8lb11oz, 21 inches long
My birth story:
We went in for a 42 week induction Wednesday evening, just Cervidil to start with. I was 2cm to start with, 75% effaced and -3 station. Baby’s failure to drop into the pelvis had been the issue with me going into labor on my own (no pressure on my cervix) and he was also a little crooked. But we were still hoping for a vaginal delivery and that he’d get into place once things got going.
To my extreme relief, I started having contractions shortly after the Cervidil was inserted. I asked for something to help with the pain so I could still get some rest that night, as I was anticipating a long day the next day, so I had a very drunken-like sleep on Stadol for about 2 hours.
The next morning, I got up to shower and to my extreme relief my water broke on its own and I immediately had bloody show. My midwife came by shortly after and I was thrilled to find I had dilated overnight to a 4 and was now 90% effaced and -1 station. It looked like I was going to be able to have a natural, vaginal birth after all!
My doula Delilah arrived soon to help me through the contractions. She was absolutely the best money I could have ever spent. There is NO way I could have done it without her! I had a pretty easy time laboring with her assistance, putting pressure on my shoulders and back as needed and helping me relax and kind of ‘sink in’ to the contractions.
It only took about 3-4 hours to get to 7cm, however I was still 90% and -1. After this labor started to get a lot more difficult. The pain because intense and it started to cross my mind to ask for an epidural, so I knew I was in transition.
We kept up this difficult labor for about 2 hours, and moved from the birthing ball to leaning over the bed. At the end of 2 hours my midwife came back to check me again. To my utter disappointment, I had made no progress at all. I told my doula I didn’t think I could do it any more and I might need an epidural. She told me not to give up until we’d tried everything, so I got in the shower and I put the hot water sprayer right on my belly (I felt the pain in the front, not the back like some girls do). My doula encouraged me to do “ah breaths” (basically very long and loud exhaling UHHHHH!s during the pain) and to visualize the baby sinking into my cervix. My midwife encouraged me to embrace the pain and even try to make the contractions more intense and more productive. After about an hour in the shower, I filled up the tub and moved there to just try to pass the time until I could be checked again. It was a brutal hour. The contractions were incredibly painful and almost on top of each other, lasting a good 2-3 minutes with only 20-30 seconds break in between.My husband was just awesome the entire time, and poured buckets of hot water over my belly during the contractions. He asked me to describe them and the best description I could come up with was someone with an iron grip and glowing hot firepoker fingernails was squeezing my uterus with all his might.
Finally it was time to be checked again. And I was devastated to find out absolutely no progress had been made at all over the last 4 hours of what I thought was transition. I told my doula I really couldn’t do it any more and needed the epidural if I was going to continue. She agreed at this point, but told me she was skeptical that it would help me progress because usually the reason women progress after the epi is because they are tensing up during contractions – but according to her, I was relaxing perfectly with each one. Regardless, I’d hit my wall to where I could no longer see any pros of going pain med free, and getting some pain relief was the next step.
So at this point I was got the full hospital ride, having to get hooked up for continuous monitoring and a full bag of IV fluids before I could get the epidural. The entire day I’d been really annoyed with the intermittent monitoring of the baby and it was the one part of my labor experience that I truly hated. I’d be trying to work and breathe through a difficult contraction and some nurse would come up and strap the damn thing to me, distracting me and getting me out of my zone. I didn’t find the L&D nurses helpful in any way, only a pure annoyance. It was clear that the monitoring was purely for liability and had nothing to do with the baby at all (at one point the baby fell off the monitor when he moved, and nobody came rushing in thinking he was in trouble or anything – about 15 minutes later someone came by to adjust it – so obviously they don’t even see the value in it themselves! Such BS! Sorry a little tangent – but wanted to mention that part.)
But anyways, I finally got the epidural and almost immediately the pain was gone. However I got very cold and a little shaky and I felt like all my appendages were numb and asleep. So while it was great to be rid of the pain, I still didn’t feel comfortable by any means.
