*Note from Jaimie* — Stephanie has so willingly agreed to share her story on the blog in hopes of encouraging other women wanting to have a VBAC. This is inspirational. We thank you Stephanie for giving us a glimpse into such a life changing event! And as always, please comment and share. Let’s get her story out there!
June 12,2016 was a day that brought me from being fractured to being steadfast. My story started on September 25,2002 when I became fractured; I was rushed into the O.R. after an ultrasound tech confirmed that at around 34 weeks gestation the car accident that I had been in had caused my placenta to abrupt and just before being wheeled in to have my scan; my bag of waters had indeed broke. With little time an Emergency C-Section was performed and my first daughter weighing 5 lb.2.5 oz was born at 9:22 a.m.
In 2006 Bill and I became pregnant with my 2nd daughter. We were young, myself being only 20 and not educated on a VBAC vs. cesarean; Bill and I sought the answers from my OB/GYN. Bill and I left that appointment feeling terrified at the thought of a VBAC and opted for a repeat c-section. We never questioned or researched further after that appointment.
In 2010 we became pregnant once again with my 3rd daughter. By this time I had a different OB/GYN and my want to have a vaginal birth was ingrained in me, so I asked my OB if I was able to have a VBAC. She replied “no,” so yet another c-section was scheduled and on we went.
By 2013 I yet again became pregnant with my 4th daughter. By this time though I had heard stories of women that had a VBAC after 2 c-sections, but it was not allowed after 3. I felt like I was cheated out of my chance to have a VBAC. Although, I still hadn’t questioned the doctors nor did I look else where.. I continued to follow what I was told and never questioned it. So another c-section for August 18, 2013 was scheduled.
About 5 months after my 4th daughter was born I devoted my life to Jesus and with that my eyes were opened to the world. I had never viewed the world in this way and for the first time in my life I felt a sense of belonging… God set me free! Which brings me to being steadfast. The Lord blessed us with another child! This time I knew the benefits of a VBAC and knew that was the way God intended us to have children.
I had researched and researched and did more research. The day after I found out we were expecting I called my OB/GYN office and asked if I could have a VBAC. The woman that answered the phone said “no, you can’t have a VBAC after 2 c-sections.” I then said, “I know that not to be true.” She corrected herself and said this doctor does not do VBAC after 2 c-sections. That information would’ve been nice to know when I had asked her about a VBAC while pregnant with my 3rd daughter. It wasn’t that I couldn’t have one…it was just they didn’t do them!
I was determined to have a VBAC…the conviction on me to do so was so powerful and I wasn’t about to give up hope! I called several OB/GYN’s and found a new doctor. After speaking to staff over the phone, I had hope that this doctor would give me the VBAC that I was wanting. I quickly transferred my info over to her. After my first appointment; she still gave me the hope that I would be able to have a VBAC. By around my 16th week of pregnancy she came back with a “no.” She stated that her team of doctors did not agree, nor did the hospital and that she had even reached out to a different hospital and team…all of which had agreed that I was not allowed or able to have a VBAC. I was shattered as I had called around to several other doctors and birthing centers and was given the same answer.
For a couple of months I had accepted that I had lost my opportunity to have a VBAC, but that conviction was still placed upon me…it was a strong conviction…one in which I couldn’t ignore! I had started feeling uncomfortable with my new doctor and her team of doctors and things just didn’t feel right to me, but I wasn’t sure what I should do. My last appointment I had with my OB/GYN, I had asked her if I could at least go into labor as I had researched that the benefits from that were better than a scheduled c-section without labor. She said yes I could and I would only need to set my scheduled c-section for 41 weeks.
I left that appointment feeling excited and yet aggravated. How is it that I was able to go into labor and walk into the hospital at 10 cm, but yet I couldn’t have a VBAC! That is just ridiculous! So once again I couldn’t ignore my feelings….they were so overpowering, I wouldn’t have been able to ignore them if I tried! I began once again asking friends, calling, emailing, researching. I couldn’t tell you how many emails or phone calls I had made asking for someone to help me deliver a VBA4C.
