Sunday, January 2, 2011

and baby makes five

Wow! It has been quite a while since I've posted here. The past seven-ish months have been a crazy ride, including the birth of my third child, baby L. I had an unmedicated hospital VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) on August 5th, and it was kind of terrifying and yet really awesome at the same time!

Here's my birth story... sorry, it's a bit long!

I had been planning a VBAC with this pregnancy (baby #3, after an emergency c-section with my second child due to malpositioning and having a moron for a doctor) and was doing everything in my power to make it happen. I chose an OB/midwife practice known in my area for being very supportive of natural birth, and most importantly, of VBAC. My doctor and midwife were fantastic throughout the course of my pregnancy, and it was mostly smooth sailing the entire time, save for baby being transverse for a while and some other minor things.

In the weeks preceding, I had tons of contractions, sometimes just minutes apart, but I knew baby hadn't engaged because I could literally feel her hanging out on top of my pelvis. At my 38 week appointment the midwife gently warned me that if I didn't go into labor by my due date I'd have to have a scheduled c-section. Needless to say, I was devastated that after all my planning and effort toward a natural birth I might be risked out of a VBAC just because I'd run out of time. At my 39 week appointment, just out of curiosity I had my OB check for any progress. I was dilated to 3 cm but baby still wasn't engaged, and instead was sitting diagonally, her head stuck on the left side of my pelvis. I realized at this point that while there was still hope for something to happen in the next few days, maybe a VBAC just wasn't going to happen for me. I signed consent forms for surgery, left the doctor's office, and cried all the way home. Later that night, I bounced on my exercise ball like it owed me money, figuring it was still worth trying to get baby to turn. I was having contractions but didn't feel like she had engaged at all. I went to bed later that night feeling gloomy but also sort of at peace with things, because at least now I knew that if I had to go through with the c-section, it was for a valid reason (because I'm pretty sure birthing a baby sideways is impossible!)

The following morning at around 5:15 a.m. I woke up to fierce contractions that left me doubled over in pain. I realized maybe something was happening but since they weren't close together yet, I decided to get up and try to knock out my transcription work for the morning just in case. Around 6:30 a.m. the contractions had gotten so intense I could hardly function. I told my husband to call his mother to come and watch our kids, and hobbled into the kitchen to get something to drink and unload the dishwasher. As I went to open the refrigerator, my water broke!  I was completely shocked because I'd always read that if you are standing up, it just trickles out slowly. Not for me!  It exploded something fierce and splashed down my legs. I looked at my husband in horror and burst into tears because I was terrified that the cord might come down if the baby was still sitting in the same position.

At this point the contractions were coming so close together it was all I could do just to brush my teeth and pull on a sundress. The husband woke the kids and we piled into the truck to drive to the hospital. The contractions were coming fast and hard, and I could now feel the baby bearing down. Fluid was gushing out with every contraction, and between that and my husband's erratic driving I was completely freaked out! I actually called 911 at one point to let them know we were on the road in hopes of avoiding being pulled over.  The dispatcher radioed the hospital for us and let them know we were coming.  We made it there in about half the time it should have taken, and a nurse and an EMT zoomed me up to labor and delivery. They did an ultrasound to see if the baby had moved. She was face up, but head down and fully engaged. They checked my cervix and I was 9 cm dilated! Thankfully, shortly after this point my brother in law arrived at the hospital to take the kids so that my husband could be with me in the delivery room. My OB finally got there and looked at me and laughed and said "This baby is crazy!"

I got the urge to push at this point. We hoped the baby would turn face down but she never did.  I pushed and pushed and pushed, but while she came down I still couldn't quite get her out. The pain was so blinding I literally felt like I sort of mentally disconnected from what was happening. They wound up doing an episiotomy and using vacuum extraction to get L out because I just could not get her out on my own quickly enough.

At 8:49 a.m. my sweet baby girl arrived! Her face was pretty swollen for the first few days because she came out face up, but she healed up nicely within a week or so.

I was amazed at how easy my recovery was this time. Aside from the cramps and the pain from my stitches, I literally felt like I could get up and walk out of the hospital. I'm so happy with my birth experience. My doctor and the hospital staff were amazing and encouraged me and supported me through every second of the delivery.

I am just over the moon with my birth experience this time. My daughter is named after my beloved late Nana, and I can't help but think that maybe she was watching over us and had a hand in how things went.

So in short, welcome baby!  We love you!

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