I wanted to share with you my birth story. I thought since I did an all natural VBAC, it might be something you would want to share. Thanks for the posts. YOUR blog helped me get though my second birth! Your stories of inspiration that you have are amazing, and just your general tone. The fact that there are nurses out there like you made me have the confidence to trust the nurse with me, but also not be totally trustworthy. It helped me realize that I am the final decision maker.
In preparing for my VBAC I read your Injustice in Maternity Care Series and your story “I Needed to Know My Body Could Do It!”: A VBAC Story over and over. I also read Active Birth by Janet Balaskas which I think helped me a lot, and with our first daughter (my c-section) we took Bradley classes so we both thought we were so prepared. This time I had my mom, a friend and my husband as my birth team and we took control, which reading about it from your point of view gave me the courage to do so!!!
Thanks for all you do! I love the blog!
Dear Katie C.,
I would LOVE to reprint it and am honored that you would even send it to me! Thank you for reading and THANK YOU for being such an awesome and empowered woman and mother!! It is women like you that are an inspiration to ME!
I just love everything about your birth story!! First off, CONGRATULATIONS on your VBAC and on the birth of your daughter!! What a wonderful time for you and your family! It also must be really nice to NOT have to recover from major abdominal surgery and take care of a newborn and 3 year old! Second, one HUGE pat on the back to you for choosing to go back home during your initial trip to the hospital when you were found to be 2 centimeters. That took A LOT of courage and trust in your body and your abilities, especially since the on-call doctor was pressuring you to stay. And I completely agree with you; choosing to labor at home until you were more “active” most definitely had a significant impact on your successful unmedicated VBAC. Thirdly, KUDOS to you for being an active participant in your birth!! It no doubt helped your labor progress to be upright and moving during your labor! I am so proud of you!! While it’s true that no one can really “plan” their birth, you did everything you absolutely could to stack the cards in your favor!! Yay! Yay! Yay!!!
Thank you again for reading and sharing!
All My Best,
Katie C’s VBAC Birth Story
College Station, TX
Starting on Friday, May 22, I started having very mild but consistent contractions at 5 minutes apart at lunch time. The rest of the day they came and went, some getting farther apart but stronger slowly as the day went on. I also had a lot of brownish and pinkish spotting. Figured that maybe I was in very early labor. Did my usually stuff that day and went to bed about 9:00pm, just in case this was it. Saturday morning I woke up about 1:00am with contractions strong enough that I couldn’t sleep. I got up and ate some peanut butter toast and drank a bunch of water and tried to go back to sleep. Contractions were about 7 minutes apart but stronger and enough so that I was having a hard time sleeping. Likely because I was excited. Got up and took a bath but that didn’t help. Tried to go back to sleep. Got up and ate 2 huge bowls of apple cinnamon cheerios. Finally fell back asleep about 4:30 am. Woke up at 7am and was just very tired. Contractions were completely bearable but figured that we were starting (maybe) and so I had Madison go to Jaxson’s (and George and Amie) house for a few hours while my mom and I stayed home to see if anything would progress.
Lamaze International's Tips for a Normal Birth #5: Eat and drink as your body tells you to. Drinking plenty of fluids during labor will keep you from getting dehydrated and give you energy.
As the day went on they got stronger but not really closer. I called L&D and she said 3-5 minutes apart, not able to talk through them, so I just figured I would wait. Wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet anyway. I called Meredith (a friend), who was working about 2 hours away, to let her know that she might have to come back that night. We decided that she would come back that night instead of waiting for a call at 2:00 am and have to drive then.
Lamaze International's Tips for a Normal Birth #6: Think carefully about who you want to give you support during labor and birth. Consider hiring a doula or other professional labor support person to give you, your partner, and any other support person who's with you, continuous emotional and physical support.
My back started hurting and I called another friend of mine who does massage. She wanted me to come to her studio, but I really didn’t want to leave the house, so I decided to stay home. Rob called his mom and went to meet her and take Madison to her house so that we wouldn’t have here with us. By the time Rob got back, about 6:30pm, contractions were 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. I could still talk and walk, but it took effort. I called Meredith back and she said she was on her way to my house. At 7:30pm I started to panic. The contractions seemed very strong to me, I was concentrating on them and they were consistently 5 minutes apart, so we decided to head to the hospital. I called Meredith and told her to meet us there. Once I got there, my contractions stopped pretty much, likely due to my nerves. They got me into a room and set and checked me and I was 2cm and 80% effaced. I was devastated! I told them I wanted to go home. The doctor on call was leery of that since I was a VBAC and they said they would really like me to stay but I refused and we packed up and came home. (In hind site, this was the reason it all worked out!! Best Decision!!!)
I went to bed disappointed and tired, since I had been contracting for nearly 30 hours at this point and I just wanted to either be in labor or not. I ate a snack and went to bed. At about 3:00am I was woken by very strong contractions, 7 minutes apart, strong enough that I would flip to hands and knees in bed and rock and moan through them. Rob decided I was in labor, though I was still not sure! LOL! I started just sleeping in between them. (Must have been some natural coping mechanism, since I did it until about 6:30 am!) We started timing for real at 7:00am. Meredith came over and she helped my mom. My mom would time the start to start and Meredith would time the duration. They were about 5 minutes apart with about 30 seconds of what I would call pain. The actual contraction would last about a min or longer.
