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Hello Judah | A successful VBAC birth story

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The problem with writing a birth story is the problem of giving justice to the holiness and perfection of the event itself – the miracle of birth.

Maybe that’s why it took me three months to sit down and put “pen to paper” for this story. Truth be told I’ve worried that my words would in some way diminish the importance of the sacred process. But I will tell you this, I got my all-natural successful VBAC birth just as I had hoped and prayed for… and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share.

Hello Judah - A successful VBAC birth story

This is the story of how I met Judah.

Somewhere around 37 or 38 weeks pregnant I turned the corner called oh-my-gosh-I’m-not-ready-for-two-babies-because-things-just-aren’t-done-around-here, to feeling all at once ready, settled, and at peace.

If you’re just turning that particular corner late in your pregnancy (which I’m told is common with baby number two), you know that once you’ve rounded it the baby will probably soon follow.

(37 weeks and all dressed up for a night out)

I was ready. I was excited. And for most of my pregnancy I’d had an inkling that baby would be a week early.

A day or two after deciding I was “ready” my braxton hicks morphed into regular contractions. It was two weeks until D-day.

Game on.

And then… game off.

Over the next seven days I had prodromal labor. That’s a fancy way to say that I had false labor… But “false labor” is so not false! (Oh geeze, it’s so flipping real.) The difference is that it just doesn’t progress to full dilation. (I later found out it was because baby was posterior, which can make for not only lots of starts and stops in labor… but can also lead to awful—no excruciating—back pain.)

It made for a difficult week, packed with excitement and anticipation as well as frustration and disappointment…. But mostly pure exhaustion as contractions kept me up all night for several nights and slowed me down all day.

At least three of those nights my contractions were as close as 3-4 minutes apart for hours on end, but they never broke through the three-minute mark.

I was exhausted. My back had begun to ache. I was confused. I was irritated.

With Levi my waters broke at 2:00am the morning of his due date. Contractions started hard and fast after that and later that day (after an unplanned c-section) he was in my arms.

Not so with Judah.

Just as he had me guessing in pregnancy, so he had me completely baffled in labor.

Yet even with the discouragement I was hopeful and felt at peace with the process I knew was still to come.

However it happened, I would meet my son soon.

I rubbed my belly with clary sage. I walked as much as my energy would allow. I packed and repacked my hospital bag. I asked girlfriends and family to pray.

Finally on day seven of this roller coaster when my contractions started up hard again I decided that come hell or high water I would have him that day. It was a Friday and Friday—I decided—is a good day to have a baby. I was 38 weeks, six days.

I put on a necklace that my parents had bought me on their trip to Israel; it has my name, Adriel, written in Hebrew on it. Adriel means “strength and power of God” and I wanted to be reminded of that strength and power as I labored.

After having my shower I announced, “I’m having the baby today” and called a few close friends and made sure the babysitter for Levi was in order.

My desire was to labor as long as possible at home because I knew that once I went into the hospital they’d start watching the clock. And since I wanted to try for an intervention-free VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I knew that I didn’t want the doctor’s count down to interfere with my labor’s natural progression.

(“labor day” at home – last photo of the bump – 38+6)

At home I walked. I bounced. I pulled out the breast pump. And sure enough those contractions finally broke through the three-minute mark.

Finally, after 14 hours of laboring at home we headed into the hospital.

This was it!

I had been worried about the contractions slowing during our car ride since all day they slowed every time I sat down or stopped moving, but to my delight (relative word here!) they only increased as we made the 20-minute drive to Townsville Hospital.

Yup, this was definitely it.

By the time we arrived I thought I just might have a baby in the lobby.

My contractions were on top of each other – I had six from the time we got out of the car to the time we got to the birthing suites. I only had seconds break in between them – enough to get 20 paces or so before having to stop and rock through another one.

No doubt we were quite the spectacle as onlookers kept asking if I was ok. Just having a baby here folks – leave me alone. I thought to myself.

The short walk to the delivery ward took a million years.

Upon arrival they immediately admitted me to a birthing room. It was 5:00pm.

I was greeted by a sweet midwife and soon after the attending doctor came in. I had met him before during one of my prenatal exams and was immediately set at ease knowing he was on duty. (Dr. Dan, whom I don’t even know a last name for, but had already grown to trust and like through our previous visit.)

Again we went through my birth plan and discussed the areas of contention:

Yes, I wanted to have a VBAC.

No, I didn’t want any interventions.

Yes, I wanted to go medication-free.

No, I didn’t want constant fetal heart monitoring (so that I could be free to labor in the shower and/or the tub).

Yes, I understood the risks.

And on we went.

As soon as the checking-in process was finished we figured out that my fore waters had broken while in the car. Things were clearly progressing.

The midwives left me to labor alone with my team.

I have to mention here that I had the best support team with me: my husband Ryan and two friends JP and Katie who came to take photos, pray for me, support Ryan, and basically just be available to cheer and run and encourage and refill and adjust the volume and crack jokes and wipe sweat and welcome our precious, precious child.

They were amazing. All three of them.

