Failed VBAC Birth Story — The Bump
September 2017 Moms

Failed VBAC Birth Story

PKFMommiePKFMommie member
Third Anniversary 25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
edited October 2017 in September 2017 Moms

I wanted to share this because I am the unfortunate 1 in 4 whom does not have a successful VBAC. Although baby ends up fine (as far as we know), and mom is (slowly) recovering, it is a bit of an emotionally difficult story to tell.

I did all the research.  I studied online classes, I wrote my husband a 1.5 page cheat sheet.  I couldn’t afford a doula (at least I thought I couldn’t, but in hindsight I could have).  I had a good estimated chance of success… 75% according to the MFM calculators.  I exercised 2.5 hours a day right up to the day before I went in to labor.  I watched my diet and weight gain.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t change doctors because of crappy insurance and I was “too busy” and tired to get it done and by the time I found someone else, I was too far in the pregnancy for their practice to accept me.

I went into labor at 4am.  I had been 2cm at that point.  Contractions were quickly 2 mins apart, one minute each, and I went to the hospital at 6am and was 4cm with a low baby, good FHR and no decelerations.  Pain was there, but standing helped me cope.

At 7am they kept putting me in bed, asking questions, and I started to get stressed out.  FHR was still good, but by 7:30, after a lecture from the on call doctor, my own doctor calling in to lecture me, and the anesthesiologist… I agreed to an epidural because I was basically scared into it. I was 5cm when I ended up bed bound.

My BP dropped from 139 to 105 after the epidural, and cue the excessive fluid loading.  Baby stopped tolerating most positions and I ended up stuck sitting in the high fowlers position.  Her decelerations were into the 80s.  My dilation slowed down.  At 9 I had gone only 1cm more to a total of 6cm.  At 11 I was at 7-8 but with a lip.  The nurse was not very helpful with re-positioning.  She was nice, but obviously has poor understanding of labor and positioning to avoid a cervical lip or swelling.  My husband tried to be supportive but didn’t know how to help either, in all honesty.  I was getting text messages from family because my mother (against my wishes) had told the entire family I was at the hospital.  I was being given ultimatums and phone calls from my physicians.  I wasn’t being allowed to try the “all fours” position I kept asking for.  I was experiencing SEVERE pain from the site of the epidural.  My labor stalled at 8cm (would be 9, but the lip caused narrowing), and then I developed cervical swelling and regressed to a 7.  The baby’s HR started dropping into the 50s, and I had been stuck at 7, with the baby now back up at -1 position, from 1pm to 5:30pm.

My doctor showed up and at this point I didn’t think that my labor could recover and they basically “held the baby’s health hostage” to get me to consent to a repeat cesarean.  I though it was because of the HR, at least that’s what they told me.  They ended up saying it was “failure to progress” on the official paperwork.  Go figure

Yet again I got bullied.  I’m a nurse.  And I know better.  And it happened again.

My recovery has been a nightmare physically and emotionally.  I did not want this difficult recovery again.  I worry everyday that the prolonged labor with a decreased FHR and poor placental perfusion secondary to the epidural, might have caused injury to my daughter (they deny this, obviously).  I want more kids more than everything but I don’t know if I can go through the disappointment again.  I absolutely hate myself.

It’s ironic that I got the epidural because I was in pain and was concerned that this could be impacting the baby… and yet the epidural that I was given for this reason was in-fact the thing that caused the HR changes and (I believe, in review) led to a repeat cesearean for me.  It is amazing how once I felt scared and unsupported, how much more difficulty I had handling the pain and thinking clearly. 

I would not be upset if I believed the cesearean was necessary.  I am upset because I believe this RCS was avoidable, and I let myself down, and again I had a pushed cesearean under the guise that it is for the baby… when in fact it conveniently meant she was delivered just before shift change, and within an hour of my MD showing up at the hospital.

During the surgery, it was discovered that the prior CS was very poorly done, and I was on the table almost an extra hour fixing issues from this. 

I’m 32 now, and by the time it would be safe for me to get pregnant again, I will be considered “high risk” by the office for a VBAC… over 35, two prior cesareans after failed labor, with a small pelvis and history of larger babies (about 8.5 pounds each).  I know it’s silly but I feel like my dreams of a big family are over.  I would never get pregnant and plan for a cesarean, given how my prior experiences went (although I know not everyone’s is like that), and I would never consent to an epidural again – but will have trouble finding an office near here that will allow a VBAC attempt without one. 

At the end of it all… my daughter was born at 6:30PM kicking and screaming (but with a little fluid in her lungs), at 8lbs 9 oz, 20.5 inches long.  She was too sleepy from the meds to nurse right away, but did not require supplementation as my milk supply came in quickly, and she did not need any advanced care and as able to stay in my room. 

It is a roller coaster… vacillating between grief and frustration over a repeat negative birth experience and anger at myself, and happiness at the fact that I have a healthy newborn (despite the negative effects of impaired placental perfusion during labor, due to the epidural… and the fluid in the lungs from the cesarean section). 

I’m involved in a FB CBAC support group, and hopefully when it has been 2 years and I can make the decision between continuing to grow our family versus stopping at 2 children, I will have come to peace with this and will be able to make a decision. 

Me: 31 & DH: 36
Married 2009
DS: 6 y/o
TTC #2 for (way too long)
BFP: 12/30/2016 !!!

