i never posted much but did keep up with this community all throughout my pregnancy. my plan was for a home VBAC. no complications in pregnancy. i went unto labor at exactly 41weeks. baby girl arrived 6/23. 7 lbs 15 oz, 20 inches long. my story below. i am still emotional about the way my birth went, and probably always will be to some degree. but i thought it might help to share. this is from the email i sent out to certain people (not the masses, who mostly just care about baby announcement/sex, etc).
as all of you know, baby girl is here now :)
my hopes of having labor happen totally at night/after N (my 3yo son) went to bed were not fully answered. i did get to go to N's graduation at school (so cute) the morning i was already having contractions, but then stronger labor that found me really vocalizing a lot happened by mid afternoon - the neighbors even called to check if everything was okay! that's part of the difference between an april birth when we were still burning fires and had all the windows closed, and a june birth when all the windows are open/have screens in. N was really freaked out and didn't understand what was going on with me, and i felt bad for him and bad for D (my husband), who was torn about who to help. while it could have been helpful to have my visiting sister there, i was actually relieved she had left for philly because she probably would have been freaked out, too.
my student-doula friend arrived late afternoon, and then D could really plug into N for a while and put him to bed, and then he was able to plug into the birth as well. my midwife and her assistant also arrived late afternoon/early evening. i made it to fully dilated (like last time) fairly quickly, and tried the tub and various positions on the futon. by 2 am or a little earlier, though, my midwife suggested that i was getting exhausted and not having enough contractions to get the baby out (i had been pushing with great effort for 5 hours at that point, and contractions had slowed to 10 minutes or so apart). she suggested going to the hospital to get some pitocin for an extra push/more contractions to help the baby get out. i was fearful this would start me on the slippery slope away from a VBAC, but honestly picturing (again, like last time) a big question mark about baby coming out on its own. i have read so many birth stories of a few pushes, or even an hour of pushing until baby's arrival, and i end up pushing for what seems like forever and still not getting the baby out!.
so we went to the hospital. my student doula friend initially stayed behind because we didn't know when N would wake up, and D called his parents to come over to watch N so she could come meet us at the hospital. that turned into a fiasco of sorts because his parents car battery was dead - eventually my MIL got her friend to drive her over. at the hospital i was lucky to be admitted to the care of the midwife on call, because even though we told the hospital i had been dilated and pushing for 2 hours (not 5), the residents are more conservative and are freaked out by homebirth transfers anyway. the midwife on duty was one i had a high opinion of (i'm familiar with the practice), and she seemed patient with letting me try laboring at the hospital. eventually pitocin was employed and gave me a few more contractions, but she eventually became concerned because i pushed strongly for another 3ish hours, and she determined that the baby was not descending much even with the big pushes. she ended up recommending a csection. it was ultimately my decision, and luckily the baby was never in distress, and there was no meconium issue like we had with N, so it wasn't a freakout, emergency c-section recommendation. i was disappointed and upset, but definitely questioning my ability to get baby out any other way. so i agreed. it turns out it was probably the right decision - during the csection they determined i have an unusual shape/tight band on my uterus (bandl's ring http://womantowomancbe.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/bandls-ring/), and that was probably impeding baby's progress/descent. this could have been the problem with N, too, although with him it was easy to conclude his size and position were the hindrances. if this was in the operative report from last time, they never would have given the goahead for a VBAC according to the hospital midwife. the section seemed to take forever, and it was more uncomfortable than i remember last time. there was scar tissue this time around so they had to work around that, and the baby was low with a pretty engaged head, so that made her harder to get out, too. the spinal anesthesia definitely numbed what was going on, but i felt a LOT of pushing and pulling and tugging throughout the surgery. ugh. and the surgery took so long i think it was starting to wear off towards the end. i was scared of an overboard-anesthesia situation, though, so i did not request for them to give me more.
i am really glad i started out with a homebirth, because i felt like i got a real chance to try for the VBAC. i am disappointed to learn that my body seems less than suited for a natural birth.
what is different this time, and what i'm very thankful for and is helping me to keep the disappointment in perspective, is that they put baby on my chest immediately rather than take her away to the NICU (which was our experience with N). she has been nursing well and spent a lot of time with me in the room. healthy baby definitely makes a big difference!
we are still trying on some names but will hopefully have one by the time i am ready to be discharged - it just makes paperwork easier (ETA: her name is anna lucille). i was hoping to be released by saturday (my birthday) - not that i care about my birthday so much, but my sister will still be here and flying out that afternoon. as we can see, though - it seems to be impossible to plan for everything (ETA: i was nauseous and vomiting on my birthday, no early release. oh well). today i should be walking more on my own and using the bathroom myself. all things that i take for granted normally but are more challenging after surgery. fun, fun.
N has amazed me with how sweet he is with his sister and how understanding he has been overall, but i have felt incredibly guilty for not being able(willing?) to do so many things, like pick him up, nurse him, take him upstairs for bed, and for a long time, bathe him, because of the surgery recovery. i am thankful he is 3 and understands a lot when i tell him why i can't, but the mom guilt plus hormones ... oh my!
What a great story! It sounds like you really gave it your all. I can't imagine pushing for 8 hours, mama. You must've felt so defeated. Hugs and congrats!
Wow what a trooper you were! So glad everyone is healthy and happy! Hope you heal quickly physically and emotionally!
You are amazing! I cannot imagine pushing for 8 hours! I'm sorry that you didn't get to birth at home. It's not easy to lose your ideal birth. Enjoy your new baby girl (I love her name!) and be sweet to yourself while you recover.
Oh goodness. Bless your heart! I'm so sorry that things didn't go the way you hoped, but so thankful that your birth was safe for you and the baby. You KNOW you gave it your all. I hope you can find peace with your birth and your body while enjoying the precious children your womb has grown! I love your baby's name! So precious!
thank you everyone. after my birthing experience, i think i will always feel a combination of foolish, stubborn, lucky and grateful when i look at my children. and i think i will always get a little teary- eyed speaking about birth because there are few (at least in my circle) more dedicated to the notion of natural birth. i thank you all for your kind words.
i leave you with a few pictures:
on the left is my son at a few weeks, and on the right is his sister. the resemblance is uncanny in our opinion :)
Dabbler, I can only imagine your disappointment at your HBAC not working out! HOWEVER, I am incredibly impressed at your perseverance for what you wished for combined with the wise intuition to listen to the midwife and to your body telling you "hey, this isn't working the way it's supposed to." I would have been exhausted after 8 hours of pushing; you did a phenomenal job in that regard! Your sweet Anna Lucille is healthy and you clearly made the right decision in agreeing to another c/s. And I LOVE the pic of her in the pink onesie giving you that "C'mon, mom, really?" look. Enjoy your clan!