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This is a guest post from Toni, who blogs at BecomingSchultz
As a mom who had a c-section I knew that I wanted my vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC) shortly after having my first. I know why was I even thinking about having another baby so soon? But I was.
Good thing too because when my oldest was 10 months I found out I was pregnant with my second meaning my VBAC attempt would be just 19 months after my c-section.
To say this didn’t scare me would be a lie!
Not only did I have to find a new hospital because the hospital I first delivered at didn’t allow VBACs I also had to hope that a local hospital would do VBACs and that I wouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail.
My VBAC Birth Story
My pregnancy was great! I had no issues, I was healthy, baby was healthy and all was going great. I had some intense prodromal labor that would start each and every night from 36 weeks until I finally had my little one.
Prodromal labor is false labor, yes contraction and yes discomfort but no cervical change and they stop. I never dealt with this in my first pregnancy and well these contractions left me heading to the OB unit twice.
Between living an hour away from the hospital and being a VBAC and an unsure mama we wanted to just be safe. There was one time where I did dilate in the hour I was there and was kept over night, but by morning my contractions had stopped.
Stressful am I right? And frustrating.
Start of Labor
It was 1am and I was again having contractions just like each and every night. I let my partner know who was at work and rolled over and cuddled with my toddler. By 3am I woke up again and was still having contractions and decided to get up and take a shower.
I was able to fall back asleep and I figured that by the time I woke they would be done. But at 5am I woke up and was still having contractions. So I decided to get a bite to eat and some water and try to time the contractions.
They were indeed consistent and 8 minutes apart. I was more than capable of walking, talking and cleaning through them so I didn’t think to much of it. Not to mention I was 40 weeks and 2 days and already had an appointment set up for the day with an ultrasound.
And I was going to make that appointment.
I cleaned the house and made the toddler breakfast while my partner slept until my appointment at 10am. By 8am my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was finally thinking this was the real deal.
Final Doctor Appointment
By the time I got to my appointment the contractions had intensified and I was having to stop and breath through them but I was determined to make it to and through my appointment.
I had my ultrasound and baby was looking just perfect, but big… not the words you want to hear as a mom trying to have a VBAC.
My heart sank, I didn’t want to fight for my VBAC because baby was “big”.
I am aware that ultrasounds are often times wrong and can be off by a few pounds so when I was told she was measuring 9lbs and her belly was actually too big for their machine to size I was nervous but even more determined to do this!
She didn’t know if I could do it
The doctor came in and said she didn’t know if I could do it. Again, not what I wanted to hear but I was going to do it. I couldn’t hear her tell me no.
I was now having contractions 2 minutes apart and I let her check me so we didn’t risk the 30 minute plus drive if I was already 8cm.
I was only 5 so we were sent up to the hospital.
The drive to the hospital while in labor
Oh the drive!
I will never forget that drive.
Even now nearly 2 years later every time I follow the route we took I can remember where we were for each of my contractions. On the drive all I did was focus on my breathing and what was outside as we drove by.
I will say sitting while in active labor was the most painful of positions. I was seriously in some pain, but once we got to the hospital I walked in and walked up to the OB unit without issues.
So because I was a VBAC patient I had to have a monitor on for all of labor to make sure that I didn’t rupture. We used a portable monitor so that I could still walk as I pleased.
By the time I got all checked in it was already noon and my contractions were still 2 minutes apart despite the fact I was only 5cm. I did agree to have an IV to see if maybe I was dehydrated and that is why they were coming so fast.
It didn’t help.
My oldest was with us and my partner was walking with her and keeping her happy while I was breathing and swaying through contractions. We were trying to get my mom or grandma to the hospital to take her so that he could help me but the timing was not working out.
By 2 the doctor had came up and checked me and I was at 8cm and my water had broke. By this point I was having some intense back labor and was already feeling the need to push even though I was not fully dilated.
I choose to labor on my knees with my elbows resting on the back of the bed while my nurse pushed on my lower back to apply some counter pressure.
My mom arrived!
I know that my mom wanted to enjoy seeing her grandchild come in to this world and I would have loved to have her there but my toddler was tired, and cranky.
I remember the intense back labor, and my 19 month old crying and whining. I need to be able to concentrate and she needed to go.
You can do anything for a minute
I was so thankful to have my partner there to help me with counter pressure and to tell me “you can do anything for a minute” during my contractions which at this point were coming on top of each other and I was struggling to feel like I could do it.
Nearing the end of labor
I know that this is the hardest time, that when you feel like you just can’t do it any more baby comes shortly after but I was feeling so unsure of myself.
I let the nurse check me and she informed me I was ready to push when ever I felt the need and she called to let the doctor know. Well the doctor was in a different part of the building at the clinic and was with a patient and would come up as soon as he was done.
The very first push was like heaven, the contraction didn’t hurt, I felt in power of my body and of the whole situation. I was ready to push and to keep pushing.
As I pushed I could feel my baby making her way down the birth canal and I knew that it wouldn’t be long. The nurse was in a bit of a panic calling to get the doctor to come up. By the time he arrived baby was right there and would be here in just few pushes.
He wanted me to give a small push to get out babies head and in about 2 seconds babies head was out. He said okay one big push for babies shoulders, and there she was in just a few seconds I had my baby. Right?
Oh so wrong. The doctor told me I was going to have to push again, in the moment I didn’t think much of it and I pushed. I pushed with everything I had left me and there she was placed on my chest and beautiful as ever.
You may be wondering what happened and frankly so was I. My partner informed me that she had her legs tucked up to her chest. WHAT?
No wonder I had to push to get her come down, and was having such intense back labor it all made sense.
But why? Why and how? Honestly that I will probably never know, but I can say 20 months later she is just as stubborn now as she was the day she was born!
With my first I didn’t even touch her for hours, I saw her for a second before she was wisked off to be checked in the nursery.
But this time, this time we snuggled for a few hours before we even knew what she weighed. My family is all very close and most got to be there for when she was weighed and we all made guesses!
My step dad was the closest…. she looked so small but she weighed in at 8lbs 1 oz. See her legs all tucked up made it hard to get a measurement on her belly.
But I did it! I pushed an 8lb baby out, my body could do it! I had such an incredible high and I wanted to do it again.
And how about the toddler? How was she with the baby?
She actually wanted nothing to do with me for a few hours but was so excited to see her baby sisters. That bond has continued to grow and I am so excited to say we are due with our third this June and we can not wait to see how this baby enters the world.
I want you to know if you are wanting a VBAC and think you can’t do it don’t doubt yourself. Remember our bodies are made for this and women do it each and every day.
If med free is what you want, you got this!!! When the worst of labor starts, baby is almost here! And believe me when baby is laid on you the pain is gone, and it was all worth it!
If you would like to share your own birth story, I’d love to add it! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org