Hospital VBAC, from Kellie
It was a pretty intense and fast ride for my daughter’s arrival! At least, it felt that way to me at the time. I woke up around 8am to a tiny bit of blood on a Tuesday morning, and contractions started right away, but were very irregular at 5-15 minutes apart. I called my mom to come over so I could shower and get ready for the hospital while she kept my son, who had just turned two the day before, occupied. I was too nervous to take him in the shower with me, as the contractions were already feeling a bit intense. After several hours, contractions were still very irregular, but getting more difficult to walk/talk through. I sent my mom home, ate a little lunch, and got my son down for a nap around 1:00pm. I could barely get him into his crib as I had a pretty intense contraction right as I was laying him down! I was waiting for my husband to leave work at 1:30pm, but the contractions were getting quite intense by then, and had started getting closer to 10 minutes apart (a bit more regular). I called and made an appointment to come in to the hospital at 4:00pm to be checked out. However, by 2:00pm the contractions started coming about every 5-7 minutes, and they were getting much more intense very quickly. My husband got home at 2:00pm and we loaded the car and headed out. I could no longer talk through most of the contractions, so we decided to take me to the hospital before taking my son to his grandparents’ house (the original plan was to drop him off on the way!).
My husband actually had to convince me that he and my son were coming in with me. I was already a bit out of it, so I told him to just drop me off at the door and come back after he dropped our son off! Hah! I made it all the way to the elevator before another contraction hit, and I distinctly remember being very aware and concerned for another woman in the elevator with us… I didn’t want to scare her, I guess! The three of us went right into a room in the women’s clinic area for me to be monitored. I tried so hard not to vocalize too much through the contractions, but I definitely had to go into my own little world through each one. If I had known better, I would have insisted on heading straight to L&D. I was OBVIOUSLY in labor! My son kept asking what was going on (not worried, but curious). He kept saying, “Mommy doing? Mommy sleeping?” By the time I was checked, which I think was about 3:45pm (it felt like FOREVER), I was already at 7cm and 90% effaced, with a bulging bag of waters!
I had also decided that things were happening way too quickly for me and it was freaking me out, so I was considering an epidural. I had a lot of fear from my previous birth, which ended in a c-section due to “failure to progress” (I was stuck in transition for about 3 hours at 8cm), after 13 hours of labor, the last few hours of which I really felt like I was losing my mind (entirely unmedicated). This time, we barely made it to L&D before my contractions were too much and I was already hollering through them. My labor pattern is a bit different than the “norm,” I guess, in that my contractions never really got closer than 5-7 minutes apart, but they double. I get one huge one immediately followed by a smaller one (this was the same as with my son, too, I think). I was finding it nearly impossible to relax, even between contractions, and we were still waiting for my husbands’ parents to come pick up my son (so he was still in the room with us). I really wanted a natural birth, but mostly, I think I wanted this birth to be as different from my first experience as possible. I felt like the epidural would relax me enough that I could get rid of the anxiety and focus on enjoying this birth. While I was waiting for the anesthesiologist, my husbands’ parents arrived to get my son, and I was able to give him a hug and kiss goodbye (even with a smile!) in between contractions, which I was soooo grateful for!
When I got checked before getting the epidural, I was already at 9cm! I cried tears of joy because I knew that meant I had progressed further than my labor with my son, which was excellent news! I felt less qualms about getting the epidural then, since things were moving along so quickly (I had gone from 7cm-9cm in less than an hour), so I knew the epidural wouldn’t be in all that long. The epidural went in easily, and my pain was almost entirely gone soon after, although I could still feel discomfort with every contraction (which was exactly how I wanted it). It felt soooo good to relax!
Since my contractions were still 5-7 minutes apart, my midwife decided to break my bag of waters to try to get them closer together. It worked, if only for a short while! When I was checked again within the hour, my midwife said, “Oh, I see baby!” I was already complete! Yay! We let my daughter “labor down” for about half an hour, and by 6:00pm or so I started pushing.
I pushed for close to an hour, and my sweet baby L was born at 6:58pm. I would have probably only pushed for half an hour, but there was a bit of a tight band of cervix causing her to not come out even though she was crowning like she should be flying out of there. I was a bit bummed that I had to get a small cut, but it did most likely prevent me from tearing much worse. My midwife felt terrible about having to cut an episiotomy, too, but in the end it wasn’t a big deal. I still tore a bit when she came out, mostly because she also had her little hands near her face! It was initially thought that I had a bad 3rd degree tear, but upon further inspection, it turns out it was more like a “generous” 2nd degree tear. So at least it looked worse than it was! And I’ll take that any day over abdominal surgery! I’m not exactly sure when “active” labor started, but if I had to put a time on it, I would say probably 1:00, when the contractions started to get more regular and intense. So that would mean only about 6 hours of labor! If you want to count all of my labor, it would still be less than 11 hours. Awesome!
It was such an amazingly different experience than my labor and delivery with my son. It helped immensely that I started labor in the morning after a restful sleep, rather than in the middle of the night. And it went so quickly that I really still felt pretty good afterward! Pushing was difficult, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And my baby was immediately placed on my belly (she had a pretty short cord) so I could see her and touch her and talk to her. It was amazing. I held her the whole time I was being stitched up, and for awhile afterward. I was a total baby hog, and I loved it! I did not take a moment of being able to be the first one to love on my baby for granted. We were all a little surprised when we finally weighed her and she came in at 8 lbs 1 oz! I vaginally birthed a baby 5 ounces bigger than my c-section baby! Woohoo! Her apgar scores were 8 & 9, and she was healthy as can be. It took her a little while to get interested in nursing (she was more interested in sleeping), but within 36 hours she was latching on like a pro!
It felt great to be able to walk around easily on my own within a couple hours of delivery. I was a little sore, but nothing like after my c-section. The empowerment I felt as a mother and woman after my successful VBAC cannot even be explained in words. Now I am a little over halfway through my pregnancy with #3, and I am so hopeful and excited about this birth! I know I can do a natural birth this time (provided no issues arise, of course), and the fear is gone!