Amy’s story: a hbac (homebirth after cesarean)

Saturday night, April 9th, my family and I went out to eat at Scalini’s. Their thing is if you eat their eggplant parmesan, they believe you’ll go into labor within 48 hours. I was already 2 days past my due date. I did not think it would work. I had tried it with Nathaniel and nothing happened.  At about 1am on April 10th, I went to use the bathroom only to find out my contractions weren’t going away. They always did when I went to the bathroom. I was in shock. I really didn’t expect this. Contractions weren’t intense but strong enough to keep me somewhat awake. I got up again around 3ish and I felt a gush of water come out. My water was leaking!! Things were getting exciting. I woke Ben up to tell him what was going on. He was so out of it, poor guy. I told him what had happened and he said, “OK, time to set up the pool.” No, no my dear. Let’s wait on that. We went back to sleep, well, we tried. I got up again around 5 and threw up because of nerves & finally got out of bed by 6:30. Threw up again & took a nap on the couch. I woke up at 7 to tell mom all what happened. She and dad were thrilled and were happy to take Nathaniel to church for us while Ben and I did some last minute prep and cleanup before we called our midwife. Contractions were not intense but were about 5 to 10 minutes apart. By the time mom and dad took Nathaniel, they almost stopped. Sort of a downer, but I was thankful to get things done without distractions. Ben and I cleaned up the house and organized what needed to be organized, then we went for a 20 min walk. I had one contraction during that time. We came back and ate a late breakfast. I had a couple more contractions but still nothing intense. Mom, dad and the family brought over spaghetti for lunch. I didn’t eat because of our late breakfast. The family left and we put Nathaniel down for a nap.


Then things began to pick up. By 4:20, we asked our midwife, Debbie and her assistant, Katie to head over. Daddy set up his brewing burner and got some water boiling then took Nathaniel around 5ish and mom stayed with me while Ben started prepping the pool. Contractions were now intense, I couldn’t talk through them. They were coming about every 5 minutes. I was dying to get in the pool! When it was finally ready, I got in and we realized we forgot to put the liner in. Ahh!! I got back out and ended up going back and forth from the shower and Nathaniel’s room to continue laboring. Mom called dad back to boil more water as he, Nathaniel, and Ashley were headed to church. 


Nighttime came and Debbie decided to check my dilation because of the sounds I was making through my contractions. I was only a solid 3 and baby was not in a good position. So we did what is called the rebozo. It was awful. Katie put a sheet under my belly while contracting and moved my hips from right to left really quickly. While it was uncomfortable, after about 6 to 10 contractions, my moaning sounded better and baby seemed to have moved to a better position.


The pool was finally ready! Thanks to my home brewer dad, he was able to boil 5 gallons of water in about 10 minutes so that sped things up quickly. Between midnight and 3, I felt somewhat pushy. I started doing a couple involuntary pushes. Between 4 and 6am, (this part is hazy to me, I can’t quite remember when this happened) Debbie decided to check my cervix. Sure enough, it was a cervical lip or something swollen. I assume because of doing a couple pushes, it made me swell up. Debbie started getting concerned and feared we may end going to the hospital for a vacuum extraction to get her out. We could see her head but no progress was being made. This was most frustrating. We first saw her head around midnight! So, we decided to wait and see if we could “labor down”. Hubby and I got in the birth pool and ended up taking a nap for 2 hours. The Lord was so good to slow down contractions. I only had contractions about every 15 minutes or so. We needed that rest.


Things started picking up again around 9 am or so. Things were looking up but we were still unsure. Debbie started getting concerned when my abdomen starting sticking out and I hadn’t been able to pee all night. She decided to do a catheter and removed 600ccs of urine.  Within the hour, she did another one and sure enough my bladder was still FULL. It seems that baby was low for so long that my bladder was being blocked, stopping me from peeing. Once Debbie did the catheters, I was able to push more comfortably and my stomach started looking normal again. Baby’s heart rate was fluctuating (but still within the normal, safe range), so we had a choice. Either get ready to go to the hospital and see Dr. Bootstaylor or get baby out soon if I was able to. Ben packed a bag just in case then got back in the pool with me.


