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Loving My Body {One Scar at a Time}

Loving My Body {One Scar at a Time}

c-section

My fourth baby, an attempted VBA2C, left  me with my final scar of childbirth. After 3 premature deliveries, progesterone shots allowed me to carry to 38 weeks 6 days. Labour began on its own and after a stalled labour, forehead presentation and Bandels Ring I delivered by a calm and quiet c-section, the final chapter in my family’s growth.

I didn’t fail having a VBA2C, I tried and that’s all that I can ask for. Two emergency c-sections and one successful VBAC with premature babies were stressful. This babe was big enough to come home with us and we are breastfeeding exclusively 7 weeks in. That in my eyes is success.

Loving my body, one scar at a time. Your blog gave me hope and confidence… and for that I thank you!

photo 1 (1)

A Much-Desired VBAC with a Supportive ObGyn

A Much-Desired VBAC with a Supportive ObGyn

The stories of my children’s births are both my worst and best day ever.  My son was born February 26, 2011.  I had wanted a natural childbirth, unfortunately that did not come close to what I got.   I was called by my midwife on the 23rd, stating that she had concerns regarding some of my blood work and said that I would need to be induced that day.  This is a moment I think of often and wish so much I could have acted differently.  I was close to 42 weeks and was ready to be done, and so I said “okay”.  I knew I should have asked what other options were available, but I didn’t.  When we got to hospital my birth plan fell apart immediately.  They let me know that my platelets were low and I would be unable to have an epidural.  This wasn’t a big deal to me; I didn’t want an epidural anyway. I was dilated to a one and nothing seemed to help, my body and my baby were not ready.

The first day they tried Cervidil which did nothing.  The second day they tried Cytotec which gave me some mild contractions the entire day.  I was still excited at this point and couldn’t wait to meet my baby.  I was not scared of birth; I couldn’t wait to take part in this amazing journey.  Even though I was contracting, I wasn’t dilating.  The next morning they gave my Pitocin.  This is when my world fell around me.  Two hours after receiving the drug I was in agony.  I was unable to get through a contraction without vocalizing and I felt completely lost.  I was not prepared for this.  After hours of intense contractions with no relief my pain transitioned into suffering.  I was begging for help, but no one could do anything.  At one point I looked around the room and saw our midwife, nurse and my husband simply staring at me totally helpless.  No one could help me, I was entirely alone in this room full of people.  I continued this way for almost an entire day.  I got to nine centimeters dilated and stayed there for hours.  My hope was gone, I had done enough.  I was ready.  They took me in for a cesarean.  Every part of me that makes me “Meghann” was gone.  When I got up to go into the surgery room I didn’t say goodbye to my husband, the only thought running through my head was that the pain would be over soon.  I cried knowing I would not be awake at the birth of my child because of my platelet levels, but needed help.

When I woke from surgery the full impact of what just happened hit me.  I was stuck on the table and could not get up.  I did not know one person in the room.  Tears instantly began streaming down my face.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  All of my physical pain had turned into emotional pain.  One of the nurses came over when she saw I was crying and asked what hurt.  I told her I wanted my baby.  “In just a few minutes.”  I heard them tell me that for almost an hour while I waited to meet my son.  I asked “what color eyes he had?”, “what color was his hair?”, “how much does he weigh?”. They told me, “I don’t know”. How much longer until I could meet him?!  It was the worst time of my life, waiting and searching for my baby while I knew he was doing the same for me.

Finally they took me into our recovery room where my husband and my son were waiting for me.  I remember them wheeling me down the hall, still lying in a bed.  I could not stop crying.  I saw family of other women who were likely having beautiful births waiting to meet their newest family member.  They saw the look on my face and they no doubt knew that child birth did not always go that way.  Once I was in the room I hurriedly looked from side to side asking where he was.  My husband pointed to the bassinet in front of the bed.  It was strange, but I felt like I could not have him, like he wasn’t mine, as if it would be inappropriate to ask them to give him to me.  It was as if the hospital had more rights to him than I did at that moment.  My husband went over and picked him up and put him in my arms.  While I have read about difficulty attaching after a cesarean, this was not what happened.  I felt instantly bonded to him, and did not let him go.  I felt that I needed to protect him and make amends to him for what we had just experienced.

I can’t tell you how painful Jackson’s birth was.  He was our first child and I missed everything.  I missed his first breath, his first cry.  I missed my husband meeting his son for the first time.  I didn’t know if someone had bathed Jackson or not.  I couldn’t answer simple questions in our baby book such as “Dad’s first words to his son”.  Jackson was introduced to me by others, others who knew my son first.  I should have been the first.  This was never going to happen to me again.

When Jackson was 15 months old we learned I was pregnant with Audrey.  A dark shadow hung over my pregnancy as I was told that my platelets would likely drop again.  I went back to my midwife and she told me not to worry, that it would be different.  I wouldn’t have to labor, I would come in for a scheduled cesarean.  She gave me a concerned look when I said that I was going to VBAC.

My platelets were indeed dropping.  I did everything I could to keep them up.  Took an array of vitamins, ate huge amounts of organic fruits and vegetables.  I scoured the internet for anything I could find on lifting platelet levels.  I had to be awake for this birth. I knew that my success did not just depend on me, it also depended on the people I chose to support me.  My husband and I chose to birth in a hospital, which meant I would need to find an OB, which was a little concerning to me.  It was at this point that I realized how much women come together to help one another when needed.  There was hidden in society a network of women who understood the meaning of birth and would fight to help one another succeed in achieving their desired birth.  I spoke to doulas, midwives, women who had beautiful and horrific experiences.  Over and over the same names came up, doctors to definitely check out and doctors to definitely avoid.  I began interviewing those doctors and was feeling a bit hopeless.  Then I finally found a one that I intuitively felt I could trust.  He listened to me and seemed to understand in a way you would not think a man could, how much Jackson’s birth hurt.  He vowed to help me.  I also hired a wonderful doula that listened to Jackson’s birth story and knew my desire to witness my child’s birth.  She helped me establish a birth plan for every possibility and stood beside me throughout my pregnancy and birth.

I went into labor with Audrey the night before her due date.  My contractions began at just under four minutes apart, but were easily handled.  After about two hours of labor I woke my husband up to let him know.  He urged me to call the doctor’s office.  I got the doctor on call, not my doctor.  She said that I needed to come in and that I shouldn’t worry, if I’m not dilating she’ll just start me on Pitocin.  I got off the phone with her and felt like I could not leave my house.  Was this battle starting already?  I called my doula.  I felt grounded when I heard her voice.  I remembered that I have the right to refuse any procedure, but that I would need to be strong.

We drove the hour drive on ice covered roads.  When I got into my room the doctor came to check on me.  She immediately said that she wanted to feel my stomach so she could measure the baby.  She said that if the baby was too big she would know later not to use a vacuum.  What?  Why were we already discussing vacuums and babies that are too big?  I knew I had to tell her no.  I then had a contraction and it hurt.  I thought to myself, if I’m strong enough to get through this contraction then I can tell a doctor no, and I did.

