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


  • Navidan

    Oh Meghann, you’re so strong. I am so thrilled that you got the healing birth you wanted, and that precious precious time full of firsts with your little girl. I know nothing takes away what you missed the first time, but you have such a wonderful outlook on the fact that it takes work and strength to get the experience you deserve. I hope your story gives so many women hope! You’re amazing mama. Thanks for sharing.

  • Teresa

    I have extremely low platetes (Thrombocytopenia) and my midwives never even batted an eye. It’s never been a problem and I had both my sons at home. Natural birth is possible for those with Thrombocytopenia (and SVT, and scoliosis). I’m glad you got your VBAC. 🙂

    P.S. try chlorophyll for low platetes.

  • Meghann

    Thank you ladies for the kind comments. Chlorophyll? Will definitely look into that if there’s a next time! Thank you for reading my story.

  • Laura

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I had the same hard feelings about the birth of my son. I was deprived the first few minutes of his life while they tended to him, though I had a vaginal birth, I didn’t get to see his first moments when they whisked him across the room to get him breathing. The first time I saw him, he was already wrapped in blankets, weighed, in a diaper, dressed. It was not what I wanted, and I felt like the doctors were hiding my baby from me. Good on you, mama, I hope that my next birth will give me the same peace that your second one did.

  • Sara

    Thanks for sharing your story! I’m hoping to have a VBAC and came across your story. Very inspirational and a reminder of how you must remain strong during your weakest moments! Thank you!

    • Meghann

      Hi Katherine,
      Sorry I just saw your message today, months after you shared. It feels perfect because I am pregnant with my third now and anxiously awaiting my second VBAC and looking for empowering songs to add to my “labor list”. This is now on it! Thank you so much! *goosebumps*

  • Rachel

    Your first birth has similarities to mine. I had low platelets and was developing pre-e. The tried to induce me, and then they scared me into a C-section. I didn’t meet my daughter till she was 10 hours old. I remember waking up now and then to see her, but couldn’t stay awake long enough to look into her face.

    I am now 38 weeks with our second baby, and I have a midwife and a hope to actually “be” there for this birth. The midwife, in our first interview, asked why I wanted a birth center birth. “I want to be there for this birth.” And she smiled.

    I am so happy for you being able to be there for your second birth.

  • Meghann

    Wow! There are so many parallels in your story and mine. Our names being spelled the same way gave me chills! What you wrote, “At one point I looked around the room and saw our midwife, nurse and my husband simply staring at me totally helpless.” I remember that moment. For me, it seemed like after 3 hours of pushing, the energy just left the room. Like everyone knew it wasn’t going to happen except for me. It was a terrible choice to make. I am 20 weeks with my 2nd and am hopeful to have a much different experience this time. So glad you got a better birth experience with your daughter.

  • Cassi

    I just want you to know that your story is an inspiration to me. It is very similar to the birth experience I had with my son, nearly 15 months ago. I have always known I wanted more than one child but I was traumatized after the birth of my son and struggled to convince myself to have a second child. Reading your story has helped give me the strength I think I needed to truly consider another pregnancy.

    I had a general anesthesia c-section with my son after laboring for 9 hours with no progress. My General C-Section was because I am medically un able to get an epidural. I was devastated over missing his birth. I was devastated that I didn’t hear him cry. I didn’t hold him first. I didn’t touch him first. So many people got to meet my son before I did and it broke my heart into a million pieces. I waited in the recovery room for an hour, asking repeatedly to please let me see my son. Finally, I was taken to see him and my husband! But, my parents, my in-laws, my friends, they all got to meet him before me. I carried him inside of me for 9 months and I was the last to meet him. It still brings me to tears just thinking about it.

    The strength I have gained from reading your story is immeasurable. I am now going to pursue a VBAC, if possible, with my next birth. And I hope and pray that it will heal the hole in my heart caused by my traumatic first birth. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Bekah

    This left me in tears! It is so similar to my birth experience with my son. It was very hard and heartbreaking. It is very comforting to know that someone else has shared my experience. I am now pregnant again (I got pregnant at 15 months after my son too!) and I will be attempting a VBAC. But the feelings about it and this pregnancy have been so glum and overshadowed with the birth of my first. Alike you, I will be awake. I will be.
    Thank you for sharing, it is encouraging, inspiring, and comforting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Order the BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR Book at One of the Following Book Retailers!

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks 

 Google Play • Books-A-Million • IndieBound

***Sign up below for more updates on the Birth Without Fear book!***

We respect your privacy.