After about an hour my MW came back to check me again. No progress, and actually my cervix was starting to swell. Not good. My labor had also slowed down from the epidural, and the baby’s heart rate wasn’t as great as it was prior either. The on call OB said the next step was Pitocin to see if strengthening the contractions would help things any more. However at this point I was resigned to the fact that something was preventing the baby from dropping and I was going to need a c-section. At my last ultrasound the tech had suspected there might be a short cord keeping him from dropping. I told the doctor what I thought and she agreed with me, that she did not expect Pit to work. However there was no reason to not at least give it a shot just in case, even though it was a long shot.
So I got some Pitocin, and the baby didn’t tolerate it very well and his heart started deceling more during contractions. We only let it go about 20 minutes before the OB recommended we go to c-section. I immediately agreed. It was of course a huge disappointment to go from a plan with a 100% natural birth, have it taken away, then given back, and then taken away again. But at this point I couldn’t have cared less. All I wanted was my baby out safely.
So at this point I had to get more drugs and I got the shakes BAD. My entire body was practically convulsing from the spinal. I was freezing and had my jaw and shoulders completely clenched up just trying to keep myself still – but it was impossible. I am still sore from clenching up my body like that. So I was pretty much miserable and couldn’t even think about my baby or get excited at all or feel any kind of relief because I was such a mess from the drugs.
So finally after the prep work was done (about 30 minutes) the procedure began. I think it took about 10 minutes to get the baby out but it felt like an eternity. My husband was extremely scared by the way I was shaking, but when he heard our baby’s cry, he immediately started crying too and went over to meet his son. I couldn’t go (obviously) as I had about an hour more on the operating table to be stitched back up. I could see our baby getting checked out and cleaned up across the room, however I couldn’t focus on him because I was still shaking so badly and it was hard to keep my eyes open. Delilah stayed with me and rubbed my shoulders to try to get me to relax, and my husband went back and forth between me and our son. He told me it was the hardest thing he’s ever been through, being in between his new son on one side of the room and feeling such joy that he was here, but at the same time scared as he had all kinds of hoses being hooked up to him, and then there’s his wife on the other side of the room – laid out on a table like a crucifix, shaking uncontrollably and with her uterus laying out on top of her body. Obviously a terrifying moment for him, and not at all how I’d imagined the moments would be following the birth of our baby.
I think I passed out or dozed off a little bit, and when I woke up the procedure was done and I wasn’t shaking any more – thank God. I was still really out of it though – kinda woozy like I was drunk, seeing double and slurring my words. They brought the baby to me to breastfeed and he was just gorgeous, but I needed help holding him as I was so out of it I didn’t trust myself. By this time he’d had lots of screenings done, the eye drops in his eyes (something I’d asked to have delayed until our feeding/bonding time), etc. But with the c-section my entire postpartum plan also went out the window. A nurse was checking me out and turns out I was running a fever and my blood pressure had plummeted. The nurse asked us to stop breastfeeding so she could give me fluids and antibiotics to get me back in shape. I was a little scared at this point and my husband was a lot scared. I remember asking the nurse “am I going to be okay?” She said I would be, but she had to get me back together before we could focus on the baby. Our parents were all out in the lobby and I told him to go and tell them everything had gone okay and their grandson was here. We’d been back in the OR for probably 2.5 hours (with no cell phone reception) and I knew they must be freaking out (and I found out later that yes, indeed, they were).
So finally my blood pressure recovered enough that I was starting to feel somewhat normal again and they moved us to a postpartum room. I had to be hooked up to all kinds of machines for fluids, blood pressure, these things on your legs that stimulate the circulation, more spinal meds, etc. Our baby was fast asleep and I was hoping for some good sleep myself (as I only had gotten 2 hours the night before and had been through quite an ordeal that day), however the nurses were in and out of our room checking me and the baby probably every 30 minutes. Necessary, but extremely frustrating.
By the next morning, I was tons better. Baby was looking good too. By midday, we’d gotten rid of most of the machines and the leg wraps. And by the evening, I was unhooked to everything and able to walk around. By night #2 baby and I were back to 100% (other than the soreness in my belly, of course) and we all got a lot of rest. Tonight is night #3 and we’re all doing great. Baby is a great sleeper and nurser (it was slow going the first day, but he finally go the hang of it at about 2am on day 2 and once he got the hang of it – he got it!). Last night the nurses only came into check us out twice, and I got a good 6 hours of straight sleep (baby too!)
