Our journey began with prayer. We knew that if God wanted us to have another child it would be a blessing. We tried for nearly a year and then stopped and put our faith in God’s timing. When he is ready for us to have another child we will know that his timing is perfect. The very next month I became pregnant. I went to the same obgyn as I had with my other two children. I felt safe there. He was a good doctor and I had no complaints. Around my 20th week check up I decided to ask about the possibility of a vaginal birth after I had two c-sections in the past. They immediately said no. I left the appointment feeling empty. There had to be something better. When I got home I researched as much as I could on vbac’s. (vaginal birth after cesarean) I realized that it’s actually recommended by ACOG for women to have a trial of labor rather than opting for a repeat c-section. The fear of uterine rupture is actually only 1%. That meant that I had a 99% chance of not rupturing. I liked those odds and knew right away that I wanted to try. I immediately found a provider in Birmingham that was very pro natural birth and said she’d take me as a patient. I was thrilled. Every appointment left me feeling so empowered. Like a burden off my shoulders. Going toward the end of May I knew my Dr would be out of town for Memorial Day weekend (my 41 week pregnant). If I were to go into labor that particular weekend her ob partner would be the on call dr and had told my dr that if I showed up in labor she would have to section me. Coming up on that week I knew there was a big chance of going into labor then and I was getting nervous. I couldn’t imagine God lining everything up for us only for it to not happen. She suggested inducing with the Foley bulb that Wednesday even though I was only half a cm dilated, it was our last ditch effort to have the baby before she left town. We scheduled the Foley induction and headed home. I realized in the car that something about being induced didn’t sit well with me. That is what led to my first cs. My body simply wasn’t ready to have the baby and it was a failed induction. Hindsight, my body didn’t fail. My body was protecting the baby from early birth, which is what it’s supposed to do. We pulled over in a parking lot and my husband, Will, prayed out loud. Prayer for us to choose the path that God wants. Prayer for us to listen. Prayer for us to wait for him. We both immediately realized that making rush decisions is not waiting for God and it’s not putting all our faith in God. So I called and canceled the foley. I felt so relieved in doing that. I knew God sent his peaceful confirmation. My Dr. said she would place a call to another Dr. that is vbac friendly. Unfortunately he was nearly 3 hours from home in Anniston, AL. I was excited to have a back up plan but nervous for the long drive in labor and not knowing what condition of the facility I would be at. Everything would be so unfamiliar. Fast forward to the weekend. I knew God had a plan much bigger than mine and wondered if it was truly meant for me to end up in Anniston. We went for a walk on Saturday afternoon and surprisingly at 8:30 that night contractions were starting up. I was so excited and nervous. I labored at home until contractions became too painful to ignore. When I arrived at the hospital I was only dilated to 2cm. But that was a lot of progress from the last check at the dr’s appointment. I was very slow to dilate but my amazing Doula worked with me continually helping me progress. I could not have done it without her. She was a blessing. The hospital was beautiful. The hospital staff were so supportive. Everyone was encouraging and I felt like I was in the best hands possible. Then I met the doctor. He was amazing! He checked in on me several times to see how I was doing and each time I felt very comforted and at peace knowing he would be there. I knew right away God put me in that hospital with that Dr. for good reason. Throughout my long labor (48 hours from onset of contractions, 42 hours after arriving at the hospital) I never felt rushed and the staff never tried to worry me. I labored mostly in the birthing tub and it felt wonderful. It was bigger than I had ever imagined one to be. Most of the laboring is still a blur. I was tired from no sleep since that Friday night and exhausted from riding each contraction wave. I finally opted for an epidural in the early hours of Monday. My body continued to progress and finally it was time to push. Monday night at 8:45 (Memorial Day) she was born. I couldn’t believe I did it. I never imagined the difference in vaginal and cesarean births until I experienced them both. There was a mirror in front that allowed me to watch her crowning. I reached down and felt of her velvety soft head. Will got to assist in catching her and bring her out. Skin to skin contact immediately. No one ever took her away that night, and not even the next two days. All of her testing was done in my arms or right beside me until the morning we discharged. We gave her first bath, first everything. I was amazed. This experience has shown me more than I could ever put into words. Much more than being strapped down on an operating table, unable to hold the baby, rushed off to recovery, an hour later meet my child and then caring for your newborn while recovering from major abdominal surgery. I understand c-sections can be life saving and for that I am thankful. For me, volunteering for an unnecessary abdominal surgery was just something I could not do. Even with a 3rd degree tear due to her hand at her head, this was the best birth experience by far that I have had. I also have been successfully breastfeeding, something I have always wanted. I will forever be thankful to Dr. Johannson and the staff at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Anniston, AL for all the care and support they showed to us. Also to my doula, Kaleigh Rigdon Naylor, there is no way I could have gotten through each contraction without you and I am so grateful. God was in control and I’m so glad to have waited on his path and perfect timing.