A VBA3C: Fused Sacrum, Needed Interventions and Pure Determination

by Birth Without Fear on January 3, 2012

I know Abbey in real life, you know, away from Facebook and blogging. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Tarrant County Birth Network Meeting. She is funny and says it how she sees it. I also know her Doctor. He is one of those rare gems that support women and their choices. When you have an intervention in birth that you may not have wanted, you know that it is because it was/is needed. I highly recommend pregnant women to him all the time. I love Abbey’s sense of humor and raw honesty as she shares her journey of womanhood, motherhood and birth. ~Mrs. BWF

The birth of Ava Sophia…A VBA3C

You know that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yep, that one. I’ve gone over that saying so many times in my head. Am I crazy? Why do I even want this so badly? Am I willing to go through hours and hours, maybe days, of labor to possibly end up with another c-section? I could, and according to about 99% of Obstetricians, should have scheduled a c-section anyway.

I don’t know if I’m crazy so much as really, really stubborn. I wanted this “natural birth” in 1996, 14 years ago. That plan was foiled when my teeny baby girl stopped moving in utero and had to be cut out of me. It felt more like a tumor removal than a birth. I was terrified there was something wrong with my baby, but the doctor reassured me that I would be able to wear a bikini after the surgery because the incision would be low. Sweet relief. My troubles were over! (Try to keep up, that’s sarcasm!) Yep, that was my welcome to motherhood. Sitting alone in that postpartum room pumping milk like crazy, listening to other babies crying in the rooms next to me, while I had to wheel myself down the hall to visit my little girl.

In 1999, I almost got my “natural birth”, but after contracting for 5 days and reaching 9 cm, my cervix swelled and I was absolutely at my limit. I consented to c-section, firing my doctor in the process. (He acted like a jerk the whole time I was in labor…all 12 hours it took for me to get from 6 to 9 cm. Anyone else would have done the same thing in my situation. The new doc who came to actually do the surgery told me that my pelvis was shaped like a “funnel” and I would never birth vaginally. So I guess my diagnosis was ‘failure to progress’ due to ‘cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD’.

I never paid any attention to that. Doctors do and always will misdiagnose, some more than others. They are human and humans make mistakes. Doctors are no exception. I wish I had a dollar for every time a woman has had a c-section for a “big” baby and then VBACed an even bigger baby.

I didn’t make great choices for my next birth in 2005. I was very distrustful of OBs and hospitals. I decided that I would attempt a homebirth (a HBA2C). I was due Christmas day and hired a couple of midwives that I really didn’t feel 100% comfortable with. I just didn’t know of anyone else who was going to attend a VBA2C. It ended unfavorably. I started contracting on the 19th and kept going and going and going. Just like the last time.

On the 22nd I had reached my limit and was so exhausted, emotional, and devastated. Upon realizing I wasn’t going to get the support I needed from my midwives, I reluctantly headed to the hospital, hoping for some intervention to help me birth. Unfortunately, the on-call OB gave me no choice and told me I had to have a CBA2C. So, I did what I knew I had to do and asked for an AMA (against medical advice) form and went back home. I continued laboring through the night and the next day around noon, surrendered, decided I was done, and went back to the hospital to meet my precious little girl.

In 2009, I find out that I’ve had a fused sacrum my whole life. In other words, my sacrum won’t move. My pelvis is still normal in the front, but birthing for me is a whole other ball game. Labor will probably be longer and more painful. That had already proven to be true.

I felt a little robbed. Whatever. The only thing that information changed was that it gave me validation for what I’d been through. No wonder my labors were so long. No wonder I haven’t been able to get a baby through! I’m not having any more babies anyway.

I’m pregnant. (Bet you didn’t see that coming!)

I’m pregnant and I cannot, no way, no how, can I just schedule a c-section. It’s not in me. No matter how I look at it, no matter how much easier it would be, I just can’t bring myself to be OK with it. I can’t even say it out loud. Just thinking it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

OK. I probably am a little crazy…or a lot, when it comes to birth.

I’m at a crossroads. I want a homebirth so badly I can taste i.t but knowing what I know, I feel like I’m going to need an intervention beyond the capabilities of a midwife. I met a wonderful OB at an ICAN meeting some months before becoming pregnant. He was warm and kind and very human (not doctor-ish at all) and he said to me, “You’ll have another baby”. At that time, even though I wasn’t planning to, I knew if I ever did, I would go and see him.

