The stunning Tracy Smith, Emma (16), Dexter (5), and Caden (3).
Tracy knew she wanted to start her family early and was able to conceive Emma after about a year of trying when she was just 21. She had a healthy pregnancy and though she wasn't very educated or opinionated at the time, knew she'd like to have a vaginal delivery. Unfortunately, Emma went from being engaged to having her cord prolapse and a typical delivery turned into an emergency very quickly. Tracy was rushed to the OR with a nurse's hand inside her keeping pressure off of Emma's cord and put under for surgery. She woke up in a room, alone, uncertain what had happened. Emma was not breathing when she was born and needed to be intubated in NICU. It would be two days before Tracy was able to meet her baby and while they both made a full recovery the experience is still emotional to recount.
When Tracy was ready to add to her family she knew that she'd like to VBAC. She says there was a point she would have sold her soul to have a vaginal birth after her cesarean. They found a doctor that seemed very supportive but as she got near term he seemed to waffle a bit and showed concerns for she and the babies health that didn't feel warranted. Still she trusted her provider and when he said it was time, went to the hospital to have her baby. Tracy had had a cerclage placed due to concerns of an "incompetent cervix" which had come out without complication but labor never naturally started. Tracy was so heavily medicated during her delivery that she didn't feel like an active participant but was still grateful in the end to have had a vaginal birth.
About two years later, Tracy and her husband decided to have their third and final baby and chose to use the same provider. He was again seemingly supportive of their desires and they made it clear to him that with them less was more, they wanted to be in charge of choices and informed in their care. Tracy's pregnancy was high risk due to a single umbilical artery so she was also seen by a fetal specialist. Near the end of her pregnancy her doctor again began pushing delivery but knowing that things looked fine on the specialists end, they refused induction. She did agree to overnight hospital monitoring which showed that both she and baby were doing great at 39 weeks. Her doctor became angry and yelled at Tracy and her husband for not agreeing to induce so they left his care and found a new provider at 40 weeks. Tracy knew it wasn't time for her baby to arrive but when they learned that Caden had a nuchal cord and his fluid was lessening a couple weeks later felt ready to go. She was able to spend an intentional evening with her older children and husband before going to the hospital to have her waters broken the following morning.
Labor started shortly thereafter and Tracy was able to walk the halls and labor in the shower. She was fully supported by her husband and doula and felt amazingly in control of her experience. When she felt ready to push, Tracy lay in bed on her side and began pushing through contractions. She remember her doctor coming in and just sitting on the bed beside her quietly waiting for her to do the work. The experience was exactly what she needed.
Tracy says that her birth stories are different from those she imagined but they are all so dynamic. It was important for her to be able to share them all in on place. "I've wanted to participate for years and finally able to now. I've always felt the most beautiful being pregnant and am amazed at what a woman's body can do to nurture life. I think it's important to tell my story, as it's as unique as me."