So back to the reason why baby wasn’t dropping. My midwife came yesterday with a model pelvis and fetus to show us that he was in “brow presentation” – meaning forehead first. According to her, it is basically impossible to have vaginal birth with a baby in this position. She said delivering breech is actually much easier.
He was crammed into my pelvis with his head tilted all the way back almost 90 degrees, and they couldn’t even pull him out of my belly without doing some maneuvering. He had lots of nicks and bruises on his forehead because he was basically getting rammed against a pelvic bone for the entire labor.He nose is also slightly smushed to one side which I wouldn’t expect of a c-section baby, but it just indicates how he was crammed in there in such an awkward position.
So as much as I wanted a natural birth, it turns out I really was one of those cases where a c-section was absolutely necessary. My doula and MW both said that with the way the labor was going in the morning and how well I was doing working through contractions that they expected the baby to be out by about 2:00. So I am glad I had the experience of labor, although a little guilty that my baby got a bit banged up in the process.
With kid #2 as long as he’s positioned normally I think pushing him out will be a piece of cake compared to this one! I honestly think the labor pains were easier to deal with than the adverse effects of the meds, and the annoyance of the nurses and postpartum care that came with it. I’ll seriously consider a birth center next time to avoid all of that!
Everyone was right, in the end, the only thing that matters is my and my son’s health and safe arrival. I never knew I could feel this kind of joy and happiness! Josh and I are completely on Cloud 9 and over the moon in love with Gage! We get to take him home tomorrow – yippee!
A little background. I have one son, Gage, who was born on 6/24/10 via c-section. I had a goal for a natural, unmedicated childbirth, and chose a midwife as my care provider and Delilah Ray as my doula. I received outstanding care from both. However, Gage would not drop into my pelvis and I had to be induced at 42 weeks. After many hours of labor without an progress past a 7, we went in for a c/s and discovered that Gage was brow presentation – which is one of the truly very necessary reasons for a c/s. I was told I was an excellent candidate for a vbac since brow presentation isn’t something that typically happens twice.
So for this pregnancy, I stuck with my midwife and Delilah (both of whom I LOVE and highly recommend) the same hospital which is very natural-birth and breastfeeding friendly, willing to accommodate birth plans, birth tubs, etc. However, since I was a VBAC, I was required to see an OB. Technically, my midwife is not “allowed” to provide care for VBAC patients. She suggested I go with a doctor who, according to her, is the most VBAC friendly OB in the practice, and between them they worked out a joint care plan for me where I saw my midwife 3 visits in a row, then the OB every 4th visit. I never really cared for the OB’s bedside manner. He always seemed to be in a hurry and distracted, except for our very last appointment when I was 40 weeks. However, he never gave me any doubts about my VBAC, and really didn’t treat me like I was high risk or any different from any other patient. I consider that a very good thing.
I also started going to see Autumn and Tom at Café of Life Chiropractic Clinic starting at 30 weeks to help ensure that this baby was in an ideal position and we didn’t have a repeat of my first “crooked baby” situation. I absolutely LOVE Café of Life and can’t recommend them enough!
Okay so that brings me to the L&D story.
Friday 8/31 – This was two days past my due date (8/29) and also the day of the blue moon. Also, it happened to be an extremely convenient weekend to have a baby. 1 – it was Labor Day weekend, 2 – my doula had a clear schedule with no other mamas due to go into labor, 3 – my son was scheduled to start preschool 5 days later on Wednesday, so in the back of my head I was thinking if I had the baby Saturday, I’d be home from the hospital in time to take him to his first day of preschool.
I decided to do everything in my control to make the stars align and go into labor. So that morning I went and got acupuncture with Bunzo Takamatsu, then stopped by the OB’s office to have my membranes swept (I was 1.5cm, 60% effaced, -2 station), met a friend for mall walking followed by a meal of spicy Thai food (when asked how spicy on a scale of 1-5, I told them 6 – that I wanted to cry)!
As luck would have it, I started having contractions at about 9pm on the way home from dinner. I started timing them when I got home and they were about 3 minutes apart, which was similar to the prodromal labor I had the weekend prior. I hoped it might be the real deal but knew they would have to get progressively stronger and not fade away. So I went to bed at about midnight.
