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#61 of 166 Old 07-14-2006, 01:42 PM
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Kathryn is 3 months old now. I still get a grin on my face when I look into the atrium where she was born. So amazing
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#62 of 166 Old 08-03-2006, 12:28 AM
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Isobel Joy was freebirthed into her daddy's hands after 50+ hours of labour and 30 mins pushing! More info including lovely birth pics here:
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#63 of 166 Old 08-24-2006, 08:32 AM
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Griffin James was born 8-19 at 10:27am..... my VBAC baby was 9lb 3oz!! Words cannot describe the feeling of accomplishment that I have. I get all teary and emotional just thinking about it (post baby hormones are the best...)

Contrax began about 7 on Friday nite and stayed pretty regular. I spent weeks wondering what it would be like to go into labor, and now I understand what everyone said... "you just know when it's time"! About 12:30am my husband and I left for the hospital, got there about 1:30 and they declared that I was 4 cm and 90% effaced. All the nurses were great, they respected my decision not to get an epi and helped me work through the pain. I walked the halls until about 6:30 and then had to get on the monitors because of the baby's heartbeat was going too low after contx. At 9am I was declaired to be at about a 7 but the baby was still high. I requested a low dose of stadol so that I could get some rest to be ready to push. I spaced out until about 10am when I all of a sudden had to go to the bathroom. My husband helped me get there and I sat there for 10 minutes with no success. My OB came in and suggested that he check me again and when he did the baby's head was right there. 5 pushes later and Griffin was born. It was just amazing!

Many of the nurses and 2 doctors made it a point to congratulate me on my VBAC. All the support was wonderful and surprising!

mama to DD (8/03)ribboncesarean.gif, DS (8/06)vbac.gif missing my sunflower baby (m/c 6/09), DS (6/10) vbac.gif, and DS (9/13) vbac.gif
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#64 of 166 Old 08-28-2006, 04:00 PM
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William’s Birth Story – My Glorious VBAC

Let’s start with some background. According to my midwives, my due date was Monday, August 21, 2006. However, I had been charting and knew my date of ovulation, so knew that my real due date was Thursday, August 17, 2006. Knowing that Henry had been born a week early, and knowing the old wives’ tale that second babies come earlier than the first, I assumed I’d be having a baby around August 12. Ha. This little guy had his own sense of timing.

In addition, Henry’s birth had been exactly the opposite of everything I had wanted: full of unnecessary interventions, a very long labor, an epidural, concluding in a very much unwanted cesarean section. In retrospect, given his presentation, at the time the c/s was decided upon I don’t think it was avoidable. However, I think the cascade of interventions, most of which, in my opinion, were not solidly based in evidence-based medical decision-making (i.e., dh and I are lawyers, so protect us medical professionals against litigation at all costs), contributed to Henry’s poor presentation. In other words, had I been allowed range of movement, etc., I think he would’ve positioned himself better during the course of labor, and a c/s might have been avoided. But this is just guessing at this point.

Now to William’s birth.

Around Tuesday-Wednesday August 8-9, I started having cramping and light contractions almost every night for a few hours. Just enough to wake me up but not enough to do much more. This lasted for about a week. On Wednesday, August 16, I had some light contractions in the early morning hours followed by the loss of my mucous plug and some bloody show. I thought it was baby day. Rob stayed home from work in anticipation. But, by mid-morning, contractions petered out, and there was no baby that day. Or the next. Or the next. Despite tons of ongoing blood tinged mucous. In anticipation (or perhaps hope), we had called my mom to come stay with us on Wednesday night so that she’d be here to watch Henry when I went into labor. We decided to let her stay until I had the baby knowing that at the worst, she’d be here for a week and a half before they scheduled me for a repeat cesarean.

On Friday, August 18, 2006, I had a midwife appointment. I actually ended up seeing one of the OBs as the midwife was out catching a baby. I let him check me. One centimeter and 50% effaced. On Saturday, August 19, 2006 I just felt blah. I was having a ton of pubic bone and pelvic pain, felt extremely tired and lethargic, and for the first time all pregnancy (despite the heat of summer), had swollen hands and feet. How interesting.

Around 3am (I didn’t look at the clock) I awoke thinking that maybe I had had some contractions. I lay in bed for another hour, trying to sleep, but keenly aware that I was having decent but infrequent contractions. Around 4am I got up and went to the bathroom and had more mucous and bloody show. The walking brought on some more contractions. I lay back in bed for another hour, trying to rest, but found it impossible to get comfortable. Contractions picked up in frequency, about every 5-6 minutes. Around 5am I woke Rob to tell him but told him to go back to sleep because I didn’t need him yet. I took a warm bath and a shower, and again, the movement increased the intensity of the contractions, enough that I had to breathe through a few. I got out of the shower around 5:45am, told Rob that if he wanted a shower, now would be a good time for one, and proceeded downstairs. Henry and my mom were both still asleep.

Rob came down around 6:15am and decided that he would go get bagel sandwiches (one of Henry’s favorites). I went upstairs and got my mom up to take her shower and tell her of my plan for her and Henry for the day (she’d take him back to her condo where they’d stay until Rob called her to tell her that we were on our way to the hospital). I called my doula, J, to tell her what was up and went back downstairs. Henry woke while Rob was at the bagel shop so I went upstairs to get him. Meanwhile, contractions were getting fairly regular in interval, about every 4-5 minutes, but were still a little scattered with respect to length and intensity.

I kept laboring on my own while Rob and my mom ate breakfast and got Henry ready to go. I ate half a plain bagel and drank some water and Gatorade. Around 7:30am I called J and asked her to come as I needed someone to help me focus since it was still chaotic with everyone here. When J arrived, we called the midwives to give them notice of my impending labor. We found out then that my favorite midwife, A, was on call. I was overjoyed! We talked to her sometime that morning, I don’t know when, and she told us to come when things started to change – as in, when I hit transition.

My mom and Henry left about 8:30am, and starting around 9:00am, my contractions were getting very regular, 3-4 minutes apart and about a minute long. Yeah! I was in active labor. I moved around a lot, went to the bathroom frequently, but found the most comfortable contraction spot to be standing, leaning forward, with my head pressed against the wall. J massaged me. I started to vocalize (never imagined I’d do that!) and that helped me deal greatly. I think we did this for about an hour or so. I then started to sit on the birth ball between contractions as I felt an overwhelming need to sit and rest between contractions. At one point I almost fell off the ball between contractions because I’d fallen asleep, so J suggested that we use Rob as a back support and I could lean back against him between contractions. So I sat on the birth ball, Rob sat behind me on the love seat supported by pillows with a soft pillow against his chest, and J sat in front of me to both support me during a contraction and to keep the ball from rolling away. I labored like this for quite awhile, falling asleep for what felt like an eternity between contractions (I was even dreaming), and standing or leaning forward during the contractions, every 2 minutes. J later told me she was hoping to get me climbing some steps and walking to move things along, but that I was doing so well, she didn’t want to disturb me.

Somewhere, I’m guessing around noon or so, I started to feel alternately shaky and hot/cold as well as nauseated. I threw up a couple of times, and I suggested to Rob that he eat lunch now or forget about it. I was getting concerned about the car ride to the hospital (about 12 minutes) since I was having contractions every 2 minutes apart that were horribly painful to sit through. We called A and she said she’d meet us at the hospital. I changed my clothes (I was in my nightgown still) and had one contraction in the middle of the sidewalk in front of my house. I had 3 or 4 contractions in the car on the way to the hospital, 1-2 before we got into the hospital, and then another 3 or 4 on our way to the L&D room. For once in my life, I didn’t care what anyone thought about how I was acting, I just did what I needed to do to get through a contraction. A was there when we got there, and we got one of the nicer L&D rooms. This was about 1:00pm-1:30pm.

I changed into a gown and reluctantly got in bed for monitoring and insertion of my Heparin lock (to give access to a vein in case of an emergency). The only 2 interventions I had agreed to ahead of time were the continuous fetal monitoring (thank God for telemetry!) and a Heparin lock. I did not like being in bed at all. A made the nurses go find the telemetry monitors and we switched to those so I could get out of bed and move around. Much better. I got a bag of fluids as I was quite dehydrated from all the vomiting. A checked me and I was 100% effaced, 7-8 centimeters dilated, and had a bulging bag of waters. Transition! A offered to break my bag of waters for me, but I declined. Rob kept me focused on the fact that I really wanted as few interventions as possible, barring any complications with baby.

I did a variation on the birth ball/lean against Rob thing for awhile as it was working really well for me. Apparently the nurse, who was unaccostumed to seeing a natural labor, was amazed at how utterly relaxed I was between contractions. As baby started to progress downwards, I could no longer sit even between contractions so I asked to go on all fours. My first contraction on all fours my water broke, which was of great relief as it was causing a ton of pressure. Rob thinks this was around 2:30pm. A checked me soon thereafter and I was 9+ centimeters with a stretchy lip, so she told me to go ahead and start pushing if I felt the urge. I was having a hard time trying to find a comfortable position and couldn’t figure out how or when to push during the contraction and fumbled with this for at least a half hour. They finally suggested we break down the bed so I could squat. I think this was about 3:00pm. when A also declared me complete. (The neat thing about these beds is that the bottom breaks down about 3” and the back of the bed comes completely upright, leaving a small wedge for you to rest your butt on between contractions.) During a contraction I held onto the shoulders of Rob and J, and then dropped back onto the bed to rest. This was a great position for me and I finally figured out how to push really effectively. A checked me at one point and declared, “there’s tons of room in here!” That helped as Henry had been declared “stuck.”

I pushed for about an hour without a ton of progress. Around 4:00pm I figured it out and we saw the head start to crown in the mirror (I was watching when I could open my eyes during a contraction, which was tough because it was almost a reflex to close them). A coached me through gently and supportively getting the head out, so I wouldn’t tear. We got the head out and there was a lot of meconium (this is the baby’s first poop, which usually doesn’t appear until after birth, but will sometimes appear if the baby is distressed (he didn’t show any signs of distress, though) or if pushing is difficult, which it was for a bit). Then the shoulders got a little sticky. A discovered a nuchal cord (cord wrapped around the neck one time) and slipped it off. She then told me I had to get him out in the next push, and I did, and they handed this beautiful baby to me at 4:16pm. We rubbed him, but his color was a little grey and he was very floppy. They called pediatrics immediately, and they took him for deep suctioning as he was very grunty and not crying (he has since figured that out). He was gone for about 45 minutes. Somewhere in there I delivered the placenta and we found a true knot in the cord. The placenta was beautiful and truly amazing to see. I wish I had taken a picture of it and the knotted cord, but Rob had the camera with him and the baby.

A looked me over and I had some skid marks (superficial skin tears) but had not torn at all. Somewhere in the first 45 minutes of recovery I tried to go to the bathroom. I then recovered in the rocking chair and had some cranberry-apple-ginger ale cocktail made for me by J, as well as a cheese stick and banana from Rob’s labor snack stash. I was feeling awesome.

William was brought back to me around 5:00pm, and he nursed immediately. I was so overjoyed after all the troubles Henry and I had getting our nursing relationship established. While at the nursery he had been weighed and measured and came in at 8 lbs. 1 oz. and 21.5” long. This was so surprising to me as Henry was only 6 lbs. 15 oz. and 19.5” long. A thought he was going to be smaller, and they were even commenting on his size while he was crowning.

We went to our room around 5:30pm, and stayed for 2 nights, mostly because William needed observation for his breathing and temperature control (he had trouble staying warm enough). We snuggled skin to skin with lots of blankets throughout our stay and we were home from the hospital before noon on Tuesday, August 22, 2006. He’s nursing like a champ and seems to have far fewer digestive issues than did his big brother.

I am in awe that after the ordeal that was Henry’s birth and immediate post-partum recovery, that I had such an amazing delivery with William. The VBAC was so healing for me, but also incredibly empowering. I had such wonderful support that I never felt the need to ask for pain medication. The only “I can’t do this comment” I made was when I asked after a particularly horrid contraction, why it was I wanted to do this. Rob gently reminded me that it was because it was better for the baby and better for me. And he was right. I feel so good right now (4 days post-partum) that it is hard for me to believe I delivered a baby 4 days ago. I have to keep reminding myself to take it easy. And to have a big, beautiful, healthy baby is the most wonderful reward.
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#65 of 166 Old 08-30-2006, 08:15 PM
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Our son was born September 13, 2004, following a labor induced with cervidil due to escalating pre-eclampsia. Contractions were one minute apart throughout the 17 hour labor. The last 7 hours I stalled at 8cm. We tried rupturing the membranes, but this did not help with cervical dilation. I agreed to a c-section, feeling that the baby was malpositioned and was not budging from zero station.

For this birth, I changed providers (both midwives and hospitals) at 24 weeks, following the suggestions of the local ican group. I needed a birth team which would be on the same page as us and would help us birth Mary gently, via a VBAC with minimal interventions. I also hired a doula (and had a second doula accept to be at our birth as part of her certification). Other things I did differently: walked or did prenatal yoga almost daily during the third trimester; got regular chiro adjustments to help with any pelvic space/flexibility issues I might have; observed the optimal fetal positioning suggestions very closely; took extra calcium, ate more protein and fewer carbs, took juice plus, practiced relaxation, listened to affirmations/imagery CDs frequently, learned more about labor positions that may help with baby malposition I also joined the ican and Atlanta ican lists and learned a lot from these wonderful ladies.

Mary’s due date was August 15, 2006.

At the 37 and 38 week appointments I declined cervical checks. At 39 weeks I agreed to getting a baseline check but made sure there was not going to be any membrane stripping. I was 1cm, thick and soft.
On Monday August 14th (the day before the due date) at 8pm I had the first painful contractions. I had been having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions for many weeks, but this time the peak 10-20 seconds were in fact uncomfortable, with the discomfort low and in the front. From the beginning the contractions came about 6 minutes apart (5-10) and lasted 40-45 seconds. I was happy to have avoided pre-eclampsia this time, and gone into labor on my own!

While nursing Roy to bed (from 10-11 pm) the contractions got stronger and more frequent (about 3-4 minutes apart).
I went for my usual fast walk (11:30pm-midnight), then took a shower and had a snack (cereal and frozen yogurt). The contractions got less frequent, about 10-15 minutes apart.

During the night I was able to get a few short stretches of sleep, dreaming about each contraction as it happened. I slept from 2am to 3:30am, and then nursed Roy from 3:30 to 4:30am (again contractions got pretty painful). After nursing I noticed some bloody show!! I slept again from 5:30-7:45am while contractions continued on, every 6-10 minutes.
I nursed Roy in the morning from 8:15 to 9 am, and then got more bloody show with lots of egg-white cervical mucus. Around 9am we called my in-laws, to come over as they have a 7 hour drive and they were to be our 2 year old son Roy’s support people. Contractions were at this point every 5 minutes and pretty intense at peak.
I emailed my doulas (Guina and Tracey) to let them know I am in early labor.
I posted on my ican message lists to let people know I was in labor, and got some good suggestions and some nice supportive replies. I also wrote my sister and some of my friends. I didn’t tell my Mom as she was nervous about VBAC and laboring at home, and I didn’t want to worry her. She would be my first call once Mary was born.
At some point I put together our “birth wishes” document, printed a few copies and also emailed it to my doulas.
My son went to day care, my husband chose to stay home for the day, and I started my “labor project”, baking some brownies.
I rested between 12 and 1:30pm. The contractions were stronger when lying down.
We had lunch then my husband and I went for a walk. I rested again from 4-5pm, then took a shower. I emailed some friends asking for prayers.

