As told by Elizabeth: In the summer of 2014, we were driving down the road listening to music and enjoying the warm breeze while our 15 month old snoozed in the backseat. Andrew turned to me and said “what do you think of the name Alistair? You know for one day when we have our boy?” Given our history of Infertility before our first baby was born and the complications that occurred during her birth; up until that point I hadn’t really allowed myself to dream of more children. I wanted more but I was trying to protect my heart. But hearing him speak that just as fact… *when* we have *OUR* boy! It lit a fire in my heart. And when I heard that name! Alistair, it was as if I’d run into a brick wall. I laughed and gasped and kept repeating it over and over. There’s was just something about it. And for the next 14 months that name would never be far from my mind… from January-may of the following year we were TTC… with no success then I began to have some health issues so we stopped and I focused on getting well. We started trying again in August.
As told by Amber:
I’ll start by saying we weren’t sure if we ever wanted another child. We were happy with our smart and healthy son. I suffered with bad PPD/PPA after dealing with a c-section birth and awful recovery last time. However, I didn’t feel that my family was complete. I longed for a daughter, even though I couldn’t pick the sex, I still wanted to have another baby. This time, I armed myself with tons of information on VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), hired a doula, switched care providers/hospitals. I also made the tough decision to stay on my medication during pregnancy. I knew I needed to be mentally healthy to take care of myself and son. I was scared and stressed, but I kept up with my therapy and doctor appointments. They were all confident in me, and that helped a lot!
I found out I was pregnant on July 20, 2014, and was so happy!! Stressed too, but happy! I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy. No big issues, thankfully. On November 4 we found out we were having a healthy baby girl! I cried tears of joy! I started buying all stuff pink!! :-)
My pregnancy progressed and progressed, and my due date came and went. Goodbye March 27, 2015! I was starting to get worried because I knew I’d start getting some pressure from my doctors office. However, I knew my body better than them. I was charting and knew my cycle and knew my conception date. I was right, they were wrong, and I knew it. I wasn’t going to “just listen,” this time. Doctors don’t always know best!
They scheduled me, anyway, for a repeat c-section at 41 weeks (April 3). I was hurt, stressed and uncomfortable. However, I told them I wasn’t coming for the section. A non-stress test was performed, baby girl was perfect and so was I. I was not going to just walk in and lay down on an OR table to be cut open again, unless it was a true emergency and it wasn’t. The doctors weren’t happy, but I was in charge, I hired them so they had to listen to me this time.
On April 3 at 11:15pm my water broke, on its own, right after going to bed. This was it!!!! She was ready! My husband called my doula and she was there by midnight. I decided to labor at home and get some rest. We left for the hospital around 6:00am on April 4. Once there my birth plan was read and respected entirely. I walked the halls, bounced on a birth ball, rested, ate, hydrated myself (no IV this time…yay!) and got in the labor tub. I didn’t let them check me, so I wasn’t really sure of my progress that often. I knew it was progressing though because of my contractions. I also decided I didn’t want an epidural either. I didn’t want to be drugged up, like last time, and didn’t want anything in my baby. I also didn’t want a cascade of interventions that could up my c-section risk. So I continued to labor naturally.
Towards the end, I was in so much pain and was begging for pain relief. I wanted that epidural, but I was 8cm and my doula and nurses continued to talk me out of it. The anesthesiologist even came in and talked me out of it! At that time I was 9 and a 1/2cm dilated, with a cervical lip. I was told not to push because it could swell the cervix. That was the hardest thing ever!!! My body was pushing, but I had to not allow it. My doula helped me breathe properly to get through it. The nurse checked me again and pushed the excess cervix away, and it was finally time to push! After almost 5 years and 18 hours, I really was going to get my natural VBAC!!!!
I pushed for maybe 10 minutes, and she was out!! I did it! I wasn’t broken, and pushed a baby out of my vagina without any medications at all. Calianne (Cali) Renee Ashton was born at 6:57pm and weighed 7.75 ounces. I was on such a birth high!!!! It was such a healing birth experience. She was beautiful and healthy and picked her own birthday. I got to experience baby being put on my chest right away and holding her immediately. We delayed all newborn procedures and just snuggled and tried nursing. She was so alert and happy. She pretty much latched on right away too! I thought I was dreaming!