I’ve slept through the whole pregnancy. At 29 weeks I had an ultrasound that showed a smallish, golf-ball sized fibroid right in the front of my uterus. I’ve got so much built-up anxiety about this birth.

My “due date” is June 12, and while I’m not afraid to start labor, I’m afraid it will never end. I’ll be in labor forever. I really kind of believe that this baby will not make it out of my vagina. I did start having contractions on the 11th, but ignored them as long as I could.

On the 12th, I went and ate crab legs (contracting about every 3 minutes…probably 60 seconds long), went to the park with the kids, bending over a picnic table every few minutes. They continued to beat me down, well into the night. I’m handling things, but start thinking about the length of time it has taken me to get from point A to point B in my previous labors…oh wait, I never made it to point B, at least not on my own.

Now I’m beginning to feel foolish. Its 2-3am and I can’t sleep. I’d rather someone poke me in the eye with a hot needle than lay down or recline. I’m really beginning to doubt myself. I had to have a good cry…whine to my husband a little. He hugged me and loved me as only he can and I decided to suck it up, wipe my tears and get myself together. No matter how I looked at it, my baby would be here in the next couple of days.

I did some belly lifts and made and intricate arrangement of pillows on my bed so that I could take an Ambien and sleep in as close to the hands-and-knees position as I could get. I used a long thin heated rice sock under my belly and a large square one on my low back. I guess I slept some, because I had really weird dreams…maybe more like hallucinations. I was in Alice in Wonderland. There were bombs planted all around me and when they went off, I had really strong contractions. I got up quickly and practically ran out of my room to get away from the “bombs”.

It was morning and I must have totally relaxed allowing my baby to move into the optimal position, because the contractions were coming hard and fast. I was able to check my cervix and realized that I was dilating and my mucus plug was dislodging. A couple of hours later, I was already at about 3 cm. I was excited, but not too excited because I couldn’t really allow myself to focus on much more than the contractions.

I wanted to go ahead and head towards the hospital, yes, at only 3 cm. It was a 45 minute drive (the doctor made it worth it!) and I didn’t want to be in the car during transition…even though I was still technically in “early labor”. I went by my chiropractor’s house to get a quick adjustment. I know that she thinks I’m crazy for going so early in labor. I had to sit on my nursing pillow, because it was so uncomfortable for me to just sit on the seat.

I waddled up to the nurses station at the hospital, get checked into a room and the nurse tells me that MY doctor is not on call.

Um. The other doctor will give me a c-section. I’ll just wait for him to call me back.

He’s not answering his phone. He was at the hospital 36 hours yesterday with another VBAC.

We will leave if he doesn’t call back. But I know he will call back so I’ll just wait.

The nurse is “OK” with me waiting because after checking my cervix (which seems to be in my throat) she assessed that I am still in “early labor” and at 3 cm. She asked me if I had a birth plan. I said, “My birth plan is to VBAC, that is all.”

She set me up with a heparin lock and put me on the monitors for a 20 minute strip. When she left the room, I ate a protein bar. My doula and birth photographer arrived and I went and walked/squatted in the hallway.

The nurse called me back in the room, my doctor was on the phone. He asked if I wanted to leave the hospital and go labor elsewhere. Ummm, no. I really don’t want to go. I really want to stay. I really don’t think I can handle leaving and coming back. These contractions are really strong and long and on top of one another. He said, “OK” and he’d be up later.

My doula raised the bed into what looked like a throne to me. I started quoting Alice in Wonderland…being the Red Queen. “I need a pig here!” “I like a warm pig belly for my aching feet.” She pushed my knees toward my sacrum during contractions. It felt wonderful!

My contractions started spacing out a bit, and were perfectly manageable. This was the nicest labor ever! I got up a few times to go to the bathroom having a couple of contractions en route and on the toilet. My doula became concerned that I was losing steam and labor was slowing down. She suggested I leave the hospital to labor or take a nap. I was NOT leaving. Not now.

She and my photographer went to get something to eat and my hubby took over the knee presses. I ate a honey stick and kept cracking jokes. This was so easy! I took a trip to the toilet and decided to check my cervix. WHOA! This was different! It was actually opening…a lot! Soft, slimy, at least 5-6 cm and my bag of waters were bulging out. I hurried back to my throne. The nurse came in and checked me and SAID I WAS AT 7cm and gone from -3 station to -1 station!!! I’d been at the hospital for about 3 hours! This was probably the happiest moment I’ve had in a very long time. I was ELATED! I started to tear up and told the nurse, “You have no idea what this means to me!”

