Lisa L&D RN mama to DS#1 (4-01) DS#2 (9-03) DD (10-05) X2, 10-2011
I had my daughter in october 2007 at a hospital, med free (and by med free I mean pain meds, I did have abx for group-b strep. but no epidural or narcotics or anesthesia of any kind)
what do you want to know?
Christine, mom to C(7.5) - E(5) - J(3) - B(10 mos)
Doula, childbirth educator, Co-leader of ICAN of Atlanta
"Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it." ~Anonymous
I had no rest between contractions whatsoever. It was like running up a mountain at full speed without stopping. Fortunately I must have had an intuition that this would happen, and had done some reading about natural birth, and that's how I found MDC to begin with. I read lots of birth stories, anywhere I cold find them. I had prepared with hypnobirthing in the past, and did so again, though interestingly, while it was helpful in the weeks leading up to active labor in terms of breathing through contractions (and visualizing the cervix opening - I was 3 cm before active labor began), the hypnobirthing was irrelevant by the time active labor set in. That's in contrast to my previous delivery, with an epi, in which I was still able to use the breathing-the-baby-down technique and found it quite effective at that time. In my unmedicated birth, however, I ended up having the fetal ejection reflex - an out of body experience in which aliens took over my body and I just hung on for that freight train ride. Literally, hung on to the side of the bed. At some point the OB commented that the pain would end when the baby was out, so I started trying to push along with the freight train, only I couldn't do the breathing-down technique, but just regular old pushing (I wanted it over LOL).
In a nutshell, my labor tricks were (1) breathing - it was all I could do to get the air in and out, and I fell into a pattern like I might while running very strenuously, and (2) Any leftover mental effort I spent focusing on relaxing the rear end of my body, all the relevant tissues, while it seemed the entire rest of my body was in a giant contraction. Out of nowhere came these church songs from my youth that played over and over in my head. I was biding my time until it was done.
I layed on my side until the very end of the pushing phase, when my OB turned me onto my back to open up the pelvis a little more and then he was out. I couldn't move myself so they had to move me. I couldn't really talk either - when the fetal ejection reflex started, at some point I whispered "I'm pushing" since I thought they'd want to know and they really had no other way of knowing. I might have made a few strange sounds (very unlike me! and kinda embarrassing).
I am expecting a similar labor this time around, if all goes well, i.e., if the baby's in a good position (knock on wood!!!!). My OBs are expecting the same, and they expect that again I'll be completely unmedicated. Maybe it'll be even faster. Fast generally = very, very intense, at least for me. But then it was over. I'm going to be in kind of a hurry to get to the hospital because I really appreciate that monitoring during labor. Plus I have no idea how fast this one will come.
In discussing the whole labor thing with the OB the other day, and my concern about having a too-fast labor, he said, "that's a good problem to have."
Although after that I said I'm "never doing this again" and this is a surprise pregnancy, knowing what to expect makes a huge difference. If I get thrown a curve ball and end up with a long labor I'm going to be so P.O.ed, but you just never know. I try to expect the unexpected and go with the flow.
However, laboring at home was very nice and much easier to get through. I, too, focused on breathing and then when the contractions were one on top of another I did some moaning and swayed my hips back and forth.
I also had the fetal ejection reflex and hung on to the hospital bed rail and yelled (yes, yelled but it felt oh so good and I think it helped me relax as that is what my body felt like doing) and just went with the feeling. It was the most intense feeling in the world, but it was so worth it.
You can have an unmedicated birth - believe in yourself and your strength and your body. Good luck!
I had a heplock, but no IV fluids or medications.
always missing our (11/04, 4/07, 8/07, 5/10)
Read my birth story for details if you wish. This hospital was much more natural than I was expecting. There are hospitals out there that will not only allow VBACs but also encourage them. You need to research though. I had to drive right by another hospital that is known (in the birthing community) for their interventions and has a VBAC ban.
Let's see... got there, had the heplock and trace (and discovered that even though my contractions were regular and strong and "felt" about the same as they had with dd1 when I was 5cm, I was only 3cm... I almost went home but I actually gave birth just a few hours later so I guess it's good I stayed), and then labored with my DH and doula for a few hours. I started asking for pain meds so the nurses threw me into the shower... I kept asking so they tossed me into the birth tub. It was a pretty crunchy hospital and the staff knew I didn't really want meds.
