We invite all ICAN of Northern Virginia subscribers to share their birth stories on our website. Current subscribers may login to add your story to this list. We welcome you to browse through the emotional and powerful words of our subscribers, past and present, and to be inspired by their strength and courage.
My first birth was in July 2011; my daughter was born at 38 weeks via c-section after I spent one month on hospitalized bedrest for IUGR, placental infarct, and velamentous cord. I disagreed with the very conservative IUGR protocol at Fairfax Hospital (mandatory delivery at 37 weeks via c-section preceded by hospitalized bedrest), and therefore my hospitalization was fraught with lots of arguing with my providers and stress on many levels. The culture of obstetrics at Fairfax is highly conservative, to the point that for me, it did more harm than good.
The doctors finally discovered I had severe preeclampsia and took me to an OR for delivery, without the option for an induction. My post-op course was complicated. I was on percocet for weeks, motrin daily for five months. I couldn't walk without significant pain for seven weeks, couldn't lay flat for about four months. I was so swollen from the preeclampsia that I couldn't bend my ankles and knees. I was so weak from being bedridden for a month in the hospital, that it was very difficult to recover from surgery. Six months after my surgery, I was still having pain at my incision site and the OB said everything was fine, so I did my own reading and ended up doing physical therapy on myself to get rid of surgical adhesions. "Ending female pain" by Isa Herrera was an invaluable resource. Ultimately, it took me about a year to recover from that birth.
Born 12:15 AM, Thursday May 12, 2011
This is long, so apologies from the beginning! First, a little bit about the birth of Adrian in May 2009. I was planning a natural hospital birth with a CNM/OB practice. After an easy and complication-free pregnancy, I fell victim to my own ignorance and intervention-happy CNMs who failed to recognize that Adrian was OP. Labored 17 hours in the hospital without drugs, but after AROM at 7.5cm led to super-intense and painful back labor I gave in and had an epidural, and was put on pit and who knows what else. Progressed to 10 but even before that the OB on call came by and said I'd need a c/s but could "push if I wanted to." I did - for 45 minutes – before having a c/s that was very traumatic and didn't go smoothly. I ended up with an infection in my incision that led to daily home nurse visits and weekly OB visits for 2 months postpartum, plus PTSD that lasted about a year. We also had tons of trouble nursing. I found my local ICAN, started attending meetings, and determined that the local hospital VBAC rates were scary (1%) and the best chance for success would be to stay home with a competent midwife.
Joining ICAN was pivotal in my journey after C-section. I owe many thanks to the many members who have provided and still provide so much support to me.
My first baby, Theo, came via C-section 9 days after his due date, after about 30 hours of contractions, half of which were spent on my back in the hospital after my epidural. He was posterior ("sunny-side up") and despite two and a half hours of pushing when I was dilated to 9 centimeters, he never made it down. A quick slice across my belly and he was out, safe and sound. But I had wanted a natural birth, and so when I became pregnant again a year and a half later, I joined ICAN at the recommendation of a friend. I knew I wanted a new OB but wasn't sure who, so over the course of several months I tried out three OB offices for my prenatal visits, meeting with 6 OBs in all.
It was 2 days before my due date and I was fixing dinner when my water broke. I was not happy. That was how my labor with my first child had started, and it was quickly followed by a trip to the hospital per my OB's instruction, 10 hours of pitocin, almost no progress (2-3 cm dilated), and a C-section for failure to progress. I had been taking alfalfa with this pregnancy and was very disappointed that my water had broken before contractions started. I told my husband who was working in the backyard, and I finished making dinner while crying and trying to comfort and discipline our 2-year-old, who had climbed on furniture and fell and busted his lip. My husband came inside to a crying kid and wife, both covered in blood from the busted lip. He calmed me down and I called my doula, who suggested we wait a while before calling Dr. Tchabo. After dinner, we put our son to bed and I spent some extra time cuddling with him because I knew we might be gone in the morning.
My first child was born via cesarean in 2006. It was not what I had planned - I had studied the Bradley Method and was hoping for a natural childbirth. Towards the end of my pregnancy my OB's were warning me that the baby was big and that they may want to induce me at my due date. I think the stress of that was causing my blood pressure to rise - which was another concern of the OB practice I was with. My water broke three days before my due date (contractions starting soon after) and my son was born 2 days later via c-section (a 39 hour labor). The c-section was for "Failure to Descend" and I had a "large" baby. The OB's called him large, but he was 23 inches long and 9lbs, 3ounces and did not look chubby at all! That c-section left me feeling like I had missed out on the birth experience - when it was time to push with my son the OB had told me it was already looking like a c-section as the baby was too high. There was no encouragement from the OB. Instead of my husband announcing the sex of my baby, someone else in the operating room did.
I went into labor around 5 pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008. I had worked that day and came home and played with my 23 month old. I felt a little off, though, like I was getting a cold or just worn down. I went to the bathroom and lost my "baby cork" - I had lost a part of it the day before. I went to lie down to rest and within minutes, I started having period-like cramps. They were about 8 to 10 minutes apart. I ignored them because I didn't want to get too excited in case it wasn't the "real thing." Jonathan came home around 7 and I told him I thought I was having contractions. I also called my doula to give her a heads up in case it turned into the real thing.
The birth of Emerson James
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
6 lbs 6 ozs
Thursday, April 25, 2009
I had my midwife appointment, and everything was perfect, as usual. Head down, great heartbeat, my BP was good, measuring perfectly…Found out I tested GBS + and since I was out that day with a “sick” Holden, I used the day to my advantage—ran some errands and bought some Hibiclens in an attempt to get rid of the +GBS. She said we could re-test the next week, so I was determined to knock it out! I started Hibiclens rinses, garlic cloves, and yogurt.