About an hour later, my wonderful doctor walks in and says, “You were 7 an hour ago, I thought you might be complete by now.” I’m thinking, ‘How do you know I’m not?’.

At that moment, a contraction came on fast and furious. It only seemed to last a second and then fizzled out really quickly. It felt very different and made me nauseous. I said “Ew, that was weird. That one just made me want to puke.” I was ready to start pushing and my doctor knew it. He said, “Keep it up” and left the room.

I started to feel kind of drunk. Everything was getting hazy. Contractions just shifted gears and made me feel HOT, sweaty, and sick to my stomach. I made lots of references to Alice in Wonderland and continued making jokes even though I was feeling so weird.

I got in all kinds of positions to push. I followed the directions of my doula, but wasn’t really loving pushing. I was on my hands and knees and a contraction started that really hurt. I guess it was the pressure, because all of a sudden my water exploded all over the bed. I laughed because this is probably one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. It was a huge victory to have my water break all on its own. It felt awesome to have all of it gushing out. Now I could focus my energy into making the water move from my body and know I was pushing in the right place.

Also, just to clarify, these contractions hurt, they sucked, and I only pushed because it felt better than not pushing, but I did NOT like it.

My doula instructed me to get into the ‘dangle’ position. The bed is up as a chair and my husband sat in the chair. I get to wrap my arms around his legs and hang limp, letting my lower body completely relax during contractions. YUCK! This felt AWFUL, so it must be getting the baby down, right? I got suckered into doing that for 5 contractions. There were more Alice in Wonderland references for this one since it looked like I was doing the ‘futterwacken dance’. I told my doula “This is the best birth you’ve ever been to!” Then I though about that for a second and added, “Today, anyway.” I guess the pain made me goofy.

The baby had been having some heart decelerations and my doctor wanted to see where her head was. I was up on the squat bar when he checked me. It HURT! He informed me that my cervix was high and around the baby’s face. She wouldn’t be born if I wasn’t able to move it down around her head. Great. I had to lean over the squat bar, facing the bed, do a pelvic tilt and push to save my life during the next set of contractions. It felt like I was doing this forever, because it hurt so bad that the endorphins must have really kicked in. I felt like I was floating.

I flipped around to face the other way on the bar and kept pushing. All of a sudden there was a mention of oxygen and people started moving fast. I heard “lay on your left side!” “Wait!” (I’m in the middle of a contraction. I can’t move.) I was quickly thrown onto my side anyway and my leg lifted up. Baby’s heart rate came back up, but that really sucked!

At this point, I’m in and out of half-asleep mode. Things are really hurting, I’m working so hard and everyone starts saying, “It’s time to really start working now.” WHAT? I’m working harder than I ever have in my life!! I’ve got my eyes shut and even though my doula told me to open them, I kept them shut. I couldn’t focus on pushing with my eyes open. Everyone starts saying “PUSH!” “I AM pushing!” I honestly don’t know how this could get harder.

It did. A lot. The nurse starts reciting my baby’s heart rate with each contraction. That can’t be good. My doula got a towel for me to pull on while I push…to help the head move under my pubic bone. That took so much concentration, and strength. And it didn’t even work.

My doctor says “Abbey, I might have to use forceps to help the baby come down.” I said, “OK, do what you have to do.”

I really didn’t care, I wanted to be DONE. I asked him if he’d have to cut an episiotomy and he reassured me that he hardly ever does them and just because he was using forceps, didn’t mean he would.

Of course, it wasn’t going to be over until it got even harder. I was instructed to NOT push for 3 contractions. Yes, in other words, eternity. (This was to give the baby oxygen before her descent through and out the birth canal.) After all I’d done to make it to this point; I honestly didn’t know if I could just DO NOTHING for a few minutes.

I started to hyperventilate and was told to slow my breathing…oh yeah…I forgot that I was breathing. OK,that’s done. What’s next?

Somebody says (again), “It’s time to really start working now.” Who said that? If I wasn’t completely incapacitated I would be in a very lively argument with that person right now. But I can’t think straight, can’t see straight, not even sure I’m still in my body.