I was in the tub for a while, felt pushy and got out. I pushed for roughly 4 hours and everyone was really encouraging... I was always "in charge", no one counted or told me when to push or when to stop, after things had gone on for a while the OB and nurses started suggesting positions to try. And more alternative things to, like the OB asked everyone to "focus" during contractions to sort of "send" energy my way and there was massage and what not between pushes for a while too.
The very end was a bit unpleasant/dramatic (I was squatting, there was shoulder dystocia, the gaskin maneuver didn't work, mcroberts didn't work, my ob eventually did the "reach in and twist/pull" which is how the tearing happened, dd2 wasn't breathing and needed resus, then there was the pph and the loooooong tear repair) but the birth itself rocked!
I'm planning another vbac in August and have a differen hospital/different care provider and know I probably wont have the same sort of amazing support, but I hope it'll still be a relatively intervention free birth (with a lot less drama!).
It was a wonderful experience. I delivered her at 40w4d and my labor lasted about 10 hours and I pushed for about 5 minutes or so...not long at all. I didn't tear or need an episiotomy...it went perfectly. A midwife delivered my VBAC baby and she was wonderful. It was an all around great experience. It IS possible to have a smooth, calm hospital VBAC..you just have to have a very supportive care provider and be assertive.
Natural birth is an unforgettable experience.
My VBA2C!!! Dante Louis Stone 8 lbs 10 oz
At 36w, I went in for my mw appt, just after my sweet dog died, and I thought for sure, the intense sadness would send me into labor. So she checked my cervix, and I was fully closed, and very tight.
I started to get a little antsy since I definitely didn't want to go past my due date since I grow big babies, and if they felt the baby was too big, they wouldn't want me to keep going (which meant either possibly an induction or another c...) So I started a few capsules of eve primrose oil - nothing regular - just when I remembered to take it.
Then at 38w, I woke up with contrax that were a bit stronger than usual. Nothing long or regular, but I became aware of their strength. So I started to visualize their glory and welcomed the waves to open up my cervix. When I went for my 38w appt that afternoon, my cervix was 2-3 cm dilated and very favorable (soft, stretchy, loose). I was pretty happy that at least something was happening, since in my last 2 pregnancies, nothing happened at all, even after my cerclages were removed.
I drove home around 4:30 that afternoon, and while cooking dinner for the kids, I realized, I'm not very hungry - these contrax are kind of strong... I told DS, jokingly, to pack his stuff, and that we'd be home in time for the superbowl. I made a list of things for me to remember to take during the 'last minute' (camera, battery, towel for the car, my phone, vitamin water...)
Later that night, the contrax became pretty regular, so I thought it might have been a result of my mw appt, and things would peter out if I took a bath or 'slept it off'.
When I took a bath around 8pm in our big tub, my 5.5 yo twin girls were along my side, way past their bedtime, helping me to 'open up the balloon' in side my belly so the baby could come out. They were fascinated, and I was in heaven. Then I tried to sleep around 9pm, and DH came up shortly after... I didn't realize it was already 11 pm, and I hadn't slept a wink, but became aware that the contrax were not slowing down.
The odd part was I was completely fine and coherent between contrax. They definitely got stronger, and then I gave in and said "Oh no, not another nighttime labor.." I dreaded starting labor at the end of a long day like last time...
So I gave in to the fact that 'this is it' and DH asked about contrax timing. I thought they were still really short, and far apart. So he started timing me - they were actually 45-60 seconds long, and 2 min apart. I had him time me for another hour or two - then I realized, my grouchiness was in full force, and this was the real thing. (funny how he though if he repeats himself but louder, then I'll answer during a contraction!) When I started getting dizzy and shakey, and wanting to push on the toilet (and realized my water had broken), then I said - ok, maybe we should go. I couldn't stand the thought of driving to the hospital if I felt any worse. My mom came over an hour later, I crawled into the back seat, and in a mere 32 minutes of speeding through red lights, we were at the hospital. It was 1:35 am.
