Hi friends! My friend Amy shares her birth story to VBA2C. I was able to watch from a distance as she displayed courage, faith in her body and faith in God during pregnancy and as she patiently allowed labor to happen on her body’s time. Please leave her a comment below. Thank you so much for sharing Amy!
My backstory: We were blessed with our first daughter in 2008. I didn’t do any research and just started going to an OB office that several friends recommended. I liked the OB’s fine and never had a reason to not trust them (complete lack of knowledge on my part). I had some early contractions and they put me on bed rest around 32 weeks. After releasing me from bed rest they scheduled an induction for just after 40 weeks. What I would give to go back and have a do over. After the “cascade of interventions” (cervidil, pitocin, early epidural, AROM, being confined to the bed) they informed me after I got to 9.5 cm that her heart rate was worrisome and I needed an emergency c-section. I consented. This was after 24 hours of labor, pitocin fueled contractions, and my epidural quitting on one side and having to be completely redone. She was born 10 lb 9 oz and completely healthy. There was nothing family centered about the c-section. She was shown to me and then I didn’t see her for over an hour. It badly affected my emotions. I was labeled failure to progress oddly enough on my official report, something that was NEVER said to me. There was NO record of her having a worrisome heart rate.
Fast forward to 2011 and we were expecting our second child, a boy. The same OB office mentioned VBAC. I immediately wanted one. I had a rough recovery with my daughter and bad post partum for several weeks. They seemed totally on board the entire pregnancy….until three weeks before my due date. They insisted on an ultrasound. They estimated him to be the same size as his big sister and said a c-section would be the only reasonable option. They told me horror stories about shoulder dystocia and big babies. I consented to a repeat c-section at 39 weeks. The night before my surgery I cried all night. I didn’t sleep at all. I felt like I was broken and made huge babies and was devastated I would never get to “give birth” or have those first moments of bonding. I felt cheated.
Long story short, I had a horrible c-section. They gave me a spinal block then proceeded to give me an epidural. They hit a vein and had to scrap the epidural but assured me that the spinal was enough. It wasn’t. After taking my son away it quit completely and I felt everything. The stapled me shut because it was the fastest way. They pumped me full of morphine and other drugs which did not touch the pain. Healthy 10lb 8oz baby, scarred mommy. At my one week appointment they took the staples out which to my horror showed over half of my incision reopened and they were infected. I went on to have a home nurse packing the wound three times a day for 8 weeks. Not great for an already upset and emotional mommy 🙁 After these two experiences I didn’t think I could handle having another c-section so I put the thoughts of more children away. I just couldn’t do it.
When my son turned 2 I felt that familiar tinge of baby fever. I so desperately wanted more children. I began researching anything and everything related to my history, births, VBAC’s, etc. I couldn’t learn enough. I found an amazing doula that encouraged me to find new providers that understood my passion for VBAC and why it was so important to me.
Over the next two years that’s what i did. I learned, I read, I researched, I switched providers. I prayed. Oh how I prayed. I poured my heart and desires out to God and left it in His hands. My husband went on a mission trip to Guatemala and the day he got back I just happened to be ovulating 😉 Funny how that worked out. Four weeks later we found out we were pregnant. I had a very rough beginning to the pregnancy from med withdrawals from my migraine medication. After that it was great! I had some nausea and vomiting. I did loose some weight. Everything else went wonderful. I met with the midwives and we discussed at length what I wanted for this pregnancy. All but the attending OB were on board. So I just quit seeing her 🙂 I knew when she asked for a growth scan at 26 weeks we weren’t going to see eye to eye. Ha!
Now to what I did during my pregnancy. I had been getting in shape before getting pregnant and continued to ride my bike and walk during. I prayed very specifically for things during this pregnancy. This was a personal thing for me and I understand it’s not for everyone. I prayed for no swelling, no group b strep, no gestational diabetes, for a natural VBA2C and for no severe tearing or recovery issues.This may seem silly, but we prayed for a June baby since my son’s birthday is the first week of July 🙂 I prayed that I would go into labor on my own, that I would be able to have my water break on it’s own. I prayed for a healthy baby above all. God answered every single prayer!
As far as any prep, I took prenatals. I drank the organic pregnancy tea. I switched to red raspberry leaf tea at 30 weeks. I bought organic loose leaf from my local herb shop. I ate dates from 36 weeks on (medjool and 6 a day). I bounced and did exercises on a yoga ball for most of my second and third trimesters. I denied any ultrasounds after the initial dating one. I refused cervical check until one I had at 39 weeks because I was having tons of contractions and the head midwife whom I trust completely just wanted to do a thorough exam and gage what all was going on. That was the only check I had before labor.
I began having tons of braxton hicks contractions around 37 weeks. Several hours a day. Around 38 weeks they became more intense and were coming for a few hours every day at 4 minutes apart. Exhausting 🙂 We began doing the evening primrose oil inserted nightly and I took one orally twice a day. I did deal with some bad sciatic pain and hip pain. I saw the chiropractor a few times. It did help and he did note that my pelvis was out of alignment and did extra work on it which did help with the pain.
