Okay everyone, I’m so excited to start with my new Natural Birth Story series! I will post one every week as long as you all keep sending them on in to me! If you’re interested in submitting your own, click here.
Our debut birth story is coming from the lovely Hilary over at Messy Buns and Latin Chant, where she blogs about her faith and family. After a c-section with her first, Hilary went on to have a successful VBAC at the hospital. She says, “I firmly believe that God designed women to birth babies, and that in usual circumstances, that is the most effective and healthy way to bring our children from womb to world.”
Here is her story.
The first time around, I was so prepared and confident. I read all the books, I took the classes, I packed my birthing ball, I practiced breathing, I made my husband practice laboring positions, we had this! My water broke dramatically with meconium in it, but labor progressed slowly. After 8 hours, it stalled, and I took a low dose of iv meds to rest a little. It did help, but after three and a half hours of constant transition, as I was starting to swell shut again, they advised a c-section to avoid permanent internal damage and possible shoulder dystocia. We both agreed, and my son was born, happy, healthy, and a huge 10.4 lbs after 14 hours total of labor.
I still try not to have regrets over that birth, it was an amazing experience and I got a little man to love who has been the most fun I have ever had. But I’m not going to lie, the backhanded comments about why didn’t I try this or that, or maybe I shouldn’t have eaten so much mac’n cheese do sting a bit. I knew I had made the best decision for myself and my baby, but I also knew that if I didn’t want to have my OBGYN tell me to stop having kids one day (I likely wouldn’t listen, but still), that I would have to try for a VBAC. Now that I realized the pain wouldn’t kill me, I knew I wanted to try it unmedicated too.
Twenty-one months later, after weeks of prodromal labor, and one false start, I sent my husband, Gabe, to bed telling him, “You might want to get sleep while you can. I’ll wake you if it’s the real deal.” I putzed around a few hours, took a bath, and contractions kept getting stronger. So I put on some coffee for Gabe to drink on the hour-long drive (it was 1am, I did prefer to not have anyone fall asleep on the way) and called his mom to come stay with our oldest.
By the time she got to our house, I had to go on my hands and knees for each contraction. At the end of the drive to the hospital, things seemed to have slowed a little, so I walked waddled upstairs to L&D. We walked into the unit to a bustle of nurses and techs– a mother and her twins were in critical condition, so we were quickly set off in a room to bide our time. I figured I had a way to go, so I didn’t mind.
After some quick monitoring, I got in the shower for an hour, then went back to the bed to rest some more. They checked and I was at 6.5cm– things were moving faster than I thought! A few hours and another shower later, I turned to my husband and said, “Honey, I can’t do this much longer. I kind of want to ask about anesthesia!” I’m so thankful he asked me to wait and see where I was because when they checked again, I was almost to 9cm! It was time to go!
The doctor and second nurse came in, Gabe held my hand and kept encouraging me like a champ (rumor has it he almost told me to “cowgirl up” and I’m glad he didn’t, he might have gotten punched), and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did. Not my proudest moment, but I yelled at the doctor to quit slicing me open.
“Honey, I’m not giving you an episiotomy, the baby is crowning. I’m just giving you lidocaine.” “Yes, you are! I know you are! Stop it!” I still need to send her an “I’m sorry” card one of these days…
But then, after the quickest twenty minutes of my life with me pushing, there he was! Less than 7 hours of active labor, no drugs (other than topical lidocaine for numbing while I was stitched) and my 8 lb. 14 oz. baby boy had arrived! The doctor did a little stitching for some very minor tears while I snuggled my beautiful newborn, then I walked to the shower for quick rinse while they took his measurements and wiped him down.
I can only describe the next twenty-four hours as complete euphoria. I was so proud of myself, my husband, and my little baby for what we had just done. I was able to walk a very little bit by myself– no pesky catheter or inflatable socks to avoid blood clots. No swelling from being pumped with fluids, no nausea from the anesthesia…. I felt like a million bucks!
If you’re considering a VBAC, find a supportive OB, and go for it! I’m so glad I did. My goal going into that second labor was a healthy baby, no matter how he arrived. Another c-section wouldn’t have broken my heart, (and please don’t let anyone make you feel you took an easy way out for choosing one) but it isn’t something I would look forward to. Recovery is a bear, and the complications are very real.
So don’t tell my oldest, but the birth of my second son is one of my favorite experiences of my whole life. I absolutely look forward to birthing my next child, should God see fit to give me another.