Saturday, February 4, 2017

August Judah's Birth Story

Since this is so long, I broke it into parts for your convenience haha. The short summary, the pregnancy leading up to the birth, and then the actual labor and birth. Sorry this is so long!


August Judah Charnock
Born 1/27/17
3:16 pm
10 lbs 3 oz
22 inches long
Born via 2VBAC after being induced with pitocin at 42+1, no epidural.


With our second baby, I was able to have a wonderful and healing home birth after having the most stressful pregnancy. It was beautiful and I loved it, so for our third baby we planned to have a home birth from the beginning. We worked and saved and put any money gifts we received towards saving for this birth, since insurance would not cover it (which stinks!!) God did provide and we were able to pay for everything and had it all taken care of one month before my due date (January 12th). 
This pregnancy was not stressful. I knew my body could do this and we were both healthy. I felt confident in the midwife I had chosen and I was made to feel comfortable with my decisions, which I made through lots of previous study of all things birth.

We expected (and I had told the midwife since day 1) that I would probably go to 42 weeks. Noah (my second) was born at 41+6 and he came all on his own so I pretty much thought the same thing would happen this time. Well, as I approached 41 weeks, my midwife was starting to get a little anxious because I had had some polyhydramnios earlier in the pregnancy and the baby was measuring a little big (both things I expected, based on my previous pregnancies) and so she was concerned with my uterus stretching too much as baby gets bigger the further I go past my due date. I wasn’t worried about that, though I know uterine rupture is a possibility, even for first time mothers. I had a back up doctor the whole pregnancy that I saw for tests and ultrasounds just because the insurance would pay for those things if I went that route. I was okay with that. I had told this doctor that I would like him to deliver this baby if I had to be transferred to hospital. He isn’t super warm and friendly, but I didn’t feel any harshness or judgment coming from him about my birthing preferences (which was SO amazing, after having been told by an OB/GYN in Kentucky that he wishes he could hit me with a baseball bat for having a home birth (bedside manner?? rude). So I was impressed with this guy).

I went to see this doctor at 41 weeks, per midwife’s request, to get a non-stress test and biophysical profile to check everything out. I told him I know the baby is big (I’ve had two “macrosomic” babies before, for crying out loud) and that I didn’t want to discuss that at all. He respected my wish (without so much as a jerky look on his face. impressive.) and did the ultrasound without saying anything about baby’s size. Baby and I were perfect, so he said he was fine letting me continue to 42 weeks since that’s my history, even though he didn’t like me going past 40 weeks. He called my midwife and told her everything looked great. Evidently I hadn’t told her that I requested that the doc not say anything about baby’s measurements, because she called me the next day to tell me what the doctor said and mentioned that the baby looked to be about 8 lbs. She wanted to emphasize that just because he looks 8 lbs, doesn’t mean he will be, because the ultrasound is just measuring bones and can’t predict the amount of fat that’s on the baby. I told her that I didn’t know what he had measured and I was confident that he was more than 8 lbs. I still wasn’t worried about it. Midwife still seemed concerned, though. So we waited until I hit 42 weeks and she wanted me to go back to the doctor again. She said since I’m a VBAC that she’s not really allowed to attend me past 42 weeks and didn't feel comfortable with it, either, with all the other factors. We prayed about it and decided (after much of my crying), before we saw the doctor again, that even if I went into labor before the doctor appointment, we would go to the hospital. I was losing confidence because I felt the concern coming from my midwife. That made me uneasy... I decided to trust her intuition and thought “maybe this is God’s answer to our prayers for safety.” Nothing looked wrong with either of us....but I know midwives are very in tune with their clients and their feelings of uncertainty should be trusted, especially from a midwife that has practiced for decades. I was, however, really upset that we had spent so much money on our birth plans and wouldn’t be able to get any of it back. After much praying I realized that was the biggest reason I was hesitating about changing my I concluded that if money is the biggest reason then I should just trust what my instinct was telling me, forgetting all about the money loss. My gut said I needed to go to the hospital and that the baby was probably not coming until sometime after 42 weeks if I waited...which I’m not comfortable with, for several reasons (though I know some women can go up to 44 weeks with no problem).

So at 42 weeks and still no baby or even any signs of impending labor (though there aren’t always signs before labor, by the way) we went to see the doctor. He did an ultrasound, non-stress test...all that stuff again. We both still looked really great! But, of course, I was 42 weeks and not in labor, and baby was really high up. So the doctor said these were my options:

1) Show up to the hospital the next evening to have my water broken to try and start labor, and if that didn’t work, I’d be put on pitocin.

2) or I could refuse and just wait for spontaneous labor, but then get an on call doctor that would put me straight to a c-section

Uh, yeah. I was going in the next day for sure. No voluntary c-section, thanks. I asked him about the hospitals and if I’d have to fight nurses and stuff. He told me that Crestwood was a more natural and baby friendly hospital and that I wouldn’t have trouble with the nurses. I asked if I’d be allowed to move around or eat and drink during labor. He said I could be hooked up to mobile stuff that would allow me SOME movement, and that I could not eat or drink. I said “seriously?? not even water??” He said “nope. Just ice chips.” ugh. whatever. This fat girl doesn't like hearing "no food."

So we hoped the water breaking would work and that I wouldn’t have to be on’s okay for VBAC patients to be induced with pitocin, but it does slightly increase the risk of uterine rupture...and, of course, make the contractions much more painful and junk. And comes with risks, too. But I consented to pitocin in the event the water breaking didn’t work. I wanted my baby here and I wanted him safe. I was more scared of him asperating meconium or passing away, etc. than I was of a repeat cesarean. Get this baby out.

So we left the doctor’s office with our new plan and found some peace in it. Of course, I still cried like all night and all day the next day because I had so many worries and was seriously terrified of going in the hospital (if you’ve only had great birth experiences and were never spoiled with a perfect home birth, then I wouldn’t expect you to understand why I was scared).

