Roshni & Naveen took my HypnoBirthing classes at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas to prepare for their second birth. Their first birth was a c-section and they very much wanted to have a vaginal birth after c-section. They decided to have a homebirth with Dr. Biter & San Diego Midwife, LaShel Montgomery and Jamin Sylvada.
Baby Ira’s Birth Story
Wednesday, 2 November started out as a pretty regular day for us, with Naveen working from home like he does most Wednesdays and me getting Rian, our 3-year old ready for school. I had my prenatal appointment with Dr. Biter at noon and Naveen wanted to come along since we thought we would get to see our little one in an ultrasound. I had been getting practice surges for a few weeks now and also some cramping but nothing else and so was convinced that I would be going over my “due date” of 4 November. Although we were anxious, we tried not to think about it. We wanted to give ourselves the best option for an unmedicated natural VBAC and so had opted for a homebirth with Dr. Biter and the dream team.
We were very excited and anxious at the same time and the last few days were hard to focus on anything but the birth and how it would be. We had prepared the supplies and everything was ready to go! So to distract my mind, I activated my new iPhone that morning with the intention of immersing myself with learning to use it and also went around doing errands before my appointment! Then we went for our appointment with Dr. Biter at noon and were pleasantly surprised to see LaShel there. We ended up chatting with her for a while and she reassured us that everything would be fine. She also noticed my tummy tightening. Then Dr. Biter came in and also said the same thing. We did an ultrasound hoping to get a good 4D picture of our little angel in her now cramped home but she had turned face down and we could not get a clear picture, nevertheless I still took the very first photo on my new iPhone of our little angel inside her home within me! Dr. Biter then said he would see me early next week and then chuckled “or maybe tonight”!
We had lunch and returned home at 2 pm. I was very tired and went to take a short nap at 2:30pm. At 2:36 pm I felt this strong kick and quite painful cramping for about a minute. Then for the next half hour I felt strong cramping every 8- 10 minutes as I lay there on the bed. So I called Naveen and then got out of bed. It felt like my water had broken but I was not sure. So I called Dr. Biter and he said that if nothing changes then he would see me the next morning to determine if my water had really released. I called our doula Dawn and was talking to her when I got up and suddenly there was a strong gush and there was no doubt that my waters had released. The surges now were still of the same intensity and about 8-10 minutes apart. They were just uncomfortable but bearable.
So now that we were officially in early labor we started preparing our bedroom and Naveen got busy spreading plastic all over the carpet, setting up the water tub etc. I helped where I could in between the surges and alternated between the birth ball and helping Naveen. Dawn and I decided that she would come over at 7 pm to be with me while Naveen went to drop Rian off at my sister’s home in Orange County. Later my sister called to say that she would instead come to our home and bring Rian with her so that Naveen did not have to leave me.
I am not sure how the time went and before I knew Dawn arrived home and I felt an immediate sense of comfort. She observed me for a bit and said that my belly was low or “pendulous” and the baby was not quite in the pelvis. My surges were now 4-5 minutes apart but very short in duration. So she suggested that we go for a curb walk (one foot on the curb, one on the asphalt) to help the baby engage into the pelvis. Dr. Biter called me to check how I was doing. He said that he would come very soon to “catch the baby” and that I should try and rest as much as possible. Rian was being quiet and staying away from me as he must have guessed something is going on. So we asked him if he wanted to join us but he said he “no thank you, I want to relax with my dad”. For a moment I felt guilty that I was the cause of this discomfort in my little one and that our exclusive and precious Rian-Mama times together was coming to an end, but I canceled that thought quickly thinking that this was temporary and that he would have a sibling to play with soon.
So it was just Dawn and me and we went outside at 8:30 pm and walked for perhaps 10 minutes. By then my sister and her family arrived and we came back inside the house. My surges started getting longer, a bit more intense but further apart. Dawn, my sister and I headed upstairs and spent some time together chatting before Rian and my sister’s family left. Rian was a changed boy once he saw his cousin and playmate and was happy again!
When Naveen joined us upstairs my labor actively progressed as Dawn had predicted and the surges got more and more uncomfortable, and I also started feeling cold and started trembling. Don’t quite know how things changed after that but I went into active labor and Naveen and Dawn helped me through each of the surges as they became more and more intense. Initially I made low moaning noises but then I got tired and breathless and eventually I just tried to breathe downwards through each one with Dawn’s help. She kept reminding me to embrace the pain and not fight it; to imagine the energy moving down and out. She also applied counter pressure on my lower back which helped a lot and Naveen simultaneously squeezed my hand.
