Elaine’s Birth Story – My VBAC

Elaine Margaret’s Birth Story:  3/28/09 – 3/29/09
7 lbs, 11 oz; 19 3/4”;  3/29/09, 9:59 AM

I went to see Ina May Gaskin today (3/28).  She is so real, honest, direct, doesn’t mince words and talks about poop!  Can’t get much better.  I am really glad I went to see her speak.  She put her hands on my belly and wished me well.  More on her words later in the story, as it helped me in my birth.

So, around 4:00pm (while still at the conference), I started feeling what I thought was the baby stretching down.  I only feel it in my lower belly.  She really stretches out and down.  Makes me stop and breathe.  Not sure if these are contractions.  They’ve been pretty consistent at 15-20 minute intervals… So, we’ll see.

By 1:20am, the contractions were strong enough to keep me awake.  We started timing around 2:00am.  They were 5 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long.  Not time to go in yet, but time to call the MW and get the in-laws to start their 4 hour journey here to watch Owen.

2:30am – Woke Dan up

3:00am – Called the Midwives.  Spoke to Ann.  Ann was very encouraging.  She told me I was doing well and that I know my body and should come in to the hospital when I was 8-9cm dialated.

3:11am – Just pooped. (pooping on and off till we left for the hospital).  I’m trying to eat another peanut butter sandwich.  I need to keep the energy up.  However, food really doesn’t appeal.  I am drinking water.

Positions – alternating between standing and leaning on dining room table or couch arm, sitting in Owen’s chair at dining room table, hands and knees over the birth ball.  Trying not to be too loud, don’t want to wake up Owen.  At one point, while leaning over the birth ball, had a contraction and FELT my cervix open another centimeter!  It was an amazing feeling.

5:35 am – Mucus plug gone and bloody show.  It’s messy and gloopy.  I am wearing a menstrual pad to contain the slimy mess.

6:00 am – Began to call people to watch Owen, since it was time to go in.  Ginny was on her way out (gambling all day?).  Katie couldn’t do it.  Archie was available but Dan and I both felt that Owen wouldn’t deal well with Archie.  Dan was puttering, so I called Charlotte and Derek.  I left a message.  Derek called back 2 mins later.  He was here 15mins after that.  Hooray for Derek!  Poor guy got to see me have a contraction before we left. I think I scared him half to death!  Owen woke up just before we left.  So, I got to say good bye before leaving.

6:30 am – Dan and I leave for Allegheny General Hospital (AGH).  It was in the 40’s and storming.  Cold, clammy, damp and just plain icky.  Made it to AGH in 10 mins.  Checked in through the ER.  Wheelchair ride up to L&D.

7:00 am – Met Lori, my Midwife, at L&D.  She checked me and I was 8cm, 90% effaced and -2 station.  I came in at the right time.

8:30 am – 10 cm, 100%, 0 station.  Lori broke my water.  It was nonstop leakage.  Lots of back labor.  I needed pressure on my low back.  Had an ice pack on my back and that helped.  I needed to squeeze Dan’s hand for each contraction.

9:30 am – Began pushing.  Elaine made 2 full rotations, one in each direction.  Clockwise 1st, then counterclockwise, before coming out.  I tried pushing in multiple positions – sitting up, squatting (too intense), standing (not effective), side lying, finally, turtle on my back.  Final position was per the suggestion of the L&D nurse.  Very traditional, as seen on TV, position.  Needed to tuck my chin, hold my breath and push for 10.  The L&D nurse was in my face and loud – exactly what I needed.  There was pressure like I had to poop.  I’m sure I did poop while pushing.  What worked for me was knowing that I had to push like I was pooping.  I now understand what Ina May was talking about regarding poop inhibitions.  Thank goodness I got to see her yesterday!  Her words fresh in my mind, wow!

9:59 am – Elaine was born!  Her right hand was up by her face.  I tore a bit, 1st degree, 4 stitches.  Her apgars were 9/9.  She cried right away.  No infant bath, cord cut after it stopped pulsing.  I was crying and saying “I did it, I did it!”  It was so amazing and fulfilling.

