Feelings on Birth, Part 3

So you’ve read about both of my birth experiences. To know those will help you understand where I’m at when people ask me my opinions on childbirth, which is what you get to read now.

There is such a stigma surrounding C-sections now in the naturally minded community that when I failed at a VBAC, through no fault of my own other than genetics, I couldn’t help but feel some shame. This is so wrong. I understand that there needs to be a push for women embracing labor because there are many C-sections that could be avoided, but I also think we need to embrace these women that were cut open to bring their babies in to the world, because that experience can be scarring on more than one level.  I believe every birth should be talked about and celebrated because birth (medicated, natural, cesarean, etc) is such a big moment in a woman’s life, even if you don’t realize it at the time. Now I get that it is hard to celebrate a traumatic birth. My son’s birth doesn’t rate very high on the trauma scale in my opinion, I have many friends who went through much worse, but talking about it was so healing, and learning to embrace and celebrate coming through all that played a big part in preparing for my daughter’s birth.

Childbirth is beautiful, messy, and natural. I believe it is something to be embraced. So, whether you pushed out a 10 lb baby unmedicated, or ended up with a 30-wk. high risk c-section embrace your experience and celebrate what your body went through for the last 9 months and culminated in!


Now quick we will talk about VBAC prep. After my first post, I received several messages on advice for what all I did to prepare for a VBAC. First off, I am not a healthcare professional, so take everything with a grain of salt. 😉

– My frist piece of advice is to make sure you see a healthcare professional who is 100% supportive of your desire to VBAC. If you have a midwifery practice near you that you like I would recommend that route.
-Hire a doula! This is just as important as step 1. We were strapped on cash from all my other out of pocket expenses this pregnancy, but we made some other sacrifices and this was hands down the best money we spent this pregnancy. I’ll probably write more about Doula’s later because our deserves an entire post dedicated to her awesomeness.
– Do your research. A doula can help with this… I read a million blog posts, books, talked to fellow VBAC friends. Because of this I ended up in weekly chiropractor visits to make sure my pelvis was properly aligned to give baby lots of room. Multiple acupuncture appointments each week to help labor come naturally without induction. Massage to help keep me relaxed. Diet changes and more. Natural child birthing classes (ok we didn’t do this one, but we had a plan for pain management thanks to our doula).
– Accept and prepare for the fact that things miiight not go your way. This was big for me. I knew I wanted a VBAC, but I knew if I didn’t prep myself for the possibility of a repeat cesarean then I would be in for some major heartbreak when the time came.

Finally, the question I’m sure you are all dying to know that’s just entirely to personal for you to ask… Will I go through it again? Do I want to birth more children? Well that’s a tricky question. (and totally not anyone’s business, but I put myself out there with the rest of our story and I feel like this goes hand in hand with that, so I’ll humor you). Growing up I dreamed of having that big stereotypical catholic family. Then my son’s birth happened. Then 5 years of infertility and loss happened. Do I still see that family in the cards for me? Not necessarily. Do I want more children? Yes. Do I want another C-section? Not really. Now my thoughts on that might change as time goes by, but the risks of subsequent surgeries are just not something I am overly fond of. Now, with that being said, we do practice natural family planning, so its ultimately God who will decide. Plus, there’s always adoption. So, one day we may be more than a party of 4, but for now I’m embracing my 2 beautiful blessings.

– Valerie


Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

A birth story, Part 2

Ok, where were we? Oh yes, we left the hospital around 11am and I realIzed I was going to eat hopefully my last big meal, so we went for some pizza. I was having contractions off and on but nothing steady. We drove the hour-long drive home and I busied myself cleaning, doing this and that. At about 7 pm I noticed that my contractions were changing. They were going from just a little tightening to slightly uncomfortable and were a steady 6 mins apart. I texted my doula, who suggested a nap to see if labor was really here to stay.

