Successful Homebirth After Multiple Cesareans

Successful Homebirth After Multiple Cesareans

Tarrah Hernandez

As I write this I am holding my newborn baby girl, she has never left her place of birth, but is already home. Her birth was a completely natural homebirth. My intentions of writing my birth story are not to convince other women into choosing my path as their own birth path, or to be boastful. I am writing it primarily to show how strong God is, and if you have faith in him he’ll lead you down the right path, holding you the entire way. The biggest lesson I have learned throughout this pregnancy is that God’s reassurance is only a prayer away. This is my story, the story of the birth of a beautiful baby girl. She was born in the same bed her father and I share every night; no medication, no interference; just me, my husband Tavo, and a wonderful team of dedicated people attending her birth.

Let me take the next three paragraphs to briefly explain my last four pregnancies. I could literally write a book about just my first, so I will try not to ramble. My first pregnancy was in 2003. My son Adrian came into this world after 20+ hours of induced labor that wasn’t progressing fast enough and resulted in an emergency c-section. It was horrible, and after infections, severe jaundice and a 7 day hospital stay, I finally went home to begin the healing process of a traumatic birth. Nursing was next to impossible because of the use of general anesthesia, making me miss the entire birth and the first six hours of his life. It took me a long time to heal from this, and parts of me never really did.

I suffered from an unexplained loss in 2005; I was 20 weeks pregnant when the OB could not find a heart beat. After confirming this with a hospital ultrasound, I was induced and vaginally delivered our second son, Angel. After this it took a little over three years for us to conceive again. In 2007 I fell pregnant, nervous about experiencing another loss, we begged to have every test possible ran. I did ask for a vbac, but was told I wasn’t a good vbac candidate. Although I still wanted to have a trial of labor, I let it go after finding out I may have a clotting disorder and needed to be on blood thinners. From that point on, I thought, “as long as this baby is born healthy, I don’t care how she gets here.” I still longed for a natural birth in so many ways. I wanted a healthy mommy and baby, and knew that a natural birth is really the way to fully have that. My daughter was born by repeat c-section in August of 2008. Right from the beginning she has suffered from severe asthma, and hospitalized with jaundice and RSV within the first three months. “The way you enter the world seems to impact your susceptibility to asthma. Babies born by Caesarean sections have a 20% increase in asthma prevalence compared to babies born by vaginal birth. It is possible that immune system-modifying infections from bacterial exposure during Cesarean sections are responsible for this difference.”

My fourth pregnancy was completely unexpected, and went along just as the last, our next little girl was born in 2009, another repeat c-section. She was born early because of low fluid levels, and was hospitalized with premature jaundice and later suffered from mild asthma problems.

After her birth I chose to have an I.U.D placed, we weren’t planning on having any more, at least for a few years. I had problems with the I.U.D a year after it was placed. I chose to get it removed. Shortly after the removal I fell pregnant, my fifth pregnancy, my husband and I were both extremely excited! I felt different this time; I had been talking with a friend who informed me she had used a midwife for her deliveries, and this midwife also attended hbacs (home vaginal birth after cesarean). I started researching like crazy, pouring sometimes four hours a day into reading blogs, medical sites, and watching documentaries on vbacs. I wanted to make the most educated decision I could. I called the midwife my friend had suggested. Her name is Laurie. Laurie and I talked for a long time the first time I called. She instructed me to get my birth records from the hospital to make sure all my incisions were transverse. I wasn’t sure about the first because the cut on my skin was horizontal. I got the records, and found out they were all transverse. Meanwhile, I started to see another OB , associated with a different hospital to get my medication for the clotting disorder I may have. I talked to her about a vbac, she seems on board with the whole thing. We decided maybe a hospital birth would be safer given my history. We hired a doula, and started planning a hospital vba3c. Over the next couple visits, the ob started changing her tone towards me wanting a vbac. After a prenatal appointment with Jonelle, our doula we started talking about homebirth again. I decided to call and set up a prenatal appointment with Laurie, the midwife. The first appointment went well, and I felt this calming peace come over me after meeting her. She decided she wanted to talk to another midwife, Patrice, before making a decision on rather this was something we should do or not. The pregnancy continued beautiful, and I am not quite sure when a definite decision was made to persue a homebirth, but we continued to see Laurie for prenatal visits. Towards the end, about the last six weeks of pregnancy, I completely stopped seeing my OB. They kept scheduling me for c-sections, and wouldn’t listen to what I was trying to tell them. We had fully committed ourselves to having a homebirth.