10:10 am – I birthed the placenta.  I received IV Pitocin to help contract my uterus.

Elaine's first breastfeeding session

Here’s the bit I didn’t type up the first time.  I copied it verbatim from my handwritten journal.   It should fit chronologically above, but I think it’s important to see where the “official story” was and the parts I left out the first time.  Strangely enough, these seem to be the most important parts…

My mantra – “OPEN, DOWN, OUT”… um, but of course I swore… a lot.  Can’t help that.  I yelled during pushing.  I know, I know, “low tones”… *sigh* My bully nurse got in my face and basically told me to can it.  Strangely enough, it was exactly what I needed.

Lori, my midwife then offered me an epidural and a chance to rest OR to take 15 minutes and push my baby out.  I honestly thought, for a whole minute, that an epi might be a good idea.  Then my determination set in and I decided to push.  I had to get over my control issues.  Had to release into it.  Surrender.  Once I did that, I could push.  Felt like the biggest poop ever.  Her head and hand came out.  I needed to get the rest of her out.  Head felt big, body lumpy.  She cried right away.  The cord felt strange still attached, slithering and strong.  The placenta really felt like a poop – from the wrong place!  It had an extra node (meaning there was a little attached bit, held on by a thread).

I couldn’t watch the birth (in the mirror).  I needed to focus.  When she was laid on me, I just said, “I did it.  I did it!”  over and over again.  Wow.  How intense and empowering!  Old school turtle on the back, pull up the knees and round – got her out.  Amazing.

I did have an IV with saline/glucose.  I needed it.  I’d had water at the very end – ripped off the mask to push her out.  Pitocin drip to contract the uterus post placental birth.  4 stitches due to a 1st degree tear.  Lots of standard bleeding and mess.

Baby breastfeed within 35 mins of birth – 20 mins on each side!  A breastfeeding champ, like her brother.

They took the baby to the nursery for an eval and admit procedures.  She was gone 90 mins.  I ate, got transferred to my recovery room and waited.  She came back, breastfed again.  We choose her name, Elaine Maragaret.  She snoozed on Dan’s chest.  I showered – heaven!  Dan left to go get his parents and Owen.  The baby snoozed on me.  Then they needed to take her blood for typing.  *sad*  She’ll be back soon.  We’ll breastfeed, family will come.  I DID IT!!!

For another picture check out the Midwife Center’s Hospital Birth page – that’s Owen meeting his sister for the first time.


  1. I got goosebumps reading this birth story! You did it! How inspiring. I’ll bookmark to read as I near my labor with future baby.

  2. What an amazing story, I am hoping to have a VBA2C sometime in May or June, whenever she decides to arrive. Glad you have posting such an inspirational story to boost up my confidence.

  3. Thank you for sharing both of your birth stories. Makes me think about my own experiences (and yes, the sensation of pooping!) I’m so proud of you and think you’re an awesome momma and a great educator. Thank you for all that you do to empower and encourage new mothers on their journey. You make a difference that matters.

  4. Kristen says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I had a c-section with my first & just found out I am pregnant with my second. I want a vbac so much, but am afraid I won’t be able to do it. My husband is scared for me to have one, as is my mom. So I feel like I have no support or anyone who believes in me. Reading birth stories like this one make me feel empowered, like I will be able to do what my body was intended by God to do. Thanks for sharing.


  1. […] Elaine’s birth story: My VBAC (click to read the full story)” […]

  2. […] exiting is it to hear, “Well, I figured I was in labor in the late afternoon. I ate dinner, put my son to bed, watched TV…  OK, for me, it’s exciting because that was my daughter’s birth, but there’s no drama there. […]

  3. […] she spoke I did get to meet her, again.  I was able to tell her about Elaine’s birth and her positive influence on me.  […]

  4. […] on our babies. It did with my pregnancies. Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training at 32 weeks pregnant with Elaine helped shape her in a very different way then her brother, […]

  5. […] exiting is it to hear, “Well, I figured I was in labor in the late afternoon. I ate dinner, put my son to bed, watched TV…  OK, for me, it’s exciting because that was my daughter’s birth, but there’s no drama there. […]