As the morning went on, I could no longer do anything during the contractions except hang onto Rob and moan. Contractions got stronger and longer. They were 4-5 minutes apart, and lasting (pain) about 70 seconds. During one contraction while I was hanging on to Rob I had a huge rushing feeling, almost like a pushing sensation (or so I thought) so I just said, “We have to go NOW!” We packed up and went up to the hospital. I had 4 contractions in the car, which were the hardest ones! [At that point I preferred to be standing during them, since sitting or lying down was excruciating.] We got back to the hospital and I was moaning and hanging on Rob and everyone in the ER was looking at me funny. It made me laugh. They probably all thought I was crazy!
I went back up to L&D and they put me in the same room and got me all set up again. The nurse said, “We were waiting for you!” I was so nervous that I would only be 3 centimeters and they wouldn’t let me go! She checked me (about 11:00am) and I was 6cm, fully effaced!!! I cried when she told me, I was so happy!! Rob, Mom and Meredith clapped! LOL! They told me I had to stay. I said that was fine! They put me on the monitors and said I would be able to get off of them, but then the Dr. on call said “NO!” so I was worried I would be stuck in bed. The nurse said, “You can move as much as you want, so long as the cord is long enough,” so I got out of bed and stood next to it for most of the day. We said I didn’t want to be checked again except by the doctor or if they thought I was complete (i.e. pushing) so when the doctor got there at 1:00pm she checked me and I was a stretch 8!! I was still concerned that it wasn’t going to happen, but everyone else was excited.
Lamaze International's Tip #4 for a Normal Birth: Plan to move around freely during labor. You'll be more comfortable, your labor will progress more quickly, and your baby will move through the birth canal more easily if you stay upright and respond to the pain of your labor by changing positions. Try rocking, straddling a chair, lunging, walking and slow dancing.
Transition for me was the second hardest thing I have ever done. I refused pitocin (which they really didn’t push since I was a VBAC) and did not let them break my water. I stayed at a 9 centimeters for almost 3 hours, then at 9 ½ centimeters for a while until I begged them to stretch my cervix!! LOL! I was on the bed with the back raised on my hands and knees and suddenly had a contraction that felt better when I kinda of pushed at it. My mom went to get the nurse and she tried to check me like that but said I really needed to lie down. I said I didn’t want to push lying down and she said, “Sweetie you can push however you want, but I need to make darn sure you are complete so you don’t swell.” I knew that was true so I got down and she checked me and then had the doctor come in and doctor said, “I’d call that complete!” I was so freaking happy! However I was also exhausted and once I was lying down, though I was hurting, I just couldn’t get back up again. They broke my water sometime in there. [I think it was earlier when I was at a 9 ½ centimeters but I can't remember.]
The first few pushes I really thought I was doing it but I think the contractions were just not strong enough. I actually asked the doctor how far down Hana had to be to use the vacuum! I was exhausted! The doctor said that she wasn’t going to use the vacuum, so I was just going to have to push! I started pushing about 4:45 pm. She would come down (once I finally figured out just how freaking hard you have to push!!) and then scoot back in. They explained to me that a little bit of pitocin would help to bring the contractions a little closer together, so I would be more effective in pushing, since I was having over a minute between them and Hana would just scoot back in. I finally agreed to it at about 5:45pm. The started it at about 6pm. The doctor suggested a pudendal block, in case I needed an episiotomy (which while I wanted a natural tear, I wasn’t against at that point and I never thought I would come through it with no tear or cut). I even got a mirror to see my progress, and knew right then that something was going to have to give! I made them put the mirror away!
I started pushing 5-6 times per contraction and the doctor had been with me the whole time. She had them break the bed and get all the stuff ready and I asked “Is she coming out this way?” and the doctor laughed and said, “I’m not doing a c-section today!” She asked me also if I wanted to feel Hana’s head, but I just couldn’t bear the thought for some reason. I kept pushing and finally she said, “Ok, this next one you’re going to have your baby!” and so I hauled back and pushed harder than I thought possible and her head popped out and I kept pushing (oops!!) and Hana was born Sunday May 24th at 6:28pm!!! It was the most amazing thing in my life and no doubt pushing was the hardest thing in the world.
Lamaze International's Tips for a Normal Birth #10: Keep your baby with you after birth. Skin-to-skin contact keeps your baby warm and helps to regulate your baby's heartbeat and breathing. Keeping the baby with you in your room helps you to get to know your baby, respond to your baby's early feeding cues and get breastfeeding off to a good start.
They gave her to me and after a few minutes (she was breathing but a little blue still) they took her over to rub her and clean her up some. I was shaking so bad at that point that Rob had to hold her. I ended up with a 4th degree tear… not from her head, but her shoulder popped out when I pushed and the doctor wasn’t expecting it, and so that’s that. But it isn’t so bad! She stitched me up, and while it is sore, it beats the hell out of a c-section! Right after she was born I said, “I had a baby out of my vagina!” much to the amusement of the nurses and pretty much everyone in the room! But I can’t tell you just how amazing it was for me. I had been waiting 3 years for that. And now I have it! Hana was given back to me and she latched on right away and nursed like a champ for 15 minutes on each side (I was STILL being sewn up!) and finally Rob and Hana went off to the nursery. To our surprise (and the doctor’s too) she was 8lbs 1 oz, 19 inches long.
Happy Birthday Hana!!!!
I am recovering very well and almost feel like new!!
For more information on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) check out the International Cesarean Awareness Network's website at http://www.ican-online.org/