|40 weeks 4 days|
From the moment that I had Aiden, via emergency c-section, I knew that I wanted my next experience to be different. I wasn't sure how but I just knew that I wasn't happy with the way things "went down". I struggled with the fact that I had a c-section and really took it hard emotionally! I hated not being able to get up and care for my baby the way I wanted to. I hated having to rely on others following his birth and not getting that moment of holding your precious baby immediately after he was born. When we found out we were pregnant again, I decided to see what my options were. After doing some research I decided on an all female practice that I had heard wonderful things about. At my 17 week appointment with one of the lead doctors her first words to me were this: "I am not sure how you feel about this but I think that based on your history you would be an excellent candidate for a VBAC. If possible, we feel that it is best for the baby to be born vaginally and obviously avoiding major surgery is best for you as well." aaaahhhh music to my ears! Of course, she had several conditions while attempting a VBAC and she made it very clear that I absolutely had to follow her guidelines in order to keep both the baby and myself cleared from any unnecessary risk. She promised me that if I went along with the plan, I would have the best possible chance at the outcome I wanted! If I didn't, I would be putting both myself and the baby at risk and she wouldn't even consider a VBAC attempt if we weren't on the same page! Here were her conditions:
1. She preferred, but did not insist, that I go into spontaneous labor...however if that didn't happen she would consider other options.
2. I absolutely HAD to have an epidural. No exception. I did not have an epidural with Aiden so she wanted to make sure that I was OK with getting an epidural and getting it early on. Her reasoning was that if I ruptured she would want to get the baby out as quickly as possible with out having to put me under and make me miss the birth.
3. I could not labor at home for any length of time. She wanted me and the baby to be constantly monitored and did not want me to try to labor at home in order to be evasive about how long I had been in labor. She also wanted to monitor me very closely using the methods below.
4. I must have a IUPC (intrauterine pressure catheter) and the baby must have a fetal scalp electrode. The IUPC is a tube that is inserted into the uterus that measures your contractions internally making for a more exact reading of the pressure on your uterus. The fetal scalp electrode is attached to the baby's head in the womb and measures the baby's heartrate along with the blood gas. Apparently a high blood gas means that the baby is in distress and is much more accurate than the fetal heart rate doppler that is usually placed on your stomach externally!
5. Her final condition was that I could, at any time, change my mind. If I EVER just wanted to throw in the towel and go for the c-section I could. She promised me that it was my choice and never too late to change my mind!
So, at my 40 week appointment (and in the weeks leading up to it) it was determined that I was only measuring 35 weeks and the baby had not dropped nor was he engaged in the birth canal. She felt like there was a possibility that my body was just done and to avoid any undue stress we would go ahead and schedule an induction. To be honest, I was devastated! I asked her for another week and she said that she would go ahead and schedule me for the induction in advance and give me a few more days but considering I went to 42 weeks with Aiden and ended up with a c-section she felt like I shouldn't go that route again. Since I was attempting a VBAC my induction would be a little different than a standard induction. At 40+4, I kissed Aiden goodbye and cried like a baby. I was leaving him an only child and would be returning with another member of our family! Everything was about to change and I was incredibly emotional about it.
