Logan's Birth Story & Ethan's Birth Story
By Alexandra Taylor
Logan’s Birth Story
Before I even wanted to start having children, I knew I wanted to have a "natural birth." It was a chance encounter on Netflix several years ago with the now popular documentary, "The Business of Being Born," that first got my attention about how beautiful the birthing experience can be. After years of research, when it was time for me to get pregnant, I knew what kind of birth I wanted to have: a water birth at a free standing birth center – my insurance, like most, did not cover home births – without any medical interventions, meaning no Pitocin or epidural, and I absolutely, above all else, did not want to have an unnecessary C-Section.
My pregnancy was an easy one. I exercised and ate mostly healthy. There were no concerns about my health or the health of the baby. As my midwife at Best Start Birth Center in San Diego, continued to say at each visit, everything looked "perfect." There was no doubt in my mind that I would not be able to have the type of birth that I had so extensively researched and so deeply wanted.
Towards the later part of my pregnancy, I decided to hire a doula to help me prepare for my natural birth and get me through my labor at home and at the birth center. She convinced me to create a list of birth preferences, including one for induction/augmentation and another for a C-Section, just in case.
I was certain I would not need them. I was going to give birth to my son at the birth center, in the birthing tub. Period.
Well, my due date of April 8 came and went. No big deal. Lots of first time babies come late. However, by 41 weeks, I was starting to get a bit antsy. Even though my birth center would let me go to 42 weeks without induction, so long as everything looked okay, I was ready to get this show on the road. I tried several natural induction methods including prenatal massage, acupuncture, and bouncing on a birthing ball for hours on end. I also had my midwife sweep my membranes.
Finally, at 41 weeks and one day, 41+1, at about four in the afternoon, I began to have mild contractions. My contractions became regular but did not intensify much throughout the afternoon and night. I started to wonder whether this was the real thing or false labor.
Ethan’s Birth Story
Ethan’s due date was April 18th, one day before his older brother, Logan’s, 2nd birthday. This second pregnancy was considered “high risk” due to complications resulting in a C-section the first time around. I had decided to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and was cautiously optimistic that it would be successful.
As my due date came and went again, I began to get a bit anxious, especially when my midwife brought up the word “induction.” I really did not want to be induced, but reluctantly scheduled it for 41 weeks. I had been having what they call “prodromal labor” for the past week, and I was certain that I would be going into active labor at any moment. As the days went on, my hopes of going into active labor naturally began to fade.
On Sunday, April 24th, 2016, at exactly 41 weeks, I checked in at 4:00 PM for my scheduled induction at Kaiser Zion Hospital in San Diego, CA. Once I was brought into my room and got changed, I noticed I was starting to have somewhat regular contractions. I did not think much of it since I had been having regular contractions on and off for the past couple of weeks.
After being checked by the midwife, we found I was only 1-2 centimeters dilated and 30% effaced. She consulted with the doctor on shift and told me since I was attempting a VBAC, my two options were a repeat C-section, or to try a Foley catheter to see if I could be dilated to 3 centimeters, and if successful, given a small dose of Pitocin to encourage contractions. Discouraged, but still hopeful for a natural birth, I opted for the catheter, and the midwife told me it usually takes 2-4 hours to work. Well, about a half hour after it was inserted, I got up to pee, and much to my surprise, it fell out along with my mucus plug!
Alexandra Taylor - Alexandra Taylor lives in Southern California with her husband and two boys. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and provides holistic psychotherapy services for adolescents, individuals, and couples at her private practice, Mindful Mental Wellness, in Temecula, California. She is currently completing a Certification in Perinatal Mental Health. Follow her on instagram @mindfulmentalwellness.