I asked about my platelet levels right away, they were high enough that no matter cesarean or vaginal, I was going to be awake!  They told me this, but it didn’t really sink in.  I could only concentrate on the contractions, nothing else.  I began vocalizing like I did when Jackson was born and I was ready for relief.  I opted for an epidural.  Once it began to work was when my doula looked at me and said “You’re going to be awake”.  Tears fell, happy tears.  I had worked so hard and everything I had worked for was being realized.

My doctor came on a few hours later.  His first words to me I’ll never forget, “Goal one met, you’re going to be awake”.  I had been clear with him that while I desperately wanted a vaginal birth, it was more important that I was awake, it was of primary importance.

He checked me about an hour after he came in and I was fully dilated!  I began to push but wasn’t making a lot of progress.  He told me that my little girl was sunny side up.  I worked and worked, and the pain was excruciating.  Even though I had an epidural, I could feel my doctor attempting to stretch me to make room for my baby to change positions.  I screamed through many of the contractions.  I worked for over three hours and then consented to allow a vacuum to help her out.  Looking back, this wasn’t what I planned, but I trusted my doctor and felt that he would not recommend anything that was not necessary.

An intense and indescribable pain, the hardest push I could muster, and then I heard the words, “Meghann, reach down and grab your baby”, and I did.  I pulled her onto my chest.  I heard her cry, saw her first breath.  I was the first to hold her.  I kissed her and told her I loved her.  I saw my husband meet her.  Nothing happened to her without my consent.  She did not leave my arms unless it was to go into my husband’s.

This picture that you see is not simply me meeting my daughter; it’s a moment I knew I could miss.  It’s a moment I missed with her brother.  It was the most precious moment of my life.  It was something that is entirely indescribable.  Since her birth I still feel as though oxytocin is cursing through my body.  I feel so empowered, so strong.  I am capable of anything!  To be a woman is truly an unbelievable gift.

Meghann's much-desired VBAC

A Cesarean followed by a {Healing} Medicated VBAC

A Cesarean followed by a {Healing} Medicated VBAC

On October 16th, 2008, my son came into this crazy world. He was born via emergency C-section, which to this day I am still not too sure how I feel about it. I was induced not even being a week overdue. I was anxious, uneducated and just wanted to have my baby here. My blood pressure was up and I was starting to swell but nothing major, so my OBGYN could have definitely waited or tried other things first. Needless to say after 3 days in the hospital with gel being put on my cervix, not too much was happening so my OBGYN decided to break my water and start the oh so lovely Pitocin! Well I had NO SWEET CLUE what I was in for, it was HELL. I was pretty much completely bed ridden because I had to be hooked up to the monitor, blood pressure machine and IV.

After a few hours of that I lost control and needed an epidural because I was no longer handling the contractions at all. I had my epidural which took a couple hours to get because being in a small town the anesthesiologist was either in the OR or was at his house (I can’t remember), but either way, it was torture waiting and waiting for him! A few short hours after I had my epidural, the nurses turned the Pitocin off and called my OBGYN down to the room where he told us that he was going to have to do an emergency c-section as I was not progressing quickly enough and that the baby was in stress. So off to the OR we went. This was the first time I had any type of surgery, I had never even had stitches in my life!

In the operating room I was transferred to the operating table where they prepped me and told me what was going to happen. They started to cut and I screamed!! I could feel everything because I was not completely frozen; my epidural that I had hours before had pretty much worn off. I was given more medicine and they began. After that a lot of it is a blur, I remember my husband came into the room and held my hand. I was shaking so badly that it was hard to breath. I remember asking the anesthesiologist for an ice cube or a sip of water because I was so dry from the oxygen I couldn’t breathe through my nose and from shaking so bad it was hard to breathe out of my mouth because my jaw kept locking up. The list just goes on and on from my OBGYN and family doctor talking about a golf game while closing me up, to throwing up when they rolled me over to take my epidural out to having to be in the recovery room for a couple hours because my blood pressure kept dropping. Needless to say I was scarred physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Holding my son for the first time I cannot remember, all I have is a picture. It was the next day when everything came together for me and I really realized what all had happened, I finally had my baby boy why wasn’t I happier? Everyone met my son before me, they all held him loved him before I even had a chance. The following months were not great at all; it took a good 6 weeks until I felt good physically. I battled night terrors from the C-section, postpartum, PTSD, and the worst of all, guilt. Guilt for not being happier, guilt for not wanting to breastfeed sometimes, guilt for wanting a minute to myself and  guilt for knowing that I loved my son but I just didn’t have that “feeling”. I was broken.

My son has taught me so much about myself about life he is my life my pride and joy , there are no words to describe the love I have for that little man; it was always there I just did not know how to let it out with everything I was going through. We got through my darkest days together and survived! With the help of my husband because God knows I could never have done it without him he is truly my other half.

My OBGYN that I had with my son had told me at my 6 week postpartum check up that I was just not made to have babies and if I wanted another one then it would have to be another C-section! Well, that made my mind up for me; I was NOT going to have any more children. That lasted a while but I knew that I was not yet “fully complete.” So when I became pregnant with our daughter I was scared, all of the emotions I had with my son came flooding back to me but I tried to have the approach, “it is what it is,” whatever the outcome, I will have another beautiful baby, and I would walk through hell and back for that (which I am pretty sure I did the first time). I had always looked online after I had my son about VBAC stories and I would cry because I could relate to every one of those “broken” women. I knew I wanted a VBAC and I was definitely going to try for one. I had a new family doctor and a new OBGYN (go figure my OBGYN lost his licence and my family doctor only lasted a year here)! I expressed my concerns and fears to my family doctor about wanting a VBAC and she said, “Well as long as everything goes normally it should be ok to try.” TRY….TRY…try? She was so pessimistic sounding. So once again I doubted myself, I thought, “Well I will try for it…it won’t happen, but at least I know I tried.”

When I was referred to my OBGYN he was great, he saw no problem with going for a VBAC; he even encouraged it (I thought he must be sniffing glue because didn’t he know it was going to end in a C-section)! My pregnancy went great, just as it did the first time, but this time I had no blood pressure issues at all. Around 40 weeks my OBGYN did a membrane sweep and sent me home and said come back if things get going. Well, I had a few cramps and that was it, and my mucus plug had started to come out. I went back to him at the end of the week, he did another membrane sweep, and he said I’ll probably see you this weekend, if not come back Monday! Once again, cramps!

Monday morning we went back and he did yet another lovely membrane sweep and said if nothing happens then we will do a C-section on Thursday, that’s when I looked at him and said shall we call a spade a spade and just do a C-section. He looked at me and my husband looked at the nurse in the room and said no I think you will be fine.

