I did it! DS2 was born via VBAC on April 5 after 29 hours of labor! He was 7lb 11 oz and 21" long. It was by far the most difficult thing I have ever experienced, but the recovery is amazing compared to the CS.
I was due on 4/1, but had not progressed at all as of my OB appointment on 4/3. In fact, my doctor only estimated a 20% chance of a successful VBAC. Surprise! I woke up at 6 am on 4/4 and my water broke as I was getting out of bed. After packing up my stuff, feeding DS1 and having a snack, we headed to the hospital. I was having some regular contractions, but nothing terribly painful.
We got checked in around 9:30 am and I was "maybe" 1cm dilated. My OB told me that it was going to be a long day and not to expect a baby before Friday. We started pitocin and the contractions got going a little harder. My goal was to hold out on the epidural as long as possible since my previous CS was due to "failure to progress" after 24 hours and no change to my cervix. We watched TV, sent emails, watched a movie, and basically waited for something to happen. The contractions were consistently 2.5-3 minutes apart on the pitocin and increasing in strength. I was SLOWLY dilating throughout the day, but I was still only about 3cm when the contractions started to get very painful around 11pm.
When I could no longer talk or do anything except breathe during the contractions, I elected to get the epidural. The epidural was fabulous, and I immediately slept for almost two hours; however, I woke up out of a deep sleep in terrible pain during a contraction. The nurse called the anesthesiologist, who was surprised that the epidural was not working, but gave me another dose of medication and I was totally comfortable again for 1.5 hours and then suddenly started feeling the full contractions again. The anesthesiologist decided to dose me one more time, which again worked for 1.5 hours. I was throwing up from the pain during the peak of the contractions and very uncomfortable. At this point, he recommended that we re-do the epidural.
Immediately after epidural #2 was inserted, I became faint, couldn't breathe and started to pass out. There was a flurry of activity and people running in and out of the room, but I was totally out of it. They gave me oxygen and an adrenaline injection to reverse the effects of the medication. The incident was so frightening and upsetting that I asked the nurse whether I should just get the RCS and give up on the VBAC. She said that the baby's heart rate was completely stable during my incident and not to jump into it so close to the end. Once I got straightened out from the breathing incident, I realized that the epidural didn't work at all and I was feeling the full force of the contractions again, throwing up, and just feeling totally exhausted.
Around 5 am, we went with epidural #3. It worked for about 30 minutes, but then stopped working anywhere from my midsection up. On one hand, anything was better than nothing, but I was still throwing up at the peak of some of the more intense contractions. DH was so wonderful...he did everything he could to distract me from the pain and encouraging me. I would never have made it through without him! At this point, I was 5cm, which was still considered progressing, so my doctor was okay with me continuing to labor.
My doctor stopped by at 9:20 am to check me. He actually walked in right as I was throwing up...poor guy! He checked my progress, and the best words EVER came out of his mouth, "Wow, you are fully dilated! Let's have a baby!" The nurse who had been with me all night went running around to prep the room, giving me instructions on how to push, and we started! She gave me some awesome advice...she said we could do the pushing the easy way and I could have a baby in the next 30 minutes, or she said we could do it the hard way and I could still be pushing in 3 hours. I assured her that we were doing it the easy way!
The pushing was the best part of labor. The epidural was effective enough to take the edge off, but I could still feel enough to know when to push. The nurse asked whether I wanted a mirror, and I initially declined, but then decided to try it. It was so encouraging to see the baby's head! As soon as I saw his head, I knew I wanted to get through it as quickly as I could so that I could hold our son. After twenty minutes of pushing, he was out! I got to hold him on my chest immediately and see my husband cut the cord. It was amazing!
I had only a 1st degree tear and a few stitches, but so far the recovery has been NOTHING compared to the CS. My doctor and the nurses were so impressed that I actually made it through the labor process, which made me feel so great. I can't stress enough how important it was to have a supportive doctor. The nurses told me that I was so lucky and that they didn't think any of the other doctors who deliver there would have supported such a long VBAC labor. Total time from my water breaking to delivery was 29 hours.
For any of the VBAC-hopeful mamas, you can do it! It was so nice to come home from the hospital and to be able to pick up my 15 month old right away. Plus, the sleep deprivation just isn't as severe when the physical recovery is easier. I haven't posted much on this board, but I did want to share my story in the hopes that it might give some of the other VBAC mamas some hope!