The mission of ICAN of Jackson, MS is to educate and empower women to prevent unecessary cesareans, support those who are healing emotionally and physically from a cesarean or traumatic vaginal birth and advocate for VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). We meet monthly. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending a meeting.
Friday, June 7, 2013
Baby number eight...VBAC!
In writing this birth story, I am hoping to not only record one of the most incredible evnets of my life, but also to give home to someone who may be wondering if it's possible to have a beautiful birth exerience after a less than great one. Many people think that I needed "healing" after the csection birth of my seventh child. Not true. The csection I believe was an act of mercy.. from Someone who knew I was not ready to deal with the intense fear and emotion that came from the traumatic vaginal birth of my 6th child. That story is for another day.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I knew immediately I had decisions to make. As much as I liked my ob and the hospital I had delivered at, I could not have a vbac if I used them. I decided to use my daughter's ob... the one who allowed her to deliver her little girl vaginal breech. I knew if he could handle that without so much as breaking a sweat, he could handle an old mom who just wanted to avoid surgery. I have to say there is comfort in the familiar.. even if the familiar is bad for you. There were times I wondered if I should just go with the flow and stay with my former ob and have a repeat csection. I'm so glad I didn't.
My pregnancy was considerably uneventful for someone who had so many "risk factors" . Overweight, many children, a big "AMA" stamped across my forehead, and high bloodpressure. Dr. W was awesome about making me feel "normal" for once.. He never acted like I was a ticking timebomb of liability or a malpractice suit waiting to happen. It was nice to see him each visit.. even though he picked on me and called me "grandma" (he did deliver my granddaughter after all) I actually looked forward to my doctor visits.
There was a certain amount of disconnect during my pregnancy. I dreaded the birth. I didn't want to be in a situation where I had no control. I was afraid of not having the support of the ones from whom I needed it most. The days and weeks flew by. At 20 weeks we found out we were having a boy. I was shocked.. after three girls in a row it didn't seem possible. It felt real. I started allowing myself to get a little excited and to love this little boy growing as fast as he could inside me.
My due date was May 16th. I was quite sure I would likely go a little early. During my 37th week I began having bouts of frustratingly strong contractions. Several times I got my hopes up only to become exhausted and let down. I was tired.
On May 5th, my second daughter's 8th birthday, I woke up feeling strangely rested. I wasn't having those annoying contractions, and felt more energy than I had in weeks. I left the other kids with daddy while I took my birthday girl out for some one on one time. We shopped, ate at Olive Garden...stopped for ice cream...It was a good day. It was also the calm before the storm.
That night I was up a couple times with a bit of tummy trouble. I wasn't ready to blame early labor yet, considering I did eat some crazy amounts of Italian food and ice cream the day before. Later that morning, however my suspicions were heightened with the return of contractions and now, bloody show. Was it time?
I tried not to get excited. My sweet daughter, (who was also my doula) offered to come over. If nothing else, her company and playing with my grandbaby would be a welcome distraction. We visited, I bounced on the birth ball. Contractions kept coming, but never really intensifying.. they were "beyond braxton hicks" but never became more than around 20 minutes apart. I did this all afternoon. Dinner time came and nothing seemed to be changing, so she went home to take care of her family. I had already prepared our dinner, as the boys had scouts that night, so I decided to lay down and rest. I didn't want to encourage labor at this point, because one of my biggest fears was dealing with a painful labor with no sleep.. btdt. Hubby came home, asked me if it was safe to go ahead and take the boys. I told him to go ahead, nothing had changed. Or maybe I was in serious denial. I had a contraction, then just a few minutes later had another. This raised the attention of my husband who decided he was not about to take the boys considering I began having contractions less than 10 minutes apart. He got a quick shower, so did I... the contractions continued. Since I was group b strep positive I knew we had a window of opportunity to get there and get the antibiotics. I still wasn't "completely" sure I was in labor, but was ready to at least go find out for sure. I texted my daughter...come over.
We gathered our stuff headed out the door. I hugged and kissed my babies.. for some reason leaving for a birth is always a bit emotional for me. I'm not so nieve as to think bad things never happen. I said a silent prayer for my children, and the safety of the birth.
