"My Rebirth Through Leo's Birth," a VBAC journey with doula support

Authored by: mom Natalie

Mindful Birth Doula: Tara

"The birth of my first son, Eli, via Caesarean-Section, in July of 2018 left me physically, mentally, and emotionally devastated. I had developed severe pre-eclampsia at 32 weeks, and he had to be delivered immediately. Because he was a preemie, he was immediately carried away to

the NICU after being removed from my body; and I actually did not even get to see him until two days later, when I was finally “allowed” to leave my hospital room to go to his.

Our journey then continued with a 5-week NICU stay before he was able to come home. The day I was discharged from the hospital and went home without my baby was, by far, the worst day of my life. Although I am grateful everyday that he had no serious health complications (he just needed extra time to continue to grow and learn to feed on his own), not a day goes by that I don’t feel some sense of sadness in how our story began. I have always felt like his birth was just something that happened to me, and that I was not a part of the experience at all. I still don’t feel like I brought my first-born into this world. And so, I have been dreaming of and working hard for a different kind of birth story since the day he was born – even as I was still laying there in my hospital bed.

So, after over two and a half years of dreaming, hoping, praying, researching, and preparing –

there we were…It was the day before my “estimated due date” with baby #2; and the day started

with a 7:30am OB appointment. I had some health concerns develop during this pregnancy

(intermittent high blood pressure readings and contracted COVID around 35 weeks), but nothing

as serious as my first pregnancy. My midwives had had me monitoring my own blood pressure at

home twice a day, and it was generally normal. But, at my appointment that day, it was high (as

it usually was at my appointments). The midwife agreed to give me a few minutes to relax

before trying to take it again, but also stated that they would be sending me over to the hospital

for an induction that day. Of course, my blood pressure did not go down after that conversation.

Needless to say, I was not happy to be induced. Instead of being excited that I was finally going

to meet my new baby, I could only focus on the fact that things were not going according to “my

plan” again.

I had the midwife do a cervical check, wanting to know if my body was showing any signs of

being “ready” for the vaginal birth that I so desperately wanted. There was slight improvement

from the week before, but I was still only 1-2cm dilated and 40% effaced. The doctor said the

induction was not emergent, so Pete and I decided to go home, finish packing things up, eat, take

a shower, and relax for a few minutes.

As we were wandering around the house that morning putting our last minute things together for

the dreaded hospital trip, all I kept thinking was, “I wish I had given El