...and here's a more detailed birth story, for those who are interested and have the time to read! Ours is a story about a VBAC that almost turned into a repeat C-section.
At around 39 weeks, I started to walk around more, found a great yoga video on youtube, and did lots of positioning and meditation exercises. On 12/31 (4 days before my due date), I woke up with some bloody show. Hubby and I had had "intimate relations" that night so I had assumed it was from that. But around 7 am I began to feel contractions and then at 11am, i lost my mucus plug. We went to the hospital shortly after, and was told I was 3cm. We live only 5 mins away, so we chose to return home. I had my husband roll dryer balls (slightly larger than tennis balls and softer too) on my back to help with the back pain. My doula also suggested a shower - LOVED that! I also ate hearty soup and bread, and continued drinking lots of water, to keep my energy up. The hardest part of this phase was not knowing when to head to the hospital. I exchanged txt msgs with my doula for a long time. Finally, when it was difficult to keep up a conversation through my contractions, I knew it was time to head to the hospital. When I arrived, I was 6 cm and 75% effaced.
My contractions started getting painful, so I asked for narcotics to take the edge off. I forget which kind they gave me, but the nurse basically gave me the narcotics. I was also allowed to move around, though they wanted me close to the bed in case the drug made me loopy. I still felt the pain of contractions, but less of the peaks, and I remember cracking a few jokes to the midwife, nurse, doula and hubby who were all by my side.
As I neared transition, the narcotics wore off and I could feel the urge to push. This was a scary moment for me and I needed a lot of encouragement to push through the pain of contractions. I finally asked for an epidural. The midwife suggested instead that I try a spinal. A spinal is injected into the spine once and has a limited duration of 2 to 4 hrs, I was told. Unlike an epidural, a spinal allowed me to move around and try alternative positions and also didn't require a urinary catheter. (An epidural, by contrast, would have confined me to lying in bed, as the hospital did not offer a walking epidural as an option.) I could still feel contractions and pushed when they came. Although I was pushing my daughter down and we could feel her head, it wasn't progressing after a few hours. I could feel my VBAC slipping through my fingers and expected we were heading down the same path as my last pregnancy 5 years ago that ended in a C-section (due to ineffective pushing after 4 hrs). The pain also came back as the spinal wore off.
I asked for another dose of the spinal (the midwife said it needed to be an epidural this time) and I negotiated that I'd keep trying to push for one more hour. If no baby by then, I'd need to have a c-section. In the meantime, I had to wait for the anesthesiologist to give me the epidural. He was with another patient and took about 30 mins to get to me. By then, I was a mess and probably cursing and saying things I shouldn't be saying. When the anesthesiologist arrived, he immediately started to prep, but with contractions coming on quick, we had to wait for them to pass so that I could keep my body still so that he could do his thing. At the same time, the baby's heart rate started the decelerate, so the midwife left to huddle with the ob team to do a c-section. Because this was a VBAC, they weren't going to take any chances, as a decal in heart beat can be a sign of a uterine rupture to come.
While I was sitting as still as I could and the anesthesiologist was about to insert the needle (honest to god, this is true!), I felt like the baby's head was coming out. I needed to stand, so I stood on the nearest thing to me - a chair! - and yelled, "I feel something coming out!". My doula looked under me, and said, "I see the head!".
By then, the midwife was back, along with the ob team. They managed to make me lie on my side and then my back. The baby was coming no matter what, so with everyone in the room (I didn't care by then) - my doula, hubby, midwife, nurse, 3 ob docs), I pushed as hard as i could. In a weird way, it helped having everyone there "rooting" for me and telling me to keep pushing. I pushed hard about 8 times and the baby finally came out. It was a roller coaster ride - where I had serious moments of self-doubt. It was really hard and I totally respect all the mothers out there who have had their babies and continue to (both vaginally and by CS). This one will be our last!
Mom to a sweet, highly sensitive boy (6/2009) and our baby girl (1/2015).
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