I told my midwife the plan and asked for her to be there with me for support. I told her I would need her help in remaining calm and sticking my plans and such. She felt better about me going to the hospital and said she thought that was for the best.


The next evening we ate a big lunch (I thought I’d be starving for the next 24 hours or more) and checked in to the hospital. I was not happy to be there and I’m pretty sure it showed (but don’t worry, I was still a sweetie to the nurses :) who were REALLY great, btw). I asked the nurse a bunch of questions and expressed my wishes. She made me feel SO much better. She said in the past 4 months they’ve made some changes at the hospital to be more baby friendly. So most of the things I wanted after the birth were routine anyway (immediate skin-to-skin for 2 hours, delayed cord clamping, delayed bath, I could make specific requests...)  so I felt much relief after that. The nurse that attended me on the first night spoke all the right “natural birth language” and I couldn’t believe that we were on the same page. I was so thankful. She agreed that my doctor may be impatient to get things going and might be slightly difficult to hold off from a c-section. She said she’d help me hold him off and help fulfill my wishes. 

not happy but trying to be.

The doctor was AN HOUR late to coming to break my water. I was so impatient. The nurses said he usually is late (which would only be more frustrating later in my birth story...) but he finally got there. The doctor told me this would be a 30 second procedure and I heard that it wouldn’t hurt. But as soon as he put his hands on me I felt immediate pain. Like, not just uncomfortable...I was SCREAMING and crying and telling him he’s hurting me. It was quite ridiculous. My cervix was so high and posterior that he said he couldn’t reach it. He tried 3 different ways to break my water and finally gave up and had this little attitude like it was my fault that my cervix was so high haha. So he said I’d be going on pitocin. I was mad. I told him I want to eat dinner first since he took so stinking long and I didn’t know if I’d ever eat again (ha) so they let me have dinner and then we’d start pitocin at 10 pm and he would try my water again in the morning. I cried....again. And while Robert was gone to get food I cried even more. Just sat alone in the hospital room bawling hehe. I was truly scared and I just kept telling myself that this stinks and that I didn’t want to be there.

I kept leaking an abundant amount of nastiness to where I had to eventually put on an adult diaper. I asked the nurse what in the world this was (I figured my cervix would be irritated but I couldn’t imagine this was anything other than amniotic fluid....there was a lot!) and she just said I’d had some irritation from the doc’s man-handling.

When she came back later and saw my massive puddle on the bed and with my asking for a new robe because mine was soaked, she said that the doctor actually did break my water but didn’t realize it. Whoo hoo! This made me happy because all I could think of was “yesss that doctor won’t have to do that horrible thing again!!” I seriously dreaded him touching me again because it hurt so bad (are you wondering how I ever had an unmedicated birth? ha)! They had already started the pitocin when she finally declared that I had ruptured but she said the doctor said that if I ruptured I could be taken off pitocin and would be checked on in the morning.

Yay. I was happy to be able to move around a little bit more, even though I was still on the continuous fetal monitoring (ugh). So all night long I tried to rest and got a few minutes of sleep here and there but mostly I just stayed up playing on my phone and walking around the room, doing things to try to get baby moved down some more. I had small contractions all night long but labor wasn’t really going anywhere.

The next morning, the nurse came back in to check my progress. She actually had to pull in another nurse to try because she was having trouble reaching my cervix. I could hear the other nurse breathing heavily as she tried to check me lol. She finally stopped and said “I need a break after that! phew!” I was like "YOU need a break? ouch." She said she thought I was about 2 cm. Their checks hurt but not nearly as bad as the doctor. Since I hadn’t progressed at all, they said I had to go back on pitocin (bummer). They had it turned up much higher than they did the night before. The contractions started picking back up and gaining intensity, but they were still quite manageable. My midwife asked for an update so I gave it to her and asked when she’d be there. She said she’d come whenever I told her to, if I was in active labor. Since my labor was artificially started, I didn’t know how to define “active” in this case. Especially since my contractions weren’t bad enough for me to put down my phone or stop talking, etc. I was in a labor pattern and had about 3 minute breaks in between contractions. I asked the nurse if I was considered active at the moment and she said they considered me active when my water broke...okay. So I told the midwife to go ahead and come, especially since it would take them an hour to get there. I think they checked me again after this (can’t really remember) and I hadn’t progressed. They did an ultrasound to make sure the baby wasn’t malpositioned. They threw around words like “breech” and “transverse.” Although I was pretty certain he hadn’t moved THAT drastically, I still didn’t like hearing those words!! During this time my midwife showed up but they asked her to wait outside a second.
trying to relax during a contraction

They confirmed he was still head-down, but he had moved to my right side and his head was kind of sideways. They helped me get into a side-lying position and placed a rolled up towel under my belly where the baby was, and used this peanut-shaped exercise ball between my legs to encourage baby to drop down into my pelvis. The nurse told me to let them know when I started feeling pressure on the bottom and then left. They let my midwife and her apprentice in then. I was still not really feeling contractions too badly and was still able to talk and all. I think they turned up the pitocin once they got me in that position. The contractions started picking up a bit, getting a little more painful. The apprentice told me to squeeze my belly during contractions to help manage the pain. I did that for the time that I was lying down. During this time, visitors came to drop off a gift for me. That was sweet and appreciated, but I didn’t want to see anyone at the moment haha. Thankfully they were only there a few seconds to say that they had gotten me a stuffed animal that I could hold during labor. After they left the midwife asked if I wanted to hold it and I said I’d probably rip its head off ;) After 30 minutes had passed in that position, I said I would really like to get up and move (the contractions were worse now). The midwife told me it had been long enough so that was okay. The nurse came back in and saw that my contractions were getting more intense and closer together. My midwife told her I had been handling the contractions really well. I explained that I wanted to get up and the nurse said she wasn’t coming to scold me for doing so, since I had been in that position long enough :) I told them I was feeling a little more pressure down there now. I sat up and was trying to handle my contractions as they got worse. I was definitelyyy feeling them now and squeezing my belly wasn’t helping much anymore. I said I needed to go to the bathroom, so they made it possible for me to be mobile for a minute and I went in the bathroom. Robert helped me and as I felt a few contractions while on the toilet I really needed to lean on him for help. They were bad now. I finally got up and started heading back to the bed when the nurse said “doctor’s here!!” and I replied “I do NOT want him to touch me.” Somebody (I guess the nurse) laughed. I’m not sure what was happening then...if the doctor talked to me or what. I think the nurse checked me instead of the doctor. She said I was at 4 cm and they were all like “yay!” I asked the doctor if I could come off pitocin and he coldly said "I don't see a reason to." haha. Well, I tried.

