Ximena’s VBAC – The Story of Baby Hope

I am so excited to finally share my testimony. I received prenatal care with the same provider throughout my pregnancy. From the beginning I searched for a provider who would assist me with my desire to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean. My doctor provided good prenatal care throughout my pregnancy. We differed opinions towards the end of my pregnancy when I reached my 40 weeks and my baby had not dropped and my cervix was not “favorable”. When we reached this point (my baby didn’t arrive on her estimated due date (12/25), my doctor scheduled a repeat c-section for (12/28). I said I was not moving forward with her recommendation.

 

She advised me on everything that could go wrong if I were to wait. I was nothing short of scared. I requested a BPP and an NST. The doctor’s office scheduled one for (12/27). That day my doctor was on call. I had my tests done and thank God everything was showing like the baby and pregnancy were going well. Nonetheless, the doctor was called after my tests were done. She gave me the “talk” again. This time she was very graphic about what could go wrong. This was beyond scary.

Yet something inside of me didn’t want to lose hope that this was a possibility for me…to have a natural birth. I had a cesarean section with my first child so I knew what it was; I knew how I felt going into it and coming out of it. I felt devastated that’s how I felt. I felt like I had been cheated on my birthing experience. I knew I didn’t want that this time around…at least not if there was not a real need for one.

She intimidated my husband for agreeing with me about waiting.

She had us both sign a papers stating what she had verbally described to us already. My husband was so scared that after that appointment he said that he was done…that he was not for waiting anymore.

Then I felt doubly bad, I was not listening to my doctor and my heart ached because I wanted to agree with my husband so bad but I just could not fully come to the conclusion that a repeat c-section was the best route for me.  Another BPP and NST were scheduled for me at the hospital for Tuesday 12/29.

I prayed, friends prayed about this situation. That God would keep us safe and that he would not let us be shamed for wanting to believe even when it meant going against a doctor’s medical expertise (which I don’t intend to communicate is what should be done all the time).

I cried out to God, I received encouragement from his Word. I read Hebrews Chapter 11 (from the Bible). It was so encouraging to remember that walking by faith might seem and feel crazy at times, but when it is something that God has clearly shown that he will back up…it’s amazing!

The following verse also came to mind:

Romans 15:13 New International Version (NIV)

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My husband had a change of heart by Monday morning (praise God!)

My husband’s support was just so very important for me. Now even though I was scared, I felt I was not alone, I felt like even though this seemed so crazy…it was right.

I had two sessions with Dr. Travis (acupuncture) recommended by Paula D’ Amore. He checked with me Monday and said if I wanted to go in for another session. So I went in to see Dr. Travis on Tuesday then I headed to West Boca for my 2nd BPP and NST.

The NST recorded that I was having contractions. I was experiencing some light contractions earlier in the afternoon. After BPP and NST tests were done, another Dr. from my OB/GYN’s practice was called in to talk to me. She said that my baby was 10lbs + and that the recommendation was still a c-section. She was going to start talking to me about the things my doctor had already talked to me about so I said: “Doctor, with all the respect…I have already heard this. Could you please tell me were to sign so I can go home?” I signed the paper and left. I had called my hubby to pick me up since I didn’t feel too great.

My husband came with a friend to pick me up. Throughout our trip back home, I was having contractions. They lasted like 40 seconds each and were about 5 minutes apart. We arrived home and I tried to sleep. I rested a bit…like an hour here and there but would wake up because I was experiencing discomfort from the contractions.

I started trying out several of the ideas that many shared with me…bouncing on the exercise ball, swaying from side to side, simply walking back and forth in my living room, jumping in the shower several times to let the warm water run down my back (this was my most favorite strategy).

I also ate and drank fluids throughout these hours. At around 4am I woke up my husband and said we should probably start getting ready. I had some breakfast in the shower…as the water was helping so much to make the contractions more bearable.

My husband took a shower then we left around 6/6:20am. When we left I clearly noticed that the intensity of each contraction was becoming stronger. We decided we were going to Broward Health Coral Springs since it was close, in-network and we knew that at West Boca they were not going to support a natural birth for me (as per doctor recommendations). Broward Health is only a 10 minute drive.

During the drive I had 2 to 3 contractions…they were intense, very intense…I was squeezing the car’s seat for dear life!

My husband pulled up to the ER, we said I was in labor (although it was obvious). As the lady (receptionist) was putting in my info I stood there and said: “I need to push! Please help me!”

She called for a wheelchair. Someone did come fast (although it seemed like an eternity). All I wanted was to push. The ride in the wheelchair seemed like torture. I just wanted to stand up!

We arrived were a group of nurses were and I kept saying “I need to push! Please help me!”