My doctor put in a quick catheter to drain my bladder before a contraction starts and he positions the forceps. Push through the pain has a whole new meaning to me. I cannot begin to describe the power and force, the inhuman strength it took to do what I was doing. I needed everyone yelling “PUSH!” to keep me going. That contraction ended and the forceps were removed. The baby’s head is under my pubic bone and I feel tons of pressure.

The baby’s head is down and I have another contraction. One of the nurses started counting and I yelled at her, “No counting!”

She says, “Then you have to push.

”I say, “I am!”

Everyone is yelling at me. “Push through the pain!” “Push her out!” “Grab your legs!” “NO!” “Wait!” “NO!”

I think my doula grabbed my hands and put them under my knees even though I needed just a second to catch my breath, there was no time. My doula asked my doctor if I could touch the baby’s head and he replied, “No, I need her to push”. It was OK, I didn’t want to anyway. I really didn’t care. I just wanted it to end.

The nurse is reciting the heart rate, in the 50’s and dropping. My doctor tells my doula, “I’m sorry, I have to do this.” she tells me, “Abbey he’s going to cut an episiotomy.” I say, “OK. That’s fine.” I have never been so ready for anything to be over in my life.

5:13 pm. Suddenly, it was done. It was probably the quietest moment of my life. There was so much energy, so much force and then right at the moment of birth, it seemed so still, so quiet. It was time for me to rest.

I hear my doctor tell the nurses, “Nuchal cord x2 and tight body cord.”

A few minutes pass, I felt like I’d just been hit by a truck. My eyes are still closed and my doctor is working on my vagina. Whatever he is doing is awful. He says, “Here comes your placenta.” I was pretty much ignoring him, at least trying to. He gets my attention, I look up at him and he says, “Abbey, I’m holding onto your fibroid.” Oh, that’s nice. The placenta tore to pieces and his entire arm is inside me. My fibroid is the size of a SOFTBALL!!! The placenta had attached directly to it! NO WONDER I had a hard time pushing her out!!! (As soon as he was able, he drew a picture of what my uterus looked like with the fibroid and where the placenta was. Unbelievable).

I am in disbelief and a bit of shock. I laid there not able to sit up because I would have passed out. I couldn’t believe how light headed I was. I think I had lost quite a bit of blood (because of the fibroid), but my doctor still didn’t require I take the routine pitocin after delivery since I had preferred not to.

Wow, that was hard and painful and certainly not intervention free. But the interventions used, I was grateful for. I still did it without pain medication! I got my “natural birth”!!! It was not at all what it was ‘supposed’ to be like. But I did it. I FINALLY did it!

I have had a combined 250+ hours of contractions adding together my 3 attempts at VBAC. This was a long time coming. I could not be happier. Nothing is going to steal my joy. (Not even the hematoma I developed a week later and 3 weeks postpartum had to have surgically removed. My anesthesia was a spinal. The same kind used for c-sections.)

I decided I’d better call my sister and tell her I’d had the baby. She didn’t answer, but I left her a voicemail. It went something like this:

“I just had a baby. Out of my VAGINA!!!!” I think I made a few more phone calls making that announcement. I took great joy in saying those words!

OK, so that wasn’t the ideal birth, and would probably be way more traumatic for lots of women than a c-section, but it was MY birth and like an ugly child with a face only a mother could love, I am so happy it was what it was. I just had to do it…and according to my “birth plan”, I got everything I wanted. I couldn’t be more thankful.

So maybe my new mantra will be, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. That’s much better than the definition of “insanity.”

To view a beautiful slideshow of this birth, visit here.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine J January 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm

OMG!! That is an AMAZING birth story!!!

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Jennifer Nichols January 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I just have to know…was it Dr. Tate in Atlanta? He did my VBACCC in 2010. Best decision of the year for me!

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Mrs. BWF January 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

No, Dr. Fred Cummings in Dallas/Fort Worth. Amazing OB!

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Jessie Hill January 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I am so emotional right now – I just watched the slideshow of this birth and I think the combination of the music, the wonderful photos and my own 33-weeks-pregnant hormone cocktail sent me over the edge. When I got to the first pictures of baby I started sobbing!! I love this story – thank you for sharing it – it is really inspiring and encouraging as I approach my own VBAC. Determination, courage, faith!! And a sense of humor!
Thank you again :)

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mc-heather January 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

This story made me laugh and cry! It is an AMAZING story. I don’t have any children yet, but when I do. I hope I have the “Pure Determination” that you do! You are a true inspiration!

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Missy January 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I am crying. Amazing. Your strength and determination are awe inspiring!