We arrived at the hospital about 7:45 or so that night. The first contraction in the parking lot was quite intense.. I leaned on the truck for support. The sunset was stunning. Once at the labor and delivery floor, we were shown to our room.. My daughter left our granddaughter with us while she ran to her car to get something.. what a sight we were carrying a baby and me being hugely pregnant and obviously in labor. ha! The nurses were quick to confirm that I was indeed in labor, contracting every few minutes and 4-5 cm dilated. I appreciated their swiftness, it allowed me to at least get one dose of antibiotics. I was also told as soon as the meds ran in my iv, I could be unhooked with only a heplock. yay!!! No swelling from being pumped full of fluids!
My sister called and asked if she should come.. I was sure we were in for a long night, and told her we would likely just be sitting there for a while. I felt bad but she did have to work the next day and I didn't want her to sit with me all night only to not be there for the birth.. and be sleep deprived the next day. Boy was I wrong about how the evening's events would transpire..
When Dr. W came it I was very relieved to see him. One of my fears was that he wouldn't be on call. He checked me.. and announced "Hmm.. we have a hand" WHAT???? Before I could really process what was happening, he attempted to get baby to move his hand off his head by pinching his fingers. That didn't work. There was no time for me to become afraid.. he asked the nurse to aply fundal pressure while he slowly broke my water and repositioned his hand. This was the most painful part of my labor.
I thought I closed my eyes. I was told I didn't, and had a frightfully spaced out look on my face. I remember the intense pressure, the feeling of fluid flowing out.. but I was strangely calm. I trusted him. Within what seemed like seconds it was over.. Baby's hand was back out of the way, and only his little head on the cervix. Now all we had to do was just wait for appearance. My sister did come.. I'm so glad she did. We missed so much growing up I was thankful she would be with me for the birth. My sweet grandbaby fussed herself to sleep. My daughter was concerned it was bothering me.. nope. She was a sweet distraction.
Now off the monitor and iv, I was free to move.. I stayed in bed sitting up.. astonished at the powerful contractions that still were not very painful despite my ruptured membranes. I talked and laughed through them.. until that moment things suddenly got REAL. I felt a shift in the intensity and knew I had to get out of that bed. I stood, walked, went to the bathroom.. never stopped by the nurses. They were great. At some point in all this, Dr. W asked my daughter if she would like to "catch" AWESOME. Of course she would!!! He asked for another gown and gloves to be brought for her. By this time I was 8ish cm.. I did begin to let those scary thoughts enter my mind.. what if it gets too intense? It was like I was waiting for the worst. I leaned on the birth ball. I rocked. I walked. I mumbled prayers.. God please give me strength to handle this.. I knew the pain was going to be much much worse.. I was waiting for it. Checked again, still 8. how much longer? My daughter told me I was doing so good.. I remember her speaking to me.. though I can't remembre everything she said. Just her voice. Her sweet soft voice was soothing. It kept me grounded. My husband was there. Calm. Just there.. just what I needed.
The urge to push. It was almost time.. not quite. I stood through a couple more contractions. Back on the bed to check... 9 cm.. The sweet nurse thinks I can push past it. She's right. Dr W and my daughter suit up. Time to meet baby.
The first few pushes felt ineffective.. then I could feel him come down and they felt so much more purposeful. I listened to Dr. W guide my daughter in easing her baby brother earthside.. I reached for my husband.. he was there. Silent support. I didn't let him go. Pushing. Couple more... I felt his head emerge... deep breath, one final push..
warm, heavy, vernix covered baby boy. oh my God.. He was pink, but wasn't crying.. no worries. I rubbed him, he was breathing well, just wasn't too very upset about things. One more push for the placenta. I pulled him closer once the cord was cut. (not sure why his cord was so short??)
He cries a bit.. still warm on my chest...oh that feeling. I wish I could bottle it up and experience it again and again..
After a while I handed him off for a quick assesment by the nurse (there was a tiny bit of meconium in the fluid) he was then placed back skin to skin where he belonged. I thought I would cuddle him and wait for him to show signs of being ready to eat.. nope.. he began rooting immediately. No effort what so ever to get this boy latched.. He did it all by himself! Little man was born ready to eat and nursed for almost an hour.
I still get teary thinking about what an incredible experience his birth was. Oh, and that horrible pain I kept waiting for? It never came. I am so blessed by the whole experience. Did a healing take place? Yes. And with it came such a precious gift.