I shared earlier that I was attempting a vaginal birth after 2 cesareans. I gathered up a super-supportive birth team who all knew what I wanted, that I had educated myself and weighed my options carefully and felt natural birth was the best choice for my baby and my body.
Prenatally, I exercised when I could, ate as well as I could, visited the chiropractor, did Spinning Babies exercises, worked on fear clearing and relaxation hypnosis techniques, and visualized my birth going well. I saw an acupuncturist, a talk therapist, and regularly attended ICAN meetings to check in about my mental preparations for the birth. I even met Roanna Rosewood and Jen Kamel. I did just about all there was to do to prepare myself for a natural, vaginal birth.
And so, when I went into labor, I felt so supported the entire time. I learned the CNMs in my midwifery practice were texting each other updates with my progress, because they had all seen me throughout my pregnancies and well-woman care since 2008. I knew the backup obstetricians supported a trial of labor as a safe choice for us, too.
And of course, my doula knew I could absolutely birth my baby vaginally. She came over and we painted some affirmations to hang in my dining room to remind me that each baby and each birth is different and that my body could open up and push out my son.
In short, my labor was wonderful. I labored peacefully at home until the last minute, heading for the hospital when my doula saw my purple line seemed to be about 7cm. I walked into triage and was checked, found to be 9cm.
Soon after, I felt very pushy and began pushing for the first time ever! I pushed every which way for about an hour, up on hands and knees when that felt good, contorting my legs up and over a squat bar when that felt good, sometimes leaning back on my husband while the midwives and doula jiggled a rebozo on my belly.
Unfortunately, my baby’s heart rate dropped dramatically and never recovered while I was laboring. I had a very rushed, “run down the hall” cesarean. Oren Pressman Lev was born on August 7 with APGAR scores of 4 and then 8 after he received some oxygen.
I feel at peace with what happened. I know definitively this was not a failure of my body in any way. He was locked and loaded and moving down the birth canal. I was dilated and pushing him out powerfully. He just had other plans.
Nobody’s quite sure what caused his heart rate to drop as there were no signs of damage to the placenta or cord, etc. He’s shown no signs of damage, however, and has been gaining just about 2 ounces a day since he was born.
Oren is now 8 weeks old and weighs over 13 pounds! I like to think he’s so sturdy because a) I’m tandem nursing and have tons of milk and b) the universe knows he needs to protect himself from his older brothers.
My recovery was pretty smooth this time because I had lots of help. My family was able to come in from out of town and take it in shifts to stay with us and allow me to rest. My friends have made a meal train that is still chugging along, which is amazing!
Most important, I’ve had a great network of women eager to hear my birth story and support me as my emotions about it shift. I’m disappointed that I will never get to experience birthing my child, but I know I did everything I could and came pretty darn close.
Thank you all for supporting me through my pregnancy and for the well-wishes I got for my labor. I knew I had a wide web of women rooting for me.