First baby, 2010
We hired a doula. We took natural childbirth preparation classes. We planned for an unmedicated birth. We switched care providers at 25 weeks in hopes of having more support for our birth vision. Baby was found to be breech at 36 weeks. We tried to encourage him to turn, but he stayed put. I slowly gave up my vision for an unmedicated vaginal birth. We scheduled a cesarean. We asked my doula how to make a cesarean experience as good as possible. We didn’t get enough answers about that. I went into labor at 38 weeks. We drove to the hospital and were prepped for a cesarean. My son was born early in the morning and immediately taken to the nursery for observation. I didn’t get to touch him. My husband went with him as I was wheeled to recovery where I waited for 3 hours to meet my son, shaking from the anesthesia. He was finally brought to me, placed on my chest, and I stopped shaking immediately. We struggled with breastfeeding and I struggled with new motherhood. I was so in love, but so disappointed with my birth experience, anxious about doing the right thing for my baby, and utterly lost.
Second baby, 2012
We hired a doula. We planned for an unmedicated, low-intervention hospital VBAC. We struggled to find a provider willing to support our vision despite evidence stating I was a good candidate for a VBAC. I found an incredible support group that helped me with the emotional and logistical challenges of this journey. We found a provider. I talked and talked with my provider about my wishes and hoped they would be respected when the time came. I went into labor at 38 weeks, labored at home for a short while, and headed into the hospital. We pushed back at some of the hospital “policies” that restricted VBAC mothers to a bed. We were spoken to in frustrated tones and eventually left to labor alone with our doula. I worked with my body, my trust growing with every difficult contraction. The time came for him to be born. The OB talked harshly to me while I gave birth to him, rushing me through the entire thing. He was placed on my chest and I held him tight, full of gratitude for having him and for having birthing him the way I hoped. His babyhood was easy and beautiful. I wondered what it would have been like to have been fully respected and listened to during his birth experience.
Third baby, 2016
We hired a doula. We hired a home birth midwife with the backup plan of heading to the hospital around the corner. I prepared for my 2nd VBAC. I was confident in my choices and had honest, open conversations with my midwife throughout my pregnancy. I went into labor at 38 weeks and labored with my children and husband for quite a while. The midwife, her apprentice, and my doula came to be with me. I was asked for my preferences every step of the way. My responses were honored and respected. It was hard work, but I surrendered to the process and brought him into the world fiercely. I gave birth to him in a tub of warm water in my bedroom in the wee hours of the morning. I held him in that water, feeling immense peace that I had just walked this path in my own unique way, with unwavering support from my chosen team.