Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Desire of A Heart ~ Caroline's Story

Guest post by a precious friend!

This first week with our new little blessing has flown by, but the thrill of it all will stay fresh in our minds for a long time to come! Like all special scars mamas, from the start I’d been reading, researching, and praying to make the most informed choice about a VBAC. Since my classical c-section seven years prior, I’d believed what the OB had told me after the delivery of my 26 week preemie, “You will always have to have a c-section for future pregnancies!” I actually talked myself into finding comfort in these words thinking that I’d eliminate a lot of discomfort and stress by succumbing to surgery, however when I found myself pregnant with my sixth child, mothering hormones took over and I had the desire to do what was BEST for my baby. I knew that surgery was NOT BEST and after a little research I discovered that surgery was not only NOT BEST for me either, but was NOT my only choice afterall!  A homebirth attended by our dear midwife friend, Jennifer Stewart, was my dream, but possibly not the safest route considering the slight increase of risk with my classical scar. If I were to rupture at home, my midwife would be unable to perform the necessary surgery to save mine and/or my baby’s life. I’d never ask her to put herself in that situation and being the responsible midwife she is, she’d never agree to it. When I found an OB willing to be on call for my hospital delivery and a midwife in his practice who agreed (although not so willingly) to attend my birth, I felt a plan coming together. I tried to think of everything I could do for a successful delivery: exercise, excellent diet, a natural protocol to ensure that I’d be GBS negative (and my labor would not be slowed down by antibiotics required if a positive GBS test,) taking Gentle Birth herbal formula the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy to make labor go quicker (less chance of rupture, right?) and not go over my due date with a larger baby that might be more stressful to push out. Best of all, Jennifer offered to still attend my birth as a doula, doing all she could to ensure that my hospital birth was as close to a natural homebirth as possible.  

5-1/2 hours before birth
I was due Sunday, June 26th. On Saturday, the last shoe of my plans dropped. My oldest daughter was finished with her job at a summer camp for the week. I picked her up that morning so she could take part in her sister’s birth. She joked that I could go into labor just as soon as she took a nap! She got her nap and I still wasn’t dilated beyond the 3 cm that I had been for a week. My Braxton Hicks contractions seemed to have lessened even though I’d been pushing acupressure points (especially BL 32) all day. I finally took a walk around our yard and got one hard contraction to happen. I started dinner at 5:00 and seemed to be having good contractions every 30-45 minutes. I was beginning to need to breathe through them, but still only dilated to 3 cm at 10:00 pm. I just knew that I’d be in labor in the wee morning hours and exhausted from not getting any sleep, so I thought I’d lie down for awhile and perhaps the contractions would taper off and I could sleep a little? I messaged Jennifer and told her that I was going to get some rest and she probably should do the same. I anticipated making the one hour trip to the hospital in a few hours when (as the OB instructed) contractions were closer together. By the time my husband came to bed at 11:00 he noticed that I was breathing constantly and asked if we shouldn’t be thinking about going soon?

I was having bad back labor pains (still pushing BL 32 to alleviate them) and felt like I’d better get out of bed and perhaps use the toilet. Contractions were so intense that I worried I’d be stuck on the toilet. My thoughts were of a friend in that situation with EMT’s helping her off the toilet and into the ambulance, only to give birth a few miles down the road on the way to the hospital! My water conveniently broke before I made myself get back up and I checked to find that I seemed to be dilated past the point that I could easily measure! I tried sitting on the birth ball while my husband called my doula, Jennifer, to tell her that we were going to the hospital. As soon as I was somewhat in between contractions and could talk I told him to just tell her to come to the house that there was no way I was going to get in a car the way I was feeling. I asked her if it was possible for a baby to come that fast and she said that it was. She instantly turned back into my midwife and said she was on her way! [Midwife's note: as soon as I got that call and heard the intensity in their voices, I was changing clothes while still on the phone and was out of the house in 7 minutes flat!] To relieve my back labor I knelt beside an ottoman in the living room and immediately felt like I needed to push. Hubby later told me he was scared to death at this point, but I felt like since we had no choice in the way things were going and if God allowed it to be this way, it must be going to turn out OK. I felt no pains in my upper abdomen where I’d imagined my vertical scar to be. Hubby asked my girls to get a towel to put under me and then called them over to help him catch the baby. I had her head out in a couple of pushes. Tremendous relief followed but no immediate contractions to help me push her the rest of the way out. I was waiting on another contraction to keep from tearing (I’d had episiotomies with the previous 4 natural births) but when hubby saw her breathing he encouraged me to go ahead and push. Out she came at 11:37!

The first part of her I saw was her tiny little feet, a visual I’ll never forget, as I flipped over to put her on my chest. Every inch of her was beautiful-so perfect. I thought about that signed birth plan in the diaper bag. All my picky little details that I was prepared to ask for at the hospital. And now I could do whatever I wanted! I had so much energy because it wasn’t even my bedtime yet. I felt like I’d just run a quick sprint. My girls were crying tears of joy, hubby was still in shock I think, and Jennifer was just coming through the front door. I was just amazed that my little girl was there in my arms on my living room floor. I actually got a homebirth afterall! God knew what I really wanted and gave me the desires of my heart without my even asking.  Caroline had a peaceful, beautiful entrance into the world. I shudder to think of what it would have been like for her if I’d given in to the fears of others and had a repeat c-section. I believe that God understood my wanting to ensure the safety of myself, my baby, and my midwife by choosing to birth in a hospital, but in his omniscience He also knew that it would be just fine for me to birth at home and unassisted at that! Thankfully, we didn’t need to go to the hospital at all, as Jennifer expertly attended to all that needed to be done afterwards. God worked it all out and used all of my prior preparations in the perfect way that only He can and I’m so grateful!


Emilie "Caroline" ~ 7lb 6oz

Beautiful family!


  1. I love, love , love this most special birth story! Thanks April and Jennifer for sharing! :)

  2. I have sat here crying and laughing at the same time at your story April, what a story indeed! Isn't God just so good....yes He did know your heart and wanted to bless you with your hearts desire. Having children is such a blessing in itself and having such a wonderful story behind it such as this is just wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing and giving me such a blessing to be able to read your story! God bless you and your wonderful family!

  3. April! It took me a year to read your amazing wonderful birth. God is such the loving, wonder Father. Caroline is truly wonderfully made. God bless her and her wonderful family. <3