With the birth of my first daughter ending in a c-section, because of “failure to progress”, I came into this pregnancy with a heavy desire for a VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean). For me to have the most successful “trial of labor” I had several factors in place: a supportive OBGYN (with a high VBAC rate), Natural Baby Doulas team, weekly prenatal yoga classes at Radiance Yoga with Cheryl Andres, weekly prenatal chiropractor visits at High Point Chiropractors with Dr. Tracey Smith, monitored weight gain (between 25-35 lb. range), and an induction massage at Touch of Serenity with Ruth Spaulding (once I past my due date). I was a low-risk VBAC candidate since my first pregnancy I had no complications, and neither the baby nor me went into distress. The biggest question going in was, would this baby be able to descend into my pelvis, past Station 0, and into the birthing canal? Something we wouldn’t truly know until I went into labor and tried again.
At my last OB visit I was 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was at Station -3. Around my due date I started to get intense lower back pain, especially at night. I would get off my feet, lay on my side, and use a heating pad and eventually it subsided. I had bad back labor with my first, so I wondered if she was in a pour position and pressing against my back. From my doula, Jessica Bower, she suggested I do the Miles Circuit positions every night to insure baby can be at the best position going into labor. I also started getting cramp-like feelings, but they were constant and didn’t come and go.
Three days after my due date, I woke up a little after midnight with similar back pain and cramp like feelings however this time they were coming and going, and I could easily time them. For an hour or two I started noticing how far apart they were, and if this was the “real deal”. I finally woke up my husband, and we called my doula. After another hour, they seemed to be getting more intense and closer together I called into my OB office. They suggested coming into Women’s Hospital and being admitted to see the contractions and how far dilated I was. My husband, doula, and I arrived at 4:40 am. Thirty minutes later my cervix was checked and I was 6 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and she was at -2 station. I remember still wondering if this baby was going to be able to descend further than my first pregnancy. I kept asking my doula how long she thought all this would take before the baby was born. She kept reassuring me to stay in the moment/contraction. I can’t control or plan ahead, but I can stay strong for what my body is doing right now. While in the admissions room, my doula helped set up the TENS unit on my back to help distract those muscles during contractions. Around 6 am we got into the labor/delivery room and I was laying on the bed on my side with the peanut ball between my legs, again to help open up my pelvis. I started to get uncomfortable with the contractions and moved to my hands/knees in bed. My doula believed this is where my body started into the transition phase of laboring. I stood beside the bed and leaned over. I started to question if I could keep doing this. The contractions became very intense and painful. I went to the bathroom, which apparently is a good position during laboring, and I started to throw up and my water broke on the toilet. Within 5 minutes, I was back in bed, and my cervix was checked at 9.5 cm dilated. My body started to push involuntary and the nurse checked again and I was 10 cm. I asked for Nitrous Oxcide (laughing gas) and used it at the peak of some contractions. It seemed to help take the edge off. Emotionally I felt stronger again, knowing if it became too much I could control when I used the mask. My OB arrived at 7 am and I started to seriously push. I definitely had the urge to push, and that this baby was coming! I pushed through about 4 contractions, and the doctor commented they could see the baby’s head. The baby’s heartbeat started to drop a little and they decided to use the vacuum to help assist in a quicker delivery. Later we learned this was because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The vacuum and my pushing were very effective. I pushed through another 5 contractions with the vacuum’s assistance. During this time it was very painful, but I didn’t even use the Nitrous mask. I knew these pushes were helping bring my daughter into the world. The doula and doctor were both very helpful in describing how close each one was to helping bring my baby out. Rebekah was born at 7:19 am weighing 7 lbs. 15 oz. Once she came out my expression went from agony to excitement! There was complete relief of pain, and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and joy to have successfully birthed my daughter. What an amazing feeling to have gotten to hold her straight from birth, to cut her umbilical cord myself, and start nursing within the first hour of her life. I’m so thankful to have gotten to experience a natural VBAC delivery with the support and care of my husband, doula, and doctor. I will truly treasure such a beautiful and gratifying birth experience!