Warning: this post is pretty long, but I tried to record everything from my birth story. I don’t want to forget anything. I not only want to share my story with all of you but I also want to have it as a memory for myself to look back on.
If you read my birth story for Jack, (Read that story HERE) you already know that he was born by c-section. It was unexpected and caused because his head was facing up and no matter how hard I pushed he wouldn’t come out. I was never against having another c-section birth, but I wanted to avoid it if I could. A c-section is major abdominal surgery and I worried how I’d recover with a newborn and a 4-year-old at home with me. My first choice was to try a VBAC first and let the baby come naturally. I also knew that I didn’t want to go past that 40-week mark, so I scheduled a back-up repeat c-section for 39 weeks. I honestly didn’t know what to expect this time around, so I prepared myself for anything.
My story starts…
It all started at my 36-week doctor’s appointment. I had an ultrasound done at 34 weeks and the technician had told me that the baby’s head was down, but she was transverse, which I took as I’ll probably have a c-section. My doctor did a quick ultrasound herself to confirm the baby’s position and she told me that her head was down and she was in a fine position to try for a VBAC delivery. She asked if I wanted to be checked for dilation and I told her yes. When she checked me she said, “wow you’re already 3 cm dilated”. I was so surprised. I responded with “seriously?! But does that mean anything?” She said not necessarily, but there was a good possibility that I’d go into labor naturally before my scheduled c-section. I went home excited that things might happen soon, but I was also careful not to get my hopes up too much. My next appointment was a few days later, with a different doctor who was scheduled to do my c-section. She checked for dilation again and said I was around 3-31/2 cm. We talked about the VBAC a little more and she told me that I could always be induced if I don’t go into labor by my c-section date. I was pretty convinced that this baby would show up on her own soon. The next week every contraction I had I’d wonder if it was going to get more intense or if they would become regular, but nothing. I felt like a ticking time bomb. Each time I sat down the pee I wondered if my water would break like it did last time.
The next week I headed back for my last prenatal appointment. During my non-stress test, I noticed that I was having a lot of contractions. I watched the numbers go up pretty high. They hurt mildly but felt nothing like the true labor contractions I felt when I had Jack. My doctor checked once more for dilation and I was at 4 cm. She asked me again if I’d be open to inducing. I told her I had my heart set on getting this baby out as soon as I could and I didn’t want to wait until 40 weeks. She said because of my age I could be induced at 39 weeks. I also had the understanding that if you’ve already had a c-section you can’t be induced. The inducing processes can increase a uterine rupture which was my biggest fear about having a VBAC. The doctor explained to me that because I was already dilated to 4 cm, I wouldn’t have to go through all the steps of a true induction to start my labor and that would leave me with little risk. She said I was already dilated enough that I could come in, get an epidural, then they would break my water and see what happened. I didn’t even have to feel the contractions that way. I was sold. If I could make this birth a little easier than my first I wanted to at least try. I scheduled my induction for the only spot that week, which was at 3 am on Sunday morning, but I still thought I wouldn’t need it. I was so convinced I was going to go into labor on my own.
Saturday rolled around and still no signs of active labor. Kevin’s parents came and picked up Jack to bring him back to their house for the week. I felt good knowing that the whole Jack situation was taken care of. I was worrying for months about how we would handle waiting for him to be picked up if I went into labor quickly. Even though I was happy to know he would be well taken care of, it was really hard to leave him. After 3 months of quarantine and being with him day in and day out, I was sad to say goodbye. The rest of the day seemed like the longest day ever. I showered before bed and made sure everything was ready to go in the morning. That night I couldn’t sleep at all. I don’t think I fell asleep until after 12 am. At 1:45 am I was woken up to the sound of the alarm. It was baby time!
|This picture I took while I was in triage waiting to go to the delivery room.|
Let me tell you, going to the hospital when you are not in active labor is a totally different experience than going to the hospital with painful contractions. You see everything so clearly. I was pretty calm about it all though. I was just looking forward to getting it all over with and meeting my little girl.