I woke up from my nap at about 9:30ish and HOLY COW. So this is what they meant when they said I would have trouble talking through a contraction. Not only that but they were about 2 mins apart and lasting longer than before. I had Stephen call our doula, who talked to me through a contraction and said yep, it was go time. In typical fashion we left about an hour later. This next part is my favorite part of the story 😉

I had no idea my labor would progress so quickly. I had planned coping techniques for a long drawn out labor. A special rosary. Playlists. Flameless  candles for ambiance. Little did I know I wouldn’t even have time to remember any of this. With John I literally had never even felt 1 contraction by the time I went back for surgery, so this was uncharted territory.  Praise God my husband is a faster driver than I am. I was a bit worried I was going to give birth on all fours in the back seat of my van. These contractions were strong, and there was hardly any break between them. Of course it was raining and I’m pretty sure my husband still broke the sound barrier getting us to the hospital. Remember I was going for a VBAC and I had been told many horror stories of uterine rupture, so I really wanted to get on monitor ASAP.katiebirth3

We get to the hospital around 11pm and head to the garage to park the car…the walk to the ER was the longest walk of my adult life. More than once I was brought to my knees by a powerful contraction. My husband and best friend were troopers through all of this. Ever watch a movie where a crazy lady stumbles in the ER in the throes of labor. Yeah that was me. No shame here. It was glorious. I was positive baby was coming out right there in the ER entrance. I was feeling a need to “bear down” and just so much pain. They quickly wheeled me back. I was crying desperately for the labor and delivery nurse or my doula. They checked me, and I was fully dilated at arrival. When a labor and delivery nurse finally showed up I screamed “oh, I love you!” She was able to help me get my breathing under control, and my head focused. By midnight I had been wheeled up to my labor and delivery room, doula, husband, and photographer bff in tow…

I met my midwife that was on call. Her first name was Kathleen, and I will never forget her. 🙂 We got started pushing pretty much straight away. This was so much different from the experience with my son. I could feel the contracts helping me progress. I had hope. 100% honesty, I don’t even remember the contractions being painful during this part. This is what labor was meant to be. Then an hour had past. With each half hour that passed I began having flashbacks to my last labor. I couldn’t help but starting to feel discouraged after a couple of hours when baby hadn’t lowered any more. We had tried several positions and nothing was working. 1 more hour of pushing passed. My hope was pretty much gone. I was exhausted. The midwife suggested getting an epidural to see if that might possibly help relax and help baby move further. So even though I didn’t originally want it, I got an epidural… Sitting still for that epidural was the most painful part of labor for me. My husband said he will never forget the terrifying look in my eyes as he held my hand while I had to sit perfectly still through contraction after contraction. Thankfully the epidural went in with no issue and I still had limited feeling to help with the rest of labor. The midwife suggested that I take a nap for a couple hours and then they would come back for pushing.
A nurse came in to alert me that it was getting close to time to start back up and I just fell apart. I turned to my husband and doula and through the tears I  said “I’m just so “flipping” tired.” (You can use your imagination as to what word was actually said) at this exact moment my sweet little midwife walked in through the opposite side without my knowledge. I was completely mortified. I don’t use language, but it gave us all a good laugh and helped us buck up for the next hour ahead. With each push, I began to realize I wouldn’t get my VBAC. Now that doesn’t mean I wasn’t giving it my all, you better believe I was. This was just all to familiar. After one hour, my midwife very sweetly held me and told me that there just wasn’t any room, that baby just couldn’t get past my extremely small pelvis. Time for a c-section. Honestly I had never been so happy as to hear those words, and best of all I would be awake this time.

Baby was doing fine on the monitor so I had to wait a couple of hours for a OR. Surgery started. Having a caesarean awake is so bizarre. Don’t get me wrong I’m thankful I got to hear my baby girl cry, but the pressure. Hearing doctors talk about my insides, that they are looking at. Yikes. Caesarean took a little bit because I had really pushed baby down with all those contractions. Then she was here. 7 lbs 1 oz of perfection, looking just like her momma. I got to see her and give her a little smooch, before I passed out from exhaustion.

I know reading that you might think, oh poor Valerie, but y’all. That was the most healing experience I could have had. I got to labor. I was allowed to experience everything I missed out on before. I know without a doubt now what happened and that I tried absolutely everything.