(this photo of jp and katie was actually taken after the birth – hence the enormous grins and exhausted eyes)

During the next couple of hours I continued to labor. The details are hazy. Things slowed again, which I found increasingly frustrating. I knew that the best thing I could do to keep things moving was to stay on my feet, and yet I was utterly exhausted after a week of sleepless nights and increasing back pain.

By this point my back was throbbing and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sleep. And yet I also felt this pressure – this race against the clock – to have Judah quickly so that the medical staff wouldn’t press for all the interventions that I didn’t want.

Somewhere around this point I was assigned a new midwife, Helen.

Helen and I had immediate chemistry. She was straightforward and yet kind and encouraging. At one point she said to me, “You obviously have an extremely high tolerance to pain.” (Yes people, that is what a laboring woman on no medication wants to hear, thank you very much!)

Between contractions she teased me and we bantered back and forth. I felt safe with her, relaxed, secure. I was incredibly glad to have her assist me in bringing Judah into the world. (Let it be noted that I had hoped and prayed often in the months leading up to giving birth for a midwife exactly like her to be assigned to me. She was—quite literally—an answer to prayer.)

(my midwife helen on the right – holding a mirror that i requested for later in the birth)

Around 8:00pm Helen told me that things would need to start moving a little faster or the doctors would want to talk about interventions to help speed things along.

This made me aggravated – I was already irritated at how drastically things had slowed since those moments in the lobby when I thought I’d deliver then and there. I wondered if I was doing something wrong (or not doing enough) – but mostly my amped up aggravation mostly just made me determined.

I wanted to have this baby naturally. I was going to have this baby naturally.

Come. On. Baby.

Time to come out.

Within minutes the contractions became hard and fast again. Harder and faster. (It begs the question how much of labor is physical and how much is psychological? Incredible how intermixed it all is.)

Whatever the physiology and psychology of it all, Helen’s warning kicked me into high gear and those contractions piled on top of each other again. (She later told me that this was exactly what she was hoping for when she dropped the little “warning” bomb – my clever midwife was helping me to get what I longed for! She must have known how stubborn and determined I can be.)

By this time the contractions were so intense that there’s no way I could talk through them. I needed to give everything just to cope with the stress on my body. I was agonizing with the worst back pain I have ever experienced and I suddenly doubted my ability to continue. “If my back hurts this much during contractions, how in the world will I be able to handle the pain ‘down there’ while pushing?” I cried to my husband.

I knew that women reached this stage – the stage where most doubt they can go on – but (naive or not) I had sincerely thought I wouldn’t feel that way. I had studied and reflected and prayed and visualized the birth so many times that I genuinely thought I’d only have positive-self-talk, even through the hardest part. The fact that I started to doubt myself just made me feel more defeated. And yet I knew I was close. I knew I could do it.

Oh yeah baby, this was transition. And it was as hard as they say it would be.

Harder.

I waffled from saying things like I can’t do it, to saying, you were made for this Adriel, to what the hell was I thinking, no drugs? to this is all unfolding just as it should be.

I was so conflicted.

I groaned. I grunted. I cried. I breathed. I shouted. I prayed. I even laughed. (Despite the pain, giving birth was the most fun and enjoyable and wonderful experience.)

At one point I went from sobbing and moaning during a contraction to the moment it ceased saying, “You guys are just perfect – the best birth team ever. I love you so much.”

My midwives burst into hysterics (Lucy had joined Helen by this point) and told me that they’d never seen someone who wasn’t drugged flip to being so “lovey dovey” at this stage of labor before. (Apparently they were thoroughly entertained with my antics.)

(my midwives: lucy cracking up in the background while helen chuckles in the foreground)

The whole room was laughing… laughing at me. And as funny as it was to them, I meant it. I was blown away at how perfect it all felt:

Pain was excruciating. Hormones were raging. Heart was exploding. It was all a hot, glorious mess.

As 9:00pm approached the midwives told me they wanted to do an internal exam to determine how far dilated I was. I hadn’t had an internal prior to this since my waters had already broken and—as a VBACer—it would start my intervention clock ticking. Because of that we had very little idea of how far I was dilated during the whole process.

For the next 15+ minutes I tried to lay down, but literally couldn’t move as the contractions were stacked on top of each other, with only seconds in between, and my back pain was almost debilitating.

Tearfully I said that I couldn’t make them stop long enough to hold still in order for the midwives to check my cervix. I remember pleading to God under my breath to make them to stop long enough that I could at least catch my breath. Ryan was rock steady, wiping the hair away from my face, and JP and Katie reminded me of my necklace and what it represented – the strength and power of God which was mine.

They helped me take courage.

Finally, after 15 minutes of trying to re-situate myself and lay down, I was able to get into position for the internal.

Immediately Lucy reported that I was fully dilated and I could start pushing.

How? was the first thing that I thought. How in the world do I push? I wondered as if there was a science to it or a “right” way.

The pressure was mounting and all I felt was that I needed to take a giant poo. Is this seriously what having a baby is meant to feel like? I wondered. (So bizarre.)

