At my last prenatal appointment (42 weeks+ a couple days) my midwife, Goldie, checked me and we found that little man’s head was down but I had not begun to dilate yet. Excited that his head was so low but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed about not being dilated yet. Dave asked about the lovely castor oil trick. She told me a schedule of how much to do how often, I originally wanted to try it that night but since Dave had to photograph a wedding on friday I decided I should wait til friday. Goldie told me I should wait til Saturday so that Dave could get some rest-okay fine. She also told me to relax friday and tell my baby the plan. SO friday night after I put my daughter to bed I relaxed with candles and listened to some positive birth affirmations ….why didn’t I do this earlier? It was pretty nice!
Saturday I hung out with daughter most of the day doing “experiments” and we did some (hopefully the last time) shopping pre baby. Everywhere I went when someone asked what I was doing that weekend I responded, “having a baby!” 5 p.m. came and it was time to have a shot….a shot of castor oil. I knew it was going to suck so I didn’t want to mix it too much with juice I figured the more I could get down at once the better…so shot one..okay toss it back..UUGG disgusting and quickly take a bite of a chocolate chip cookie to get the feeling out of my mouth. okay quickly do another shot before I can not make myself do it again….. open up ..and….run for the toilet. Well that sucked and I wasn’t gonna try any more since puking it up wasn’t gonna be productive..so I just hoped some actually stayed down. As I was standing over the toilet Charley says,”Mom, your not having a good day are you?”
I was having regular contractions starting that evening and decided to actually time them, after timing them for a bit over an hour I sent Goldie a message (around 9 pm)and said the duration and frequency of them and just said I wanted to give her a heads up instead of having to text her in the middle of the night.. she said, ” sounds promising” EEKKKK!!!!! so exciting!! At 10:30 I laid down in bed and listened to my hypno-birthing app again and feel asleep. At midnight I woke up with really bad back pain- very annoying. I debated between trying to sleep and trying to get some last min blogs up or bills paid, trying to sleep seemed like the best option. I also knew that I should eat so I asked Dave to make my a rice cake with peanut butter…He did but it was funny that he brought me the peanut butter too incase he put the wrong amount on it so I could fix it. At 2:30 in the morning I decided to relocate to the front couch to try to sleep out there, I was having a hard time getting comfortable. I woke up at 5 am excited that I had gotten more then a few minutes of sleep so I assumed that laboring had kinda stopped so I went back in my room and laid down. Just as I was falling asleep I felt a sudden movement and heard a “POP” I sat up and thought,” holy shit this is really happening…. I went into the bathroom and sure enough my water had broke. It was 5:12am I tried yelling to Dave without waking up Charley, after 4 yells with no luck I grabbed a towel and walked to the edge of the room and threw it at his head to wake him up. We texted Goldie at 5:22am , she was gonna send her assistant Amy over. Charley woke up around 5:45-6am…wide awake and ready to meet her brother, she quickly got dressed.
Amy arrived at 6:36am while I was hanging out on the toilet leaking more fluid and bloody show. Jut before 7 she monitored the baby and then I decided to take a shower. For the next couple hours I labored mainly either in my bed or on the front couch. Dave was with me the whole time and applied pressure just where I needed it, it was such a relief. Charley gave me sips of water and held a washcloth on my head. She was really great and would give me random kisses and hugs. At 9 am I ate a fruit leather and at 10:05 am I started puking everything up 😦 I knew that that can actually open you up though so I really didn’t mind puking when I thought about it like that. I remember thinking oh I must be getting close if I am puking but I didn’t want to get too far along without Goldie there so I didn’t want to walk around or anything til she got there. Goldie arrived at 11:50am I got up to pee and labor in the bathroom for a little bit. She checked me at 12:12pm: 100% effaced (YES!!) , head at 0 (YAY!!!) and dilated to 1 (WHAT?!! ONLY 1- shit!) well, looks like I still have a long time to go..okay I can do this.
At 1pm I got back in the shower…The hot water on my back felt so great and it was the only time that I could cope with a contraction without Dave. Through out the day they checked on the baby and every time his heart tones were great.
At 1:40pm I got back in the shower (I told you it felt really great) and then I tried to get some sleep. It was really hard to sleep because I could not cope with a contraction laying down or sitting the way that I could when I was standing…so I stood or was on my knees, leaning over something most of the time. 2:30pm more bloody show.
6:30 pm. Now over 12 hours since my water broke I began puking again (this time was terrible because I didn’t have much to throw up and I swear I pulled some muscles on my sides from it).I told Dave how I couldn’t believe how much my body was doing that I had no control over- puking, contracting, shaking….I was very happy at this point that my mom and sister had picked up Charley to take her out to play for a little bit because I didn’t want her to see me puking that violently .
