Happy Monday everyone :).
I’m back after a week of snuggling with my little Christmas miracle! Santa came early to our house this year. Our perfect baby girl, Daniela Marie, was born on Friday, December 13th at 3:35 a.m., weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and measuring 20.5 inches long. We have been truly blessed this Christmas and I’m thrilled to celebrate this holiday as a family of four.
I went into labor a few hours after I put up my last blog post about how I desperately needed to go into spontaneous labor. Well, acupuncture definitely did the trick! I couldn’t believe it. After the acupuncturist placed the needles I started having consistent contractions five minutes apart. At first I thought they would go away after I finished the treatment, but they continued on the car ride home and started getting stronger. I knew this was definitely it.
I finished packing my hospital bag, did some laundry and prepared everything to be in order for my Mom who was watching Philip, my 23 month old son. Around 11 p.m. I knew I had to try to get some sleep so I listened to my Hypnobirthing tracks and tried to relax as best I could. I would fall asleep but got woken up every few minutes from the contractions. Since I dilated fairly quickly with my son I thought I would be progressing quickly because it’s supposed to go faster with your second baby, right? Apparently that’s not always the case as I found out.
I spoke to my midwife Vanessa and we decided around 6 a.m. that it was time to come in. So, after a night of no sleep we took the half hour drive to the hospital and were placed in a labor and delivery triage room. When Vanessa checked me I was only three centimeters dilated…ugh! Since I was trying for a VBAC, Vanessa knew that it was too soon for me to be admitted because I would immediately go on the clock, and if I didn’t progress fast enough the OB affiliated with my midwifery group would want to do a C-Section.
Vanessa was right so we decided to go have breakfast. I knew I needed to eat since we would probably have a long day ahead of us. Around 9:00 a.m. we found a Dunkin Donuts and I was able to eat half a bagel and drink some water. We hung out there for a while as I labored in Dunkin Donuts.
At 11:00 a.m. we headed to my midwife’s office to be checked again….only 3.5 centimeters dilated! I was so frustrated. Vanessa then suggested that we go back home or go to the mall to do some laps. I didn’t want to drive all the way home since it would be an hour round trip back to the hospital, and also because I had a full house there with my son.
We decided to head to the mall and as soon as we got there my contractions were stopping me in my tracks and I had to stop and breathe through them. We walked around and sat for about two hours. I must have been obviously in labor as random people were walking up to me asking if I was okay. I just smiled and told them I was ok…just in labor :).
I know this probably sounds crazy to you so far but I wanted a VBAC so badly and I was going to do everything I possibly could to increase my chances…even if it meant Christmas shopping while in active labor :).
Ok, back to the story…
I knew I should eat something else even though I wasn’t hungry at all, so our next stop was to Whole Foods where I had some vegetable soup. I REALLY started getting uncomfortable so we decided it was time to head back to the hospital.
At 4:00 p.m. I was placed back into a labor and delivery triage room and I was still only 4 centimeters dilated! This is the point where most women in labor would be admitted, but my midwife, Katie, still wanted me to be further along so she recommended that I walk the hospital for a few hours. Ahh! I cringed at the thought because I just wanted to get settled into a room so I could try to relax, but I knew she was right so I got dressed again and we walked.
At 6:00 p.m. my husband was hungry so we headed to the hospital cafeteria. I had some tea and he ate. My contractions were getting worse and were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point. I was very uncomfortable and knew it was time to get admitted. We headed back to the third floor…again…and they admit me right away.
Katie came in to check me at 7:00 p.m. and I was now five centimeters dilated. Ok…half way there…we were making some sort of progress.
After I got my blood drawn and my nurse placed my hep-lock (IV catheter), I knew I wanted to get into the tub immediately with hopes it would relax my body and I would dilate faster. I spent about forty minutes in the tub and it was giving me some sort of relief. I was still staying on top of my contractions and breathing through them…also while squeezing Phil’s hand with a death grip.
While in the tub, Dr. Miller, the OB affiliated with my midwife group, came in to introduce herself and delivered the horrible news that she didn’t feel very optimistic about my VBAC because she “didn’t like my contraction pattern.” She wanted to see them about every five minutes for a minute and a half long and instead they were every three minutes for about 45 seconds. She told me she would check me again at 9:00 p.m.