My parents-in-law arrived around 6pm and at 7pm while having dinner I began having significantly more painful contractions, which my father in law timed at about 3-5 minutes apart. I feel that this is when the real labor started. I was no longer able to talk through the contractions. I labored for the next 3 hours while playing with our son, nursing him to sleep and chatting. At 11pm I called my midwife Margaret, to touch base before the night started. I had one contraction while on the phone. She suggested I come in an hour. I told her I think we still had time and that I was going to labor at home for a while longer. She then said ok, 2 hours? I told her probably even later. She suggested we come before traffic if I make it until early morning. She said there had been a lot of births in the past day or so, and now it was quieter. She also said “I don’t think you’ll be here too early”. I told her I wasn’t crazy about being on the monitor and she said not to worry, I’ll only be on it for a 20 minute strip (the hospital policy is continuous monitoring for VBACs).

My husband went to sleep (I was hoping he’ll get some rest in preparation for what may be next) and I continued laboring on my own from 12-4:30am. There was no way I could sleep through the contractions, though I tried. I relaxed lying down a couple of times, though this made for the most intense contractions. I also labored in the bath, sitting, upright, etc. I listened to my hypnobirthing CD while lying down to help me cope with the contractions and relax.
Around 4am I began to feel that I would like some help while laboring, and also given the intensity of the contractions, I felt confident I was in active labor.

So I finished packing the labor and post-partum bags and woke my husband up, then got dressed for hospital labor (a tank top and shorts, socks and the crocs shoes). I had been wearing my lucky labor necklace (not proven, but hoped to be lucky, with three silver circles reading “serenity”, “strength” and “faith”). We called Guina to tell her we’re on our way to the hospital, and left before 5am. I had contractions every 4-6 minutes in the car, but with breathing they were manageable.
We got there and carried the labor bag, ball and body pillow in. There were no forms to sign (I had completed a basic pre-registration online) and we got directed to an L&D room. We got settled and shortly after that my doulas arrived as well.

I got on the monitor, we got a CD in. Later I also had the hep-lock for the IV put in place (it was annoying but not too much trouble in labor) and some blood drawn.

A while later, my midwife Margaret came by (she had 9 births in the prior couple of days so was exhausted and was napping between visits). I agreed to a cervix check hoping for 5+ cm. I was 5cm, 90% effaced, with a low but still pretty bouncy baby. The midwife was happy to see a 5, I was pretty neutral as I could pretty much tell from the strength of the contractions that I was about in there. A lower number would have been disappointing, a higher one is always nice…

My husband took a nap on a sleeper armchair, to have some energy for the more exciting hours to follow.

With the help of my doulas and later my husband’s, I continued laboring, changing positions fairly often among standing, sitting backwards on the toilet (a favorite), ball (seemed too easy, so remembering my last stalled labor I somehow avoided it), standing, squatting, some standing side lunges, lying down on my left, some slow dancing… I also drank Gatorade.

At some point the nurse came for another 15 minute monitor strip (to get some variability, as baby’s heartbeat was pretty constant at around 139 between contractions – I never worried about that, her brother’s had been 136 between contractions during labor too), and as she never returned after 25 minutes or so we took it off to change positions to the toilet.
A little while after that, the nurse comes in with a form, telling me that since I was refusing continuous monitoring (? never said I was, did they read my mind?) I was risking the death of myself and my child and can I sign this form to absolve the hospital of responsibility. I said yes, signed, then asked if this was the ob on call speaking. Turns out the current ob’s round was ending (dr L) and he saw me being off the monitor and felt that he had to cover his back as he passed me on to the next ob (dr S). A few minutes later dr L himself comes in to give me a similar speech about how I have to sign that form so that I cannot sue the hospital. Meanwhile I was laboring on the ball. When he finally left I was somewhat annoyed, but glad that with the form signed now we knew there was going to be no continuous monitoring and it was basically up to me to request monitor strips (which we did about hourly or so). I joked that I would like to sign a similar form to perhaps have eggs brought in for breakfast instead on the green jello I had been offered.

For the next 5 hours I kept laboring. The contractions were getting really strong (we laughed at my “square belly” shape during contractions) but were still about 4-5 minutes apart on average. The energy in the room was warm, optimistic and supportive, I was joking a lot, and overall it was pleasant to be laboring this way and feel this warmth.

The midwife came to check me again around 10:30am (4-5 hours after the first check) and the cervix was a 5-6cm. This was disappointing. The midwife suggested rupturing the membranes, which I was uncomfortable doing so early in labor. I was concerned about possibly locking in a malposition, about it being the start of cascading interventions, about handling waterless contractions as early as 5cm with no pain medication. So I declined.
She felt the baby’s position was good (and I felt her being LOA/LOT too), but I was worried about how would she “land” once the water was gone.

I continued laboring, a lot on the toilet facing backwards, where I seemed to get the stronger and more frequent contractions and where I felt it was easier for my body to relax the pelvic floor muscles. The doulas and my husband were taking turns massaging me and refreshing my drink, while I rocked a little and made moaning sounds. We listened to my “Successful childbirth” CD, and some music. More bloody show apppeared throughout labor. My husband fed me some mac and cheese.
I also took a shower at some point and it felt nice. Every time I would pee I would get a contraction.
The frequency remained around 3-5 minutes apart.

At some point I remember lying down with the monitor on and listening to my hypnobirthing CD, and I was so tired that I began drifting away between contractions. I would wake up with each contraction (very painful when lying down) and slow breathe through it, but I still appeared as napping, so the others let me rest for a while.

The midwife checked me once again and I was 6cm. I refused AROM (artificial rupture of membranes) again, to her growing restlessness. I just didn’t feel ready. She went for lunch and then to the ob practice across the street, and only returned a few hours later. I was almost at 7cm. At this point I had been dealing with really painful contractions for quite sometime and the 1cm per 5 hour average rate of dilation was beginning to drain me, so I agreed to the AROM. I felt more comfortable with this decision at 7cm rather than at 5cm.

I had the membranes ruptured. The water was lightly green stained with a bit of meconium (for some reason I always felt that she had passed a bit of meconium in there, not sure why, she was just so active and reactive to my emotions during the pregnancy).
The midwife recommended I labor in the exaggerated Simms position (on my left side with the right leg flexed at the knee) and she also instructed my husband on the kind of back counter pressure to apply. The contractions got more intense. I am not sure of their frequency, probably 3-4 minutes apart. Breathing very deeply and slowly then exhaling through the relaxed mouth (horse lips) was what helped me cope this time. The doulas continued to enourage me and massage me. Tracey kept taking pictures too.
After 20 or so minutes in this position we went to labor on the toilet for a while.
I got checked again a couple of hours later and was a 7-8cm. The baby’s head was nicely onto the cervix with contractions, but would float right back higher up between contractions, thus not applying constant pressure on the cervix.
The pain of the contractions was getting hard to handle. I was using slow breathing, rocking, moaning, the doulas were constantly lightly touching my back, and encouraging me along. Guina suggested some IV fluids which I wasn’t very receptive to, as I didn’t want to get restricted to the bed, plus I didn’t see why Gatorade would not be enough. She felt it would be a boost in my energy and perhaps help me cope with the long labor. My husband also agreed that fluids may be a good idea. I put it off for a while, then I asked that they check for the midwife’s opinion. She thought the fluids may help, so I reluctantly agreed. I wasn’t really opposed, just didn’t see the point.

With the IV in place, I kept laboring sitting on the bed with the feet on the lowered bottom bed segment in an approximate tailor sitting position, while my bottom was on a v-cut in the bed such that my tailbone was not restricted. This was suggested by Tracey, as an alternative to the toilet, and it worked pretty well. As the contractions were even more intense, I cried at some point and was telling the others that all this hard work has to mean something, it has to have a point, I need to see some progress…

After another while (timeline is blurry) I got checked again and was 8cm. The midwife suggested adding a very low dose of Pitocin (2-4 mU/min) to get the contractions to become more effective. I asked if she was not worried about increasing the risk of uterine rupture, she said not at all at such a dose. (I do think there is a very slight documented increase in UR risk, but I was not too worried about it). Since I had no better suggestion, and at this intensity and exhaustion I was concerned about facing many more hours of labor, I agreed (though was not looking forward to even stronger contractions), in hopes to see more clear progress.
The pitocin was started, as was the monitoring, and a blood pressure cuff was put in place which the nurse said will inflate every 15 minutes for the first hour, then more rarely. The “first hour” words kept resounding in my head – how many more hours were we anticipating this to last? It was about 9:30pm, I had been in the hospital for 16 hours during which, with AROM and all, had progressed less than 3cm. I was still hopeful that this would be a vaginal birth, and I kept having “flash-forwards” in which I could see the slippery body of my daughter freshly birthed onto the bottom of the bed.

I then entered “labor land”. Contractions got so strong that opening my eyes and talking were no longer options if I were to remain sane. I became more silent as the pain got stronger. I remained aware of what went on in the room (thankfully not much except some confusion as to why dr S was around and was he going to come in or not – I couldn’t care less). Most touch felt unbearable and I shoved some hands away (nobody held it against me thankfully). I felt hot, then very cold. In my mind, there were two main sets of coping images going on: 1) this is only pain; it is strong but it won’t kill you. Will you let it end your dream? 2) finding the edges of pain/comfort: really staring the pain in the face: this area (my lower front belly and some side/back area too) is in incredible pain; it must suck to be in there; good thing here, in my chest, nothing hurts; this is where I am, away from that pain.
I was still sitting on the “v” in the bed, shaking the squat bar and moaning pretty softly. I would occasionally lose it, especially in the beginning of a contraction, but then I would return to labor land, often prompted by the doulas’ instructions: “stay with us, Oana; find your rhythm; stay in your place”. They also kept telling me how strong I was.
Their support was essential in helping me keep going. They believed in me, laughed at my jokes (earlier in labor), and reminded me of how hard I worked to achieve this birth.
At this point the contractions were much longer (over a minute for sure) and with little space between them (1 minute maybe?). My husband saw the doulas carrying on a conversation and from the gestures he inferred something along the lines of: “we tried this, that and the other. How about we pray?”
After I felt the blood pressure cuff inflate 3-4 times (so after 45 minutes to an hour) I really felt that I was “pained out”. I simply admitted to myself that I have limits, and that I had reached them. I opened my eyes and began to cry. I told the doulas that I can’t do this any longer. That it is becoming all about the pain and little about the birth, and that if I am to wait the pitocin out to do its job I will need pain relief. My husband came over too and I told him I cannot do this anymore. He asked me what did I mean and I said I needed an epidural. (we had a code word for if I really meant that I needed an epidural, it was “flamingo” – I never said it; when I told my husband what the code word was going to be, early in the morning, I also told him I didn’t see the point of such a word, why can’t I simply mean it when I say it – but then I said we’ll have a word anyway, since I heard about this suggestion in many places. Now I knew why a code word could help: it allows you to try that option on, hear yourself say the words, see how it suits you, at least verbally, allows you to imagine it. I was able to discuss it with my husband and doulas as if I really meant it, without a final commitment to it, and that was helpful).
I felt that if I decide on an epidural at this point, it would be to save the chance for a vaginal birth. I felt pretty certain that I would not regret this decision. My husband was the only one understanding my words at this time, through my tears.
I saw my doulas mouthing the word “transition?” to one another, and I felt somewhat annoyed. I too knew I had shown transition signs, the weeping, the “can’t do it”, the mention of pain relief… But I didn’t want to get my hopes up yet again, plus I was telling myself sometimes people really can’t do it anymore, without being in transition. Sometimes they really mean it!

But first, I needed to be checked again. The midwife arrived and saw me crying. She didn’t know I was talking about the epidural, she just knew I wanted to be checked. The contractions were coming fast and furious and I was beginning to lose my focus anticipating some pain relief. She checks me, and guess what: about the same, 8 – 9 cm. My heart sank for a minute, after which I simply accepted that I may take that epidural and wait for the pitocin to hopefully finish its job. With the hand still inside and pushing on my fundus, the midwife was checking to see where the baby would descend to with the stronger contractions (that hurt even more, and I barely stopped from pushing her hand away).
Well, this is when something unexpected happened. It was about 10:30pm, one hour into the pitocin (and over 27 hours of real labor, following 23 hours of early labor). I was at 8-9 cm with a fully effaced and very soft cervix; those last two centimeters would just not flip out of the way. I felt very transitiony. I was at the end of my rope. My doulas were praying. I forgot to even do that. I was simply going with the flow, hoping to somehow remain afloat, trying to remind myself this all was about that little bouncy baby inside of me. Then, Margaret the midwife says, while still checking me: “why don’t you push a couple of times?” Bewildered, I say “push? What do you mean?” She says, “as if you have a bowel movement” (which really was not my question… I merely meant, what do you mean push at 8?). So I push once. She says: “push again”. I push again and I hear her say with a smile: “that just got you to complete”.

Then she repositions herself on the bed more comfortably. I realize she means business. I am semi-sitting at this time, in the last position I imagined I would be pushing. I felt exhilaration (complete??? Pushing?) mixed with panic (now what? What about pain relief?). She says ok, you can push when you’re ready. With the next contraction I felt the urge to push! Wow! It was not an overpowering huge pushy urge, but rather an uncontrollable reflex where my body simply folded over in a spasm like a closing pocket knife and gave a grunty push, which I helped by pushing with all my might. That brought about the most intense pain I ever felt in my life. I no longer could even feel the contractions as painful, they were drowned by the continuous pain of my lower areas feeling as if they were ripped apart. The only way I could tell I was contracting is by the pushy spasms. I felt the urge to bellow. I made the most otherworldly sounds I ever made, not screechy but not low by any means. Like I was pushing with my vocal cords as well. Relaxation, calm and control no longer entered the picture. My mind had to quickly switch from anticipating pain relief, to realizing I was now pushing a baby out and it hurt even more than transition! That took me by surprise, I admit it. Never having gotten this far with my first birth, I thought pushing would be less painful than the worst contractions. Now it didn’t seem that way. What really was scary was knowing that people often push for hours – I knew I could not handle that at this point. So my mind and body were on a mission: get the baby out! My first two pushes got her to crowning! I am pleased to say pushing was largely undirected. Margaret reminded me where to push and when I would ask “what next?” she would tell me to push when I felt like, which I did. I used the “urge” of each contraction for a push, then fit 1-2 more pushes per contraction. There was no counting. Margaret did shout at me to stop a couple of times as I was tearing from the speed with which my tissues were stretched by the descending baby. I actually asked Guina if that was the best position. She said yes. Truthfully, while this allowed best access for Margaret, side lying may have been a better compromise between getting access and minimizing tearing. But all this felt minor to me then. Margaret suggested resting between contractions, but there was no real pain relief, as the head was putting lots of pressure on both my pubic bone and my tail bone (and all the skin and muscle covering them), so I didn’t feel like a break. I kept saying that the baby needs to get out, in between the crazed vocal releases. I took a glimpse of my husband’ s face. He looked pale and sunken inside himself. I realized I was probably scaring him terribly with my vocalizing, but could not help it at that point. Margaret suggested I touch the baby’s crowning head, which I did. I expected it to feel unexpectedly mushy, which it did. Felt like marmalade! After a brief “how cool” thought, my main thought was “that only feels coin-sized, it needs to get head-sized and out, how will all this happen??” Margaret said that she could have cut me and we would have had that baby by now. She knew I didn’t want to be cut though, so she tried to help minimize my tearing instead.
I pushed for maybe 3-4 more contractions while feeling like there surely will be no more private parts remaining of me after all this, but it did not matter any more. Then I felt the head being birthed!! Blessed, immediate relief! I didn’t even think to push again, but Margaret reminded me after a brief break that I still had to push the shoulders out. Which I did, in two more pushes, while Margaret appeared to dislodge her a bit with a slightly worried look. Tracey told me afterwards that she had a hand by a shoulder so that’s why it took a bit of extra work. Then, the rest of the body slipped out and there she was, covered with vernix and a little blood, on the bed, my baby! Just like I had imagined!