I alternated between lying on the bed and sitting on the toilet. The surges on the toilet felt like they would lift me out of my body at times and so I asked Naveen to stand on my feet so I would feel grounded when the surges came and would not fly off! All that pressure somewhat relieved the sensations from the surges. I also got into the shower and the water tub at times but I kept getting cold and did not feel good in the water tub at all. Sometime, probably around 11 pm I opened my eyes and saw that Dr. Biter had arrived and his calm presence gave me an instant relief and also the reassuring feeling that things were progressing well. He examined me gently and also massaged away some cervical scar tissue while I went through another surge. Although this was very uncomfortable, Dr. Biter was ever so gentle and encouraging through it. He then said that I was getting close and that I was between 6 and 7 cms.
After that it was just trying to get through each surge and for the next two hours I was in transition and at times felt like this would go on forever. Suddenly when I was in the tub Dawn whispered that I was 9.5 cm! Wow, I thought, soon I could push and our baby would be out. Dr. Biter asked if I had the urge to push but I did not though the surges just kept getting stronger and I just wanted to be on the bed. Shortly after, I did get the feeling to void myself and apparently I made low grunting noises which was when Dr. Biter suggested that I try pushing.
I think pushing was the hardest part for me because no matter how hard I tried I felt the baby was not coming through and I felt I was not engaging the right muscles. Dr Biter made me change positions several times and move from side to side. I also sat on the toilet again to see if that would help the baby descend further down. I was then asked to squat. Although it was painful, Dawn whispered in my ear that the pelvis gets 33% wider in a squatting position and she recommended that I squat for a couple of surges. After that I was back on the bed and it was time to push again! I don’t know how many times I pushed, just remember being extremely exhausted with the pressure and having a tremendous urge to just close my eyes and sleep, but each time my surges went down, my uterus was massaged to start it up again.
Dr. Biter then softly talked to me about going beyond the exhaustion, giving me the example of walking over hot rocks on the beach to get to the beautiful ocean, about how close I was to having the VBAC that I had dreamt of. He also asked me to reach down and feel the baby’s head just waiting to emerge. He was so soft and so encouraging and my sweet husband Naveen fed me grapes and coconut water so I get more energy to push further.
Then out of the blue during one of those pushes Dawn asked me to open my eyes and look down, and there she was-magically out of me at 3:06 am after two hours of pushing-7lbs and 8 oz, and 20 inches long! Naveen and I lifted her gently while Dr. Biter supported her and our little angel Ira was on my chest. It was the most amazing and beautiful moment of my life so far that I still cannot believe happened. Just for this one moment I would go through all of that pain and more! Ira was our champion and stayed strong through the whole labor. Never once did it even occur to me that I should take any medication for the pain or that I was having a VBAC! Everything was so natural and almost sacred in so many ways and the support I had from my husband, Dawn and the dream team was just awesome.
I had a very minor tear that Dr. Biter sutured up gently, did not feel a thing! He then revealed to us that Ira had an arm on her head (nuchal hand) and the cord was wrapped loosely around her neck, arm, waist and her leg twice! So Dr. Biter had to slowly ease her out while I pushed! So although Ira showed no distress, she sure was all tangled up! No wonder I felt like I was pushing my heart out and she just would not descend! Dr. Biter was so calm and confident that no one could tell what was happening! Ira latched on immediately and she is such a calm, happy baby, nurses and sleeps as they say just “like a baby”!
I was diligent in listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD every night for the last two months but somehow I never got to listening to it during labor at all, but Dawn said that I used all the hypnobirthing tools during labor and was very calm, quiet and focused especially during transition. She even said that it was hard at times to tell whether I was having a surge and she was concerned that perhaps things were slowing down. But then she realized that I only reacted at the very peak of the surge! I do remember reminding myself to think of being closer to my baby during each of the surges and that the pain was getting me closer to meeting my baby.
Dawn was simply amazing in reminding and coaching me to embrace the pain and go towards and not fight it. Anyone looking for a doula, look no further!! Thanks Carol for the tools you provided us during hypnobirthing class! Many thanks for the wonderful and loving support from my husband and many thanks to Dr. Biter and the dream team to help us achieve our dream birth. San Diego is truly fortunate to have them and I hope that many more will be able to have the transformative experience that we did! An unmedicated totally natural birth is the most empowering and beautiful experience a woman can ever have! After my previous C-section, this has been a sacred and healing process for us! Homebirths are the way to go!!
Thanks for sharing your story, Roshni & Naveen! It is such an inspiring story! I'm thrilled that you were able to have such a healing, empowering VBAC!
If you are interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes to prepare for your birth, please visit Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net to learn more.
If you are interested in hiring Dr. Biter & San Diego Midwife, LaShel & Jamin, please visit their website www.sandiegomidwife.com. You can also contact Dr. Biter at 760-642-0800.
If you are interested in hiring Dawn Thompson to be your doula, you can contact her via her website at www.douladawn.com.