Helen’s shift had ended at 9:00pm, but she told me that she wanted to stay for the birth anyway. Since I had so easily connected with her I was incredibly grateful to hear this.

And I was excited.

Hello. I was having a baby.

This was actually happening.

It was time to meet my son… for real.

I found the next part strange.

My contractions immediately spaced out and we talked about what positions I’d like to push in. It felt so matter-of-fact as my emotions leveled out and my entire being suddenly felt calmer.


I knelt on the bed with my arms over the back (which was raised) for support. They got out the mirror—which I had requested so that I could watch as much as possible—and I began to push.

The next little while felt like it went on forever. I pushed and pushed through the devastating back pain, but I felt like nothing was actually happening down there. I had assumed that I would be able to feel as baby moved through the birth canal, but truthfully my back pain overshadowed all else.

Helen suggested I try lying down to push as she could see I was clearly exhausted from 20 hours of labor (not to mention the week of start-stop labor and little sleep leading up to it). I was hesitant because I didn’t want to do anything that would hinder the baby’s movement, but I was also ready to collapse so I reluctantly agreed.

After a few pushes I told her I hated it and so she suggested the side-lying position.

I lay on my side pushing as she supported my upper leg during each heave. Still I felt nothing but back pain, but I continued as she assured me things were progressing nicely.

During each push I gripped onto Ryan’s neck, nearly pulling his hair out as my fists clinched around anything within reach. He was a champion – there for me just as I needed him to be.

After several minutes of pushing on my side I looked down between my legs to watch Helen and try to read her facial expressions. (Was I close? Were things happening? Was this pushing thing working??)

 

Suddenly I felt it and saw it all at once – my hind waters burst with a gush. She jumped back and just missed the flood that was aimed straight at her face.

We all laughed at her close call and I felt encouraged. Something really was happening down there.

From that point I got back up on my knees and shifted between pushing on my knees to squatting and back again a few times.

Finally his head began to crown.

They showed me in the mirror and I reached down to feel that fuzzy newborn hair.

That’s my boy. I can see and feel my boy.

I squeezed Ryan’s hand. I smiled at JP and Katie. I thanked God.

My heart was racing. We were going to meet my boy soon.

The midwives told me to continue pushing as I had been, but that when I was close to his head coming through they would prompt me to begin little pants. The panting would slow down his movement a bit so that he could come through with less chance of tearing.

Got it, I thought to myself.

By this time there was no messing around. When the urge to push came I was giving it everything I had. Get. This. Baby. Out. Now. was all that I could think about.

And then, during one of my giant (roaring) pushes, POP, his head burst through!

Although the midwives were right there and ready… I think we were all surprised. We went from being able to see a tiny sliver of his head to—hello—the whole thing having burst through. (I so wish it was appropriate to show photos of what this looked like – it really is miraculous and the photos are stunning.)

The next moments were incredible. There was a minute or two between contractions where only his head was delivered. I touched him and held him and marveled at the wonder of it all. I looked in mirror and saw his face. My friends clicked furiously, snapping photos from every angle. My husband looked at me with wide eyes and a full heart.

(first glimpse of my son – looking in the mirror to see his face)

And I just knelt there, with my baby’s head hanging between my legs – still mine, and yet also the world’s. It was magical… and totally weird all at the same.

Surreal.

I reached down with both hands to hold his head and prepared myself for the next contraction to come so that I could birth his body.

With the next push he was delivered into my arms. I threw my head back in relief, amazement, and thanksgiving… and let our a triumphant cry of joy.


The midwives untangled his cord, which was wrapped around an arm, a leg, and his neck due to his movement from the posterior position he’d begun labor in.

At 10:15pm after 55 minutes of pushing he was on my chest – his little head on my heart.

A successful VBAC is possible. You can do it if you want to, mama. Research, plan, and believe.

 

It was the most incredible culmination of all of the events of this pregnancy and birth… and it still makes my head spin when I think about how awesome that most holy of moments was.

And you know, with all of the build-up wondering if he’d be born with Down Syndrome or not, the first thing that ran through my mind was not, does he or doesn’t he?

The first thing I thought was, he looks nothing like us. And I like that… because he doesn’t look like any of us with his almost-white blonde hair and fair skin.

From the very beginning—he has been so different, so special, so him.

Ryan and I looked at each other and nodded. “Judah?” Ryan asked. “Judah,” I confirmed.

Welcome Judah Matthew Booker.

“His name is Judah Matthew”, I announced to the others.

My little room full of cheerleaders erupted with shouting and dancing and clapping jumping and arm-waving.

He was here. He was perfect. He was so worthy of our cheers.

I caught a glimpse of the banner that Levi and I had made together in the weeks leading up to Judah’s birth: “Welcome sweet baby boy!” and my heart was full, so very, very full.

Welcome indeed sweet, sweet boy.

Soon after he was in my arms they told me that I had lost a lot of blood and they weren’t sure if I was hemorrhaging or just badly torn. They advised that I should have the cintocin shot for a managed third stage labor. I agreed and settled back with my gorgeous son skin-to-skin on my breast as doctors came in and examined me. We were all glad when they confirmed that it was just tearing, not hemorrhaging.

