VBAC With Some Fear

This second time mom’s story comes 2 years following an emergency C-section with her first, which you can read here.  For those considering a Vaginal Birth after Cesarian, know it can be done!

Source: VBAC With Some Fear

In my previous post I shared my experience with an emergency c-section. I shared how my dream of a smooth and movie picture perfect birth was shattered. Through the experience came my beloved son but I was left with a longing and aching for a different story. One without so much pain to meet such a tiny love.

For those who don’t know, a VBAC is a vaginal birth after cesarian (or c-section). There is talk that once a c-section…always a c-section. In some cases that is true, but in my case it was once a c-section…VBAC for me. I knew in my heart that I wanted to try for a VBAC… to have a redemption story. A beautiful story not filled with pain and worry and doubt. The title spoils it… but I got that birth story.

I knew I wanted to have more children so when I found out I was pregnant with my second, Caleb, I wondered if a VBAC would be an option. My first question at my appointment with my OB was about having a VBAC. Now you should know (or might already know) that usually VBACs are discouraged for SO many reasons. There are small risks of uterine rupture, and a risk of death  mother and/or  baby if that were to happen. And some that make it easier on the doctors but we won’t get into that. After asking my doctor he handed me a sheet of paper with all the risks on it. Not being a researcher I looked at the risks, trusted my doctor and decided to just stick with the “safest” option and do a repeat c-section. A decision I never felt at peace with…

I always went back and forth. I want the VBAC, but the risks. Okay no VBAC. A big reason I was so back and forth was thinking about the recovery after a c-section. I was in SO much pain and when I tried not to take my medication I felt like my body was being ripped in half. Did I really want that pain again? Did I really want to not be able to lift anything heavier than my newborn? What about my toddler? How would I care for him? BUT would I really want to possibly put my life or my baby’s life in danger? SO MANY QUESTIONS. It was crazy and in the end I always went back to the c-section.

In the middle of my pregnancy I had a switch in OB and my new OB said the same thing and she was way more adamant about me getting the repeat c-section. She kind of gave me a look like “Is it really a question” when I asked her. Okay, so it’s settled I will do the repeat c-section (being that he doesn’t come early of course). And so I was scheduled for September 23rd at 7am. I guess that was nice to know the date and time I would meet him?

Two weeks before my scheduled date my friend, who is a doula, brought up me having a VBAC and I expressed that I was scared of the risks. No joke people she told me that I had a slightly better chance of getting bit by a shark than the .02% chance I was scared of. Gosh, I really laughed at that. Whether that is true or not that feeling I had about not wanting a c-section came back. She and her awesome doula friend met up with me and eased my worries of a VBAC. She encouraged me that this is what my body was made for. And after more research I brought it up with my husband. I told him that I couldn’t do a VBAC if he didn’t support it. After more research and talking to the doula we both decided on a VBAC.

I knew that I wanted to try and not get an epidural because all I could picture was my last experience. I told myself that epidural = c-section. I also ended up hiring an awesome doula, who was such a big help in the birthing process. The only person not really on board was my OB. After the research we had done we asked her questions of benefits of natural birth vs. c-section for a baby, she said none. False. I won’t even get into that….

So it was decided. VBAC. My heart finally felt at peace with that decision.

I was told to go into not really thinking about the risks. But how could I not? Hence VBAC with some fear.

9 months pregnant & 3 days before I met my pumpkin
9 months pregnant & 3 days before I met my pumpkin, Caleb James!

Before I get into my birth story. I have to talk a little about the night before I went into labor…BIG part of what I think put me in labor.

My husband and I decided to go on a date. We figured the baby would be coming soon and wanted to spend some time together before life got even more crazy. We went and saw Jurassic World. We were in a theatre with two other couples. Score! So much leg room for a 9-month waddling pregnant girl who had to get up and pee every 10 minutes.

Blurry...but our last date night at Jurassic World
Blurry…but our last date night at Jurassic World

When the movie was over and we got up to leave…to our wonderful surprise we found out that my husband’s wallet and phone were stolen. I KID YOU NOT PEOPLE! Someone was cruel enough to steal something from a pregnant woman. I was furious. My husband was able to see the security footage of the man and his accomplice while I was in the lobby fuming and crying. What made me upset the most was that there were pictures of Elijah on his phone that we will never get back. I had already been experiencing braxton hicks contractions so I didn’t think anything of it when I started to feel them during my rage of emotions. There was nothing to be done to get my husband’s phone and wallet back.

We didn’t get home until midnight, I finally fell asleep at 1:30am with the feeling of braxton hicks getting stronger and more noticeable. With that my contractions began once again at 2:00am.

