Tracy's VBAC

On February 19, 2002 we were blessed by the birth of our daughter Maya. The birth was the most memorable and spiritual moment of my life. I thank the midwives of the Miami Beach Maternity Center, specifically Shari Daniels for helping us fulfull our dream. God Bless.

My first child, a son, was born by c-section in April, 1999. I had planned a natural birth with him and the doctor said he'd support us with our birth plan. We had planned a waterbirth and I had rented a tub, but the hospital changed their mind and wouldn't let us use it. From the time the doctor arrived at the hospital things began to go horribly. He broke my water at 8 cm after an argument with us that we lost . . . then at 9 cm he told me that my only chance of having a natural birth was if I had pitocin (now a bad word in our house). Talk about the worst experience of my life! I had no pain killers and then the pitocin. First my contractions stopped, so to get my labor going again they cranked it up. Things went from bad to worse, and it resulted in a c-section. My only condolence was that I was awake for the birth, because I hadn't had painkillers.

As my second birth approached this doctor said I could try a natural birth again. But I had lost all faith in him, so I started looking for a birthing center that would allow a VBAC waterbirth. We live in the Cayman Islands so I decided to look in Florida and right away made a connection with Shari Daniels of the Miami Beach Maternity Center. They had done VBAC waterbirths before and I soon learned that they were the only place still doing them.

We flew to Miami on February 1. I had started having contractions 3-4 weeks prior to the birth. They would start up and then stop. I was dilating too, which was encouraging. At 38 weeks I was 2 cm, so I thought it was going to be any day . . . Ha!!! On February 18th I was so frustrated that I went to the hotel gym and rode a bike for 20 minutes. I don't know if it helped, but that evening contractions started up again and didn't stop. My husband thought we should try to sleep. I laid down and they intensified, so I stayed up and we watched the Vagina Monologues on TV (how very appropriate). I called the birth center at 3 AM since the contractions were about 5 minutes apart. Shari said to come on in. We got there at 4 AM. They checked me around 6:30 AM and I was 5 cm! The midwife said I could get into the jacuzzi. When I got into the water it was so amazing! I relaxed so much. One of the midwives held my hand and encouraged me to focus all my energy into our grip and relax my body through the contraction, to let it open me up. My husband showed up and my contractions got stronger and closer. I had 3 of them back to back, but yhey were totally manageable. My husband was in the tub with me and I found it so comforting to face him and almost straddle him on my knees. I would bury my my face in his neck, and the smell of his cologne made me relax.

We chatted and laughed with the midwives in between contractions; it was so calm. Around 9:30 or 10 AM I found that I was starting to push my legs against the sides of the tub during the contractions and I couldn't resist that urge. They called Shari, the head midwife. I was fully dialated and was pushing! My water hadn't broken yet and it was bulging out, so she gently broke it. I pushed for awhile and Shari realized that the baby wasn't coming down any further while I was in that position. I have swayback, which means my spine is very arched. The baby wasn't able to make the turn past my spine as I would arch even more with each push. Shari helped me change my position and I pushed again with a midwife supporting my back to prevent me from arching. This helped and the baby began to make her way down.

I didn't think I'd want to, but I felt her head when she began to crown and it was unreal! As she crowned they got me to pant and two midwives, Shari and Grace, gently helped my body stretch around the baby's head and out she came. Grace caught her and gave her to me right away. She was incredible. She cried right away, and you could see the transition in her from white/blue to pink, immediately. The room was full of sunlight which reflected in the water. I never imagined that a birth could be so beautiful.

The water was stained pinkish red, so they said I had to get out to see why. My husband cut the cord and the midwives got me out as he held Maya in the tub. They found that the cord was quite short, so the placenta might have been pulled and thus the blood. They massaged my belly which felt unconfortable, but then I had a contraction and out came the placenta and the bleeding subsided. I ended up with two mini stitches; nothing really. I was starving so they made me a big breakfast. Then the baby and I took a little nap. We left 5 hours later. What a rush!

I hope this helps anyone considering a VBAC. It's totally worth it, and safer for you and the baby. We are so grateful for the incredible women at the Miami Beach Maternity Center.

-- Tracy & Family