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VBAC Birth Story

October 26, 2012

My beautiful attempt at a home, water, VBAC without a proven pelvis…. 
(the “near perfect birth” of Ruby Lee Bangor)

My husband and I had had some pretty crazy sex the night before ( I like starting my birth story out like that), and on Friday, Sept 7th, 2012 I woke up at around 8 am having contractions. Light but painful and definitely real contractions, without mistake. I mention this because I kept thinking I’d not know if they were real or Braxton hicks contractions when I finally felt something. I had never felt anything that seemed like what contractions are supposed to be like, and with my first daughter who ended up in a c-section because she was in breech, I’d never felt anything at all with that kid. So yeah, I KNEW they were real contractions, but I was happy and excited. So we started timing, and i texted Scottie, my midwife, and let her know that they were about 5 minutes apart and definitely not just “feelings” as I always put it when I felt slight cramping during pregnancy. She said to relax and stop timing them for now. So we did. I showered a couple of times and got in the birthing tub for pain relief, because it was definitely uncomfortable but, at that point i was still happy and excited. They were getting more painful with each contraction and there were very few positions I felt even the slightest bit comfortable in. So we labored that day… Scottie came over that evening and checked me, and I was only 1 or 2 cm dilated and about 80 effaced, and she checked Ruby’s heart rate. She said all was well and we have time, so let’s wait it out and she went home. I tried to sleep in between contractions through the night with a little glass of wine and a Benadryl. I “woke up” the next morning and they were still about 4 or 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. So that day we tried to get things going by walking and being active all day, as much as I could, and I can’t believe I walked the whole 20 minutes path around my neighborhood. It actually felt great and slowed down the contractions. Which was not the plan but it was a nice break. So we labored on that day, with the contractions staying pretty much exactly the same distance apart and the same length. The next night the plan was to try to relax again and get some sleep in between the contractions, which at this point started to feel a lot stronger, and I started to internally freak out a little bit because I knew things were getting harder… but I was still only in early labor and they didn’t seem to be picking up time-wise. So at some point that Saturday night/sunday morning Russ called Scottie and we felt the need for her and Amanda the student doula I lucked out and found on Craigslist, to come and help take care of me. I was needing more help getting through the contractions and although Russell had been amazing up to now, he was wearing down and needed sleep… So they took turns through the night being there for me until the sun came up. They were all wonderful, and I especially remember Amanda sitting in my bed behind me putting the heating pad on me and pushing my tail bone with her hand, and it helping immensely. Scottie was amazing at relaxing me during each contraction, when all I wanted to do was tense up and get away from the pain. She would help remind me how to stay relaxed and how to breath through the pain. I kept reminding myself to be the pain, that I was the pain, so I couldn’t and shouldn’t try to run from it. Two days now of contractions, and still only early labor, because when Scottie checked me that night I think I was still only about 2 cm. The contractions were about 3 to 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long all that day… And although I was definitely in a lot of pain, and had been contracting for about 48 hours, I was still in the beginning stages physically. I was feeling amazingly strong and awake for all that laboring and lack of sleep , so we trucked on and all agreed to stick it out through Sunday… Until the real labor begun. I was getting more and more anxious in knowing that it was going to get more intense and more often, but I was willing to do it. I just wanted it to hurry up and happen instead of causing me this anxiety about it, for what was seeming like forever! 
That night, while trying to rest, some time  in the early morning hours of Monday, I started getting the urge to push within these intensifying contractions, which did not feel good at all. It scared me and I made Russell call Scottie and get her over right away. Once she came over, well, most of that is a blur but the pushing reflex kept happening, she checked me and said I was still only about 4 cm dilated. I got into the birth pool, and once in she checked my blood pressure, which was getting a bit high. She listened to Ruby with the Doppler and this is when everything changed. She heard her heart rate drop. We listened through one more contraction and she heard  it drop again. She immediately told us after that second drop, that it was time to pack up and go to the hospital. She said we had to monitor the drops in heart rate, and that if my blood pressure stayed high, an epidural could help lower it, and also help me finish in dilation, which obviously wasn’t progressing quite like it should. So we drove to the hospital, both me and my husband in a disappointed and scared state of shock… Because we did not want to be at the hospital, and we didn’t know what they were going to do. Even though Scottie was specifically picking that hospital and getting us there before it was a real emergency, because that hospital would most likely do what they could to help us get a VBAC…. We didn’t believe it. They got me in a room and started monitoring, and let’s not forget at this point  I am having terrible contractions with a strong reflex to push, an urge I’m supposed to be trying to stop and have control over, but I just can’t. It’s called a fetal ejection reflex for a reason. A long hour or so passes and I finally get the epidural, which I only said ok to because it would lower my blood pressure and help me to progress, but once the thought of pain relief was in my sights, I wanted it soooo bad. After 72 hours of contractions, I was more than ready for it. I got it, and from that point it was just a waiting game for me to dilate to complete. Her heart rate drops kept happening but because they kept rising back quickly, the doctor said he wasn’t worried about it, which we were thrilled to hear, because everytime we saw a drop we all were  worried he would see that and say it was c-section time. He didn’t and finally around 12:30pm he checked me, and with all of us anxiously watching and listening, he said I was complete and it was time to push!  We all cheered and got ready to start! I was soooooo ready to get my baby out of me and in my arms! So I pushed, and right away we saw hair, so I pushed and pushed some more, and I got to watch a lot of it in a big mirror they brought in for me, and at the last second the doctor moved the mirror, jumped down there and I don’t remember feeling her head come out, but then I heard her little clogged throat voice, trying to spit out a cry.. And she sounded beautiful. I felt her body flop out and I got ready to put her on my chest. They FINALLY put her on me, (i had been waiting for this moment since the c-section of my first daughter. All I wanted when she was born was to hold her right away, but instead I didn’t get to touch or see her for 4 and a half hours) and I got Ruby’s little moist slimy body on me and I just rubbed and rubbed her and talked to her. I don’t know what I said but I’m sure I said hi about a hundred times, and I hope I told her I love her, because that’s all I was thinking at the moment. It was wonderful and exactly what I wanted. At that point I considered the birth to had gone wonderfully and although it didn’t turn out the way we planned, it turned out exactly how it was supposed to.
I can’t tell you how invaluable Scottie was to have there at the hospital with us, to keep the idea of this birth being as peaceful and natural as possible. Just her presence set up the vibe that everyone their knew what kind of birth experience we were looking to have.  I think it’s very important to keep in mind that even though you have one plan for a birth, it can go another way, and still turn out just right, and be exactly perfect to teach you certain lessons and give you a perfectly tailored for you experience. That is if you have the right back up plan in mind, the right support system, and all goes well, which I know isn’t always necessarily the case, but when it can be, we can be thankful for that and not worry over the little details that weren’t perfect. I really wanted that homebirth, but I got to labor at home for almost three  days, and I am very thankful for that, and I wouldn’t ever want it any other way. Although we ended up at the hospital  I learned a lot and felt my needs were heard and respected, and I never thought that could happen in a hospital setting. It was amazing and definitely empowering! I loved my homebirth, turned hospital birth! I can’t believe I can say that, but I totally loved it! 