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Tiffany January 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

What an amazing story! Way to go Mama, you rock! I’m having a VBAC in March/April and stories like this make me so hopeful and help me look forward to it even more.

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Jesse January 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I LOVE this story! I am pregnant right now, and me and my sister in law call this baby my VAG baby. I can’t wait to have a baby out of my vagina! LOL! Go VBACS! :)

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Blair January 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I would like to know who your OB was!

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Karen Joy January 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I love this story. Interventions and all. Wonderful story. I’m so glad you DID IT, Abbey. Such determination. And it’s a great example of letting science and technology be your tool and not your master. Minimum intervention (considering the situation!) and the ones that were used were for a specific purpose and they worked.

And that doctor rocks.

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Abbey January 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Dr. Fred Cummings in Denton, TX. He also takes VBAssC, vaginal breech, vaginal twin births, and just about anything else you could want…. I just love him so much!!!

And thank you all for your kind words…It was a wild ride indeed!!! I pushed for 2 hours before the forceps were used. It was by far the most difficult and most rewarding experience of my life!

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Abbey January 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I just want to add something. My doula was the same doula I used for my second birth (where I got to 9cm). It was 2 days shy of being exactly 12 years later. That made this victory EXTRA sweet for the two of us. :-)

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Wendy January 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

That slide show is amazing! The look of love on your husband’s face in one of the early shot- it’s just incredible. And the looks on your daughters faces when they saw Ava born are priceless! Congratulations on your beautiful daughter, and your successful VBA3C. It certainly wasn’t the way anyone would have wanted it, but, as you said, you had a baby…out of your VAGINA! (That statement made my husband snort when I read it to him- LOL). Now to find an OB like yours (well, to get pregnant first, then find an OB like yours :D).

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Lizz Riley January 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm

That is such a fantastic story. Well done you.

I better go and wipe my tears now!

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Hannah VW January 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm

You are amazing! Glad you had such a great team supporting you!

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Rebecca January 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Stories like this remind me just how amazing women are.

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Monica Seckerson January 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Fab story Abbey,
I soo love Dr. Cummings, in that he lets YOU decide and take the wheel while he is the confident co-pilot along side.
Monica

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Colby Gould January 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm

This was so amazing and inspirational. Go you, mama!

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Jessica January 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm

WOW, amazing story! Wonder if your Dr. would take someone who lives over 3 hours away LOL. I have had 2 c-sections, and a miscarriage a few weeks ago. When I found out I was pregnant I had already decided I wanted to try for a VBA2C and went to a midwife at a local birthing center. She did not turn out to be of much help and I’m still pretty shocked at her lack of support and help through the miscarriage. I’d love to be able to find a Dr. who would really and truely let me try to VBAC (not just say yes until i’m 38 weeks like my Dr. did with #2) I’m in Austin, TX though! so happy that there ARE Dr’s out there who will let you try for YOUR perfect birth =) Congrats Abbey!

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Abbey January 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Yes, he will. A fellow ICAN mama will be driving from Louisiana to birth with him…5 hours. (She’s coming at 38 weeks and staying with family) Lots of mamas travel really far to see him….but….his practice is slowing down a lot…so you have to insist that you are a VBAC and you must see him because you can’t get what you need anywhere else. (He’s of retirement age and his wife has Lyme’s disease. She lives in a treatment center in Florida. He leaves one weekend per month to stay with her…but is “on-call” for all his VBACs when he’s here) Get involved with your local ICAN, they will be able to tell you who the great VBAC friendly providers are!
But…He might just tell you to stay home to birth. He’s a big supporter of homebirth….he does back up for a birth center and quite a few of our local midwives. He’ll tell you to go home and have your baby if you don’t have risk factors that keep you in a hospital. His grandmother was a midwife. :-)

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Kathryn January 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm

You are a rock star! While it may have been easier for you to go ahead and have that c-section, you chose to fight, and indeed you did, and won! Your beautiful story gives hope to many women, and for those of us who didn’t get the birth we wanted, this gives us something to smile about. My daughter, who is also my last child I will ever have, was an emergency c-section. I will never get over wondering if I could have done something differently to change the course of things. Thank you so much for your beautiful story and video…. <3

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Jamie January 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I just moved to the DFW area and found out that I was pregnant and got discourage after OB and OB and midwives galore told me they wouldn’t do VBA2C. I just can’t have a 3rd C I cried to one midwife. She referred me to Dr C. Unfortunately he’s not taking new patients right now but the receptionist said his colleague Dr. Walsh would do a VBA2C. Have you had any experience with her? Apparently she’s in the same office as Dr. C.