Sometime in the evening I was checked again and was at 4 cm. At least we are getting somewhere!!
Around 9p.m. I was still only at 4cm we knew we needed to try to rest so everyone went home to take a break and shower etc. We told Charley to go to sleep and reassured her we would wake her up before we got into the pool. Dave and I relaxed the best we could in between contractions. Every time I would wake up with one Dave would spring up and squeeze my hips or press down on my back. The pressure and the warmth of his hands felt wonderful. I was amazed at how at the first sound of my breathing he would be awake instantly (he normally sleeps through anything!)
One of the assistants returned at 11:30, I took another shower and drank some emergency vitamin c . From midnight till 4am I had different types of contractions ranging from ones that would be on top of each other and felt like they never ended and then some that were further apart but then crazy strong. I was so tired but anytime I laid down the contractions were so unbearable I decided I could take a shower and sleep standing up( yup I was getting desperate). I originally said I would get checked again at 2 am but then I didn’t want to…I didn’t want to get discouraged if I hadn’t dilated anymore. While I was in the shower I tried to visualize myself dilating more, many people visualize a flower opening but that wasn’t working for me. Since I am the mom of a 4 yr old the only other thing I could think of was team umi-zoomi going up an elevator counting each floor , so I kept counting 1-8 (because at 8 I could get into the birth pool).
At 5:30 am (now water has been broken for 24 hours and I have been dilated to 4 for maybe 9 hrs) Amy tells me to do some side-to-side which was laying on my side through 2 contractions and then switching sides. The breaks in between the contractions felt great but when the contractions hit man did they hurt. I was having more pressure and at 6:35am we decided to go ahead and check me again. Goldie was telling me how he was gonna have a lot of hair and that she could actually twirl it, I had been wondering if he was gonna have lots since Charley did. Still 4 cm. This is when I had my breaking point. I starting crying because I felt like it was certain that I would end up in a c-section. I wanted so bad to have my HBAC . We discussed how his heart tones were still great so as long as I kept hydrated, ate, kept drinking the vitamin c, and didn’t get a fever I would be fine to keep trying. I also started taking a homeopathic medicine that was for someone in my situation that wasn’t dilated . I decided that I had to do whatever it took not to go to the hospital at this point. I started drinking the vitamin drinks and even drinking some of Dave’s protein drinks -that I hate. We decided I needed to force myself through the laying down contractions since those were always the strongest ones…they most be doing the most right? Two other birth assistants (Toni and Andrea) arrived at 9:30 am so that Dave could take a break. He didn’t want to leave me but they assured him they would take care of me and that he needed rest too. The were both wonderful in helping me deal with everything.
At one point Dave came out as I was having a contraction and both girls were helping me through it, he came over and held my hand and then laid his head down on me, kissing me and telling me that I could do it , he had started to tear up and so did I. I will never forget this moment.
At noon the baby’s heart tones were still great and I was just doing whatever I could in between some of my favorite places in my house, during labor I learned that I liked the small half wall by my front door, it was the perfect height to lean over, I liked the toilet in our small bathroom much better then our main bathroom ( much harder for Dave to be in there with me but he managed) candle light or natural light was preferred.
The birth assistants thought it would be a good idea for me to get some fresh air so we went for a little walk outside in my backyard…. of course that the first time I step outside in 2 days a guy comes in the yard to check the energy meter !! lol I am sure he had a blast talking about that the rest of the day!
After a few more hours I started having stronger contractions and I was in so much pain in between contractions due to my pulled muscle on my side from puking and so much back pain and I got to the point were I was having such a hard time relaxing, I felt myself constantly tensing up and I knew that was not helping. FInally around 3pm ish(if i remember correctly) I cried out that I could not do it anymore. During my last shower Dave and I had started to talk about “okay what if “. We decided that if at the next check I hadn’t dilated anymore we would need to think about transferring. So the time came to be checked again, a huge part of me was so hopeful but a lot of me had a feeling that it hadn’t changed. The moment of truth…. I was still dilated to 4. After having a little talk with everyone on my bed we decided the best thing would be to go to the hospital so that I could get an epidural and get some rest. Maybe then after gaining some energy I would be able to finish laboring there and still have a VBAC. My mom came to pick up Charley and we quickly packed some things and headed to the hospital. Sitting in the car was absoute hell. It is a good 20-25 min drive and I had not been able to sit for more than it took me to pee in 2 days. I didn’t want my seat belt on and I hate the dinging so I buckled it behind me and sat at the edge of the seat with half of my butt off the seat. At one point dave had to slam on his brakes because of someone stopping suddenly. ..luckily he braced me (by my boobs) so I didn’t go flying into the dash. Thanks babe;)
We knew that if the hospital knew my water had been broken for over 24 hours or that I was past 42 weeks they would take me for a c-section right away. . so we had to lie. I knew that I was safe and my baby was safe so I was not worried, we told them it had been broken since 5 am that morning and that I was 1 week late…just stretching it a bit.