I cried after being told I was 4 cm. They said “that’s good!” and I said “but it’s ONLY 4!” lol. I felt like it was lasting forever. I asked if the baby would be born today and the doctor and nurse laughed, saying he surely would be. The midwife told the other midwife (who wasn’t able to show up yet) that I was at 4 and to come on. 15 minutes later the nurses checked me again and I was at 7. They were amazed. I was much happier now with the progress haha. So the 2nd midwife was told not to come because she wouldn’t make the birth. I was hurting sooo much! I kept telling Robert to “pleeeeease help me!” I leaned on him and on my midwife a lot, and my midwife also put pressure on my lower back for many of the contractions. I told Robert to take off his sweater because the material was driving me crazy when I would put my face into him during contractions. So he took it off for me and just had his undershirt on :) At only 7 cm I was already saying “I can’t do this. I can’t do this much longer. I really can’t do this.” Usually when women start saying this, it means that it’s almost over. But I was only at I was confused. I figured pitocin was just making it that much harder. My midwife told me “PJ, maybe you can’t do this, but God can" and that she had had a fast labor before, too, and that it was much harder than the longer ones. I kept trying to relax and ride the waves of the contractions. It was hurting like crazy, though.

The nurse checked me again and smiled as she said “you’re complete.” I was so glad to hear this! It was almost over. So when I thought it couldn’t be around the corner as I was saying “I can’t do this” turns out it really was. I was just going that fast, fortunately. So we’re there waiting on the doctor to get there and I was kind of lying down now. I said “there’s just SO much pressure!” 
I felt like I needed to push. With my last labor I never felt that urge before being coached to it was neat to feel it this time. The doctor had left earlier and thought he had plenty of time... So when I said I need to push they said the doctor had been notified but was running late. They said NOT TO PUSH YET?! I was like “I NEED TO PUSH!!”
Robert said I yelled “WHERRRRE IS HEEE?!?!” My midwife said “Remember how you wanted to wait until you felt the urge to push?” I said “yes, and I FEEL it!” I was like “how in the world are you going to tell me not to push??”
This was the most unpleasant part of my hospital baby was trying to come out and they made me try to hold him back until the doctor got there. He finally showed up and they got me in position. I didn’t want to push the baby out on my back like that but at this point I didn’t care. I just wanted him out. The nurse said some things to me and I looked at her, confused, and said “What? What are you talking about?” She repeated herself and I just told her “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” lol. I still, for the life of me, cannot remember what she said. I’m not sure I even heard her. I was so out of my mind. I know at one point she asked if I’d be willing to get an epidural if it meant avoiding a c-section and I remember being like “What in the world? I don’t want an epidural but of course I’d rather have that than a c-section.” I didn’t understand why they asked me that.

So all of a sudden when I’m trying to push a swarm of people come in. I mean, it was so loud and so crowded in the delivery room, it was unreal. Such a contrast to my peaceful and dimly lit home birth with my second baby. It was absolute chaos to me. Someone brought in a table full of tools and things to prep me for an emergency c-section, if it was needed (do they always do that? or was it just me?). I felt so many hands all over my body and I have no idea what all they were doing. Just felt hands everywhere. EVERY where. The nurse told me that the baby needs oxygen and put the mask on my face. She assured me he was okay but that he just needed some oxygen. I told my husband not to forget to take pictures (priorities! haha)

I asked how long this would take and they said they didn’t know. I told them last time I pushed for about 2.5 hours before the baby came. The doctor chuckled and said “uh no I’m too old for that.” I was just thinking “well, you’ll just have to deal with it, no matter how long it takes.” ;)

The nurse started coaching me on pushing. I felt like this kid was never coming out. For the first time ever I felt what they call the “ring of fire” (strangely, I did not feel that with my 2nd baby). Wow, did I feel it! The nurse kept saying “good girl” to me and other things that helped me. It was almost over.

The nurse said his head was coming and put my hand on his squishy little head. I was relieved to feel him there. I asked what color his hair was and she said it looks dark like mine. I gave a disappointed “aww :( “ haha (my other two boys have red hair and I was hoping he’d be a red head, too. Turns out he DOES have red hair. It's just darker).

His head was out and Robert was taking pictures. One of the nurses told him to stop taking photos, because they saw baby had a double nuchal cord (his cord was around his neck twice). Thankfully, it was okay and the doctor quickly unwrapped it. I gave another push and out came his body. They put him straight on my chest and I kept saying “he’s beautiful! He’s SO beautiful! He’s perfect” Oh, I was SO happy to have him out. He was having trouble catching a breath and was kind of choking which alarmed me a little bit (my last baby didn’t even have to be suctioned. He just breathed on his own). So they suctioned him while on my chest until he sounded clear. After about 5 minutes they cut the cord and I gave a tiny push for the placenta to come out. Easy peasy.

the BEST moment!

Baby was able to be on me for about 2 hours, before they weighed him or anything. It was so special. They covered us up and put a diaper on him while he was still on me. 

