Sometimes in this work, and in this life, we meet people who have a place, hold a light, hold your attention. Sometimes you hear a story that blows your mind or see a picture that haunts you, in a good way. This woman, this special woman, so willing to share her vulnerability, while at the same time being a complete bad ass..this woman has my attention. This woman’s story needs to be heard. And this woman needs to tell her story.
I am so honored and grateful, that she has shared it with me, and is allowing me to share it with you.
And so her story begins…
“My name is Dallas Bossola. I’m 38 years old and I’m a stay at home Mom. I’m originally from Viriginia and my family moved to the Outer Banks in 2009.”
“My son was born on December 6 2007 via cesarean section at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond VA. The cesarean was for failure to progress. I was at 3 cm and Kiran was sunny side up. At the time, we were led to believe that Kiran was in distress and a cesarean was going to “save” him. It wasn’t until I started planning my VBAC that I learned that he was never in distress and the fact that it was approaching 5pm on a Friday was probably more of a reason the call for a section was made. My pregnancy with Kiran was very high anxiety. I had multiple miscarriages before Kiran and was considered high risk. I also was approaching 35 so that was one more mark against me. So during those nine months I always felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had 11 ultrasounds, numerous NSTs, a cervical check at every appointment, several gluclose tests..FEAR…FEAR…FEAR. When my water broke with Kiran, I went straight to the hospital, checked in and waited. I was only at 3cm and in hindsight, I should’ve gone right back home. But I just didn’t know. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I just did what they told me to. Kiran’s birth was a beautiful tragedy. The woman I was before that day…disappeared. I remember lying on the OR table and seeing him in a warming bassinet and thinking…how did I get here? How did this happen? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? My heart broke that day. It broke for the birth that I didn’t get and for the child that I felt I had let down. In December of 2007 my journey to VBAC began.”
“Well, Kiran’s birth def made me feel inadequate, a bit stupid I guess. I knew very little about what went in to a labor and a vaginal birth and even less about how birth really goes in a hospital setting. I was angry for a while and depressed. But at the same time I was thankful. Thankful it was all behind me and that I was free to move forward. But the “moving forward” part didn’t come like I thought it would. I was stuck. Very, very stuck. And it wouldn’t be for about six months before that feeling would be replaced with a fire and yearning to know what happened. What should I have known, or read or asked about? And how do I keep it from happening the next time.”
Where did Kiran’s birth lead you?
“Kiran’s birth led me to the birth world. I became a member of ICAN and then a postpartum doula. Living on the Outer Banks led me to home birth. Hospital VBAC’s just weren’t happening here when I was thinking of getting pregnant again and the thought of another section frankly made me want to jump off a bridge rather than go through that again. But we really wanted another baby and I just decided that I would do whatever I needed to in order to stay out of the hospital. And staying out of the hospital meant for starters finding a home birth midwife that would take a VBAC. The midwifery laws being what they are in NC made things a little tougher. I did not want to use an illegal midwife because being a VBAC, if something happened that I needed to transfer, I wanted to make sure that there was continuity of care and not a “dump and run” at the ER because my midwife was scared of going in. So I reached out to a VBAC friendly doc in High Point and asked him if he new of any CNMs that would be willing to travel to the Outer Banks and he gave me Deb’s info. I called her up…she said yes…and the rest is history. All I needed to do was get pregnant which I did just a few weeks later.”
What did you do in this pregnancy, in preparation for Z’s birth?
“Oh man. What DIDN’T I do to prep for Z’s birth! Well, I exercised every day. Some days I swam, most I walked, did yoga. I ate really well so I wouldn’t gain a lot of weight. I took triple doses of Juice Plus+ (JP+ is a whole food nutrition supplement), drank red raspberry tea every single day, watched my diet like a hawk and just tried to keep my head on straight and my eyes on the prize. I read a few books….Ina May’s stuff of course…Birthing From Within…Squat Birth Journal…Artemis Speaks to name a few. I did a lot of “head work” on my self. Meaning I tried to sort through all the gunk left over from Kiran’s birth. That was such a sad time for me and I’m so thankful for it at the same time. So I had a lot of, confusion, that I really wanted to get clarity on before I walked into Z’s birth. I prayed some. Prayed for a quick, safe birth. And I surrounded myself with people who wanted this for me as much as I did. I listened to my midwives and took their advice. I opened my heart up and asked that the Goddesses, Mother Nature, God, Buddha…show me the way. And when my pregnancy started to draw to an end, I had this feeling of readiness. Clarity. Confidence. And a knowing that no matter how it all shook out in the end…I had done EVERYTHING I could and that I would be at peace with whatever the outcome was.”
“Z’s birth was fucking awesome, of course. 🙂 I got the quick labor I prayed for (11 hours, soup to nuts.) Oh and be careful what you pray for right! Contractions were about 30 seconds long and coming every 2-3 minutes. I got up around 3am and came downstairs. I took my birth ball out onto our deck and labored peacefully, watching the sun rise. Watching the water on the canal…feeling at peace and knowing in my heart that it was all going to be ok. My midwife showed up around 10am, checked me and helped me into the water. I was at 7cm, bag of waters intact and shortly after that I felt the urge to push. I asked Deb to check me again and she said there was no need. That I was doing exactly what I needed to do and if I felt like pushing, well PUSH! I remember hearing my water break and thinking holy shit! I’m really gonna have a baby!!! There was a frenzy of laughter, friends showing up barely in time, photographer clicking away taking beautiful pictures, my husband Facebooking (WTF!) and me begging baby to please “help me help you!” I remember feeling her head come out and Deb yelling for me to stop pushing. Z had a compound presentation and Deb wanted to catch her elbow when it popped out. I remember feeling scared, terrified but just wanting her out of me so I can know that she’s ok and it’s over. So I pushed hard with the next contraction and she shot out like a rocket across the tub!!! I remember thinking “I DID IT! HOLY CRAP I JUST SHOT A BABY OUT OF MY VAGINA!” And there was a little confusion as to whether she was a boy or girl, because her lady parts were so swollen. But once we confirmed it was a girl, complete joy and happiness just over took the room. Everyone was smiling, crying, popping champagne, cracking beers and ordering me a cheeseburger! It was truly an amazing day and a beautiful experience!”
“I’m not sure if Z’s birth, per say, has changed me. I think Kiran’s birth turned me into someone that I couldn’t identify with. Listen, my Mom walked out on me and my Dad when I was two. My dad married a women who didn’t want kids and they both kicked me out at 17. I’ve been in abusive relationships, dabbled in drugs and alcohol, been to jail for a hot minute….and I have lived through it all. I’ve never been a weak person. I’m not afraid of anything. I’m a survivor. But something about Kiran’s birth just turned me into someone I was never able to identify with…I was lost…confused. And I’ve spent four years rediscovering that fighter in me. That survivor that’s always been there. I think if anything Z’s birth has been like putting on an old comfortable pair of your favorite shoes. I’m back where I’m supposed to be. I’m me again. Full circle Mama. Full fucking circle.”
Even though I know women are strong, even though I see the strength in women and in birth, I am still blown away by the bravery and courage and determination of women. Thank you, Dallas, for being your brave, raw, bad ass self! I am forever grateful that you have shared this piece of yourself with me and are allowing me to share it with others. My blessing for you is that you remain in your rediscovered skin, knowing your power and abilities, and continue to provide encouragement and support to the women around you. Much love.