My husband and I left and went shopping and out to lunch. I was having fairly consistent cramps so around noon I decided to start timing them. My mom had our son, so I asked her to keep him a bit longer just in case. We came home and I cleaned up a bit, had a warm bath, and then walked around our kitchen table nonstop for about 2 hours.  Around 7pm we decided to go to the hospital because the cramps (I would not admit to myself that I was in labour, they were just cramps) were consistent and kept getting worse.

When we got to the hospital they monitored me and checked. I was a couple cm, contractions were fairly consistent so they decided to keep me.  We were put in our room. I called my mom and she was going to keep our son for the night. I had a bath which seemed to help a lot, asked for a birthing ball and we were good to go. The nurses really left us alone for the most part which was really nice. Around midnight I had a shot of morphine because I was getting really tired and the contractions where getting harder to deal with the nurse checked me and I was around 2-3cms. I was able to get a couple minutes of sleep in between contractions.

I got through the night. I had a few baths and was in the bath at shift changes; our new nurse came into the room and wanted to put me on the monitor so I got out of the bath.  Everything was fine but unfortunately the contractions had faded; they were coming every 8-10 minutes my nurse checked and I was about 3-4cms and had told me you know sometimes this will happen labour can stop. Not long after my OBGYN came in and decided to break my water at 8:50am, my contractions where still roughly 7mins apart. I laboured pretty well. I used the birthing ball and went for a couple walks.

I decided to have another shot of morphine at 11:15am because once again I felt like I was losing control over my contractions because I was getting tired. At that time my nurse told me that my OBGYN would like to start Pitocin just to help things move along a bit. I decided I was OK with that but I wanted an epidural because from past experience Pitocin and I are not good friends (and to be honest I figured that at least it would be in when I needed my c-section). At 12:10pm I had my epidural and at 12:40pm the Pitocin was started.  I tried to sleep but it was hard to, I kept feeling pressure so my nurse checked me at 1:50pm and I was 7cm. About 15-20mins later I knew I had to push!!

The nurse that had checked me was filling in for my nurse who was on her break, she told me that she had just checked me and that there was no way I was ready to push! Thankfully my nurse came back into the room a couple minutes later and checked me! She told the other nurse to call the OBGYN because I was fully dilated and asked me just to give a little push which I did and she told me to stop and wait for the OBGYN. Our OBGYN came into the room checked me and asked to give a little push and said, “Woah, wait,” and quickly got his gown on. At 2:25pm I started to push and our beautiful baby girl was born at 2:45pm! I could not believe what had just happened all I could say was that her!! Is it over?!

Miss1

I cannot thank my OBGYN enough, I feel like I have been healed. My first birth was awful from the moment we walked into the hospital. Birth… the most natural thing for a woman absolutely terrified me; I was broken, how could I be broken, unable to have a baby? Was I not meant to have children? These questions always haunted me, they were always there as time went on I thought about it less and less but always knew it was there.

This time around I had the most beautiful experience, I was able to have my baby placed on my belly the minute she was born, my husband cut her cord, and I nursed her and held her skin to skin before she was passed around to everyone! I have an amazing 4 ½ year old who teaches me every day we have a very special bond and my little miss who is 5 ½ months old who helped me heal.

New Hospital VBAC Story

New Hospital VBAC Story

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!

hospital vbac labour

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!

mother and baby vbac

newborn vbac

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!

breastfeeding after vbac

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!

I Am Strong {Cesarean Birth and Attempted VBAC}

I Am Strong {Cesarean Birth and Attempted VBAC}

I am strong because I went into my first birth with no plan and ended up laboring and pushing naturally…

I am strong because my baby was posterior and I had horrible back labor…

I am strong because I pushed for three hours and she when she wouldn’t descend I ended up in the OR with my first cesarean…

Emma

I am blessed because I delivered a 6 lbs 12 oz baby girl named Emma…

I am strong because she wouldn’t wake up to latch and got jaundice…

I am strong because I pumped colostrum and feed it to her using an SNS system…

Emma

I am strong because she literally ripped the skin off of my nipples when she would latch, but she wouldn’t suck unless she got instant gratification (the SNS system)…

I am strong because she finally latched and started sucking with a nipple shield that lasted for 13 weeks…

I am strong because I was determined to nurse this little one and it didn’t matter what it took…

I am strong because I weaned her from the shield on my own over a couple of weeks and she was able to finally nurse without any speed bumps at 3 months…

I am blessed because I went on to nurse her for 14 months…

I am strong because I wanted a VBAC so bad with my second and all of the preparation for it was part of my recovery from the first section…

I am strong because I stood up to my OB and told him that I was going to VBAC no matter what he thought and I was going to do it naturally, even when he repeatedly said, “When you get your epidural…”

I am strong because my waters partially broke and when I went to the hospital they couldn’t determine that it had, but I knew it had…

I am strong because the doctor on call sent me for an ultrasound and my water level was low (hence the partial rupture 8 hours prior) and she tried to scare me by saying my baby was posterior again and ending up with a cesarean after a trial of labor would be very risky and that my pelvis was narrow…

I am strong because I refused pitocin when they broke the rest of my waters to get my contractions started…

I am blessed because the doctor that came on when I was finally admitted, after 8 hours in triage, was on my side, she said “We will do whatever you are comfortable doing today.”  She was my angel that day…

I am strong because I labored with back labor naturally for 6 hours and tried every attempt to rotate my baby and she wouldn’t flip…

I am blessed because I had a team of 4 strong women and my strong husband helping me that day…

I am strong because I pushed naturally for 3 hours and she wouldn’t budge past a +2 station…

I am strong because I went ahead at that point and got an epidural to rest for two hours and then I pushed for another hour only to see her head start to budge and then go back after every contraction…

I am blessed because my new OB was there helping me push the whole time with the epidural, because I didn’t know how…

I am strong because my last attempt at a successful VBAC was allowing the use of the vacuum…

I am strong because it didn’t help and I ended up back in the OR for a CBAC…

Haddie

I am strong because I asked to have my baby placed on my chest in the OR only to be shot down that it wasn’t allowed by the head of the OR (my doc said it was okay, but it wasn’t her choice)…

I am strong because I told them that nothing would change unless people like me demanded things…

I am blessed because I delivered another 6 lbs 12 oz (same weight as her sister) baby girl named Haddie…

I am strong because I did everything in my power to have a VBAC and I accepted that it failed…

I am blessed because Haddie latched immediately in the recovery room and hasn’t stopped nursing since…

Haddie Nursing

I am strong because when I was wheeled into my hospital room from the recovery room to see Emma meet her sister for the first time, I hemorrhaged and saw my life flash before me…

Emma and Haddie

I am blessed that I am still here to be the mommy of these sweet girls…

I am strong because I missed everyone meeting my sweet Haddie for the first time…

I am strong because even though I am mourning another loss, I don’t let it consume me…

I am strong because I am seeking assistance to work through this grief…

I am strong because I won’t accept that my body has to deliver my babies through surgery; I am already researching a VBA2C…

I am strong because I am going back to school this fall to get my IBCLC certification and then eventually a doula certification, to help women that have gone through the same thing I have or to help prevent it…

I am blessed to have Birth Without Fear to share my story…

Miracles Do Happen {HBAC Waterbirth}

Miracles Do Happen {HBAC Waterbirth}

Thank you Clara for sharing your story!

