Two weeks ago we welcomed Camden Rose into our lives and our family. She was born October 8th and her arrival was a miracle of the bestest kind. Beckett was born in August 2008 and was a planned c-section from about week 22 to the end. She was stuck in a frank-breech position and was completely unwilling to budge despite external versions, crazy, body-bending yoga positions and a healthy dose of prayers. Her stubbornness and desire to stay put the way she was is a testament to her personality.
So, we entered in to this pregnancy with the full intention of succeeding as a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I won’t bore you with a statistical analysis of VBACs and the controversy that surrounds them nationwide, but suffice to say – they are a big deal. They are a heated, much discussed and personally charged topic that brings to the forefront the controversy that has become an increasingly higher c-section rate.
We chose hypnobirthing as an integral part of our birth plan and participated in a six-week course preparing for the birth. We chose a dear family friend, Kathy, to be our doula and support person in the delivery room. And, we chose an obstetrician who believed in my right to try a VBAC. He was an advocate for my choice to have a vaginal birth instead of a required c-section. In a county with almost three dozen obstetricians, I was able to find one single doctor who believed in a woman’s right to have a VBAC. And, with that amazing man, a dear friend, a loving mother and my perfect partner and husband in my delivery room – we welcomed Camden Rose.
My labor began about 11:00pm on Friday, October 7th with what felt like possible menstrual cramps. Jacob and I went to bed and called Kathy, our doula, and the OB before trying to fall asleep. Sleep quickly became out of the question and as Jacob began timing the contractions, the reality of the situation became obvious. The contractions were moving from 45 seconds long and seven minutes apart to 1 minute long and five minutes apart. Jacob’s mom arrived at the house to be there for Beckett and Kathy came to help with labor until we moved to the hospital. And, the OB said that I was welcome to stay at home until I felt the need to get to the hospital.
And, so the breathing began. And, the timing. And, the concentrating through each surge. The back labor was becoming unbearably worse and no matter how I tried to adjust, the only respite from the pain was Jacob’s pressure on my hip bones during each contraction. By 3:30am, I had experienced some water breaking and we decided to head out and into the hospital.
The contractions continued and I learned to welcome them, ride the wave and focus on relaxing and rest during the break between each one. The back labor was intense in an indescribable way. It relieved any pressure in my uterus and stomach and pulled the sensations from the contractions straight into my back. It was a stabbing throbbing that intensified with each movement, wave, motion, anything. Camden was lined up with her face upwards instead of towards my back and the back of her skull pressing into my tail bone was the cause of the discomfort. Upon arriving at the hospital, I measured in at 2 centimeters dilated, but progressed quickly from there. By noon, I was fully dilated and we were ready to push by one o’clock.
Kathy was the guiding force who knew what to say and how to encourage. She helped Jacob with different ways to help me and acknowledged the intensity of the contractions, but offered the encouragement and support needed to bring my baby into the world. And, she reminded me to breathe. And, breathe.
My mom was the person who could tag-team with Jacob when he needed a break. She was a pillar of strength for me to lean on and a constant reminder of the miracle of life. She had the awesome privilege of cutting the umbilical cord and watching Camden enter this world. She was a never-ending mantra of “I love you’s”. She knew what to do, when to do it and how to say it just when I needed it.
The labor nurse, Cynthia, was a life force of realism and encouragement. She reminded me that it was going to be hard, but was needed to bring my healthy baby into the world. If a push was half-asked, she told me. And, I moved Camden down and as I willfully succumbed to the contraction and worked with it, she told me that I had done good and was making progress.
The OB, Dr. Herdman, was a constant presence in the delivery room. He was there from dawn to birth. And, he was the face that came into view after Camden was born who said “You did it”. He was the man I will never be able to thank enough for being a willing teammate and advocate for a VBAC.
My husband, Jacob, was my rock. He was the one in my ear saying the words I needed to hear. He was the wide shoulders I needed to wrap myself around for strength. He was the hands on my body that infused me with the will to push. And, he was the always there, never ceasing source of love that never ever faltered.
We were a team in the awesomeness of birth. Without each of these players, I couldn’t have done it. It was an intense, awe-inspiring moment and a blessing of the most amazing sort. The VBAC was a success. And, on October 8th, my heart swelled, my love grew and we became a family of four.