I felt quite a burn down below and assumed I had torn. I asked them how bad it was and the doctor said “either a 2nd or 3rd degree” midwife and the nurses said it looked more like 2nd. They asked if I wanted topical anesthesia to stitch it up and I said yes. I was done with pain, thank you ;) I felt some pulling and such from the stitching but it was a bit numb. The doctor did a super job on it (he better- being a surgeon and all!)

My body was shaking uncontrollably. I shook a little with my last birth but this time I was shaking SO much. It was very annoying, waiting on it to go away.

After a while holding the baby I let daddy hold him, and I took some pictures of them.

When we were ready to have him weighed, they put him on the scale and everyone was waiting to see how big this baby was.

August Judah Charnock was 10 lbs 3 oz!! 22 inches long, larger than average head and his chest was even BIGGER than his head! The nurse left and told the doctor and announced it at the nurses station and everything. They were all super amazed haha. Being that I had a supposed “small pelvis,” was a VBAC mom, had pitocin but NO epidural, pushed out this giant baby with a double nuchal cord, and having NO shoulder dystocia, they treated me like I was the queen of birth. One sweet nurse kept telling us she’d never forget me and that I was her hero. I suppose they don’t see this much there. She kept telling my husband that he needed to buy me presents and she tried to find out what I wanted him to buy ;)

10 lbs 3 oz, baby!

My midwife said I did great and that she was proud of me. Her apprentice said “you did it!” 
They left, after I thanked them for their help.

I had to wait for the nurse to come back with after birth supplies to get out of the bed. When she came in she helped me stand up and blood went all over the floor. yuck. For just having had a birth without pain meds I sure was being a princess :) She got me all cleaned up and put a new gown on me. She put me in a wheel chair and we waited on Robert to get back from taking our stuff into the other room then she led me to our room while robert took the baby. I thanked that sweet nurse for all she did for me. I am very grateful to her for her help. She was the best.

Although it was not the home birth that I had hoped for, I am so thankful for the way it turned out. A healthy birth resulting in a healthy baby and healthy mommy. I no longer cared that I was in a hospital. I was just so thankful to have my sweet boy in my arms. I’m so excited that I’ve been able to have 2 VBACs without pain medication, and I’m especially proud of myself for resisting an epidural while I was on pitocin and the epidural was so close. At my home birth it wasn’t even an option so it was easy to do without it. At the hospital it took a lot more willpower. But I held out and I’m proud of that. My midwife, her apprentice, my husband, and my nurse were all so helpful to me in keeping to my plan.

So, not exactly sure how long labor lasted but it was something like less than 7 hours (more like 3 ish, from the time I started actually feeling it), only 30 minutes of that was pushing, and the placenta came out a few minutes after birth. It was a HARD and fast labor. But I’m so glad it was fast, even though it was harder than my previous 17+ hour labor.

Childbirth is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my life. My past two experiences have been so healing and so empowering. I know many would not understand why, but my VBACs have done so much to change my life. Although I didn’t want that primary cesarean, if I hadn’t had it things would have been very different. Birth is something I’m passionate about and it’s been something I’ve been able to bond with other women over. I’m thankful for its design from our Creator :)

So silly and SO happy with our little boys

happy, healthy mommy and baby


Saturday, March 7, 2015

the lasting results of alcohol

I'm certain my father didn't take his first sip of alcohol thinking:

"I think I'd like to become an alcoholic, negatively impact many lives and absolutely destroy the lives of my family for generations and live a completely miserable existence forever."

I'm not the kind of person that blames my choices on my parents or background. No, my choices are completely up to me, no matter how good or bad my background is. However, I've found that almost all of the problems, and almost all of my hurts, I have faced in my life can be linked back to my father's alcohol addiction (which also caused many of his other sins that have all negatively affected the lives of his family and more). 

The effects of my father's choices will continue to be seen for generations, even though I am not following his path.

Alcoholic beverages are evil. Don't drink them...don't even look at them. It is clearly a transgression against God. 

And yes, I would still be against the drinking of alcohol even if I hadn't been personally affected by it. It is not my experience that makes it a sin to me; it is what God has put in the Bible.

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit"
-Ephesians 5: 18

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
-Proverbs 20: 1

"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine,
 Those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent,  And stings like a viper.Your eyes will see strange things,  And your heart will utter perverse things."
-Proverbs 23: 29-33

There are many resources that can explain the sinfulness of drinking alcohol further, so I'll link just one here, in case you are interested in studying some more (please do). At the bottom of the article it lists a couple of other resources:


Friday, November 28, 2014

Eli- 2 years, 2 months; Noah- 7 months

Hi, boys!

Sorry for another late post...I'm trying to catch up on these monthly updates :)


You had a blast on Halloween. We went to the Keeling houses to trick or treat and the next day we had the trunk or treat at Spring Creek. You were Olaf, Noah was Sven, Daddy was Kristoff, and Mommy was Princess Anna. You went around collecting candy and making sure to say thank you, you played games, and went on a hay ride. You also got best boy costume :) You were very cute and loved your costume.
We were at the store and we walked by a lady and you told her "I went potty." She congratulated you lol.
You've learned how to wink and look so cute doing it.
You've been doing a great job with your manners with saying thank you, please, you're welcome, yes ma'am, yes sir, etc.
You argue with us all the time. Sometimes you call me sir and I correct you by saying "yes MA'AM." You argue with me back and forth on it.
You're still doing well with the potty training but you have phases where you have accidents frequently. Thankfully, right now is a good phase. You've been telling me when you need to go and holding it until you get there.
You came up to me the other day and said "Christmas...dinosaurs, dolphins, alligator, and another alligator." :) That's what you want for Christmas :) We'll see what Santa brings.