I found out I was pregnant on April 3rd, 2012.  This was a planned pregnancy, but I was nervous. I looked at my 4 thriving children and remembered back to their births.

My first son was induced when I was 38 weeks, but was immediately whisked away after our first feed together because the doctors felt something was wrong. They refused to let me hold him or have him in our room and later explained that they thought he had a mass in his stomach. This so called “mass” was merely fluid that had built up from his birth, but, nonetheless, they kept him for a 3 day observation. I was discharged, without my baby.

My second son was born under the care of Dr. A (anonymous). I immediately fell in love with his charisma and had full faith in him. This turned out to be my first mistake. I carried our beautiful son to 35 weeks. I went in for a routine check that week where he realized I was already 3 cm dilated. I was immediately sent to labor and delivery. A few hours later he broke my water, loaded me up on Pitocin, and I gave birth to a little boy that struggled to breath. I was discharged, without my baby. My second mistake was not realizing my first mistake. Why did I not question his actions? The answer is simple: I grew up in a generation that believes anything a doctor deems necessary, is then in fact necessary.

Our third son followed the same story. I was 35 weeks, 3 cm, had my water broken, and delivered a baby that struggled to breath. I was discharged, without my baby. At this point I was brainwashed into believing that something was wrong with my body.

When we found out about our fourth child, a precious little girl, I was told I would not carry her to viability unless I was put on weekly shots and medications. I was a good little patient, didn’t ask questions, and took my medication. At the time I began the medication I wasn’t having any negative symptoms of pregnancy. Two weeks after beginning the medication I began to cramp. Dr. A told me that this was merely what he had predicted to happen, but that this medication was my miracle that would take me to term. On February 7th, 2011 I gave birth to a teeny 31 week 5 day baby girl that was viciously ripped from me via c-section. She seemed life-less. I was not allowed to hold her, kiss her, or talk to her. I feared the worst and was on a roller coaster of emotions. Do I celebrate the birth of our first daughter? Do I cry? What do I do now? The medical team transferred her downtown to the same hospital her older brothers went where she spent the next 6 weeks. I was discharged, again, without my baby; but, this time I was mad and I had questions. I remember my 6 week appointment after she was born. We had just brought her home from the hospital the day before, my milk was barely hanging on from her absence, and I was in a state of rage. I could not even face him. He lied to me. Lies that put my children’s health at risk, my health at risk and I was done!

Would this pregnancy become the disaster each of my other pregnancies had become? No, it would not. I did my research, I asked my questions, and realized the mistakes I had made by entrusting my body to a medical community that wants nothing more than a hefty pay check. I came across Central Texas Birth Center after researching natural birth. I made an appointment to view the facility and immediately fell in love, but would they take me as a patient? Was I too much of a liability? Heather and I sat down for an hour during my first appointment and we went over my entire medical history. I was nervous she was going to decline me, but instead she told me something that will always stay with me.

“You’re not sick, you’re pregnant.”

Just writing this makes tears stream down my face. It was absolutely the most empowering statement I’ve heard. Heather helped me build confidence in my body, and I am sure there were times when she wanted to strangle me, but she had faith in my ability to have a healthy, pink, squishy baby that would stay in my arms.

So, there I was, November 2012, 35 weeks, and nervous. I was having periods of back pain and went in for an exam to see if something was changing. Heather checked me and I was 3 cm. Chills went down my spine. This was it, what I had feared; I was going to be transferred. Heather looked at me and said, “You’re perfect. Go home and put your feet up.”

Wait, what? You’re not going to break my water? Birth isn’t imminent? I was amazed. I remember telling my husband that evening that I was 3 cm, but NOT in labor!! And…that’s when it dawned on me: I was never in labor at 35 weeks with my other children!! Boy-oh-boy did this make me fume. I nearly waddled my angry little tush over to Dr. A’s office to let him have a piece of my mind, but I remembered I was a lady and it wasn’t going to change anything. 3 more weeks went by and I felt my beautiful baby getting bigger by the day. My back was bothering me again and the pressure was building. Heather checked me and I was about 6 cm dilated, but alas was not in labor. I made a visit to the chiropractor for “The Business” which relieved some pressure in my back, but still nothing. I gave up, the pain in my back was becoming unbearable, and I started thinking “What have I done? I’m 6 cm! I could waltz into any labor and delivery and have this baby!” I’m fairly positive I even threatened to do so, but Heather knew I could do it.

On the evening of November 30th, 2012 I had just bathed my older children and put them to bed. I remember the story we read that night; Frog and Toad.  I remember crying as I tucked in my youngest knowing that her life was going to change, and, unbeknownst to me this change was closer than ever. My husband and I sat down for the evening and we watched my belly dance along with the music. There’s nothing quite like being able to count your unborn child’s toes poking through your tummy. I was in a complete stage of peace and living in the moment. Then, something happened.

I felt a twinge, a real twinge. Every emotion rushed through my body. Is this it? Will I meet my baby tonight? Am I strong enough? I didn’t want to say anything, so I waited.3 minutes later I felt another twinge! Now, I must admit, I was so excited I nearly wet my pants: and we all know how easy this is to do! I filled up my bath tub and told my husband I would be right back, but this was our 5th baby and not his first rodeo – he knew! The warm water rushed over my belly and I witnessed my baby burying deep within my pelvic bone. Each wave became more intense and I felt it was time to close my eyes, connect with my little one, and become a team. My husband called Heather around 9:30 pm and she came right over.

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By the time she got here my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I could feel little Bean and I were efficiently and effortlessly working together. I was in tune with my body and my baby. Each pain brought a bought of happiness knowing I was closer to holding this precious life that had been growing inside of me for so long. I climbed into the birth tub around 10:45pm. Baby and I worked together during our transition and we were one step closer to snuggling. I could feel baby pushing down against my blooming cervix. I worked when baby worked and rested when baby rested. I let out deep hums in our dark bedroom where the only light came from a fireplace in the back ground: I was in birth heaven.

There was a moment during a long pause between contractions when I became nervous. Adrenaline was pumping throughout my body and strength poured into my muscles. I knew our last big birth adventure was about to take place. I looked at Heather and without saying a single word, and with just one single glance, she empowered me, calmed me, and cheered me on. Heather has a gift to talk to you without words and hum with you when you need a partner to hum with in the moment; she gives you the strength you never thought you could have. I instinctively pulled my legs back and let my body take over. My water still had not broken and I looked down to watch my baby emerge within the amniotic sac. In the midst of all the peace in the room I remember my husband proclaiming, “Oh wow it looks like a snow globe…” that’s a man for you!

