I wanted to write this to share with you all my birth story and also to keep the memory alive for myself. The event of our second son’s birth is something I wish I could relive again and again because of how beautiful and amazing it was. The birth of my first son was something I will never forget, but there was also some disappointment in that I couldn’t see his face as they delivered him via C-section, then couldn’t hold him for another two hours after my surgery. It wasn’t long after recovering from his birth that I was already thinking about attempting a VBAC for my next one. So after learning I was pregnant 9 months ago, my husband and I weighed the risks and moved forward with a VBAC delivery. I’m so glad I did. Here’s how my birth story started.
With both of my pregnancies, it’s normal for me to have several hours of close together contractions before the real onset of labor starts. So was the case on the night of June 5th. I started contracting 4 minutes apart and about a minute long. Growing tired of timing them, I finally fell asleep only to awaken in the morning by them still occurring. At this point I had a gut feeling that this was it. So I went about my day seeing if they would grow stronger or more regular. They were inconsistent, but still about 3-8 minutes apart. By evening they grew noticeably stronger and closer together. I made arrangements for the care of our older son and my husband and I prepared to make the trip to the hospital. We arrived around 7pm, they checked me and I was dialated to 1 cm. The nurse told me I could walk around and see if I progressed any more. So we walked the halls of the hospital for an hour, they checked me again and I was the same. So they sent us home. We went to bed and the contractions grew stronger. After about 40 minutes, I felt the familiar feeling of my water breaking and exclaimed “Oh my gosh! My water broke!” My husband bolted out of bed very excited and we made the trek back to the hospital. By now it was about midnight.
Labor grew more painful as the night wore on, but still bearable. My goal was to have a natural birth without anything for pain, but I still had an open mind.
4:00am My parents came around 4 am and my mom coached me through the contractions…it was so nice having her there! The night is sort of a blur, but eventually I was checked around this same time to find my cervix dialated to 3 cm, but the baby was at a -3 station, which means he hadn’t dropped yet and was at the highest point he could be in my uterus.
7:30am Three and half hours later they checked me again and I was still at a 3 (ugh!) but he had dropped some to a -2 station. Which meant I was finally able to walk around to help labor progress. The rest of the day wore on, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart as long as I was standing, and still not too painful.
11am Before noon I was checked with still no progress. At this point we began discussing our options. I could continue this course to see if I would progress on my own, induce more intense labor with pitocin, or have a repeat c-section. I was already aware of the risks of having a VBAC, and I knew the chances of uterine rupture would double with pitocin. I really didn’t want to go this route. With every contraction I had, at the forefront of my mind was the thought that my uterus could tear open at any moment (morbid, I know). I gave in to fear and told my husband that I wanted another c-section. Thank God a dear friend was there to remind me of the verse “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” Such a simple truth, but so glad she reminded me of it. It wasn’t long after that that I prayed and felt peace about going with a low pitocin drip.
12pm At around noon, they hooked me up and it wasn’t long before I experienced awful, painful contractions, the worst pain I’ve ever felt IN MY LIFE. Standing up helped me cope, and my husband and mother coached me through each one. After over 3 hours of increasing pain and contractions 1-2 minutes apart, I chose to have an epidural because I felt so tired at this point and there was no way after so many hours of labor my body would have endured on it’s own.
3:18pm I got an epidural, which in and of itself was one of the worst points of the day. Trying to hold still during the worst pain you’ve ever felt while you get a needle in your back was not easy. If I do an epidural with my next one, I’ll be sure to get it much earlier! Once it kicked in though…ah. I couldn’t feel a darn thing. It was awesome!
5:00pm After a couple hours of labor with epidural and increasing the pitocin drip, my contractions were very close together and super strong. And they were doing something! At this point, I was 8 cm dialated and he was at a +1 station. I could tell it was going to go fast now!
7:00pm I began asking if my doctor was going to get here soon, because I could feel the weight of the baby bearing down on my backside. With every contraction, I could feel him moving down, it was incredible. But still no pain.
7:30pm Very strong contractions and I felt like he was ready to just come sliding out all on his own! I told my mom that I thought I could push and my mom ran to get nurses and check me. I was dialated 10 cm and he was pretty much ready to come out. They told me with the next two contractions that I would “labor down” and not to push just yet. The doctor came in casually, then realized very quickly that she had come just in time. I was given a quick tutorial about pushing and with the next contraction, I pushed with all my might. After about 6 pushes and just a couple minutes, my little man was born. My doctor and I couldn’t believe how easy it was! Kent cut the cord and they put him on my tummy. I was elated. I thought I would cry buckets, but I was surprised that I just felt overwhelming joy as I looked at him for the first time. The tears came a couple minutes later.
Recovery was great. Hours after he was born I had a dramatic dip in my blood pressure from some post-partum hemorrhaging and I also had a fever from an infection. Yuck. That was not fun. But those issues were cleared up by the next morning.
For any of you reading this considering a VBAC, I would highly encourage you to try it. It’s not for everyone obviously, but if you find a great doctor that thinks you are a good candidate, you should go for it. I’m so thrilled that I was able to experience childbirth this way, and really learned a good lesson about not letting fear control my decisions.
Thanks for reading and letting me share! After a wonderful break, I hope to get back to regular posting by next week!