Bianca Bangor

A Note to First Time Mamas: Part 2

March 1, 2012

(This post is the second part of previous post entitled A Note to First Time Mamas: Part 1)

Ok first timers I know your midwives have told you these things before but I also know that many of you dont believe her or you thought you would be the exception! So here are some of the most common things that your midwife may tell you that you may not believe but will make a HUGE difference in your labor.

Second, first time moms typically go a week late! 

Really this could be a note to any expectant mama but first time moms are more likely to fall victim to impatience. First time moms go an average of 10 days late. Every first time mom thinks that she will be the exception to this. It is so much better to expect to go late and maybe end up going early than setting yourself up to fail by expecting to go early. I have had so many moms tell me at their 40 week visit “I cant believe Im still pregnant! I feel two weeks overdue!” Imagine how this mama feels at 42 weeks!

So there are many reasons why we should not rush babies out. Having a baby is a journey- and I don’t mean just the birth itself. Every mom and baby have a process that they have to go through before the baby can be born. Interrupting this journey can affect both mother and baby for the rest of their lives; not to mention the birth itself. Often times there is a legitimate emotionl, psycological, or physical reason that a baby hasnt been born yet.

When we initiate labor (in contrast to the mother/baby unit doing so) neither the mother nor the baby are physically ready. Many times this appears to work out fine. But often babies have heart tone issues. This occurs because the infant is not physically ready for the stress of labor- the normal oxygen deprivation. Another common complication is “failure” to progress. The cervix is just not ready to open yet. The mother may be begining labor with a thick cervix or the baby has not dropped yet so there is no pressure on the cervix. Many mothers also experience a longer pushing stage than they would have otherwise. This is because she hasnt had the needed time to allow the hormones, like relaxin, to work on her tissues. These are just the obvious physical signs that the mother/baby unit was not ready for birth yet.

