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Lily's Birth Story- A Healing VBAC with the Midwives at SSM Health.

When we found out we were pregnant with this little one in July we went to our 1st appt assuming we had no choice but to deliver baby by c section. I was discussing a Fresh 48 photo session with Nicole, because I knew a birth photo session for a c-section wouldnt be allowed and while talking she asked me "Are you sure it will be a belly birth?" I told her yeah I didnt really have a choice as much as I wanted a natural labor, with my situation it would never work out and she urged me to look further into it, she guided me to find my voice, she helped me find information needed, stories of people who have accomplished it, care providers who truly listen. By having this one convo with her it lead to so much more! I did a LOT of research and found out not only the risks of a vba2c but also the risks they dont tell you about repeat c sections..the info that was never provided to me by my 1st and 2nd care providers for this pregnancy. Once I felt confident that I wanted to attempt a vba2c I had to find my team...I started by asking Trav "what would you say if I told you I wanted to try for a vba2c?" His response honestly surprised me when he said "I think you should do it if thats what you want because I know how important it is for you" (love this man!) I saw 2 OBGYNs who were very clear that they and their hospital policies would not allow for me to even attempt but I didn't let that defeat me...I left every appt up till 20 weeks crying, stressed, scared, tired of fighting for something I seemed to understand better than those OBs. While talking to Nicole she kept mentioning how I needed to meet the midwives in Madison and I was hesitant thinking I would have to pay out of pocket..YOU DON'T!!! They now work through Madison St. Marys and your insurance will cover them! I called and spoke with Kim then met with Mara and used Emily for my main appts and the delivery of our Miss Lilly! Once I had done my research and found my birth team (which I switched to at 24 weeks pregnant) I learned that I HAD A VOICE!!! I was specific on what I wanted and what I didn't and Emily (my midwife) made sure to follow those plans and to make sure I felt like I was in the lead of my own journey! She was so respectful of me and truly cared about my story, she cared about my feelings, she cared about my final birth journey and wanted to help make it possible for me to have my healing birth! My journey was amazing from then on. I was able to let go of all my fears and doubts, I was able to trust in God and my care/support team that things would go well. Anyone that was negative about my situation I chose not to speak with about it because I wouldn't allow them to bring on my fears or change my mind or fill me with their worries. I asked Nicole to photograph this birth for me as i knew it would be one to be documented and double as a support person for me, I asked my baby Sister who started out fighting me on the idea of a vba2c and ended up being a huge part of what now is my healing birth!. I had my knowledge, my team, my plan, my back up plans, my confidence, and mentally I was prepared for this journey! We were 40 weeks pregnant at our appt with Mara and spoke about the benefits and downfalls of an induction due to my hisory and the size of this baby and decided that it would be a good option to schedule. A change of my original plans of not wanting to be induced unless medically necessary but I accepted it because it was a needed change and I knew it would benefit me in the end..we scheduled for April 7th 40w3d and went to be induced at 7:30 a.m. this was it! We were gonna meet our baby! Induction day!!! We started our induction with a mechanism to help manually dialate me from the 2 I was at to 4 cm..this took approx. 3 hours..then we started pitocin. Contractions started but I didn't feel them for a while (like 8 hours) so we spent this time just hanging out in the room and even did a little dancing with our 2 beautiful girls! Around 9 p.m. contractions picked up and I was really feeling them & my birth team ( Trav, Alie, Nicole and Emily) helped in many ways, encouraging me, empowering me, giving counter pressure and simply just being there for anything and everything I needed. The world revolved around me and this baby! We walked the halls, we used the bath, squatting, the birthing ball, the back of the bed, the bath again. I made it to 5/6 cm in 5 hours of breathing and then screaming through contractions. Each contraction was a wave that came over me, bringing me closer to meeting my baby. The hands of my husband were able to relieve pressure as my labor got more intense in my back. The sound of all the encouraging whispers saying breathe, relax your face, relax your shoulders, you can do this, yo've got this Momma and so much more helped me push myself farther than I could have imagined! My team watched me sooo closely and we stopped and started pitocin a few times to make sure things didnt go too quickly. While in the bath the 2nd time I got to the point that my contractions were too strong and my body wouldn't relax to do what it needed to to turn and drop baby into the right position so we decided at this point that I needed to rest so I asked for an epidural at around 1:30/2 a.m. And at 1st it