With such a different feeling than my first labor experience with Elijah, the contractions were wrapping around to my lower back. Oh no…I had heard of the monstrous and painful back labor and I did not welcome it with open arms. With the contractions getting stronger in little time and starting to be 15 minutes apart I thought it was time to go to the hospital. We then called my doctor and let her know, then made our way, which was a 30 minute drive. You are not supposed to fight contractions, but since I have such a low tolerance for pain I fought them like no other. The car ride felt like a lifetime and I was bracing myself for every contraction that came my way. My poor child in the back, crying and scared because I was yelling from being in so much pain.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:45am and I had forgotten that before 6am we had to use the ER entrance. WOW, was that a long walk, pausing and bracing myself for every contraction. We finally made it to the entrance where I was then stopped and asked to fill out some paperwork. I laugh now because I pictured those scenes in movies where a preggo lady rolls in screaming because she is in labor and then looks at the people asking them to fill out paperwork like they are crazy…don’t they see that she is in pain and doesn’t have time for that. I laughed in my head but on the outside I had to stay calm and ask my husband to fill out the stuff for me.

Finally made it up to the maternity ward, where they checked my dilation and effacement. I thought for sure, from the pain I was feeling, that I had to be at least a 5 or 6. I was a 3. What? How was I only a 3? I felt so discouraged but knew that I was going to push through it for Caleb. For that dream.

I labored for 4 more hours. My goodness it was so painful and there were SO many times that I wanted to just give up and get the epidural. I didn’t want to be in pain anymore. Another experience that I couldn’t have gotten through without my husband. He was by my side every second, even when I didn’t want him anywhere near me. Poor guy. Another person I couldn’t have gone those 4 more hours without was my awesome doula. She was there putting pressure on my back through every contraction and encouraging me to keep going when I wanted to give up. I kept telling myself that I can’t get the epidural. Epidural’s equal c-sections.

After those 4 hours I was checked again. 4cm. What?! I was beyond exhausted. My contractions were crazy strong and lasting a minute to two minutes. All the emotional stress from the night before and only getting half an hour of sleep left me with nothing more to give. All that work was getting me nowhere. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to have the energy to push when it came time. I started to cry thinking about getting the epidural. I kept apologizing to my husband that I felt like I failed. I felt defeated. Thank goodness for the sweetest nurses that encouraged me that an epidural didn’t automatically mean a c-section. To not worry until that was the only option. They encouraged me that although I was only 4 cm, my body had done so much work and I was 90% effaced. Yay!

I was then given the epidural. Still a scary experience but so much better this time around.

After receiving the epidural & able to rest a little
After receiving the epidural & able to rest a little

After getting the epidural the most amazing thing happened…I was able to relax and not struggle to fight the contractions, my contractions remained strong and my body just took over.

Before I knew it, it was time to push.

{This is where they worry the most about uterine rupture and warned me that if it were to tear they would rush me to emergency surgery.} Not an option…I made it this far.

After pushing for 20 minutes my son was about to enter this world. My dream was about to come true. I did it.

Then I heard “Stop pushing.” Hello major freak out moment. The worse thoughts started to fill my head. “The cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck”. Very common and it was unwrapped.

I could hear my doctor say that with a couple more pushes I would be holding my baby boy. I started balling my eyes out. I prayed. I was so thankful that God got me this far and I was beyond thankful how God used the people around me to encourage and love on me when I needed it the most.

With the last push he was out and on my chest. At 4:07 pm on September 21st Caleb James was born at 8 pounds and 19.5 inches of pure love. I couldn’t stop crying. Serious tears of joy. Serious love at first sight. I was in shock. The perfect ending for my birth story.

Pure tears of joy
Pure tears of joy
Love at first sight
Love at first sight

vbac7

vbac8

The miracle skin-to-skin hour was heaven this side of earth. I was so so thankful. Loving every moment. The pain was worth it.

In that hour Elijah came and met his brother. Now, let me tell you he was not too fond of Caleb at first and wanted nothing to do with me. But besides that, we were complete. We were a family of four. I now had two beautiful sons.

Another blurry shot but this was our first photo as a family of four. How lucky was I?!?
Another blurry shot but this was our first photo as a family of four. How lucky was I?!?
Second day: warmed up and gave his little brother a kiss.
Second day: warmed up and gave his little brother a kiss.

I now had an incredible husband and two beautiful baby boys. That’s cloud nine people.

The healing process was still grueling for me. Thankfully not from a major surgery but, without getting into too much detail, I tore really bad and it took me a good long while to be able to sit comfortably. Again, the pain was worth it.

This post is to not only share Caleb’s birth story but also to reach out to moms alike that too had a horrible first experience that left them with that aching feeling. To reach out to those who question a VBAC or are scared of the risks. Only with encouragement and support do I seriously encourage you to do a VBAC. It will mend your broken dream with so much reward at the end.

Something that encouraged me the most after this experience was when one of my miracle hour nurses told me that they were all rooting for me to have a successful VBAC because they don’t see many of those these days. Wow! If that isn’t a huge load of encouragement for you to prove people wrong. So many people are rooting for you, no matter the opposing views.

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