She’s now 4 months old, and such a happy and healthy baby. I’m so thankful for my two different birth experiences and healthy children. I feel I can help a lot of women since I’ve experienced both and have learned so much. She’s still nursing great and so far, no PPD/PPA this time! Carter loves and adores his baby sister as well.
Click HERE to learn more about the Community Birth Stories Project or to submit your own birth story.
As told by Molly:
My estimated due date was Thursday, May 8th and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, we figured we should celebrate early. Craig and my 4 year old, Josephine, took me out on Friday night for Mexican food. When I woke up on Saturday morning I was actually a little relieved that labor hadn’t started because that meant we could go to our friends’ wedding! Craig and Josephine went out after a late breakfast to get my Mother’s Day gift while I stayed home and scrambled to find a babysitter for Josephine. I remember being worried while they were gone because I wasn’t feeling much movement in my belly. This little guy had always been so active flipping from breech to head down and back again several times during the last few weeks. So why wasn’t I feeling him move? I did a quick Google search and learned that this was a sign that labor was coming soon! Sure enough, I felt my first contraction shortly after reading this around noon or so. It was so mild and honestly I wasn’t even sure that that was what it was. I always thought that I would know immediately because I had done this before but I still wasn’t convinced. I went about my daily ritual of sitting on my ball, pumping and rubbing clary sage on my belly. With the suggestion from my midwives, I had started this ritual around 39 weeks. I felt another contraction about 20 minutes later. Maybe these were Braxton Hicks? I had never had BH and they felt so different than the contractions I had with Josephine. When Craig and Josephine came home I told him that “something” was happening but I couldn’t be certain what the “something” was. We took Josephine out for a scooter ride, knowing that walking may get things going. I felt another. My husband asked if we should still go to the wedding. I said “Hell yeah! We have a sitter lined up and I want my champagne!” We went inside to start getting ready for the wedding. I was ironing Craig’s shirt when I felt another. “Tee hee” I said to myself. This might be real. I went upstairs to get showered and ready for the wedding but didn’t feel anymore. Hmm, the last couple had been 20 minutes apart but now 20 minutes later I didn’t feel anything. Maybe these were Braxton Hicks. I rested on the couch as Craig got ready and felt another. Okay, maybe this is just that annoying prodromal labor that I hear so many moms talk about. I called my parents to let them know but nobody answered. How is it that they will call me several times a day to see if labor is starting but on the day it actually does start, they are nowhere to be found? I called my sister…no answer! “Hey sis, it’s me. Just wanted to let you know that I’m having contractions. I can’t get in touch with mom and dad. Please let them know. You’re gonna be an aunt again! Anywho, I’m going to a wedding so I might not be able to answer if you call back. Love you, Bye!” Our friends came over and we chatted for some time. I remember telling them how excited I was for the judgment free champagne that was in my near future. We talked to Josephine and prepped her for the babysitter. This would be the first time we had left her with a sitter other than a family member!
As we drove to the wedding, which was just a few miles down the road, I commented to Craig that this would be our last date night for a long time. I was feeling more contractions and was becoming more convinced that this baby really was coming. “I’m going to have this baby on Mother’s Day!” The Morningside Inn was beautiful and it was an absolutely gorgeous evening. We chatted with friends before the ceremony started and I secretly was becoming more and more excited as contractions were picking up. I was tracking them as the ceremony went on. I chuckled to myself. Seven minutes apart. This is going to be a fun night! The ceremony was beautiful as the sun was setting behind the couple. What a perfect day to get married. What a perfect day to have a baby! We went inside for cocktail hour and had a great time catching up with friends. I revealed to them that I was having contractions. They were in shock. “But you look so relaxed!” Craig and I were the first to have kids so none of them knew what labor and birth looked like aside from TV and movies. I enlightened them. Dinner was delicious and that glorious champagne was there at my seat. I couldn’t wait for the toast! Six minutes apart. Where the hell are my parents? Why hasn’t my sister called me back? As I was talking to my friend, one of the waitresses came up behind me and switched out my champagne for sparkling cider! What. A. Bitch! She didn’t even ask me! I think I may have actually cried. Contractions were getting a little stronger and requiring some of my attention so I told Craig that we should probably think about going soon. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea to attend a wedding while in labor. What if my water had broken? Craig finally got in touch with my parents and we started saying our good byes but not before grabbing a piece of pie on the way out!