My due date of January 6 th came and went, I started getting scared that I may not go into spontaneous labor, and would end up having to go back to the OB ‘s office anyway. A week past my estimated due date, I started going into prodromal labor on and off. On Monday, January 14 th , I started having contractions about three minutes apart. I called my doula and she came right away. She spent most of the day with me, and then towards the evening decided to call the midwives. Laurie, Patrice and Rachel (Laurie’s student midwife) came over within the next hour or so. Labor continued for about an hour when the contractions started to space apart and get less intense. Laurie checked me and I was only a tight 3 centimeters. I was frustrated, but figured, it’ll happen soon. Everyone packed up and went home to wait for something to start. I waited, and waited, and waited….and then…I waited. Friday January 18 th , labor started again. This time was even more intense than the last. Again after everyone spending the night at my house, it turned out to be prodromal labor again.

Contractions started again that following Monday. I couldn’t sleep at all; I spent Monday night sleeping on my birthing ball hunched over by bed. Tuesday the contractions continued every seven minutes. It was hard, but I ignored them and went on with my day, stopping in my tracks with each contraction. Emotionally I couldn’t handle calling everyone back and labor fading away again. Contractions continued and got so hard I couldn’t stand or sit still through them. I could not get any rest; I was keeping my whole family awake with walking through the house and moaning. We decided, at 11pm to drive the kids to our friend’s house. It was the longest 16 mile round trip drive I have ever been on. I got home, took a hot shower, and again returned to the only place I found any comfort at all, my birth ball. I spent the whole night again on that ball, my poor husband says he can still hear me moaning and breathing through each contraction. They were still five minutes apart, but getting more and more intense. Finally at 3 am they progressed to three minutes apart, and I couldn’t think of anything else except the contractions I was having. We called Jonelle early that morning, and she came over. She watched me for a couple hours, and then called Laurie. Laurie was already planning on coming over for a prenatal check up. Laurie got to my home and checked me to see if I had made any progress. I had!

Finally at 17 days “overdue” we were going to meet our daughter. Just minutes after she checked me I went to the bathroom and my water broke. The next contraction after that was super intense, and after a couple hours of strong contractions like that I started to feel pushy. Laurie checked me and I was at 9! I couldn’t believe it! Inside I was screaming with excitement! It was so hard to show any excitement on the outside because the contractions were now one after another. The baby sounded great and I felt I was handling the contractions well. I continued to pray through each one, asking God to give me the strength to bring my daughter into the world. I was much more vocal than I thought I would be, but it was a total involuntary reaction to my birth. After only a few minutes it was actually time to push! I was super nervous about this part. For some reason I didn’t think I could do it right, maybe because this is right around the time my first labor spun out of control. I started pushing, but first few pushes didn’t feel like I was doing anything. There was some cervix in the way, so Patrice suggested I lay on my back for a few contractions to move the last little bit of cervix out of the way. Laurie checked me and helped the cervix out of the way while I was pushing. After that, the urge to push was extremely strong.

I got on the birthing stool, after peeing all over the floor, no worries they had put a pad down there just in case, apparently it happens but, oh my how embarrassing! I pushed on the stool for what seemed like forever, my legs were getting super sore. So Patrice suggested lying on my side. I couldn’t imagine that being bearable because of the way the contractions felt before when I laid on my side. But Jonelle reminded me that the contractions feel different, actually they were almost painless after the pushing started. So nervously I got onto my side to push. I pushed for an hour and 45 minutes. It did not seem like that long at all. But this for me was the most intense part. I remember looking into my husbands eyes a lot at this point, almost begging him for relief. I hated doing that to him, but his stare brought a little reassurance. I started to freak out, and scream like crazy! I made faces I didn’t know I knew how to make, and my vocabulary turned into that of a toddler. Once the burning of her crowning started I began asking “when will it be done, I just need to know!” I asked that over and over.

Once she was out and laying on me, I looked at everyone and said “your right, the pain is gone.” I nursed my baby girl for the first time, with the cord still attached, in my own bed. I couldn’t believe I did it! One of my favorite parts of the whole homebirth experience was watching Laurie weigh her. It is done in the most peaceful natural way. Often over my pregnancy I would look at the pictures of other babies being weighed this was, and it drove me a little more to keep my faith in my ability to give birth. That day I felt like, with God, I had moved a mountain. My husband and the wonderful team of women I had around me made this birth exactly what it needed to be. I no longer felt like a broken women, I felt like I was just like any other woman that had just brought a child into this world. I showered shortly after her birth, got back into bed, ate a delicious meal my husband cooked for me, and said my goodbyes to Laurie, Patrice, Jonelle and Rachel. After everyone left, my husband, our three children, and I lay in our bed and gazed at our new little edition! What a miracle! With God, anything is possible; I will never again let anyone tell me otherwise. I can now pass this knowledge of a real natural birth process on to my daughters, and maybe prevent them from repeating what I went through to get to this point.

We welcomed to the world, on January 23, 2003 our daughter Jenicka Belle Hernandez, 8lbs 8oz 20 inches long, born 1/23/13 at 3:15pm.