Just 3 quick intense pushes later, at 11:19pm, I felt my baby leave my body and enter the water. But, as quickly as I felt this beautiful being leave, I felt it come back. I remember the warmth of our skin touching and the immediate spark between mother and child. Love poured out from my eyes; I was overcome with emotion. Gender didn’t matter I had my baby, in my arms, screaming healthy cries.

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10 minutes passed before Heather asked us if we had decided on a name and that’s when we realized we hadn’t yet peeked “down below”! I lifted up the towel and there it was, a part I am all too familiar with! Noah Henry was in my arms and joined our family as our 4th handsome boy.

Heather stayed with us as I delivered his placenta and gave our beautiful son his first warm meal. Then, after giving Noah a final scan and me a final stitch, she left for home.

So there we were, alone, lying with our newborn son, and he wasn’t  going to leave my arms.

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Heather, Thank you for believing in me and my body. You gave me the confidence that others had taken away from me. Noah was born into my arms and didn’t leave them because of you. You are our gift from God, and I am so glad that you answered your calling!

We are now pregnant with our 6th baby and I’m sure I will have another amazing birth story to tell.

Next time, I want floating candles!

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I Will Birth My Baby {Out Of My Vagina!}

I Will Birth My Baby {Out Of My Vagina!}

VBAC I

I am STRONG because I spent 9. 5 years since my first babies traumatic birth educating myself and becoming informed. 7. 5 years since my sons unnecessary, failed induction leading to my second cesarean, I learnt to trust my body.

I am STRONG because I knew I wanted a VBA2C, I also wanted a Homebirth as I had wanted to with my 1st, but I also knew I would have Gestational Diabetes. When I fell pregnant I chose to have my care done through the same hospital I’d had my traumatic birth in. I endured ‘dead baby’ cards & doubt, until one day I stood up for myself and told them enough was enough. I wrote a letter stating I am an informed woman making informed choices, in the best interests of myself and my baby I have chosen a VBA2C. From that day on my choices were respected.

I am STRONG because I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes as expected. I changed my lifestyle for my baby from the very start of my pregnancy to minimise any adverse outcomes for when my blood sugars would rise. I was told I would birth a big baby, but knew through research this wasn’t correct for my strict controlled Gestational Diabetes.

I am STRONG because I pricked my finger 6 times per day & injected insulin 4 times per day after diet & exercise alone didn’t work.

I am STRONG because I was told under hospital policy I was to have a repeat cesarean at 38 weeks because of Gestational Diabetes. I declined. My Gestational Diabetes was strictly under control and my babies well being tests were perfect. I spent all of my time researching studies, and the lack of. I knew I was making the best decision for myself and my baby.

I am STRONG because I spent week 40 crying, doubting my bodies ability to go into labour on it’s own, I surrendered and let go the day before I went into labour. I am very STRONG because I had reached 41 weeks, I had never laboured before. My body went into labour on it’s own & I rocked it!

I ROARED my baby out of my vagina after 4 hours of labour into the water. I Birthed my baby out of my Vagina, at HOME, at 41 weeks, after 2 previous cesareans, with Gestational Diabetes, to a very healthy 7lbd 7oz baby girl who had a beautifully healthy placenta.

I am STRONG because in 2011 I had a breast reduction and had 2kgs taken out of my breasts, unsure if I would be able to Breastfeed I sought out Donor Breast Milk, I wanted to give my baby the best start in life & believed donor milk was the next best thing to my own. I bought an SNS so I could breastfeed. I have 20 litres in my freezer, thank you to those wonderful mums.

I am STRONG because I am not special, I am just an informed woman who did what she believed was the best for herself and her baby. I believed in myself and didn’t let the fears of others overcome me. I refused to make decisions without evidence & it led me to a beautiful calm POWERFUL birth at home surrounded by love.

– Mel

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2 Sets of Twins, 16.5 Months Apart {IVF and VBAC}

2 Sets of Twins, 16.5 Months Apart {IVF and VBAC}

Thank you to the mother who shares both her birth stories of her FOUR children.

{Part 1}

My husband and I knew we would need help conceiving.  He had low sperm count, and I, well just didn’t ovulate.  We met with a fertility doctor and I had the impression that we would be pregnant within a month or two and we would be on our way to parenthood.  Boy was I wrong!  We tried 3 IUIs (intrauterine inseminations) which all failed before moving on to IVF (in vitro fertilization.)  The transfer for our first IVF cycle was cancelled because I hyper stimulated and it just was not safe to do the transfer.  We froze our embryos, did two more transfers which both ended up in miscarriage.  The thought of doing another cycle almost seemed unbearable- the injections, pills, patches, appointments and possible disappointment.  I wanted to be a mom so badly and there was no other way it was going to happen so we gave it one more shot- and it worked!  It REALLY worked! We were expecting twins!  The following story shares the details of our baby girls’ birth via c-section.

I knew that I had a c-section scheduled for Thursday, October 6th at 7:30am, so I spent all day Wednesday getting ready for the big day.  My mom and sister flew in from Minnesota so I picked them up at the airport and we ran errands for a couple hours afterwards.  I had so many things to do once we got home from running the errands.  I probably washed 5 loads of clothes, made homemade chicken noodle soup for after the birth, cooked dinner, etc.  

After the chores were all done everyone went to sleep at about 11:30pm.

I wasn’t really very tired so I decided to catch up on CSI which I had recorded on the DVR.  It was about midnight and I wasn’t really sleeping, but rather in that half-awake/half asleep mode when I felt some pressure “down below.”  It was a very strange feeling and all of the sudden my water broke!  It was a HUGE gush that I was totally not expecting.  I got up off of the couch and started walking towards the bedroom saying, “Honey! I think my water just broke!”  (Meanwhile leaking everywhere.)  Brian was half asleep but I am pretty sure that I shocked him awake.  We were both in a slight panic and called the hospital right away.  They said to come on in! We asked if it would be alright if I took a shower first and they said that was fine.  I didn’t know when I would be able to shower again and didn’t want to feel like yucky amniotic fluid!

My mom and sister woke up as well and helped us get the last few things put into my bag and get the bags in the car.  We drove straight to the hospital and it was one of the longest 15 minute car rides ever!  Brian dropped me off at the door to the ER and parked the car.  I went inside and told the lady that I was in labor.  She was not the speediest of people and I found it odd that she took her sweet time to get me all checked in.  

