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Ivy's Birth Story- A second amazing VBAC

Birth Story – Ivy Sue Lynch

This was my last pregnancy so it felt bittersweet from the start, since it was the finale of one of the greatest experiences of my life, pregnancy and childbirth. I was forever changed by each of my births, all were profound life changing events for me, but my second birth, my first VBAC, introduced me to some of the people who helped shape me into who I am today by allowing me to truly understand my power as a birthing mother. Birth changed me forever for the better and this last birth was the perfect culmination of 5 years of life experiences and was the perfect close to my birthing days.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to not have to go through the beginning phases of planning a VBAC. I had found my perfect team and was excited to just enjoy and relax throughout my pregnancy not having to do all the research again, since I knew my body and I knew what I was capable of. This was all until early October 2021 when I found out that the SSM midwives were being eliminated. I was heartbroken, devasted and angry. But I knew I had to channel this into something bigger. I couldn’t let them go without fighting for what was right, what I deserved and what birthing people in our community deserved. I started a Facebook group called “Save the SSM Midwives” the night I found out. I connected with another mom on Facebook and together we put together a Call to Action for the community to advocate for the restoration for the SSM midwives. Before logging off for the night, I contacted almost everyone I knew in the birth community and spread the word about the call to action. The next morning, I woke up to hundreds of people in the group. Everyone felt the same way and together as a community we made our voices known. The next few days were really overwhelming. We didn’t know what was going to happen and the thought of having to find a new provider was devastating. I felt really bonded to Emily, the midwife who helped deliver Aiden, my first VBAC and I couldn’t really imagine giving birth with anyone else as my provider. In the end, the voices of the community were heard. The SSM midwives were here to stay. I was elated both for the community as a whole, but also for myself and this little 6 week embryo growing strong.

This pregnancy was really enjoyable and quite easy for me. I knew this would be our last baby and my last pregnancy, so I tried to enjoy all the little things, like those first few flutters. Cora and Aiden were so excited to welcome their new baby brother or sister! Along my pregnancy, I didn’t really think I would go to 42 weeks again. I thought maybe I would go a few days late, or even hopefully a few days early. Little did I know, my body really likes to stay pregnant.

I was due May 25th and felt really strong the last few months of pregnancy. I was walking 2-4 miles per day and didn’t have too many aches and pains. Life was really enjoyable. I was working from home and was enjoying the brand new SSM clinic for my weekly midwife visits with Emily, Amber, Karin and Jess. As my due date approached, I started wondering what it would feel like to go into labor naturally and was hoping to experience that as my other two births had been inductions. As every day passed and I continued to be pregnant I began to wrap my head around going to 42 weeks again. It seemed impossible. How did I do it before? Every day I tried to take a walk and every afternoon I would have some intense braxton hicks cramps and then they would go away overnight. As I passed 41 weeks, I began to really accept that I would actually go to 42 weeks again. We scheduled the induction for 42 weeks and I just tried to enjoy as best I could, the last few days with my belly and those kicks inside.

The morning of June 8th, 42 weeks, I nursed Aiden before leaving for the hospital. I wasn’t sure what my nursing plans would be when I got home with the baby and my toddler nursling. But I had a feeling this might be our last time nursing. Just like last time, I drove myself to the hospital while Jesse took the kids to daycare. I walked myself down the long hallway, up the elevator and down the L&D hallway. I met the nurse at the entrance and requested room 7, the same room I gave birth in for my VBAC. Emily was on her way and the day started feeling really familiar, just like last time. I felt relaxed and really excited. In the last few days of pregnancy, I settled on my intention for the day, which was “celebrate”. I was not only celebrating the birth of my third baby but also celebrating how far I have come in the last five years. Five years ago, I was almost broken by a traumatic birth experience and here I was again but as a whole new person. I wanted to celebrate my body and how strong it is and how amazing I felt being able to experience this lifechanging event again.

As I walked into room 7, I felt really at ease. The nurse and I were chatting and soon after Emily walked through the door and I was so excited to see her and know that she was able to deliver this baby. Jesse arrived shortly after and after an assessment we realized that I was probably in the very early stages of labor, since I dilated a few centimeters and had lost my mucus plug already. The plan was to start right with Pitocin, which was really exciting! Jesse and Emily helped get the room set up but hanging the birth affirmations and covering the clock. The room was filled with joy and excitement. The next few hours as the Pitocin started were pretty slow. We chatted about the kids and how excited they were to meet baby. My blood pressure was a bit high as the morning progressed. It had been trending high the last two weeks. I knew I had a trigger with the sound of the blood pressure cuff, so my nurse suggested I put some headphones in and she would put the cuff on and not start it right away. That distraction worked and my blood pressure normalized a bit more out of the scary range. Emily encouraged me to eat something that morning before things got going and I was really glad for that! I ordered breakfast and fueled up for what I was planning on a long day of labor.

