Damara's story is AH-Mazing. I welled up with tears several times.
Her strength, her determination, & her beauty is simply awe inspiring.Throughout my entire pregnancy I read countless birth stories. I ooooh’ed and awwww’ed over them. They inspired me. I couldn’t wait to write my birth story and share the experience. Here is my birth story……
When Mike and I found out we were expecting, I'll be honest, home birth was not our first choice. We made our OB appointment just like any other individual would. Days up to that I knew for a fact I did want to a vaginal delivery which meant I'd be asking my OB for a VBA2C. We went to our first OB appointment and as we waited I thought about all the questions I had for my VBAC. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to share with my OB. After the usual pee in a cup, scale, vaginal check she sat me up and asks any more questions? With her hand on the door ready to walk out. I proceed to ask for a VBAC. Without even an explanation or thought told me NO and continued on to tell me that I needed to consider tying my tubes because I couldn’t continue having multiple c-sections.
I was utterly shocked, I just said okay and she walks out. I get dressed. I don’t make another appointment and I walk out. I instantly hopped onto the Internet and Google search overload. At this point, I’m searching for OBs in town that do VBA2C (vaginal birth after two previous cesarean births). I’m reading the hospitals view on how dangerous it was. I start to get discouraged thinking this was it, I wasn’t going to be able to deliver vaginally. I was going to have another c-section and HATED the thought of it. Until I come across Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born. I read all the raves about home birth after a c-section. I was instantly hooked, I wanted to know more.
Mike sat and watched this documentary with me. We were amazed! I looked at him and KNEW I want a home birth! He was skeptical at first, until we met our beautiful and amazing midwife. Jill Colin was referred to me by more than one person. I set up my consultation and in the days leading up to our appointment I read on and on about birth. I became obsessed with it. Meeting Jill was a godsend. Mike was on board after our 2 hour appointment. Yes, ladies you heard right, 2 hours!!!! Tell me about a time you sat with your OB for 2 hours! She answered every concern and was on board with what we wanted to do.
We walked out Jill's office with the biggest smiles on our faces. I was going to do it! I was going to have a home birth! Even after my two previous cesarean births, we were going to attempt to have the birth that I always hoped for. Our appointments came and went each month lasting no less than 2 hours. Jill was involved not with just the pregnancy, she knew Mike, she knew me and she knew the kids. She wasn’t just a provider, she became our family. She got me ready by addressing my physical health & the baby's, but also worked to heal me from my previous experiences. She was concerned about the psychological aspects, the physical, emotional & spiritual aspects of birth. (She had another midwife, Kathya Delguila share in our birth experience and prenatal care. She was amazing as well.)
On Sunday October 30th, 2011, at night, I started having contractions, which I will soon learn are nothing compared to what I was going to endure. I got no sleep that night. Monday comes, I have a long list of things to do but dropping off Gavin at school was the only thing that got done that day. I came home and laid in bed and worked through one contraction at a time which at this point are anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes apart not lasting anymore than 30 seconds. It was Halloween day so I was not ready to call the midwife and yell LABOR! I couldn’t jip my kids out of trick or treating. I knew leading up to labor day that I wanted to try and have the "pity me, this hurts! I’m ready to deliver!" mindset so I wanted to make sure when the time came, it was definitely the right time. The day goes by and that night we trick or treat. After almost 2 hours of trick or treating and still having contractions, I was ready to call it a night.
We get the kids ready for bed who are no where near ready with their sugar high. Gavin passes out, Makayla on the other hand does not. Now, on any other day Makayla is a terror to put to sleep. This Halloween night was different...It's almost like she knew it was happening. I never showed my contractions on my face. No one, not even my sister who went trick or treating with us knew I was having contractions. Makayla wanted nothing but to lay with me, rub me, kiss me. And as the contractions drew closer together and lasting longer, I knew it was time.
Mike called Jill at around 11 pm as I tried to put Makayla to sleep. Finally, kids are asleep and I head downstairs, Mike with the most anxious look in his face is setting up the birth tub. I go back upstairs and get into something a little more comfortable. At this point, Jill has arrived with her wonderful sister, Gina, who also became a big part of the birth team that lead to my beautiful birth. I head back downstairs to everyone setting up to deliver a baby. I lay on the couch listening to Jill, Gina and Mike goofing off like they always do. I hear the water filling up the birth tub and I hear my head telling me, "You can do this, Damara! This is it, you've got this".
At around 12:30 am on 11-1-11, Jill checks me to see my progression. I wasn't dialated much. At that moment, I won't lie I wanted to cry. I thought, "Well, what the hell is going on!!" Jill gave me the choice to keep her with me or send her home and she would come back in the AM. I decided to keep her with me. Her and Gina head up to my room to catch whatever shut eye they can before the big show. Mike rubs my back as the contractions come and go. Jill headed down the stairs and checked me again and I showed a little progression but not a lot. I was already really exhausted at this point after being up for over 24 hours. I decided I wanted to lay down and TRY to sleep. As I lay there I got one really intense contraction and 2:30 am a POP and a GUSH my water breaks. I say, "I'm pretty sure my water just broke". This is when it gets intense.