 the pumpkin you helped carve.
 Daddy's pumpkin
 Mommy's pumpkin

Eli and mommy at the trunk or treat

I caught Eli reading in the chair


You are 7 months old! You are scooting across the floor while sitting up and you can also scoot backwards when on your belly. You have no interest in crawling yet, but you do get around a little. You're a good boy and don't cry much. You say "mamamama" and "dadadada." You said mama first :) Eli said dada first when he was your age. You are still refusing to take a bottle and you refuse solids. You've been less chunky than usual so I've been concerned because I don't want you to get so skinny like Eli was last year. Since you're refusing solids they're having you evaluated by a specialist to see if you need any help with eating. I'm sure it will be fine, but it can't hurt to go get you looked at.
You have been having trouble sleeping through the night since you were 4 months old. It's were sleeping all night long and doing great then when 4 months hit, you started waking every night and haven't stopped. There will be nights here and there that you do sleep through. Mommy has started sleeping really hard and not hearing you get up at all. Poor daddy has to get up during those times..or he just wakes me up. We're trying to keep a box fan in your room running so you'll stay asleep and so far it's worked....we'll see if this keeps up. 
You still laugh at Eli and love watching everything he does. 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Noah’s birth story, part 2: Birth

To read about all I had to go through to get to this amazing birth, read Noah's birth story, part 1: the VBAC journey

**Disclaimer: While I am a huge home/natural birth supporter, I am not against hospitals/doctors/nurses. I don’t think they’re evil. I think they have a purpose and thank goodness we have those people and procedures like cesarean sections to save lives when it’s needed. I will not think badly of any mother that has a hospital birth. I just want all mothers to do their own research and make informed decisions for the health of themselves and their babies. I only recommend home birth for healthy, low risk pregnancies.

At 2 am Sunday morning when I was 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I woke to something strange going on with my body. I was pretty excited, because I knew it meant labor was close! I went ahead to church services. I started having some random contractions throughout the day and I expected to go into labor that night. Well, I was pretty disappointed when I woke up the next morning to not be in labor. Later that day (Monday) I was sitting at the table taking care of some things and I started to leak amniotic fluid. Again, I expected labor to come later that day. I had more contractions but nothing timeable so I gave up trying to keep track and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night having contractions that were lasting at least 40 seconds, but still were not regular. My midwife had told me to call her when they started lasting that long, no matter the spacing. It was about 2ish am (Tuesday) and we got everything into the car, dropped Eli off with his sitter and left for Cape Girardeau, MO (about 1.5 hours away from our house). The contractions were pretty uncomfortable in the car and I eventually had to get out of my seat to move around to try and relax through them. When I got there, everything slowed down. We waited around for a while, tried some things to pick up labor, and then I decided to let the midwife check me to see what’s going on. She said my cervix was so high she couldn’t even feel it. I was in prodromal labor...not actual labor. ugh! I was really disppointed...especially since I knew that it could last for days before real labor and I was not liking being so uncomfortable. We picked up Eli and went home. I took a nap and tried to relax to make myself more comfortable before labor began. My midwife said that I would know I’m in labor if nothing worked to help me relax and be more comfortable. I woke a couple of times for contractions, but nothing too serious. Eventually, I couldn’t sleep anymore so I got up and instructed Robert on what to feed him and Eli for dinner. I didn’t want dinner...I was feeling nauseous from the smell of it. So I just hung out in the living room and TRIED to eat a sweet potato in an attempt to make the nausea calm down. I was completely useless...the contractions were harder, still irregular, and I was worn out from not having much sleep. My sweet husband took care of everything that night so I could just lie around being miserable. We eventually went to bed but I couldn’t stay there long. The contractions were really uncomfortable while lying down and I couldn’t sleep between or through them. I got up, tried to entertain myself and relax, shower, etc. Nothing was making me comfortable. The contractions started flowing from one to the other words, I was having a constant contraction. NO BREAK (not even seconds) in between. They would still rise and fall a little, but the pain always remained. I was unsure if I was in labor and I hesitated to believe I was because I didn’t want to make another pointless drive out to Missouri. I thought that maybe I was having indigestion or something, but nothing made it better. I became more nauseous and more miserable and I tried walking around the house, sitting on the birth ball, rolling around on the floor, and any other position I could think of to help the discomfort. This lasted for hours and I broke down and cried because I was so miserable and so tired and COULDN’T get any sleep. Eventually Robert woke up because I vomited in the doorway of the bedroom. That sweet guy cleaned it up while I was lying on the floor like an invalid, crying, panicking, etc. Robert said “you NEED to call the midwife. This can’t be normal.” I refused and I said I wasn’t sure that I was in labor (and everyone had said I would KNOW when I was in labor, so I was waiting for that). Robert said we will go to Missouri, and if it turns out I’m not in labor, we will stay in a hotel until it happens so we don’t have to drive back again. This was good to me, so I called the midwife, crying and not being able to really talk through the discomfort. She told me to attempt to slow down labor and drive to her house as soon as possible. This was at about 3ish (?) am on Wednesday morning. Again, we packed up the car and dropped Eli off with the sitter. I was in a lot of pain when we got to their house and begged Robert to hurry. We drove on to Missouri...the MOST MISERABLE CAR RIDE OF MY LIFE! I couldn’t sit, stand, lie down, whatever. I just screamed and moaned and panicked and cried. Poor Robert thought something was wrong so he kept updating me on how far we had to go and kept reminding me to relax my body. I was feeling SO MUCH PRESSURE that I didn’t know if we would make it in time. I prayed that we would. I knew Noah had to be sitting very low for me to feel that much pressure.

