How do I even begin to tell the birth story of our precious 6 pound 14 ounces Zachary born at 919am on January 21st 2013?
Our Vbac journey started almost 3 years ago, in May 2010, with the birth of his big sister Abigail. At her 38 week prenatal appointment, my blood pressure had gone up a little, so off we went to the hospital for blood work. They checked my bp a couple more times and each time, it went up and up and up. We were immediately induced, I was put on anti seizure medication, given an epidural and had my water broken. It was all pretty scary and sudden. I progressed very well and spent a couple hours pushing. She just didn't want to come out. It was decided that we would go for a Caesarian section. No real reason was given as to why she didn't want to come out, but I am fairly certain that if I had been able to move around (no epidural) and if my water had not been broken, she would have had a better chance. To my surprise, the following morning, one of the very first questions I had for the doctors was whether I would need a c-section for my next birth. They reassured me that it definitely wasn't the case.
Fast forward to spring 2012 and we find out we are pregnant again. I had already been doing lots of reading and research on vbacs. My pregnancy was great. My blood pressure was awesome, I passed my glucose test and I tested negative for group B strep. Over the months, my doctor and I had had many discussions about our birth plan. She made sure I understood all the risks associated with my decisions. It was a bumpy road, but once we came to the mutual understanding that I had no problem seeking intervention if a medical problem came up, we were great. Preparation for this birth continued as if it were a normal one.
Preparation was simple. I read birth stories, visited my chiropractor (since my pelvis and hips were all out of whack), had regular massages, had a couple meetings with our doula, and chatted regularly with some awesome ladies who had recently had vbacs themselves. Around 35 weeks, whenever I went to bed, baby would start moving around like crazy. I felt like he was just turning "back out" because my belly would become quite hard. Turns out, they were actually Braxton Hicks contractions. At the beginning of my 37th week, we had our final meeting with our doula, Jen. My doula friend Danielle was also there. That evening, we went over pain coping techniques. Who would have known that I would need them so soon afterwards!
Thursday (37+3) - I woke up that morning with an absolutely terrible headache. Like the worst one ever. Took some Tylenol, yet it didn't help in the slightest bit. That day, we had an ultrasound appointment just to confirm baby's placement. Our doctor was pretty sure the head was down, but just wanted to make sure. During the ultrasound, the nurse noticed a couple infarctions on my placenta, as well as low amniotic fluid. They checked my blood pressure, since i as curious what it was, and it unfortunately was in the 140s/100s. They admitted me to the birth unit for monitoring. Blood work came back great, my bp came down and baby was doing well on a monitor. We figured we were going home. Little did we know they wanted to induce me that day. After being told this, my bp jumped again. There was an "awesome" nurse who even decided to let me know that a mom had seizures a couple weeks back. As if that was gonna make me want to stay. We decided to leave against medical advice so that I could go home and relax. We did agree to come back the following day for more monitoring. This was the first of several long nights away from Abigail.
Friday - I woke up and my headache was gone. I made sure to drink several liters of water during the night and I felt great. My body was obviously fooling me. Bp readings were up and down all day but blood, urine, monitor, and ultrasound were still great so I wasn't too worried. The ob mentioned to us that if we stayed and were able to stabilize my bp, that she saw no reason why we shouldn't be able to go home. So with that, we did agree to spend the night. Cervix was getting more favorable so we agreed to a sweep. Contracted all evening long but they fizzled over night.
Saturday - Bp readings were where we wanted them all day (low 140s/low 90s). A doctor came in talking about inducing me by rupturing my membranes but I refused. As much as they were telling me my cervix was favorable, I was still uncomfortable with baby's placement. She then tried to tell me that fluid had no effect on baby's ability to turn and drop in my pelvis properly. I still said no. Bp went back up so we agreed to stay another night, still refusing to be induced. That night, through many different contacts, I was able to get ahold of my chiropractor. She agreed to meet me Sunday for a quick adjustment as well as some inducing acupuncture.
Sunday - We had decided over night that since bp was still being an issue, that I would discuss different inducing options. We were extremely lucky that the doctor on call that day was the natural minded pro vbac OB I had met in the fall! He agreed that AROM was risky not knowing exactly how baby was positioned (yay!). We agreed to a super low dose pitocin drip just to jump start my labour since he truly believed my body was very close on its own. And once my body got going, we would be able to come off the drip. He also agreed to let us leave the hospital for the morning, just to go home for a bit, get some last minute things, and I also got to see my chiropractor! Off we went! We were excited that we would be meeting our precious little baby soon.