Judah had come out with his hand up near his face (I like to say he came out fist-pumping with excitement, thankyouverymuch), but that meant I had suffered second degree tearing as well as some other grazes and smaller tears, both in my perineum and inside the “back”. (I’m thanking the Good Lord that I didn’t tear all the way through like a friend of mine had just two months before.)

Several minutes later Ryan cut the cord (after it had ceased pulsating) as Judah and I continued to rest.

The photos of this period show me smiling and laughing oblivious to the fact that the rest of me looked like a blood bath. I was just happy to be holding my son.


Judah. I’ve been waiting for you.


As elated as I was, my back pain had not lessened. It still throbbed but now as a constant, no longer in waves with the contractions. The steady pain eclipsed any pain or discomfort that I “should” have felt where I’d torn. When they offered me pain relief for my back I asked for the highest dose possible, which did little but take the edge off and make me drowsy.

Over the next little while I rested with Judah in my arms as the adrenaline quickly gave way to sheer and absolute exhaustion. I felt completely physically and emotionally spent.

Judah nursed easily and Ryan and the girls took turns meeting him face-to-face in their own arms. These were precious early moments that I will always remember.

I thanked the midwives over and over and told them how pleased I was with their help and care. Lucy later told us that it was one of the most enjoyable births she had been a part of in a long time – a redeeming experience for her of sorts.

All around hearts were filled to overflowing.

Our room was saturated with thanksgiving and gratitude and excitement as the buzz of the absolute miracle of birth and Judah’s seemingly perfect health sunk in.

No Down Syndrome. No apparent abnormalities. No obvious complications. Just a perfect baby boy – 19.5 inches and 7.5 pounds of a perfect, adorable, blue-eyed baby boy.

Judah has a two-fold meaning: to call on the name of Yahweh and to confess, praise, or give thanks to God. Matthew means gift of God, which he is and has been since the moment we learned of his existence. We feel both his names are so fitting.

His birth will forever be imprinted in my mind and heart as one of the best moments of my life. I discovered a strength and power within I’d not yet known… but more importantly, my boy was safely in my grip –in our grip—just as God intended.

Every birth is different. Every life tells a story. Every single one is just as miraculous.

But for my own birth experiences—both Judah’s and Levi’s—I’m so grateful. Despite the pain, despite the difficulty, despite the expected and unexpected, despite the long days and hours laboring, I’m so glad to have joined the countless millions of women who have gone before me and now bear the title Mother.

I am a mother.

I was made for this.

Even now—three months later—when I think back to that night, it’s as fresh in my mind as our first stunning moments together.

And as Judah rests in the room next to me, sighing in his sleep with Ryan not far from him, I remember, I marvel, and I rejoice at the incredible gift of a life birthed… a life given to the world.

God, indeed, is very, very good.

Dear friends, maybe you are anticipating birth for the first time. Or maybe you’re like I was – hoping for a successful VBAC or a natural childbirth. Or maybe you’re a seasoned mom finished with having babies. Whatever the case, I hope my story will inspire you that birth is beautiful and women are created for it.

Love,
A

 

 

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80 Comments

  • Reply Rachel 9 January 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Dang it, Adriel! I was just about to go to bed and you had to go and post your birth story so of course I had to stay up and read it!!! It’s beautiful. I’m so very happy for you. It is really amazing…the minute they put Xave in my arms, I honestly felt there was nothing in the world I couldn’t do.

    And I got to thinking about your midwives’ comment about being at Judah’s birth — I think of course. God was present too. How could they not feel that? My midwives also said something similar. I’m really happy that even though we’re in labour, we can still bring the presence of God. Our babies were born into that!

    Hope you’re healing up nicely. So with a Levi and a Judah, can we expect another 10 sons of Israel? 😉

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 9 January 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Yes, I’m certain of that too.

      And no, definitely not two more sons. We were certainly not going for a “theme” with the names… they just happened to turn out that way. We figured only Biblical geniuses would pick up on that anyway. Obviously you fit into that category. 😉

      I’m sorry I kept you up past your bedtime. 🙂

  • Reply Katherine 9 January 2012 at 10:45 pm

    i feel tired after reading that:) whew- labor is hard work! way to go, adriel! congratulations on a sweet and beautiful baby boy!

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 9 January 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Yes, I suppose it was a bit of a marathon. But labor is hard work for any woman, despite the circumstances right? 🙂

  • Reply Teva 9 January 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I read this at work and despite trying to keep my composure, the tears welled up and fell out. Birth truly is a holy and miraculous event. Thank you for sharing and giving me hope of my very own VBAC. (someday)

  • Reply Greta 10 January 2012 at 12:23 am

    Oh how I cried. I have been looking forward to this post since he was born. And this part…(Despite the pain, giving birth was the most fun and enjoyable and wonderful experience.) is SO true. I would keep having babies just to keep giving birth because the miracle, the beauty, the strength, and the joy is so astounding. Congratulations Mama. You ARE made for this.