We FINALLY arrived at the home of the midwife (I wanted a home birth but I couldn’t have it at my own home, so she let me use hers. Still just as good for me :) ). Robert put my shoes on and helped me up the stairs. He knocked on the door (which is funny to me) and the midwife said that we should have just come on in. I felt so relieved once we got there. I immediately was able to relax and I FINALLY started getting a short break between contractions (ahhh :) ). I am absolutely sure that the coaching from the midwife and doula combined with my hubby rubbing my back was the reason I was able to feel better. I was still miserable, but labor was so much easier once we were at the “birth house.” We didn’t bother timing contractions, by this point I realized I was just not going to get regular contractions and was going to have a weird labor. I leaned over the couch while they were filling up the birth pool. Once the water was warm enough, I got in and it was amazing. The contractions were still uncomfortable, of course, but the warm water and the weightless feeling really helped me relax. I loved that pool. I didn’t want any checks during labor but I did want to know how close I was to having a baby. I expected Noah to come the next night or something. The midwife gave me a semi-check while I was in the pool to see how low Noah was. She showed me with her finger how much further he had to go until he’s out. I asked how much longer I had to go and was told that I was “probably” at 9 cm (they didn’t do a full examination since I didn’t want that). I immediately became happier and smiled. I said “my baby is going to be born today?” and they answered “without a doubt!” I was so happy. Robert took a picture of me then and I would put it here but I look really disgusting and worn out. 

I prepared a bunch of food and gatorade/water for labor to keep my energy up but I never thought to eat or drink anything. They did make sure I was taking sips of gatorade/water and taking bites of a banana after contractions, even though I didn’t really feel like having any of it. During the entire labor, I only had a few bites of sweet potato, a few bites of banana, a few sips of water, and one bottle of gatorade. 

It was taking longer than expected for me to feel the urge to push, so the midwife checked me and found that I had an anterior cervical lip that needed to get past baby’s head so he could come out. So we waited a little while for me to dilate past that lip, but then they told me to get out of the pool and lay on the floor. I was not happy about this part. Laying on my back on the hard floor was the most uncomfortable position to be in. We did this so the midwife could help me push past the cervical lip. I pushed while being on the floor and the rest of my water broke. This part really surprised me, because it was a huge gush of water that exploded into the air! haha. I asked if that was my water breaking and if I had done that myself (it was all me). I was able to get back in the pool after that and start pushing. Now I didn’t much like the pool anymore because I was hot and sweaty and the water was hot. My hair was in my face driving me nuts so Robert took a cold rag to wipe my face several times. I tried many positions: hands and knees, squatting, leaning back, standing into a squat...nothing was getting the baby out. I felt like I was making no progress at all. I thought I would be pushing forever. The midwife then instructed me to either lay on the floor again or get in the bed because I needed to lay on my side. Noah was stuck on my pubic arch, so we needed to get him past that. I refused to go back to that floor and stayed in the pool a little longer. They suggested the bed again so I gave in and got out of the pool. They took my gown off because it was soaked. We got in the bed and the midwife had Robert hold my legs so I wouldn’t have to just suspend my leg on my own. This part seemed to take so long. I kept pushing and pushing and I felt nothing was happening but they assured me that he was coming. They had me touch his head and I felt his little head hair. His head was squishy and slimy, which was surprising to me. It was kind of gross, actually :)

They took a picture of him crowning to show me as proof that things were happening. I still couldn’t feel him coming out. There was just too much pressure for me to feel any difference. I was still getting a little rest between contractions so during those times I laid there and breathed, trying to think “he’ll be out soon. This will all be over.” I had read that every woman gets to a point in their labor when they say “I can’t do this” and that that always means you’re almost done. During labor I didn’t think I would get to that point because of all I had been through already. I had been telling myself “I can do this” through all that. Well, I DID get to that point in labor. As I was pushing his head out I told Robert repeatedly “I can’t do this.” Of course, in my head I knew that was ridiculous because I had no other choice at this point but to get the kid out. Robert kept telling me that I was doing great and that I CAN do it. I was almost done. Robert said “he’s coming, PJ, he’s coming!” I was so happy that Robert kept saying that because I still felt like nothing was happening. Him telling me that was keeping me going. I even ignored a couple of contractions just because I was so exhausted that I didn’t want to push. Finally, they said “okay, his head is out!” and I was shocked. I didn’t feel any different yet. Then they had me flip to hands and knees so that his body could rotate to get out. I don’t know how I got to hands and knees, but I’m pretty sure I was pushed into that position. There’s no way I could do that on my own, with Noah’s head being earthside. I don’t remember if I pushed at this point, I think I gave a little push and Noah’s body just squirmed out. That part was easy. 

I looked down and saw a BABY lying on the bed. I was so happy to see him there. They told me to wait a second to make sure the cord was long enough for me to bring him to me, but I just remember grabbing him, sitting back, and saying “I did it” over and over. Noah was screaming as soon as I touched him. It’s neat that babies don’t need to have their noses and mouths suctioned. They just start breathing on their own when they’re healthy! Both Robert and I were crying, of course, and I looked at Robert in disbelief that I actually did it. I felt better immediately now that he was out. That was awesome! I laid on the bed with my sweet baby against my chest, falling in love with this little boy. He cried for a long time until I sang the "I'll love you forever" song. He found comfort in my voice :) 

I forgot that the placenta had to come out, but I felt another contraction later and they said the placenta was coming out. I asked if it would hurt because I was SO done with labor lol. It didn’t hurt, just felt super weird and squishy coming out. It took 20 minutes from Noah’s birth for the placenta to come out. Yay! No hemorrhage or uterine rupture or anything like that. My body isn’t broken!

I’m grateful to my amazing midwife, Joann Falcon of Missouri, for helping me achieve this safe delivery and for believing in my body’s ability to do this. I’m thankful for Robert, that he allowed me to have this home birth even though he was so nervous about it (he actually said no several times at first). It means SO MUCH to me that Robert trusted that I was making the safest decision for our baby and myself.

