This is the story of my attempted unassisted vaginal birth after cesarean. You probably shouldn't read it if you are planning your own UC, because my experience is uncommon, and it will only plant seeds of doubt in your mind.
My daughter was born via scheduled c-section after my doctor claimed she was too big to fit through the birth canal. I was crushed because I was so looking forward to having a vaginal birth. She was 9 pounds 5 ounces, but in hindsight I learned that I had a choice, despite how the doctor made it seem. I was determined to have a vaginal birth for my son. Once I learned that medical interventions increases chances of a c-section, I decided to have him at home, unassisted. After spending my pregnancy researching unassisted birth, I was ready. I felt strong, confident, and determined.
I had been having contractions for weeks. They would get very strong and regular for hours and then subside. This would happen over and over again, making it hard to go out. On Tuesday, 6/25/13, I started leaking yellow fluid. After a couple days of this, I went to the hospital to check on my baby. The said I was leaking amniotic fluid, but the baby was fine so I left. On Saturday the 29th, my water broke and was yellow-colored. Labor didn't pick up until Sunday around 8:00. Addie went down for bed, and since my husband Josh started his new job the next day, he went to bed as well. Addie woke up in the worst mood and we called my mother-in-law to come get her. Josh went back to bed and I continued having strong labor in the living room. After Josh left for work, contractions got so strong I had to concentrate and vocalize to get through them. Then suddenly, they seemed to loose their strength. I was concerned because the amniotic fluid had turned dark green so since Josh had our car, my friend Julia took me to the hospital. They told me I was 5cm dilated, but since baby Damon was fine, I went home. When Julia and I got back home, labor magically picked up again. Josh came home from work, and they started filling the birthing tub. The whole thing was pretty fun. Contractions became very strong around 8:00pm Monday night. We thought for sure we would have a baby by midnight. Despite having very intense contractions, I was still having a great time in between them, and the mood was light. Then at maybe 11ish they got so strong, I though for sure I was in transition. I thought at any time I would begin pushing. Contractions suddenly became extremely intense. I would have a bunch of incredibly strong ones and then they would disappear for 10 minutes. Strong contractions. Break. Strong contractions. Break. Exhaustion. I don't know how I knew, but I kept saying that it felt like he was stuck. I did feel the urge to push, and pushed maybe 10 times. After a few hours of this I was completely exhausted. I had never heard of labor being so inconsistent and I was starting to get worried. Counter pressure wasn't helping, walking wasn't helping, and the birthing tub wasn't helping. I needed to be alone, so I went into the bathroom by myself and pushed for another 2 hours. After hours of this excruciating pain, we finally gave in and went to the hospital at 3:30am. The car ride to the hospital was depressing. I resigned myself to the fact that I was probably going to end up with another C-section. The first person to check me said I was 10 cm. I rushed into the bathroom a few times, convinced I had to use the toilet. Only after would I remember that the pressure I was feeling was the baby. The hospital staff were in a frenzy, readying things for the baby's arrival. The contractions continued being just as intense, but the pressure left. Another doctor checked me and told me I was only 8.5cm dilated, but that his head was not coming down. I was told later by a friend that a woman's cervix can dilate and "un-dilate". I don't know if that's true, but it sounds like what had been happening to me for hours. I just wanted it all to be over. I had been in such extreme pain for so long and I was SO exhausted. I got an epidural and I cannot convey the relief I felt. Every couple hours I was checked, and progress was incredibly slow. I was completely dilated with no progress for 2.5 hours. The doctor said he was stuck, and that if I were to push before his head was in the right position, he would become stuck even worse. With no other alternative, I finally gave in to having another c-section. The doctors had to put so much effort into prying my poor baby out. Two people had their forearms digging into my chest so hard that my face turned red and I couldn't breathe. The doctor was straining and using his whole body to get him out. I took quite a while, but they finally got him out. Hearing Damon's first cries were beautiful moments that I will never forget. I watched closely while the did their ridiculous medical assessments. A woman finally brought him to me and I spent the short time I had with him kissing his soft cheeks and telling him how much I love him. Then off he went, while I stayed behind getting put back together. It took about an hour for me to finally get to hold my precious baby. He nursed for 45 minutes and I just stared at him and talked to him.
Since my husband had started a new job and the training was mandatory, he missed Damon's birth. But when he held him for the first time, the love Josh felt for Damon was tangible.
Damon was born at 12:53pm on Tuesday July 2nd after 41 hours of labor. His head was cone-shaped with a big red bruise and his shoulders were very bruised. I regret that Damon had a stressful and painful introduction to this world. While I was disappointed that my UC didn't end ideally, I felt that unlike with Addie's section, this one was medically necessary. I am so proud of myself for getting as far as I did. I feel like I did accomplish something, and I gave it my all.