If you haven’t read Part 1 of my VBAC Birth Story you may want to start there before reading on here!
On December 5th I walked into the ER with my husband at about 9pm. We were immediately taken upstairs to Labor and Delivery, but despite asking several times, they were insistent on not allowing me to walk. After spending the short drive in the car and having several contractions, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down.
When we got upstairs I was taken to triage where I told the nurses I was hoping for a VBAC but was scheduled for a C-Section the following morning. When we walked into the hospital I had expressed to my husband my concern about not having made any progress. While I tried to have it come off as a joke, after laboring for 27 hours with my first son and never dilating past 4 cm, I was actually worried my body just couldn’t do it.
Turns out my worry wasn’t unfounded. I hadn’t made ANY change since my last check in my OB’s office despite having very regular and strong contractions on the monitor. I was still only 2 cm, soft, very high, and posterior. The second nurse came in a few minutes later and informed me that my OB was currently in an emergency C-Section and would be happy to move mine up once he was done.
I was CRUSHED.
This is not what I wanted. I wanted to give my body a chance to labor and see what would happen. I expressed my desires again, and was told I would have to wait to see what my OB wanted to do. They were very nice about it, but I couldn’t help but to be upset. I thought by going into labor on my own I would have my chance.
Nearly 30 minutes later the nurse came back in and told me my OB was willing to stay (he has to be on property when a patient is VBACing for safety reasons) overnight and see how my labor progresses. (Also since I had eaten right before I came to the hospital they couldn’t do the C-section right away regardless.) So, I was to be checked into the unit, and he would be back to break my water. If my labor didn’t pick up on it’s own and if I didn’t make significant change by my 7:30 am C-section appointment the following morning they would just proceed with the C-section. This seemed like a reasonable plan to me. Finally something to smile about.
At 10:00pm I was transferred to my room, and asked if I wanted an epidural. If I didn’t think there had been such a high chance I was going to go in for a C-section I may have chosen not to go ahead and get one, but at this time my contractions were taking my breath away and so I agreed.
The epidural was like heaven for about 1 hour. Then my body was so numb I couldn’t even move my legs. I hated this feeling with my first baby, and I hated it this time as well. I am truly not sure which was worse, the pain or the cement legs.
At 1am my OB came back to check my progress and found that I was dilated to a tight 4 cm. I was happy I was making some progress. However, my contractions were now really weird. I would have 5-6 contractions about 1 minute apart and then nothing for 5-7 minutes. So my OB said he would like to add some Pitocin to see if we couldn’t get my contractions in a more steady pattern. He then broke my water.
“Thick meconium.” Turns out my baby had had a very big bowl movement inside and I was informed that now the NICU team would be involved in his delivery so he didn’t aspirate any of the meconium. I was a bit worried and sad because now even if I had my VBAC there was a chance I still wouldn’t have my baby put to my chest right away.
Things weren’t about to get any better either…
After my OB left my nurse had me spend the next 2.5 hours laying flat and shifting from side to side in an effort to get my baby to turn so he was no longer posterior (sunny-side up) and get my contractions more regular. I was SO very uncomfortable. I kept asking to be allowed to sit up for a while, but was told I couldn’t until baby changed positions. Around 2:30 am I began to feel a lot of pain in my abdomen again. The baby also began to have trouble with my contractions, and each one brought a deceleration in his heart rate.
At first the pain was so intense I thought my C-section incision was ripping open. My nurse assured me this was not happening and agreed to call the Anesthesiologist back to re-dose me. In the meantime she put me on oxygen and had my continue to change from side to side.
By 3am I was shaking uncontrollably and was in tears from the pain and begging to sit up. The anesthesiologist came back and gave me another dose of the epidural, but it didn’t seem to be helping at all. Finally she asked that my nurse sit me up. Almost instantaneously my baby’s heart rate stopped having decels, and my pain began to get better. (Although it never completely went away.) I was also checked again and found to be 6 cm! This gave me tremendous hope. I was officially more dilated then I had ever been before.
Another amazing thing happened when they sat me up, my contractions settled into a serious pattern. No more 5-7 minute breaks between them. Baby was happy, and I was progressing. I tried to get some rest. About an hour later the nurse came back in and decided to have me change positions again and lay me on my back. I was not happy with this, and apparently neither was baby. Once I laid down baby started to have heart decelerations again. My OB came in and very seriously sat in front of the monitor and watched. In 8 minutes I had 6 contractions and each one brought a big drop in baby’s heart rate. My OB suggested letting me sit back up. He didn’t say it, but I know had this not worked we would have been down having an emergency C-section right away. However, my little stinker baby recovered very well once I sat up. He (like his mama) apparently really didn’t like laying flat.