Saturday 9/1 – at 4am I woke up to more painful contractions. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I went in the living room and put on some Netflix and started timing. Contractions were about 30 seconds long and 3 minutes apart. At 6:30am I texted my doula, Delilah, to let her know I was having contractions that seemed to be getting more intense. She suggested changing activity to see if it changed the contractions. At this point laying down was starting to hurt and I also had to use the bathroom (#2) a few times (I wasn’t sure if this was due to me going into labor or just due to the super spicy Thai the night before). I decided to get into the tub and labor there for a while and see what happened. After 2 hours in the tub my contractions were now 2 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. 30 minutes later I told Delilah I thought she should go ahead and head that way. I also called my parents who live about 3.5 hours away and told them they should go ahead and started heading our way as well. Shortly after my contractions started to get a little longer, closer to a minute long but still 2-3 minutes apart, and I got out of the tub and got dressed.
At 11:30 Delilah arrived at my house. Our plan was to labor at home as long as possible. I didn’t want to get to the hospital too early and be put on a schedule. A lot of times with VBAC patients, if they don’t see positive progress in your cervix every 2 hours they will try to pull the plug on your VBAC, so we just wanted to eliminate that possibility by hopefully showing up when I was pretty close to needing to push the baby out. I was still in good spirits at this point, however I was having to really stop and breathe and sometimes hum or moan through the contractions. We went for a walk at about 12:30pm, and afterwards I made myself a PB&J and she suggested I lay down and try to rest. My doula laid next to me and applied counter pressure on my back during contractions. By about 3pm the contractions were painful enough that they were bringing on some tears. My husband started putting our bags in the car and I decided I was ready to go to the hospital. We snapped our last photo as a family of 3 in the hallway as we were on our way out the door. My mom came with us and my dad stayed behind to watch Gage.
The drive to the hospital was tough and I had to moan through my contractions. During the ride I texted my midwife and let her know I was in labor and headed to the hospital. She texted me back that she had just had surgery the day before and wouldn’t be able to be there, but “have a great birth!” I was definitely bummed and annoyed and even had the very selfish though of “why on earth would she schedule surgery THIS close to my due date???” But there was nothing I could do about it, of course, so I moved on. The day before I had seen the OB when he swept my membranes. Throughout the pregnancy he had told me that as long as he was in town he attended his patient’s births regardless if he was on call or not, and when he swept my membranes he said “hopefully I’ll see you this weekend”. So I was confident that I would at least have my VBAC friendly OB even if I couldn’t have my midwife.
At 4pm I got checked in at the hospital and went into the bathroom to change into my gown, and discovered bloody show.
At 5pm the nurse checked me and I was 3cm, 50% effaced, and -3 station with a bulging bag of waters. I was a little bummed that all the labor thus far had only dilated me a little over a cm since the day before, and apparently I was LESS effaced with the baby even higher. I decided to have the resident on duty break my water in hopes that would speed things along.
Shortly after that, I was informed that my OB was not coming to the hospital for my birth and I would be seeing the on-call OB instead. So my OB became my “NO-B”. Delilah didn’t say anything negative about the on-call doctor, but I could tell she wasn’t overjoyed with who was on-call that day. She told me later that on the scale of 1-10 (1 being extremely “medical”, 10 being extremely “non medical”), that this doctor was about a 5, whereas the OB I thought I was having would be around a 9 and the least VBAC friendly OB in the practice would be a 1. So we could have gotten someone much less supportive of a VBAC, but we didn’t get the most supportive we could have gotten either.
So upon getting the news about my OB not coming in, I was not at all happy. After all, what was the point of seeing a VBAC friendly doctor for the past 9 months if when the time came to actually have the baby I was going to get stuck with whoever was on call who may not be supportive of my VBAC? But again, there was nothing I could do about it but hope for the best so we had to just move forward. And at least I still had Delilah. I can’t stress enough how absolutely ESSENTIAL I think it is to hire a good doula, so at least you have at least one person that is supportive of your birth plan that is guaranteed to be there with you when the time comes.
