i’m taking a break from my usual posting to record a pretty special event from my life: the birth of child #3.
after some long months of waiting (she was 11 days overdue), rosalie sage was born into this world on november 19.
rosalie’s birth story is especially…special to me for several reasons:
- she wasn’t “planned.” this was a big deal to me, mostly because of our history of having trouble conceiving our second child. we tried and tried, conceived, then miscarried, then after several months finally conceived baby #2. so THIS baby coming completely effortlessly was a total shock (i learned later i should have reacted with profound thanksgiving!). we found out we were expecting her at a stressful time in our lives when my husband and i had just listed our house for sale, were both working while he was also going to grad school, all while raising our other two children. needless to say, we both sort of freaked out when we found out i was pregnant. it was a rough, but luckily brief time filled with tears and frustration, but with the help of lots of prayer over time, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (phil 4:7) guarded our hearts and our minds.
- during this time of fear and stress, i began bleeding and cramping. since i had miscarried once before, i just knew that’s what was happening. i took a bath and cried for a good half hour, praying that the baby would be safe. after an examination, i learned the baby was indeed safe, and that was the turning point for me – i embraced the fact that i was pregnant, and was actually EXCITED.
- one of the main reasons i was so stressed out by the news of my pregnancy is because i dreaded having a third c-section. i had attempted a natural, drug-free, vaginal delivery with my first two children, but ended up with cesareans in both cases for the same reason – failure to progress. the first time, i had used a traditional practice, and they seemed very pushy very early in labor about administering pitocin and then, of course, having a c-section. i was uneducated, and although we tried to negotiate with the doctor some, we gave in pretty easily in the end because i was so exhausted. with my second, i used a less traditional practice – one with doctors and nurse midwives who utilized the same hospital where my first child had been delivered, and they were completely on board with my attempts to VBAC. in the end, they were much more patient, but i still felt that we had to negotiate our way through the process. this time, after much research and study i decided to attempt a home birth VBA2C. i found an amazing midwife (referred by the helpful doula i’d used in my second child’s birth) with tons of experience who supported my wishes for a home birth.
- in the end, i was fortunate enough to experience a long, pleasant home labor on one of the most beautiful days of the year. my water broke on monday night (the 18th) around 10 PM, and contractions began about an hour afterwards. they increased in intensity and frequency all through the night, and when the midwife checked me early tuesday morning, i was already 3-4 cm dilated (which was the most i ever got to with my previous two). i was definitely hopeful at that point because of how quickly that portion of labor had progressed compared to my other two labors. once the sun began shining, we started working to make those contractions keep coming – walking, using the exercise ball, squatting, etc… but around 8 AM or so, the contractions just…STOPPED. and they never really returned. i still had a few every now and then, but they were nothing like the ones i’d had the night before. so essentially, we were facing the same scenario we had with the previous two labors – failure to progress after my water had broken hours before. sometime that afternoon (maybe around 4 or so), my midwife suggested we consider some options and some risks and benefits to continuing an attempt of labor at home. for one, i was dehydrated..so much so that she wasn’t able to hook me up to her IV fluids b/c my veins wouldn’t cooperate. she had always told me that she “doesn’t wait for an emergency,” and i could see in her eyes that she was concerned we could have an emergency on our hands if we kept pushing for our labor/birth at home. she very gently and genuinely explained her concerns, and gave my husband and me time to discuss our options together. we went for a walk outside and took our time talking and praying about our choices. when we came back we were convinced that a repeat cesarean was the best/safest route. NO NEGOTIATIONS REQUIRED.
- our midwife had developed a relationship with an OB/GYN from the nearby hospital who had agreed to be on back up for me if needed. when we got to the hospital and met him, i was so impressed by how supportive he was of my decision to attempt a VBA2C. during the surgery, he talked me through everything he was doing and what he was finding (noting observations about my scar tissue from the previous c-sections, the baby’s position, etc…). as soon as rosalie emerged, i heard that sweet first cry, and cried tears of joy. the pediatrician took her and handed her to me, placing her on my chest as i had requested, and she immediately stopped crying. i felt such an intense bond right away. i had no doubts about my decision, because it had been MY DECISION 100%, and i felt SUPPORTED 100% through the entire process.
i know people say, “all that matters is that you and the baby are here and are healthy,” and i understand and agree with that sentiment to a point…it matters a great deal. BUT, it’s not really all that matters. after my first cesarean, i felt totally defeated and now know that i was experiencing postpartum depression for the weeks after my son’s birth. i had suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and had a really rough time bonding with my son for several months. after my second cesarean, although i was much more supported, i still had doubts and a lot of “what if” questions took over my thoughts in the months/years to follow. for this third (and final) experience, i have felt totally at peace with the whole experience, and haven’t felt any doubts or depression creeping in. this is the first time i’ve been able to completely enjoy my newborn baby in these precious first days/weeks of her life.