Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Beauty of Birth....when you are able to experience it in sound body and mind and not from behind a cotton sheet!

It's hard to believe that in just 2 weeks it will be two years since my second son was born.  Unlike some second-time mothers, the anticipation of my second birth was nearly as nerve-wracking as my first.  I didn't know what to expect, I wasn't sure if I was able to do it, and perhaps worst of all, I held very little confidence for what my body could do...what I was BORN TO DO....

The reason I felt this way is because my first son was born by emergency c-section.  The logistics of why I had to have a c-section were the combination of a few things, my age (I was only 21 and not yet confident enough to question the medical personnel.  I took for granted that what they suggested to me would be best for me...ya... we can talk about that another time), my doctors unwillingness to let me progress in the time my body needed, and my own ignorance in not educating myself prior to my birth.  I know, that last one is my guilt speaking, but it is honestly what I feel, so I will leave it there.  Even though I wish that thought would go away.....

Anyhow, after my c-section I felt a deep sense of loss.  I felt extremely sad that I was not with my son in the first hour of his life....that instead of snuggling him and nursing him as I should have been, I was doped up in another room, completely separated from him.  At the time I was too out of it to be sad...but even now, tears well up in my eyes as I come to terms with how much I missed in those 60 minutes.  Not to mention the birth...what a mess that was... nothing like the miracles I had watched on television or heard about from friends and family members....

If you have had a c-section, you know all of these feelings I am talking about.  You are likely sitting there with a lump in your throat right now.  It's hard to get over that and its not easily understood by anyone but someone who has already gone through it.

So that brings me to my second pregnancy.  Older, more mature, and with book after book about VBAC delivery and natural child birth I entered into my first doctors appointment.  I expected to argue, I expected to have to STAND.MY.GROUND.  But surprisingly, my doctor became my greatest cheerleader.  And right from that moment on, I knew this experience would be different.

For those of you who have had a VBAC or are moving forward toward a VBAC, you know that the option is always there to opt-in for the c-section.  Of course that's not what you want to do, you want to have the birth you so longed for with your first!  But..... there is something appealing about knowing that you won't go overdue, that you can plan to have childcare for your first child... and so on.  So there is the carrot dangling over your nose.  Now fast forward to your due date.  You STILL HAVEN'T GIVEN BIRTH.  You could have had this child at 38 weeks had you gone for the c-section!!  lol.... its tough.  But if you have a good doctor (like I did) he will encourage you to stick it out for as long as possible.  And FINALLY....at 40 weeks and 5 days I went into labour....naturally...all on my own.

Here is my birth story, written only about a week after my son was born (it is not edited, I wanted to maintain the raw emotion it contains):

 Labor began early in the morning on March.27. I woke up a couple times in the night with some pretty painful contractions, but they didn't start getting regular until around 4:30 am. I woke my husband up and told him I thought I was in labour and that I was going to get in the shower. He got up (lol because he was excited and couldn't sleep) too and made some coffee. I was doing pretty well, breathing through the contractions and didn't find them too overwhelming, but because of my previous c-section the dr had wanted me to come into the hospital and get checked whenever I felt labour setting in. So we got ds ready at about 7 am and took him to our friends house and headed over to the hospital. They checked me but I had still not entered into active labour yet so they said I could either hang around the hospital and walk around or just go home and let things happen that way. I decided I would be more comfortable at home. So off we went back to our house. When we got back I had a couple pieces of toast and tried to relax. Took a bath and then the contractions really started getting bad around 11:30. I laid down in bed with my husband and he helped me breathe through the contractions and rubbed my back. At around noon the contractions started getting REALLY bad and I began to panic almost, started crying because it hurt so terrible. I was also shaking because the pain was so intense. So my husband helped me get dressed again (lol I'm sure that was a sight) and off we went back to the hospital. Thank goodness the hospital is only 5 minutes away because the drive aggravated the contractions and I was basically crying the whole way to the hospital.

So we get to the hospital and I am immediately admitted (I guess you don't question someone who's screaming and crying through contractions). They hooked me back up to the monitor and checked me and I was at 4-5 cm, 50% effaced and head was at +1 station. TONS of progress since that morning. So by now it's about 1 pm and the nurse says that if I want to have some drugs now is the time to do it. I got a shot of morphine and that worked wonders in helping me calm down and relax. The pain never went away, but I definitely cared about it a whole lot less! The morphine unfortunately only lasted a couple hours and things started getting intense again.

The nurse checked me and now I was at 6 cm and 100% effaced. The dr wanted to start pitocin because of the amount of pain I was in, he wanted the labour to go faster. Unfortunately at the hospital that I delivered at they do not offer epidurals....a fact that I must have told the nurses 18 times that they should CHANGE IMMEDIATELY. lol. Anyways, at this time we're at about 5 pm. I was having a really hard time getting through the contractions but just kept telling myself that I could do it and before I knew it I was having the urge to push. At 6:10 pm I was fully dilated, and the baby's head was right there. I started pushing (the part of my labour that I liked the most, oddly enough). The baby's heart rate began dipping through the contractions so they had me turning over, the baby was managing but the dr made it clear to me that we needed to get the baby out fast. So then he had the nurses knotted up a bed sheet and my husband held one end of the sheet and pulled while I pulled back on it and pushed. Within three pushes my sweet little babe was out. He had a little bit of a hard time breathing right off the bat, but within a few moments he let out a wonderful little cry. He rated 8/10 on the apgar scale.

So there you have it.  This is a very personal story for me, but I know that it will be helpful to someone else out there considering, or hoping for, a VBAC.  Feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them as openly and honestly as possible! 

Thanks for reading!


**EDIT** One of the things I didn't write in the birth story, but was a prevalant part of my birth, was all of my positive self-talk (I CANT DO THIS, I CAN DO THIS!).  I also prayed a lot during the delivery (out loud of course) and had my husband continually offer words of encouragement to motivate me.  It really did help!


  1. congratulations! birth is awesome :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this. My story is also bitter sweet for my emergency c-section back in 2003. I didn't get to see my lo 4 days after she was delivered. I woke up in ICU myself. My lo was in the NICU almost 2 mos. I didn't get to hold my her for a few weeks other than touching her hand, head and fingers. It was the hardest thing I ever to have to got through. When William was born 2010,4 days after his delivery, he was admitted for 14 days hooked up to tubes.. breathing and feeding etc. I was there by his side and couldn't hold him yet again for about a week. I was reliving those feelings all over again. Both my lo's are growing and doing beautifully now but those images and feelings will be with me always.

    1. It is so hard... I don't know if anyone ever completely heals from the trauma...but hopefully with time it will get easier. Hugs to you!

  3. Beautiful story! My 1st born was also an emergency C, for the exact same reasons I was young and didn't know better....He was 5 hours old before I got to hold him since they had to put me under and I was out cold :( #2 was also a C because they were worried my single layer stitching wouldn't hold up through delivery, at least I was awake for him! If I ever have an opportunity for a 3rd I definitely want to try for a VBA2C :) Thanks for the inspiration! <3 ~ Jaime

    1. That is really tough Jaime. I hope you get your VBA2C too!