Tuesday, January 7, 2014

VBAC Series: Birth Story #1 - Heather M.

                 Welcome back to the VBAC Series! Being as educated as possible with facts is of course very important when planning a VBAC, but I have found that there is nothing more inspiring than reading other women's stories who have had a VBAC themselves! Today's birth story comes from Heather M., told in her own words, who had a VBA2C. (Vaginal Birth After 2 Cesareans)

                 I had a section with my first child because his heart had formed outside of his body and there were concerns about his safety birthing naturally. My second child, I had a vbac planned, however a series of unfortunate events prohibited me from pursuing that dream. I was walking out of my front door one day, fell, and broke both feet, putting me In a wheelchair through delivery. Because I could not walk or move, baby went sunny side up. He was 9 lb and 3 oz, so birthing naturally was not an option between his size, position, nuchal cord, and my inability to move.

                My third baby I was dreaming of a natural delivery but highly skeptical. I seemed to encounter a lot of resistance at every appointment I went to. I prayed and prayed that God would allow me to have a safe delivery, and a vaginal delivery if that was possible. At 39 weeks I went into my ob. My cervix was unchanged. She told me I had a "crappy cervix" and would probably not go into labor and should just schedule the section. She told me I was too old (31) to have a successful vbac. I persisted in my desire to have a vba2c. At my next appointment that week my BPP/ultrasound showed borderline low fluid (5.6). The doctor jumped on that as a reason to section right then. When I told her I simply could not go to the hospital right then and didn't see a reason to since the BPP and NST were perfect (other than the borderline fluid) she critized me. She told me I was a selfish parent for putting my desire for a natural birth above my childs safety (obviously that is not what I was doing, I felt the natural birth was safest and best for both her and myself). I decided to leave and declined a section.
                At that moment I decided to hire a monitrice. I knew I wanted to stay at home and labor and not be subject to the limiting rules and policies of the hospital. I knew I did not feel comfortable having a home birth, so going the route of a monitrice and transferring later was best for us. I met with the monitrice that weekend and she gave me tips to get my fluid level up before my check on Monday (40 weeks). When I went in to my 40 week check my fluid was up to 8.0. The doctor looked at me and said "I still want to section you now but I guess I don't have a good reason anymore". I went home to wait it out.
                At 40+4 I went to the doctor for another check. At this point my fluid was 3. The doctor was not in the office so I was seeing her nurse practitioner. The NP called the doctor who of course told me I needed to come be monitored right away. I broke down in tears in the NP's office. I told her all that had transpired, the harsh words the OB had for me, and how it had created a breech of trust and how desperately I wanted someone to be honest with me about the health of my baby and the urgency of what was transpiring.
                The NP agreed to put me on a NST and evaluate. After 15 minutes of all the appropriate accelerations (and contractions!), she came in and told me she thought I was In early labor and that the baby, at that moment, was behaving well and tolerating all the contractions with ease. She encouraged me to go to the hospital but understood where I was coming from and was very loving in her mannerisms towards me, a pleasant surprise! She did say If I hadn't had a baby by the next day I needed to go in to be monitored.
                So I left and met my husband and toddler at our favorite restaurant where the contractions really picked up! I went home and rested, my toddler and I snuggled on the couch and watched Thomas for a few hours. The contractions continued to get more and more uncomfortable. Finally around 8 I called my doula to come. Our air conditioner had just broken that night, so she and I went outside to walk around. We walked and walked around the neighborhood and I remember how nice the cool night air felt on my skin, so much so I could have pictured myself delivering in our front yard! At 10, the contractions were intense. I told my husband, "if this is false labor, I quit!". He called the midwife, and before she got there I was in laborland. I got into the tub, I moved into the bed, I walked around the house. I felt like I was watching myself from the ceiling, as opposed to being in my body. I kept praying my whole labor, "jesus help me", a simple prayer, but one that grounded me and gave me strength. My midwife assured me with each contraction, "he is, he is".
                At 3 am we left for the hospital. I was at 5cm. We arrived at the ER and there was an orderly waiting to take me up. He was very uncomfortable being alone with me, afraid I was going to have a baby in transit. I assured him I wasn't but also demanded he let me stand up for contractions. Sitting was unbearable! So each contraction I would yell "stop!!" and hop out. Then when it was over, sit back down and yell "go!!". The poor orderly.
                When I got to my room the nurses were waiting. I did get an IV, because I had been throwing up for hours and was very dehydrated. I did not have any other intervention, no epidural, no internal monitors, nothing. We took our yoga ball and I spent much of my time there laboring on that. I wasn't there long until I remember telling my husband that I was dying. My midwife told me that meant I was almost done. And sure enough I climbed into bed to be checked and was at 9 cm. I sat up, had a contraction, my water broke, I threw up (again), and with that felt my babies head hit the table! I laid back down and the nurses scrambled to get the room and bed ready to push. I was checked into my room around 320, and I started pushing at 4:20, so no one had much warning.
                The doctor on call told me she could see my babies head right there and one good push would get her out. So I dug deep, and pushed with every fiber of my being, a great big push. Out came her head, and with that I felt the ring of fire. I have never experienced such pain in my life as the ring of fire. But it came and passed quickly. The doctor told me her head was out and one more push and I would be done. So I pushed, and they put my baby directly to my chest. I still remember her little eyes peering up at me. Within a few minutes she was nursing. It was so peaceful.

    Photo Credit: Heather M.

                Two pushes, and we had a georgeous wonderful baby in an all natural vba2c delivery. We were so blessed! We thanked and praised God for all he had done for us. We know without Him we never would have had such a pleasant and fast delivery!

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