only worked fully in one leg so I had pain in 1 specific location but luckily that got better quickly and I was able to rest a bit. The epidural was a decision that in my birth plan/preferences I wanted to push as long as possible without because I did not want to be stuck in the bed as I was in the bed the entire time with my 1st due to pre-e but this decision was needing to be made as I was not progressing and my body started trying to push against me trying to push at only 5 soon as I got the epidural my blood pressure leveled out and my body was able to relax a little. The rest may have been short but it was much needed! Around 3 a.m. the monitors went wonky and they put me on Oxygen to make sure baby was still doing well and flipped me from side to side and everything leveled back out. Around 5:45 a.m. we finally made it to push point!!! My incredible nurse said "we have to have this baby before I am done at 7:30", I looked at the clock knowing she was done at 7:30 and Emily would have been there for 24 hours at 8 a.m. and so I pushed with purpose and in an hour and a half I birthed my daughter in my 1st vaginal birth! It was such an amazing experience! I pushed with everything I had and being able to watch in the mirror as she made her way Earthside was nothing short of amazing, as I reached down and touched my beautful daughters head as she was between worlds I felt this power come over me knowing that now that her head was out I wanted to have her in my arms and in 3 more pushes there she was. My husband was able to use the hands that helped support me, the hands that helped me push through the pain of each and every contraction to bring our baby out of me and onto my chest! He was overwhelmed by being able to be such a huge part of this birth as our past 2 he was more of a bystander unable to help me in any way other than getting me water and holding my hand. As she was laid on me all I saw were these big beautiful eyes staring right into my eyes and I felt an overwhelming power and love for this beautiful child I waited so long to meet! We had done it, my body, my baby, my support and care team...we did it we brought this beautiful baby into this world! Everyone was safe and happy, my husband and I were so overjoyed with how healing the whole process was, how different of an experience this was. We fought so much to get here..we cried, my birth team/support team cried. My amazing midwife cried with me! I am strong, I am a warrior, my body did this, my baby did this! I am proud of myself, I will NEVER forget this experience and all the people who were involved in every bit of it!

The support I received from my Midwife Emily, Travis, my Sister and Nicole will never be forgoten. I was heard, encouraged and empowered...they never let me waiver and they helped me push myself through things ive never pushed through before. My amazing husband who not only caught my pee in a cup for a urine test but also danced with me and helped deliver our baby! He was by my side for every contraction, he was encouraging and supportive, he helped by giving me counter pressure but also by cracking jokes and keeping it positive! I have never felt more loved by this man in my life, to be able to go through this together is something we will NEVER forget! And my Sister, she has been there for months helping by being understanding and open to listening to what it is I started off rocky cuz she was scared but eventually she became one of my number one supporters..I couldn't look her in the face cuz she cried a lot but I am so thankful that I had her there to keep conversation with, to support me while I contracted and while I pushed. Her words of encouragement we much needed and to have someone I know loves me so much by my side for this journey was amazing and I will never forget her support! Then there is Nicole, without that girl I would have never even made the decision to attempt what I truly wanted, I wouldn' have found the courage to use my voice and to change care providers 3 times, and to push through the negativity and make it happen! She has been there for me through my entire pregnancy and during labor, she not only captured our beautiful story but she helped guide my husband on how to do counter pressure, she used words of wisdom and encouragement to help push me through and she wanted this outcome as much as I did I think! She helped fight for me! Then there is Emily!!! I never really knew what midwives were but when I met her and the 2 others through St Mary's I learned what its like to truly be cared for! They care about your mental and physical health..I felt loved by her..we cried together as we made it through the end of a journey that meant so much to me! Something she wanted for me just as much as I wanted for myself, sure we had some minor adjustments to our plan/preferences but ultimately we averted those changes as they were needed and we did it!!. And without her I surely couldnt have had the journey I had or the outcomes, she taught me how to listen to my body and physically helped me through contractions and made me feel like a warrior! Without these people and without myself being able to find the mental space I needed for this birth I could not have done it! It was an incredible journey and now onto the postpartum journey and loving on my baby girl! These photos tell the real story well!