17 minutes after being at 8-9cm and considering an epidural, I had pushed Mary out of me! I am still working on wrapping my mind around this. Such a long labor, followed by such a fast and intense pushing stage!
The overwhelming feeling was not triumph. It was relief. A big, whole-body sigh of relief. It’s over. We’re through. She’s here. Her life is beginning. Give me that baby!
Margaret placed her on my chest, where I tried to nurse her but she was not immediately interested. Tracey took pictures of the whole birth, crowning and all – I am very excited to have these to document the most intense time of my life!
After a while my husband cut the cord, and after more snuggling she got wrapped in a blanket and brought back almost immediately for me to nurse. This time she took on!
I gave a minor push and the placenta also came out. Later I asked to see it and the midwife gave us a nice "presentation" of it. The cord insertion point was on the edge of the placenta (marginal or Battledore), which is rare but usually benign, like in our case. Looked great, what an amazing organ!!

Afterwards I got stitches on my 2nd degree tears. This took a while. Tracey fed me some more mac and cheese. I called my Mom while being stitched. She didn’t even know I was in labor (plus I woke her up) so she started crying. We were so very happy. Baby was in my arms this whole time.

Mary Anca was born at 10:47pm on August 16th. A couple of hours after birth she was weighed at 7lbs 8oz (3400g) and 19.5 in (50cm), with a head circumference of almost 14 in (35.5 cm). Her Apgars were 9 and 9.
Her birth was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I would not change a thing. I am so thankful for all my husband, midwife and doulas did to help me achieve a vaginal birth with no pain medication.
Our daughter is a very peaceful, alert child, who rarely cries (just to let us know it’s time to nurse, or that she’s uncomfortable in some way). She immediately calms down as soon as we pick her up or as soon as her need is met. She is really a miracle and we feel so blessed to be the parents of two amazing children!

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#66 of 166 Old 09-15-2006, 12:05 AM
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My VBAC success:

I had seen my midwife on Aug. 2 & I had her check me & I was barely a cm dilated & she said it didn’t look to her like I would be going into labor anytime in the next 48 hrs which was pretty discouraging since my scheduled c/s for that Monday was looming over me. The best advice she could give me was that I go home & spend some “quality time” with DH. So I went home & did just that even though DH did not think it would make a difference. That night there was a bad thunderstorm & at around 1am our power kept going on & off & we kept blowing fuses & so DH & I were up trying to make sure everything was ok. Finally at 2:30 the power came back & stayed. Just as I was falling asleep, at around 3am I was feeling some strange sensations & I thought I was feeling myself dilate & I went to the bathroom & there was some bloody show. I knew labor could still be a while away, but I was pretty excited that something was going on. About 10 min later contractions started coming about 5-7 min apart. They would continue for the next 40 hours!!! I woke DH & told him I was in labor, but that he should go back to sleep because I thought it would be a while. They continued that way throughout the morning. Even though I was so excited that things were finally happening, I tried to get back to sleep since I knew I would need my strength for later, but I would wake up with each contraction so I got up & did some light cleaning trying to get everything in order before the baby arrived. I let DH sleep because I knew I would need him to be up with me later. At 7am I called my doula to let her know I was in labor, but I didn’t feel like I needed her to come over yet & would call her back when I needed her. I called my mother & asked her if her boss would mind if she didn’t show up for work because I was in labor & needed her to watch the kids. She came & got the kids & I called up my best friend who is pregnant with her first baby & due in November & told her I was in labor. She wanted to be a part of the labor so she could have an idea of what to expect when her turn came around. We decided to go for a walk & try & get the contractions closer together. I left a note for DH who was still sleeping & we went walking. After about 10 min it started raining so we decided to go walk around the mall. The contractions continued coming every 5 min, but were getting a little stronger & I didn’t want to tire myself out too much too soon so at 12:30 we headed back home & I had some lunch & sat on my birth ball. It seemed to be the only place where the contractions were bearable. My friend went home & at around 3pm the anesthesiologist from the hospital called to talk about my c/s scheduled for that Monday. I told her I wouldn’t be needing her since I was in labor, but she thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit about the c/s just in case it was necessary. So I tuned her out while she talked & then she wished me luck, but she said that from what she knew of my medical history, she didn’t think I was going to have a successful VBAC. I knew she didn’t know much so her comment didn’t bother me, but I was determined to prove her wrong. DH & I decided to go for another walk since the contractions were not getting any closer. We walked over to the library & DH got some cookbooks so he would be able to cook for me after the baby! By the time we got home it was 6pm, we had dinner & then I called me doula to let her know what was going on. I knew I was very tense & having a hard time relaxing & thought that if she came over & we started doing some relaxation techniques then maybe it would help get things going. By the time she came over at 8pm, I was already so exhausted because I hadn’t slept the night before & was dealing with the contractions all day. She had some great relaxation techniques & she managed to put me to sleep & even though I was aware of the contractions & the pain, I was able to breathe through them, in my sleep! By 11pm the contractions were 2 min apart & DH was getting a bit nervous & wanted to go to the hospital, but I didn’t think I was ready yet so we compromised & I called the midwives just to let them know where I was at & they told me to stay home until I felt like it was time to come in. That made DH feel a little better about staying home. By 12:30 am, Aug 4, the contractions were coming right on top of each other with hardly any breaks & lasting for about 1 min. each. After an hr of the non stop contractions & feeling lots of pressure, I decided it was time to head to the hospital. My doula thought it was a good idea also so we went. It was only a 5 min car ride so it wasn’t so bad. Of course once we got to the hospital, my fear of all the interventions that could take place took over & the contractions slowed down considerably. Right away they had me in the bed & were hooking up the monitors & talking about IV’s & drawing blood. All the things I didn’t want. My doula kept reminding me that I could tell them no, but I didn’t feel like putting up the fight over the monitoring. I decided to let them get their monitoring in & take it off later. I did take a stand on the IV though & even though they gave me a hard time, I refused even the heplock & DH did a VERY good job of backing me up. I was so proud of him for sticking by me & my arms were left needle free. I did let the midwife check me & while I was fully effaced, I was a bit disappointed to hear that I was only 4cm & the baby’s head was still very high. Once they got me in my room, I was moving around a lot, trying to get comfortable. We took the monitors off for a while & none of the nurses even noticed. They got me a birth ball since that was where I felt most comfortable & I spent a lot of time on that working on my breathing while my DH & my doula massaged me. About 2 hrs after we got there, around 3:30 am, my water broke in a huge gush. That was really exciting. We all got a big laugh for a while because the water kept gushing out & there was a mini flood on the floor that the nurses were having a hard time cleaning up. The contractions were coming on stronger & stronger & while I was dilating & making progress & baby’s head was moving down, it was going very slowly. I am lucky that the midwives gave me the time I needed & did not put me on the clock. We knew the baby’s head was not in an optimal position. My dilation stalled out at 7cm. I remained at 7 cm throughout the morning. I found out later that the baby’s head presentation was asynclitic. During the time I was in the hospital, 4 other women had come in after me & had their babies! I was getting discouraged & I was beyond exhausted. The pain was so unbearable. After being at 7cm for over 8 hrs & not making any progress, the midwives talked over a few options with us. Option 1 was to go for the c/s which was absolutely out of the question. I knew that I was not dealing well with the contractions anymore & was having a very hard time relaxing & was sure that if I could just relax things could progress.. After 35 hrs of unmedicated labor of which I am so proud that I was able to get through & so thankful to my DH & doula because they were so amazing & such wonderful support, I was exhausted. I should also mention that while I was drinking, I wasn’t able to eat much. I was throwing up throughout my entire labor, even through the pushing stage! It was a hard decision to make, but I decided to get an epidural to try & relax a little. I had epidurals with my other labors & never had a problem with progressing to 10 cm so I was sure it would do the trick, but I was worried that the intervention would affect my pushing which is where I had problems in my previous labors. The anesthesiologist (not the same one I spoke with earlier) was really wonderful though & assured me that they would turn the epidural down for the pushing & it should be ok. Well, luck was on my side, sort of. After the epidural was in place, they had me on a pump so I could self medicate if I started to feel any pain. Well, after a half hr of wonderful, much needed sleep, the pump broke! They couldn’t get another one so I was left with whatever was in my system & that would be it. No more pain relief. They were worried that my contractions were not strong enough at this point to help further dilation & the baby’s head was still way up high so they then gave us the option of using a little pitocin. The midwives themselves were not even sure that it was a good idea & needed to ask the attending OB for permission. I knew the risks involved, but I didn’t want to have the c/s so I agreed to the light dosage of pitocin. Two hrs after I got the epidural, I was at 10 cm, the baby had come down somewhat, but not completely & so we decided to push & see what would happen. I had regained complete feeling by this time & was able to move around. I was a little worried about what to expect with the pushing since I had never done it without an epidural & was scared of the pain. I wasn’t doing any very effective pushing at first since the pain was so bad so the midwives thought it would take a while & let me push on my own while they got things ready. My DH & doula backed off at this point too. I had gotten my focus & didn’t really want anyone near me. I just kept thinking “I have to get this baby out of me!” I was pushing on my hands & knees on the bed & the while the pain was so bad & I felt like I was tearing up inside, I just went with my feelings & it was so amazing when his head finally came out. It was worth all the pain just to have that first feeling of relief. At the point when his head came out, the midwives were not watching & it took them by surprise when I said, “was that the head?” I stopped pushing for a moment & the midwives told me that I could continue pushing on my hands & knees, but if they saw that the shoulders were going to get stuck, like my previous baby, they were going to have me move. Of course, just as they anticipated, his shoulders got stuck & they quickly had me flip over, brought my legs all the way up & he popped right out. He was stuck for only 30 sec, much less that the 5 min that my daughter was stuck & they handled it so well with no tugging & pulling. I just needed to change positions & he did the rest. He was born on Friday Aug. 4 at 7:02pm just 40 min before our Sabbath was due to start. Although I felt as though everything was tearing inside me, I only needed 2 stitches! After he was born, I was in such amazement that I had actually done it. That this little wonder had actually come out of me. I was crying, DH was crying & of course it was exciting to see that we actually had our very first boy. He was so beautiful even from the very first moment. The one thing I regret was that my husband had to leave 15 min after I had the baby so he could get home in time for the Sabbath. He did not even have a chance to hold his first son until he came back the next day. We were able to start nursing right away which is something I did not do with my other kids so that was really special. I spent that first night alone with my son which was a little hard since I was exhausted & he was in the room with me. Amazingly enough he slept through the night, a whole 6 hrs. I guess he was tired too. Throughout my labor, never once did I think about UR & I think that is what one of the reasons I was able to VBAC. I just approached this birth as I did every other labor, not thinking about the complications that could arise. My husband was so supportive the whole time & I really feel like we did this together! As painful as it was not to have medication, I would do it all over again because it really brought us so close. I definitely feel a special bond with my new baby boy. My VBAC was without a doubt the most powerful experience of my life. I can’t until the day when I can share with my son the wonderful journey of his birth.
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#67 of 166 Old 09-23-2006, 02:07 AM
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At 39 weeks I had a 36 hour labor in the hospital with my first child, pushed for 3 hours, and ended up having a cesarean for a malpositioned baby.
With my second my husband (his first) and I planned a homebirth. At 37 weeks, I went up to Seattle (3 hours from where I live, in Portland) with my friend for her baby shower. We were planning on using our softub for labor, and my husband really wanted to bring it in, clean it, and set it up while I was gone for the day, but I talked him out of it--saying I didn't want it sitting in the living room for possibly 5 weeks, if I went overdue, and we could set it up the next weekend when I would be 38 weeks.
The next day was Superbowl, so we hung out with my parents all day, and then Monday was supposed to start my last week of work. I reallly wanted to do a belly cast THAT night, even though I knew I needed sleep to be able to get up for work the next morning, so we went home after the game and did it as quickly as possible and went right to bed. That night I woke up like usual at 2 am to go pee, and was having my usual regular tightening contractions that I had been having for the last 5 weeks. I ate some string cheese, and got back in bed but couldn't sleep (as usual). Rich woke up and asked how I was doing, if I was having contractions, and if he could set up the tub. I said no way--there would probably be many more nights like this before I actually went into labor, and these were just like the contractions I had been having every day. At 3:00 I turned over onto all fours, like into child's pose, having kind of a crampy contraction, and felt my water broke. I told Rich to call the midwife right away, and go ahead and set up the tub. He rushed around, getting it into the house, as I sat on my birth ball lighting candles and moaning loudly through contractions. It was really wonderful, and not painful at all like the pitocin contractions I had during labor with DD. After about 20 minutes, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, so I went in and sat on the toilet. Immediately my contractions changed energy and direction, and I was uncontrollably bearing down. I just let it take over, and it felt so good. I yelled at Rich to call the midwife and tell her I was "feeling pushy." I didn't want him to say I was pushing, because I thought for sure I was just having a premature urge to push, and I wouldn't be fully dilated for a long time still. The midwife arrived at 3:30, checked me while I was on the toilet, and said "Let's get you off the toilet." I thought she probably couldn't feel the baby in that position, but then she said, "you don't want to have this baby on the toilet." I couldn't believe it....I asked her, "what are you talking about?!" She said, "all I feel is your baby's head!"
Suddenly I became very whiney, and said "I want to be in the tuuuuuuub!!!" DH very calmly and sweetly said, "you have to let go of that right now. The baby is coming, we are here together, and this is going to be just as beautiful."
Pushing was very hard for me, especially after I started to feel him moving down--because that is the point that I got stuck with my daughter. As soon as I felt him moving, I had fear that I hadn't felt during my labor up to that point...this was all new! I had known that I would have a moment where I would say "I can't do this!", so I had decided ahead of time to replace "I can't" with "I can." While pushing, I said "I CAN'T" once, and had to force myself (it was really difficult) to change that to "I CAN!", but once I said it, I just kept saying it and it really helped me so much. After an hour of pushing our son was born in our bed at 4:22 am.
It was really difficult for me to let go of wanting to have labored (and hopefully given birth) in the water. We ended up filling up the tub in the living room and using it in there for the next several months, and every day I looked at it and kicked myself for not having wanted it set up in there for 3 weeks!!! I am pregnant again now, our son is 7 1/2 months and I'm 3 1/2 months along, and the first thing we said was, "Let's get the birth tub set up right away!!! " I guess I get a second chance....
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#68 of 166 Old 10-25-2006, 12:57 AM
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A link to our HBAC story is in my sig line.
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#69 of 166 Old 11-09-2006, 02:04 PM
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Silas was born by c/s after 37 hours of labor -- labor which started with my water breaking. 20 hours into labor, I was at 7 cm, and despite starting pitocin at that point and continuing it up to the max, I was still at a 7 14 hours later. I got no pain relief except a shot of Nubain a couple of times during the worst of it.