I had this beautiful labor and birth, the way God intended for it to be, and I felt amazing. I thanked God over and over and then thanked my midwife for everything. I got to birth my baby and be the first to touch him. No one took him away from me. I just got to be in bed with my sweet munchkin. I so wish I had this experience with Eli, but if it hadn’t been for my experience with Eli’s birth, I would not have had this beautiful, empowering, and healing moment. All I went through to get to this birth made this moment that much sweeter. I am so thankful, especially for the health of my baby and myself. This was a life changing moment, for sure.

**if you couldn't keep up, I was in active labor for 17 hours, and prodromal labor for almost 3 days before that. Also, Noah ended up being a HALF POUND SMALLER than Eli! My work paid off :) But he was still a sort of big baby and definitely had a big head...guess I'm made to birth big babies, even with my "small" pelvis. Oh, and I don't have to wear diapers the rest of my life because I don't have incontinence issues.

Noah Konnor Charnock
born April 16th, 10:12 am
8 lbs 13 oz, 22 inches long
15 inch head, 14 inch chest


Noah’s birth story, part 1: the VBAC journey

To keep this as short as possible, I’ll try not to explain the different terms and evidence, etc. If you have questions about any of it, you can ask me and I’ll be happy to answer and provide evidence and research :)

Ever since my c-section with Eli I was determined to be able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) the next time. I had wanted a natural birth with Eli, but I ignored all the information on c-sections. I thought that I surely wouldn’t have one because I’m healthy and so was Eli. Well, I fell into the cesarean trap set up by my OB/GYN. My due date had been set back by 2 weeks even though I KNEW when he was conceived (letting them do that was my first mistake). She talked me into a cesarean because I was 1 day past that early due date and he had flipped breech. She never said he could flip back on his own or that we could try to flip him manually. If I had been “allowed” to at least go into labor first and try different things to flip him, I may not have even needed a c-section. I could have had up to 4 more weeks until labor to fix this. But I figured the doctor knew best because I was naive and didn’t do more research. 

Eli was 10 months old when I found out I was pregnant again. I wanted to find a midwife and have a home birth, but I didn’t really know how to do that. I googled and found a CNM (certified nurse midwife) close by. Back then I didn’t know that there are different kinds of midwives. In Kentucky, CNMs have to work under an OB. This CNM worked under two. Anyway, on the first visit I told her I had a c-section 10 months before and that I want a VBAC. I asked if she could attend home births and she said “no. You can’t have a home birth because you’re wanting a VBAC.” (What?) Well, okay. So I’ll have a hospital birth. Oh well. She then told me she couldn’t guarantee I’d be “allowed” (as if I can be forced to do something...) to have a VBAC because their policy is that you can only have a VBAC if you’ve had a previous vaginal delivery. Since I never had, I had to get special permission. She said she’d talk to the doctors and see if they would allow it. She then educated me on all the risks of a VBAC (but no risks of a repeat cesarean??). She talked about uterine rupture, of course, and made it sound horrible! I left the appointment being absolutely terrified of trying to VBAC because I didn’t want my baby to die. I did a lot of research and found that what she was talking about was called a catastrophic uterine rupture, which is really rare. Uterine rupture risk is less than 1% and most of those are asymptomatic. Uterine rupture can even happen to people that have never had a c-section. 

I knew I would have a better chance of having a hospital VBAC if I had a doula to help me make informed decisions and make the labor atmosphere more comfortable. I asked Robert to let me have one but since it would cost a few hundred dollars, he said no. After more fear mongering appointments, I cried and begged Robert to let me hire a doula. He finally said yes, if it would help me, then I could have a doula. That meant so much to me :)

I found a doula online and went to meet with her. I loved her! I told her my fears of the VBAC and of a repeat cesarean and she made me feel loads better. She educated me on some facts of birth. I also told her my concerns with having to deliver in the hospital with their crazy, cesarean trap policies for VBACs. She asked if I had considered having a home birth and told me what kind of midwife I would need to do that. I talked about it with Robert it and he said no. The CNM had scared him about the risks, too. Poor guy. I talked about switching providers, but Robert said we didn’t need to do that. So I held off for a while.

At one of the appointments, my fundal height was measuring a little big (like 1 or 2 cm bigger) so they ordered an ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t excess fluid. I prayed about it and hoped it wasn’t anything serious, but the ultrasound confirmed that I had a little excess fluid. My AFI (amniotic fluid index) was 1.5 above normal, which really shouldn’t have been a concern at that point since fluid can fluctuate and my fluctuation was mild. The CNM said that I have polyhydramnios and that “unfortunately, this makes your VBAC out of the question.” I asked why I couldn’t have a VBAC just because of a little excess fluid. She mentioned risks associated with polyhydramnios and mentioned “liability” and the doctors and such. I told her I could just refuse a c-section and she said “yeah, you could, but then I would get in trouble with the OBs and they would ask if I told you about all the risks, etc.” I asked “what decides whether or not I get to have a trial of labor?” She answered, “it depends on which doctor is on call.”

This is when I decided I have GOT to find a different provider because these people are obviously against my VBAC. There were many other red flags that I should have seen sooner (like them saying that my pelvis looks too small to birth a baby the size of my last one by just looking at my body), but Robert assured me that everything would be okay.

Since I was having this fluid problem, they referred me to a perinatologist in Louisville to make sure that there weren’t any problems with the baby that could be causing it. I asked if there were any perinatologists closer to us (Louisville is 3 hours away, plus the time change to eastern). The CNM said there are, but they work closely with this guy in Louisville and it’s just easier for them if I go there. She said this guy is who she would send her daughter to, because he was just that good. So I thought “well, I want the best for my baby, so I’ll go to Louisville.” 

I had another ultrasound a few days before Louisville, and it showed that the fluid had decreased and now I was only .5 over normal. Yay!! Baby was still breech and they made sure to tell me about that. I was 29 weeks pregnant. This concerned me because Eli was breech and I was afraid of that happening again. I met with the CNM after the ultrasound and she said she still wanted me to go to Louisville. I told her I could have my VBAC now and she said I’ll just need to see what the perinatologist says about my wishes for a VBAC. Um, okay...because he decides what I get to do with my body and baby. Over the next few days I prayed specifically that my fluid would be normal and that the baby would flip to head down.