On April 3, 2016 a woman named Sabrina Bias answered my email, She eagerly referred me to Midwife Robin Massey. I was relieved to have finally found someone who knew what our bodies were created to do and had trust in that process! She had me go to Dr. Grant out of Columbia, MO to have an ultrasound to check the thickness of my scar. Not once did my new OB/GYN even mention doing this as she led me on to believe she could give me a VBAC. That alone gave me hope. I was in awe at my appointment with Dr. Grant. He was like a breath of fresh air as he confirmed that I wasn’t broken.
My first appointment after having the results confirmed that I was fully capable of having a VBA4C with Robin. I was 32 weeks. The amount of joy that filled me was something I had never thought I would ever experience!
With Robin delivering VBAC herself, I trusted her experience and knowledge with my labor and delivery. She taught me so much about pregnancy and birth that left me feeling even more confident in myself. The fears that I had about labor I gave to the Lord. My fears of how would I know the difference between normal cramps and pains from contractions and those of me rupturing, or the pain that would come that may cause me to give up if my water broke and it was too much to handle after hours upon hours of labor. All of those things that came to mind… I simply gave to the Lord and trusted whole heartily in him, and he didn’t fail me!
On June 10th around 7:00 p.m. my Braxton Hicks contractions started feeling a bit different. They went from just a tightening to a tightening along with a sense of pressure that bore down. By around 11:00 p.m. I started losing my mucus plug and the contractions continued to feel this way until around 5:00 a.m. On June 12th. I awoke to my contractions still having the tightening along with pressure and with a slight cramp to them. Laying in bed they were 5 min. a part, but would be random if I got up and moved around. So I text Robin to give her an update. She had me take a bath, eat, drink water and told me to take it easy and to keep her updated, So I did.
My contractions continued to stay this way. The pain increased a bit, but nothing to unbearable. Although my contractions were 4 minutes apart when laying down by around noon, they still would be erratic if moving around and didn’t stay the same in intensity or length. So, I thought I was still in early labor, but Robin new it was time for her to head over despite my hesitation. Once Robin arrived she asked if I wanted checked. I declined on the notion that I believed that I was still in early labor and was probably only 2 centimeters.
So Robin suggested that Bill and I take a walk to help bring labor along and then she would check me. I agreed and we walked a half mile up the road and turned around and started back. By this point although my contractions still weren’t that bad they did come what seemed about 2 minutes apart. I was still able to talk and walk through these contractions, but the comfort I felt as I would melt into Bill was a bonding experience I will never forget.
We decided to stop back by the house so I could get a drink of water and use the restroom. I went to the bathroom and as I was getting up my water broke. I informed Robin and with that next contraction I had no idea what was happening to me. It was a feeling I can’t really explain. My body just took over and I had no control over what was going on. Robin asked what was happening and as I had no idea she knew it was time. She had me lay down to check me and to my surprise she said the head was right there and I was 10 centimeters. I was completely shocked and had no idea what to do as my body had taken over for me.
I started to doubt myself and Robin was there to remind me of my strength and that I can do this, my body was meant to do this and it was doing it! With everything happening so fast they quickly filled the birthing pool for me. Bill comforted me as I still had the deer in the headlights look. Robin and Bill helped me into the birthing pool and 2 contractions later I delivered a healthy 8lb. 9oz. Baby Boy! Between my water breaking and the baby Elijah being born was about 15 min. It happened so fast that I was in complete shock for hours after his birth!
I know in my heart what got me through my labor so perfectly was by putting my faith and trust in Jesus. I had about 15 Bible verses picked out that my two oldest daughters wrote down on index cards for me. I also prayed, during one of my contractions that was a bit intense I leaned against the wall and the thought that strongly came to mind was: I am thy God your Lord. And I began to just talk to God during that contraction. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have gone through and I couldn’t have done it without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the support and knowledge of Robin or my husband Bill.
My heart’s desire is to help other women during their birth and for them to put their fears in our Savior’s hands and He WILL take care of us. I was even at comfort knowing if an emergency were to arise that it was in God’s Will and I was still at peace no matter what; by putting my complete faith in Him.
Stephanie Hensley is a wife, mother and follower of Christ. Feel free to connect with her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org