When we got to the hospital they had me change into a gown and then did all the check-in procedures, including a COVID-19 test. That was much more unpleasant than I thought it would be. It literally felt like it was poking my brain. But the good news was I was negative. While waiting for my results the nurse started my IV and took blood. I hadn’t eaten at all since it was still the early hours of the morning. I ended up passing out while getting the IV. I use to be notorious for passing out with needles, but I hadn’t done it in years. All that stuff didn’t hurt that bad the first time around because like I said, I was in active labor and that was hurting way more than all the pokes.
Once I was done in triage they moved me upstairs to the labor and delivery room. The nurses asked me if I preferred to have a doctor or midwife deliver the baby. I didn’t have a preference because I had seen both throughout my prenatal visits. I ended up with the midwife who was working that day. Around 6 am the midwife came in to check my dilation and she also broke my water. That was a weird and much different experience than when my water broke naturally with Jack. I didn’t like the feeling of fluids gushing out of me all over the bed. That was when everything got really real for me. I remember crying after everyone left the room because I was a little scared of everything that was about to start happening.
It took about 3 hours for contractions to start to really kick in. I sat there and just tried to relax. I watched a marathon of Sex and the City, which kept my mind off things, while I waited for the contractions to start. At 9 am when the nurse came in to check on me, I asked her about the epidural. She said I could get it whenever I wanted. I knew that I wanted the epidural, but I also didn’t want to be a total wimp. I figured I could wait until I felt some decent contractions before I got it. I told the nurse I would hold off until 10:00 or at least until the contractions started to hurt. My goodness was that a bad idea. I must have jinxed myself because right after the nurse left the room I started having strong contractions. Within 20 minutes my pain level went from a 2 to a 10. By 9:30 I was begging for the epidural. They started it around 10 am. I couldn’t wait to make the pain go away. Once it was all done and the medicine started to kick in the nurse checked me and I was at 10 cm. It was time to push already.
Meeting my baby…
I was really nervous about the pushing part because last time with Jack pushing was the hardest part. This time was no different. I started pushing around 11 am. Even though I had an epidural, it didn’t feel like it was as strong as the one I had with Jack. I still felt a lot of pressure like I had to poop. I felt most of the contractions and I could feel the baby starting to come down, but it wasn’t enough. There was something off in my pelvis according to my midwife and it was making it hard for the baby to come down into the birth canal. I stopped pushing for a while and sat in a position on my side to help bring her down for a 1/2 hour or so. I took a little break and tried to rest up for more pushing. At 12 pm I started to push again. After about an hour it was hard to know if I would be able to push this baby out. I could tell that Kevin was losing hope and thinking I’d need another c-section. I was losing hope too, yet I was so close. Finally, my midwife did something to loosen up the baby’s head and I gave a big push. Just then the energy in the room completely changed. My midwife was smiling and almost crying. She was so happy that her idea had worked. All of a sudden Kevin jumped up and started encouraging me to keep going. Not like he wasn’t encouraging before, but instead of him asking me if I wanted more pain medicine he was actually telling me I could do it and I was so close. Everyone in the room regained their faith in this birth at that point. Before I knew it I gave a big push and this beautiful little human came out and was placed on my chest. I couldn’t believe it. I remember saying, “oh my gosh, that’s my baby?!” All I noticed was the full head of dark long hair. I couldn’t believe she was mine. It was amazing.
Anna Elizabeth came into the world at 1:37 pm on June 14, 2020. She weighed 8lb 3oz and was 21in length. I spent the first hour or so laying skin to skin with her. It was all pretty surreal. The hardest thing for me during Jack’s birth was not being able to hold him right away. I ended up having a 3rd-degree tear, which was no fun, but still a lot easier than a c-section insition. For a minute there I was starting to regret not just going with the scheduled c-section, but when it was all over I was so happy and grateful that I was able to have a successful VBAC. Already my recovery this time around has been night and day. Both of my birth experiences have just made me realize how strong we are as women. Our bodies are pretty amazing. The fact that we can go through the entire 9 months of pregnancy and then deliver a baby and just go home the next day is remarkable.
|The family picture I didn’t get the first time around.|
|So in love with my little girl!|
Thank you all for your good wishes and your support through this pregnancy. It means a lot to me. We are now home just enjoying the newborn stage and trying to get used to being a mom of 2. Follow me on Instagram (HERE) for more daily posts of Anna and mom talk.