Sheena 10 S and J transferred care to me around 35 weeks along in their second pregnancy.  S was planning for a VBAC, but was uncomfortable with her current provider and made the brave jump to switch providers late in the game. We definitely encountered a few small hiccups in those last weeks of pregnancy, but things smoothed out and kept us on track for our plans of a home birth. In the afternoon of May 24, a couple days past S’s estimated due date, S sent me a text stating that she had been having consistent contractions 10-15 minutes apart, lasting 30-60 seconds for several hours.  They were walking the mall, and about to sit for lunch.  I encouraged S she was doing everything right and we would touch base in an hour or two. Around 430pm, I checked in with S.  Contractions were averaging every 5 minutes, lasting 45 seconds long and were more difficult to talk through.  She had tried a bath, and it seemed to help bring them closer and stronger.  I encouraged her to call her doula over if they were difficult to talk through, and she agreed. Around 6pm, J text that contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds long and that their doula just arrived.  It wasn’t long and I heard from them that it was time for me to come. I arrived right before 8pm.  S was standing outside when I arrived.  We moved inside and she rocked on her birth ball while I got a feel for her labor pattern.  Contractions seemed to be coming every 5 minutes, lasting 50-55 seconds. Around 830pm, I did the initial cervical check on S.  We were all overjoyed that S was 5cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby at a -1 station.  Things were moving along perfectly. Since baby was acycnlitic, I had S do three sets of my favorite move, the captain morgan, and then do three sets of hands and knees.  Contractions seemed to build in intensity after these positions. Around 930pm, S decided to try to go lay with her sweet toddler to help him drift off to sleep, and to catch a little nap herself.  During this time, her doula and I got the birth pool set up and started filling it with some water. Around 10pm, S came back down stairs and moved to her bed.  I got her positioned on her left side in an exaggerated runner’s position to help her rest.  When I snuck in to listen to the baby, the lights were dim and J stated contractions seemed to be coming every 3 minutes, lasting at least a minute long. Close to 11pm, I helped S move to her right side.  She looked peaceful and beautiful as she gently moaned through surges. Around 1130pm, S moved to the toilet while we added some water to the birth pool.  She had good amount of bloody show on the toilet and I encouraged her pushing could be near.  Soon S moved to the birth pool. Sheena 7 S said she was feeling some pressure.  Quarter to midnight I checked S’s cervix and she had an anterior lip, completely effaced and baby was at a +1 station. I encouraged S that she was doing everything just right.  Contractions began coming every 2-3 minutes, lasting 80-90 seconds. S alternated her position around in the pool as her body demanded. Sheena 1 At 12:22am, S began spontaneously bearing down at the peak of the contractions.  10 minutes later I found S still had the anterior lip.  I offered to help reduce the lip by holding it back if S liked.  After two contractions, the lip resolved and S was completely dilated and baby at a +2 station. One thing I find to be true for most women with a previous cesarean is that they tend to stall in labor for a bit where they stopped their labor journey the last time and ended their journey in the OR.  For S, her cesarean was done during pushing.  S would begin to push with a contraction, and then doubt herself and question if she was doing it right.  We encouraged her that she was doing everything perfectly, and we were in no hurry.  If she didn’t feel like it was right to push, breathe through a few. Sheena 6 At 101am, S’s water broke spontaneously in the birth pool. The contractions spaced a little, giving S some much needed time to rest in between contractions.  J was great support and comfort to S through each surge, encouraging her through each one how well she was doing.  With each contraction, we encouraged S that she was doing this.  She would look at me and ask, “Can I do this?”, and then would speak affirmations over herself.  “I am doing this.  I am going to do this.” Sheena 2 Around 140am, I suggested to S that maybe we should move her to the toilet to empty her bladder and then try pushing some on the bed so she could rest better between contractions.  S got out of the pool and moved into hands and knees position for a contraction, before moving to the toilet. Right before 2am, S got into the bed and pushed on her hands and knees, and then moved to her left side to push.  S stated she was feeling really tired.  I encouraged her to try getting in a semi reclining position, leaning back into J.  She agreed to try to we helped her move.  We continued to give S lots of fluids and encouraged her to rest in between. I watched S push in this position a couple contractions, and then had an idea.  Apparently, my birth assistant had the same idea because at the same time, we both said, “We should try tug of war!” At 228, we began doing tug of war pushing with contractions.  My birth assistant stood behind me holding the rebozo, while S held the other part of the rebozo.  S then pulled hard against the resistance the birth assistant was giving.  This position worked beautifully.  At 237, the baby was on the perineum. At 240am, baby was crowning, followed by the birth of the baby a minute later. These initial moments were absolutely priceless.  S’s look on her face was of utter shock.  You could see all over her face that she doubted this baby was coming out.  There was shock, and then pure joy as she held her baby on her chest exclaiming, “I did it!” Sheena 8Sheena 4Sheena 3 Equally as priceless was when Grandma walked into the room a few moments later.  Grandma had been one of S’s biggest supporters in her journey to have a healing birth.  Such a beautiful picture of Grandma’s love and joy and excitement for her daughter and new granddaughter. Sheena 5 Welcome to the world Anastasia!  Born earthside on May 25, 2015 at 241am, weighing in at 6lbs. 12 ozs., 19.25″ long.  It was a privilege to be part of this mama’s beautiful, peaceful labor journey.