They wheeled me into a room, quickly put on their gloves and I just wanted to push for dear life. The nurse checked me. She said: “She’s at 10!” The nurses were in such a hurry it seemed surreal. They called the doctor. I just wanted to push…the nurse broke my water. She said there is meconium. I got a little scared but not so much because all I could think was “let’s get the baby out…NOW!”

I did feel some relief when she broke my waters.

The wait for the doctor seemed eternal, although she was probably there in less than 20 minutes. They had me lying in a bed, halfway sitting. I kept asking if I could sit up, or squat as my back was killing me with each contraction. They said  they were sorry, they understood that is the “natural” way a woman would want to position themselves to give birth that they could not let me, they said they didn’t have a birthing stool, they said let’s just wait for the doctor. All I could think of other than pushing was…I want to be off my back!

Finally the doctor came in; the baby was out by the second big push! It was amazing! When they placed her over my chest…it was an experience that is out of this world…to feel her little warm body against mine…I loved it. It was as if I had been “injected” with a natural pain medication…the joy was overflowing. My husband and I could only say “Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!”

This was such a miraculous and powerful experience. God certainly restored my heart from my previous birthing experience. For me, it is clear that God has given me back what was taken away from me…the experience to birth our child naturally. It is not that I oppose modern medicine or surgeries when medically deemed necessary, but there’s something precious in waiting for God’s and nature’s timing.

I would like to close this testimony giving thanks to God my heavenly Father, for His Word, for my husband, for friends who I know personally who have gone through a VBAC who kept encouraging me, for friends that I have drawn closer to in a matter of weeks through the ICAN South Florida Community Support Group.

All I can say is THANK YOU!

Finally, a children’s story book comes to mind when I think about this testimony…

“The Little Engine That Could,” by Watty Piper.

“I’m not very big,” said the Little Blue Engine…

“I have never been over the mountain,”…

…”Then she said, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

…She tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged and slowly, slowly, slowly they started off.”

…”Puff, puff, chug, chug, when the Little Blue Engine, “I think I can-I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

Up, up, up. Faster and faster and faster and faster the little engine climbed, until at last they reached the top of the mountain.

…”Hurray, hurray,” cried the funny little clown and all the dolls and toys.

…And the Little Blue Engine smiled and seemed to say as she puffed steadily down the mountain…

“I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.”

Joel 2:25 (a) New Living Translation (NLT)

 The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. 

 Philippians 4:13 NKJV
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

                                                                                                                                                                       

A VBA4C – Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie 1

*Note from Jaimie* — Stephanie has so willingly agreed to share her story on the blog in hopes of encouraging other women wanting to have a VBAC. This is inspirational. We thank you Stephanie for giving us a glimpse into such a life changing event! And as always, please comment and share. Let’s get her story out there!

June 12,2016 was a day that brought me from being fractured to being steadfast. My story started on September 25,2002 when I became fractured; I was rushed into the O.R. after an ultrasound tech confirmed that at around 34 weeks gestation the car accident that I had been in had caused my placenta to abrupt and just before being wheeled in to have my scan; my bag of waters had indeed broke. With little time an Emergency C-Section was performed and my first daughter weighing 5 lb.2.5 oz was born at 9:22 a.m.

In 2006 Bill and I became pregnant with my 2nd daughter. We were young, myself being only 20 and not educated on a VBAC vs. cesarean; Bill and I sought the answers from my OB/GYN. Bill and I left that appointment feeling terrified at the thought of a VBAC and opted for a repeat c-section. We never questioned or researched further after that appointment.

In 2010 we became pregnant once again with my 3rd daughter. By this time I had a different OB/GYN and my want to have a vaginal birth was ingrained in me, so I asked my OB if I was able to have a VBAC. She replied “no,” so yet another c-section was scheduled and on we went.

By 2013 I yet again became pregnant with my 4th daughter. By this time though I had heard stories of women that had a VBAC after 2 c-sections, but it was not allowed after 3. I felt like I was cheated out of my chance to have a VBAC. Although, I still hadn’t questioned the doctors nor did I look else where.. I continued to follow what I was told and never questioned it. So another c-section for August 18, 2013 was scheduled.

About 5 months after my 4th daughter was born I devoted my life to Jesus and with that my eyes were opened to the world. I had never viewed the world in this way and for the first time in my life I felt a sense of belonging… God set me free! Which brings me to being steadfast. The Lord blessed us with another child! This time I knew the benefits of a VBAC and knew that was the way God intended us to have children.

I had researched and researched and did more research. The day after I found out we were expecting I called my OB/GYN office and asked if I could have a VBAC. The woman that answered the phone said “no, you can’t have a VBAC after 2 c-sections.”  I then said, “I know that not to be true.” She corrected herself and said this doctor does not do VBAC after 2 c-sections. That information would’ve been nice to know when I had asked her about a VBAC while pregnant with my 3rd daughter. It wasn’t that I couldn’t have one…it was just they didn’t do them!

