Henry Alan Taylor was born on September 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm. He weighed 8 lbs 11 oz and was 22 inches long. I prepared and worked my whole pregnancy to achieve a natural VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean, so I could have the birth I wanted. I love Olive so much, but my birth experience with her was traumatic to me and I wanted to do it differently this time around. I never doubted my ability to have a baby naturally, but was nervous about any interventions the doctor might want to impose. I got my wish, with the help of Mark, my mom, and my doula Lauren. Without her, I don?t know if I would have made it through.
My doctor, Dr. Wendelee Vasquez, had been more and more encouraging and supportive of my wish for a VBAC all through the pregnancy and said I was very favorable for a VBAC. She was very positive about it at my last appointment at 40 weeks. However, she did not want me to go very far past 41 weeks, so even though she was going out of town, she scheduled me for a induction on Thursday, 09/20. I was not very happy about that, but I thought I would definitely go into labor on my own before that. I had many signs of impending labor, but nothing that was a sure sign of real labor. I had Dr Woolard on call specifically for me since I was VBAC, they even wrote it on a prescription so the hospital would not argue.
I had been having lots of contractions for a week or two, nothing serious, but I knew the end was near. I thought I was going into labor on Saturday, 09/15, but those contractions, after getting stronger for hours, but never painful or anything, eventually stopped in the middle of the night. I had no progress Sunday or Monday either.
Tuesday, 09/18- I was having contractions all day Tuesday, but trying not to get my hopes up too much, since they were only slightly uncomfortable and never really got closer together or anything all day. That evening at about 6pm, I was thinking that they might actually be the real thing. They were getting more painful and I was unable to eat dinner because of the nausea. I texted Lauren at about 7pm, as I had a few times in the previous days, putting her on alert even though I was tired of giving her the false alarms. I tried to relax that evening and laid down about 10pm. In the days before when I lay down, I would fall asleep and the contractions would stop, but this time they continued to get stronger, although not closer than about 8-10 minutes apart. I texted Lauren again and let her know, I was thinking it was actual labor this time!
Wednesday, 09/19- A couple of hours later, I let her know they were getting painful and closer together. After I heard back at about 1:30am, I decided to take a shower. I was mad because that made the contractions slowed up a bit, so I lay down again to try and get some more rest. With Olive I had no sleep for so long, which made me so exhausted and I think contributed to having to get the C-section. I was able to fall asleep, but at a little after 3am I awoke to really painful contractions, that were definitely closer together. Mark was up with me, we called my mom to come over so Mark could get things all packed up and ready, and then told Lauren to head on over since she was an hour and a half away. I worked through the contractions just fine, with the help of Mark and my mom, sat on the birthing ball, rocked, etc. I was pretty nervous about the 45 minute car ride to the hospital, but I wasn?t freaked out like I was when in labor with Olive.
Lauren got to the house about 5am, I think, and we finished packing up, and tried to decide if we should go ahead to the hospital. The contractions were strong and 4-5 minutes apart and we decided to go on since I didn?t want to be in any more pain in the car, I thought it would be better to be at the hospital when things got really bad. We got to the hospital around 6:15am, they got us to a room with a tub and got me all changed. At about 6:30am when we got there they checked and I was 5-6 cm dilated and fully effaced, which I was happy with. They wanted me to be on a monitor the whole time, but gave me a mobile monitor so I could labor anywhere I wanted and gave me a heplock without making me be on an IV. At some point, I started a low moaning sound when the contractions got really bad, and that continued for the rest of my labor, it was a little embarrassing, but it got me through, so I tried not to think about it. The nurses pretty much left us to take care of things ourselves unless we needed them. I moved around quite a bit. I did a lot of leaning on every one while standing and rocking. I tried the bath tub a couple of times, but I absolutely hated it for some reason and even had a minor freak out the second time we tried it, so that was not going to help me. I lay on my left side for a while in bed pulling on the bar with each contraction, all the while someone holding my hand or rubbing my back. For some reason, trying to lay on my right side also made me freak out, so I didn?t try that again. I got on the ball a couple of times, tried leaning over the chair or couch. Just pretty much all over the place. I concentrated on the moaning and was saying some of my affirmations in my head when things got bad. I really found help in, ?My contractions cannot be stronger and more powerful than me because it is me.? And various others that I had typed out and been reading every night. I remember telling my uterus in my head multiple times that I was stronger than it and I was going to win. It also helped because no matter what, I did always have a break in between contractions to rest and was able to relax and talk at those times. I was so glad to be able to drink water this time, it was a godsend! Although, I did have a few episodes of getting sick, that actually seemed to give me some relief.