After getting an iv and having blood drawn (multiple attempts ..very annoying during contractions) I had to wait for my labs before they could do the epidural. They told me it would be about a half hr after my labs were turned in. My nurse was really nice and told me that she didn’t care how I needed to move around as long as I stayed hooked up to the monitors. That was nice but I was instantly wishing I was back home, although yes I could move around I didn’t have full range of motion and for me to bend over on the bed I had to keep adjusting it and then I didn’t want to rest my head on it because it smelled like a hospital. I went to the bathroom and it had an awesome tub/ shower but of course I couldn’t use that… man I missed my shower at home. I went to use the bathroom and I noticed that my fluid was a little brown now, I asked Amy if it was meconium she said that it prob was but not to worry, if I was at home they don’t worry as long as everything is good until after 24-48 hrs.
My first Dr was a resident and she was a bitch. If it were up to her she would have sent me right away for a c-section, she gave me an ultrasound- it showed that he was posterior (back labor explained) and made it seem like it was the worst thing ever. Dave asked the nurses if there was someone else we could deal with, luckily her shift was almost over. Everyone else I dealt with was awesome. I explained to them how I just wanted the epidural, to sleep, and then to continue this without other intervention. 3 hours later I finally got the epidural ( 3o min my ass). I talked to the guy as he was giving it to me about how I was at home and about my labor so far, he was amazed and had no idea that you were allowed to have your baby at home!! (hilarious- man the medical community can be molded into little robots of what “should be” )
After 15 min I started to feel relief but then still lots of pressure ( this is where they informed me that it took away contraction pain but not pressure pain-oh….okay…) I was able to sleep but then would still feel contractions, at one point Dave asked how I was doing because the line went off the chart. (I was having contractions going up to 130-140 and the graph goes to 100) During these contractions I also felt that I was losing a lot more fluid. At one point they asked about internal monitoring I declined, I knew he was still fine. After 3 hours on the epidural the Dr (a nice one) came in and asked if I wanted to talk about options before or after she checked me. I said after… I already knew what my options were. If I had dilated more then I continue to labor and hopefully I get my VBAC that I so longed for. If I wasn’t past a 4 it would mean c-section. When she went to check me she asked if the fluid was originally clear, it was originally (for the past 30 something hrs) but I knew by her response that it had to be pretty dark now, I saw some on the pad and yes it had gotten darker. She checked me, and I hadn’t progressed. Pitocin was out of the question since I had a c-section before. I asked to call my midwife before making my final decision. She said really my only other option would be to wait a few more hours. Knowing that I would have to spend those next few hours sitting in the hospital bed super uncomfortable I didn’t see how I would ever dilate anymore. Dave and I explained to the Dr and nurses how much I did not want a c-section but I really felt like I had done everything that I possibly could and since they weren’t gonna let me eat, drink, move and with the truth about how long my water had been broken in my head ) we were okay with going into a c-section. At this moment I did not feel defeated though, I was happy that I was able to make the decision with my husband and that the Drs respected everything I was saying and they addressed all of my concerns. I had put in 50 hours of labor before being rolled into the operating room I was given the chance to let my body do what it is supposed to do.
My surgeon was so nice and I talked to him about my terrible experience with Charley and he was so understanding. After we had been waiting for the anesthesiologist he asked if I wanted him to go talk to Dave so he wasn’t worried, I said please and he gladly did.
At 10:35 pm my baby boy was born. I cried the moment I heard his cry and just kept staring at Dave, who was teary eyed too. They took him over and had to suction him out due to the meconium (which was heart breaking to watch) . They kept saying everything was fine and we just kept waiting to see him, occasionally we would see his foot or hand and I just wanted to hold him soooo bad. They held him upright so we could see him and we both looked at each other and said how much he looked like Charley- I couldn’t believe it. After a few more minutes of length and weight Dave was finally able to hold him. I couldn’t believe he was finally here and of course he was absolutely perfect. 8.4 lbs and 21 3/4 ” long. As they cleaned me up they told Dave to go back to the room and they would bring us back soon… he didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want him to either but then felt beter when they asked if I wanted to hold my baby and carry him back to the room- UMM YESS!!! Give me my baby!!!! So there he was in my arms, I could feel his soft skin and I just kept smelling him. In recovery they said to go ahead and try feeding as soon as he seemed ready, within minutes he was sucking my neck! So I tried and he attached instantly, no problems at all.