There are also many emotional reasons that a mother may not have entered labor yet. There is often a mental process that a mother must go through to prepare for labor. Maybe she has fears that she needs to deal with, relationship issues to work out, or she is just not ready to let go of the pregnancy yet. If you rush the birth at this point she will need to do all her emotional and psycological processing during the birth. This is possible. I have seen it happen. But it often means that the labor is long and may stall out periodically to give the mother at chance to catch up mentally.

This is not to say that there is never a reason to induce. There are many medical reasons for induction that are very legitimate. This why it is important to spend time during your pregnancy working through any fears about birth or parenting you may have and in general preparing yourself for the birth.

So, how can you not suffer from the anxiousness that so many mothers experience at the end of pregnancy?

-Expect to go late

-Dont set any dates that you cant imagine still being pregnant after

-Dont tell others your due date- give them a general period. You dont need others calling to see if you have had the baby or exclaiming about how they can not believe you are STILL pregnant!

-And patience. Lots of patience

Remind yourself everyday that no one stays pregnant forever. Your baby will be born when he/she is ready.

A Note to First Time Mamas: Part One

November 16, 2011

Ok first timers I know your midwives have told you these things before but I also know that many of you dont believe her or you thought you would be the exception! So here are some of the most common things that your midwife may tell you that you may not believe but will make a HUGE difference in your labor.

First, if your midwife tells you to rest then you should probably rest.
The number 1 reason a first time mom is transported is because of exhaustion. I estimate that 30-40% of our first time moms fall victim to this.

The story typically goes something like this; mom has been having strong contractions all day and night. At first they were more than 10 minutes apart but now they are about 5. So she calls her midwife. The midwife comes over to check on her and finds that she is 2 cm dilated. This is actually great news because during a previous visit the mom had been closed, thick, and high (0cm dilation, maybe 50-60% effaced, with a posterior Os). The midwife tells the mom that she is not in labor yet and needs to rest, eat, and drink LOTS of water. Then the midwife leaves. Mama tries to rest but she is excited and contractions are painful so she gets up to walk around (plus isn’t that what they say to do to get contractions stronger?). 5-10 hrs later contractions are really strong now and so the mama calls the midwife back.The midwife comes over again. Now the mama is 3 cm or maybe even 4. But she is still not in labor. At this point one of two things happens either the mom kicks over into labor pretty soon or she does not. It does not really matter which scenario happens because in the best case the mama still has about 12 hrs of labor to go and she has lost 1-2 nights of sleep, she hasn’t been able to eat enough, and has drunk a lot of water but finds that maybe it wasn’t enough. She is tired and dehydrated. Contractions are extremely painful but are doing little because of the lack of sleep and dehydration. The midwife spends 8 more hrs trying to force contractions, giving the mother an IV, or trying to get her to rest. But 9 times out of 10 at some point in this process the mother or the baby screams DONE and off to the hospital they go.

So why is this so common?

Because it is normal, in fact expected, for a first time mom to have at least one if not more nights of what we call warm up labor. This is your body’s way of practicing and preparing for labor. It sometimes seamlessly progresses to labor but more often than not it stops. These contractions are often strong and painful. It is very hard even for midwives to tell the difference between warm up and early labor because they look so similar. So mamas and sometimes the midwife get tricked into thinking this is labor. Once this happens and the midwives are gathered this gives the mother permission (so to speak) to think she is in labor and that means to be in pain.

Then what is labor?

Active labor is when cervical dilation is happening and you are more than 4 cm dilated. Dilation is the only way to know for sure if you are in labor. The contraction pattern can tell you a lot but it is not definitive. If contractions are less than 5 minutes apart, lasting longer than a minute, AND over time they are getting stronger, lasting longer, and getting closer together then you may be dilating.

What can you do to prevent this common scenario?

If you are a first time mom expect to have nights of uncomfortable contractions that are not labor. If you midwife tells you that you are not in labor then try to rest. Even if you are not sleeping staying in bed laying down, resting between contractions can make the difference between transport and not. Also, during warm up and early labor eat as much healthy, high protein food as you can and drink more water than you think is necessary. A good rule of thumb is to pretend you are not in labor for as long as you can. Trust me- babies do not just fall out. You will have plenty of time to get your midwife there.

Coming soon: Part Two of A Note to First Time Mamas

Natural Induction Methods

October 21, 2011

When people read about the risks of pitocin a common response is “but what is the alternative?”.