Contractions are now 2 minutes apart lasting a minute, giving me only one minute between each contraction to regroup. Jill assured me that this was the start of something and told me to let her know when my body feels like pushing. Mike fed me a banana, spoonfuls of honey and water to get my energy back. About 45 minutes later, I realize my body starting to push. I looked at Mike and said, "This is it!". He looks at me and tells me he loves me as he pushes my messy hair out of my face and kisses me. I hopped in the water and Mike calls my sister to let her know that we were in labor (she lives 4 houses down). She comes over and relieves Mike for a little. She is holding my hand and pouring water on my neck and back putting warm rags on my head. I squeeze her hand with every contraction. I allow my body to push on its own. As much pain as I was in, I was so excited that the day had finally came.
Things became very hazy at this point. I didn’t do much, if any at all, talking at this point. If anyone heard a word out of me it was a soft oooohhhh or ahhhhhh through contractions. Any communication I used was a nod yes or no. Kat arrived around 6:30 am and this was when I really started pushing. I was not comfortable in the birth tub. I sat on the birth stool most of my labor. With each contraction, I pushed 3 small pushes. Daxton's heart rate dropped each time but after would come back up. I remember at this moment thinking, "This is what lead to me to my first c-section, please don’t let it happen again!". I spent about an hour and 45 minutes pushing in the birth tub with Kat and Jill rotating massaging him out while Gina and Mike rotating holding me. Melvia (my sister) was getting Gavin ready for school and taking both the kids with her. When I say I was in a haze, I was so much that I sent Gavin to school without thinking about his baby brother being born I should keep him home. HAHA. I looked up at him before he left that day gave him a kiss and followed with a push.
I was thankful he got to see what he did see. As much as I wanted the kids to see the whole birth process I was very thankful for my sister to take them when she did. Shortly after they left to drop Gavin off, Daxtons heart was lost. Jill looked at me and said its time to get this baby out. This whole time, I was not forcefully pushing Daxton out but allowing my body to push him out. Mike was behind me the whole time. I held his hands and listened to his encouraging words he repeated over and over. "I love you honey, I'm so proud of you, you can do this". Jill tells me to give it my everything next contraction! I squeeze down on Mike and push 4 pushes. His head is OUT. Jill grabs my hands and has me feel him. He was quiet. I cried silently because I knew I wasn’t done.
Mike tells me, "Common honey his head is out you've got this". There was so much excitement and love in the room. One more push later, my beautiful baby is born at 9:28am on 11-1-11. He had a short cord which was reasoning behind his heart being so up and down during the labor. So while we let the cord continue pulsing before it was cut, my baby lays on my lower stomach and Mike is behind me telling me how great I did and how beautiful he is as we look down at him and Mike cries. I surprisingly didn’t. I was so on that labor high that I smiled down at his beautiful face and mentally gave myself a pat on the back for not only having a vaginal birth but doing it 100% naturally. Mike felt down at his cord and felt blood continue into our baby's body. I felt his skin full of vernix so soft. Mike then is able to cut his cord and Daxton is then brought up to my chest and Mike and I have minutes of just looking at him, skin on skin with mommy and daddy. Shortly after I push out my placenta. I replayed my emergency c-section with Gavin and my planned c-section with Makayla at this moment and realize just how cheated I was with those previous births. Our experience at home was incredibly different. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Mike is with baby and Jill as they check him over and get him cleaned up a little. Kat is with me showing me my placenta (which is pretty much the coolest thing you’ll see). I lay on the couch and the fun begins. They weigh him 8 pounds even! They measure him 19 ½ inches! Perfect and healthy. I delivered my baby at home safely, without intervention and drug free. One of the greatest accomplishments of my life. My baby was mine to hold, no one was taking him from me. No one was checking me a million times. It was Mike, Daxton and Me. Our love was reassured at this moment. I had never felt closer to my husband. Mike was such an amazing support through everything. He made me as comfortable as I could have been at every moment. He got into the most uncomfortable positions to better my position. Now I'd be lying if I told you it didn’t hurt. Because it did hurt, in fact it hurt more than anything I’ve ever experienced. But it was worth it. Worth the drugs not touching my unborn child, worth the experience of being able to deliver vaginally.
Home birth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but the most rewarding thing also. I really had to FIGHT for the experience I wanted. Now here I am 3 weeks later and I can definitely tell you that I wouldn’t of birthed any other way. I now realize that birth is not an illness, it's not a risk…. it’s the most natural thing a woman could ever do. I'm asked all the time now, would you do it again?
My answer, again and again and again is HELL YES!