I was devastated. Just hearing the negativity and because I was in labor for so long, I started to cry thinking there was a possibility after going through all of this, that I would end up with another C-Section. Phil then put my mind back on track and told me to think positive and encouraged me that I could do it.
When Dr. Miller came back to check me at 9:00 p.m. I was seven centimeters dilated. Yay!!! She was happy and this gave me hope again. The nurses started to prep the room for delivery and I knew that I wasn’t far from achieving my VBAC. She told me she would come back at midnight to check me again.
This is when things started to get serious…contraction wise I mean. They were on top of each other with hardly any break in between and I was starting to lose control because this was now the second night without sleep after a long day in labor. Now I started to throw up while having contractions…probably the worst feeling ever and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
This is when my Angel came into our room, a doula who was part of the hospital doula program, who I later found out wasn’t even on call but decided to come in when she got the call from my OB.
Seriously, her name was Angel, and I kept thinking how she was a gift from God. I immediately felt like I knew this woman my whole life. I was in her arms within minutes of her entering the room and she helped me get through each and every contraction using different movement techniques and just talking me through each one. She was AMAZING.
So I labored like this for three more hours and when Dr. Miller came to check me again I was confident that I was a complete ten centimeters…WRONG. After now 31 hours since my first contraction and laboring naturally I was still only SEVEN. Phil and I were devastated.
Dr. Miller then looked at me and said she would give me two options, she would roll me into the OR right then for a C-section or have the anesthesiologist come in and place an epidural to see if my body would relax and dilate. She was worried that something was wrong and knew that being in labor for so long was placing stress on my previous C-section incision.
My husband, who was all for my natural birth plan, looked at me and said that I had to get the epidural. I knew in my gut that it was my last chance to get my VBAC, so even though I was deathly afraid about getting another epidural after my last experience, I knew I had to do it. Thankfully the anesthesiologist was great and I had no problem with it. He placed a walking epidural which was awesome because I could still feel and move my legs. It only numbed my lower mid-section where I was feeling the contractions.
So at this point I needed to try to get some rest. The nurses turned off the lights and I tried my best to relax even though I was shaking and super itchy from the epidural, but I didn’t care.
Within a half hour of the epidural being placed I felt an incredible pressure to push, but since I never felt it before I wanted to be sure and wait Dr. Miller to check me. For the next two hours I had to really breathe through each contraction because the pressure was so intense.
At 2:30 a.m. Dr. Miller came in and checked me for the final time. She had a huge smile on her face as she said I was complete and the baby was at a +2 station. I could not believe it…I was about to get my VBAC.
They prepped the room for delivery and I started pushing at 3:00 a.m. Pushing was hard…probably the hardest workout I ever had in my life. However, if I got some sleep it probably would have been a lot easier. I could feel most of it since the walking epidural didn’t numb me that low. This was actually very helpful because I could feel what I was doing and my progress.
At 3:35 a.m. my little girl was born and they immediately placed her on my chest. After about thirty seconds of tears (which felt like five minutes) I asked if we had a boy or girl and Phil got to announce, “It’s a girl.” Such an incredible moment <3.
I did it…after a crazy day of ups and down and a lot of praying, I got my VBAC. I have to admit that I have never been so proud of myself in my entire life. You realize how strong you can be after going through a life changing experience like this one. My support team was so great and I really couldn’t have done it without them. Dr. Miller, Angel and the nurses were so truly happy for me and proud of me.
I got to do skin to skin and bond with my little girl right away and she was able to nurse immediately. I was up walking around within an hour of them sewing me up and I felt amazing.
The recovery compared to my C-section has been night and day. I did have a second-degree tear so that was painful for a few days but I would take that any day over my C-section recovery. I’ve also been able to bond with my girl so much more because I feel so great.
After nine months of preparation I was able to go natural for the first 31 hours and even though I’m a little disappointed, I wouldn’t change getting the epidural because I know it allowed my body to relax and do its job.
I hope my story can encourage other women to believe that they too can trust their bodies to have a vaginal birth after a C-section, just like so many stories helped motivate me through this journey.
We are so incredibly blessed. Merry Christmas everyone.