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This is my first draft, and was partially done NAK, so I apologize if something doesn't make sense.<br><br>
My due date was Thursday, April 26. At my appointment at 39 weeks, I allowed my first exam, and I was 80% effaced and fingertip dilated. I was thrilled, because it had taken me forever to get that far with pitocin with Elizabeth, my first baby. I was having almost constant strong Braxton-Hicks for hours a day, so was hoping that was doing something. I was also drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea, steeped along with a bag of pregnancy tea - at least three cups a day. My next visit, I was still 80% and about 1cm. Not really a change, but I still wasn’t discouraged. I was looking at a 42-week cutoff point, although they never really brought up what would happen once I got to that point. I wanted to know if anything was changing so that I could take 'natural' measures if needed. We dtd twice, and I took some walks. I also had two sessions of acupuncture with my chiropractor.<br><br>
I had some early labor on Wednesday the 2nd (almost one week overdue), contractions 5 minutes apart for basically 20 hours, but it fizzled out when I went to bed. Then Sunday evening (6th) they started in again, but much more intense. I called, and they said to come in if they got to the point I had to breathe through the contractions. We went into the hospital to have baby checked out around 2am Monday. They ended up admitting me, put in a saline lock, and drew blood for type and cross. By 10am, things had slowed down a lot. Because I was attempting a VBAC, the hospital’s policy required that an operating room and staff be immediately available. Since they only had one anesthetist, that meant holding up the entire operating schedule while I was in labor. Since things were early and seemed to be moving slowly, we went home.<br><br>
Things picked back up again that afternoon, but I stuck in at home for as long as I could. I was having constant strong, painful contractions every 3 to 5 minutes all night long. I let my DH get some sleep, and I stayed down in the recliner or on the exercise ball all night, sneaking in some naps between contractions. When I called in to talk to my OB Tuesday morning, he wanted to see me at 9:30 to check on me and the baby. Things were definitely progressing, so we were admitted and stayed for the long haul. I was around 3cm, and despite my preference against it previously, I consented to them breaking my water. Again, because of the VBAC policies, I was sort of on a time table, unfortunately.<br><br>
I was laboring very hard all day. I kept progressing steadily, but slowly. They required constant monitoring (again, vbac policy), but had me on telemetry so I could move as I wanted, and also they weren’t too picky if they couldn’t pick baby up for awhile - so that was nice. DH and I just kind of did our own thing, walking the itty bitty hallway (only three patient rooms at our hospital!), sitting in the rocking chair, whatever seemed to help. At some point my OB came in and really wanted me to get IV fluids to keep up my hydration. I was drinking and eating on my own, but he wanted to make sure I had plenty.<br><br>
I had hard labor until around 7:30 pm, at which point I had been having hard strong contractions, fully effaced for about 24 hours. However, even with massive contractions that were squeezing baby down, her head wasn't going anywhere. Since I had a previous c-section, they were getting nervous. I was in a lot of pain, trying to get in positions that would open my pelvis to let baby down, but it just wasn't working. I was squatting down despite the horrendous pelvic pain - it just didn't feel "right" to me. And baby kept moving her head around during those hardest contractions, and it was unnerving. I felt like someone was prying my pelvis apart with a crowbar. I remember yelling a lot, even though it was good low sounds, I felt funny being so vocal. Didn’t stop me, though! DH was great at helping me through the worst. The nurses and OB were all very supportive, talking about how well I was handling everything. The baby’s heart rate was dropping in a V when contractions started, which they said was good - it meant she was being squeezed and should be moving down well. However, they did an exam during a contraction (OUCH), and even then her head wasn't coming down at all. My cervix had gotten to about 5 1/2 cm, and was super stretchy. They said that with the head pushing on my cervix, it should open right up - it was ready. But baby’s head wasn’t there. In fact the OB said even though he could touch baby’s head, he could run a finger around inside and there was that much space between her head and the cervix.<br><br>
My OB was worried, and said he'd recommend trying a low dose of Pitocin for an hour to see if it would help things, but he didn't feel really confident about it. I was really nervous about using Pitocin after my previous c-section because of the risk of rupture. I just had a feeling it was the wrong thing to do. He was ok with me going for another hour as-is if I wanted, even getting into the shower to see if some relaxation would help. But those feelings in my pelvis just bothered me. I don’t know if it was intuition or instinct or just labor craziness, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that Pitocin would be a bad idea. The other option was doing a cesarean, while baby and I were both doing great. I couldn't think straight with the pain, and they offered some meds to help. I really didn’t want to take anything, but really had to in order to think straight. After asking about all the options, I ended up having a minimal dose of Nubain to help take the edge off so I could make my decision - they gave me less than a half dose. Wow, I have never taken any drugs, or even had alcohol - this stuff really hit me. I had trouble with my vision tracking, and got pretty nauseous. Cheap drunk, I guess...<br><br>
