vbac. i did it!!
I am still in total disbelief that I achieved it, and also that I went into labor 3 days before my due date. I totally thought I would be at least a week late! With my first pregnancy, I was a week late. I labored, then pushed (for 3 hours) before we gave up and I had a c-section. The reason was that her head was left oppcipital transverse, one of the most difficult head positions with which a baby can navigate the birth canal.
For #2, I went into labor at 3 am on Dec 2,2008, but I was worried
it might be false b/c I had been having Braxton-Hicks for weeks. My husband Chris
had been up with our 2-year old, Annelise, the night before (she had had a nightmare or something) so I wanted to wait as long as possible before waking him.
After I realized that the contractions were 5 minutes apart, each was
about a minute long, and all together had lasted about an hour, I
called the midwife on call at Mass General Hospital at 4 am. She thought it was real
labor b/c the contractions woke me up, and I had major diarrhea (gory!
). B/c I was still worried it might be too early to go into the
hospital, she told me to run a bath and immerse myself to see how that
may or may not affect the contractions. I soaked for an hour, and the
contractions stayed consistent.
Annelise woke up from another nightmare at 5 am, and Chris went to
soothe her. He heard me splashing in the tub, and immediately started
running around in a happy excited way and gathered my 1/2-packed
suitcase (I really thought I'd be late so I had planned to finish
packing later in the week) and called his parents to come over and be
with (slumbering) Annelise.
My contractions became slightly stronger as Chris drove us north to
Boston. We arrived at MGH at 6 am. A midwife checked me and said I was
fully effaced, the baby was zero station, and I was 5 cm dilated!!
This was quite a shock b/c while the contractions were strong, they
were bearable. This was totally different from #1, when I was induced
by cervidil and pitocin - when I was 2 cm, I was in agony and asking
for an epidural and the nurses thought I was a total wimp.This time, I
was able to withstand the pain until I was 7 cm before I said to the
nurse (Dorothy) "I'd like an epidural now!" In conclusion, laboring
without being induced was a piece of cake compared to enduring induced
The nice thing about MGH was that they didn't need to catheterize me
when they gave me the epidural like New York Hospital (where Annelise was born) did. So when I pushed, I
didn't feel like I might also push out the catheter or something. And
my epidural wasn't one of those push-button ones that I controlled, so
one less distraction. Also, the midwives/doctors only checked my
cervix about 3 times vs about 10 times at NYH. My OB came in to see
me, which was really nice b/c I requested a midwife to the attend the
birth and she totally didn't have to do that.
The midwife on call, Tina, said the baby was still 0 station, and that
she was posterior instead of anterior. She had me lie on my right side
to encourage the baby to turn around. It sort of worked, but Dana Lu
changed her position several times before being born.
At 12 noon, I was fully dilated. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed
again, and I was disappointed that the baby wasn't out yet (probably
only 10 minutes had passed, ha ha). I couldn't really feel the
contractions at this point. However, the epidural gradually wore off,
and I could definitely feel them by about 1 pm. I could feel myself
getting sore and raw from all of the digital exams, and the exertion.
I kept pushing, but I think a lot of my pushes were ineffective b/c I
kept pushing down instead of up, and the baby wasn't moving down. We
tried every position possible: all fours, straddling the bar,
side-lying, etc. At about 1.30, I became pretty exhausted and
discouraged. This was made worse when the midwife said she was a
little disappointed that she hadn't seen more of the baby by that
point. I was sooo sad to hear this but with the next push I actually
moved the baby a significant amount. Throughout all of this, the
baby's heartbeat remained a strong 140-150 bpm, and Chris was so
helpful and strong, constantly coating my head with ice chips, when to
exhale, and telling me I was doing great. At 2 pm, however, I became
discouraged again and I said to the midwife, nurse, and Chris, "I give
up. I want another c-section" and they all looked so sad and
crestfallen. The nurse had suggested that I look in the mirror about 5
times prior, but I was ambivalent b/c I was so focused on my
discomfort (mostly the pressure). She finally brought it to me so I
could see Dana's head. This motivated me a little bit, but then I also
realized that I was very, very swollen down there from the pushing I
had done, and if I had to ALSO have surgery on top of that pain?? No
way! At this point, I started yelling (I had been trying to be quiet
and a "good" patient before this) at Tina, Dorothy, and Chris, "Tina,
this REALLY HURTS!!!!! I CAN'T DO THIS!!!" for example. Then the "ring
of fire" came on just before 2.30 . . . I could NOT believe how
horrifically painful this was. Wow. All of those movies of women
giving birth and stories I'd heard were so real to me! I thought of my
grandmothers, their mothers, and every mom I knew . . . my epidural
was non-existent at this point. The relief I felt when little Dana Lu
finally slipped out was indescribably wonderful. Holding her in my
arms immediately after was nice of course.
She was 8 lbs, 15.5 oz, 21 inches. The midwife said if she was just 8
oz less and if her head had done the "banana" thing babies' heads
usually do (her head stayed very very round), then I would've only had
to push for an hour at the most. I pushed for 2.5 hours.
I tore to the 3rd degree (4th degree is worst), and all of the nurses
I encountered were very proud of me when I'd tell them I was a VBAC.
I'm healing really well, so I do think this recovery is better than a
c-section. However, if we go for #3, I'm certain that baby will be at
least 10 lbs! So maybe I'll schedule a c-section. I don't know yet.