Anyways, someone came down from Labor & Delivery with a wheelchair and took Brian and I up to the birthing unit.  I was immediately hooked up to the heart rate monitors for the babies to make sure that they were not in distress (which they weren’t.)  I informed the nurses that there was meconium (baby poop) from one of the babies in my amniotic fluid.  From what I know, its not a huge deal but they don’t want the babies to inhale it when they are born.  We had hoped to wait until morning to do the c-section with our regular OB but since there was meconium they just couldn’t wait!  

Before I knew it, I was being stuck for an IV.  I have horrible veins the only place to get an IV in is in my hand.  No one ever believes me and tries somewhere else first and ends up going on my hand anyways.  I wish they would just listen the first time and save us all some pain!  

After the IV was started we signed some paperwork for the anesthesia and talked to the anesthesiologist.  When we were done with that, off we went to the operating room!

Brian had to dress in scrubs and wait outside until the spinal epidural was completed.  I went into the OR alone and must say that the spinal was the scariest thing ever!  The anesthesiologist would not stop talking and kept saying how he couldn’t get the needle in right or something.  He numbed my back first with a local (which wasn’t really working) and after what felt like forever got the spinal in the right place.  My legs went heavy right away and I was totally numb after about 10 minutes.  I did NOT like the feeling at all.  Very strange.  They let Brian in and I was so relieved to see him. They got to work quickly and before I knew it I was cut open!  I remember asking Brian if they had started yet and he laughed because I was already cut open.  

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harlotte came out first at 2:44am. She was 6lbs 3oz.  I heard her cry and it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.  The nurse took her to the station they had set up and scored her on the APGAR test to see how she was doing.  She scored a 7 after 1 minute and a 9 after 5 minutes.  Evelyn was born just after Charlotte at 2:46am. Evelyn weighed 7lbs 0oz.  I remember it taking her longer to cry than I had expected.  It felt like I waited and waited and waited to hear her cry. Her APGAR scores were 9 after 1 minute and 9 after 5 minutes.  I was so full of emotion that I almost didn’t know what to feel.  The medicine made me feel very strange and the whole experience was pretty surreal.  I was able to see Charlotte right away but didn’t see Evelyn for about 10 minutes after she was born.  They told me that they held her up but I didn’t see her I guess.  After Brian cut the cords they let us hold the babies for a few minutes before taking them.

We each got an arm band for each of the babies before they left the room and Brian made sure to snap a lot of pictures as well.  The staff in the room was also nice enough to take pictures of us holding the babies and they even took a video of the birth for us!

Before going to the hospital, we had agreed that Brian would stay with the babies after they were born.  He left the OR and they finished stitching me up and took me to recovery.  I was in recovery all by myself and it was such a strange feeling.  Brian eventually came in to recovery with me while the babies were in the nursery.  

Once the feeling had started coming back into my legs they took me to the postpartum unit where I could see and hold my babies.  I breastfed them right away and just stared at them in awe. I was so in love with them the moment I saw their beautiful faces.  Its hard to imagine loving someone so much that I had never met before, but it was love at first sight!  I had been waiting so long for this day to come and it was all I had imagined it to be.

Twin C-section, IVF

{Part 2…or 4}

When my girls were about 6 months old we decided to try for “one more” since we had so much trouble conceiving the first time.  On our first frozen transfer we were so happy to be expecting twins again!  We were thrilled, and terrified all at the same time.  Two sets of twins? Sixteen and a half months apart? How would we do it? I was happy our girls were born safely via c-section, but wanted to experience a vaginal delivery.  The next part is about how how our miracle twin boys were born via VBAC.

The induction was all set for Thursday, February 21st at 8 a.m.  The doctor said that it could take days, but I was really just anticipating going in, getting hooked up to some Pitocin and having some babies!

We woke up to about 6 inches of snow so we decided to leave the house early.  It was very slow going, but we stopped for coffee anyways because I knew I couldn’t have anything to eat once we started the induction.  We made it to the hospital about 10 minutes late, checked in at the ER and went up to the labor and delivery floor.  Once we got there, I was hooked up to the IV, started on some fluids, and then waited a little while for the doctor to come in and check my cervix to decide how much Pitocin to get started.  My cervix had been closed on Monday and oddly enough, I was dilated to 2-3 and about 70% effaced!  I was elated to hear that, because I knew if I was still closed my chances of the vaginal delivery were low.

The nurse hooked up the babies to the monitors, but they had trouble staying on.  She would get them on while I was sitting on my left side but as soon as I moved my hips, baby A (Elliott) would fall off the monitor.  We battled this scenario for a while and finally the nurse came in and said, “If we can’t monitor the babies, then we can’t use the Pitocin.”  Crap.

A few minutes later the nurse came back and said that I should get my epidural so that I would be more comfortable and then the doctor would break my bag of water.  Once the water was broken, they could use the internal probe to monitor Elliott’s heart rate instead of the external one that just wasn’t working out.

I was terrified of getting the epidural.  All I could think about was the spinal block that I got for my c-section when I had the girls and how awful it was.  The anesthesiologist was yelling at me and just wasn’t very friendly.

A very youngish blonde woman came in and told me she would be doing my epidural.  She was kind and very patient while I asked her a million questions about what it would feel like and what I should expect to feel, etc. once the epidural was placed.  It was absolutely great and nothing like my experience before.  Once it was placed, my lower body got heavy, but not really numb per se.  I could still shift around and move, thank goodness!  It was way better than I expected and I could sit comfortably now.

The doctor came in soon after and broke Elliott’s bag of water.  I couldn’t believe how much it gushed!  The nurse and the doc made comments as well about how much water was in there and it was only from one of the babies!

The contractions started getting a little bit stronger and closer together after the water broke.  I could see the peaks on the monitors, but really only felt pressure at this point.  I was getting excited thinking about how soon it could be that my babies would be born!  It was now about 5 p.m. and the nurse came to check me again.  I was about 7cm dilated… Hooray, I thought!  Things were moving in the right direction.  I was petrified that labor would stall out and I would end up with a c-section anyways.

Meanwhile all of this was going on, Brian and I were just hanging out, taking cat naps, and updating our Facebook.  Our friends and family knew we were going in for the induction and were checking in frequently because they were so excited for us!

Day turned into evening and I wondered if we would ever have these boys… The nurses changed shifts and so we had a new nurse for the rest of the labor.  The nurse we had all day really wanted to know the boys’ names, but we didn’t tell her.  She said she would check back the next day.

After the shift change, the nurse seemed to be more aggressive and kept pumping up the Pitocin.  The contractions got stronger and stronger and pretty soon I just about couldn’t take it anymore!  The anesthesiologist checked in at one point and ended up giving me a boost in the epidural catheter because I was really feeling the pain from the contractions and they just weren’t letting up.  My legs really went numb after that and I started having panic attacks because I couldn’t move my legs at all.  It was the worst feeling ever!  Exactly what I didn’t like about the spinal epidural from the c-section.