During labor, my mom tripped over the monitor cords and broke her nose and sprained her wrist (and still came back from the ER to stay with us over night during labor!). Our doula left 1/2 into labor because she had glocoma surgery the next day. It was a crazy, crazy labor. Silas sustained a pneumothorax at birth and was in the NICU for a week.

So, I had hoped for a short, uneventful VBAC this time. My "official" due date was October 6th. I had figured my due date to be October 11th (based on my long cycles).

Birth story:
On Wednesday evening, October 11th, while reading getting Silas ready for bedtime, I started feeling real contractions. They were coming every 7-10 minutes (I think!). They started to get a little stronger such that I was saying to myself “just ride the wave to shore to get a break.” During the very early morning, I decided to fill the Jacuzzi tub. Contractions started coming a little faster, but once I got out, they totally pittered out to maybe every 12 minutes. From about 6:30 to 8:30, they got to a very consistent 10 minutes apart, so we decided to call our doula, Barb. By the time Barb got to our home, contractions had totally spaced out.

I pretty much went about business, but spent a good deal of time walking, sitting on the birth ball, and doing some acupressure. Anyway, around 3 pm, I had Barb check me (she is also a midwife), and I was at 3 cm – not bad considering that on Wednesday morning I was just a fingertip dilated at the doctor’s office. I did another “dip” in the Jacuzzi and contractions would come very close in the water. I ended up staying in the tub for awhile – even eating dinner in there.

Friday morning, after an intense night, I had Barb check again – still just 3 cm. OMG, I was crushed. I felt like my body was failing again. Lew reminded me that my body worked just fine given that I produced a beautiful boy and was about to produce another baby. It was a great reminder that we are not our births and that no matter how this baby was brought into the world, my body wasn’t broken. Around 10 am on Friday, after letting Barb catch a little nap, we went to the evaluation unit in L&D. I wanted to be checked out before admitting myself. They hooked me to the monitor, and then the nurse checked me. I was at 4 cm! I was so excited to have just that 1 cm gain. The contractions were coming 4-5 minutes apart. The OB resident came in ½ hour later and asked to do another check. I was already at 5 cm! Halfway there, and we all decided that I should just stay at the hospital and be admitted. Although I wanted to avoid the hospital until 7 cm, after staying at home for so long, I didn’t want to go home without a babe in arms.

We thought for sure we would have a Friday, the 13th baby !!

We spent our time in the hospital like we had at home – lots of walking, acupressure, etc. I just had to be in the room every 30 minutes to do a quick 1-2 minute monitoring. My OB came in late in the afternoon just to check in. He was going on vacation so Friday was his last day. Told me that although he would like to see me progress a cm every couple of hours or so, as long as baby was ok, we would wait and see.

My parents brought Silas by in the evening, and we walked the halls with him. Our first nurse, Jodi, was ending her shift. She began a birth prediction with most times coming in between 11:30 that evening and 5:30 the next morning. The evening was more of the same. Around 8, I got checked and was still at a 5. It was discouraging. I was getting very tired, especially since I didn’t sleep well Wed. and Thurs. nights. My nurse now was Carolyn, who was recommended by another VBAC mom. Around 10, I asked for something that would let me sleep. Ambien is my new favorite drug!!

Saturday morning came and all of our predictions were wrong. Again, it was discouraging because I felt Silas’ labor happening over again.. We now had Nurse Bonnie and a lovely Australian OB, Dr. McLennan. I was still at 5 cm in the morning, and she suggested that we should start pitocin. I held her off for a while. I wanted to get some more good walking in and such. I got into the shower (on the birthball), and it was great to get a shower in after a pretty restful night. I felt refreshed and ready to get this baby birthed!!

Noon came, and I was still at 5 cm – 24 hours stuck in the same state. We decided to go forward with the pitocin. With the pitocin came the continuous fetal monitoring and obviously a full I.V. line. I hated all the cords and tubes, but at least we could disconnect to use the bathroom, and I had enough length to move around a little.

Increasing the pitocin happened faster than I thought. It seemed that every 30 minutes they upped it – started at 1 ml per hour and went up to 7 ml/hour within 2 hours. Contractions at 7 ml/hour were VERY difficult. I was practically breaking Lew’s hand. It was hard to control my breathing and concentration. I was focusing really hard on doing what I should, but the pit really does make contractions very unnatural. We requested that the pit be reduced to 6, and they did so because my contractions were becoming closer together and more intense as they planned.

Then Lew did something that made the VBAC possible – he got mad at me. We had talked before I was even in labor about what we would do if I had to go the pitocin route. We both agreed that it just wasn’t realistic to use natural pain management when dealing with such unnatural contractions. I told Lew that I was totally willing to get an epidural if we had to use higher doses of pitocin because, heck, a c-section means an epidural too. Well, my very stubborn, obstinate self needed some reminding at that moment in the labor. I had noticed that Lew’s support had been waning during the last several contractions. I remember looking up at him standing by the monitors and asking him, “Are you ok?” He said (with some tears welling up), “NO! You need to get the epidural. You cannot deal with the pitocin, and if you are not going to get something for the pain, you might as well sign up for the c-section now.” He was right, and I needed that tough love at the moment. For a guy who has never demanded or begged that I do anything, it must have been tough for him.

So we called in Bonnie and asked for the anesthesiologist. Todd, the nurse anesthetist, came in, and we discussed the options. First, I wanted just enough to deal with the pain so that it would wear off faster during the pushing stage. I didn’t realize that I would still feel the need to push even with it. So we went with a ½ dose to start out, and Todd would give us “boosters” if we needed. It was a great compromise. Then we got the pitocin shut off just so I could sit up calm enough to get the epidural in place. No way, no how I could have gotten the epidural with those intense contractions.

Epidural went in well – didn’t feel much of it going in. Then they put me flat on my back, and the room changed. I felt incredibly woozy and all the voices in the room sounded really loud, and my ears were ringing. I said, “I feel really, really weird,” and the room got chaotic. My blood pressure had crashed, a common side-effect of an epidural. It got down to 62/30!! They got me a little elevated and put something in my I.V., and I was as good as new. I think it was scarier for Lew and the medical staff than it was for me. For me, it felt like I had just done some heavy duty college partying!! 

The great part about the epidural? The required catheter! Really, getting up to go to the bathroom every 30 -45 minutes was getting to be a pain. Bonnie was totally laughing that I wanted the catheter, especially after eschewing all other interventions!

My mom and Silas can by. Silas was disappointed to not being about to walk the halls with me. My mom was happy that I finally gave in to getting drugs! I don’t remember too much more about the visit except that I was happy to see my boy (and happy that my mother stayed far away from any cords!).

So, with the pitocin increased, I was barely feeling any contractions. I got a little booster at one point when they had increased the pitocin to like 9 or 10. Best of all, my cervix started working again. We all cheered when we got to a 6, then a couple hours later, 7. 7 was the magic number though, as that is where I stalled with Silas.

It was Saturday evening, and I had been in labor for almost 3 days!

Dr. McLennan came in at some point and mentioned doing an interuterine catheter monitor so that my contractions could be measured with better accuracy. This may have been a little earlier in the evening – I cannot remember. She said it required rupturing my bag of waters. I wasn’t really keen on that part because I wanted that protection for the baby, but also knew that it might help the baby come down a bit as she was still high. I had this monitor the last time, so I knew what to expect. And, honestly, I had so many wires and tubes in me at that point, it was like, “why not one more?!?”

She didn’t even have to break my bags. She went in the check me, and it burst at just the touch of her fingers apparently. And, just as the u/s tech noticed a month earlier, I had LOTS of fluid in there. No wonder Gemma had lots of room to wiggle around even during labor.

After a while I started feeling lots of pressure and the need to push. It was almost impossible not to want to push. Our new nurse, Angie, said not to push because I didn’t want to blow out my cervix, but Gemma was still at a +2 station, that she still was a ways away from my cervix at that point. I begged to be check at some point, and I was at 8 cm! It was great to get beyond where I was with Silas, and I started to feel that I was finally going to finish this!

At one point, the pressure and need to push was too great. Another doctor came in and checked me. He said (and I remember it exactly), “you know what? I don’t feel a cervix.” I could have kissed him. It was such a relief to get to that point. He cautioned that baby was still at +1, so that I should conserve my energy until she was down lower and not push too hard now.

I then started to feel some pain along with the pressure. My good friend, Todd, came in with another booster. This one sent me into a bout of intense shaking. My teeth were chattering and body shaking. It was very annoying to deal with that and doing a little pushing during contractions. Even with the shaking though, I was able to rest up a little for the major pushing.

Dr. McLennan came in around 12:30, and said, “so when are you going to get this show on the road. We should start pushing this baby out.” I gave myself another 15 minutes of rest before doing the major pushing. We started with the typical reclined, legs back position. GOD, it felt so good to really push. At that point, it is impossible to not push when the contractions came.

Then, the brilliant nurse Angie said we should try some tug-of-war pushing. This is the greatest thing in the world, I tell you. They tied a knot in both ends of a bed sheet. I held onto one end, and Angie held onto the other. Lew and Barb held my legs back, and I pulled the sheet with all my might at the same time as I was pushing. The more I pulled, the more I pushed. It was awesome.

After doing some of that, Barb suggested getting out the squat bar to give my legs some rest. I basically sat on the edge of the birth bed and held onto the squat bar and pushed. That was fine, but not great on the tailbone area. Lew tied the sheet to the squat bar, and I did a little hybrid pushing. LOL!

Baby was making good, but slow progress. I was getting so hot and sweaty. All I could think of at one point was getting a shower and putting on deodorant! I felt so gross.
The hard part was waiting to push until near the peak of the contractions. As soon as I started to feel the need, I wanted to push, but they had to have me do some deep breathes before bearing down. They could really tell good pushes because the interuterine monitor would come out a little. Lew said it was funny how they could read more of the writing on the catheter tube.

At one point, Angie said she could feel hair, and I thought that meant the head was close, but apparently she was still high (maybe -1?). I thought she would never come down, and I started to get discouraged. During the times when Angie had to step out, Lew got down at the end of the bed and coached me. He certainly was not a “stay by my head” sort of labor partner like we both thought he would be. Of course, now he says that he has seen enough birth for a lifetime, and that he will never thinks of “that area” the same again. LOL!

Finally, Angie said she could SEE Gemma’s hair. Lew and Barb confirmed this. I asked for a mirror, and they found a big one for me, but I couldn’t see anything – it all looked the same down there! BUT, it was great to know that she was almost there. At this point, I think there was still a good 45 minutes left of pushing, so I wasn’t quite there.

Angie deserves a huge medal because the whole time she was massaging and stretching the perineum. She was awesome in that regard, and I remember thanking her for that. Soon, even I could see Gemma’s hair. I remember not feeling happy as much as “about f*$%#*g time” about this development. I was just whipped.

More and more of the head emerged, and finally Angie called in the doctors. UMMMMMM, I think she could have called earlier. Gemma’s head is halfway out, and the doctors come running in telling me not to push because they had to get their gloves on. WHAT? Telling a woman not to push at that point in labor is just plain cruel, especially when I could see her head as plain as day in the mirror. Panting just doesn’t cut it. Lew almost said that he would catch the baby if they couldn’t hurry it up. Finally, they were ready, and I gave a huge ass push, and her head was out. Dr. Meyer, the resident who admitted me that first day, was the one who caught Gemma. ACK! I did it! Every single feeling of exhaustion was wiped away, and I was giddy and euphoric. It was like being a little tipsy in that “I love you, man” sort of way.

It was wild to hear, “It is a girl!” The last month I had felt more and more that she would be a she, but it was great to not know for sure until the birth. We had reminded everyone that we wanted to wait to cut the cord, but Gemma wasn’t immediately crying, so they just put her on my chest and suctioned her more. It was great to hear her cry. Then they started doing more stuff to me, but I was pretty oblivious to what because I was just so focused on Gemma.

She was taken to the warmer, and Lew went over there with her. She needed some more suctioning, but was doing great. Her apgars were 9 and 8, I believe. They finally cleaned her off enough to weigh her. Officially, the scale said 9 pounds, 15.4 ounces. She didn’t look as big as Silas was though. Lew looked at me to see what we should name her. Although I was greatly favoring Gemma, I did think that Louisa would be more fitting especially since Lew and his daughter now share a birthday, but Gemma seems like more of a spitfire name, and given how wild she was in utero and her troublesome birth, Gemma seemed more fitting. Funny how now, I can think of no other name appropriate for her. That whole list of 16 names, and she seems like nothing other than a Gemma.

I then started to get a bit concerned for me. I asked if I was ok, and I was told they had to do some repairs. I asked if I tore and was told that my perineum was just fine! Woohoo! BUT, the birth canal got a little beat up. They had to stitch up my vaginal wall in several places. It took 3 doctors. I asked to see the placenta. Man, no wonder she was so big. The placenta that nourished her was friggin huge. It is amazing how everything fit in me!

After they were finished with me, I got to hold Gemma and nurse her for the first time. She latched right on and was a first-time nursing champ just like her brother. I just remember thinking how awesome it was to actually hold her and nurse her within her first hour. Silas was 2 days old before I could even hold him. This is how it was supposed to be, and despite the length and difficulty, this birth was worth everything. Gemma is no more special than Silas because she is my vaginal birth, but the experience of giving birth, of being an active participant in her coming into this world, is very healing.
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#70 of 166 Old 11-30-2006, 10:21 PM
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here is our story. christian is almost 5 months old now. man does time fly!
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#71 of 166 Old 11-30-2006, 11:45 PM
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My first son was born my a casarean section. I had planned a home birth but my water broke four weeks early and I was in NY. My husband and I tried to drive the three hours back to Vermont but never made it. We stopped a random hospital because I felt the need to push. My son was breech and the hospital didn't deliver breech babies. My planned home birth turned out to be the exact opposite but I did have a beautiful healthy baby.

My second baby is my VBAC baby. My water broke exactly four weeks early and we immediately left for the hospital. I was pretty nervous and was expecting to have to fight for my rights but this was not the case. The nurses and doctors were wonderful. My water broke at 6:00 and my son was born at 12:43. I was only at the hosital for a little over five hours. I labored in the birthing center at the hospital with my husband, friend, and a wonderful nurse. My blood pressure was high but I got it down by laying on my left side. I did have an IV because I was GBS positive but it didn't bother me at all. I labored, naked on a birthing ball and on the bed. My son entered this world as I sat surrounded by love and laughter on a birthing stool. I laughed as I pushed him out and was able to hold him close right after.

It was the most amazing experience ever. I can't wait to do it again. I didn't have any drugs and stayed with every contraction, breathing, and honoring them. I knew they were helping my baby get closer to being born. I truly loved every second of being in labor and birthing.

I hope more woman decide to choose VBAC. Happy birthing to all of you.

working mama to 3 beautiful children and married to my wonderful husband
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#72 of 166 Old 12-21-2006, 11:09 AM
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Here's mine! As a background, I had a c/s with dd in Oct 2004 after 3 days awake in prodromal labor, lots of pitocin, an epi and 3-4 hr. pushing! In the 1st tri of ds's pregnancy I had bleeding that has never been explained. During one of the u/s at 10 weeks we got a preliminary, "99%" sure dx of anecephaly because they u/s tech couldn't see any cranial or brain growth, and we scheduled a f/u u/s for a week later. After a long week of mourning and planning to release our child if dx was confirmed, we got great news on the u/s and baby looked absolutely perfect

So here's Z's birth story:
Thursday 4pm -- 40 weeks on the nose. Went to see the midwife, Patrick, and get checked out. We decided I'd come back on Saturday at 9am to see if I could have my membranes stripped.