For the next couple of hours, my mom, husband and doula alternated going to the cafeteria to get dinner while I stayed in bed and worked through contractions (and watched Oceans 11 on the TV). I had no interest in changing positions or getting on the birth ball, which was totally different than my first birth where I labored all over the place. As a VBAC patient, I was required to have continual fetal monitoring which kept me from being able to get in the water (bummer). However, I found the continuous monitoring MUCH preferable to the intermittent monitoring I had during my first L&D experience. The thing about my first that annoyed me the most was the nurses coming over and messing with me trying to find the baby on the monitor while I was trying to work through a tough contraction. This time the belt just stayed on and luckily my baby didn’t seem to mind the monitor so I was able to be left alone.
At 7:30pm I was still having contractions 60 seconds long and 2.5-3 minutes apart. I was checked by the resident and was 4cm, 90% and -1 station. I was pleased to have made some good progress in the past 2 hours.
By 8pm I was having a very hard time with the contractions and was not able to cope with them nearly as well as I remembered from my first L&D. The contractions were pretty much unbearable. A 9 on the pain scale, I’d say. I felt very out of control and wasn’t able to relax or breathe any more. Delilah assured me I was not fighting them as badly as I thought I was, but I definitely wasn’t handling them well. I was pretty much screaming and was certain everyone in the L&D unit could hear me and that I was probably scaring other pregnant women. During this time, I kicked my husband and my mom out of the room because I didn’t want them to see my in this state. I asked the nurse if I could be checked again. My thinking was that if I hadn’t made much more progress I would get the epidural, because I simply didn’t think I could keep going without one if I had a long way to go. However, if I had progressed to a 7, I would try to keep going. I remember the nurse was not optimistic that I would have already made it to a 7, but she went to get the resident to check me.
At 9pm the resident showed up and I was 5-6cm, 100% effaced and 0 station. I decided to get the epidural. They started my IV fluids for the epidural and I was told they had to get 2 bags of fluid in me before they would call the anesthesiologist. I remember begging the nurses to please call him NOW because by the time he got there surely I’d be through both bags. They compromised with me a little and called him once I was about ¾ way through the first bag. At 9:45 the anesthesiologist showed up and asked the nurse if I was really only a 5-6 cm due to the way I was hollering from the pain.
At 10pm the epidural was complete. I asked for a “walking” epidural so they kept it on the light side, and I told them it was maybe a 3-4 on the pain scale which definitely beat the 9-10 I was experiencing before. However, I would not say it was a pleasant sensation. It felt like my legs were completely immersed in ice water or like they had fallen asleep. I remember just wanting someone to come massage my legs and wake them up even though I knew that wouldn’t help. So I still felt pretty miserable but at least not in excruciating pain any more.
At 10:30 I was checked again and STILL only 5-6 cm. I was really bummed, because I was convinced I was fighting the contractions which was making me stall out and that the epi would make me relax and allow me to dilate. At this time the word “Pitocin” started getting thrown around by the on-call OB. I was very apprehensive about this. Here we go, I thought. One medical intervention after another and I’m going to wind up with a c-section again. I asked if we could wait an hour and then reassess where I was. I was confident that I just needed more time for the epidural to do its thing.
At 11:50 I was checked again and I was STILL 5-6 cm, 100% effaced an a 0 or -1 station (there we go with negative progress on the station again, so frustrating!). Good news was that the baby was in OA position which I did consider a small victory at least (thank you, Autumn and Tom!) However, due to no further dilation I was feeling extremely discouraged and defeated. The OB suggested we do an internal monitor so we could see exactly how strong my contractions were, and if they weren’t strong enough we’d try a VERY low dose of Pitocin, unless I wanted to go straight to a c/s (um, NO!). I agreed to the internal monitor.
So a sidenote, during this entire time I had an AWESOME L&D nurse that was super supportive of my VBAC and a great cheerleader and coach. She had a lot of faith that the epidural was going to help progress me and it was just a matter of time. However, the internal monitor showed that my contractions were actually pretty weak (WEAK? Seriously? After the 9-10 pain scale I had just been through???). So, the nurse, who had really gained my trust by now, encouraged me to go with the low dose of Pit. Most girls start out Pitocin at a level 6-8. They started me off at a level 2, and would increase it by 2 every 30 minutes until it was time to push.
A little past midnight the anesthesiologist was back to check on me and I asked him to up my epidural since I was still feeling some moderate pain, and at this point I was so exhausted I was just ready to feel NOTHING. So he kicked it up and my legs went completely and totally dead. It was the weirdest feeling to look down and think “is that my leg?”