I am driving over an hour to see her tomorrow morning. Hoping and praying I’ll have a story like yours to share in a few months :)

Congrats by the way! It’s quite an accomplishment!

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Mrs. BWF January 4, 2012 at 12:01 am

I would not see her. Keep calling and be persistent. Also call Dr. Downey in Richardson. There are midwives that will assistyou as well.

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Jamie January 5, 2012 at 1:46 am

I tried again today when I met with Dr. Walsh. They are persistent that he is only seeing patients that he has seen before.

When I met with Dr Walsh she said that she didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t vba2c and that she would even let me go till 42 weeks before discussing induction.

She seems really supportive. Is there reason I should believe otherwise? I want to make sure I am doing the best that I can for a positive vbac outcome.

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Tonya February 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I second the veto on Dr. Walsh. I know too many VBAC mamas who have been treated very poorly by her. Dr. Cummings will see you if you ask for a VBAC consult. Also, Dr. Downey is a good option. I have heard that Dr. Yolanda Lawson in Dallas is VBAC supportive as well as Dr. Jonathan Weinstein in Frisco. I would consider these options before Dr. Walsh.

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Diana West May 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Dr Walsh delivered my 2nd(I was supposed to have a vbac with cummings but he was out of town) and she implemented way too many interventions and I ended up running a fever just as I rounded a corner and had dialated to a 5. Her bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired!! :(

Jessica March 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I know it’s a little late but you might try Dr Weinstein in Frisco at frisco women’s health.

Good luck!

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Helen January 4, 2012 at 6:03 am

Dammit! I am bawling here. I so should *not* have seen the slideshow straight after reading this, the photos of her being born, your other girls’ faces in shock and amazement; your husband kissing you as you feed her. It was wonderful.

I know ‘congratulations’ doesn’t even begin to sum up what I want to say to you. I know how amazing I felt after my VBA1C (only 5 days after your birth!) so what you must be feeling must be exponentially more amazing. There are not many women that would have stuck at it, attempted a 3rd VBAC and stuck with it for as long as you did. I can hear the words “screw it, just give me a section” echoing down the corridors as I type. You should be (and I’m sure are) INCREDIBLY proud of yourself.

What an utterly amazing birth story and what an inspiration to the rest of us. If you can do it, after 3, with a fibroid the size of a softball AND a fused sacrum; well that just gives everybody hoping for a VBAC even more confidence.

She is just beautiful. Congratulations.

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Abbey January 4, 2012 at 8:23 am

Call Cummings office again, speak slowly and explain that everyone else has told you that you must have a c/section…that you are a VBA2C….They will not just let you in if you ask if he’s taking new patients. Walsh is not VBAC friendly (even if she says she is, she’ll pull the ‘dead baby’ card on you). Dooley is also one of his partners and is better…but like BWF said, Downey in Richardson is wonderful and try Dr. Weinstein. Oh, and please join our ICAN North Texas yahoo group, we can share much more with you there… http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/icanofntx/

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Jamie January 5, 2012 at 1:47 am

Thank You!

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A mother January 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Oh wow! Congratulations! You are awesome! :)

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Trista January 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm

So happy for you and so proud of you!!! I’ve had two C-sections and and want a vaginal birth so badly! Thank you for sharing!!!! :) It brought tears.. I know how much it means, easy or not! :) Congratulations!!!

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Amy January 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Wow, Abbey, wow. I’m on the FB fan page for Dr. C., and I saw someone mention that your birth story was here, so I came and searched for it. That is incredible. I just cannot imagine a birth without Dr. Cummings. The man is quite literally a God-send to so many women, myself included. He absolutely deserves a fanpage, and quite frankly, I’m pretty sure you deserve one too! You have some incredible determination that I wish could be bottled and sold on the black market! What an incredible story you have. Also, I had no idea his wife was in FL. How long has that been going on? It just makes me respect him even more.