Friday 1:22 am -- My water broke! I was so surprised. I blanked on what to do, so I called our midwife, around 1:45am and he said to just hang out and touch base in the morning.

Around 2 am my contractions started and they were a bit to strong to sleep through. I got up, changed the sheets and started some laundry. The contractions were getting to be a bit consistent, although they were tolerable for sure. They'd go from 3-7 minutes apart, and then beginning around 5, I had a stretch where they were 3 minutes apart. We decided that we'd drop Imogen off at daycare as soon as it opened at 630am and then go right to the midwife to get checked out.

7am -- Drove to the midwife. I had 4 contractions on the way (it's about a 3 mile drive) and DANG are streets in Pittsburgh BUMPY. I was 3 cm! He said we could hang out there, go home and labor at home, or head to the hospital. We decided to go on home and check in 3 hours later, at 10:30 if not sooner.

We got home and I took a shower, and did some last minute things. Sayf was great this whole time, and he was a great support for me at home, keeping me with lots of water, tea, and fruit. The baby was still posterior so I tried to be on my hands and knees as much as I could but that really was hard on me. I ended up standing because otherwise it was just too much pressure on my back to sit down -- and sitting down also stalled out the contractions for about 30 minutes so I didn't want to do that again!

Of course, we forgot that we had an appointment with the Comcast guy to find out why our internet is GLACIALLY SLOW, and he showed up around 10am... poor guy!

By 10:30 I was having really regular, strong contractions that were really fast, like 2 minutes apart. We went to Patrick and this time I had 4 contractions on the way from the CAR to his office! Patrick gave me some chocolate, making him my favorite person in the world at that moment. I was 4 cm, and he said it wouldn't be unreasonable to go to the hospital and that he'd call in so they'd directly admit me. I said I would lean towards the hospital so I wouldn't have to make another car trip -- seriously... the roads are rough!

So we got to the hospital around 12 and I guess we were in the room around 12:30 or so. Patrick got there shortly thereafter and I got hooked up to the monitors, which my former ob/gyn said would keep me confined to bed -- I was able to walk all around the room! My legs were getting tired so we tried the birthing ball... but I'm too clumsy! I found the most comfort when I was in bed, with the head of the bed inclined and sort of draped over that. Sayf and Patrick massaged my back and I could tell Patrick was sort of guiding the baby down.

Maybe around 1 I felt like I had to go #2 so I asked Patrick to check me and I was 6-7 cm with the baby's head low. He offered me an enema (no thanks – I hadn’t even considered that and so I just went with my gut and passed on that option!!!) and then told me to try to go but not to try TOO hard! I said, don't worry. The last thing I want to do is push out a baby in the toilet... I'm from Central PA but there's a reason I moved... I'm not that white trash! Anyway. Nothing doing!

Finally around 2pm I said I felt a LOT of pressure in my bottom. I was at 10 cm! Patrick suggested I just hang out and see if my body told me to push -- amazingly I started pushing without really meaning to the next contraction!

I pushed for about an hour to get him pretty far down, and then between 3 and 3:45 they worked on stretching the exit out! This was actually, honestly, the only time it occurred to me to even jokingly ask for the epidural. Me, who last time around got the epidural at like 2 cm. Then I really got down to business! I felt his head come on out and looked up and saw the ugliest, most beautiful thing I've ever seen -- this little face all the way out with his head looking just perfect! And, yes, I saw the face... so the little stinker was sunny side up. No wonder I labored standing the whole time!

We met Ziwar at 4:20pm (and I even made a stoner joke when I looked at the time. My sense of humor gets really inappropriate in intense circumstances!).

I was SO thankful to see him. I was so happy when they put him on my chest -- it was just like I had hoped! I was so thankful to Sayf and Patrick and for the whole gaggle of personnel that materialized to cheer me on.

Ziwar weighed in at 7 lb 8 oz and was 21 inches long. He latched on right away and has been nursing really well since. He lost a little bit of weight and he was down to 6 lb 15 oz when they discharged us... not too bad. His poops are starting to change so I think my milk might come in OK soon.

I have to say, I feel like kind of a bad-ass Sayf can't talk about how proud he is of me without getting choked up and all the nurses came to meet the natural, posterior, midwife attended VBAC!

We got home today... I can't believe that 48 hours ago, I was pushing. Other than a very particular area, I feel like a million bucks! It makes a really big difference not to have the meds and of course, the major abdominal surgery! As I'm sure is clear -- I am SO happy with our decision to try for a VBAC. We were so lucky to have a practitioner who we trusted and was so competent -- he really knows his shit. And even if I'd ended up with a c-section I'd have been really glad that we tried!
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#73 of 166 Old 12-21-2006, 07:21 PM
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I have two children, my first child, Abi, was born by c-section. She wouldn't turn and her leg was stuck in my pelvis area. I really really wanted a vaginal birth but it was either risk an emergency operation and be asleep, or pick a date and be awake for her arrival. We had her at Good Samaritan in Los Angeles, CA and after they literally tugged her out they placed her between my legs, and rolled us to our recovery room, she hasn't left my side yet.

Then Came our second child, Marcus. I had a very good doctor who was totally willing to go for a v-bac. Dr. Mark Dwight the best doctor ever!!! Anyway, Marcus decided to come 2 weeks early and I pushed that baby out! My husband and I were so excited, and I did it without any pain meds.

So now I have a boy and a girl and I've have one each way, I'm done...
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#74 of 166 Old 12-30-2006, 05:37 AM
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I am a little late in posting this, but I guess better late than never!

I will try to keep this short!! But it is not likely!! I was due on Aug. 31, but I upped my dosage of EPO Friday night, Aug. 25th...and then...

3am--I woke up with pretty strong contractions. Made DH time them

4am--Decided we probably should head down the mountain. Called a friend of ours and THANK GOD she answered her cell and agreed to take dd.

Load car, drive to Reno, drop off dd, drive the hour down the mountain to thehospital.

6am--check in to hospital. Nurses want to know why I am there. Um, I am in labor? They tell me the rooms aren't clean, and I have to go sit in the waiting room.

6.30am--finally get into a room. Am dialated 4-5 cm

7.30am--My contrax change to like I had with dd. At the peak of each contrax it is like my stomach muscles completely take over and push the baby against my cervix. We're talking MASSIVE pain here bc if you aren't fully dialated, a baby's head banging against your cervix is NOT a good thing. Ugh. I tell dh that I can't do this again bc I know how it went the last time. I don't want an epidural, but I cannot even breathe when my stomach spasms like this.

DH hits the nurse call button, and when she answers he says in this super polite voice "My wife would like to discuss her pain medication options" Leave it to my hubbie to be so polite at a time like this.

Doc and nurse come in. I am at 8cm and they say if I don't want an epidural, they can give me one dose of Stadol. The doc warns me that it will not take away the pain, it will just take the edge off. Fine with me, I just need to be able to breathe.

8.00am--They check me again and I am 10 cm and it is time to push. Considering I never made it past 5cm last time, this is pretty exciting--and very new territory for me.

I push for one hour (that's what they tell me). The nurse decides that my most effective pushing is to push WHILE HOLDING MY BREATH. Yikes. His head will not budge and the pain and pressure is absolutely undescribable. I cannot tell the difference when he moves a little and doesn't move at all. It all feels the same to me.

9am--they bring my doc in. I push for him a few times, and the baby's head is still not budging. He said it looks like this may be a repeat C-section, but he knows how badly I want a VBAC. That he does not normally recommend vacuum extraction for his VBAC patients, but he thinks we might have a shot at it. If I am willing, he is going to give me ONE contrax worth of pushing (that, for me, means three pushes at a ten-count each) to get the baby out. If it doesn't work in this one contraction, it isn't going to and we will have to go to the ER. I agree to give it a go. I did not come this far to give up now.

The vacuum thingy looks like one of those plastic things in a push-up popsicle. OMG it hurt when he put it on his head. We wait for the contraction. It comes. I push. I swear, it was like the world's craziest sporting event in there. The doc is yelling, the nurse is yelling at me not scream, dh is hopping up and down telling me I can do it, I am yelling back at them. This is NOTHING like the calm quiet of my c-section.

I get through my three pushes. And I totally think I did not do it. I don't feel any differently, just pressure and pain and in that moment I try to accept the fact that they are going to wheel me in for a c-section.

And then I hear them telling me his head is out. I honestly do not believe it for a heartbeat or two. But I hear the doctor saying he is suctioning his mouth, and dh is just repeating over and over that I had done it. I am still in disbelief.

And now they tell me I have to push the shoulders out. For those of you who know dd, she has a teeny head. So his shoulders are wedged in there. I don't know how long it took to get his shoulders out, but we finally did. I remember yelling at the doctor to just get him out already. Turns out that my son's head and chest have the EXACT same measurements--13.5 cm. So, it wasn't like his head made way for the rest of his body. It was the same measurement all the way down.

Dominic was born at 9.33am DH got to cut the cord. They put him on my chest right away. It was amazing.

My birth experiences with the two kids were so different from each other, I just can't compare. I am still processingg the whole VBAC experience. Would I do it again w/o an epidural? That weekend I would have said HELL no. But mommy amnesia is already starting to kick in.

So, in summary--3 hours of labor in the hospital, a successful VBAC and a beautiful baby boy to show for it. What more could a girl ask for?

VBAC mamma of two little Vikings
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#75 of 166 Old 01-02-2007, 08:19 PM
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We decided to get induced on December 27, when I was 41.5 weeks. I’d been having irregular contractions off and on, but nothing “serious.” My DH and I had been using EPO, raspberry tea, nipple stimulation and sex to try to get labor started, but nothing was working. For this labor, it was going to be just me and my husband though, because my doula was having surgery that same morning and wouldn’t be able to attend our birth. This made a bit nervous, especially considering my DH had worked a 24 hour paramedic shift the day before and hadn’t gotten much sleep.

We got to the hospital around 7:45 a.m. and got all checked in. Denise (the nurse that DH had "reserved" - he works with her husband who is the pilot for the air medical flights) got me all setup for the initial monitor strip while we waited for my OB, Jan. Denise found the heartbeat high up on my abdomen, so she brought in the u/s to make sure the baby was head down. Baby was head down, but my fluid level looked low. Jan showed up around 8:15 I think and checked me...still at a 1, maybe 1.5, 50% effaced like my last check up, but my cervix was definitely anterior, which was a change (I had been about midway last checkup). She said she had just enough room to try to break my water, which she would much rather do because it would be safer than the prostaglandin. I agreed, even though I know breaking my water puts me on a clock, because I knew I wasn't about to come back the next day for another induction attempt and I also wanted to avoid the prostaglandin gel. Besides, my cervix was all ready mush, so the only thing that was going to make any changes was either the pressure of the baby’s head or some contractions.

So Jan broke my water and there wasn't hardly any fluid and the baby didn't drop. So unfortunately, this meant I had to stay in bed because they were worried about cord prolapse. I was having a few contractions, but they were pretty mild. I tried nipple stimulation for a while, but they still weren't strong enough to bring the baby down. I really wanted to get out of bed, but the baby was so high they couldn't even give her a station.

Around 9:30 they came in to do my saline lock. Oh, this was a fun experience. DH had all ready told them I had bad veins as well as I wasn’t good with needles. So they had lidocaine all ready to numb me before trying to insert the IV. Well, unfortunately, my veins didn’t cooperate. Supposedly they had to avoid putting the IV in my hand because it might blow during the pushing stage. So they kept looking in my wrists, my arms. Every time they thought they had a vein, it was either too small, it blew, or it rolled away. The nurse tried a few times, then let my DH try (he’s quite good with IV’s). He was a bit uncomfortable just because it was me, but I told him I trusted him. He tried without the lidocaine because he thought it was making my veins disappear. His stick I barely felt, but he didn’t have any luck either. He said my veins were just too small. They looked big enough until they actually tried to stick them. So they called in anesthesia. The first nurse anesthetist tried a few times and couldn’t get one either, not even in my hand. So they had to call in a second nurse anesthetist. She went for one in my hand and got it on the first try. It was over so fast we barely knew what happened. This whole process took an hour!!!

I asked about eating anything, and Denise said no because I was a VBAC. Grr....I thought they had said I could eat when I had asked during the tour, plus Jan hadn't objected to that part of my birth plan. If I had known that, I would have tried to eat some breakfast before going to the hospital. I hadn’t because I get nauseous if I try to eat that early. So, my DH kept sneaking me granola bars, crackers, and Gatorade because I really needed something to keep my energy up. We all know how much BS there is behind their reasoning for keeping us NPO in labor!!!

Just before noon, my OB wanted to start Pitocin to strengthen the contractions and try to bring the baby down. We agreed even though this bummed me, because I knew it meant not being able to use the whirlpool due to the continuous EFM. But I did ask about possibly backing off the Pit later on to see if I would keep contracting on my own, and they said it was possible. So they started me on the nice low dose of 4 ml and it didn't take long before the contractions got stronger. They never got into true "Pit" contractions either...they stayed nice and smooth just like regular contractions (the nice curve pattern on the paper, not the spike then decrease like I am used to seeing with a Pit contraction). The Pit just made the contractions stronger, which surprised us. I have always had such bad experiences with Pit, but then again, I don't think my body was as ready for labor the first two times as it was this time around. I figure this time all I needed was a tiny nudge. Normally when I have been on Pit, the contraction peaks right away and then decreases. Again, I think this was due to my OB letting me wait so long before the induction. I never got this much wiggle room with the midwives with my first two. 41 weeks was their cutoff.

The really bad part about not being able to get out of bed was having to use the bedpan instead of getting up to the bathroom. I have always had sympathy for my residents that had to use a bedpan (I used to work as a nurse aide), but never so much as I did that morning!!! Man it is hard to pee lying down. At one point, I couldn't pee at all and my DH and I decided they should cath me. DH wanted a Foley, but I didn't unless I got an epidural. He knew that part of the problem in my previous labors had been my bladder getting too full and getting in the way of the baby's decent. I didn't want to have to drag a Foley around as well as my IV, so they did just a straight cath. Thankfully they only had to do it once!!!

Finally they checked me again around 2 and said the baby had dropped to like -1 and I was 80% effaced and dilated to a 3, maybe 3.5. This meant I could get out of bed!! (cheers all around!!!) So they brought in the birthing ball for me to sit on for a while because I was complaining about my back (not from the contractions, but from the darned hospital bed), not to mention a numb butt! Oh that felt so much better on my back....I also tried the rocking chair. DH stretched out on the bed for a while to see how uncomfortable it was. He only lasted about 20 mins before saying he had to sit somewhere else. By 4 or so, the Pit was around 12 I think (still a pretty low dose for me, both times before they had put me on well over 100), but the contractions were getting harder. I laid back down on the bed just to try to get some rest because I hadn't slept that much the night before and knew I would need my energy later.