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you so much Greta.

      Yeah, I understood the “wonderful” aspect… but this time I was taken-aback by the “fun” of it. Having an EMCS was just so different, and although it was every bit as miraculous and amazing and perfect, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as “fun”. This one, on the other hand…

  • Reply Ashley 10 January 2012 at 4:39 am

    Andddd I’m crying! Adriel, this is absolutely beautiful! Huge congratulations *again* to you! You are magnificent!

    I had “false labour” for a couple of weeks before T was born, and he too was posterior…I throw my hat off to you a million times to be able to work through that pain because it felt so absolutely debilitating!

    This is such a beautiful story, I’m so proud of you. 🙂

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you so much Ashley. 🙂

      I only wish I had known that he was posterior so that I could have tried a few things to turn him around. *sigh* I had a late-term ultrasound around 36 weeks to check his kidneys again and at that time he was in perfect position. Since I hadn’t felt any big “turning” movements in the two weeks since then I just assumed that he was still in prime position. Oh well. I know for next time?? It all worked out fine in the end. That’s the important thing.

      Oh, and I did feel like superwoman at the end of it. Forgot to mention that part! 😉

  • Reply Life As Wife 10 January 2012 at 4:56 am

    Your strength inspires me! I can’t wait for a second try at my perfect birth!

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 2:37 pm

      every successful birth is “perfect” if you ask me 🙂 but i DO hope you’re able to get the birth that you want!

  • Reply Lamielle 10 January 2012 at 7:23 am

    Wow Adriel that was a real tough birth. You are a very strong woman and I fully agree. It reminds me of my own labour day! Thanks for sharing your very own birth story. Giving birth and having a baby is really a miracle!

    Enjoy the rest of the week,
    Lamielle

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 2:31 pm

      yes, every woman’s story is such a miracle! and we are all so much stronger than we usually give ourselves credit for!!!

  • Reply Ana 10 January 2012 at 9:18 am

    Adriel, I couldn’t help but share your birth story with a dear friend of mine and my sister-in-law, both of whom are 20+ weeks pregnant. Your story took my breath away! Beautifully written, beautiful photos, very inspiring.

    Judah is a perfect addition to your family! He reminds me, in a way, of Phinneas–so much apart of who we are as mothers, but physically with his blond locks (Phinneas with his red ones) people cannot help but do a double take and catch their breath upon looking at him because he’s so handsome. Good job, Momma. You lived up to the name your parents bestowed upon you…and now you can relish the name of Mother with your babes by your side 🙂

    May the Lord bless and keep your little family!

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 2:34 pm

      thanks so much ana. and yes, aren’t the photos stunning? i edited them all to black and white and loved them even more. i’m so, so glad my friends were there to help document and celebrate that special day. there are a few more INCREDIBLE ones that aren’t appropriate to share here. i love them. so much.

      and yes, your phinneas IS so handsome and, even though he has his bright red hair, i still think he very much looks like his big brother. beautiful boys you have. 🙂

  • Reply Becca 10 January 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I cried through pretty much that whole thing. So beautiful, so joyful, so amazing. You are made for this, for sure. It gives me hope that I might be able to VBAC with our next child. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 2:36 pm

      i’m so glad becca. and yes, if you want a vbac, and everything is fairly “normal” with your pregnancy, there’s no reason you can’t try for one. just do your research ahead of time so you’ll be prepared when you talk it through with your health providers. it certainly can be a fantastic option – i’d wish it for any mother that wants one. x

  • Reply Krystle 10 January 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Beautiful. Stunning, holy….gave me chills.
    I love birth stories, every kind of them.

    I had a vaginal with my first, c-section with twins, and my provider won’t do VBACS 🙁

    I loved this so much, thank you for sharing such a private and tender moment.

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 10 January 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Krystle, unfortunately I’ve heard that a lot, in North America especially. Doctors are afraid of lawsuits. If you look at the statistics, it is so rare for VBACers to have uterine ruptures (this is what they usually pin as their reason) and it’s not all that different to first-time-moms delivering vaginally. It makes me upset that doctors “won’t” do it. It should be the patients making informed decisions about something so important as HER birth. If it’s really something you want, I’d encourage you to switch doctors/clinics to one that is more honoring toward a mother’s personal choice. BUT, if you stay with your care provider, then I hope you can make peace with having a c/s. The important thing is that you’re at peace with whatever route you go!!! x

  • Reply embracing and releasing: the paradox of love « Click Clink Five 10 January 2012 at 3:30 pm

    […] it’s because I wrote Judah’s birth story recently, and then have spent the last ten days on and off editing it (and editing photos), but […]

  • Reply Jessica 11 January 2012 at 12:14 pm

    This is beautiful, Adriel. Just beautiful. You know that feeling that you get when your heart’s in your throat, the room is very still, and you feel the hairs on your arms raising slowly with each second?? That’s what I got in reading this. I love the pictures and the story. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Reply Cameron 11 January 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Hey seriously, this post is amazing. I’m so happy you were able to have this experience! I know you wanted to! Truly beautiful.