What followed was not ideal. Recovery was ROUGH. I put my body through the ringer with all that pushing. Then I also developed an infection at my incision that landed me in the hospital for a week. I struggled accepting this. I started having panic attacks, which looking back now, was the beginning of postpartum depression. One day while my husband was out walking the halls getting some air he ran in to our midwife from that night who was confused as to why he was still there. She then came and sat in my room just talking through everything with me for nearly 2 hours. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. I can’t say enough about the midwives.

I have more to say, but this one got really long, so I’ll do a part 3 tomorrow with lots of emotions, and things I learned through all of this.

– Valerie


Click here for Part 1 and Part 3.

A birth story, part 1

I’ve been trying to decide on my next blog post topic for a couple of weeks now. I keep going in circles. Last week I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a c-section encouraging post, and I felt moved to write something about my own experiences. Then I realized my last blog post was about baby girl, so I tried to come up with something else…. Then the little newborn baby referenced in my last post turned 1 yesterday (#allthefeels), and I’m doing a lot of reminiscing on the night/morning she joined us… So here we are. If birth stories aren’t your thing, scroll down to one of the other posts 😉


Before I talk about my daughter’s birth, let’s do a brief recap of my son’s. I went to an OB that I wasn’t overly fond of, who told me to schedule an induction at 39 weeks. I was super naive and eager to meet baby, so I jumped at that. Went in to induction hardly dilated, nary a contraction. It was a crazy day. I had my water broken by my physician who, came in and did it without even speaking a word to me. Was told I had to have an epidural now (at 4 cm) or I wouldn’t be getting one *eye roll*. Had difficulties with said epidural, and was then so numb from it that I couldn’t move or feel ANYTHING, in addition to terrible shivers and other side effects. I start pushing for about an hour when my “doctor” comes in and tells me I’m not even fully dilated and to stop. 12 hours of “labor” rolls around my “doctor” tells me he has dinner plans and won’t be there for delivery. Believe it or not that was the highlight of this birth. I then met the amazing on call doc. After a few hours of pushing and no progress, it was deemed that I needed a c-section. My muscles in my upper back were having spasms so extreme that I couldn’t flatten my arms to go in the straps, so I had to be knocked out for my son’s birth. This then caused me to be so out of it for his first 24 hours that I was scared to hold him unsupervised that first day because I was unable to keep my eyes open. Afterwards I kept telling myself, I had a happy healthy baby and that was all that mattered. As time when on however I began to realize that I definitely had PTSD from this, and I knew when I had another baby I would do everything I could to not repeat this experience.

Fast forward 5 years and 2 miscarriages later, we found out we were expecting another baby! Praise God!! I was under the care of a new OB, who I liked, but I felt my heartstrings pulling me towards the midwifery practice connected with our local hospital. We ended up switching to the midwives just before my 20 week appt. It was the best decision I could have made. We also hired a doula, another amazing decision. I bought every book, read every article I could find on natural child-birth, did gobs of exercises, and tailored by diet (as much as any hormonal pregnant woman can haha). I was going to VBAC. When I went in for my consult with the OB to calculate my odds for success of a vaginal birth I was barely passing because with my first delivery I did dilate all the way and was unable to deliver, but everyone was still very supportive of my decision to try again.

So here we are at 41 weeks. I go into my midwife check up, I’m dilated to 5 cm (thank you acupuncture, chiropractor, exercise, diet, wives tales, etc) but not really contracting, so they tell me I need to schedule a c-section for in the morning. I was CRUSHED. I understand their rules, but at that moment I felt like I had wasted so much time and money reaching for something unattainable. I realized I had just over 24 hours to get this labor going. I had been having contractions off and on but nothing stable. So that night around 3 am, in an act of desperation I pulled out my breast pump. Hah. (I know, I know… this is advised against and I do not encourage anyone to do anything that goes against their doctors/midwives orders.) Lo and behold, here came the contractions!! When I arrived at the hospital to get checked in for the c-section steady contracts were showing up on the monitors! I was still measuring at a 5, so the midwife on call said I was free to go home and home back when labor had progressed more. I was ECSTATIC! We went and ate pizza and then went home. I was expecting to go to bed and wake up in the morning (possibly middle of the night to real labor…. Baby girl had other plans….

to be continued! 😉

– Valerie

Click here for Part 2 and Part 3