At 6 am the nurse came in and woke me up. She said she was going to remove the foley before the doctor came in and let me do whatever I needed to do before things really started to pick up. Talk about relief....that dang foley was so uncomfortable and I just hoped that it was worth it! Leif headed down to the cafeteria to grab himself breakfast and just missed the arrival of one of my favorite doctors, with starbucks in hand, how dare she bring a starbucks in my room :-)! She checked me and I had successfully dilated to 4 cm which is what she had hoped for when she filled the foley. Dare I say that this was good news and a glimmer of hope? Dr. T and I went over the plan again and then things got started. Dr. T said she was going to break my water and I felt really nervous all of the sudden. I remember standing outside of my sisters room when her doctor broke her water and let's just say that I will never forget what I heard. Sorry Katie, but it really wasn't that bad. In fact I didn't even feel it...all I felt was a nice warm gush and that was it. Immediately after, Leif walked in and was incredibly disappointed that he missed all of the action. I guess he wanted to witness the breaking of the water for himself! After breaking my water Dr. T inserted both the IUPC and the fetal scalp electrode and the nurse started the Pitocin at the lowest possible dose. The plan was to increase it every 20 minutes until I was in a nice active labor pattern. Before she left, Dr. T said "are you ready for the epidural?" I hadn't even felt anything yet so I politely declined. Her parting words were "remember our agreement, sooner rather than later OK?" Got it Dr. T! Sure enough, every 15-20 minutes the nurse was in my room cranking up the pitocin and every so often Dr. T would pop her head in the room and say "I really wish you would get uncomfortable enough for the epidural". After about an hour I was 5cm, an hour later I was 6cm. I was cautiously optimistic that things were moving in the right direction. By the time I was at 6 cm I felt like I had waited long enough and my nurse suggested I go ahead and start the fluids and call for the anesthesiologist prior to lunch time because apparently things start to pick up around that time! At this point I was fully aware of each and every contraction. Every 2 minutes with out missing a beat I would have to pause and really breathe my way through the pain. It wasn't unbearable but certainly painful and knowing now how long I would labor, I am glad I didn't have the option to try to go "all natural". My experience was much more "enjoyable" with a little pain management!
Once the anesthesiologist came in, Leif had to leave the room (hospital rules) and they informed me that despite my contractions, once he got started he could not stop and I could not move during contractions. I asked if I could sit in "Indian style" which seemed much more comfortable and everyone in the room doubted that I could even get in that position. HA...I showed them! Not to pat myself on the back but the anesthesiologist said I was the calmest labor and delivery patient. NICE!!! When he was done and the catheter was in there was nothing left to do but wait...and eat popsicles...no eating real food for me until the baby arrives!
|watching my contractions closely|
The next time she checked she said I was "pretty much an 8" Everyone was really excited but I started to get very nervous. This was really happening! Dr. L said that she would not call it a successful VBAC, even though I was progressing, until the baby is out and on my chest. By this time I was starving, had an awful headache, and I really wanted to just close my eyes. My mom and her best friend Deanna were visiting and I asked them to leave so I could have some time to relax. I asked Leif to turn off the lights and turn off the TV and as silly as it may sound, I laid there for the next hour, prayed and visualized myself giving birth! I know that may be so corny but it is the absolute truth! I just kept picturing our boys arrival and that moment that I had literally dreamt of for so long. After about an hour Dr. L came in and I was still 8 cm but I was now +2 station and she said that although I was still 8, she definitely felt like I had really progressed! There was a part of me that was incredibly discouraged and another part of me that wouldn't even allow negative thoughts to consume me. I wanted this so badly! The next time Dr. L came in she said I was 8-9 cm. I think she was trying keep my hope alive by adding the 9 cm into the mix. Once she left the room the nurse told me that she thought if they flipped me from side to side every half hour that it would encourage the baby to move down farther into the birth canal. So for the next hour I was laying on my sides trying to encourage my boy to move on down! I, of course, was talking to him the whole time. "Come on sweet boy...help me out". I asked the nurse if she had any other tricks up her sleeve and she just gave me a wink! I was desperate to avoid a c-section...I literally would have attempted a head stand or the splits if I thought that would help! Dr. L came in and checked me again...no progress. The next thing out of her mouth really proves to me that she is the type of doctor that has her patients best interest at heart. She said "You have come too far to get stuck at 8-9 cm and end up with a C-section. Let's push!" So she left the room to get the nurse and I panicked. I had never heard of anyone pushing at 8-9 cm. All of the sudden my stomach felt soft (he had entered the birth canal) and I felt like I had to use the bathroom, if you know what I mean ;-) She came back in checked me and said "ok, you have a thin lip around your cervix and the baby's head is a little tilted to the side so let's see what pushing does?" I told her how I was feeling and she assured me that all of that was a good sign and so we started pushing...just a little after 9pm. My first push was pointless, I couldn't feel a thing, so guess what that means! The epidural was turned down and I continued to push. After a few pushes the nurse had another trick up her sleeve. Judy suggested that I get on my hands and knees to encourage the baby's head to straighten out. Well, maneuvering my body when I can't feel my legs was definitely interesting. I stayed on my hands and knees as long as I could but tired very quickly. I did not like the feeling of the contractions while on my hands and knees and I hated pushing in that position. So, I get flipped over again and continued to push.
