January 16, 2013

VBAC Birth Story


On Friday, July 22nd (the day before my due date) I started wondering if my water had broken or if what I was experiencing was normal pregnancy discharge. To be on the safe side I thought I’d go get checked out to get it tested. So when Irwin got home from work around 4pm I told him we needed to go to L&D to get checked and I brought all of my hospital bags just in case. I really didn’t think the test would come back positive for water breaking because there was never any gushing, leaking, or any other labor signs accompanying it. I figured we’d be sent back home that night..well we weren’t!

After waiting in triage for several hours, they finally did the test which came pack positive for amniotic fluid so my water had indeed sprung a leak, I was shocked! Then the concern set in.. when your water breaks you are supposed to deliver within 24 hours because there is a risk of infection after that. Because I didn’t know that the small amount of fluid was my water breaking (I really thought it was normal pregnancy discharge) I was not sure when my water actual did break. It could have been days before or just hours to be honest!

I was really nervous at this point because I was afraid of a) an infection that could harm me and/or Justin and b) they would have to deliver me ASAP which would mean a c-section. I wasn’t in active labor at this point even though my water was leaking, so my chances of a VBAC pretty much went out the window. They couldn’t give me anything to jump start my labor either, so basically my body would have to do it on it’s own and immediately for any chance, and my body was doing nothing. On top of that, when they checked me they said I was only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. At both my previous OB appointments I was 2.5cm dilated and 80% effaced so I was not happy!

At this point I was admitted upstairs into Labor & Delivery while Irwin drove Jake home to go to sleep for the night. (We have Jake’s Grandpa staying with us to help us watch Jake). I was met by a midwife which I was initially excited about because I thought surely a midwife would let me try to labor at least a few hours before sending me off to a c-section. I was wrong. She basically said it was up to the attending doctor, but they were worried about infection each hour that passed so we were most likely going to go straight to a c-section sometime after midnight (it was around 10:30pm at this time). I asked her if I could try to labor at least to see if my body would do something to avoid surgery, but she said she didn’t think so because my water was broken and I wasn’t having any contractions and there was nothing they could give me to start them… so there wasn’t anything any of them could do for me because of this crucial time issue. I was pretty devastated.

Irwin was back at the hospital with me and we just miserably sat and waited for the doctor to come into the room to set up for the c-section. This was a doctor I didn’t even know and didn’t have the best reviews on so that made me even more anxious. As luck would have it, L&D was slammed full of patients that night so we waited and waited and the doctor just didn’t have a chance to come see us. Irwin decided to get some sleep while we waited, I couldn’t sleep so I started to read my Nook.

Suddenly around 12:30am I noticed that I was starting to have contractions and they were really painful. I couldn’t read my book anymore because the pain was getting to be too bad. I’ve never had real contractions before so I wasn’t sure that’s what was actually happening and I couldn’t read the contraction strips and interpret what that was showing, so I called my nurse in and asked if I was actually having real contractions. She looked at the screen and confirmed that I was indeed in active labor and called the midwife back in to check me. I suddenly went from 1cm dilated to 5cm dilated! I could not believe my body naturally started labor when it was doing nothing before and the nurses got very excited for me and said as long as I kept progressing naturally (which was definitely not a guarantee) I could still try for a VBAC! I was so excited, but knew I was still under a time crunch and could stop progressing at any point.

This is when we realized how lucky we were that the doctor was so busy, because had he c-sectioned me at midnight, I would have never gone into labor or been able to even try for a VBAC! Around 2am I asked for an epidural because the contractions were really painful. They gave me the option of getting a walking epidural so I thought I’d try that so I could attempt to walk around and make more progress. The epidural went in without a hitch, I was really nervous about getting one, but just like last time it was barely a pinch. About 20 minutes later the epidural kicked in and my pain got so much better. The midwife checked me again and said I was still at 5 but I had a forbag of water so she broke that to see if that would help get things moving faster. It definitely did because suddenly I was in too much pain to get out of bed and walk around so I requested my walking epi be turned into the regular strong one (they just add more meds into the bag to do this so easy peasy). I was worried that just lying in bed with an epi would stall my labor but my nurse reassured me that it shouldn’t and it didn’t!

Around 4am (and still no sight of the doctor) I was checked again and I was 7cm dilated! This was enough progress for me to be allowed to continue laboring and I was getting more excited by the minute. They monitored my temperature the whole time to make sure there were no signs of infection and luckily there wasn’t. My blood pressure was iffy the whole time but not enough to keep me from laboring thank goodness.

Then around 6am several exciting things happened. The doctor that wanted to c-section me left (and never even came in to see me which was fine with me!), and my wonderful OB, Dr.Peppy, walked into my room! There was like a 1 in 24 chance odds of him being the next doctor on call so I couldn’t believe my luck. He delivered my first son Jake via c-section and I was 100% comfortable with him performing another surgery on me should it come to that point. He was so excited that I had made so much progress and was on my way towards a VBAC. He never even uttered the word “c-section,” we just love him! Not even 10 minutes after he left the room to go do his rounds I started feeling a very uncomfortable pressure. If felt like I had to take the biggest poop of my life. I wasn’t sure if I indeed had to go poop or if this was the baby lol..So I called my nurse in and she got my OB back in and he checked me and said I was complete.. 10 cm and ready to go! I was ecstatic!

It all became real to me when they set up the baby warmer!

