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By: Enedina Vance
At around 7 in the morning, half asleep, needed to go to the bathroom, but it was too cold to get up. So I convinced myself that I could wait awhile longer before I absolutely had to get up. As I started drifting back to sleep, I started dreaming that I was having contractions, but one contraction felt different. It was accompanied by a small gush of fluid. My first thought was, I've wet the bed, I must have really needed to pee. Then I realized, I still felt the urgency to pee. I sat up, had another small gush of fluid & still felt the need to pee. Now I was wide awake, this could only mean one thing, my water had just broken!!
Having had 4 c-sections in 18 years, my first at the age of 16 with my twins, second at age 20, third at age 24, & fourth at age 31, I had never experienced true contractions, my water breaking, or actual labor. I had been told I was "too small" to have a vaginal birth, my cervix was "damaged & would never dilate," "once a c-section, always a c-section," & that attempting a vaginal birth was "too much of a risk," & that "either me, baby, or both would die." I fell for each scare tactic & believed everyone else knew & understood my body better than I did. Then I did my own research.
I had no personal experience of what to expect or what signs of labor to look for. Still feeling the urgency to pee, without relief after small gushes of fluid, lead me to believe my water had broken, but I really didn't know for sure. Strong contractions started almost immediately. I was convinced, this had to be it, this had to be real. My husband suggested we text my friend Joan, who is a midwife, we had just spoken to her the day before about possibly attending our homebirth. She called & reassured us that everything was fine, we were doing great, & that we would be meeting our baby soon.
Her confidence in me, in what by body could do, radiated from her through my phone. I was calm & at peace with what we were experiencing. Time went on, contractions got stronger & closer together. Joan & her assistant, Heather arrived around 11 in the morning, 4 hours after my water broken. Contractions were really strong but still bearable. We chatted, reviewed my pregnancy history, & talked about all the new things I had finally been able to experience with this pregnancy. After a few more hours, contractions became too much, I asked her to check my cervix. I thought I had to be close, but it turned out I was only dilated to 1 & about 70% effaced. I couldn't help but feel so disappointed. After hours of steady & painful contractions, I hadn't progressed. Joan reassured me that this was fine, that I had to be easy on my body, this was my first time experiencing real contractions, & the first time my cervix had been allowed to dilate. I knew she was right.
Joan suggested we take our focus off of my contractions, & find something to keep me distracted, who better to help than House! Watching House helped pass the time, but nothing could distract me from my contractions. Around 7, when my contractions became unbearable, Joan suggested I get into the tub. The hot water felt amazing on my back & lower belly. This was when labor got really intense!!
I hadn't realized how exhausted I was until the hot water soothed my muscles. Between contractions I would get so relaxed I actually began to fall asleep, but the next contraction was always there to remind me our baby was on her way. These contractions were nothing like the ones I had experienced earlier. These contractions were unlike anything I had ever felt before. They were intense, closer together, & strong enough to make me doubt myself.
The pain & intensity were indescribable. I couldn't believe women actually wanted to experience this, that I ACTUALLY wanted to experience this!! I began to think I had made a mistake, that this was beyond what I could handle. I felt like the tub was getting smaller, I was uncomfortable & running out of positions. Contractions became the most intense, one right after another. Breathing through them wasn't an option anymore. Screams & sounds I couldn't recognize as my own were coming out of me. With each contraction, I felt my vbac slipping away. I started telling myself I couldn't do this, I wasn't strong enough, I couldn't take the pain, that this was just too much for me. A little after 8 I asked Joan to check my cervix again. I hoped that I had progressed enough to give me the motivation to continue. I knew I had to be closer!! But I wasnt, I was only dilated to 2 & about 95% effaced.
That was it, I was done. I was ready to give up. I began to believe I had failed. I cried to my husband David that I couldn't do this. That I wanted to stop. David knew how badly I wanted this vbac & he was prepared to fight for me to keep going. He & Joan reassured me that I could do this, that this was what I wanted, that I was following the generations of women before me, & that I was strong. I needed their confidence. Joan then offered me a glass of wine to help me relax. I don't remember even tasting it lol it was gone!!
I found that being on all fours, hands & knees, really helped me give in to the contractions. Plus the wine helped me relax & allow my body to do what it needed to do. The screams stopped, I was focused, there was no backing out now. I could do this!! I stopped fighting my contractions & began to welcome them & worked with my body, to let it do exactly what it needed to do in order to let us meet our baby girl. Around 8:30 I got out of the tub, I needed more room to open my knees wider. I continued to labor on all fours on the bathroom floor. Each contraction more intense than the last. My husband says that around 9 I made a "mad dash" from the bathroom to the living room with a fierce look of determination on my face. I crawled up onto the chaise lounge of the couch & leaned over it's arm.
Everything is a bit of a blur after that. I remember taking a deep breath & then my body just took over. I heard Joan ask if I was grunting & pushing? I don't know if I answered her. I took another deep breath & allowed my body to work. I remember someone saying there's no way she's pushing!! She can't be ready yet!! There was some chaos, someone asking me something, & then my husband says I yelled "she's right there!!" Joan ran behind me & shouted, "she's right, baby is crowning!!" Joan laughed & told me to just keep going. After 3 pushes in 5 minutes, our baby girl was born at 9:06, less than an hour after being dilated at 2!! I still can't believe I actually did this!!
❤️❤️ Eneis Amora Vance ❤️❤️
Born at home on
12/17/16 at 9:06 pm
Weighing 6 lbs 12 oz
Measuring 18 in long
Disclaimer: The information on this site is for educational purposes and is intended to motivate you to make your own informed choices based on your research, along with your partnership with your OB or Midwife. Please always talk to your care provider when making any decisions about your pregnancy and birth.