Linda was determined, after undergoing a cesarean with her last pregnancy, to VBAC this time around. VBAC means vaginal birth after cesarean. Many women don’t realize they have that option, at one time people believed, “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean”. More women are now learning that they can have the option to give vaginal birth after cesarean.
Anyways, back to Linda… Linda is funny, outgoing, and quite a planner. As time drew closer for her birth, she nested and prepared meals. Once she passed the 40 week mark, tired of hearing people ask if Luke was ready to come out yet, I could tell that Linda needed a pick-me-up. I visited Linda at 41 weeks, she was discouraged that her body might be failing her, that she may not go into labor at all. I had faith that things would happen in their correct time, and I wanted to find a way to lift her spirits. So we did a fun “Goddess Maternity” session. It was just the trick to help her see how gorgeous and glowing she looked. It also helped keep her mind off of what was or wasn’t happening.
After days of teasing, off and on contractions, Linda was finally in active labor! Funny thing, it was the day of her baby shower. Babies have incredible timing! Her home was a buzz of activity with family and friends. When we entered the room to assess the situation, a crowd of friends were hanging out trying to talk to Linda while she was in bed working through contractions. Kristen and I set up the birth space, and encouraged friends to hang out in the living room. Linda’s husband, Keith, was a great support to her. At some point in labor, the baby’s heart tones were acting wonky and Linda felt nervous that something was wrong. After talking with Linda, and honoring how important it is to listen to mother’s instincts, we called for an EMT transfer.
The midwife rode along in the ambulance with Linda and the other assistant followed her to the hospital, while I stayed behind to clean up the birth space. While I stayed behind to clean, her son, Noah, kept me company. Talking about Pokemon was a great distraction while I worked to quickly get out of there. By the time I got to the hospital, Linda was already in surgery. We anxiously waited near the nursery until they opened the blinds. Keith was standing with Luke, looking him over. Once we knew that Linda and Luke were both doing well, we left them to rest, and visited them the following day. We talked with Linda about her birth and her experience with the local hospital. Luke was just fine, he has a low baseline heart rate, but after lots of tests, they were sure that there wasn’t anything wrong with him.
Once Linda got some time to adjust at home, we scheduled a family and newborn session. Luke is a champion nurser, and didn’t appreciate us trying to do portraits, when all he wanted to do was breastfeed all day! So there were lots of breaks in the session to nurse and to comfort him.
One last thing I would like to say… I am so proud of Linda for attempting to VBAC. She was so brave and strong! It was great that her body kicked into labor on it’s own this time. Even if Luke didn’t have a vaginal birth, Linda and him both got to experience the process of labor… the incredible bond that is struck when you endure so much pain, for love.