I was determined to have a VBAC…the conviction on me to do so was so powerful and I wasn’t about to give up hope! I called several OB/GYN’s and found a new doctor. After speaking to staff over the phone, I had hope that this doctor would give me the VBAC that I was wanting. I quickly transferred my info over to her. After my first appointment; she still gave me the hope that I would be able to have a VBAC. By around my 16th week of pregnancy she came back with a “no.” She stated that her team of doctors did not agree, nor did the hospital and that she had even reached out to a different hospital and team…all of which had agreed that I was not allowed or able to have a VBAC. I was shattered as I had called around to several other doctors and birthing centers and was given the same answer.

For a couple of months I had accepted that I had lost my opportunity to have a VBAC, but that conviction was still placed upon me…it was a strong conviction…one in which I couldn’t ignore! I had started feeling uncomfortable with my new doctor and her team of doctors and things just didn’t feel right to me, but I wasn’t sure what I should do. My last appointment I had with my OB/GYN, I had asked her if I could at least go into labor as I had researched that the benefits from that were better than a scheduled c-section without labor. She said yes I could and I would only need to set my scheduled c-section for 41 weeks.

I left that appointment feeling excited and yet aggravated. How is it that I was able to go into labor and walk into the hospital at 10 cm, but yet I couldn’t have a VBAC! That is just ridiculous! So once again I couldn’t ignore my feelings….they were so overpowering, I wouldn’t have been able to ignore them if I tried! I began once again asking friends, calling, emailing, researching. I couldn’t tell you how many emails or phone calls I had made asking for someone to help me deliver a VBA4C.

On April 3, 2016 a woman named Sabrina Bias answered my email, She eagerly referred me to Midwife Robin Massey. I was relieved to have finally found someone who knew what our bodies were created to do and had trust in that process! She had me go to Dr. Grant out of Columbia, MO to have an ultrasound to check the thickness of my scar. Not once did my new OB/GYN even mention doing this as she led me on to believe she could give me a VBAC. That alone gave me hope. I was in awe at my appointment with Dr. Grant. He was like a breath of fresh air as he confirmed that I wasn’t broken.

My first appointment after having the results confirmed that I was fully capable of having a VBA4C with Robin. I was 32 weeks. The amount of joy that filled me was something I had never thought I would ever experience!

With Robin delivering VBAC herself, I trusted her experience and knowledge with my labor and delivery. She taught me so much about pregnancy and birth that left me feeling even more confident in myself. The fears that I had about labor I gave to the Lord. My fears of how would I know the difference between normal cramps and pains from contractions and those of me rupturing, or the pain that would come that may cause me to give up if my water broke and it was too much to handle after hours upon hours of labor. All of those things that came to mind… I simply gave to the Lord and trusted whole heartily in him, and he didn’t fail me!

On June 10th around 7:00 p.m. my Braxton Hicks contractions started feeling a bit different. They went from just a tightening to a tightening along with a sense of pressure that bore down. By around 11:00 p.m. I started losing my mucus plug and the contractions continued to feel this way until around 5:00 a.m. On June 12th. I awoke to my contractions still having the tightening along with pressure and with a slight cramp to them. Laying in bed they were 5 min. a part, but would be random if I got up and moved around. So I text Robin to give her an update. She had me take a bath, eat, drink water and told me to take it easy and to keep her updated, So I did.

My contractions continued to stay this way. The pain increased a bit, but nothing to unbearable. Although my contractions were 4 minutes apart when laying down by around noon, they still would be erratic if moving around and didn’t stay the same in intensity or length. So, I thought I was still in early labor, but Robin new it was time for her to head over despite my hesitation. Once Robin arrived she asked if I wanted checked. I declined on the notion that I believed that I was still in early labor and was probably only 2 centimeters.

So Robin suggested that Bill and I take a walk to help bring labor along and then she would check me. I agreed and we walked a half mile up the road and turned around and started back. By this point although my contractions still weren’t that bad they did come what seemed about 2 minutes apart. I was still able to talk and walk through these contractions, but the comfort I felt as I would melt into Bill was a bonding experience I will never forget.

We decided to stop back by the house so I could get a drink of water and use the restroom. I went to the bathroom and as I was getting up my water broke. I informed Robin and with that next contraction I had no idea what was happening to me. It was a feeling I can’t really explain. My body just took over and I had no control over what was going on. Robin asked what was happening and as I had no idea she knew it was time. She had me lay down to check me and to my surprise she said the head was right there and I was 10 centimeters. I was completely shocked and had no idea what to do as my body had taken over for me.