It was a rough last couple hours because Debbie had me switching from the pool to the bed to the toilet but it was needed. I started pushing for real around 9:30. It was exciting when Debbie told me to reach down and feel her head. What a moment! It was still seemingly the hardest thing I’ve done. Pushing a baby out is not for the faint of heart. It takes work and energy.  Praise God for giving me just enough strength and support to get her out. It was a long 3 hours of pushing, but I finally seemed to make headway. Debbie had me in a squat during a contraction. I’d be pushing while Ben squeezed my hips. When the contraction was done, I’d sit back down  and lean against Ben. My arms were so sore and slightly bruised from holding onto the pool for so long. Finally it came. I felt a contraction coming so I got in my squat position, Ben squeezing my hips, and I started yelling. I hadn’t yelled at all during my labor. Everyone knew and I knew something big just happened. Looking back, I realized I was starting to lose it. If I had been focused on relaxing, I probably wouldn’t have yelled. But, I had my mom and Ben tell me for the last 3 hours, “There’s her head! Just keep pushing! She’s almost here!” I think I was done with that. I love them so much, but I was so tired of them telling me she’s almost here. I didn’t believe it when Debbie told me she actually crowned. That ring of fire was absolutely awful. I’m glad it only lasted a short while. After she crowned, I had a surge of energy and happiness and pushed two more times. Amy Louise was born 12:51pm. After 3 hours of pushing, she was finally here. It’s amazing what you forget the minute that baby is in your arms. 22 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing, and all I could do was look at Amy and praise God for His provision.


We had doubts about having a successful home birth, let alone a vbac. But the Lord was in control. I can’t say how many times we as a birth team prayed and prayed and prayed throughout the labor. It was a beautiful sight to see and a blessing to have Christians surrounding us during this time.


Amy Louise was born and almost everyone was crying. We were so happy! Amy did have some gunk in her throat and it took her a little bit to cry, but she did. We got out of the pool pretty quickly and headed to the bed. We tried nursing as soon as we laid down. It took her a little bit because she had somewhat of a scary entrance. Scary as in she was really congested and not breathing super well. But once she started nursing, most of it cleared up. Her cord stopped pulsating so Debbie clamped it, daddy cut it. I had such a baby high! I got so much energy back. It was beautiful to hold my child and just nurse her. Debbie and Katie left me alone for a little bit to clean up around the house while I nursed her alone with hubby by my side. She nursed for 20 min, each side!! After she was done, daddy got to do skin to skin with her while I got an exam done.

After the burning sensation and how fast she came, we thought for sure that I tore. After checking, Debbie was surprised to find only got a couple skid marks! (like a skinned knee) Nothing needed to be stitched, praise the Lord. After that was done, I got in the shower and cleaned up. Mom and Debbie helped me. After downing a glass of liquid chlorophyll, water, and a sparkling water, I finally went pee on my own. Yay! I went back to the bed and we watched Amy get her newborn exam done. Daddy weighed her and what a big girl she was! 8 lbs, 14 oz. She was 22 and ½ inches long too. Daddy went to take a shower while they did the other tests. Everything turned out wonderfully. After about another hour, Papa brought over big brother. Nathaniel was somewhat unsure of sissy. He was more excited to see me! After exploring the house, he came back in and started looking at Amy. He didn’t know what to do with her the day of meeting her, but he’s taken on the role of being big brother wonderfully. Before he left to go back with my parents, he shared his toy ducky with her and gave her a kiss on the foot. Very sweet! Everyone had left afterwards, then Gramma Kelly came by! She brought us a delicious five guys meal and a coke for me. Boy was it good! We sat on the bed and told her a short version of what all happened and got to visit for a little bit. It was nice to just relax and enjoy talking.


After she left, me, hubby, and Amy took about a 45 min nap. Mimi and Papa brought back Nathaniel and Ash over, so we visited again. It was great to see my family! They grabbed some extra clothes and diapers for Nathaniel and headed back to their house. Ben and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing, eating some snacks, and watching shows. We went to bed late but had a very restful night of sleep. Praise God for his watch care over each and every detail of this labor and delivery. Soli Deo Gloria!!