As I look at my 2 month old swaddled in my right arm and I type with my left, I still can’t believe that we brought this little guy into the world. It’s been a great couple of months with lots of events and visitors but it’s also been great because of my short recovery time due to a great VBAC birth story. (This is a LONG post so I won’t be offended if you skip this)
My doctor was extremely optimistic for our attempted VBAC and so was I (see former post here to catch up)! I could, yet couldn’t wait for the whole labor process to begin. May 17th at about 8:30am, regular contractions started — lasting about 30 seconds and occuring every 8 minutes. I also had a doctor’s appointment at 9:30. I was opting to not get “checked” by the doctor in prior appointments as I didn’t want to be disappointed OR get excited too quickly; we continued with this trend at this appointment. My doctors said that if regular contractions were beginning, I’d probably have the baby that weekend (it was Friday).
Work was fine. I was training my temp and I simply carried on but knew that this would be my last day for the summer. The pain was mostly in my back, this is how I knew my body was progressing as I had horrendous back labor for baby 1. After work, Little bug and I continued with our regular Friday night Movie Night ritual. Hubby’s work told him to go home at 9. All I thought was, “you really didn’t have to you know.”
11pm into bed. Contractions were every 6 minutes but totally bareable.
11:30pm: Contractions made a 180 turn. Extremely painful and about 3 to 4 minutes apart…JUST LIKE THAT!
I didn’t wake hubby up until about 12:15am when I told him we better start properly timing these. Just as I thought — 3 to 4 minutes. I was standing up during contractions now and leaning over our chest of drawers trying to find some sort of breathing technique that would relax me. Before I knew it, I was in so much pain that I was on the bed in between contractions so I could rest. Tub-time started at about 1:30 and hubby called our doctor. I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS, but because of my c-section, I would need extra monitoring. My doc was at the hospital anyway and wanted me to check-in. We called my dad to come and watch little bug. I ate some oatmeal muffins and we were in the car for the 15 minute drive to the hospital. Contractions in the car SUCK, especially railroad tracks!
Slippers on, no makeup, no hair done, in PJ/workout clothes we entered the ER and about 4 awful contractions later I was finally in “my” room. Speaking of checking in, why does it take ages and why are the check-in people so boring? No customers service skills on that shift.
My biggest fear was that I would be 1cm dialated. I was extremely tense when the nursed entered to check me.
The verdict, 3cm, thank god. Normally I needed to be 4cm to be admitted but they heard how “real” my contractions were and got me a room.
For the next couple of hours I went through excruciating contractions, coping through them by holding on to hubby’s waist while a swayed my hips back and forth. Inbetween contractions I would rest in bed. the nursing staff was very respectful of my wishes and never asked me about pain medications. Their encouragement was wonderful. Hubby stayed quiet and calming which is exactly what I needed. Eventually around 5:30am I was able to be in the shower for 30 minutes, but ONLY 30 minutes as I needed to go back on the monitor. I also want to note that I had very, very low blood pressure and they wanted to keep an eye on this. The shower was GLORIOUS and 30 minutes felt like 5. I was so sad what it ended.
Around 7am…STILL 3 cm. What the heck!
My doctor examined me and looked at me with the most caring eyes and asked if I would consider being put on the drug fentanyl to relax me a bit. I would still feel everything but in a chilled out version. I instantly was in tears. I was seeing my natural childbirth go down the drain already; in my mind, they were already telling me that I was going to have a C-section. I knew this could be the start of what I dreaded could happen. But…I had been in painful labor for a while and the pain was only going to get worse. I caved.
Fentanyl sucks people, SUCKS! Sure, it relaxes you a tiny bit but the terrible back labor was worse because I HAD to stay in bed so there was no more using hubby to get me through the contractions. The first round of Fentanyl I was “ok” but the second round, I was fed up. I was in more pain than ever. I needed to find a way to cope while being stuck in bed. I experimented with different breathing techniques and what ended up getting me through the contraction was doing deep breathing while saying the work “relax” very slowly — relaaaaax, relaaaax — and this made jackhammer-in-the-back contractions more bearable.
Of course at this time, the nurse walks in to examine me. I’m bawling the whole time expecting 3cm still.
5cm! Progress but I could not and would not continue on Fentanyl. The doctor came and I was more than thrilled to get the dreaded epidural. Again, I was hysterical. HERE entered the next intervention. That was one step closer to surgery, I was sad and angry. Waiting for the epidural sucks and luckily needles don’t bother me so I couldn’t even feel it when they administed it…of course it was right during a contraction but I just did my coping breathing and didn’t flinch once! I was pumped I had finally gotten the breathing down so I was feeling like a bit of a failure for caving…what if I could have kept it up? But, when the epidural kicked in (around 9:30am) I was so happy to finally sleep.
The next couple of hours I was only on the epidural (no pitocin) and was in and out of sleep. Time went by at a snails pace. My blood pressure and baby’s heart rate stayed good. Of course when the nurse checked me around 11:30, no progress…here came the pitocin. Lovely, just what I wanted, barf! I knew the pitocin would be coming at some point, so I was not surprised.
Luckily I was still able to go in and out of sleep but that clock did not move, I swear. I remember one time thinking I had slept for an hour and only 10 minutes went by. Nothing on the I-pad was helping. I chilled as much as possible and just kept checking the baby’s heartrate, please don’t go down or up too much.
I remember hitting 8cm around 2pm and I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT! I was progressing. I also knew it was getting serious as the pressure was really increasing. I could still feel each contraction this entire time of having the epidural but now they were becoming painful and I was starting to do some breathing techniques again. I was delighted when the nurse told me that she was taking me off pitocin because my body had taken over and was doing the work! Sweet!
Over the next 2 hours I watched Friends and breathed through contractions as they got more painful with each one. Friends was a perfect distraction. At 4pm the nurse said that I would need to go about 1 more hour and then I could start pushing! We were almost there.
45 minutes later we buzzed the nurse who got the doctor and we were ready to get the pushing started. The nursing staff was amazing at coaching me how to push. If I was doing it wrong, they would instruct on how to correct. The encouragement was awesome! This was my moment, I felt so strong in my core. I felt that all those burpees, planks, pilates and yoga sessions during pregnancy were coming into play and paying off. This is what I had worked hard to get to. What felt like 5 minutes was actually 45 minutes of pushing. Right before the final 2 pushes my doctor informed the staff that the sex was unknown and that hubby was going to call out the sex. Two crazy pushes later at 5:18, at the same time I opened my eyes, hubby called out, “it’s a boy.”
I couldn’t believe it — 1.) that it was a boy and 2.) that we had done it, I had gotten my VBAC!
What my Spanish doctor said (three years ago) I would never be able to do – I did! Even after delivery my doctor commented said that she didn’t know if we’d be able to make it happen. My tilted cervix made it so that Chase have to “turn a corner” which is what led to my intense back-labor and a little more hands-on work from the doc. She said, “I never met anyone who wanted a VBAC so much!”
After 18 hard hours and a lot of tears we had our baby boy and our family was complete. I was on a high and felt amazing.
I didn’t look amazing but you know what, pretty hair and makeup would not show the real story of my labor. I’m proud of how crappy I look; I earned the right to look this terrible ;)
There, that’s better!
I’m very happy with my birth story. No, it was not the natural hippie granola childbirth I dreamed of, but every decision that happened was my choice and I was in control of each step. I was thrilled that in the end my body worked for me and I felt more than I expected I would with an epidural. And no matter what, you just can’t beat the end result; a healthy and happy baby!