While I was pushing I had asked Leif to just be silent. He was there, holding my leg but I really wanted things to be quiet, calm, and I wanted to focus on what I was doing. Never in a million years did I think I would need to actually concentrate while pushing. Grab your legs, curl into a ball, relax your elbows, act like you are doing a sit up, push into your bottom and now hold that position for 3 sets of 10. HUH???
Leif was amazing. He held my leg, listened to my instructions (he would get excited and push my leg into the bed when things were intense), and kept me hydrated and calm. Dr. L had told me that once she broke down the bed she meant business and there was no turning back. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I remember apologizing often because I would wimp out by my third set of 10. I would usually push really hard for the first 2 rounds of a 10 count and then get to 6 or 7 on the 3rd set and just melt into the bed. Dr. L kept telling me that I was too calm and quiet and although that was my hope, I felt like I was mentally panicked! I wanted it so bad but I really had no idea if I was on the right track. She kept telling me that most women were begging for a c-section at this point. That they would yell and cuss at her and tell her to get the baby out but I just closed my eyes and tuned everything out. Finally, Dr. L said "ok, rest through these contractions while I break down the bed and we get our scrubs on." Really???? I could NOT believe that I was so close. It was "GO TIME". Both Dr. L and Leif were in scrubs and she said "ok, any one of these pushes could deliver your baby". She told Leif to continue to hold my leg and she would call him down when it was time. I had asked if I could feel his head and now was my chance. I was exhausted and didn't even feel like exerting the extra effort but I knew that this was a one time opportunity. So I reached down and felt his head...that was definitely my incentive to push as hard as I could...He was right there...I was so close. The next thing I know, Leif was in position with Dr. L and she said "don't stop pushing he is coming out". I just kept pushing as hard and I could and the next thing I know, I heard Dr. L say "there's the head pull him out Dad". Suddenly I felt relief and I looked up to Leif holding our boy and putting him on my chest. Easton Edward arrived at 10:32 pm with a short cry and then he just laid on my chest and looked into my eyes. Both Leif and I were in amazement. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry. I think I did a little of both. I just remember saying "I did it, I can't believe I did it" and I honestly couldn't believe that I did. It's not that I didn't think I could but I just tried to remain realistic through out my whole pregnancy.
The moment I had pictured and hoped for was finally here. He was all mine, on my chest and in my arms, for the next 2 hours. I cleaned him off, made the first eye contact with him, and even got peed on. We loved on him and each other and enjoyed every minute of it!
So many people had told me that a vaginal birth really wasn't what you would expect and not all that it is cracked up to be. I would say that in a way they were right, but for me it was absolutely better than I could have ever imagined...my experience was long and exhausting but it was everything I wanted. It was calm, quiet, personal, emotional and better than anything I could have hoped for. I had visions of that moment when your baby is placed on your chest...I wanted that moment so badly and it was so worth it. There are no words for how amazing this moment was...
|Completely worth it|
|Dr. Daddy did a good job!|
|about 20 minutes after delivery|
|Welcome to the world Easton|
I am still in shock that everything worked out in our favor but feel so fortunate that we were able to have such a wonderful experience! I have 2 completely different birth stories but certainly feel like each one reminds me of how lucky I am to have these 2 amazing boys to call me Mommy!!!