Before the big Louisville appointment, I was secretly searching for a new provider. I did lots of internet searching and just happened to stumble upon people that I could talk to that gave helpful information and put me into private facebook groups that are dedicated to home birth in my area. I was again considering home birth, but I didn’t want to talk to Robert about it again until I had potential midwives and resources to put his mind at ease. I interviewed several midwives, but none of them were going to work. They either couldn’t attend VBACs because their back up doctor was against it or they were too busy for my birth month to be able to take me on. One person even said she wasn’t sure she could take me on because of the possibility of me having a big baby! (I wasn’t going to hire HER!)

After looking at all the midwives I had found from other people and not having any success with it, I accidentally found a midwife in Missouri (close to us) that seemed perfect. 20 something years of experience, half the price of the other midwives, able to provide a birth place free of charge (I’d rather not go to a hotel). I decided to interview her. She seemed wonderful. I liked her voice and she seemed truly supportive of my VBAC. She even told me what I could do to try and keep the baby from getting too big. I was seriously considering hiring her. I just needed to get the okay from my husband. After MUCH discussion and persuasion from a close friend, Robert finally said he’d think about it. He was still unsure about it, but I did everything I could to get his questions answered and make him feel more comfortable. Turns out that his biggest concern was the money since insurance wouldn’t cover it...but we discovered that the hospital would cost WAY more since we didn’t have maternity insurance (LONG story).

When we got to the Louisville office, I got a high tech ultrasound and saw my baby’s sweet face :) The ultrasound showed that he was now head down and that my fluid was within normal range!! I was super happy about this! I was so happy that I cried. Nothing was wrong with my baby!!

Then the perinatologist came in looking gloomy. He hands me a tissue and tries to make light conversation. I was thinking “let’s get on with it already.” He obviously had something bad to say. He didn’t look at my ultrasound results. Now, this part that I’m about to tell is not at all an exaggeration. It is exactly what happened, no embellishment.

He said that with my history of a big baby (Eli was 9lbs 5oz) and the fact that this would be my first vaginal delivery AND it was after a c-section, that my VBAC would fail.

Here are some things he said (again, I promise this is NOT exaggerated. These are his exact words):

-Your passenger (baby) is just too big. He WILL be over 10 lbs.
-You will not be able to push this baby out of your pelvis (funny, since he didn’t even examine my pelvis...not that that would tell them anything about my ability to birth)
-Even IF you can deliver this baby, you will most likely hemorrhage and lose your uterus. You want more children, don’t you?
-And if this baby is delivered vaginally, you will get a 4th degree laceration and have to wear diapers for the rest of your life for incontinence issues. You’re young and you don’t want to have to wear diapers for the rest of your life.
-The second c-section is easy. Even the third one. Just real quick incision and no problem (does this guy know anything about the risks of cesareans!?!?)
-I know you want the best for your baby, but you have to think of YOUR health, too.
-I strongly advise against a vaginal delivery.
-I could be wrong, but I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I’m almost never wrong.
-Whatever happens, please let me know how it went. Let me know if he turns out to be 12 lbs or something. (oh, I’ll let you know how it goes)

Well, maybe if I delivered in that horrible environment with those providers that think pregnancy is a disease then he might be right and my VBAC might fail.

We left the appointment and I cried so hard. Robert was extremely upset by all he heard. Now Robert knew I wasn’t crazy. They really were against my VBAC for reasons that have nothing to do with the safety of my baby or myself. They wanted to cover their butts. Robert couldn’t believe what that guy had said. Also, he didn’t even address the fluid issue which is the whole reason we were there!! For whatever reason, I’m sure that he was told by the doctors back home to tell me all of those things. They think they’re clever. First they pull the dead baby card (that didn’t work), then they pulled the dead mommy card (that didn’t work) and now they’re telling me I’ll never be able to have children again (that’s not going to work either, sorry). 

I wasn’t being stubborn just to obtain an “experience.” You can be sure that I only based my decisions off of actual research of conducted studies and off of ACOG guidelines/bulletins. I was doing this VBAC for the health of my baby and myself AND my future babies (yeah, cesareans can affect future pregnancies in very dangerous ways). I was doing this because I want a healthy baby and healthy self.

Anyway, we left that appointment and Robert said we are going to have a home birth. So I called the last midwife I interviewed, Joann Falcon of Missouri, and hired her. My first appointment with her would be at 33 weeks pregnant. I cleaned out my records from the CNM/OBs office and never showed up to my follow up appointment to discuss what happened in Louisville. 

Now that I hired the midwife, I was much more confident in my ability to do this. My first appointment with her was great. She assured me I was very low risk and that I was doing the best thing for my baby. For the first time in months, I left a prenatal appointment NOT crying. I was happy. She didn’t try to put fear in me. She encouraged me and it was obvious that she believes in the woman’s ability to birth babies. She doesn’t think pregnancy is a disease or a train wreck waiting to happen.

During this pregnancy, I stressed so much over this whole thing. I did SO MUCH research, I could write a dissertation. Someone even told me I deserve an honorary doctorate, which isn’t true, but maybe that gives you an idea of how much work I did.
I also did many things to prepare for birth. I read books and did certain exercises. I only positioned my body in certain ways so that the baby would be in the best position possible for birth (totally hated doing that stuff). I even changed my diet a little and did simple weight lifting exercises to keep the baby from getting too big. I worked very hard for this VBAC to happen and I prayed so hard for everything to be perfect. Many, many tears were shed during this pregnancy. Those tears were few after I switched providers, though :)

For my birth story read: Noah’s birth story, part 2: birth