Around 5 I started nearing that level that I knew the contractions were getting to be a bit more than I could handle. I was still managing them, but knew if they got any stronger, I wouldn't be able to relax as well. So I sent DH out to ask for some Nubain to take the edge off so I could keep my focus. Denise was on the phone with Jan just telling her "she hasn't had anything for pain yet...wait, change that (she looked up and saw DH), she is asking for Nubain now." I got the Nubain and it didn't do anything, or at least it felt that way. So I got up to use the bathroom and to see if the change in position would help. While in the bathroom, DH and I discussed getting an epidural. He basically figured I should get it soon if I wanted it because he figured things were gonna go fast at this point (he knows me all too well and could see I was nearing or starting transition, which of course I didn’t realize). Once I did decide to get it, he did make sure to ask if I was sure and I said I was. I told him I was right at the point where I wasn't going to be able to mentally relax anymore because the contractions were just getting too strong and I didn't want to get to a point where I "lost it" and then have to deal with getting the epidural when I wasn't in control.

So we called for the epidural and the anesthesiologist got there just before 6. My OB Jan had arrived shortly before and I think I was at a 4 or 4.5, 100% effaced when she checked me. It didn't take them very long to get the epidural started and I couldn't have timed it any better. The last two contractions I had before the spinal (he gave me both a spinal and an epidural) kicked in were enough to make me cry out and squeeze the heck out of DH, and I have a high pain tolerance. We got me all settled in bed and I was amazed...the epidural took the pain away, but was light enough that I could feel the pressure of the contractions and still move my legs. It was the first time they had gotten an epidural “right” in my opinion. Jan said she was going to run home quick to change and grab a bite to eat. DH thought she should stick around, but she said she wouldn't be gone long.

It was funny when they went to put the Foley in, cause for some reason the epidural left me enough sensation to be ticklish as all get out. It was all I could do to keep from laughing as they put the betadine on and what not. It was strange because I am normally not that ticklish.

Unfortunately, this is where the one "bump in the road" happened. Soon after they got the Foley in and I was settled in bed, the epidural caused my blood pressure to drop too low (I think DH said it was like 80 over 42) which in turn caused the baby's heart rate to drop down to the 60s and 70s. They tried turning me on different sides, no real effect. So they paged Jan and the anesthesiologist, and tried scalp stimulation. That brought her heart rate up, but only when they were scratching her head. Jan and the anesthesiologist showed up fairly quickly (I think he was probably still on the elevator) and gave me an IV medication and a bolus of IV fluid to raise my blood pressure. It worked, and baby's heart rate came back up. It was a scare, but everyone stayed quite calm, which helped me stay calm. It was nice, everyone was telling me most of what was going on, especially DH, cause he knew if I didn't know what was happening I would panic. At the hospital I had my first two, they never would tell you what was happening.

Once everything was settled down, Jan checked me again and said I was at an 8! My jaw hit the floor. I had gone from a 5 to an 8 in less than an hour. I was expecting her to say maybe a 6. DH wasn't as surprised, he knew I was in transition and things were moving fast. This made me so happy and helped reinforce the belief that I was going to actually get my VBAC.

Just before 7, Jan checked again and said I was complete with just a lip left. Again I couldn't believe it. She said I could push if I wanted to or wait a little bit. I said I would like to try, since I could feel the contractions. They didn't hurt, all I felt was a lot of pressure right in my pelvis. It took a while to get the hang of pushing, probably because of the epidural. After a while, we decided to wrap a sheet around the squatting bar for me to use as a tug of war type thing. This worked well, but I still felt like my pushes weren't doing any good. Jan said the baby was sunny side up and that was why it was taking longer. Finally I got into a good rhythm and baby decided to flip around the right way. Next thing I knew Jan said "she's almost crowning, let me get geared up". She got her gown on and soon I was pushing her head out. They did have to suction her because there was some meconium (we hadn't been able to tell for sure if there was going to be or not because there wasn't much fluid). After that it was pretty quick, a little pop with her shoulders and wham, there was a baby girl. They got her all suctioned and set her on my tummy. I was so thrilled because I had done it! DH cut the cord of course and then they took her over to the warmer to finish cleaning her up and it was so weird, having all that stuff done in the same room. Again, the previous hospital had always whisked the baby off to the nursery and DH had always followed the baby, leaving me alone with my caregiver.

After I pushed out the placenta, they showed it to us (DH found it fascinating because he hadn't been able to see the first two because he was in the nursery with the baby). Jan said I hadn't torn at all and didn't need any stitches (again, hooray!!!). Finally they weighed her and said she was 8 lbs, 8 oz, which was only a few ounces short of Jason, my first vaginal. I was off by only 1 ounce, I had said she would be 8 lbs 7 oz. So I had a 8.5 lb VBAC with no tears!!!

Soon DH and I were alone with our little girl, which again, was an amazing experience. We had to wait for hours before to have time alone with the first two. I got her to latch on fairly quickly, but she didn't nurse for too long. But she acted like she was a pro, she took to nursing no prob. Soon we got settled into our family room and DH left to get our other kids so they could meet their new sister. First thing my oldest (who is almost 4) said when he saw the baby was "That's mine!" We all had a good laugh about that.

So overall, it was an awesome, wonderful experience. I didn't get to use the whirlpool tub, but I got the birth I wanted. It wasn't perfect, but I wasn't asking for perfect. I did end up having the epidural, but it was very light and helped me stay in control during a fast part of my labor.

DH and I thanked Jan profusely when she came to see us the next day. I think she was actually surprised with how grateful we were. I think she felt she didn't really do anything that special, but we both think she did. We never imagined being able to find an OB that would be so flexible and laid back with our pregnancy and labor. DH was also wonderful. I was worried when I knew he hadn't gotten much sleep at work the night before, but he was awesome. He held me, comforted me, and was totally on my side, making sure I got what I really wanted. The fact that he realized I was in transition blows my mind. He really did his homework this time around and it totally paid off. It was a great experience.
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#76 of 166 Old 01-08-2007, 06:05 PM
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4 years after an emergency c-section, I did a successful VBAC 18 days ago! 8 hour labour, no medical interventions, no drugs, just breathing was the birth I always wanted!! So happy! Recovery time was one day, then I was up & about.
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#77 of 166 Old 01-09-2007, 06:06 PM
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We arrived at the hospital at a little after 6am for our scheduled ECV and induction. Shortly after we checked in my midwife arrived and confirmed with the u/s that she was already head down and no ECV would be needed- YAY! After reviewing my birth plan he was “very concerned” LOL because of asking for things that normally you just “don’t do” during a VBAC attempt like limiting monitoring, but for the most part it was followed and anything that wasn’t he let me know well ahead of time.

They started the pitocin around 8am and kept cranking it up every 15 min or so until they got to the max that would be acceptable for a VBAC attempt- had to keep cranking because nothing was really happening at all. We sat around shooting the breeze and walking the halls, changing positions, etc. all morning. The contractions were all in my back but not strong at all. The first time I was checked was around noon and I was barely a fingertip dilated but the mw managed to strip my membranes at that point, head not engaged yet.

By 3:30 I was 50% effaced and -2 station, still no dilation. Had to get on oxygen because the baby’s heart rate dropped with each contraction- uh oh, possible cord issue.

I needed to have internal monitoring at that time because of her heart rate dropping after contractions, so at 3:50 they broke my water and I went right to 3cm. FUNNY PART- when they broke my water I had a normal big gush. Then the next THREE contractions it SPRAYED out. Like a stream that flowed straight out to about mid-thigh! The nurse and midwife both said they’d NEVER seen it spray out like that and when I laughed it would gush more. They also agreed that that was some of the most water they had ever seen before as well, so our conclusion is she had a ton of water the reason she was floating around in there as well as she was!

Got in the whirlpool, changing positions, lots of back massages for my all back labor. I felt basically nothing in front except tightening, but my back killed. I never made any noises at all during the contractions though so people would be talking to me and get impatient when I didn’t answer them right away LOL

7:45 I asked to be checked again, feeling nauseated. I was at 5cm and 90% effaced, still -2 station. I asked for some Phergren for the nausea and Stadol for the pain. They gave it to me and the combo KNOCKED me out. I was aware of my surroundings, but could not open my eyes or talk at all. I could nod slightly, but otherwise couldn’t even communicate!

Still in lots of pain at 9:00pm I asked for an epidural, I was at 5cm still 90% effaced at 9:15 so I just knew it would be a while… So got the epidural, it sent a shock down my left leg so she took it out and did another one which only numbed my backside and left, nothing on my right at all. Contractions were still very noticeable so she gave me a little injection of something to the epidural to make it kick in more.

I kept asking (at least three times) if it would last long enough and she said hopefully, at least a couple hours. Well, my blood pressure then suddenly dropped with the epi and had to get oxygen again. Lots of racing around, I just knew I was headed for the OR. Before that though the MW decided to check me one more time.

He lifted my legs to the froggy position and “Ok, get the nurses in here, the head is already part way out!” UH?! What???? It was 9:55- I had gone from 5cm and -2 station to 10 cm and +3 in about 40 minutes!! Couldn’t feel a dang thing to push, so after two contractions they rotated the bed and lifted my legs for me to be in squatting position and her head just fell out LOL- then one push and her body was out too. The cord did come out with her head, so we were VERY lucky it was not prolapsed, it was definitely a close call. No stitches either!

Birth was at 10:21 pm and she looks great. Because DH’s grandmother had passed the morning before we asked the check out early so he could go to the service and they let us out after lunch the next day. Under 17 hours after birth we were home and its wonderful. I feel terrific and her big brother is very protective and interested in everything she does.

Thanks for reading!

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#78 of 166 Old 01-12-2007, 01:59 PM
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In 1997 I had a c-section. I vowed to not have that done unless it was a real emergency. In 2005 I became pregnant. Everything went really well. I went over my due date and was not feeling the best. I went to the chiropractor, the accupunturist to get my labor going. I went into early labor on a Friday. On Saturday I was dehydrated and couldn't keep liquids down. I was hospitalized, they gave me liquids and said I ought to have a c-section. We walked out against medical advice...I felt better. Sunday I had early labor that wasn't going anywhere, it was all in my back. Monday same thing. I just sat there (I know you are suppossed to get moving but it was hard for me to do that). Tuesday in the morning it just seemed like it was time. We went to the birthing center and I was only a 1.5 dialated. She gave me some exercises to do . I sat in the shower and then my water broke. It had meconiuum in it. I was transfered to the hospital and met my attending doctor. When I got there I was a 3. 45 minutes later I was a 7. 15 minutes after that I was pushing my baby out. Even though it was not my ideal birthing experience, it went great and I was so happy I didn't have a c-section. My baby started nursing shortly after she was cleaned up....Be a little flexible but stick to your guns.

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#79 of 166 Old 01-17-2007, 12:05 AM
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This isn't my story, but I got permission from the mama to share it.

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#80 of 166 Old 01-18-2007, 10:04 AM
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I had been having contractions for days, same with my son. I go in they say go walk for a bit while we change over for the next shift. So walk, walk, walk, I come back, they check me I'm an 8!! I'm excited. They admit me. Few hours later, still an 8, .....still an 8..... all too similar to ds labor. So I get the pit and epi less than an hour later out she comes!!! The epi worked well for me, just enough to deal with evil pit contractions, but I felt the pressure to push, I could push, and she came right out. No tears, I felt AWESOME!! I was able to BF right away, I was able to walk around. It was amazing. Not the natural birth I wanted with my first, but far from the c-section after pushing and everything I had with ds.
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#81 of 166 Old 01-20-2007, 07:53 PM
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January 16 was just a normal day. After the intense contractions of the day before (on the car ride up and back to MA), I had hoped that /something/ might happen overnight.. Nothing.. nadda.. not even a twinge.

I was feeling a bit annoyed.. Not that I was ready to be not pregnant or feeling ‘done’. Quite the contrary. I have never felt better in a pregnancy than this time around. I didn’t feel ‘big’ or cumbersome. Aside from the need to pee all night long, I had no real pregnancy complaints. In fact, I was happy to still be pregnant for one reason.. it meant that I hadn’t ‘tried and failed’ yet. For this specter was still in the back of my mind.. and while I felt very confident that all would work out as I wished.. there was a small part of me that doudted my body.. So, if I was still pregnant.. the dream was still ‘alive and kicking’ so to speak..

On the other hand.. and this was a bit of an anxiety issue.. was the baby’s size. My hopes for an early baby, and thus one that might be smaller than 9lbs.. and increase my chances of success, seemed to be slipping away each day. And at 38 weeks 4 days, I was wondering if I /would/ be pregnant until 40 plus weeks.. The herbs, epo and DH didn’t seem to be triggering anything…

I got up early.. Melissa was coming for tea and I wanted to make her favorite coffee cake.. and I was craving some carbs and sugar myself.. Spent a busy early morning getting DS ready and off to school. DH was leaving later in the day for a meeting and headed out around 10 am. Melissa came over and we enjoyed a nice chat. She mentioned she had to work that night and to reach her via cell phone if I needed her. I assured her that nothing.. NOTHING was happening and it wasn’t going to happen that night..

My friend Sarah called.. and I really can’t recall what we chatted about. Later she would say I was the strangest she had evern heard me be on the phone.. totally on another planet.. although I felt like I was normal.. She wasn’t the first to mention this after the fact, so I guess I was not really all in the present.. Not a single contraction all day long.

Went to get DS at school and chatted with his aide (who the next day told DH I seemed out of it.. see another person saying the same thing.) and took him to his social skills class. Had one or two twinges while sitting there and headed home. On the way home (now 5pm) stopped at Kim’s house.. (she also later said I was totally weird) to pick up some things and headed home to get the kids dinner.

Now 6pm and they are happily watching a movie as I heat up a quick dinner. Suddenly my right hip starts hurting badly and it feels like the baby’s head has crash landed into my pelvic floor..making walking difficult but no contractions.. I sit the kids down.. feeling a bit grouchy about the hip and pelvis pain.. and take my 10 drops of herbs.. I notice some odd contractions that seem centered in my lower pelvis.. no where else. Very new and strange feeling.. unlike any contraction I have ever I dismiss them as more of the same annoying twinges..but they are quite painful even though they are brief. DH arrives home at 7pm and we get the kids to bed.

Around 8 my mother calls to go over DS’s test results and I am not feeling anything different that before.. If I sit on my birth ball, the pelvic pain eases nicely and there are no other contractions. So I don’t mention anything to her on the phone. By 8:30 things seem to be kicking into a higher gear.. the pains are becoming steady and I have to breathe through a few. I mention them to DH and say I’m heading for the shower. He agrees it seems like more weird pains than anything else and continues to check his email and do some work on the computer.
A brief shower and things are much of the same. I decide to start moving things to the bedroom.. just in case. I clean the bathroom and get towels etc all in place. The birth kit and supplies are placed near the dresser and I head downstairs. It is now 9 pm. I ask DH to start timing the contractions. They are truly contractions now, centered in my lower pelvis but traveling down my back. I assume they are just some nasty Braxton hicks contractions and this seems confimed when DH says they are lasting less than 45 seconds, but coming 1 to 2 minutes apart.. what kind of contractions start like that?? None that I have experienced before.. at least not starting out that way from nothing.. With my second labor the contractions built all day long.. this was different..
DH heads to the shower.. in case.. and I call my MW.. convinced I am not in labor. Since she has heard that story before (from my telling her about my second labor..) she says she is heading over in an hour. I get off the phone feeling badly at bothering her and getting everyone over here for what I think is probably nothing. A call to Kim has her on her way, she had been expecting my call.. funny enough.. and I try to reach Melissa, but I can’t. I am kneeling in the living room, we are watching Dirty Jobs, and using the birth ball to rock through the contractions. DH is doing a great job applying pressure and massage to my tailbone, which is painful, when suddenly I feel this weird ‘pop’ in my lower right back and I say “wow.. that was weird..” and suddenly realize my water had just broken.. The time is now shortly before 10 pm..