    Also, I posted a link to this on my blog & I used one of your pictures. Let me know if that’s not okay & I’ll take it down!

  • Reply Tiffany 11 January 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I so wish I had written down the kid’s birth stories soon after it happened, you had such great detail! I do have tons of photos so hopefully that will jog the memory once I finally get around to writing them. One thing to look forward to next time: the pushing goes a lot faster after you’ve done it before! 1 hour with the first, about 3 big pushes with the second. I swear if I have a third, it will drop right out of me!

    • Reply Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos 12 January 2012 at 12:39 am

      Three? OMG, that almost sounds scary! (But awesome!)

      I found that once I started writing, the details came back to me. I hope it’s the same for you.

  • Reply Anne 14 January 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I love birth stories.

  • Reply Cindy Anderson 20 January 2012 at 7:58 am

    Hi Adriel, your birth story was written so incredibly beautiful…it brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on the birth of your precious new little miracle!!

    P.S. I used to work with your mother at Westside Church many years ago.

  • Reply Have you had your free blog critique yet? - The Mommyhood Memos 21 January 2012 at 10:53 pm

    […] But by the time my turn rolled around, I was busy giving birth. […]

  • Reply Jill Ludwig 3 February 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Adriel,

    I only now read your post, less than two weeks to my due date of our precious little boy. You have inspired me and renewed my confidence in the birthing process. Going into this the second time around, knowing way too much about the process and having some unknowns ahead of me, I really needed to hear a positive birth story. Bless you and your sweet, precious family!

  • Reply Plan your best birth | The birth that went according to plans 27 May 2012 at 10:01 pm

    […] that I wanted to try again for natural childbirth, and it was important to me to plan for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I did copious amounts of research and spent far more time preparing […]

  • Reply Fiona 29 May 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Hello, I have just read this amazing story, and think you’re absolutely wonderful for being able to write about it, and give hope to all expectant women out there. I was lucky and had two easy (relative term lol) labours with my girls, yet I was still terrified that just because my first was easy (although getting INTO labour was the diffcult part, my waters broke but nothing else happened so I had to be induced, not fun) it didnt mean my second would be just as easy, and also worried that I would have to be induced again. Fortunately I was able to stay at home until my contractions were 4 minutes apart (mainly because I’m not really a fan of hospitals) before deciding I needed a bit of pain relief via gas. I had my daughter two hours after arriving at the hospital. I remembered giggling between contractions with my partner and best friend, and partner cut the cord again as he did with our first.
    That moment your child is first placed in your arms is the most amazing experience I can possibly think of, and I teared up a little reading your story as I thought back on my births 🙂
    Thankyou for having the courage and conviction to tell it as it is, and a little humour

    • Reply Adriel Booker 2 June 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you Fiona. I appreciate your feedback. Yes, it is amazing… and I believe our stories can help give courage to one another. 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve had two safe and wonderful births. Aren’t we blessed?! x

  • Reply 4 Reasons to write a birth plan | Plan your best birth series 31 May 2012 at 9:05 am

    […] now, which in no way makes me an expert, but I have experienced both an unexpected c-section and a successful, all-natural VBAC (vaginal birth after […]

  • Reply Stephanie 9 August 2012 at 9:06 am

    I just found your blog, and after reading a few posts, realized that your son is named Judah. My son, born about a month before yours, is ALSO named Judah! So far I have only met ONE other person who has a child named Judah. It is SO unique! I loved reading his birth story. What an incredible experience!

  • Reply OM 8 September 2012 at 9:25 am

    Reading your birth story, mine came to mind, clearer than ever. Many of the things you say, the feelings, the thoughts, the reactions, remind me of mine. I did not know I would feel so utterly scared and so strong at the same time, I laughed and cried and screamed and laughed again, all at the same time… It is the most amazing experience in this life.
    OM recently posted..HookedMy Profile

  • Reply a tribute « The Mommyhood Memos 11 October 2012 at 7:59 pm

    […] us in your hearts and loving us the way you do, especially through my difficult pregnancy and birth. His first year has been amazing and we are stunned at how quickly he’s hit all his […]

  • Reply Our boy is one. We have so, so much to be thankful for. | the bookers down under 14 October 2012 at 10:27 am

    […] us in your hearts and loving us the way you do, especially through my difficult pregnancy and birth. His first year has been amazing and we are stunned at how quickly he’s hit all his […]

  • Reply Nat Mardon 15 October 2012 at 11:34 am

    WOW! What an amazing birth story and stunning STUNNING photos!! Congratulations – although Judah is now one! What beuatiful boys you have Adriel!
    (P.S.) When I read your name, I wondered if it was the same Adriel I went to church with many years ago at CCC Westside. Then I looked at a few more pics of you, and surely it was! You probably wouldn’t remember me, we didn’t know each other all that well, but I still remember you. And now I’m going to waste many many hours I see going through your blog. I was linked here from your call for slings for Umi’s village on a babywearing group I’m in. We’ve just recently had baby #5.