I had been having contractions for several hours a day for two to three weeks. They would get as close as 4 minutes apart but then after eating or drinking and resting would space back out to 10 minutes or more apart and fizzle out. I started having a few painful ones during the nights for about a week before my due date.
My due date was set as June 29. I was already mentally preparing that I might go over. I had never gone into spontaneous labor with my first two. On June 27 I had a few weird contractions that really caused pressure in my hips and legs. I felt “heavy”. I ate a good dinner. I told my husband I just wanted to cuddle and have some intimate “adult time”. I swear that is what put me into labor. It was such a release and such a sweet time .I went on to bed. At 3 am I had a huge contraction that woke me up from a dead sleep. I tried to go back to sleep and a few minutes later had another one. I decided to get up and walk around. They were coming every 4 to 5 minutes and were strong but not overly painful. I called my doula and I called my midwife who advised me to eat something and see if they changed. I ate an apple and peanut butter and drank a full bottle of water. They did not change at all. I was beginning to have to stop moving through them and breathe. They were intense but not what I would consider painful. Now coming solidly every 4 minutes and last around a minute long by 4 am. I let my husband know he wouldn’t be going to work 🙂 I jumped in the shower and that helped the pressure/pain. I called my mom to come be with the kids. We got everything ready to go. By the time we were ready to leave it was 6 and we had an hour drive to the hospital. They were now coming every 3 minutes lasting a full minute or more. Sitting in the car sucked. I am not going to lie. It didn’t help that they were now coming every 2 to 3 minutes. We got to the hospital at 7:15 and got the monitors hooked up to check on baby. Everything looked great! I was checked and was already a 6!!! I was amazed! I had only been a finger tip dilated the week before. I labored standing up and leaning over the bed during contractions.
I propped my left leg on the bed around 8:30 and during a contraction lost my mucous plug and had my bloody show. A few contractions later and my water literally exploded! My husband’s face was priceless! I was checked again at about 9:30 because I was feeling a ton of pressure and I was at a 9 with just a tiny lip of cervix and she was at a +2 station! My midwife arrived and watched me labor. At this point I was in another world during contractions. My doula was ESSENTIAL!! She kept me grounded. I will never forget at one point I felt like I was losing control. She put her face next to mine, literally cheek to cheek and began breathing with me. I felt so at peace. In pain, but at peace. My midwife checked me at 10-ish and realized that my baby was not wanting to go under my pelvic bone. I was laboring facing the head of the bed, on my knees, holding a pillow on the head of the bed (inclined all the way up). She got me over on my back (which was the last place I wanted to be). Almost immediately she came under and I could feel her descending. The pain was intense but you find yourself digging deep to somewhere you never expect because you know your baby is depending on you to get them out. My body took over and the pushing began. I was in total shock at how fast things were going. I asked for the mirror and seeing her starting to crown gave me that extra motivation to push even harder. It’s a sensation I can’t describe. Pain, purpose, it’s amazing! At 10:46 am out popped her head and then my midwife delivered her shoulders and out she slid! We had done it!!! I took a moment to praise God and send a prayer of thanks and then just gazed at this precious baby girl who was laying on my chest gazing up at me.
My doula was bawling, my husband was staring in amazement. I think we were both in shock. I swear I still am. It doesn’t seem real. I had just pushed out a 9 pound 3 oz 21 1/4 in baby out of my vagina!! All natural, no meds at all!! Talk about a healing experience!! I did tear. I had some 2nd degree that required stitches. Delivering the placenta really isn’t fun. We delayed cord clamping. We delayed bathing. She nursed within a few minutes. She is a perfectly healthy baby girl and we could not be happier.
On another note, I feel like we do a disservice by sugar coating recovery. I was talking to another VBAC mom about this. I felt like I was being a wimp for not feeling amazing by 5 days post partum. I have read about so many moms who says they feel amazing and don’t mention any negatives after birth. So I thought something was wrong with me. The stitches hurt and were so irritating. Sitting down comfortably was a struggle. I felt very drained for the first few days. At one week post partum I am finally feeling a little more like myself. I still can’t walk for a long time without hurting and getting exhausted. The stitches are finally dissolving and that has helped. I will say it was much better than a c-section recovery because I can move around without feeling like my insides are burning. I can take hot soothing baths.
I am eternally grateful for the insight gained from all the other VBAC
mommies! I have followed so many of your stories and will continue to rejoice in all these precious births, no matter how they happen 🙂 You ladies are awesome! Continue to educate yourselves and fight for the birth you want! Sorry it was so long but I wanted to share everything!! I welcome any questions so feel free to ask!!
We used Intown Midwifery and delivered at Atlanta Medical Center.
Products I found super helpful: Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom spray and bottom balm. Dermaplast (blue lid) spray. Tucks pads. Padsicles! (seriously, make these). “Christ Centered Childbirth” by Kelly J Townsend. Yoga ball. Epsom salts for before and after pregnancy baths. Evening primrose oil. Red Raspberry Leaf tea. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic pregnancy and third trimester teas. My best advice based on my experience is educate yourself, find a 100% supportive provider, and hire a doula! God bless and thank you for reading!