At 1am my Pit was increased to a 4. I asked for some Tums because I was having awful acid reflux. What I really wanted was some FOOD. Just a couple of crackers even. My stomach was so empty and I had been working so hard that I was starving, and I felt like I needed something in my stomach to soak up the acid. Anyways, that was out of the question due to the epidural, so I got some Tums which really didn’t help at all.
At 1:45 they checked me again and lo and behold, I was 9.5 cm! Praise God, the Pitocin actually WORKED. I was going to get my VBAC! I was completely shocked that I had dilated 4.5cm in less than 2 hours, when I had just spent 3 hours stuck at 5.5. I was completely effaced and a +1 station. We decided to hang tight a little longer and labor down to a +2 before starting to push.
At 2:45 I was checked again and was now a +2. Preparations were made for me to push, and my first push was at 3:05am. I never thought I would do that lay on your back, count to 10 and push thing, but with an epidural and dead legs it was really my only option. So my doula got on one side and my husband held the other leg and the nurse instructed me on when I was having a contraction, to take a huge gulp of air and then do 3 big pushes like I was pooping, then to let out all the air. After 15 minutes of pushing (maybe 3-4 pushes) they could see a little bit of the baby’s head coming down and asked if wanted to see in a mirror. So they got a mirror and I could see. It was pretty bizarre looking, and actually focusing on the baby’s head made me push less effectively. I was doing better when I was just trying to push like I was pooping. So I would take a quick peek in the mirror (because it was cool to see), then close my eyes and try to imagine pooping and that was the most effective pushing for me. It was so hard since I could feel NOTHING whatsoever but I guess visualizing pooping worked. We were told that with this strong of an epidural we might push for 2-3 hours. During this time I vomited twice due to all the acid reflux.
At 4am, after 55 minutes of pushing, the baby was crowning! The nurse and my doula were very complimentary of my pushing skills. They called the OB in for delivery. As she showed up, I told her I had just a couple of requests. First, no episiotomy, please, unless it was an absolute emergency, that I was okay with tearing. Second, that my husband wanted to cut the cord and announce the sex of the baby. Third, that unless the baby wasn’t breathing I wanted immediate skin-to-skin contact. She agreed to all of this and at 4:04am she told me to give one big push and out came the baby’s head. Then she said one little push, and out came the body. There were so many people crowded around the foot of the bed I couldn’t see it in the mirror, but I didn’t mind. I really didn’t feel the baby come out, my epidural was so strong, but I knew when the doctor said “It’s a… Daddy?!?” and my husband exclaimed, “it’s a BOY!” that he was here. I was completely stunned that we had a boy. I was 100% convinced we were having a girl!
Immediately this slick, pink baby boy was put on my chest. I immediately burst into tears and just wept and wept saying “oh my God!” over and over again. It was truly the most amazing experience of my life. My crying got everyone else in the room crying too. After probably 30 minutes I let them take the baby to be cleaned off a bit and weighed. He was 8lbs 12 oz and 20.5” long. Almost the exact same as his big brother. Afterwards the put him on my chest again and I tried nursing. To my amazement he latched immediately! He’s been a champ at nursing from the get go. (Also a complete contrast to my first born who was tongue-tied and we struggled to get latched for a solid week before it was remedied)
Rhett Clark, 9/2/12
The one thing I really felt like I missed out on with my prior c/s was the joyous “It’s a boy!” moment, and I hated that I couldn’t hold my son for almost an hour, and even when I could I was so out of it that I wasn’t really all there for the moment. So this experience was really everything I could have ever wanted or hoped for. I was just thanking God for giving me everything I wanted. Not just a VBAC, but the immediate skin to skin, the joyous “it’s a boy” announcement, a BOY (which I secretly hoped for since I felt like Gage needed a little brother), the immediate nursing! Hell, I even got my birth on the weekend I was hoping for! I don’t know what I did to deserve all of this, but I had never been so grateful or so happy. 8lbs 12oz, 20.5 inches long
So the aftermath – I did get a 2nd degree tear and was stitched up. It was no time at all that we were admitted to our postpartum room. I was anxious to take a shower and the nurse was anxious for me to pee (even though I had no urge to) but I had to wait for my legs to wake up still. At one point (maybe around 6 am?) the nurse came to try to take me to the bathroom and my legs immediately collapsed under me, so I had to hang tight for another couple of hours. During all of this my husband was sleeping on the little sofa in the room and my baby was sleeping in the bassinet next to me, but I still had too much adrenaline to sleep. Finally my legs woke up and I lost that tingling pins and needles sensation, and the shower felt amazing. Afterwards they brought me the most gigantic breakfast imaginable – eggs, bacon, French toast, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, milk, coffee, juice, and a muffin and I ate EVERY last bite of it.