    I am also so interested in your serving with YWAM, and how you do that around a family. I’m hoping to start studying midwifery next year – maybe some ministry is something that could be in my future. How amazing would that be if God takes me and my family to places where we can REALLY make a difference.

    God Bless you all xx
    Nat Mardon recently posted..He’s here!My Profile

    • Reply Adriel Booker 15 October 2012 at 10:06 pm

      Hi Nat! Look at that – small world! Nice to “see” you again. 🙂 Baby #5? Wow, you’ve been busy! That’s fantastic. They are such a precious gift.

      Yeah, I’m still working with YWAM, though my “work” commitments look different now that I have children. I still teach in our training schools, but only about 6-8 times a year, for a week block at a time. I have a few weekly commitments, and other than that, it’s just an “as I’m able”. We recently took our whole family on outreach to PNG and–YEAH–it was pretty much amazing! Doing that sort of thing is definitely different with children, but it’s so achievable if you really wan to.

      Love that you’re interested in studying midwifery. There’s such a need for that – especially in the developing world. We actually train birth attendants in YWAM (the Perth base). It’s a very hands-on course, and designed specifically for those who want to serve cross-culturally in under-developed nations.

      Thanks again for getting in touch Nat. xx

  • Reply Robin | Farewell, Stranger 16 October 2012 at 7:19 am

    What an incredible story beautifully told. I just had my 2nd child by VBAC 2 weeks ago and I’m trying to figure out how to put it into words. Looking to others for inspiration, and this certainly was inspiring.

    And congratulations. 🙂
    Robin | Farewell, Stranger recently posted..The Sound of SilenceMy Profile

  • Reply hi guys, it's me. « The Mommyhood Memos 16 October 2012 at 11:34 pm

    […] that note, Judah’s VBAC birth story has been getting a lot of traffic lately. Not sure why, but perhaps there’s more and more […]

  • Reply YoginiMama 14 January 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing your very beautiful and inspiring birth story! I will hold it in my heart as I continuing preparing for a VBAC. Want wishes to you and your beautiful family!

  • Reply Jessica 1 August 2013 at 4:00 am

    Hi! I enjoyed reading your story, congrats, even though its a little late 🙂 I’m so happy you were able to have a successful vbac! Your story reminded me quite a bit of my own. I hope to write more about it someday. I have read so many uplifting vbac stories while researching the topic.
    I recently had a sucessful vbac without medication or interventions, it was an amazing experience to say the least. I was 41 and 1/2 weeks. I started having prodromal labor 3 days prior to my “real” labor. We had to drive an hour and a half to the hospital, the closest one that allows vbac’s. My son was posterior and I had major back pain, wowza! I would say I have a high tolerence for pain and my labor was a 10 on my scale. I labored for 24 hours at the hospital and there were times when the ob brought up breaking my water or possibly doing a c-section at times when my labor stalled. I stuck to my guns and tried my hardest to trust my body and my baby which at times was not easy. My baby boy was 9lbs 9oz, a big boy! I am still so elated that I got to have the birth experience that I’ve longed for. Are bodies are truly amazing!

  • Reply Sam 23 August 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I just read your storey and it gave me more hope and faith that I can have a sucessful vbac. I too will have my second child at the Townsville Hospital and Today my midwife called me, guess who it is? Helen. I couldn’t believe it when I was reading your storey. I just feel I was supposed to see you storey! I will read it over as many times as I need to to give me strength in times of worry. Thank you.

  • Reply I Am From (A Synchroblog with SheLoves Magazine) | Adriel BookerAdriel Booker 1 October 2013 at 9:25 am

    […] am from belly stretched and empty womb and battle scars and triumphant entries. I am from against the odds. I am from hello. I am from […]

  • Reply How to prepare for a successful VBAC | 20+ VBAC & cesarean resources 16 October 2013 at 8:47 pm

    […] been pregnant three times, resulting in an emergency cesarean, a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and a miscarriage at 13 weeks. Obviously all three of these experiences were extremely different, […]

  • Reply Dear moms who think I have it all together 20 October 2013 at 10:05 pm

    […] the frustrating parts, the embarrassing or even shameful parts, the heartbreaking parts, the triumphant parts – all of it. And I will continue to hope that this online space will make room for other women to […]

  • Reply Tasha prince 13 December 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing. This story has inspired me so much. It’s what I needed to read to have the strength to go through my upcoming vbac experience. Thank you. Our sons name will be Jude. It’s like this story was made for us.

  • Reply 100 Little Things About Pregnancy, Birth, and Being a First Time Mom 15 December 2013 at 9:53 am

    […] (If you’re new here – HI!!!!) Three-and-a-half years later I now have experienced an all-natural VBAC (most amazing experience everrrrr), a devastating miscarriage that left me broken-hearted, and […]

  • Reply Aria 16 December 2013 at 1:29 pm

    This was beautiful and inspiring! Thank you so much, Adriel. This has given me inspiration to try and “hope” for my next birth. My second little one is due next June, but to be honest I haven’t bothered to try and visualize a positive birth. My last birth, though not a c-section, did not go at all how I had hoped, due to a midwife that suddenly became unhelpful. I think my way of dealing with the disappointment was to just not have any hopeful ideas for my next birth; basically I was scared to hope again. But after reading your story I think I’m ready to visualize again, to look forward to that miraculous moment when I get to meet my little one.
    Thank you again!