We arrived back at the hospital Sunday afternoon and we waited for a spot to open up in birth unit. We were finally admitted at 8pm and hooked up to my IV. The doctor working that night was also 100% on board with a super low dose and hoping to actually take me off of it completely. We had regular contractions all night long. Although I had to stop and breathe through them, they were not painful. I was feeling them for about 45 seconds, every 4-5 minutes, but then when we would do the occasional monitor strip, they were lasting 60-90 seconds every 3-4 minutes. My body was obviously taking well to it. The nurse with me that night was awesome. Every half hour, she would come in and monitor baby for a bit with a Doppler. We even tried the wireless waterproof monitors and they worked great. Other than my IV, I was happy to not have anything else imposed on me. They encouraged me to walk around and to even use the tub if I wanted. Since it was still relatively early labour (still 4cm), I only had my doula friend Danielle with me over night since she unfortunately had to leave for work in the morning.
Around 5am, a resident are in and mentioned that if there was still no cervical change, that we should AROM. I mentioned to be checked first and then we would make a decision. She didn't really seem to like that idea. She actually said that there was no point of being checked if I wasn't going to AROM. Whatever lady. I was not comfortable with her so when there was still no change, I still decided to wait. Danielle had to leave soon so I sent a message to our other doula, Jen, saying that it was time for her to come in. I always had a feeling that once the action started, that it would be fast. Was I ever in for a surprise!
7am Monday morning (38 weeks) - The good doctor came back and expressed concern about me not wanting AROM. She checked me and she said the piece of information I wanted to hear "the head is there". Perfect. I was then ready. At this point, it was shift change time, so our new nurse just happen to be the same one from Thursday who told me about seizures. This morning, she actually started mentioning that maybe my pelvis was just too small to birth a baby. What's wrong with this lady! Obviously she was not very open, so our plan was to actually ask for a new nurse once my AROM was done.
8am - AROM and my fluid was clear. Painful contractions started immediately. Keegan wanted to leave and call family, but there was no way I was letting him go. I sat on the ball for a bit slowly leaning more and more forwards onto Keegan. I eventually dropped to my knees. Contractions were one on top of each other. At this point, I actually mentioned that there was no way I could last much longer and that I wanted to know my pain medication options. The nurse asked if I was wanting something for the pain to which Keegan and Jen quickly answered at the same time "no!". I then realized that I was obviously in transition. Suddenly, things felt different. The urge to push was there. I said something along the lines of "I need to poop... Uh, I think I'm pushing!". They asked me to get up on the bed. There was no way I could get up, so I was basically picked up.
~ 840 - I was checked and everything was ready to go! 4cm to 10cm in 40 minutes! Our doctor was en route so another doctor stood in until she arrived. He had a new resident with him who had actually been following me since Friday. You could see his excitement to be following through with a patient who firmly believed her body was capable of having a vaginal birth after cesarean. I started pushing. Pushing felt soooo much better. The doctor was very clear when telling me to push, to stop, to slow down or for a small push. He said you could see the head. I immediately reached down to feel. I was asked if I wanted a mirror but I said no. Pushed some more. Ring of fire... Well they call it that for a reason! Once the head and shoulders were out, I reached down and pulled him out myself (919!). Keegan never had the chance to deliver him himself. While we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, Keegan went down to see the sex of our new baby. He was pretty excited to tell me that we had just had a boy. He got to cut the cord. I was told that other than a little bit of road rash, I had no tearing whatsoever. They looked over the placenta and other than 1 little spot, it looked great!
Here I am, 9 days later, and I am still on a birth high. I feel like superwoman. It may not have been the intervention free experience I was hoping for initially, but I am proud of the choices we made. We didn't blindly go with doctor's recommendations like we did during Abigail's birth. If we had, the outcome could have been the same or it could have resulted in yet another major abdominal surgery. Instead, we made informed decisions after having talked and hearing options from several health care professionals. There is not a thing I'd do differently!
- Becoming Granola
- I am a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby led weaning, extended rear facing, eco conscious, married mommy to two beautiful children. They have changed my view on the world we live in. It is now my number 1 goal to make it the best I can for them to grow up in. I find myself always rethinking how I want to live my life and often feel like sharing my findings and thoughts with others. So I guess here's my chance :o) I will talk about topics that interest me. If you dont like them or dont agree, well... there's nothing much I can do!