I am branded. Branded for birth. This is something that I come to realize more and more everyday. I am learning so much about what I want for the next time I have a baby. I am also learning how easily I could be back on that operating table if I don't have the right circumstances. I never want that again. I need to change this, I need to do this differently.
These were the thoughts I had after Emma was born. I dove head first into all the information about birth that I could find. She and I grew together. She grew physically and I grew emotionally and mentally. I was active in the ICAN (International Cesarean Network) Yahoo Group and was learning more and more about how I could avoid a repeat c-section. As I listened to the stories of these amazing women, I came to realize how many of these c-sections were completely avoidable. How many of these births happened the way they did because the Mom's either didn't have the knowledge on how to avoid the c-section, or didn't have anyone there to advocate for them.
I read everything I could get my hands on; Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, The VBAC Companion by Diana Korte, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer,& Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin just to name a few.
All of this reading and talking and thinking really got me, well, thinking. Maybe I could not only change my next birth, but maybe I could help other women to change their births.
I decided I wanted to become a doula and a childbirth educator. I wanted to help other women. I wanted to empower and educate women about their bodies and how amazing they are. I wanted to help women make the decisions that were going to best for their families.
An idea was forming, a new life, a calling, a passion. Then it happened. The day that my world stopped, the day Emma died.
I am often asked if we were trying to get pregnant with Seth after Emma died. No, we weren't. We had decided that we wanted to try to get pregnant that Winter. I hadn't had a period yet, so I didn't even know if I was fertile. When she died though, we knew we wanted more children, we knew we couldn't have empty arms and a silent house for long. We weren't trying, but we weren't preventing. We were just surviving.
My milk dried up and a couple of weeks later, I became pregnant.
We moved to Utah to be closer to Emma and for Jeremy to go to Graduate School. Because I'd had a C-Section I was finding it was very difficult to find anyone to assist me in delivering this baby. The Birth Center, which was my first choice, couldn't take me because I was a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I thought about hospitals, but I just couldn't take the risk that I would end up with another c-section.
Jeremy researched and I talked to the baby. We decided on homebirth. We decided that it would be the best option for us and our baby.
I interviewed Midwives and found one that was perfect for us. She understood my fears. She too had lost children. Yes, you read that right, children, many of them. She understood the pain I was in and held my hand every step of the way.
At this time, homebirth was illegal in the state of Utah. Any Midwives attending a homebirth were breaking the law. In March, my Midwife called to tell me that she couldn't attend me anymore. She couldn't, with a clear conscience, break the law anymore. I understood. I was disappointed, but I understood. Her partner was another fantastic Midwife and the switch went seamlessly.
In April, we started taking Hypnobirthing classes. I had a lot of junk in my mind. A lot of issues that I needed to deal with if I was going to have a successful homebirth. I was terrified of having another breech baby and did a lot of visualizations of this baby head down. I talked to the baby multiple times a day. We talked about birth and how we would have to work together. I told him that I didn't know what I was going to do, I didn't know what to expect, but I promised that I would make it as easy for him as possible. I promised this everyday. I was scared that I would have this baby, love this baby, and again lose this baby. I had so much fear, but learned to deal with it and not let it overtake me.
June 8, 2004. I was 38 weeks 2 days pregnant, more pregnant than I had been with Emma. I swam all day long. I lifted up my swimsuit top to let the sun shine on my belly as I was floating in the pool at our Apartment Complex. I was huge. At this point I was measuring about 45 cm. from my pubic bone to the top of my uterus. This was huge.
I talked to the baby more. I knew that the time was coming soon. That afternoon I started to have bloody show and some contractions. My sister and sister-in-law both knew I was in labor, but I didn't want to believe it. Jeremy and I did a Hypnobirthing script that night and as I kissed him goodnight, I told him to get some sleep because he was going to work the next day.
Midnight. My water breaks in bed. We called the Midwife and she and her apprentice came within an hour. My sister-in-law, who was also my doula, was there within 45 minutes.
I labored peacefully in the beginning. I continued to talk to my baby. I vocalized, I pictured my baby coming down with each surge, I worked with my body.
At one point, when I was in the birth tub, I was trying so desperately to get comfortable and just couldn't. I really was struggling. I said that I wanted to go to the hospital and get a c-section. This hurt too much and I was tired and I didn't want to do it anymore. My Midwives apprentice, a woman who has since become a very good friend and was my Midwife when I had Amelia, looked me in the eye and said, "Kim, you are trying to go over this or around this. You have to go through it. You can do this." When she said that, I knew she was right. I also knew that if I was ready to give up, that meant I was in transition and I was almost done. How little I knew, but it kept me going.
Seth's personality is very much one of wanting to do things his own way and in his own time. This doesn't surprise me at all because that is how he was at birth.
I had heard about this "overwhelming urge to push" but never understood it. Then, I understood it. I pushed and he fought. He fought me every push and I paid for it. But, 55 minutes after that first urge to push, my baby was here. My arms were filled. I'd done it. I had my VBAC. I had my homebirth. I was strong, I was empowered, I was a Mother, again.
To be continued...