After a lot of thinking and going back and forth, talking for over an hour with my husband and my mom, I decided to consent to another c-section. I was just too afraid of what could happen if we kept going and something went wrong. The OB and the nurses were very supportive through everything.<br><br>
I changed out of my own clothes and into a gown. They took almost no time getting me in, since everyone was already there. I joked that they were all sitting around playing poker in the OR... I had talked a lot with my OB about my previous section, and how I didn’t feel like I “had” Elizabeth - it was more like the removal of a tumor or something. One major issue I’d had was feeling abandoned after my husband had gone to the nursery with the baby. Well, my mom had driven up and was there. I asked if there was a way she could come in with me once DH left with the new baby. Well, my OB and the anesthetist talked for a second, and said that BOTH DH and my mom could be in there for the whole time. That was so great. They got me in a wheelchair and took us down to the OR.<br><br>
DH and my mom got dressed in scrubs, and waited outside while the young strapping anesthetist put in my spinal. I had a really hard time arching my back enough, since I was still having massive contractions every 4 minutes. Finally it was in and I got situated. I had also mentioned how I hate having anything in my face, and how the drape the last time was up against me and really bothered me. So "T" (the handsome anesthetist...) put the drapes down a little further on my body, and the whole surgery he kept checking and adjusting them. He also let my non-iv arm out of the restraint once he was sure I wasn’t going to try to “help” with the surgery. So I didn’t have to lie there like I was crucified.<br><br>
My mom and DH got to be right there with me. The assisting surgeon was a family practitioner who ironically was scheduled to make a presentation to my LLL group the next day. During surgery, we all had a great time! We were talking and laughing. I asked about seeing the placenta afterward, and somehow we got into a discussion about how different cultures and beliefs use their placenta. The assisting surgeon talked about how she brought hers home and they planted a tree over it, and then one of their family pets is buried next to it. We talked about native Mainers vs. people who move in, and got to picking on my OB and T since they were both from out-of-state. It was such a friendly, enjoyable atmosphere. They kept me informed about what was going on the whole time, too.<br><br>
One issue did come up - I was full of scar tissue and adhesions, way more than they’d usually expect from someone with just one previous abdominal surgery. The OB said it was like cutting through concrete. It took them a really long time to get inside. It did answer my question about bowel pain I’d had earlier in my pregnancy , though. I had adhesions to my intestine in that area.<br><br>
So, at 9:50pm, Tuesday May 8, at 41w6d, they finally got the baby out. They lowered the drape some so my mom and Andrew could watch if they wanted, and brought her right up so I could see the baby really well. Everyone had gasped at the amount of dark hair she had, and the OB said he had been wrong in his estimate that this babe was going to be smaller than my 10 lb 4 oz firstborn- the baby was huge! They warmed and wrapped her and brought her right over so I could see her. She was so big and red, and holy cow - yes, lots of dark hair. Her face was really scrunched up, with a big crease going across from eyelid, across the bridge of her nose and to the other eyelid. Her nose was all purple and pressed in, looked like she had jammed her face up against something for a while! Hmm, maybe my pelvis?? They took her out to the nursery while they closed me up, and DH went with her. My mom stayed to keep me company. Everyone was talking about the baby and how she compared with our first. It was really nice. T kept us up-to-date on what was going on, too. They even brought over the placenta so I could see it - what an amazing thing it is. Eventually a nurse came in to tell us about the baby - 21” long, 15” head circumference and 10 lbs 15 oz for weight! Now wonder I felt so much pain in my hips and pelvis (they’re still achy two weeks later!).<br><br>
The really great thing was that even before they had me totally put back together, T asked if I could move my feet. I couldn’t feel them, but apparently wiggled my toes just fine. He announced I could go right back to my room - no stop in recovery! That was awesome. I could go right back in and meet and nurse my new daughter. My father-in-law had been staying with Elizabeth at our house, and he got her out of bed so they could come meet Catherine, and my mom was already there. It was really nice to have everyone there right away.<br><br>
They had me in bed with compression boots on until the next day, but let me get right up and around as soon as I wanted. I only had two instances where my pain got bad - once right at the 12 hour post-surgery point, when the injection I was given wore off, and once later when I was late getting my Motrin. I think I only took Percocet four times, and each time only a half-dose. Otherwise I was doing just Motrin. I felt pretty great right away, and as long as I didn’t overdo things, kept that way. I got to take a shower the next evening, and went home Friday afternoon.<br><br>
It was actually an amazing experience to have this c-section - I think it healed me as much as a successful VBAC may have. I still crave having a birth the way nature intended, but I don’t grieve the loss of it like I have in the past. I made the staff aware of my past bad experience, and they really went out of their way to give me a Birth rather than a surgery, and it made all the difference. I am so thankful that all of them respected my wishes and were encouraging the whole time. I couldn’t have asked for anything to be done differently.
 

