FROM WHITE COAT TO GRANOLA

After graduating nursing school my husband and I wanted to start a family.  Knowing I had fertility problems, off to the fertility clinic we went. Treatment resulted in a twin pregnancy. This was one of those nightmare pregnancies with lots of interventions and hospitalizations. I am shocked they didn't come out with extra limbs after all the high risk medication I had to take. I ended up with an emergency c-section at the end of 31 weeks, hemorrhaging, and two premature NICU babies. Everyone is fine now.

Next go around we threatened the fertility clinic not to give us another twin nightmare pregnancy. With lighter treatment we were pregnant with just one baby. Toward the end of another rough pregnancy, my doctor explained how horrible and dangerous a VBAC would be. Who in their right mind would question a highly educated doctor?  So, in the interest of mom and baby, I chose the "safer" elective c-section.  This "safer" choice resulted in an infected incision and surgery one year later to remove problematic scar tissue that had attached my uterus to the abdominal wall.

God has a sense of humor, because I got pregnant the next time without the highly romantic, sterile fertility clinic setting. After some wonderful Christians prayed over me for healing, God healed me of my aggressive endometriosis and polycystic ovarian disease.  My surgery and lab tests found no evidence of fertility problems. The doctors had no explanation. I do! God closes the womb and He opens the womb.

This is where my medical paradigm of childbirth shifted from white coat to granola!  I moved to another state and become friends with women who practically squat in a field to birth their babies. I found out that it is possible to VBAC after two c-sections! I didn't learn that in nursing school!

I researched everything. I was on a mission. I found a nurse midwife, hospital, and doula that were on board with my plan to VBA2C. After forty-one hours of an intervention filled, medicated labor and four hours of pushing, my VBA2C was successful. I was shocked that a baby could fit out of that hole!

God blessed us with another pregnancy. We would have to tell people, "Yes, we do know what birth control is. It is giving God the control over how many we birth."  We would not want to ever refuse God's blessings.

I decided that birthing on land was old hat. I wanted to have a waterbirth this time. Every hospital midwife/doctor group adamantly refused me this option.  I was upset that these health care providers based their decisions about my body on their money potential, their convenience, and possible lawsuits instead of patient safety. I was going to birth this baby my way, on my terms!  After much prayer and research, I ventured into the homebirth world with my granola friends' support.

On June 30 my water broke around 4:00 am. My contractions picked up pretty quickly. My wonderful doula came over and off to my friend's house we went. When the midwife showed up, I was already seven centimeters. I was shocked that I had been able to cope with the contractions. The water in the tub helped with the pain, but only to a certain point. The heat of the water actually intensified my nausea, so I ended up not being in the tub towards the end.

I reached the moment when I started screaming for drugs. I wanted them to take me to the hospital. They sweetly told me how close I was to having this baby. I was convinced they were lying to me. I sat on the edge of the bed so I could leave and drive myself to the hospital. When I sat up, I had the urge to push.   knew I was up a creek at that point, so I lay back down to push. My husband was such a wonderful support person. He became a contortionist trying to help me pull my legs back while supporting my head too. A whopping 10 lbs. 2 oz. baby girl came out forty-nine minutes later.

I have had another VBA2C since this birth. Unfortunately, I had to return to the hospital setting due to some of my health problems. I had to go through four medical professionals before I found someone who would not force me down the c-section path. The last one I found just a week and a half before going into labor. God is good! He reassured me every step of the way. While preparing to go to the hospital, I decided to read my morning devotional. I was ready for a wonderfully encouraging Scripture. Instead, God gave me the verse I needed to hear. My devotional quoted Job 2:10, "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" I understood the good was my baby, the adversity was hard labor. God helped me to prepare mentally for the hard road.

Off to the hospital we went. I had 16 hours of very hard back labor. The back pain was so bad that I couldn't even feel my precious baby boy come out. Everyone said his head was out. I thought they were lying to me, trying to just encourage me that the end was near. I actually had to concentrate past the back pain to feel the rest of him come out.

The un-medicated birth was on my hands and knees. The doctor and nurses had never experienced a hands and knees delivery before. One nurse even said that she wanted a birth like mine when she becomes a mother. I found out later that he came out with his shoulders in the transverse position. That position is associated with an 82% c-section rate. Praise Jesus that we did not have to go down that path. God promised me my Judah and he was finally here, weighing 8lbs. 2oz.

Each birth has definitely stretched my faith in God. I faced such huge obstacles that I felt God could never get me out of and of course He always did!  Praise Jesus that we have a God who knows us intimately and loves us more than we can ever comprehend!

ERIN DENNEY
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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