I quickly crawl into the kitchen.. grab a towel and head to the bathroom.. my mind going 1000 miles a minutes.. all I can think is “crap, we didn’t want my water to break until this baby was in a good position and I went and blew it!”. I do note with relief that the fuild is clear but there is no mistaking.. my water has broken and this is happening tonight!
DH calls the MW who heads right over. I remember asking “did she want me to stay on hands and knees?” thinking maybe that might help this baby tuck his chin.. DH says she didn’t mention it. I have a huge contraction on the way back to the living room and it gives me a moment of panic.. the thought of “I really don’t want to do this right now..” flashes through my head… and I hope the MW arrives soon.. as I try to stay calm.
I am back on the birth ball, knees on the floor, as this is the most comfortable and seem to help keep me from entering into a panic with each contraction. They are painful but not overwhelming and I concentrate on breathing and keeping a loose face and neck to help dilate my cervix.
Kim arrives first, a few minutes after 10 and shortly (around 10:10) after the MW arrives. She checks the baby’s heart rate during and after a contraction. He sounds fantastic, and she heads upstairs to set up the room. I am thinking that this could go on for a while.. I haven’t puked yet and last time that was my signal I was in transition.. “no puking… I must have hours to go yet..” Suddenly I go from having a contraction to pushing.. it was in the blink of an eye.. one second I was breathing through a contraction and the next I am trying to get my nose to go out my butt.. Kim rushes to get the MW who comes downstairs “feeling pushy” she asks with a smile as I gasp “what the hell was that?”

Feeling pushy?? FEELING.. there was no FEELING.. it was my whole being taking over every conscious part of me and making me push. I have a moment of panic.. this is NOT how we discussed this labor progressing.. I was going to labor around the house, keeping myself occupied.. I was going to get to 10 cm.. and then I was going to lay or kneel and not push until I felt I had to..I envisioned pushing like last time.. hearing “ok.. this is a contraction.. take a breath.. count to ten.. blah blah blah” Yeah.. nope.. not this time… I have never heard of it going like this.. but no one else seems to think it is out of the ordinary…but this wasn’t going as planned and certainly wasn’t going how I had ever experienced or imagined labor to go..
My MW, cool as a cucumber says “we need to get you upstairs now..” I wasn’t sure I could make it.. I managed to half walk and half crawl to the bottom of the stairs.. have another “pushy” contraction.. managed to make it to the bedroom and close the door before another one hits.. My MW’s cool and calm,asks if I want her to check me.. I vacillate but then think it is a good idea.. what if I have a lip again?? What if I’m not fully dilated..?
Fully dilated, no lip..hurray! I’m still in a bit of denial.. afterall I haven’t thrown up yet…

Time now stops for me.. Kim helps hold my head as I kneel on all fours.. trying to push my way through the floor with my hands as each contraction. Water is offered between contractions.. a cool cloth appears.. all I see are feet.. people walking here and there..getting things.. low voices speak.. DH massaging my back, whispering “you’re doing it.” Or “ I see his head”. I am not sure I fully trust the status reports and it certainly doesn’t feel like much is happening other than my pushing. The urge to push is overwhelming.. I cannot control it, I must just surrender to it. It is like I am trying to get my nose to travel out my behind.. every wave is intense but not painful.. just overwhelming and full of pressure.. between each wave I wonder how much longer I can do this. I even say at one point “Not sure I like this pushy phase” to which everyone chuckles. Later I’m told this is a great sign.. that things are progressing as they should. I ask often “is it working? Is anything happening? Is he stuck?” to which I get many reassurances.. Dh keeps up his litany of reassurance. My MW says to reach down and feel the baby’s head and I do.. it feels soft.. I am surprised. I hear her say to DH “that is more head than you have ever seen huh” to which he happily replies “oh yeah” DH leans forward and says “I can see his head.. so much of his head.. you are doing it!!”

Now I can feel him lower.. I feel him trying to push out and yet at the end of each contraction I feel him slipping back in. I comment on this with frustration. My MW chuckles and says that it may feel like he is slipping all the way back in (which, to my dismay it does) but he isn’t.
Soon the tenor of the need to push changes and I struggle to keep my voice low and moans low pitched but the pressure and burning make it hard to stay in control. Calm steady voices reassure me that all is well.. help me breathe.. I am sobbing at one point.. begging someone to tell me that this will all be over soon. I even wonder if I can do it.. can I keep this up.. when suddenly, with a woosh and a sense of relief.. his head is out.. I feel it pop out with a gush of warm fluid and happy cries erupt. I hear my MW say “well.. a nuchal hand!” My MW says to me “you can push now..” to which I reply “I am not sure I want to..” She cracks up and suddenly I must push and he is out..
I am sobbing with relief.. DH has caught our son. He appears between my legs (I’ve never left all fours) and I reach down in total disbelief and gather him up to me.. DH says the look on my face was like I had won a billion dollars. I am sobbing and laughing all at the same total disbelief that I have DONE IT!!
A few minutes later I am helped onto the bed. Kim takes the baby and he reaches out and grabs my hair, refusing to be separated from me. My MW says “oh your placenta is already detaching..” to which I worridly ask “is that ok?” I think I crack her up.. she laughs.. “sure is.. “ and before I can ask if this part hurts too.. out it comes.
Now I am in a blur of happy emotions.. He is on my chest.. messy and so new and I can’t get enough of holding and kissing him. Someone is taking pictures.. my MW is making sure all is well and decides that I need a shot of Pit. He latches on immediately and spends the next hour or little more sucking away. The bedroom is a flurrly of quiet activity.. things are cleaned, put away.. then we are left alone for a few minutes to just bask in the glow. I have never felt more happy than this moment.. never.. Soon everyone returns.. I need stitches.. I have two large labial tears and a nearly second degree perinial tear. I look at the needle and ask “you have to stick that where?” but the numbing agent doesn’t hurt much going in and in fact some of the stitches hurt more than that.. A few are very painful, but one of the MW assistants stroked my arm and it helps distract me from the pain.
I get up and am helped to the shower and have to pee so badly.. which is a little intimidating.. but I managed. Showered and tucked into bed.. we now can focus on our little man.. Elias James.. He seems to tiny to me.. I guess 8lbs 13.. Melissa (poor Melissa who arrives after it is all done.. but who is thrilled beyond words) guesses 8 lb 7. The sling scale shows a surprised.. 9 lbs 9 oz!!! They weigh him again.. yes… My biggest baby ever and he came out with a nuchal hand!!!! He is 23 inches long and later a head measure shows him to have an approx 37 cm head. I am in shock.. I really am in shock.. Not only did I do it.. but he was my biggest baby ever!!
I am told to eat, checked again and everyone clears out by 2 am. It takes another hour for the euphoria to calm enough to sleep… DH and I wake early.. and talk about the birth in soft voices.. each of us just in awe..
I could have never done it without the support of my wonderful team.. I am forever grateful for their confidence in me, their steadfast belief that I could do it..their unwavering support..
I did it!!
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#82 of 166 Old 01-24-2007, 02:19 AM
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Quinn is nine months old now, but in looking through this forum I realized I never posted my story here. Here's a link to the brief birth story I wrote out after he was born.

mostly WAHM, sometimes WOHM to my : two boys.
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#83 of 166 Old 02-06-2007, 07:49 PM
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Michael Alton was born 1-24-07 (also my birthday!) at 12:11 p.m. He was born at home after less than 5 hours of labor! Only 21 minutes of pushing and no tears (or 'roids! YAY)! Woohoo!
He was - 10 lb, 1 oz
- 22 1/2 inches long
Basically I woke up at 7:15am after Michael punched my bladder REALLY hard, went to the bathroom and saw I'd totally lost my plug and had been feeling a few contractions.........

DH left for work at 7:45, I called him at 8:10 and told him to get back home.... He got home at 8:35 and we left for my midwife appt. that was at 9AM.... When I got there, I was already at a 4cm and 100% effaced and working REALLY hard through my contractions (I really don't remember much of the visit even though we were there for almost an HOUR!)...... on the ride home, I was in TRANSITION already! (Yeah, less than 3 hours after starting cx!)......

When I got home, I tried the birth ball and was yelling out stuff like "JESUS, OPEN IT UP - OPEN UP MY CERVIX! LORD HELP ME THROUGH THIS CONTRACTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!" as loud as possible and wouldn't let DH help me at all... my mom came and got our 20 month old DD, I took a quick shower and then stationed myself on the toilet.... then I had DH call the midwives to go ahead and come over...

by the time the first midwife got there, I was pushy feeling..... but not pushing yet... Eventually, she convinced me to get off of the toilet at 11:45... I started pushing at 11:50 (on the edge of my bed with one leg up on the side of the box spring and the other on the floor) and pushed for 21 minutes.... and out popped little Michael! It was NOTTTTTT even close to as bad as I thought it would be at ALL!! In fact, on the video, a few minutes after the birth I said "Oh my gosh! I thought that was going to be so much harder! Is that weird?!" lol

I felt like pushing my placenta out within a few minutes after the birth and my midwives obliged. I did faint momentarily when trying to go to the bathroom a while after the birth and as a precaution, my midwives gave me oxygen and a shot of pitocin to get my uterus to do its thing after the birth (I didn't hold the baby a whole lot right after I fainted, so my uterus wasn't contracting like it would've been if he'd been nursing).... Anyway, all was well and the midwives were FANTASTIC!

Anyone in the west Texas area should certainly seek out the services of Motherly Way Maternity Services! Kelli and Shanna (and their apprentice Mel) were absolutely WONDERFUL!!!)

This has been a healing and surreal experience! My DD was born via C/S after 42 hours of labor (water broke prior to cx) due to posterior positioning and a cocked head (she was an attempted natural birth center birth, so the C/S was very disappointing to me!)...... so we were shocked that this one went off without a hitch and SO quickly!

Here are some links to some pics!
Here he is moments after birth:

Here we are a few minutes later!

Here he is with his grandma (my mom) and big sister Grace later that evening when they met him for the first time!:

and here I am with DD and DS today!:

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#84 of 166 Old 02-10-2007, 03:55 PM
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I woke up at 5 am on Jan. 22 w/contractions 5 minutes apart. By 11am the contractions were strong enough that I called DH and told him to come home from work, called my in-laws and told them to be at our house within 24 hours (they live in another state), called my doula and told her to meet me at the hospital in the afternoon. I started passing some bloody mucus. At hospital triage, the contractions were still 5 minutes apart and my cervix was completely closed, so I went home after 2 hours on EFM.

Contractions continued all through the night, getting stronger but not closer together. At my regular OB appt. on 1/23, I was 1 cm dilated and I asked to have my membranes swept. : Contractions continued to get stronger, but not any closer. My in-laws arrived right after the OB appt.

On 1/24, I realized I could no longer labor at home. It was too intense and it was upsetting DS1. My doula met me at the hospital at 10:30 am. My water had broken -- without me realizing it -- on the way to the hospital. I was 4 cm dilated, hooked up to an IV and EFM. With the help of my doula, I was able to change positions frequently, from the bed to the rocker to the birth ball to pacing beside the bed. Whenever I sat down or lay down, the contractions slowed down and became weaker. Whenever I got up to use the toilet, I would have 4 or 5 really strong contractions in a row.

Dilation was complete at 9 pm on 1/24, and I started getting the urge to push, but couldn't find the right muscles to use. Around 11 pm, I pushed and felt my baby's head pop through the cervical opening. DH came running in after tucking in our very anxious DS1 at home. I kept changing positions to push, and finally the baby came squirting out -- sunnyside up! -- at 1:30 am on 1/25. He was covered in meconium and had the cord around his neck. DH rushed to be by his side as his mouth and nose were suctioned and I was stitched up -- I had a second degree tear. DH insisted that we name our baby Jasper, I'm not sure where this inspiration came from, but I love it.

I never felt the need for painkillers, even though the labor lasted for 68.5 hours. I was soooooooo happy that I went into spontaneous labor (I never even had pre-labor symptoms before DS1's labor was induced at 41+ weeks), that I truly welcomed each contraction joyfully. I know that sounds insane, but it's true. The pain was never as bad as the Pitocin-induced contractions I had with DS1. I always had a break between contractions, and I used yoga breathing techniques, yoga positions and Hypnobirthing relaxation/visualization methods to ease discomfort. My doula was also familiar with these methods, and she helped immensely. It was a 3 day long yoga marathon. Recovery has been much easier than my c-section. We are having breastfeeding issues, but thinga improve every day.

Thank you for this VBAC forum --it was source of strength for me throughout my pregnancy.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#85 of 166 Old 02-10-2007, 11:29 PM
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My first DS was born via emergency c/s in Feb 2004. From the time I was admitted to the hospital to the time I left, I was disappointed in my care and how my labor/delivery/recovery went. I knew from the moment I entered the hospital, my next pregnancy/delivery was going to be different. And it was.

In June 2006, I learned I was pregnant again and called a very highly recommended OB. I was told he was very easy going and knew that he was there to assist in getting a new life here...he knew he was just an assistant to childbirth and that he was not the main focus.

I had a harder pregnancy this time, but it was just different, no complications. I learned in September that I was pregnant with another little boy. Things progressed, time passed and quickly, January rolled around. My EDD was the 31st.

On January 26th, my OB did a cervical check. I had been having contractions, but wasnt sure if they were BH or the real thing as I never felt a thing with DS1 until I was in labor. I was 5cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby was at a -1. But an NST showed no contractions so home I went.

That night, DS1 stayed with my parents for the night and DH and I stayed in and got some last minute things done "just in case". At 1AM on January 27, we went to the hospital because I was having contractions. By the time we got there, they had slowed down and decreased in intensity. I was examined and was "maybe 5-6cm, but so stretchy its hard to tell...maybe 7?" After that, I got up and walked for about an hour and a half and had some contractions, but nothing that was too hard. I thought for sure I was going home.

At 4:30, I was put back on the monitor and was having definite contractions so they called in my OB. I also had another cervical check and was 7cm. Between 4:30 and 5:10AM, when my OB arrived, I was still fairly comfortable, but needed some rest and figured I still had time. I asked if I could have something just to take the edge off and they offered stadol. I didnt get it.

At 5:13, my OB checked me and I was 9cm so he said he was going to get his "play clothes" on and be back shortly. Before he got out of the room, my water broke and before the door closed, I needed to push. Nobody told me I had to wait or breathe through it. The nurses let me do what my body was telling me to do. My OB got in his scrubs in record time and was surprised at how fast it was all going.

At 5:30AM on January 27th, 2007, my second son was born after 15 minutes of pushing. He had his "extremely long" cord wrapped around his neck twice and his chest once. After his head and shoulders were out, my OB had me hold him and bring him to my chest. He weighed 5lbs 14oz and was 21 inches long. I had a small 2nd degree tear that needed a couple of stitches.

