Jac 7/17/08 and Jake 12/15/12 Birth Stories

Back in 2007 when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, an acquaintance that lived in Florida told me all about her water births. I then did a lot of research and bought several books and decided from that point I would seek out a natural pregnancy and birth. Of course, at that point I didn't know that you weren't "allowed" to have a home birth in GA. And the OB/GYN I had at that time did not have those same feelings about even a "natural" birth. In fact, she told me her sister had a home birth and she is now estranged from her (very sad). She also proceeded to tell me a few medical fibs like the epidural doesn't get to the fetus, etc. Which was later referenced in the PDR as being completely untrue. So after that appointment, I stopped by a local herb shop and asked them about midwives. I figured they'd know about natural birth and possibly know a local midwife.

And, thankfully, the information they gave me was for Claudia and Debbie. I called them and set up an appointment and was very excited after our first meeting. My husband was a little wary at first, but he did his own research and figured if this was something I felt I could do, he would support me. At that time, I only had one friend who supported my decision. I actually had to distance myself from others closer to my due date due to the drama that was caused. I would recommend only sharing your birth plan with close friends and family members who will support you unconditionally because you do not need negativity during your pregnancy and delivery.

I did still need to get another OB/GYN so I just selected another one in the area. I figured they wouldn't be delivering the baby anyway so it really didn't matter.

My first pregnancy was wonderful. I was happy, in a great mood, never got sick, etc. The only problem I had was that I loved sugar too much. Ice cream to be exact. Ben & Jerry's to be more precise. Like a pint a day... not joking. So I obviously gained a ton of weight - and I don't use the word "ton" lightly. Amazingly, I passed the glucose test...

My water broke slightly during a shopping trip to Target - it turns out it was more of a tear than actual break. Then the contractions started - nothing too heavy. I went about the rest of my day, had an HOA meeting and went out to eat that night with friends. The contractions gradually increased in frequency and pain. I believe Debbie came around 4:30am. I was in and out of the birth pool and didn't seem to be progressing that much. At 2:30pm Debbie broke my water completely and then the real contractions started. So I labored walking around and in and out of the birth pool until about 8pm when Debbie gave me the bad news that I was not progressing and they feared that Baby Jac was under duress. So, my husband packed our bags and we headed to the hospital. There they gave me an epidural and Pitocin. They left me for about 7 hours and I still wouldn't dilate past 7... so a c-section was ordered and my first little boy Jac came at 4:33am. With a little cone-head from being in the birth canal so long! He was 21" long and 8lbs.

Then I found out in April 2012 that I was pregnant again! Surprise! I checked with Claudia and Debbie to see if they thought there was a chance I could have a home birth. And they said yes. I also confirmed with my OB/GYN that I could have a VBAC - and they said yes (of course on almost EVERY single visit to the OB, they pushed the c-section "benefits" to me). My due date was 12/26 and I know that no one wants to deliver a baby on Christmas - so the OBs kept wanting to schedule another c-section. Of course I didn't tell them about the midwives since it's the legal "grey" area in GA. So I proceeded with two doctor's appointments - OB and midwives. And, strangely, I learned more information from the midwives at each visit...

I was a little nervous about Baby Jake being born. I still had a fear of another c-section. But this pregnancy was completely different. First, I told myself NO weight gain. I started out exercising on the treadmill almost an hour a day! I watched what I ate (no ice cream). But I STILL gained the same weight during the first few months (like down to the pound...). Which didn't make sense to me, but whatever. Then, I developed Pelvic Girdle Pain/Symphosis Pubis Disorder. Which was really awesome. And it was at about 4 months in. So there went the treadmill walking since I could barely even walk. Then I had a low lying placenta - which again removed all exercise (and gave the OBs another reason to "suggest" a c-section). So that took care of my weight management by exercising...

I was also 39 years old and at the high risk category, so the docs had yet another reason to push the c-section on me. But the docs all underestimate my willpower - what my family calls stubbornness - but I prefer willpower!

I really wanted Baby Jake to be born on 12/12/12 - not only was that date awesome if you have to be born in December, but it's also my dad's BD - so really cool date. But Jake was stubborn also and wanted his own birthday. On Saturday, December 15th we went to the mall to walk around. Just to walk around. I was determined to walk this baby out even though it hurt! That night at 11pm I was getting into bed when a contraction hit. And they never stopped. I had no "lead in" or gradual contractions like with Jac - these ones hit full force lasting for 1-2 minutes and coming about 2 minutes apart. I feel like I really don't know all that happened from that point on! My mom was with me and my husband. We called Debbie and she came around 1am.

My plan all along was a water birth. Something about bringing a new life into the world in such a peaceful way just seemed right to me. I was in the bathtub and then moved to the birthing pool when Debbie got there. She checked me and I was dilated this time. At some point in the tub my water broke, but I have no recollection of that at all. I labored in the birth pool until about 3:30am. At which point Debbie suggested a new position and the birthing stool. I had never considered that before, but was open to any suggestions at this point. I really had no break now between contractions and was mentally in a different place!

So I went to the birth stool and my husband sat on the couch behind me. I was leaning forward and pushing and they could see a little bit of his head, but he seemed to be stuck at that point. They monitored his heartbeat during the whole labor and at 4:30am she said his heartbeat was getting too fast and no further decent of the head. So the bad news: I was going to go to the hospital. My worst fear realized yet again.

We had no bags packed (again), so my husband got up to start packing bags. As soon as he left from behind me, I shifted my weight to the back of the stool and leaned back. At that point I was pushing hard with every contraction - there was really nothing else I could have done. It's like your body knows what it needs to do and you just help it along. As I leaned back and pushed hard, he actually started to move down. In fact, he was out within about 4 more contractions! My husband almost missed it.

Again - never underestimate my willpower (or stubbornness). There was no way I was going to that hospital!

So my sweet baby boy number two, Jacob Ryan, was a HBAC at 4:41am. He was 21" long and weighed 8lbs 6oz.

We did end up going to the hospital due to my tearing - which is another horrific story best saved for a later date...but back to the happy news!

I could not have done it without the gentle guidance of Debbie and Lacey. They talked me through everything. Helped me calm down. Breathe better. Push better. And, apparently, threatening a trip to the hospital was what I needed! :)

I love my birth stories - even though neither one ended up being a water birth like I envisioned, they were both what they needed to be. Both of my boys are healthy, perfect and beautiful. And I wouldn't change a thing. Well, I wish I could change the weight gain aspect, but hey don't we all!