The fun really began around 10pm.  The contractions kept getting stronger and stronger and the pain was almost unbearable.  The really fun part about Pitocin is that it creates strong contractions that just don’t let up!  With natural labor, there is down time between the contractions but not with the Pitocin!  They were about 2-3 minutes apart for what felt like an eternity.  I pretty much turned into a crazy person at this point.  I yelled, screamed, swore, and said many crazy things because I didn’t know what else to do.  I told Brian I wanted to go home and that we should leave. I texted my mom. I wrote some crazy Facebook posts in my group of fellow twin mamas, played words with friends…. I just wanted to keep my mind off of the horrendous pain but it just wasn’t working.

About 12:30 one of the machines started beeping.  It was my epidural monitor and it was out of meds.  I called the nurse in to see what it was and she told me the “great” news.  She went to go find the anesthesiologist and she was in a freaking c-section! What!  My meds were empty, I felt like I was about to die, and there was nothing we could do about it until she got out!

Somewhere around this point, the nurse checked me again and I was 9 ¾ she said.  Great! Time to push? Not yet.  All night long I kept telling the nurse (in a frenetic voice) that I didn’t know how to push and that I was scared and couldn’t do it.  She must have thought I was a nut.  She kept telling me that it was the easiest part of the labor and I thought SHE was the nut.  Anyways, we waited for the doc and the anesthesiologist to get out of surgery to see what the plan was.  I was tired, in pain, and didn’t really know how much more I could take.  I’m pretty sure I told them 1000x that I didn’t know why I had chosen to have a vaginal birth and that maybe I should just have a c-section.  The nurse and doctor had to convince me multiple times that this was what I wanted and that I shouldn’t quit now because I had already been through so much.

At 1:25am, it was finally time to push.  I was so exhausted and had no idea how I was going to get these babies out.  I had wasted all of my energy screaming at Brian for the previous 3 hours.  He was a champ though.  He just kept saying, “You’re doing great! Keep breathing!” I told him that I was freaking breathing and that he needed to say something else.  So glad he stayed calm for the both of us….

When the pushing started I think the doc was worried that I wouldn’t have enough energy to push them out.  My pushes were horrible and weak.  The nurse said that the pushing could take hours…. HOURS? Seriously?  I had no idea how I was going to do it.

The plan was to push baby Elliott way down and when he was getting close, we would go to the operating room to deliver them.  I pushed for about two hours in the regular birthing room.  It was just me, Brian, the nurse, and the doctor in there.  It was much more casual than I had imagined.  Brian had some music playing on his phone and we were all having regular conversations between the contractions.  They wouldn’t let me drink any water and Brian was in charge of giving me the ice chips because I had the worst dry mouth I’ve ever had before!  We watched the contraction monitors and the babies’ heart rates while I was pushing.  Elliott’s took a huge dip with every push but always came back up.  I was worried when I saw this, but the doc wasn’t so I assumed everything was okay.

At about 3:15 it was time to go to the operating room.  They wheeled me down there in the labor bed and transferred me to the operating table. I was expecting there to be a crowd in there, but there were just a couple of extra nurses.

This was it!  I knew it would be happening soon and that the pain would end shortly.  The epidural was great before, but wasn’t doing a thing at this point.  With every push I felt Elliott getting closer and closer to coming out.  There was a new nurse in the room yelling at me to push longer and harder.  At one point, the doctor said that he was giving me 15 minutes to push the baby out on my own before he was going to use the vacuum to help me out.  The contractions slowed down at this point which was really frustrating.  I had to wait and wait for them so that I could push!

I pushed and pushed and they could finally see Elliott’s head!  The nurse said, “Reach down and feel your baby’s head.” So I did! Holy crap! This was really happening!  I swear it felt like he was crowing for an eternity.  Before the final push, the nurse said, “When you push him out, you will finally have relief!”  Well, okay then! Let’s do this! I think the scream I let out when I finally pushed Elliott out could have woken the dead!  I felt his ginormous head pass through my body and the rest of him just slide right out.  It was the most amazing and surreal thing I have ever felt before.  Like I said before…. I had an epidural, but I pushed Elliott out all on my own.  There was no relief from that pain.  He cried shortly after he came out and he was absolutely perfect.

“I have to do this again?”  I had no idea how I was going to have the strength to push Oliver out.  The doctor told me that after Elliott came out, another doctor was going to help hold Oliver (from the outside) to make sure he didn’t do a little flip now that his brother was out and he didn’t have to share space anymore.  The doc then asked me if I wanted to push him down or let the contractions do the work.  I told him I wanted to let the contractions do the work because I was too tired.

He asked me if I wanted help getting him out and I don’t think I could have said, “YES” faster.  I just wanted him out healthy and safe…. And fast.  I pushed for about three contractions and with the help of the vacuum out came Oliver 13 minutes after his brother.  It didn’t hurt nearly as much because his big brother had already cleared the way for him.

I was filled with a sense of relief when the boys were finally out.  I was out of breath, sweaty, exhausted, and just so happy that they were out safe and sound.

Both of my boys were healthy and perfect in every way.  They let Brian cut the cord, cleaned them off, and I eventually got to hold them.  I was so in love with my little boys the moment I saw them.  Becoming a mom for the 3rd and 4th time was just as joyful as it was the 1st and 2nd time.

They helped me deliver the placenta and for some crazy reason I asked to see it.  The doctor showed it to me and explained that the placentas were fused together.

After the placenta was delivered I thought we were done and that we were going to get cleaned up and get the heck out of dodge.  Nope.  I was bleeding.  Crap.  Did my uterus rupture? Was I going to have to get an emergency hysterectomy? What the hell was going on??

The anesthesiologist gave me more pain meds in my epidural catheter and I was instantly out.  I was so tired that I just couldn’t stay awake anymore.  At the time I didn’t really know what was happening and Brian had to tell me about it later.  I recall waking up periodically, but that’s about it.

The doctor gave me cytotec (I think to get anything left in there out) and also had to investigate the bleeding.  I was told that it was “standard procedure” to manually check a previous C-section incision if a patient is bleeding after a VBAC.  The scar was intact (thank goodness) and the bleeding slowed down.  Brian said it was pretty scary and that everyone in that operating room was covered in my blood and bodily fluids.  The doctor later told me also that I kept waking up asking, “Are we done yet??”

After the bleeding stopped, the doctor sewed me up and I was taken back to the room where Brian and the boys would meet me.  I was shaking like crazy as the epidural wore off.

Twin VBAC, IVF

I’m sure there are many more details that I have forgotten, but I must say that it was one of the most empowering experiences of my life.  I have found out that there aren’t a lot of doctors that are comfortable with a VBAC with a singleton, let alone with twins.  I am so grateful to my doctor and his confidence that everything would be fine (and that if it wasn’t we would do a C-section) and that he had agreed to let me try the VBAC.

