I am so excited to share my birth story and journey to a successful VBAC!
Here is a little backstory about my first birth…
When I was pregnant with my first daughter I started to get weekly sonograms around 36 weeks. Each time I went they told me she was measuring big. By the time I was 37 weeks she was already 7 pounds, and my doctor hinted at me being “prepared” for a c-section based on baby’s size.
The following week (38 weeks) baby was now measuring around 8 pounds. My doctor suggested a scheduled c-section. Since this was my first pregnancy and I had NO idea what to expect, her reasoning made a lot of sense to me- at the time. She said baby’s head did not drop below the pelvic bone and I could possibly have a long labor that would put the baby (and myself) in distress.
A section sounded “safer” so I agreed. At 39 week and 1 day Chris and I went to the hospital at 6am for my section And Audriana was born at 8:48am the same day. The weeks that followed her birth were horrific for me.
My recovery was so hard. I did NOT expect it to be as difficult as it was. I couldn’t really do much for myself. Not only did my incision hurt, I also had gas trapped in my chest for five days after I came home- something that happens when you have a surgery and you don’t walk enough right after.
This experience was hard for me- and I believe that it cause me to slip deeper into postpartum depression. I could not connect with my baby, I felt so miserable everyday. After going through this I KNEW a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) would be my “birth plan” if I ever had another child.
Two and a half years later I started to feel “ready” to have a second baby. But I was so SCARED I would end up having a similar experience. I couldn’t go through that again. I researched doctors that would be VBAC friendly and found a great doctor with a high VBAC success rate. She was supportive of my decision from the start.
As we got closer to my due date I took a birth class so I knew what to expect – this helped me SO MUCH. I had NO IDEA about birthing, and I think that it made me really fearful. But once I educated myself (Chris also took the class with me- and because of it I felt like he could be such a supportive partner during labor) I felt empowered. I knew what I had to do!
My due date was 8/22- and baby arrived almost right on time! She missed her due date birthday by only 1.5 hours!
At 10pm on Friday night (8/21) I started feeling some light cramping. I went to bed and felt one about every hour or so. Around 6am on Saturday morning (now my due date!) I felt what I think was the first TRUE contraction!
Around 3pm I started to feel stronger contractions more often (about 45 mins. apart). I laid down for a little and tried to sleep. It was hard but I am glad I did because little did I know I would be up for almost 2 days!
Around 7:30pm I ate dinner and took a shower. By this time my contractions were around 10-15 mins apart and they were painful. My doctor told me to wait until contraction were 5 mins apart, for 1 min each time before I went to the hospital. This is to build momentum in labor and to help get to a VBAC! So I waited, even though I was in pain.
We got into bed at 8:30ish and now my contractions were starting to become more intense. At 9:30pm I went to the bathroom and I saw some fresh, red blood. I called the doctor because I was worried about a uterine rupture. She told me to head over to L+D to get checked. At this point my contractions were about 6 mins apart!
Chris made it to the hospital in record time. The entire drive my contractions were getting closer together and more intense. I was in so much pain each time we hit a bump in the road.
When I finally got to triage I was 6 CM DILATED!!! I could not BELIEVE I was able to labor at home until 6cm with any medication. I truly think this is what helped me have a successful VABC. I was able to build momentum and get pretty close to 10cm on my own! They admitted me and you bet I asked for an epidural STAT because at this point I was in so much pain.
The epidural was tricky- it took a while to find a spot on my back. I was worried I would have to do this with no drugs at all – eek! But they found it after almost a half hour! I was thankful to have some relief, but honestly from this point until she was born it was only about 2 hours, if that!
I laid on a peanut ball to bring baby’s head down a little more for about an hour. The whole time I felt pressure and I was shaking from head to toe- I couldn’t relax. They shut the lights off and came to check on me every now and then. I think my doctor thought it would take longer for me to go from 6cm to 10cm because I had the epidural now, but after an hour I was a full 10cm!
Originally they were able to switch me to the other side to lay on the peanut ball again to bring baby’s head down even more but I felt INSANE pressure. I knew I needed to push right then and there! Four sets of pushes in 20 mins and SHE WAS OUT! I am so thankful for the quick labor. From the time we went to the hospital to the time she was born it was only about 4 hours!
I wish I was able to relive the entire experience because it was such a rush. It went so quickly I don’t even think I had time to process everything. The first thing I said when they pulled her out was “I DID IT!” – and I am so proud of myself for NOT GIVING UP. This is what I wanted and it was scary, painful and hard but I was able to accomplish this- and I think it truly is my proudest moment as a human and as a mom.
After such a traumatic experience the first time, this birth I feel like has healed me in ways I needed so badly. It gave me the most beautiful moment and I am sad that I could not have this with my first daughter, but so thankful that I had a second chance.
If you are considering a VBAC please hang around! I will be sharing more about my experience, the difference between my section and vaginal birth and also the things I think helped me on my blog!