I was amazed at the short recovery time. I couldnt believe I was up walking around comfortably within a couple of hours. It was nothing like the recovery from my c/s. Ive been asked to compare the two births and, even on the 3rd day post partum, the most painful, I said, "Id do an unmedicated VBAC 100 more times as long as I dont ever have to go through another c/s".
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#86 of 166 Old 03-06-2007, 12:14 AM
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So here goes my VBAC success story!
I suppose the story starts two years earlier when my dd was born by c-section after a natural labor, 2 hours of pushing with no pain meds and then an epidural and two more hours of pushing. She never descended below zero station and I was told she was posterior and asynclitic.
Fast forward two years and this baby. I woke up at 3am with contractions which I had done for about a week - but I felt different so I got up and listened to some music, eventually I dosed off but the contractions woke me about every hour. This continued into the day and at lunch time my dh came home and we ate and I continued with mild contractions.
By 3pm they were intense and we called our doula and OB. The doula set off to our house and by time she arrived I was on all fours groaning and moaning with each contraction. My dd, who is two, was asleep downstairs. The doula helped me get into the tub but it didn't help a great deal, what did was when she pressed my hips together during a contraction - it actually felt good. Something that feels good during pain is an odd sensation. When I got out the tub my water broke and I decided we were going to the hospital. My dh who had been warned about what happens to people who go to the hospital too early began stalling. He called our OB and then slowly packed the car. We left at about 5.30pm arrived at the hospital at 6pm.
It was like I'd never had prior uterine surgery! They filled the tub and used a doppler to monitor the baby. I was fully dilated at this point and kind of grunting. My OB arrived and I sat up on the bed and started pushing. 45 minates later he came out! It was so amazing, he actually came out of my vagina!! He was placed on my chest and the newborn care was done there.
It has been a totally healing experience.
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#87 of 166 Old 03-22-2007, 11:49 PM
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Busy, Vegetarian, JewishTriplet Mommy to Three 5yr olds.
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#88 of 166 Old 03-24-2007, 11:56 AM
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My Hbac couldn't have gone any better!!! I was 15 days overdue when I had my second Biophysical profile. The baby passed with a perfect score and then the ob came in and recommended I have a c-section. When I asked her for her reasoning she said that statistics show that women who try to vbac who go this far beyond their due date don't successfully go into labor. If it was going to happen it would have by now-something about the baby being too high or my pelvis being too small-I assured her that I would talk with my midwife about it and I would probably try castor oil first. I left the Dr's office with a heavy heart, but I went to see my mw and she said she didn't believe I had to go for the cs yet. So that night I ate some spicy thai food, took some herbs, posted on mdc and got some encouraging feedback. I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 3 am in active labor. At 9:29 am I had my beautiful daughter at home and it was such a great experience!!! So much better than my first experience!!!! It can be done with the right support network.
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#89 of 166 Old 04-24-2007, 12:19 AM
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Hello to All.

I always felt somewhat responsible for my daugter's casarean birth. I was not properly prepared for birth. I took the weekend class at the hospital and figured I would try my best to avoid drugs. My Mom actually told me to let nature take its course. Besides, I thought. Why would I need a c-section? I'm healthy and in good shape.

My water broke before labor started with my daugther at 37 weeks. I expected to go late and was totally caught off gaurd. My parents drove me to the doctor because my husband was at work. Dr sent me over to the hospital at about 4pm as I was beginning to dilate. I was all alone when a nurse came in and told me that I needed to stop "climbing the walls" and lay down when I was trying to get into a more comfortable position that I learned about in my short but sweet childbirth class. The nurse said "You need drugs." I resisted at first, but then chose an epidural as I did not know how to cope with the contractions. I think this was a big mistake. I was fully dilated a little after 10pm and began pushing. I had them turn down the epidural but then had it turned back up again. The baby was in a weird semi posterior position. The dr tried to turn her many times, but she would just flip to another weird postion. I pushed and pushed for over 3 hours and then had a c-section at 1:43 am. My baby was taken to the NICU and I didn't get to hold her for 6 hours. She had lots of trouble learning to nurse, and didn't latch on until she was over 2 weeks old. I cried a lot.

So, I got pregnant again. I live in Tampa, Florida. There are midwives available who will do a home birth VBAC, but they can not legally do VBACs in the birth center. I was not interested in a home birth. Being home in my messy house is not relaxing to me. I had to research to find a hospital that would allow a VBAC. I found a midwife group, the only group I know of in Tampa, that would provide care for a VBAC candidate at Tampa General Hospital. I liked the group, except for one woman. She was extremely discouraging. She kept talking about uterine rupture and death a lot. I had to sign some scary consent forms. In November I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. What a pain! I was worried that would jeopordize my VBAC. I had to be super strict with my diet. In December the midwives were concerned that the baby was "still breech" but I felt it turn when I was about 34 weeks. I was told more than once that my chances of success were not good and the OB consultant for the group did not want me to try for VBAC. Legally though, no one can cut you open without consent. (Unless maybe you are unconscious?) I was not trying to be radical or unreasonable. i just wanted to try to birth my baby vaginally. I did not want major surgery for no really good reason.

I prepared for this upcoming birth by taking Hypnobirthing classes and reading my friend's Bradley Method Childbirth information and doing some of the exercise. I also followed the exercises and sitting and sleeping recomendations for optimal fetal positioning I found on I meditated with the Hypnobirthing CDs and a VBAC CD by Maggie Howell almost every day. I hired a doula and called her whenever I had a discouraging appointment (often). I talked to 3 successful VBAC friends.

At almost about 37 weeks my midwife said I was 3 cm dilated and very thin. This was around Jan 18th I think.

So, by January 20 i was in a really FOUL mood, and sick of my stupid gestational diabetes diet. On the 21st I took my 2 yr old daughter to the zoo in the morning. At about 7 pm she threw a whole bunch of crayons on the floor. When I bent over to pick them up I heard a "Pop" and felt water, just a little bit, trickle into my undies. Oh god, I thought, was that my water breaking?
Yes, it was. I was not having regular contractions though. I fooled around doing dishes for awhile as I somewhat freaked out. I called my mom and dad to come watch my daughter. Then I took a shower, and my daughter took a shower with me. I decided to dry my hair, which is very out of character for me, but it gave me something to focus on. My parents arrived around 10pm and we got my daughter to bed. i made sure everything was ready in my bag and went to bed around 11pm with irregular contractions. I may have slept a little but not much. I moved around trying to get comfortable. Around 3 am I was on my hands and knees to get through a contraction. My husband suggested going to the hospital but I didn't want to go yet. He was getting a bit anxious, and we left for the hospital around 4:30 to beat morning traffic. My husband called the doula. I listened to my hypnobirthing stuff on my ipod in the car. I still did not feel it was time to go to the hospital and told my husband that if I was less than 5 cm I would not stay. The whole hospital thing was kind of scaring me. We got there and I stopped to sit on the exercise ball a couple times on the way up. My contractions were still not regular, but seemed a little stronger. I was in a good mood.
The midwife was at the nurses station when we walked in. She smiled and asked what was going on. I told them my water broke around midnight because I felt I had to buy some time. I had heard that they will not let you go more than 24 hours after your water breaks and I was afraid I was at the hospital too soon. She asked me my pain and I stubbornly said 1 on a scale of 1-10 because I was determined that my pain level would not be higher than a 2. She checked me and exclaimed "Girl, you are 7 cm! maybe 8!" Wow, I was so excited. maybe this was going to work. The midwife and nurse were excited too and kept telling people that there was a woman in natural labor dilated to 8 cm who was only a 1 for pain. That made me feel proud and was encouraging. My doula arrived and she and my husband took turns applying pressure to my lower back, the sacrum, with every contraction. I was quiet, and would say "Push please" for pressure whenever I felt a contraction starting. The pressure really helped. I listened to my Hypnobirthing stuff and VBAC Maggie Howell stuff on the Ipod. I mostly stayed in a kneeling position with my arms and head leaning on the top of the raised part of the bed. The labor and delivery nurse was great. She helped me achieve the best position possible by moving my legs apart a bit. I started to growl. I had always heard it was important to make Low noises during birthing. I got really hot and tangled up in my gown and took it off. Not normally my thing, but birthing is something else, right?
I tried standing for a few contractions around 7 am. Then I was on my back for a few contractions while the doula and husband held my legs. That gave me a little rest, but I didn't want to stay that way because I knew that was not using gravity to my advantage.
Now, in Hypnobirthing you are not encouraged to push. Your uterus will push the baby out for you. But man, my legs were getting tired. So around 9:30 am I decided to push. I used the squat bar and the baby moved down a lot. I almost started to scream high, but my doula reminded me to stay low with my voice. I did, and it really helped. I was getting tired and tried lying on my side some. Not so good for descent, but again, gave me a chance to rest.
I starting squatting with pushes and lying down in between. This was working. I felt a hot splash and yelled "What the hell was that?" It was my forebag of waters breaking. Oh, i never knew about that. I was getting scared. I had been pushing for awhile and no baby was coming out. Was I going to have the same problems I had with my first birth? No! The baby was in a good position. Still I was starting to freak out and yelled at people "I'm not doing this right! You have to help me. Tell me what to do." They all reassured me that the baby was moving down and it was going to come out. The midwife said "Babies come a little bit at a time." Finally, I felt burning. Yes! The baby really was going to come out! I was finally convinced that I knew what I was doing and that this baby would be born vaginally. At 10:31 there was crowning and the head came out. At 10:32 my husband actually caught the baby. It was immediately placed on my chest, just where I wanted my baby to be. I announced "It's a boy!" I was so so so so happy to be able to hold my little warm wet baby. I got to hold him right away! This was the best part. I got to hold him for a long time. Over an hour. He had his first latch on at 11:30 am. I felt so happy and proud.

If you are considering a VBAC, I say go for it. It was the most empowering thing I have ever done. Learn a lot, find lots of support, and be determined.

It is so worth it.

When my son was 6 days old I walked a mile to the playground with him in the sling and my daughter in the stoller. Recovery was a breeze.

mom to Cassandra Nicole 1/14/05 and Alexander Joseph 1/22/07
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#90 of 166 Old 05-03-2007, 11:18 AM
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I had written this out a long time ago somewhere on the net, and now I can't find it. And I had saved it on my computer but it was lost when I had a crash...

So I will try again here.

I had my first (CS) in 1994. After being strapped into the bed, and monitored continuously for the entire time, while on pitocin, and no epidural, I didn't progress past a 4 after 7 hours. They strapped me to the operating table after giving me a spinal. I couldn't feel anything but pickiness on my fingers, so when they removed my beautiful Emerald and brought her for me to see, I couldn't feel anything. I didn't hold her for a long time, not because I wasn't encouraged, but because I thought I would drop her, because it took so long for the feeling to return. I was in the hospital for 5 days because I developed an infection. But never did it occur to me that the surgery wasn't necessary.

In 2000 I got pg again, and decided that I was going to have a RCS, I miscarred at 12 weeks.

In 2002, I was once again, pregnant and due in March, just the day after my first. I had decided to kick my dh out of the house (he wasn't dh then) and continued with my pregnancy, just me, my oldest and the little person inside me. I decided after much thought that I would try for a vbac, it was healthiest for me, and I would be better able to take care of things by myself when I was through. I found a careprovider that was willing to go along with my plans, and things went to the end with no issues. 6 weeks before I was due, I started having contractions, every 5 minutes... I learned to check myself, to make sure I wasn't dilating, so I didn't have to run to the hospital each time, and until two weeks before I was due, I wasn't dilating, although, they hurt! I walked a lot. I sat on the birth ball. I read every birth story I could. 9 days before my edd, I started having even stronger contractions. I went to the doctor, and she said that I would be in true labor within the next 24 hours. She stripped my membranes and she said to have a glass of wine and get a good nights sleep.

I went home, and had a glass of wine, and snuggled with my 8 year old. It was Friday night. Saturday morning, I got up to pee at 5 AM. I was thrilled that I had slept through the night, and I was well rested. I was still having contractions, but the wine was just enough to help me relax. I went to get into bed, figuring we could snuggle some more, and start our day later... and I felt a pop. I ran to the bathroom, pulled down my underware to sit and fluid poured everywhere. The contractions I had been having for weeks on end, came to a complete halt. I was pretty excited, so I got up and started cleaning and doing laundry. Posted to my friends on the net, and then kept cleaning, and getting stuff ready. Within an hour, the contractions were back, and much stronger than before. I called my sister to meet us at the hospital. I called the doctor who wanted me to come in right away... I finally got there about 9 AM. I drove myself and my oldest. We parked and walked up. They stuck me in bed, and put a monitor around me. It took 4 tries to get an IV in, and boy was my arm bruised when they were finished. My nurse seemed OK at first, but she was kind of a control freak. I wanted something to eat, or drink... anything, but she said the IV would be enough. She kept taking my daughter from our room, and showing her around the floor to everyone else. My dd and I were very close. She hated when my mil would do that. Unless she was with her friends, she wanted to be with her mom.

The nurse instructed my dd not to give me even a taste of her popsicle. They decided to hook me up to pitocin, to augment my labor, because I was on that time line, with my ruptured membranes. She told me that I would be required to stay in bed, and I argued that I knew my labor would be more effective if I didn't just lie there. She told me it was hospital policy, and I said, that I knew my rights and I was willing to check myself out and go home. She said that I could sit in the rocking chair and I did. It really helped with the contractions. About 2 hours later, they checked me again, and I was 4 cms. They asked if I wanted an epidural, because things were getting pretty painful. I was nervous because the spinal I had with my first. I wanted to be able to feel everything. They told me it would be different. But I would have to stay in bed once I got the epi. I got back into bed, they gave me the epidural, and immediately I felt like I had to poop. I told my nurse, who told me to rest... I wasn't tired. My sisters and dd were out eating lunch, and I was alone, with this pushing feeling.

An hour later the doctor comes in and asks how I am doing, and I tell him that I feel like I have to poop. He checks and I was to a 10. He calls for the nurse and tells her that I can push. She tells me, "you have done this before, just push" I tell her that I have never been dilated past a 4, and I didn't do this before.

She leave me there (in fact, there was no one in the room at all!!) while I start trying to figure out pushing. Luckily, my mom and sisters come in with my dd. Dd, was tired and decided to try to get a bit of a rest. My mom was helping me by holding my leg back when I had to push. The nurse refused to help me, and when I requested her help, she would hold my foot, by the cornor of one hand and I kept sliding off her hand.

I pushed for a good three hours. I wasn't pushing effectively, because I was scared of two things. 1) that I would poop on the table, and 2) that I would get an episiotomy that I didn't want. Once, I expressed these concerns and told them, they assured me that I didn't poop, and they wouldn't cut me.

I could feel the baby coming down, and one of the doctors, the resident doctor that was there... said the the baby was coming out sunny side up, and he was going to try to turn her. He did, and within a minute or two her head was out. I pushed again and they put this squirmy, messy thing on my belly... and the doctor said, "And you were nervous that it wasn't going to be a girl.." I said, "What is it?" And they said, "It is a girl!" I nursed her right away, and I don't even remember delivering the placenta. I got 3 stitches, not because I tore, but inside from when the doctor turned her head.

I remember them taking me to my room, and thinking... wow! I can laugh... I can go potty, I can EAT! This is so great!!! I felt like a million bucks, compared to the section. I went home in 2 days, only because I didn't want to go back to work right away... (I have a home daycare) and I drove myself home too!

At no time, was I ever told that I wouldn't have my hospital birth. They assumed it would work out. Even if I brought it up, they would assure me that I would have the baby without surgery. The following year, I was pregnant with number 3 and went with another practice. It wasn't the same experience at all, and ended with a section. Since then, it has been a lot harder to find a provider than would take me on to allow a tol under their care. I am currently planning a hba2c.

Even though, I didn't have my second vbac, with my 3rd, it was well worth the trying. I know a lot more now than I did before.
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