During the ride to the hospital, instead of breathing through the contrax, and relaxing, as I remembered with the Bradley classes, I lied down in the backseat, groaning, squeezing my butt cheeks, and PUSHING! I just couldn't bear it. I said WTH - if I ruined it, so be it. I couldn't stand it, and I couldn't bear going through another 12 hours of this just to get to 10cm. I said to myself, one way or another, by 9 am, this baby will be born. (I was definitely in transition but didn't realize it... doubting everything! and ready to give up!!!)
They brought me right up to my beautiful room, and examined me. I was complete and at +3!!!!! I was totally shocked!!!! My mw and amazing nurse sat me up on a birthing stool on the bed. I was determined not to let the baby 'slip back up' and end up with another c. They said it was a one way street at this point. I pushed with all my might and I could feel the urge this time!!!!!! . I watched him crown in the mirror. It hurt during the 'ring of fire' as I didn't slow down to let the numbing sensation take effect... I was still too scared that if things stopped, I'd end up with a c! 35 minutes after I arrived in my room, Dante was in my arms and latching on right away!!!!!! I ended up with a 2nd degree tear, but I didn't care as all I could think was NO C - KEEP GOING!!! HARDER!!!
It was beautiful. Quiet. Calm, just DH, MW, and Lisa, our nurse. Dim lights, no IVs (just an internal monitor during labor, which was fine with me - VERY reassuring, gave me confidence to push harder. I could hear the waves of DS's heartbeats ride in sync with my own heartbeat and contraction waves.)
After he was born, they admitted me. I then said, oh yes, would you like my birth preferences? LOL! We all laughed. They did everything I could only hope for.
Dante was born at 2:17 am, 8 lbs 10 oz, 20" long.
So that's my vba2c story.
Thanks for listening! (hope it's not confusing - I'm still a bit tired!)
here are pix:
This went on through the night---I'd doze off, and almost exactly on the hour, I'd have a nice, solid contraction. It was very odd; I'd had other labors that started off with irregular contractions, but nothing with this one-an-hour pace, lol. During the morning hours, I wandered around the garden picking snails (ugh), took the kids for a short walk down the road, and tried to get a nap between those infrequent, yet strong, contractions.
I called my doctor, and even though we'd talked about my coming down to the hospital in early labor so that they could start that CEFM, we decided I'd stay home until contractions were about 5-10 minutes apart. There was no mention of taking any action to kick my labor into gear, which was nice. I was comfortable with letting things play out as they would.
I finally got into our outdoor hot tub at about 3 in the afternoon. Ah, the wonders of hot water! My contractions quickly picked up to every 10 minutes apart, so dh and I decided to head to the hospital. This was my 9th baby (8th vaginal birth), and we knew that when my labor kicked into gear, things usually progressed very quickly.
But wouldn't you know, once I got settled into the hospital (and was found to be 7-8 cm, yay!), my contractions slowed way down again. I got into the hospital's little tub, hoping it could duplicate my hot tub's effect, but it didn't really work. I had a saline lock at this point, but the "continuous" fetal monitoring ended up being a nurse holding the monitor against my belly as I relaxed in the water .
After an hour or two of little action, my doctor asked what I thought about breaking my water. I had had no intention of doing so, but I was getting so tired from so little sleep over the previous day and night that I agreed. It might be just the thing to get me into transition and closer to the birth.
After she broke my water, the baby's heartrate on the EFM started to look a little wonky. My doctor had recently attended a vbac where the woman actually did have a rupture, so she was a little nervous about it, and suggested an internal fetal monitor. Not my first choice, but it seemed like a reasonable thing to do, so I agreed. One nice thing about the internal monitor was that I no longer had any belts on me; just a thin wire from my vagina.
Breaking my water did kick me into transition, but it was the transition that wouldn't end! I think it took me a good hour or two of near-continuous contractions, with awful backaches and shakes and nausea, before I started feeling the urge to push. I had been standing up and swaying all this time, and I had absolutely no desire to lay down, so I stood by the bed and started pushing (I'd birthed another baby standing up, and it felt so right that I'd told my doctor I may well be doing the same with this baby. She was cool with it).
My dh was on one side of me, my 10-yr old daughter was on the bed in front of my, holding a cool cloth to my head, my doctor was kind of crouched down behind me, and two of my girlfriends were rubbing my shoulders and legs. My doula was in there somewhere, and I guess there was a nurse nearby, lol. I reached down and felt my baby's head emerging (that was so cool), and then gave a big push and out he came, into my hands and a nice, warm blanket. Wooooooo!