    • Reply Adriel 18 December 2013 at 10:26 pm

      It can be quite the journey, can’t it Aria? I’m sorry that your first birth was not a “good” experience but am glad you’re taking the time to process it now. That will help you tremendously as you hope and plan for your second birth. (Congratulations, by the way! Wonderful news.) You are strong and made for this – I hope you get all the support and care that you need and desire. Much love to you and that little one. xx
      Adriel recently posted..Little hearts walking around outside your bodyMy Profile

  • Reply Phyllicia 12 January 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I love this story!!! It had me teary eyed the whole time! And makes me want to have another baby knowing that I can have a VBAC, when I had my daughter and all the craziness ended I was so sad and heart broken because I thought I would never be able to have a natural birth, but now I cant wait and I have hope thank you

  • Reply Goodbye, hello: The year before and the one ahead (including the 'best of' for 2013 and why we're now homeless) - Adriel Booker 13 February 2014 at 8:19 pm

    […] Hello Judah: a successful VBAC birth story […]

  • Reply Kayla Paisley 3 April 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Best birth story I’ve read! Such a precious moment, and beautiful photos to cherish it. 🙂 love your blog!

    • Reply Adriel 4 April 2014 at 1:52 am

      thanks kayla! it was an amazing time for sure. 🙂

  • Reply Natasha 7 May 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I’m currently pregnant with my second child. My first I was told I wasnt at all aloud to labor, planned c-section. When I fount out I was pregnant again one of my first thoughts was I want a natural VBAC. This time around my doctors are giving it the OK. Anyways I pray that this baby’s birthing experience will be amazing. Your story gives me hope that I can do this. Thank you for the encouragement! ♥

    • Reply Adriel 8 May 2014 at 1:06 pm

      I’m glad you’ve found caregivers that are empowering you in your desire to plan for a VBAC. I hope your birth has a wonderful outcome that will set you up well for the next season of motherhood. x

  • Reply Trendy Tummy Maternity 20 June 2014 at 1:59 am

    He’s gorgeous.Congrats on your healthy baby boy.

    • Reply Adriel 20 June 2014 at 6:01 am

      Thank you TTM. 🙂

  • Reply Angie 26 August 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! After an unexpected c section, due to a severe drop in fetal heart rate earlier this year, I have been researching vbacs to help prepare me for my next child. I had wanted a natural birth with my 1st and was able to labor to 9cm dilated unmedicated before being rolled into the OR, put under general anesthia and missing the birth of my child. This gives me hope that through physical, emotional, and spiritual prep my husband and I will be able to witness the birth of our next and I will be able to labor naturally without intervention. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

    • Reply Adriel 8 December 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Wonderful Angie. So glad to hear that!

      Here is another resource that I’d recommend – a “natural” cesarean. (Sometimes called gentle cesarean or mother-centered cesarean.) I wish I had seen this before mine, but glad to have an extra bit of knowledge in case I ever need to have another c/s. I say, plan for a VBAC but have this filed away in your mind, too. 🙂 http://adrielbooker.com/a-natural-cesarean-what-the/
      Adriel recently posted..Under the Olive Tree (A letter to my baby)My Profile

  • Reply Shannon 21 November 2014 at 8:09 am

    i just stumbled across this. And. I am in awe. I’m going into the second trimester of my very first pregnancy. I am terrified of birth. I’m not going to lie. I want to do all natural but I don’t know if I can handle it. I want my husband there (there is a chance he might not be, because he’s a soldier) and to be my support system while I go through this amazingly terrifying experience.
    Reading this made me smile so much and tear up a bit too. This is absolutely amazing and the photos are stunning!!

  • Reply A Natural Cesarean | What every woman should know before birth 8 December 2014 at 4:11 pm

    […] I am planning on having an all-natural VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) using non-medical pain-coping methods, I am well-aware that things can change mid-labor! I’ve […]

  • Reply Nicki 16 December 2014 at 8:10 am

    Oh my word, I just wept through most of your beautiful story!! I’m so filled with hope and even excitement as I attempt a VBAC in April. Thank you for sharing your story!!!

  • Reply Why I believe in early pregnancy announcements 18 April 2015 at 6:14 am

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  • Reply Judah's Birth Story: All Natural VBAC - Birth Memoirs 9 May 2015 at 5:14 am

    […] This is the story of how I met Judah. Read Adriel’s full story here. […]

  • Reply Amanda 29 May 2015 at 11:13 am

    From a VBA2C mom, YES!!! All of it, yes! Joy in the pain. Thankfulness in transition, yes! So thankful! Beautifully written story!

  • Reply erin 1 August 2015 at 5:11 am

    Beautiful story. I am 10 weeks pregnant and hoping for a natural birth. I just laughed and cried the whole time I was reading this. You are so inspiring. And we do serve such an amazing God!

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