Overall the recovery was a BREEZE compared to the c-section. Don’t get me wrong, my lady bits were sore, for sure, and the narcotics from the epidural made me VERY constipated, which made the pain in my nether-regions even worse. But you can get around so much easier with sore lady bits than you can post-surgery. Also, the postpartum care in the hospital is SO much better when you have had a vaginal birth. You get unhooked from machines after a few hours. The nurses do come to check your vitals, but they were willing to coordinate their visits in order to let us sleep. They even would tell me to call THEM when the baby woke up to eat and they’d come do my vitals at that time, so as not to wake me up unnecessarily. When you have a c/section, they come in like clockwork every hour or two no matter what. Rest is NOT possible and you truly feel like a hospital patient hooked up to all those machines. With my vaginal birth, my hospital stay was more like a hotel stay. HUGE huge benefit of a VBAC! I also must say that every single postpartum nurse I had was awesome. The lactation consultants too. Just all incredibly warm, helpful, friendly women.
Additionally, I was able to pick up my 2 year old the same day I gave birth and give him a hug. This was HUGE, as Gage has been very clingy since we brought home the baby and not being able to hold him, I think, would have made it so much harder on him than the situation already was. Honestly, the worst part of the recovery was probably the hemorrhoids. And it really only took maybe 3 days (and a lot of stool softeners) for that problem to go away. I’m one week postpartum now and I feel probably 98% normal again. I even got out a mirror to take a look down there, and my tear looks like a paper cut. It is NOTHING compared to surgery.
All this being said there are a couple of things I would do differently:
While I love my midwife, I am not 100% sure I would still use this OB if I could go back. There are probably 3 VBAC friendly OBs in that practice according to Delilah, but I went with the one particular OB based on my midwife’s recommendation (and the fact that he was willing to work out a joint care plan with her). However, I never really liked his bedside manner. I never felt like he knew who I was, he always seemed distracted and in a hurry, and was never very encouraging about the VBAC. I also feel a little betrayed that he told me he attended his own births then when the time came he wasn’t there for me. On the other hand, he was also not DIScouraging about my VBAC either. I am grateful at least that he didn’t use every appointment as an opportunity to scare me about my uterus exploding, or speculating that my baby might be too big to attempt VBAC, or be unwilling to do an induction if necessary. He was open to a Pit induction, should it come to that. If I could go back, I would probably just explore my other options at the practice as well, and perhaps see if a different OB in the practice would have been willing to team up with my midwife as well. At the end of the day, I got who I got, and I have nothing but great things to say about her. She got me my VBAC and knew what medical interventions I needed to get me there and never pushed me towards a repeat c/section. She was extremely friendly and made me feel comfortable. I think I got very lucky having her that day and would absolutely recommend her.
The other thing, is I would have probably opted NOT to have my husband and mother in the room with me during labor. I was very conscious of how much noise I was making and was worried about worrying them. My husband was in the room with me during my first labor, and I did not feel self-conscious then. However, since then, we’ve had several conversations about that experience and he’s told me how scared he was during the labor, how bad he felt for me and how helpless he felt not being able to do anything for my pain. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this time, I was subconsciously worried about him during my labor and it was preventing me from doing what I needed to do (moan loudly, make noise, drop f-bombs, whatever). I was holding it in as to not scare him or my mom. As odd as it is in this day and age to NOT have your husband by your side, I actually think we’d have both been better off if I had labored only with Delilah, and just brought him in for the pushing and actual birth part. I would just encourage everyone attempting a birth without pain meds to really consider if you can allow yourself to show real pain in front of the people you are planning to have in the room with you.
If you actually read all of this, congratulations!