Daphne's Birth Story is a story about the birth of a baby and the rebirth of a mother. Our story is tale of a sweet baby that was just too comfortable to leave her mother's womb, and a mother that gained redemption in her ability to birth.
My first birth with my daughter violet was a slippery slope down the labor funnel of interventions that ended up in a cesarean. So this time around I had planned everything possible to avoid a hospital birth. Not that I was against hospital births but because I felt failed by the system that is so highly praised, but that is another story for another time. This birth was going to be different. I had planned for a hvac (home vaginal birth after cesarean) and I was determined to do everything possible to prepared for that. We hired a midwife and prepared ourselves mentally and physically for the journey ahead.
Daphne's estimated "due date" was April 29th, but I had already set into my mind that I was likely going to go over since most babies aren't naturally due on their due date plus this was my first vaginal birth. Side note: I was 41+4 days and so the pressure was rising for me to give birth before our 42 week mark (after 42 weeks I would have to be transferred to an OB and induced in the hospital). The week leading up to Daphne's birth was a long week. I had prodromal labor contractions beginning the Wednesday before her actual birth. These were very regular contractions coming about every 8 mins, not crazy painful but enough to make me not want to do anything but rest. I was trying my best to remain calm and know that in the beginning stage of labor, rest is needed.
Saturday morning I woke up and I said today feels different. That morning we took a longer that normal walk around the neighborhood and when I got back to my surprise I had lost my mucus plug. This felt like a huge gain for me and honestly after having contractions for the previous 3 days I was exhausted but ready to give birth if this was the day.
This was NOT the day.
Come Sunday my contractions completely stopped. I was very very very disappointed. I started to question my body. Was I truly designed to have a home birth after a cesarean? I turned off everything that was feeding my negative energy. I didn't respond to family members wanting to know if I had the baby yet, and I got off of social media for my sanity. I needed to tap into my psyche.
Fast forward to Tuesday morning. I was approaching the 42 week mark even closer and closer. At 10am that morning I went to get my adjustment (at this point I was getting adjusted twice a week) and two hours later my water broke. It wasn't like a huge gush or anything but I knew my water had broke because I was leaking a yellowish liquid very regularly but still no contractions. At 2:30pm I messaged my midwife to let her know that my water had broken and she was coming by in the morning to try to get active labor initiated especially since my waters were yellow it meant that I also have meconium as well. At this point I had only one previous cervical check the prior week because I was have such regular contractions I asked for a check (just to tap back in with my body). I was not dilated at that check but I was almost completely effaced.
I went to sleep to get more rest knowing that the next would be a series of things to get my labor going. I had NO contractions through the night. My midwife arrived at 9am that morning and we had been doing ALL the things to induce contractions. At this time I was almost 19 hours with my waters broken and no contractions. Their protocol for homebirth was that we you must reach active labor by 24 hours after water has broken or it's a transfer to the hospital. This was soooo much pressure for me. began to worry that my chances of a vaginal birth were not going to happen. My midwife suggested we try the one thing that we hadn't yet tried...CASTOR OIL!! Let me tell you it was soooo difficult to get it down but my contractions started and we regular 2 min apart. We set the room for labor, my affirmations were flowing, my mother was there timing contractions while my husband was supporting me. I was laboring at home. My contractions became more difficult to breathe through and much faster. I thought for certain I had reached active labor, but when she came back at 2:30pm I was only 2cm dilated so I had not reached active labor even though it felt as though I had. I felt defeated and tired. My midwife looked at me and she suggested that we go into the hospital since I was almost completely effaced and was only 2cm dilated she felt that my body was tiring out. I CRIED. This is not what I had planned. How would I advocate for myself in the hospital. I was terrified with trauma from my last hospital birth. I knew for sure that they would push for me to have another cesarean. Especially in the condition of being 24 hours over my broken waters. These thoughts began to cloud my mind as I agreed to let go and transfer to the hospital.
Side story: I had colleagues that had pushed to have longer times and we able to successfully birth at home so I felt that if I didn't do the same I would be failing myself. Previously that week I was listening to a podcast interview about a woman who was trying for a hvac and she had pushed her midwife to let her go past the 24 hours and by the 48 hours had gone by she had to be transferred and they did an immediate cesarean at the hospital and she spoke about how she lost track of her goal. Her actual goal was to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean and if it were at home that would be great but she got so hung up on have a perfect "home birth" that she pushed herself too far.
I WAS HER in this story. Something inside me was telling me that if I didn't prioritize just having a vaginal birth at this point I would find myself under the knife again. Around 3:30pm we were on the way to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital this was the point where I was wishing we had a doula. All he interventions were coming my way so fast I had no idea what to do. My midwife stayed with us for a while and gave them all my plans. I wanted to still be able to deliver vaginally, I wanted movement during labor, immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, etc.
They started to administer a low dose of pitocin to advanced my dilation. (At this point I was only 4cm still) If you have ever received pitocin before you know that these are very painful and vicious contractions. About an hour into pitocin they checked me again and still no further dilation. My midwife suggested that I try the epidural to just be able to rest since I had been going on and off now for almost a whole week my body was running on empty. I got the epidural and was able to sleep for a few hours. They gave me only one part at a very minimal amount so I was actually able to feel when I was contracting but not painfully.
I had told my husband that I needed him to advocate for me and not let them even suggest cesarean unless it was a real emergency. The nurses were amazing. Since they knew that I was planning for a vbac at this point they did everything according to my plan. They moved me into different positions when my labor stated to stall (this happens with an epidural) and they encouraged me. This was completely opposite of my first hospital birth experience.
Around 3am I had dilated to 10cm and it was time to deliver my baby, at this time my epidural had almost completely worn off so I could feel the urge to push and contractions. I pushed on my back (every time I moved on my side my contractions more painful) for 2 hours Daphne was born vaginally at 5:56am on May 12th 2022.
It took me a while to be able to write this story because I still struggled with the fact that birth can not be planned perfectly, and that sometimes we have to make diverge in our plans. Learning to let go of the reigns I had put myself under to achieve the perfect home birth was difficult. Overall I was extremely proud of myself for defying odds of having a vaginal birth after cesarean. Our beautiful girl gave me the redemption I needed, and it was so very special.