Carson became a big brother on August 30th, 2013 at 4:25 pm when Alison was born at home.
In January 2013 we found out I was pregnant. We were excited and nervous. I sought out care of an OBGYN who was supportive of vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC). I never knew how hard it would be or where that journey would take me.
Since Carson was diagnosed in utero his birth was very planned and very controlled. They induced me at 39 weeks and a few days but the induction failed. I did not dilate, I did not efface, I was not ready at all but he needed to be born so we made the best decision for him and went forth with a cesarean section, not knowing that that would dictate how my future births would be.
My c-section was scary. It was cold. I was shaking. I felt something be pumped into my body and then I felt myself fading away. I could hear my heart beat starting to get slower and slower on the machine. The next thing I knew I heard one OB yell “we need to get this baby out and NOW.” Within seconds I heard Carson’s cry, it was a beautiful sound but a scary birth.
This time I wanted to push my baby out, this time I wanted to feel every ounce of labor, this time I wanted to hold my baby the second he or she was born. This time I wanted to be in control.
I found a OB who I though was supportive of VBAC’s until I did the research. I found out that he delivered at a hospital that just a few years ago had the third HIGHEST c-section rate in California. I ran, far away from that doctor. I went to a local ICAN meeting [a group to support women who have had c-sections] and I got amazing referrals. I joined some VBAC groups on Facebook and I cried. This is my body, my baby, and my birth yet doctors and hospitals were dictating to me what I could and could not do.
I finally found a clinic in Los Angeles that supports VBACs and started being seen there. I went in with an open mind, but was quickly disgusted when there was another persons blood on the exam room floor. I continued my care there though, I felt I had no other choice, until the day I got a call from the health dept saying that I was exposed to TB and so was Carson. That was it for me. I never stepped foot back into that place. I was lost and my last option was to hire a homebirth midwife. I didnt think I could do it. I didnt know that I would ever be one of ‘those ladies’ who has their baby at home, but I wanted the right to push my baby out so much that I was willing to do anything. And so I did. I hired a midwife and started planning a homebirth.
On Wednesday, August 28th there was a fundraiser being put on to support Carson. It was one I was super excited about and didn’t want to have to miss although I was sick of being so pregnant. That week I would rub my belly and tell Alison that she could come any time after Wednesday but please not before.
We made it to Wednesday and I got to enjoy the show. We stayed after and talk to the cast, talked to some of the audience, and helped clean up. We got in the car and drove home. We hit the second block away from where the performance was held and my first contraction started. I wasnt sure if it was real or not since I had had a few practice ones here and there. I knew something was going on when we got home because I had three more throughout the drive.
My midwife told me that when labor started I could have a glass of wine or a beer to help me relax and get as much rest as possible. I love an ice cold beer with dinner on a cold day so I was really looking forward to it but didnt want to have anything until I knew it was the real deal. I went to bed around midnight and tried to sleep but had contractions all night long.
My contractions were time-able at this point but I didnt time them because they weren’t super painful yet. All day long my mom and other family were asking me when I was going to call my midwife to come over, but I didnt because somehow I knew it wasnt time yet. These annoying contractions lasted throughout all of Thursday when at about 3:00pm they just went away. I was annoyed so I did what any VERY pregnant woman would do. I went and got my nails and toes done.
My contractions came back at 1:00am on Friday, August 30th and they came back more intense than ever. I tried to rest. My midwifes voice was in the back of my head telling me that I will need all the energy I can get. I tried to rest until I couldnt try anymore, it was useless. By 3am my contractions were coming 4-5 minutes apart and I knew this was it, and I was starting to have to vocalize through them. I texted my midwife to let her know things were starting and I woke up Nick.
Nick started a bath for me and got me a glass of wine. The water was amazing, the wine…not so much but I drank it anyway. It did the trick and I slept in between contractions from 4-6am. I woke up at 6 and started timing contractions again. Now they were coming 3 minutes apart. I took a screen shot of my contraction timer and sent it to my midwife we said she would be on her way.
I walked out of my bedroom to find my kitchen floor was flooded!! Sometime between 3 and 6 a hose burst. I called my mom to tell her it was time (we had planned for her to keep Carson while I was in labor). She came over and helped Nick clean up the water while I sat on the yoga ball.