There are many safe and effective natural induction methods. It is important that you use these methods carefully- they are natural methods but they still work and are therefore dangerous. Always discuss these methods with your healthcare provider before you use them and NEVER (unless recommended by your healthcare provider) take before 38 weeks of pregnancy.

Some of the safest methods of induction include heterosexual, unprotected, intercourse, sex of any kind, and exercise. All of these things should cause contractions. Heterosexual intercourse has the added benefit of semen being a natural prostaglandin- meaning it softens and effaces the cervix. Orgasm causes uterine contractions and just being loving with your partner causes an increase in oxytocin (the hormone that causes contraction and your breast milk to let down).

Once you have decided that those methods are not enough you can introduce nipple stimulation (using your fingers or a breast pump), herbs, and homeopathy but as these methods become more effective they also become more dangerous.

If there comes a time when the baby must come out I usually implement what is know as Midwife Boot Camp. This is highly affective- especially if you are postdates. Here is the plan:

-pump for 20 mins every hr

-go for walks (make sure you are walking at a quick pace!)

-alternate between blue cohosh and black cohosh (one dropperful of tincture) every half hr

I always recommend that my clients stop stimulating contractions by 6 pm to prevent contractions from keeping them up all night. Make sure you are eating, drinking, and resting as much as possible.

My warning: this process induces strong contractions and it is a good idea to monitor the baby’s heart rate during this process to make sure that he or she is responding well. Pay attention to how your baby is moving- they should be moving normally.

And my last note of caution: THIS IS NOT FOR VBACs!

Many women ask about castor oil. Castor oil is highly effective in stimulating contractions but it is not a fun process. I save this for a last ditch effort and if your water breaks or you are having explosive diarrhea you should make sure that someone is listening to your baby’s heart tones. Most women take way more that is needed- 2 oz is more than enough!

All of these methods are safe if used properly which is why they are best used under the supervision of someone who is familiar with childbirth and monitoring babies. They are a great alternative to pitocin and can even prevent some C-sections.

With knowledge comes power and with power comes great responsibility so use wisely!

Bringing Back the BabyBloc: How and Why Kids are an Important Part of the #Occupy Movement | CUNTastic

October 15, 2011





Bringing Back the BabyBloc: How and Why Kids are an Important Part of the #Occupy Movement | CUNTastic.

This is a really neat idea!

The Homebirth of Eden Miela

September 28, 2011


The Homebirth of Eden Miela.

Kayla’s story of the birth of her daughter Eden.

You Just Told the Wrong Mama to go Breastfeed in the Bathroom. |

September 8, 2011





You Just Told the Wrong Mama to go Breastfeed in the Bathroom. | CUNTastic.

You go breastfeeding mamas!!!!

The Birth of Eden

September 6, 2011

I met with Kayla for her prenatal the day she went into labor. Her due date was the next day but she had expected her baby for weeks now. She was frustrated and ready to not be pregnant anymore.
Her labor began that evening as she rushed around the grocery store trying to finish her grocery shopping before contractions got too intense. This was her second baby and her first birth had been a very normal home birth so she suspected she had some time. An hour later she called me to report that contractions were 5 mins apart and different than the nightly Braxton Hicks contractions she had been having for weeks. I told her to call me in 30 mins if they stayed the same or sooner if they got more difficult or closer together. Sure enough and hour and half later I got the call that they were much harder now.
When I arrived Kayla was in the birth tub having very strong contractions about every 3-4 mins and they were lasting a minute or more. She was doing an amazing job of staying relaxed and centered with each contraction. I set up my equipment and started my charting.
Within 45 mins it was obvious that Kayla was moving along quickly and it was time to call my assistant out. The photographer, Cecily Humble, had arrived and was snapping away. The contractions became even harder and Kayla decided to get out of the tub for a while as she was begining to struggle with them a little more. When I told her that I thought things were moving quickly it was obvious that she didnt believe me. Kayla decides to get back in the tub. At 12:45ish Kayla developes a overwhelming urge to push and at 12:55am Kayla reaches under the water to catch Baby Eden as she is born with some help from Daddy David.

See some beautiful photos from the birth here:

The home birth of baby E..

ACOG: Post Dates is Past 42 Weeks

August 23, 2011

ACOG: Post Dates is Past 42 Weeks.

New Risk for ADHD Identified – Use of Pitocin During Labor |

July 21, 2011




New Risk for ADHD Identified – Use of Pitocin During Labor |

Dont know if there really is a link here but interesting to note.