to progress. I had been taking alfalfa with this pregnancy and was very disappointed that my water had broken before contractions started. I told my husband who was working in the backyard, and I finished making dinner while crying and trying to comfort and discipline our 2-year-old, who had climbed on furniture and fell and busted his lip. My husband came inside to a crying kid and wife, both covered in blood from the busted lip. He calmed me down and I called my doula, who suggested we wait a while before calling Dr. Tchabo. After dinner, we put our son to bed and I spent some extra time cuddling with him because I knew we might be gone in the morning.
So... I woke up at 4:30 a.m. AGAIN on the morning of April 11th. I had been waking at 4:30 every third day or so for a while, so I didn't think anything of it. I wondered if maybe I was hungry and had a protein bar to see if it would help me go back to sleep. I thought I was having some contractions, but again, this wasn't surprising, since I had been having contractions on and off for about three weeks. I couldn't believe I might actually finally be in real labor. Around 6:00, I woke my husband and told him I think I better call the midwife, because I thought my contractions might be 5 minutes apart or so and that we might want to set up the Aqua Doula (a.k.a. "Aqua Doodle" in our house). He said OK, and jumped in the shower real quick. I called the midwife and asked her if we should start setting the tub up, and she was like, "Uh, yeah!" She said she would call back in an hour to check on me. I also called my doula (Lori) to let her know I thought I was in labor. She was at a birth (!) but, fortunately, they had just finished.
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.