I started to doubt myself and Robin was there to remind me of my strength and that I can do this, my body was meant to do this and it was doing it! With everything happening so fast they quickly filled the birthing pool for me. Bill comforted me as I still had the deer in the headlights look. Robin and Bill helped me into the birthing pool and 2 contractions later I delivered a healthy 8lb. 9oz. Baby Boy! Between my water breaking and the baby Elijah being born was about 15 min. It happened so fast that I was in complete shock for hours after his birth!

steph 2

I know in my heart what got me through my labor so perfectly was by putting my faith and trust in Jesus. I had about 15 Bible verses picked out that my two oldest daughters wrote down on index cards for me. I also prayed, during one of my contractions that was a bit intense I leaned against the wall and the thought that strongly came to mind was: I am thy God your Lord. And I began to just talk to God during that contraction. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have gone through and I couldn’t have done it without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the support and knowledge of Robin or my husband Bill.

My heart’s desire is to help other women during their birth and for them to put their fears in our Savior’s hands and He WILL take care of us. I was even at comfort knowing if an emergency were to arise that it was in God’s Will and I was still at peace no matter what; by putting my complete faith in Him.

steph 3

 

Stephanie Hensley is a wife, mother and follower of Christ. Feel free to connect with her through email at mchensley11@gmail.com

My Story

The Day That Changed My Life

“You don’t understand,” I told him.

This will be a turning point for me. This will be a crucial day for my life and I will never be the same.”

I looked at him with tears in my eyes as I attempted to keep them from running down my face.

Sitting there with my three children and my big baby belly, I wanted to express my wants and my wishes. Students in the room while I was laboring would be a major distraction to me. Any other time in my life would be fine for someone to observe me, monitor me, even learn from me. I can be a science project, but not on this special day. No, this day is about me. This would be my time, my day that I worked for. That I dreamed of. That I prepared for with everything within me.

“I’m an introvert. I respect what you are saying, but I am sorry. I can’t have people around me…anymore than absolutely necessary. My life will change one way or another on this day,” I told my doctor at my 35 week appointment.

I didn’t realize the weight of my words at that point in time. You see, that day, the birth of my baby did become a turning point for me. I walked into the hospital as a momma who was pregnant, had three previous c-sections, who dealt and struggled with fear for most of her entire life.  And I left the hospital as a mom who conquered her fear, her worry, her anxiety because of her great, big, God. I left as a momma with her sweet, precious fourth baby who arrived by a vaginal birth. I left with a greater faith in myself, a greater confidence in my capabilities,  a greater confidence in my body…that it had not failed me, a greater appreciation for the beauty of birth. I left with a greater faith than I ever had in my life, that my God was who He said He was, and I could do what He said I could do.

I left with my head held high, my senses so acutely aware of all the sounds, smells, sights, feelings around me. It was almost like I was completely new again, reborn. The fears had fallen away. His love enveloped me. I have always known His love. But this, this was new. I could FEEL it.  His presence…powerful. His promises…true. As I had worshiped Him in labor, I continued to worship Him as I left the hospital to start what would be a new life for me in many ways.

And just to be so very real, I couldn’t cope with his goodness. I cried… a lot. Postpartum hormones they say. No, my friends. It was the presence of God. The conquering of fears that plagued me. That I’m not enough.  That I can’t do these kinds of things. But He said, “Yes, my daughter. You can. With me, you can.”

So the tears that were explained as postpartum, well they have continued. Every day since this birth, my eyes have been wet, my cheeks have been streaked. Yes, a beautiful baby in my life. One of my most deepest desires. Another precious, darling baby. But you see, I cry for more than that. I cry because of His goodness. His love. His power. His mighty, mighty love for me. I realize that yes, He did want this birth experience for me. He wanted this pregnancy for me, this baby. He wanted this entire journey so I could learn once again, I can trust Him. Even with my life. The scare tactics of the medical world, the doubts of those surrounding me, the uncertainty portrayed everywhere on the ‘safety’ of what I was doing. These were real thoughts that I faced, minute by minute, day after day. As my baby grew within me, I was growing as well in the Lord. “Trust Me, daughter…I have you. I am blessing this. Trust Me.”

And I did. Some may look at me and see the same person they knew before. But I am not. This birth has changed my entire life and I cannot get over it. I cannot get over His goodness. His love and His goodness that has moved me to be a better wife, daughter, mother, sister and friend. Someone who can be with her children and enjoy her life because she trusts in her God instead of a constant worrying about everything. I can trust Him.

What concerns your heart? What mountain do you face? What is in front of you that looks like more than you can possibly handle and keeps you awake at night…doubting. He doesn’t change. He is the same God of the Bible, the Mighty One able to perform miracles. The One who wants to pull us close and make those fears fade. Just like a memory. To know His love. To really know Him like it’s our everything. That’s when the other stuff falls away. And we can just…be.

Tell Him you need Him.

Tell Him you want to know Him.

Open the Bible.

Read His words.

They are for you.

I promise if you dig in, your life too will change.

Forever.