I had only been in active labor for around 5 hours at this point and with my wonderful epidural in I didn’t feel a thing the last few hours so it was a very easy and pleasant experience for me. I was just laying in bed reading my book and browsing the internet while my body did all the work! This is when the really tough part started though. At the time, it was around 6:30am and the epidural did nothing to even touch the intense pressure and pain which comes along with being ready to push. Those contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes at most and they were incredibly painful. The only way to get some relief from them is to push, but I couldn’t do that just yet. Because of my previous c-section and incision on my uterus, my OB wanted me to “labor down” for 30 minutes to an hour before I started actively pushing. What this means is he wanted my body to naturally work with itself to push Justin down so when I did start pushing my body would have helped that process without me putting too much strain on my incision so less of a chance of rupture. It made sense but I did not realize how painful that hour was going to be without being able to push! It was one of the hardest hours of my life. I was just laying there gasping in pain for the minute or so each contraction hit and gripping the bed to get through each one. They had me try laying in several positions to help the pressure but nothing helped.

Finally around 7:40am I was allowed to start actively pushing which I was so thankful for. I just wanted him OUT I was in so much pain. They kept saying the head was RIGHT THERE so I naively thought I’d have him out in oh, a couple of pushes or so.. hah! I asked my OB how long he thought I’d have to push for and he said that first time moms delivering usually average 1-2 hours. I almost died when he said that. I could NOT imagine going through 5 more minutes of this pain let alone 1-2 hours.. but it was game time so I knew I had to do what needed to be done. He stayed for a few practice pushes and they were right, pushing does help relieve a lot of the pressure. It was still really painful and uncomfortable every 2-3 minutes when a contraction hit, and I had to do 3 hard pushes with each contraction, but I was managing it. I allowed a really nice nursing student (also named Victoria!) in to watch her very first delivery and she was so excited so I was really glad to give her that experience. She held one of my legs during each contraction and Irwin the other so that helped me to curl down and push hard. We did that for awhile, then the nurse had Irwin pull one end of a sheet really hard away from me and I had to pull it hard against me to do “tug of war” pushing. My arms were sore for days from that! That was definitely exhausting so we only did that for 3 or 4 contractions. Things got a little dicey then because suddenly Justin’s heart rate was not tolerating the contractions so I was scared to death that after all this work I’d have to be rushed in for an emergency c-section and of course I was worried about Justin too!

She had me try pushing on my right and left sides and his heart rate still wasn’t recovering perfectly so she had me lay on my back and suddenly that fixed everything. Justin’s heart rate went back to normal and he was tolerating everything great again. She then wheeled out a mirror because she wanted me to see what my pushing was doing. I was a bit hesitant at first because I didn’t know if I wanted to see that, but I’m glad she convinced me because it was not as gruesome as I imagined it was going to look like! Everytime I pushed at this point we could start seeing his head and the nursing student was squealing with excitement, it was so cute! Irwin was so excited too, he was like “look I can see Justin!!” I was completely exhausted and worn out at this point but she said he would be here in a few pushes so that was really awesome to hear. She called my OB back in and we pushed some more. Everyone was cheering me on telling me how great I was doing and my OB called me a rockstar. I sure didn’t feel like one, all I wanted was a cold shower and Justin out haha! Then my nurse called the charge nurse in for “baby delivery” and I heard a lot of excited running and shouts and the room filled up with baby nurses for Justin and the charge nurse. Everyone was so excited and happy for me because they knew this was a VBAC and how badly I wanted one (plus VBACS are still unfortunately pretty rare).

Pushing a baby out is hard work!

My wonderful OB ready to deliver Justin! (and no you can not see anything in the mirror, believe me I have zoomed in and looked!)

Dr.Peppy then said Justin was coming and that he wasn’t a cutter if he didn’t have to be so he would rather let me tear which I was thankful for. Being cut open sounded really painful to me at that time when I was already in a lot of pain. It was now delivery time and the only time the whole delivery where I actually gasped out loud from the pain. I just kept hearing Dr.Peppy saying push push push, then shoulder shoulders shoulders. He was never in any danger of shoulder dystocia but come to find out in a few moments he was a big baby so this was the hardest part of the delivery. Then at 8:30am on July 23rd (Justin’s due date)..after a few hard pushes and squeals from me I felt him slip out and had instant relief, it was amazing and I ended up “only” pushing for just under an hour! Then I remember hearing the whole room cheering and people saying “woah that’s a big baby!”. They put him on my chest and I got nervous because he was purple and not crying so I kept asking if he was ok and they kept reassuring me that he was. They rubbed his back and got him to breathe and soon (but it felt like forever) he started crying away! They took him to the scale next to my bed and that’s when I was shocked with the news that the baby I just delivered was a 9 pound 5 ounce baby! He was 20.5″ long, and apgars of 8 and 9.


My OB then had me deliver the placenta which was easy peasy compared to a baby and then checked to make sure everything came out and was fine. He announced that I only had a 1 degree tear which was amazing for pushing out a baby so big! He stitched me up and then said he was going to call my tear a barely 2nd degree tear because nobody would believe him if he said he delivered a 9.5 pounder with only a 1 degree tear haha!

Justin and I are doing wonderfully, it’s amazing what a different recovery a VBAC versus a c-section is! I loved being able to eat and drink whatever I wanted right after delivery and be able to somewhat move about. I’m sore from all the pushing and stitches so I’m not up and about running around or anything, but I feel pretty good! We had to stay in the hospital one extra day (so 3 days total including labor and delivery) because of my water rupturing and nobody knowing how long it was ruptured for. They wanted to grow a 48 hour culture from Justin’s blood after delivery to make 100% sure he had no infection from this and everything came back perfect! He is a little jaundiced but nothing major and just something the pediatrician can monitor at this point. We just love our new little guy and his big brother is already smitten with him!


It was one of the happiest days of my life and I’m so happy to have recorded everything to look back on and reminisce.


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