Also, I wanted to speak to Jamie. I know Dr. Cummings has a new associate, Dr. Asis, that I have heard does VBACs. I teach childbirth classes, and I have a client that is going to him. He’s relatively new to Dr. Cummings’ office, so I can’t speak to whether or not he follows through with his pro-VBAC attitude, but this client has liked her visits with him. Also, the OB that did my c-section in 2008 was Audrey Graham. She practices out of Baylor in Dallas, and when I was searching for VBAC doctors, she came up on the list. She is the backup doctor for the Birth and Women’s Center in Dallas, where I started my labor and did my prenatal care. My assumption is that since she works closely with the birthing center, she would be a good choice for a VBAC. When I met her (about 30 minutes before she did my c-section), she was VERY sympathetic, and said, “I understand that you have already had everything that you didn’t want. You’re in a hospital, you’ve had Pitocin, you’ve gotten an epidural, and you’re facing a c-section. But I assure you, I will ONLY do the c-section if I feel that it is the ONLY way to save your or your baby’s life.” So she may be an option for you as well. If you have any questions, please, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me. amydulock@gmail.com . Good luck with your VBAC!

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Renee April 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I just wanted to add that Dr. Joseph at Women’s Health Alliance also does VBACs. I just had a friend VBAC with him, and she said he was wonderful!

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Renee April 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Women’s Health Alliance in Dallas, that is.

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Diana West May 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm

At first description, I just KNEW you were talking about Cummings! He is amazing!! I had very high hopes of him attending my birth. I really feel that is the reason I ended up with another c.

What an amazing story!!! Your determination is refreshing…I thought I was pretty alone with my attempts to avoid a repeat c. I WILL try again!! Thank you for sharing!!!

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Lori May 9, 2012 at 12:16 am

I am so happy and proud of you, and I don’t even know you! You fought so hard for that VBAC and you got it! I am so so so happy that you didn’t give up and that you had a supportive birth team and things went relatively well (stupid fibroid! UGH!) to enable the VBAC to happen.

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Melissa May 9, 2012 at 4:43 am

That was awesome! You deserve to be sooo proud… I certainly would be. Well done!! xo

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Natasha May 9, 2012 at 8:45 am

Absolutely amazing story!!!

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Stacy May 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Awesome story! I am so happy you finally had your VBAC! You have some determination, girl!

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Megan May 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm

WHAT an AMAZING story! Congrats on your trip down the rabbit hole. I have never needed a c, I am blessed at being “built to birth”, however its easy to understand how hard it would be to end up getting a c. Even more so after trying and trying to VBAC. I’m saying a prayer for all the Momma’s who want VBAC , may they end up with healthy vaginally birthed babies!

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Kara August 16, 2012 at 10:00 am

WOW! That was so well written – I think I forgot to breathe for a few minutes there! Amazing! Inspirational :) Congratulations :)

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Alicia August 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Such an inspirational story! I have had 3 c-sections and have always been told “you can’t attempt a vaginal after so many cesareans”. I’m not positive another baby is in our future, but this gives me great hope that if the day ever comes, I can do it! Thank you so much for sharing.

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Lauren August 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Incredible. Amazing determination. I love hearing about women who demand the birth they want and won’t take no for an answer. Congratulations!!

And I can relate to not regretting the interventions to get a natural VB!

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Michelle August 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Wow! Way to go! I did not struggle as much as you did, but did really want a natural childbirth with midwives! My first two were induced, followed by major hemmoraging, but I was so motivated to do this completely naturally for the third, and I also accomplished this dream!
You, your daughters and your husband must be so proud as they will learn to follow their dreams, no matter how insane they are! You trusted your body, your support group and your doctor!!! Congrats!

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Mae Redmond August 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Congratulations mama! You are amazing!! And you have great writing style to boot! :) What a beautiful birth.

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Comadrona September 29, 2012 at 1:50 am

I’ve had a VBAC after 3 C/sections, and I’ve attended many VBACs both in hospital and at home. While it is impossible to say how any particular birth is going to go, I have found that the VBAC labours often go longer and stop-start for many women. Also there is an element of emotional hold-up too, which women tend to work out while in labour. So you did a great job, and I imagine that, if you have any more kids, the second VBAC will go easier. BTW I find that often labours go that way – slow and steady with plenty of stalls in between – if there is a loop or two of cord around the baby. We MWs have taken to calling it “safety labour” because the contractions space out enough for baby to get his/her breath. Also it is perfectly normal for baby’s heart rate to drop when the head is right on the perineum – it is due to the pressure of pushing and usually comes right back up again. A change of position can help with that.

