It’s been awhile since my last blog post and mom life of two has officially taken over. I wanted to share my successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) story with you. I feel like this was my overall end goal with this second pregnancy and I couldn’t be more proud to achieve it! Though the journey was not easy, the reward at the end was definitely worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears.
I was 41 weeks in my pregnancy and baby Penelope was still showing no signs of arriving soon. At this point, I was so ready to NOT be pregnant but not so ready for mom life of two just yet. I was also thankful at this point that my wonderful MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor has not even mentioned a repeat cesarean section (C-section). At my 41 weeks appointment my MFM mentioned that he was comfortable with me going to 42 weeks, but my VBAC chances decrease. He recommended doing a slow induction and that they can often take days leading up to 42 weeks. I wanted so badly to wait and see what by body would do and just wait until baby came on her own. But at 41 weeks and wanting my VBAC, my husband and I decided to do the slow induction. So on a Tuesday night we dropped of our 3 year old at grandma’s and headed to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital we made a pit stop at Trader Joe’s for snacks cause that’s the important thing to load up on right?!? I mean this could take days in the hospital so give me all the snacks. When we checked in with all of our stuff including a cooler for my placenta, all the nurses could do was chuckle and say “…man you guys are prepared”. And so began my first night of the induction process. I was hooked up to a wireless fetal heart monitor and my MFM started me on Cervidil around 10pm. Cervidil was suppose to help ripen/soften my cervix since I wasn’t really dilated at all. After 12 hours I was at 2cm when my MFM checked me in the morning. I wasn’t having any regular contractions at this point. Then he inserted a Cook’s bulb, which is a cervical ripening balloon to mechanically dilate the cervix. I passed the Cook’s bulb later that day around 5pm and when my MFM came in to check me I was at 4cm. During this whole process, I was moving around, doing Spinning Babies, Miles Circuit, peanut ball…everything to get this baby to engage. My MFM decided not to do anything else at this point to let my body rest and get some sleep. He wanted to see if my body would contract on its own during the night and go from there. Welp, my body didn’t and I just slept through the night minus routine vital checks. Now it’s Thursday morning and my MFM decided to start a low dose of Pitocin. I’m getting anxious now cause I remember these Pitocin contractions with my first born and they were not fun. I was mostly bouncing on the exercise ball the whole time I was on Pitocin. Not being confined to the bed and having a wireless monitor helped so much. For the first few hours my contractions were very bearable and I just breathed through them. They increased my Pitocin every hour until about 3pm. My MFM came to check me and I was at 6cm. He decided to break by water at that point too which got me immediately to 7cm. He also inserted a intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC) to measure the strength of my contractions. It goes between the uterus and baby’s head so nothing screwed into baby’s head like other internal monitors. I called my doula Lauren at this point cause I figure I’m at 7cm, baby should be here soon (hopefully). This is when things started picking up and I’m starting to feel discomfort from the contractions. I remember it was all in my hips and back. With my first I just remember my legs aching and being so tired. But this time it was all my back and hips. My doula was amazing and did tennis ball massages, Rebozo, acupressure points everything in the book to help me. I want to say things got very intense for about an hour. My contractions were getting almost unbearable. I couldn’t control my breathing. My poor husband and doula were taking turns holding my hand cause I had a bear grip on them. I remember asking for an epidural finally cause these Pitocin contractions were no joke. My nurse said it would take at least 20min for the fluid bolus to go through so I waited for the relief.
In that time there was a nurse shift change and I think my epidural request did not get relayed or it was lost in the crazy. Things got very intense now where my new nurse Julie was in the room holding a fetal heart monitor on baby because they kept losing her heart rate. My MFM finally turned down the Pitocin some since I was probably contracting on my own now. I also needed to be on oxygen now cause I just couldn’t control my breathing. Everyone was saying to breath down and I just couldn’t grasp it. I was feeling so almost defeated at this point because I was so tired, contractions were so intense and I think I was only at 8cm now in what had been hours at this point. Once I could feel the lower dose of Pitocin I calmed down enough to “get it together”. It’s around 7 or 8pm now (as per my doula) and time was really just a blur. Things were happening so fast and so slow at the same time if that makes any sense. Next thing I know is am able to handle my contractions a lot better. At some point the Pitocin got turned off and I was just contracting all on my own. All I remember is it got much more bearable. I was changing positions from side lying to squatting. I was breathing much better now. I was so tired I think I was actually sleeping through my contractions. My nurse and doula were so amazing at making me feel comfortable without me even having to say anything or ask! All I knew was I was getting massaged in all the right places and cool compresses were placed on me. I will never forget the nurse I had because she wasn’t just in and out checking on my meds. She STAYED with me the whole time from beginning of her shift to delivery of baby girl.
I finally dilated to 10cm and after 20 minutes of pushing baby Penelope was born! I did it! I got my VBAC! I was so very proud of myself of being able to have a VBAC. Now I can’t say I loved the recovery process any better cause I got a terrible 3rd degree laceration. No one wants that but I was moving around much better than a C-section. Peri bottle, Claraderm spray, padsicles and tucks pads were my best friend. I would choose a vaginal delivery again but probably deliver in a different position next time. Did you know the pelvis opens up 28% more when you’re not lying on your back?!? Noted for next time. I wanted to deliver on all fours, but in all the crazy I just wanted baby here. That picture up there of Penelope’s umbilical cord is so important to me. The reason I had a C-section with my first is because apparently her umbilical cord was too short. So for me to be able to have my VBAC this time, I will forever treasure Penelope’s umbilical cord. Thank you so much for reading and I hope my story helps anyone trying for a VBAC that you can do it! Know your options and be strong in your decisions! As always, if you ever have any questions, leave us comment or send us a email at firstname.lastname@example.org