Charley came the next morning to meet her new brother that she had been waiting sooooo patiently for and it was love at first sight. My next goal was to get out of the hospital as soon as possible. ( I was out about 7 hours earlier then planned) We were able to get out just in time before Charley got out of school so we could all be at home together… just like originally planned.
Here are some images from my labor: (Thank you sooo much Amy for picking up our camera when Dave could not, I will treasure these images for ever). (Thank you Dave for shooting-even when there were times you thought I might get mad)
This may be the only time I post unedited images of me without make-up 😉
This is me in the early morning, trying to eat and drink
I had such good labor support!
Had a moment of laughter about a movie quote.
moments of rest in between contractions were so nice.
One of my fav images Dave snapped…Man my shower was such relief.
I looked at myself in the mirror and was amazed at how low my belly was…. I kept thinking come on you can’t get any lower besides coming out so just do it already!
Was going to get up to relocate but I guess I needed another minute
I think this is when Dave told me it was okay for me to fart on him but not to poop on him
I preferred to puke though
This is going on over 24 hours now….
that cold leather felt so great!
I was running out of positions and places that I could attempt to rest
and then we transfered, laboring at the hospital sucked but we did the best we could.
Then he was in my arms and he was a Breastfeeding Champ!!
Although I may not have gotten my HBAC or even the VBAC I wanted I have nothing but positive feelings about the birth of my son. Had I not chosen to go with a midwife I would not have experienced labor, I would have had both of my children without experiencing what your body does when your baby is ready to come into the world. I was really looking forward to saying “I did it” after having a vaginal birth and even more so at home, but I still gave it my all and I can not even begin to describe how grateful I am that I was able to work with so many wonderful people that had patience and trusted in me, my body and my baby. I am so thankful for being able to experience labor and yes it was long, yes it was painful, but It was amazing.
Had I gone with an Ob/gyn I would have had a scheduled c-section after my due date because that is what they are taught to do, even if somehow I got around that I never would have been able to labor at home for 2 days after my water breaking, they for sure would have taken me for a c-section on their terms…not on mine.
The bond that I have already with my son is amazing and the love for my husband and daughter are even stronger because of this experience.
Goldie thank you so much for being my midwife and believing in me and to you and Amy for putting in so many long hours. Thank you Jenn,(who didn’t even know me) Andrea and Toni for stepping in without hesitation to help me out . You guys are all such wonderful people and so many babies are born into the best environment they can be because of you.
To my mom and sister: thank you for all the things that you have done to help me out in all the ways that I have needed.
Mishelle- thank you for your endless support
Charley- although your 4 and don’t read my blog I must say I am so proud of what an amazing big sister you are and how good you were checking on me while I was in labor. I love you sooooo soooo much. You are going to be such a good mama one day and Im pretty sure you will have a homebirth 😉
Dave- I love you more than anything,I have for many years now, I know you know this but I really hope you know how much I appreciate how you were while I was laboring. You were everything I needed, whenever I needed it. There is no way I could have done it with out you. Thank you so much for giving me 2 beautiful children and a wonderful life. Thank you for believing in me and thank you for reminding me of it when I doubted myself.
To everyone who believed in me- Thank you so much, your words and love have been wonderfully received!
What a beautiful story, it was amazing. You brought a tear to my eye!!Congratulations to the entire family!!
Thank you !!
This is one of the most raw and beautiful blogs or pieces of writing I have ever experienced. I am in tears writing this, I respect you and your family for your closeness and values. I congratulate you from the depths of my being and your strength and love for each other is nothing short of amazing.
Thank you very much for your kind words !
Candice, this is just beautiful. What a powerful, amazing, inspirational story. The images are absolutely beautiful. ❤
Thank you 🙂
Oh Candice. Such a lovely lovely birth story. I think I cried the whole time. 🙂 The pictures are so wonderful, you look like a goddess and Dave was so caring. You are so strong and I am so happy you had this birth on your terms. ❤ Thank you so much for sharing! What in inspiration!
Thank you, thank you , thank you !!
I am so happy for you and your family, your baby is beautiful! This blog was so empowering.
Thank you !