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Vincentia November 17, 2012 at 10:19 am

I love the shock on the girls faces as the baby came. I pray to have a vba3c too. My doctor does support vbacs after so many csections she really wont have a choice is he comes on his own. Due on Dec 12 by csection but praying baby comes before then on his own.

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Jessica March 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

Dr. Cummings delivered my first!!! Truly amazing man! He took my delivery on after all my natural induction methods would not work(and we started having decels). My mother in law was my midwife and had met Dr. C at a midwife convention, when all natural induction methods wouldn’t work she gave him a call. I’m so very blessed Dr. C is truly supportive of natural childbirth!

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k March 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

Wow, I wish the doctors in the UK would be more supportive, I keep hitting a brick wall. I wasnt allowed to try for a VBA2C, so deffinatly not allowed to try for a VBA3C. Well done. xxx

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Mandy March 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I just had my 2nd baby (first birth c/s due to swollen cervix/failure to progress.. dilated to a 6 after 26 hours of induced labor and cervix swelled up b/c the doctors turned the pitocoin up too high.. totally unecessary), 2nd birth was also a c/s because after trying to VBAC and dilating to almost an 8 (stretchy 7), they discovered the baby was brow first. After she was born, they also discovered her cord was wrapped around her neck tightly, twice and around her body. Talk about dejavu when I was reading this, except I didn’t have my VBAC. :( Congrats to you though. Like you I am at peace with my 2nd birth, and even though it wasn’t what I wanted – I do feel the interventions were necessary.

If I ever get pregnant again, I will also be trying to VBAC again. So you’re not alone in your “insanity!” ;)

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Kathryn March 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Beautiful.

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Katie March 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!!

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Emily March 22, 2013 at 2:02 am

I am excited to get pregnant again! I want an at home birth, and have had 3 previous c-sections. Lots of people I talk to say it can’t be done. I’ve done my research and know that it can be. Stories like this help me stay positive!

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Alexandra hyde March 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Congratulations, you really are a role model to me! You are very brave…I had my first daughter through a planned c-section 14 years ago because my doctor said I had gained to much weight and because of this I Would never be able to have a vaginal birth. I still can’t believe I fell for that, how can I have been so stupid??? Well, 6 years later I Got pregnant again but my husband insisted that I should have an abortion because he didn’t want any more children…but I did not want to do that, I really did not want to kill my child, so I had a very tough, lonely time during pregnancy as he rejected me the entire pregnancy. I decided that I would fight for the right to have a VBAC no matter what…I studied a lot about VBAC, labor, uterine rupture, and everything related to labor and delivery, I changed doctors 5 times because they would’t agree to take a VBAC patient. But I did all this alone, my husband never supported me, although he didn’t leave me, he wasn’t there either, so it was a very lonely time for me. Well, I went into labor without any induction on a wednesday night and stayed at home with contractions until friday night…but it was early labor, not many contractions, not that painful either…on friday night when it got really painful my doctor told us to go to hospital to check if I was dilating…3 cm and a lot of pain…that was about 5 am saturday morning, we stayed there all day and when I reached 6cm I asked for an epidural, I couldn’t take that pain anymore…in about an hour I was 10cm dilated and started pushing but the baby would go down and then back up again, it seems she was stuck or someting like that…I pushed for about 2 hours and the baby still wouldn’t come out, she would always go back up again after each push, then we had to rush into surgery because her heart rate went down dangerously and wouldn’t go back up after the contraction. I remember crying so much in the OR and thinking “why is this happening to me? How come God denied me the right to have something I fought so hard for? Why again? Why?” I was devastaded, I felt abandoned by God, I felt broken and betrayed by my own body. I felt like I had lost the battle of my life. 7 years have passed by and I still have the same feeling. I STILL FEEL BROKEN AND DEVASTED. Please help me understand why this is so important to me since my kids are perfectly healthy….why does this affect me so much? Why do I still suffer so much? I feel like my body is broken and I feel like I have not accomplished my mission as a woman. This is really frustrating and I don’t understand why I care so much about this. This birth created a huge void in me because back then my husband made very clear that it was my last chance to have a healing birth. But it wasn’t healing at all. And he won’t let me try again. This makes me feel my whole life went wrong. It makes me feel like I failed my mission and will never have another chance to fix it. I will have to die with this void in me. Sorry for writing so much but I needed to share this after reading so many VBA2C stories.

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Mrs. BWF May 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Dr. Walsh is definitely a different Doctor than Dr. Cummings. So sorry. :(

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