I enjoyed reading birth stories when I was hoping for my VBAC so I figured I would post mine. Just some history, my oldest son was delivered via C-section after my water broke at 36.5 weeks and I never progressed past 1cm after 24 hrs of labor. I had a successful VBAC with my second son after 36 hrs of labor. I had hoped to have a med-free VBAC for this birth.
I'm exceptionally happy that not only was I able to have my second VBAC, but I actually did it without an epidural, something I had wanted but honestly wasn't sure that I would be able to do...but I did!!
All day Sunday, 1/5 I was having BH ctx, every 5 min or so. I knew they weren't real ctx, but usually I only had a lot of BH in the evenings, so all day was a bit of a change. I also had some pink-tinged mucus coming out. It didn't look like my past mucus plug, but it was weird. It had been raining all day and that night in Atlanta temps were supposed to drop to below 12 degrees and everything was supposed to ice over. Because of that we went to the hospital around midnight for monitoring. I was 1cm when I got there and they monitored me until around 6am, but I was still only 1cm despite having ctx every 4-6 min so they sent me home.
Monday the ctx became a good bit more painful, but were only coming every 10-20 min. DH stayed home from work and I timed them and sat around being grumpy. Went to bed and woke up Tuesday morning to more of the same. For some reason I was feeling pretty energized, I didn’t feel like sitting around all day again, so I told DH to go to work and I decided to take the boys out to paint pottery and we met a friend for a lunch playdate. I was having painful contractions all morning but I refused to sit around and pay attention to them. However, I changed my appointment from Thursday to Tuesday so I could see if they would sweep my membranes. I was 39 weeks. My appt was at 2:30 and he did the membrane sweep. Within 30 minutes my ctx jumped from every 10-20 min to every 3-4 min. I drove to the grocery store and walked around, contracting like crazy. Got home and within another 10-15 min I was having trouble walking and talking through them. We would be standing and I would typically wrap my arms around DH's neck and rock with him through the contractions. After 15-30 min of this , I called my parents to come to be with the kids and my doula. DH was rushing around packing things. DS2 was so sweet, during one contraction he said “I want to help” and came up, hugged my leg, and gave it a gentle kiss. DS1 was a little more nervous and stayed in the other room.
My doula arrived and the plan had been to labor at home. Since my past labors had been 24 and 36 hrs, I expected we would be home for several hours at least. But she was there less than 15 minutes when she said that my ctx were about 2-3 min apart and lasting a minute or more, so let's go to the hospital! Climbed in the backseat and breathed through the ctx while DH drove. We pulled up to the hospital and the security guard saw me in the backseat and rushed out there with a wheelchair. We got into our room and they checked me and I was at 3cm!! This was an ENORMOUS relief to me...every time I have gone to the hospital I have been 1cm and stayed there for close to 24 hrs before making progress.
From here I pretty much surrendered to my doula and DH to help me get through it. They were both amazing. My doula would get me to move around or get in different positions every 45 min or so. DH was by my side, letting me either squeeze his hand through each contraction or hanging on his neck while I breathed through them. My doula would pop my toes or massage my legs or back. I had some pretty intense lower back pain and pressure. I spent a lot of time sitting on the toilet, that felt really good for some reason. I also got in weird positions at the end of the bed or hanging over the bed. My mom also came and was there for the entire labor and birth and she would also come and hold my hand and encourage me if my doula or James needed a break.
Around 6 cm, my resolve for going drug-free started to cave and I asked for something. My doula offered a dose of Fentanyl to take the edge off. They gave me a dose and it helped for maybe 1 contraction, but they continued to be very intense and my resolve was really crumbling. I knew it was just going to get harder and I didn't feel like I had the energy to continue so I asked for the epi. Here is where my doula got a little tricky though They told me I had to have a bag of IV fluids before I could have the epi, and then she asked the nurse to put the bag on 1/4 speed so it would take a long time to go in. By the time the IV bag was finished, I was 8cm and in a pretty deep hypnotic state thanks to DH and his amazing Hypnobirthing skills!! I think I had been moaning "Ow" during the contractions so my doula suggested that I focus on the word "OUT" and I moaned that through all of my contractions towards the end of labor.
Once the IV bag was in, my doula asked if I still wanted the epidural I actually said no because I was so close (8cm) and DH was seriously doing magic tricks keeping me extraordinarily relaxed and hypnotized. I was sitting in my bed but she had rigged it up so it felt like I was on this throne of pillows. Then I just felt like pushing and I guess I started to do it involuntarily. My doula said, "Amy, are you pushing right now?" I admitted I was. My midwife came in shortly after that and she told her I was starting to push on my own. They checked and I was 9.5 with just a bit of cervix in the way. They said I could keep pushing gently if I wanted to and put up a squat bar for my legs. I had a few pushes but they didn't feel right. I wasn't in control of them and they were very painful. At one point I pushed and felt something pop. I seriously thought I had destroyed something down there but no one else seemed alarmed. DH said later that I probably had pushed his head out of my cervix. They checked again and I was 10 and they said I could push for real. I said I didn't think I was pushing effectively, so my midwife put her finger on me and said "push here." I pushed once and she said "STOP, I need to get dressed" so she could go get everything ready for the birth. That was hard, I really wanted to push then but I was so relieved because I thought I was going to have to push for awhile. I pushed twice more and my doula told me to reach down and touch his head. Then she said, "Amy, open your eyes and grab your baby, open your eyes and grab your baby!" So I opened my eyes and took his little body in my hands and pulled him out of me and onto my chest. I don't have any words for how unbelievable that was. I rubbed his body with my hands and watched him turn from gray to pink and then he started crying. DH cut the cord and he was mine! He latched immediately and nursed right off the bat. Finally my Andrew was here! 11.5 hours of labor, born at 3:37am.
We shooed most of the baby team away and they let me hold my baby for an hour before they took him to weigh him, etc. Everyone was shocked that he was 7 lb 11 oz. DS1 and DS2 were both 6 lbers and he looked small but they weighed him twice to doublecheck.
Andrew is a sweetie for sure, loves to snuggle, has been nursing so well. He's a little gassy but once we figured out he needed to burp twice every time we burped him then that helped. DS1 and DS2 are both very enamored of him. DS2 helped to give him a bath today (he washed his hair) and DS1 just keeps saying "I can't believe we have a new baby!!"
So...that's my epi-free Hypnobirthing VBAC story....LOL, it kind of cracks me up, I honestly never thought I was that crunchy but I have to say, it feels amazing to have been able to do it. Honestly my fear of how bad the pain would be was worse, in some ways, than the pain itself. I never would have been able to do it without DH and my doula though. Also the midwife and the nurse were amazingly supportive as well, so it was a wonderful birth experience, my first with no regrets, just pride and joy, which feels wonderful, especially since it's my last!