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Hi – Just wanted to share that our daughter, Campbell, was born about 1 week ago! I had a successful VBAC and a WONDERFUL experience. While I had a wonderful birthing team – a fantastic nurse team, my mom, my husband, a hypnodoula, and my amazing dr – I did opt for an epidural after about 20 hours……… here’s my story. BOP may be needed…
39 weeks pregnant – the day prior had visited the dr and was 1 cm and 25% effaced. I was at work on Friday, getting ready to do my part of a student presentation for incoming college freshman when I noticed that I felt a little off – a little crampy and a slight backache, but didn’t give it much thought. I got thru presentation #1 and moved on to presentation #2. I then went to the restroom and noticed I had started losing my mucous plug which was significant to me b/c when I lost my plug during my son’s birthing time, things got started right away. Well I went on with my day but noticed some pressure waves. I decided to go back to my office to sit down and my friend/colleague suggested I consider going home. I agreed, though opted to pick my son up from daycare on the way home and go about our normal evening. My husband was not convinced it was time……. though my mother was ready to jump in the car for her 4 hour drive to me. I asked her to stay home for now b/c things were not really consistent. With my son I went from 0-60 in no time and I just knew that while things were starting, it wasn’t quite “it”. Went to bed – and woke up at about 5am with very consistent PWs – 2-3 minutes apart, lasting 30-45 seconds. My son woke up when I did and was acting very clingy with me as well. I called my mom so she could start her drive and started texting my doula. My husband took over things with our son and I focused on relaxing and getting in to hypnosis. I really enjoyed listening to my birthing day affirmations, though my doula encouraged me to listen to my deepening track, which was also helpful. I finally asked her to come to our house to help me work thru things. I knew that even though my waves were intense and close together, I had a while to go (with my son, it took me about 12 hours to dilate to a 6 before we realized he was frank breech and I had a c-section – pws with his birthing time started the same – 2-3 minutes apart lasting 30-45 seconds). My in-laws were also on their way (3 hour drive) to come take our son for the day/night out of the house……
So I spent the day at home – though called the hospital and asked them to page my dr to let her know that things were happening. I ignored all phone calls that day, esp those i didn’t recognize so little did I know that my dr was trying to call me all day! I was in the tub when we realized it and she requested that we go to the hospital just to be checked since I was a vbac. Around 4pm we were on our way. She did tell me that if I was not 4 cm, she would probably have me go back home – my dr knew how important it was for me to do things naturally and to have a vbac – in fact she was the one who encouraged me to hire a doula and to do hypnobabies!!!!!
Hospital monitored to me in triage and I was at a 3. Ready to go home when the charge nurse told me they were going to re-monitor me. I was not happy about this – but our son’s family dr was on call and came by to talk to me – he explained that since I was a vbac, anything less than perfect caused worry in everyone…..and so a slight decrease in baby’s heartrate during waves had some people concerned, but i knew everything was fine. Well they remonitored me (for what I found out later lasted 2 hours!!!) and during that time my water broke and I dilated to a 4. I was checked in. In the meantime I started losing it and wasn’t handling the situation well – things were very intense and I was tired. But the dr., doula, and my mom encouraged me along – they encouraged me to get to the room where i could relax more and get in the tub. by 7pm we were in our room and after about an hour, I opted to get in the tub. ahhh, it was WONDERFUL – I loved it. I spent FOREVER in the tub. Oh – and when we told the nurses that i was doing hypnobabies, they were really encouraging and excited!!!! I had left my bag in the car, which had our birthplan and hypnobabies stuff, but turns out I didn’t really need it. I explained my preferences to our nurse, and she was happy to go along with all of it without question – so wonderful!
Anyway – so I was in the tub for a few hours. Our son’s dr was monitoring me until our dr arrived (she needed to get her kiddos to bed- I love it!) and I was hoping that I had made a lot of progress, but as everyone kept reminding me, since this was my first vaginal birth, we were going to treat it as a first birth which meant that things may take a little longer than second births might usually……. Anyway my dr arrived (I was still in the tub) and after a couple hours (???) she requested that I get out so that she could check me (attempted to check me in the tub, but wasn’t comfortable with her evaluation of the situation). Argh, getting out of the tub was rough as it intensified everything A LOT! this is when I really lost it – thoughout the time in the tub my doula kept reminding me to be “limp and loose” and between my mom, husband, doula, and nurse – they were keeping me relaxed, somewhat in hypnosis (I wasn’t the best at remembering to do that…..), and dealing with my primal noises (as Ina May put in her book, I let my inner primate out during PWs). I think I was back in bed around midnight or so and at that point made a decision to get an epidural. I was feeling frustrated with my progress and so emotional and exhausted. I told everyone that I knew they would be upset with me but they all reminded me that this was my birthing time and that i needed to do what I felt like I needed to do. So i did. I then had about 3hours of rest while I fully dilated and effaced. By about 3:15am I was ready to push so we started. After about 20 minutes my dr asked me to stop b/c she was concerned about baby – we opted to let both me and baby rest again for a while. We started pushing again at about 4:15am – baby wasn’t really progressing down the canal, so my dr used the vacuum during two waves – maybe around 5am. That helped a lot. She was finally crowning but still at 6:15 wasn’t coming – I was feeling frustrated. Also the dr. thought she had swallowed some meconium so the nicu team was called in to the room. Dr cut a very very small episiotomy around that time and baby Campbell came out with my next push.
of course, b/c of the meconium issue, she was taken to the other side of the room, which didn’t totally please me – so I told my husband to follow that baby – and then started asking for someone to tell me if she was still a girl (even though the ultrasounds showed she was, I couldn’t believe it until we saw with our own eyes!!!) and she was! they finally brought her over so we could meet, but had to take her to the NICU b/c of how she was breathing. Turns out she was fine and I was able to go nurse her in the NICU for the 24 hours that she spent there.
All in all, while I ended up using medication despite the fact that I had hoped/planned not to, I am thrilled with the outcome of this birthing time. The MOST important thing, outside of a healthy beautiful child was having a successful VBAC. I visualized it and it came true! the day after her birth, my dr came by to discuss all decisions that had been made and see how I was with everything and honestly, I am 100% happy. I do not regret any decisions that were made or feel upset by any of my choices. Having a c-section with my son was very upsetting for me, so this time things were just amazing and wonderful. My doula also came by the next day to visit and commented to me that my dr was absolutely amazing – she was so impressed with her approach to my birthing time – from being with me ALL NIGHT, to using warm wash clothes to help avoid tearing, so respecting my intense desire to VBAC and therefore being okay with things taking A LONG time (remember, I woke up with PWs 2-3 minutes apart at 5am Saturday morning and didn’t have her until 6:20am Sunday!).
In addition to being grateful to my dr and doula, my mom and husband – I am blessed to have given birth in such a baby/mommy friendly hospital. Never once did they comment to me about my choices, offer me pain meds, or anything. They worked well with my doula, mom, and husband as well as my dr. Everything just fell in to place! I was encouraged by the nurses to keep my blood sugar up and to take things one PW at a time. I just had a wonderful wonderful experience. I was also thankful to the NICU resident for respecting my desire to get the breastfeeding relationship started ASAP and for allowing it and encouraging it.
Campbell is now about 1 week old and doing wonderful – she has surpassed her birth weight, and our home-nurse visit yesterday commented about the magic of mommy’s milk!!!!!!!!
Finally, while I used hypnobabies on and off throughout my birthing time – I am so glad I had this tool and will recommend it anyone interested in natural childbirth!