I needed a couple of stitches from my last big push (I knew at the time that I'd probably tear if I didn't slow down, but I really didn't care, lol), but I was in heaven with my wee boy. I sat down on the bed, he latched on, and I don't think he really came off for about 2 hours. The doctor and nurse took quick peeks at him, checked his temp, but basically left us alone for a long time.
I've had homebirths, and nothing can really compare, but this was a nice, nice birth for being at a hospital.
My first birth was a c-section...an uneccessary and tramatic one for me and DH.
With my son, I decided to VBAC. I had a pretty uncomplicated pregnancy...no problems with blood pressure, but my appointments stressed me out towards the end when the CMN's said my baby was going to be big, and if I didn't go into labor by 40 weeks I would have to have a repeat c-section. One midwife offered induction. I decided I would try it since I was already 1 cm and about 50% effaced. She stripped my membranes and I went in for an induction the following morning (I had effaced some more and lost my mucus plug, but no real contractions. Looking back, I was probably in early labor then, but I didn't wait to find out....) Anyway, she broke my water at 9am. I had irregualr contractions all day and by 5pm we decided to do pitocin. I was willing to do anything to avoid another c-section. It's true though when they say that pitocin contractions are miserable...a lot worse than "natural" contractions from what I hear.
By about 9-10pm I was hurting pretty bad. I started having back labor and we figured out my son was posterior. (Yay!) I'm so blessed to have had a doula there that helped me out, though. She got me in to a postition that helped him turn...not all the way to anterior but sideways...so it wasn't as bad. I hit transition around 4am and was begging for drugs. My husband suggested that I get checked to see if I was in transition...I agreed and found out I was about 7-8 cm. I decided to hold off since I knew this was the worst of it. Around 6am I started feeling pretty pushy but I was only 9cm. My cervix started to swell, but my midwife who was awesome took an iced glove and it applied it to my cervix and brought the swelling down. I pushed a little to get the baby past the lip...piece of cake! It was around 7:00am that I really started pushing. I tried squatting but ended up side-laying. At 8:31am he was born. He was 8lbs. 9oz and 21 1/2 in. That's a pretty big baby for someone who is only 5ft 3/4in.
It was a great experience. I'm so glad that I had a VBAC and am glad I chose not to use pain medication because it really helped with bonding. I wasn't out of it, I got that great "high" they talk about after birth...it was just amazing. I had more faith in myself and in my body giving birth. This time we are hoping for a homebirth. I'm excited! It'll be the first time that I will get to go into labor on my own and I'm sure it will also be a rewarding experience.
My first VBAC I ended up choosing an epidural, but my third baby (second VBAC) I had an unmedicated birth at the hospital. The hospital was different, and more VBAC friendly, which helped a lot. I also went to the hospital much further along in labor (was 8cm when I got there). The longer you wait to go to hospital, the better your chances I think of having a good unmedicated hospital VBAC.
Laurie wahm (virtual paralegal) of 3 wonderful boys (11, 9, 5). 1st by c-section for breech, 2 by VBAC (one miscarriage between child #1 and #2).
For me getting into the rhythm of each contraction and finding a ritual was crucial. I had good luck with "horse lips" which Ina Mae describes in her book. Basically you blow raspberries with the idea being that making such a silly noise will loosen you up. It worked for me and DH did them along with me the whole time. I also had good luck with passionate kisses during transition.
Also, I stayed upright. At the end the Dr. (who didn't have much experience with natural birth) convinced me to lay down and that slowed labor down a lot. While I was upright things were moving, my water broke spontaneously all over the floor and I felt really in control. Once I was on back I felt like I lost a lot of control.
And, this baby was not posterior. Which hurts a lot more since you don't get a break in between contractions. But, I have a friend who just delivered a posterior baby drug free and she said the keys to success for her were staying at home as long as possible and moving around during the birth. The nurses and the OB were really amazed that she was able to have this baby and said afterwards that if she hadn't been able to move around she would have had a section. She had the baby squatting on the floor. Hands and knees didn't work for her.
Anyway, best of luck to you. Learn all you can and advocate for yourself. And, I HIGHLY recommend a good doula. I know my doula would have helped me to stay upright for the birth. But, I had my son early and in a different town so I was stuck with the doc on call.