The One with the Birth Story

The birthing books will tell you to have a “birth plan”; to figure out the kind of birth you want, right down to the last little detail. Home birth or hospital birth, medicated or not, midwife or doctor. Then medicine, and nature, tells you that you can’t really plan a birth. That babies will come when and where they please, with little regard for any plans that you’ve made. Quite the contradiction…and a small taste of the foreshadowing that it is to be a parent.

It has been a month since my third precious baby was born. I’m finally at a place where I want to share that amazing experience with other people. I have taken that time to cherish every moment, ache and pain, scary and crazy moment of the birth that I was FINALLY able to have. It was exhilarating, terrifying and healing all at once. You see, I had c-sections with my two previous pregnancies. My first was “necessary” because of my high blood pressure and my second was grudgingly planned. I fully understand that c-sections are essential for the safety of some mothers and babies. This is not meant to be a post to debate the merits of a “right” way to give birth. This is just to share my experience and journey.

After 3 pregnancies, many years and tons of reading I realized that, for me, I wanted to have a VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 c-sections). I wanted the experience of giving birth. While realistically I know that I gave birth to my previous two children it felt more like they were delivered from me versus me giving birth. A small distinction to some but to me was HUGE. So, here’s my story:

At 37 weeks my doctor informed me that he would be checking my cervix at the next weekly appointment and if there was progression in my cervix (aka dilation and softening) that he would go ahead and induce me. The 38 week appointment came and no dilation.

39 week appointment came and no dilation.

40 week appointment came and no dilation.

By 40 weeks and 3 days I had all but given up hope that I would get the birth I wanted. My doctor had told me I could go to 41 weeks but I had my next weekly appointment the following morning and wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I was very upset but trying to hold it together. I kept trying to tell myself that a safe delivery, no matter how it happens, was all that was important. However, it was a HUGE stress for me because, on the off-chance my husband and I wanted any additional children, I would need a c-section no questions asked. Well, I woke up on Monday morning (40 weeks and 3 days) and felt different. I was having contractions pretty regularly and then they would stop so I chalked it up to more Braxton Hicks. Then it started up again. So, I texted my husband and told him that I think I might be going into labor soon and he should pack his bag for the hospital. He didn’t believe me. That night I had dinner plans with some friends and got dressed up and put on makeup, all the while having contractions. The contractions continued throughout dinner and late into the night. I was still awake with my husband watching the SEC Championship game when I felt a massive cramp across my lower abdomen and tried to get out of bed. As soon as I struggled to my feet my water broke at 11:43 pm. I looked at my husband and he said “did your water just break?!” and all I could say was “I told you to pack your bag!!” My contractions were immediately 4-5 minutes apart and strong!

Fast forward a hectic 45 minutes while we figured out childcare for our two other sleeping kids and made the trip to the hospital (and I waited for hubby to pack his bag…..) and I was admitted. I was tested to make sure my water broke (how do people not know? it was definitely NOT like peeing on myself!) and my cervix checked–2 cm already! Then came the waiting through contractions….. by 4 am I was dilated 4 cm and in some serious pain as the contractions were not giving me any down time. Seriously, all you natural mamas? More power to you. I caved and asked for an epidural. I was shaking and could feel my stomach churning and knew that vomiting was on the horizon. I got my epidural and my dilation stalled and between 4 am and 12 pm I only dilated 2 cm.

{Side note: I’ve heard before that an epidural can slow down the dilation but I was afraid if I waited too long I wouldn’t be able to get the epidural at all. My doctor had already informed me that should I stall in delivery I would need to have an emergency c-section and, with no epidural, be put completely under. That was my worst case scenario so between having an epidural and missing the birth completely? I opted for the epidural. Now, in hindsight, I would have waited a little longer on the epidural. I had read that standing and walking helps with enduring the contractions but in the heat of birth I completely forgot that little nugget of information and stayed seated in the bed. I would have gotten out of bed to handle those contractions a little better and waited on the epidural….but no matter.}

Between 12 pm and 3:15 pm I had progressed from 6 cm to 10 cm and fully effaced. The nurses rushed to get the doctor and within 15 minutes I was prepped for delivery. 15 more minutes of pushing and, at 3:45 pm, I got to witness the delivery of my handsome baby boy!!

It was, by far, one of the best experiences of my life.

The labor and delivery nurses were amazing and a great support system. They kept saying what a brave and strong mama I was for having my VBA2C. My mom was there to witness the birth and take all the awesome pictures that you see. My aunt was there to come visit me while I labored and happened to walk in right as they prepped me to deliver! My husband was there to witness the entire birth.He didn’t understand my need to have a vaginal delivery but supported my decision. After comparing all 3 deliveries, he was in awe of the whole thing. He marveled at how he could see our baby coming into the world, how he was able to cut the umbilical cord while our baby rested on my stomach and how we could all be together immediately after giving birth (versus waiting for me to get sewn back up with the c-sections).

Within 30 minutes of giving birth, big sister and brother got to meet their new baby brother–another first since usually everyone had to wait to see us while I was in the recovery room. They were so happy and amazed as well! They even brought sweet presents for their brother: new clothes!

All in all, I would wait those agonizing, stressful and hard 40 weeks and 3 days all over again just to experience the amazing birth of this sweet baby again.

It’s been a month and I’m still in awe.

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