A couple of hours after we got to the hospital, I had the nurse check me again and was at a ?good 6? cm, so not as much as I hoped, but still progress. We kept the same routine for another few hours. Everybody took turns getting something to eat. I tried to get some broth down, but I was just too nauseous the whole time to eat or anything. I ended up throwing it back up. I had them check me again about 4 hrs later at noon and I had only made it 6 ? cm. For some reason I wasn?t crushed, but was disappointed. I had been handling the pain well and never thought I was going to die or that I wouldn?t make it without pain meds. I talked it over with the nurse and Lauren and we decided to have them break my water. It was forming a bubble outside of my cervix and they thought maybe it was keeping Henry?s head from putting the right amount of pressure on it to make it dilate faster. I totally trusted Lauren?s opinion because she explained that normally she wouldn?t suggest that, but thought it was a good idea in my case. And boy am I glad we decided that!!
They broke my water and things got fast and intense! I thought I was probably in transition because the breaks were so much smaller and the contractions so much longer. Plus, I finally started saying that I didn?t think I was going to make it, that I couldn?t do it. And they would all tell me, ?You are doing it?, ?you can do it,? everyone was really encouraging. In just over an hour, I involuntarily started to push, I just couldn?t help it. It scared me because it was so fast and I was afraid of pushing too soon, but the nurse checked and I was already 9cm?s, so they told me it was ok. They started to get everything ready and called Dr. Woolard over. I started to cry because I knew at this point I was going to do it. The pushing was so natural this time and not forced like with Olive. Sometimes I yelled when I had a hard push, I felt like I was one of those women giving birth in the movies, it sounded just like that! I squatted on my knees holding onto the back of the hospital bed for a long time just pushing when I felt the urge. When Dr Woolard got there, she said I could push like that for a while, but I was going to have to turn around when delivery time came, which was fine with me, I was willing to try some different pushing positions.
I got on my back after a while and was making some progress, but not as much as we would like, so I rolled over to my left side. I think that position was really good for me and pushed like that for a long time. When things got pretty close, they put up the squatting bar for me to try that way. I never fully squatted, but used it to pull up and push with all my might. I tried to relax everything and concentrate all of my energy on pushing and tried not to yell or scream. Mark was there to give me water between every push, thank goodness!! The Dr later said she was surprised I didn?t get sick because I was ?drinking like a fish?. Mark also did a wonderful job keeping cool rags on my head and encouraging me the whole time. I still got pretty long breaks in between the pushing, they were letting me go completely at my own pace, and I felt bad for the long pauses with everyone just waiting for me to push again, but I don?t think they minded. I kept on pushing and they got the mirror ready for me. Henry?s head seemed to sit at the opening forever without wanting to come through! I felt the ?ring of fire?, but it was just a slight burning sensation, nothing excruciating. Finally, his head popped out!!!! I think I got one more push and then Dr Woolard looked alarmed and had the nurse push down on my stomach to help me push him out all the way. They had a moment when they thought his shoulders might be stuck, but I don?t think they were. He cried quickly and they put him on my chest right away. It took a little less than two hours to push him out. It was so amazing to me, and Mark, that I actually did it and everything went according to plan this time. Mark actually watched everything, and although it freaked him out, he was glad he did. He was really amazed at all of it and couldn?t believe how big Henry?s head was when it came out! He latched on right away, nursed wonderfully, and stayed with me for the next few hours. The nurses waited until I was ready to take him to do anything, even bathe him.
We were so happy and he was absolutely perfect!