At around 7 my water broke. It felt like I just peed myself at first then it came in a big gush. We had our birth supplies ready but I was having a hard time remembering what a table cloth was called. HAHA. I was telling Nick “GET THE THING, GET THE THING, Hurry!! The water proof thing! You know that goes on a table.” He got it and I jumped on it just in time for the big gush. Thankfully my pants had caught most of the water before that.
I looked down at the table cloth and my heart sank. My water wasnt clear, it was cloudy and yellow. I knew there was miconium in the water. I had Nick text my midwife who was just a few minutes away and leave the table cloth on the floor so that she could see the water for herself. I went in and got in the shower to clean myself off.
My midwife and her assistant got here while I was in the shower and quickly set up. When I got out of the shower she listened to Alison’s heart rate and discovered it was high. She was a little concerned and just told me she would be listening more often than she normally does and if anything were super concerning we would go to the hospital. She checked me and found that I was at a 4. I thought that it was decent progress and went back into the living room and got on my hands and knees to help make sure Alison was in a good position.
I found myself looking at the clock a lot so I had them take it off the wall. This is when time becomes a blur. I know it wasnt until 5 hours later that my midwife checked me again. I was so discouraged to find I was only a 5 but I knew that if I was going to do this I needed to stay positive. Instead of thinking I am only at 5 I started telling myself You’re half way there!
They brought in the birth tub. Oh what a beautiful thing!! I got in and it instantly took the intensity of the contractions away. They were still super intense but not as bad as they were. I have no idea how long I was in the tub but I think it was a couple hours. Then my midwife said I should probably get out. I thought she was crazy, but I did it anyway. She checked me before I got out and said I was a 7-8. I was excited but knew 8-10 was transition and things would start to get more intense.
I got out of the tub and went to sit on the toilet. My contractions got so strong. I was loosing focus. For the first time I was thinking that I could not do this. I wanted an epidural. I screamed through I few contractions and started begging to be able to get back in the water. While in the water I would get on my hands and knees and push back with every contraction blowing into the water as I vocalized through them. I had a pattern, but on the toilet I didnt. My midwife told me two more contractions, so that is what I did. Thankfully I was also able to have a bowel movement as well so I didnt have one while pushing.
I got through the 2 contractions I agreed to but then while trying to get up I had another, and one more after that. I had 7 contractions on the toilet before I basically ran in between contractions back into the tub.
I couldnt take it anymore. I asked to be taken to the hospital. My midwife said fine let me check you to see how far along you are and we can go. She checked. She said she felt no cervix, I was shocked. I asked her what she meant and she said I was complete. I asked then when do I get to start pushing? She said when you feel the urge. That is when Nick got into the water with me. He got behind me and rubbed my back as best as he could. I felt so empowered with him behind me. All my doubt had gone away and I knew that I could do this, that WE could do this.
So I waited, and I felt a little something but I wasnt sure what it was. I pushed just a little at the end of that contraction and it felt amazing. I never got this overwhelming urge to push but I knew when my body was ready. I pushed tiny pushed for a few contractions. I was so nervous. I didnt know what to expect and wanted to bring her down slowly. My midwife explained the ring of fire feeling and I waited to feel it. The next few contractions I pushed and I pushed hard. I pushed her head and shoulders out in one contraction and she was half way out, under water. She turned her head, opened her eyes and looked at me. She looked like a mermaid with her hair waving in the water and her beautiful big eyes. With the final contraction I pushed one last time and pulled her onto my chest. I had done it and everything went perfectly. I couldnt believe it.
Alison was born, at home, with no pain killers, no IV’s, no hospital bracelets or alarms on her ankle.
She stayed in the tub on my chest for about 10 minutes when I delivered the placenta. She was so beautiful, she opened eyes and just stared at us and immediately started sucking her hand. I took my bra off and she latched on right away.
We moved from the tub to my room with the cord still attached to the placenta. Nick got to cut her cord and after maybe an hour or so my midwifes did her newborn check. She got a clean bill of health and so did I. Alison weighed 8lbs9oz and was 20.5 inches long. I tore a tiny bit which my midwife said she could stitch or just leave alone. We decided to leave it alone.
Carson was so excited about his little sister. He was pointing at her and saying “baby”!
A little over a week postpartum I feel great and Alison is doing great.