When we got in the car I immediately turned on my hypnobabies birth affirmations. I had been listening to them throughout most of my pregnancy. As we turned onto our street I told Craig that I was certain now that we were having a baby tonight. Contractions were definitely getting stronger and I had to consciously relax my bottom through them. Five minutes apart. Craig took the babysitter home and I lay in bed listening to my L&D mix. I was completely relaxed but I could hear Craig come home and start clambering around trying to get everything together. He is such a planner and organizer. I would be a mess without him! He came up to tell me that the car was ready with our bags and my ball. He lay in bed with me for a short while until I told him that we better call the midwife. We went into Josephine’s room to wake her up. Every morning for the past week or so she had been asking me if God gave me the sign yet so when we went in to wake her I told her that God had given me the sign. It was time!
We piled into the car around 11:30pm and Josephine sleepily said “I’m so cited!” If it hadn’t been for my birth affirmations track, I don’t think I could have done the hour drive. The car was completely dark and silent except for the familiar sound of my affirmations. I was able to go inside myself and relax. I could feel him moving down with each pressure wave. Relax. We arrived around 12:30am all decked out in our wedding attire. This is the part I hate. Labor had stopped for Josephine when we checked in and sure enough, labor stopped when we checked into the birth center for baby “Punky.” I felt like I had to convince them that I was in labor. I knew I was in labor. The bright lights, the questions and the BP checks. I knew it was just Ina May’s sphincter law kicking in but did they know? Here we go, vaginal exam, 6cm. Yeah, I knew I was in labor! Triage took about an hour so labor stopped for about an hour. We went to our suite and I changed. I lay in the nice giant bed for a while listening to my affirmations. Here we go, back inside myself. Contractions pick back up and I ask to get in the tub. As the water was filling, I was starting to moan through contractions. I felt a little nauseated and thought to myself “is this transition?” I slipped into the tub mid-contraction and felt immediate relief. Wow! This is what I had wanted with Josephine but was never “allowed” because my water had broken around 8cm. I got in the tub around 2:45 and could really start to feel pressure in my bottom.
The warm water allowed me to really relax and allow my body to move baby down. The annoying thing was that I could also feel an overwhelming urge to poo. I had been so constipated the last few days of pregnancy and now baby was really pushing on my bowels. I knew that it wasn’t the urge to push baby. I really had to poo. For real. My water must have ruptured in the toilet because when I got back in the tub the urge to poop was replaced with the urge to push. The room was so quiet and just as I was telling Craig that it was going to be very soon, the midwife and nurses came in. They had been good about leaving me alone but they came in when they started to hear me push. You know that noise you make when your body is starting to push for you? Almost like a retching noise. We moved to the bed and the midwife asked to check me. 10cm. I moved to all fours but quickly realized that this was not the position I wanted. I remember saying “I don’t think I like this.” I told Craig to run and get Josephine who was sleeping in the waiting room with my mom. I moved to the stool and leaned back on Craig, holding his hands tightly. I smiled at Josephine. I was still making that noise and realized that the noise was me resisting pushing and the discomfort was coming from me not allowing my body to relax. My midwife reminded me to trust what my body was telling me to do. At the next contraction I relaxed and silently pushed Henry’s head out with one strong push. I stopped and waited for another contraction. Waited for another urge to push. My midwife must have gotten impatient because she said “you can’t stop now, Honey.” I gave another strong push and there he was. He was 7lbs, 13oz and born at 3:30am. My perfect, squishy, meconium covered baby. He was my Mother’s Day gift. Josephine came over to meet him and we all just stared at him. His cord quickly stopped pulsating and we asked Josephine if she wanted to cut the cord. She had been all prepared and excited for her special job but when it came down to it, she was too chicken. That was fine with us. There we were, a family of four.
Craig said that now I that I had done it twice and made it look so easy, we could do it at home next time. Henry is perfect, his birth was beautiful and far better than Josephine’s birth but I still yearn for a homebirth. As strange as it may sound, I love giving birth. It is the one thing that I do with complete confidence. I struggle as a wife and mother sometimes but I am a birth warrior. I was made for this. We were all made for this.
Click HERE to learn more about the Community Birth Stories Project or to submit your own birth story.