I was in touch with Nicole all morning and she was really encouraging. She wanted to come when things had picked up a bit more. I noticed Jesse was just eating snacks and around 2pm I encouraged him to go get something for lunch. He agreed that it was probably a good idea and he left me to just labor on my own while he went quick to go eat lunch. I actually really enjoyed the time alone. I was laying down with the peanut ball relaxing through the intensifying contractions. I went through a few on my own, just breathing through them and welcoming the intensity. Emily walked in and supported me through a few more before Jesse returned. She was such a calming and supportive presence the whole day.

Jesse returned and we together we thought it was a good time to let Nicole know she could come since things were picking up. My pitocin was at a 10 and I was beginning to get in my head thinking that it needed to go up more, but my body was rolling already with intensity. Emily and the nurse did some amazing double hip squeezes. I spent a lot of time on the toilet letting things get intense since I know that is how my body responds. Things were picking up fast. Emily got the tub ready and Nicole had arrived shortly before that. They encouraged me to get in the tub since I was beginning to vocalize. As I expected, the tub felt like heaven. It took a bit to find the right position in the tub, but once I did, things just relaxed into place. I could feel baby moving down and the intensity increased even more. I had only been in the tub for a few contractions before I started getting pushy. Nicole asked if I was pushing a bit, and I said yes but that I would stop if that meant I could stay in the tub. I didn’t want to get out. I asked Emily to check me and I was at a 7, but she said that she thought things would move quickly. Sure enough, after one or two more intense contractions I asked her to check again and I was almost

complete aside from an anterior lip. We started draining the tub and I had a few more really intense contractions.

I got out of the tub and got on the floor on all fours with the ball. I felt more grounded on the floor. I was really nervous about the lip so I asked to be checked again. Emily checked me again and said that I was complete. This all felt like déjà vu. This is exactly how things had gone before with Aiden and it felt really comforting. I felt really mentally present and could still hear everyone. I pushed for awhile on hands and knees and really dove into the intensity. I was reminding myself in my head how good this was no matter how intense it felt. I could hear Nicole and Emily speaking encouraging words and could feel Jesse’s support as I held his hands. I moved up to the bed on all fours and continued to push with a bit more comfort on my knees. I started feeling really tired and kept telling Nicole how exhausted I was. She reminded me how strong I was and that I was doing this. I was doing this. I felt incredibly supported and safe. I knew the work I was doing was the hardest work I’d ever do.

I flipped over to my back so that I could rest more in between. This is where the doubt started to creep in just like last time. The fear that baby wouldn’t come out came up each time. Everyone was so encouraging and reminded me that baby was coming. I think I asked Jesse each time if we were farther than we were with Cora and he said yes, yes we were. My water broke shortly after and we found out that baby had meconium. I wasn’t worried since I knew this was really common and I trusted that I was in the best care. Every contraction I would look down and see Emily and feel safe. I knew I was safe with her. I trusted her. I trusted that she knew me, knew my fears, knew my strength and she knew I could do this. I felt Nicole supporting me from behind, holding up my head, holding my hand and whispering supportive words every time I spoke doubt. I felt Jesse by my side encouraging me the whole time and never letting go of my hand. He knew my fear and spoke confidence whenever I doubted that I would get baby out.

I felt baby’s pressure and spoke doubt that she would come out. The next thing I heard was Emily saying to push gently and then I felt the ring of fire, felt the intensity and then felt baby come out. I instinctively reached my hands down, I knew this was it. I grabbed my baby and pulled her to my chest. The relief is something I hope I never forget. I did it. I put my head back and cried tears or joy, relief and celebration. I reached my hand down and grabbed Emily’s hand and thanked her for supporting me. I could hear everyone’s joy and excitement. We looked to see if baby was a boy or girl and to my huge surprise, it was a girl! I was overjoyed! Then Emily said she was OP and I was floored. I did that. I did what people told me I couldn’t do, birth a big OP baby. I just soaked in the golden hour. We took her to the warmer after awhile and learned she was 9 pounds 12 ounces. I was shocked. I did that. I birthed her with such power. I will never forget how proud of my body I felt in that moment.

Ivy, your birth was a true celebration. A celebration of you. A celebration of how amazing my body is that it grew you perfectly and birthed you. A celebration of how far I have come in the last 5 years; how much I have grown into myself and into motherhood. I always want to remember how strong and powerful I felt the day you were born. Above all, I want to remember how perfectly familiar you felt. You were always meant to be here, with us.

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