2 sets of twins, IVF

Hospital VBAC with a True Knot

Hospital VBAC with a True Knot

I have had three children. The first was a c-section and the other 2 were VBAC.  I feel that I was “bullied” into the c-section simply because I didn’t follow their time schedule.  I was induced at 9 days over my due date because I was told my pelvis was not large enough to have a 9 pound baby which they said she would be.  I didn’t progress as quickly as they wanted and was given high doses of Pitocin.  I made it 13 hours before caving for the epidural which then stalled my labor which required more Pitocin. Then I needed another epidural because all the feeling returned and was so intense.  After having a midwife and resident fight over if I was at a 9 or 10 and pushing for 1 1/2 hours a different doctor came on and said I was only 9 centimeters. He said I would not progress and had to have an emergency c-section because of lack of progress and potential harm to the baby.  This baby now has asthma, had tubes in her ears, and is constantly sick.  I honestly believe it is in part or mostly due to the c-section.  Also, they were wrong about her size, she was born 8 pounds and 8 oz.

I became more educated for baby #2 and found a VBAC friendly doctor.  After my water was broken naturally for 22 hours and 3 hours of pushing, I had a vacuum assisted delivery of a perfectly healthy baby girl.  I was so thankful to be “allowed” to VBAC that I questioned nothing.  I did what I was told with no questioning.  I hated being in the bed the entire time!  I was monitored the whole time, took the awful Pitocin when told, and was checked constantly for progress.  It wasn’t awful, but it sure wasn’t what I had dreamt of for a VBAC. I was very thankful not to have another c-section.

With our third child we were stunned to find out we were expecting.  As soon as we found out we started looking for a doctor who would do VBAC.  I had heard horror stories about the Air Force hospital I was supposed to deliver at.  I managed to get a referral off base, but couldn’t find a doctor. that would allow me my right to VBAC.  I was forced to go to the hospital which I was terrified of.  During the pregnancy I was scared they would force me into a c-section.  I was never really comfortable at any appointments.  The closer the due date became the more apprehensive I was.  The birth of our son was traumatic, but I wouldn’t do it any other way.  My water broke in bed at 4:45 a.m.  I had planned to take my time in going to the hospital.  However I noticed he had meconium inside me by the blackish water leaking from me.  So I showered and ate a healthy breakfast (I knew they would starve me after I got there) and then we went to the hospital.

After 3-4 hours they kept trying to give me Pitocin.  I refused.  I kept walking, rocking on the ball and trying anything to start contracting.  I was getting angry at my body.  My waters had broken but my body didn’t seem to notice I should be in labor.  Then the reminders started that I had 24 hours before they take the baby.  I knew I needed to get something started.  My husband helped me remain in control.  We continued to walk coming back every 30 minutes to be monitored.  We enjoyed the time together and he snuck me food.  The doctors began to get more insistent that I start Pitocin.  After 3 pm I finally consented. I was still 2-3 centimeters dilated. I began to have a bad feeling at this point.  I immediately lost my freedom to be up and walk around.  Now I could only go as far as the drip, then his heart rate fluctuated a couple of times so I was placed on the fetal heart rate monitor nonstop.  I was still on my 24 hour window that they had given me to deliver from time of rupture, so was getting a little nervous. Then they turned the Pitocin up so high I had to get an epidural.  That was pure hell!  I got what’s called a wet tap, so essentially a spinal instead of a regular epidural.  I’m really sensitive to meds so that made me pass.  I remember pretty much everything including my husband’s face when I couldn’t talk or breath and baby’s heart rate was in the 50s.  Once the drugs started to wear off and the baby and I were okay he had to leave to compose himself.

Next came the internal monitors and a half dose of epidural when it had worn off.  They then decided I would be allowed no more drugs.  This is where my husband got me to focus.  I love to run so he used running analogies with the contractions and breathing.  It was the most helpful thing anyone could have done and I was managing the pain.  Baby’s heart rate then had unexplained dips and then they started discussing a c-section.  I’m told that if we do a c-section I will have to be put to sleep because of the instability of the wet-tap that the anesthesiologist caused.  I freak out and start bawling.  Not only is a c-section the furthest thing that I want from our birth plan, but I already thought I was going to die from his previous error and now he wants to put me to sleep?!

My doctor that had come on service came by to chat and told me as long as no infection he would not adhere to the 24 hour rule but if we lost heartbeat one more time he would take the baby.  I went from a 2-3cm dilated to a 9 in a little over an hour.  Thank you doctor for allowing me to finally relax!  I stalled at 9 1/2 and the doctor stayed and massaged and stretched me the best he could.  The heart rate dropped and he made me start pushing.  I pushed for 45 minutes and with each contraction there was an irregular heartbeat for baby.  I finally got his head out and there was nothing but silence.  Next thing I know doctor says “I’m sorry dear” and gives me a 4th degree episiotomy and then nurses start putting pressure on my stomach.  A vacuum is placed on baby’s head and he is out.  There is still no life from him.  Almost 2 1/2 minutes passed from his head exiting until they had him take his first breath.  The 1st cry was the most amazing sound ever!

It was a boy after 2 girls! Thanking God he numbed me before he stitched me up after effectively having zero pain meds for the actual birth of baby was a must!  I hear the nurses and doctor start saying, “Miracle Baby.”  I didn’t understand.  Then I hear something about a true knot. Jagger’s true knot is what was caused all the fluctuations in his heartbeat.  He wasn’t able to draw what he needed anymore from the cord.  He also had a broken clavicle and Corio (infection).  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done to bring him into the world but I am so thankful he is here and so amazing!  My postpartum care was awful.  I had bronchitis and they took me off all my meds and said the antibiotics for Corio for me would take care of it…wrong!  I was begging for cough syrup to help.  Imagine a 4th degree episiotomy and an uncontrollable cough…not pleasant.  I was discharged without anyone looking around down there and haven’t used the bathroom.  We had to stay 8 days because Jagger didn’t respond to his antibiotics in the first 48 hours so he had to be on a full 7 day course of meds for him.  I was put on bonding status and was able to stay in a room with him because he is nursed exclusively.  I asked everyday what to do to go to the bathroom. I tried prune juice, Colace, Miralax, veggies, almonds and chugging water.  I kept asking what to do but no one could help me because I was no longer a patient.  I asked every nurse and they all called ObGyn but no one would come.  This left me to asking friends and nurses and trying a tries variety of things.

Truly disappointed that after baby is delivered Mama is not a concern.  It would be more helpful for recovery, bonding, and overall well being if moms were treated with the same respect after little one is delivered as prior to delivery.  I am thankful that I have three beautiful children.  I am relieved I only had 1 c-section.  I do think that our culture needs so much work to make birthing babies a safer, more enjoyable, easier, less traumatic journey.  I would love to see moms with more options and knowledge about our rights and what is acceptable from practitioners.

VBAC true knot

VBAC true knot

 

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