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I'm so glad it worked out so well. Thanks for sharing the story!<br><br>
Have a wonderful babymoon... lots of quick healing vibes coming your way.<br><br>
xo robin
 

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Welcome Catherine, congratulations, mama!<br><br>
Heal quickly....<br><br>
Thank you for sharing your story with us.
 

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Congratulations! I'm glad this experience was so much better than your last! Having supportive people who understand you can make all the difference in the world.
 

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Welcome little one and congrats mama! I'm glad your birth was a loving and positive experience, even though it didn't go as planned! Heal quickly and well...<br><br>
(and don't forget to do some scar massage starting in a few weeks to maybe keep some of those adhesions away! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> )
 

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Congratulations, mama! It sounds like you did a wonderful job with the doctors, labor, and working things out to your comfort level. Enjoy your babymoon! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Congrats & enjoy the new little one!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/partytime.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="partytime"> Congratulations Mama!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/partytime.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="partytime"> Welcome baby Catherine <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/partytime.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="partytime">
 

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Congrats!<br><br>
You again remind me that it is all about feeling in control. I really feel that as long as women feel that they are in charge of what is going on, aren't manipulated or co-erced, then they feel happier about their births regardless of what happens. You may have wished your birth went in another direction, but at least you feel like you were the one in control.<br><br>
Just my opinion though...<br><br>
L
 

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I am sorry you didn't get your VBAC but it sounds like it worked out all in all for you and the baby. I very much want a VBAC but know I will be just fine if I have to end up with a c-section since I have a wonderful OB this time.<br><br>
Congrats to you and your sweet baby!
 

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What a nice story. I'm glad that you feel confident with your decisions and proud of how you handled everything. Congratulations on your new little girl!
 

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Congratulations! Your story brought a tear to my eye. I feel like it actually partly healed me too in a small way! You gave VBAC your best shot and trusted your instincts, and that is a very brave thing to do. It encourages me to plan a VBAC, as I know that a "positive" CBAC can happen too. Thanks.
 
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