Sitting here and crying as I read this. Those pictures were beautiful. You are a strong mama! I am amazed at how you went through the birthing process. Even though you ended up at the hospital, you got to experience something absolutely pure and beautiful at home with your family. Can’t wait to meet that adorable little boy!
I got choked up reading this, and your photos made me cry. You’re a hero Momma. I am so happy that even though your story had a different ending than you planned, that you feel fulfilled and at peace with it. I truly wish I had your experience. Sending lots of all my very best to you and yours.
Thank you, xoxo hope your doing well !!
You may not remember me, I am one of Mishelle’s clients, but this blog is beautiful. I tear up thinking about how strong of a will and desire you had to do things your way. You are an inspiration no matter what the final outcome ended up being. I had my first child almost a year ago and I labored like you at the beginning, and I will say, the pain was far more than I expected nor could tolerate. You are amazing to have gone as far as you did at home. The images you posted are stunning! Congrats on the newest addition to your family, he’s precious!
Yes, I remember you ! Thank you very much 🙂
Candice, you did an amazing job! Clearly you were in an immense amount of pain and you stuck it out as long as you could without endangering yourself or your baby. These images are raw, beautiful and incredible. It is evident how supportive and loving Dave is – you can see how much he cares for you in the shots that he is in. Seriously, this is an incredible story and I am happy that you were able to experience this aspect of childbirth even though you were unable to have your HBAC. You have a beautiful family! Thank you for sharing your story and these photos. They are amazingly beautiful. Congratulations on your little boy! He is adorable!
Thank you so much!!! 🙂 I really appreciate everything you said
You are so welcome!
Amazing story Candice, so glad he is here and you both are well. You are truly inspirational!!!
What an amazing story! You are incredible! Looks like you had an amazing support system! The pictures really do speak 1,000 words of the pain, LOVE, and emotion! Congrats! 🙂
Wow!!! That is an amazing and beautiful story! Congratulations to you and Dave. And of course Charley. You have a beautiful family and I love all the pics!
*Tear!* I’m so happy for you and your family Candice. Thank you for sharing such beautiful moments, I’m glad everything worked out the way YOU wanted it to this time. XOXOXOXOX!
Beautiful story Candice and Dave. I was reading and couldn’t help but cry too.
Candice you are such a strong and talented beautiful person. Reading your blog this morning brought me to tears like many others. The pictures are just amazing and raw and filled with so many emotions. Thank you for putting your self out there for the world to see and to share in your families special time.
Candice, this is such an amazing post! So proud of you and happy for your family! Thanks for sharing all these amazing details and even with no make up you are beyond stunning! XOXO
Thank you, your so sweet !
I had my baby while you were in labor, and I must say that if I had gone through all that you went through, I may not have made it. You are a very strong woman, and I’m glad you could have such a beautiful birth experience, even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you had planned 🙂 And I LOVE your birth photography. It is making me think about having some done for my next baby.
Thank you and I recommend birth photography for sure !!!
You are so much stronger than I could ever be! Amazing story and I am inspired. Congrats to the whole family!
This story is very inspirational! You are such a strong woman! I had a difficult birth with Riley & thought my only option was a csection if I had another child, your story has made me realize that is not the case. I give you so much credit (50hrs of labor! wow) and you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story so candidly. I hope everything is going well with your family, and he is absolutely adorable!
Thank you so much and I’m glad I made you realize that c-section wasn’t your only option
Wow- thank you so much for being so vulnerable and telling your story in such a personal way. I’m so happy that even though it didn’t go as planned, you are still feeling better about this birth than your last. And the pictures- wow, I didn’t know pain and labor could be so beautiful!! Congratulations!
Thank you so much !
Your pictures are truly beautiful. Although, I find myself admiring your story. You clearly have a loving and strong support system; for which I believe you are blessed. I’m not sure I would’ve been brave enough to take such a risk. Thank you sharing your story, through diversity we learn. 🙂
Such a great memory! I absolutely love your story of the birth of Ronin, such a beautiful and emotional thing to experience! ❤
Congratulations! He is beautiful! I am so happy for you, and I think you get to say “I did it” my 2 births combined did not last 1/2 that long! Beautiful story and of course beautiful photos!
Lol , thank you !!!
This is beautiful. Cried through most of it. I am so happy you are happy with the birth of your son… even if it didn’t go according to plan. Congrats to you and your family!
Just had to re read this, made me cry all over again. I am so proud of you, you are such an inspiration to many, many people. ♥
Beautiful birth story, you really gave it your all! Every birth is sacred, no matter how they decide to enter the world ❤
thank you so much!!! 🙂