At 7 am I began to notice that sharp pain returning. I told the nurse about it but seeing as my legs were so numb I wouldn’t know I had any if I couldn’t see them I didn’t want to top off the epi and more. I was already worried about how I’d be able to push. At about 8am I was told that I was now 9 cm! I was also informed at this time that there was another woman on the floor who was also having a VBAC and also dilated to 9cm. We were in a race to the finish as we both shared the same doctor! The nurses got a kick out of how similar our pregnancies were. We were both due on the 6th with our second baby, both having boys, both had previous long labors and a poor C-section experience, both had meconium in the water, and both had gestational diabetes. If I wasn’t in so much pain at this time I am sure this would have made me smile.
Turns out she beat me, and a 9am I was dilated to almost 10 cm save for a small lip of cervix left. It was that lip that made it so she got to deliver with our OB first. In the meantime my new nurses asked me to start trying some pushes. I ended up being so effective at pushing they told me I had to stop and wait until my Dr. was in the room.
WHAT! Stop pushing?
I’m sorry, but that is the cruelest thing you can ask a woman to do when there is a baby bearing down on her bottom and ready to enter this world.
I was told to breath through my contractions. During my pushing and contractions I became a very internal person. I had my eyes closed most of the time and felt like I was on the outside listening into my body and the nurses. Every few contractions they would allow me to push a bit so baby didn’t slip back up to much.
At this point my epidural had completely worn off down my middle and I could feel everything except my legs! As a result, I began to notice I was getting really nauseous and asked for a bag. Except when I opened my eyes to ask again, no one was there – all three nurses in the room had stepped back to do something in another corner of the room and my husband had gone to check on something as well. I again stated really loudly I needed a bag because I was going to be sick.
The next thing I knew my husband was walking over to me, I looked up at him and proceeded to throw up all over him and in his face.
I was mortified.
Did I really just puke all over my husband?
I have to give that man major credit, as he held the bag until a nurse took over for him and he quietly walked into the bathroom to change. He knew I didn’t mean to, but I’m not sure I would have handled that as well as he did!
Turns out throwing up is a great way to move the baby down! I was very close to delivering, and thankfully my OB came in not too much later. Right away he said my baby was still posterior and began to manually turn him with my contractions and pushing. Everything seemed to be going great. I was even told to touch my baby’s head as he was almost here. (Super cool feeling!)
Then all of a sudden my OB asked for the vacuum. I had thought I was one contraction away from delivering my baby, and didn’t understand what was happening. With in seconds my baby’s head was out and the Dr. announced that I needed to stop pushing and that the cord was wrapped twice around my baby’s neck very tightly.
After a few tense moments (which seemed like eternity to me), I was told to push again, and in an instant my baby was placed up on my chest. He was so warm, and that moment was something I will never forget in my entire life. My beautiful little boy was here and in my arms.
He cried right away and so did I. Everyone was telling me how big he was, but all I could say was “He’s so small!” He seemed long and skinny to me! After all my first son was a short super chunk of a baby! The NICU was in the room ready to help, and told me they needed to take him away and asses him for meconium aspiration.
Turns out my little man is as much of a fighter as he is stubborn. He scored 9/9 on his APGAR, and had no problems with his breathing. He also didn’t have a single low blood sugar. I would be allowed to hold him instead of him going to the nursery, and more importantly breastfeed him.
Deacon Niklas was born at 10:12am on December 6th weighing 9lbs 4ozs and was every inch of perfection.
Having my VBAC with all it’s ups and downs was every bit as amazing and awesome as I hoped it to be. The moment he was placed on my chest was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life, and made every rough moment in the labor virtually disappear!
The recovery has been amazing compared to my C-section and I was up at walking in a matter of hours. However, I did have a pretty big tear, so healing has taken time. I’m glad I was able to have the delivery I wanted, and without an OB who wanted the same I am pretty sure that wouldn’t have been a possibility. I was told a few days later by the nurse who checked me in that the nurses all gave me about a 10% chance of a successful VBAC based on my initial exam.
Baby D did later end up developing Jaundice. The Pediatrician felt like it was a result of his hematoma due to his vacuum delivery, but asked to keep him in the hospital an extra night, and had us go to see him the day after we were released to monitor his levels.
My little boy, no matter how he came into this world is perfect. I worried pretty much my whole pregnancy how I was going to find the love for a second baby like I have for my first son. Everyone reassured me it would happen. It did. The moment he burst into this world he stole my heart. The second his brother looked at him and smiled up at me, it was sealed for life.
This little boy is sealed to me for life. Mine forever, and the joy that brings me is immeasurable.
I am so blessed, and maybe a little bit crazy because I can already picture doing this all over again!