Re: Failed VBAC Birth Story

  • I am so sorry you went through all that. I could not imagine how that could have been. I understand that you are upset with how it went butI really wish you were not so upset with yourself! You did what you could with the resources you had under extreme circumstances. I can relate a little because my sister just had a RCS at age 35. She did not want one and was pretty focused on a Vbac. She also has an awful time recovering and has had to go back to the hospital because of issues. She too was very emotional and felt like a failure. It broke my heart. Again I am sorry this happened but please give yourself A break! Im sure more children are in your future.❤
  • I genuinely appreciate you sharing your story. I'm sorry that you didn't get your vbac this time. Please don't beat yourself up. You tried so hard and having a baby is intense enough as is, it is hard to think straight with medical staff trying to influence your every decision. For your future plans, I was 35 during this birth and my practice didn't consider me to be of any higher risk. Do you have an ICAN resource in your area? I've seen a lot of women searching for and finding providers through my local ICAN for vbaca2c. 

    Did they test your daughter's cord blood gases? My son also experienced some decels down to 60bpm. We were concerned, but his gases came back normal. 
  • PKFMommiePKFMommie member
    Third Anniversary 25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
    edited October 2017
    @lilpoots no they wouldn't test his her blood gasses to check.  basically they didn't want to continue trying.  the most frustrating thing is that in hindsight it really wasn't necessary... possibly indicated, yes, but if the medical team wasnt so focused on doing the easiest thing for themselves it could have been avoided, in all likelihood.

    @tfrangul I'm sorry that your sister had to go through it also.  it is really a terrible thing to experience, more so if you don't feel like the team is really trying with you.

    It's just hard because you want to give yourself time to be upset and process everything, but it sucks because the negative emotions from the experience really interfere with enjoying your newborn.  I still am in shock, that as verbal and straight-shooting as I normally am, I allowed myself to (again) be completely bulldozed by the medical team.  It's so unlike me.  I was so clear on my plans, and had we followed them I believe we would have succeeded. It's my mistake for letting life (work obligations, financial pressures, stuck on overtime, etc) make me so busy that I didn't take the in-person classes, or look into different providers or a doula earlier on in the pregnancy.

    I hate how screwed up the birth process is in the US. It's set up like you are going in to wage a war, really.  It disgusts me.

    Being so isolated after has really affected me as well.  My mom (whom I'm not talking to actually, ATM), was in charge of DS1 and as such she was texting, calling the hospital, and just being really invasive and distracting even while I was in labor, and had other people in the family doing the same.  It was so stressful as I am a private person IRL.  She then, upon getting some minimal details from DH about the complications, as we needed to let her know she would have to wait for us to get DS a bit later than planned, she told EVERY detail to my ENTIRE family, whom in turn told family friends... etc... and so instead of having the pleasure of announcing the birth, and time to process the birth before having other people weighing in and asking about it... every time I step outside or call someone it is the FIRST darn thing they ask about and it sends me right back to the spiral every time.  (Don't get me wrong, I love my mom because she's my mom, so it's not a hate rant... but she is a very unhappy person and the issues with her being inappropriate with boundaries is not new... she has caused a lot of emotional pain to all of my siblings and I over our lives).  So this complicates the emotional side as well.  DH is supportive but I'm afraid my repetitiveness and deepness of the upset is getting to him so I might look into a counselor.

    Me: 31 & DH: 36
    Married 2009
    DS: 6 y/o
    TTC #2 for (way too long)
    BFP: 12/30/2016 !!!

  • @PKFMommie I'm so sorry you are struggling and didn't get the birth you planned for. That's so hard to feel like you were forced and not listened to by your care providers, and worse, put through something just to name their lives easier.
         Getting a counselor sounds like such a smart plan to help cope with the traumatic delivery. Keep a check on how you are feeling - you don't deserve to feel guilty and hatred over the birth of your baby. I worry you are high-risk for developing PPD, so take care of yourself <3 You deserve to be happy and not bogged down with guilt and disappointment. I hope the counselor can help you work through the emotions surrounding your delivery. 

    Me: 27 years old            DH: 27 years old
    Type 1 Diabetes since 2001, MTHFR hetero A1298T
    Dogs: Raider 4 yrs, Dex 4 yrs
    Married in July 2014
    TTC #1 since late Feb 2016
    BFP #1 3/29/16     MMC: 5/5/16
    BFP #2 7/6/16    SCH, D&C 8/4/16
    BFP #3 12/26/16     EDD: 9/6/17
    My Chart / My Diabetes/Pregnancy Blog
    My Type 1/TTC/Pregnancy Podcast: 
    Juicebox Podcast Episode 118
    1/12/16 6.7%
    5/25/16 6.0%
    11/2/16 6.1%
    3/22/16 5.8%
    4/27/17 5.4%
    6/13/17 5.3%
    "Sugar Fancy Tutu"
  • I agree 100% about talking to a therapist. Mine has been a life saver for real! I agree with all of what @Sugargirl1019 said. Please take care of yourself.
  • @tfrangul @sugargirl1019 @lilpoots

    Thanks everyone for the support.  I did have PPD with the last pregnancy, and it lasted YEARS... that's a big part of why I'm getting the counselor... that being said this feels very different... less an amorphous black cloud... and more a specific, situational sadness/anxiety/grief... so it isn't quite as bad I guess I would say.  I have moments/days where my head feels above water.  Still erring on the safe side though, and just venting here is helpful as well.  I have to vent somewhere other than to my husband sometimes, I don't want to burn him out and let's face it... as wonderful as he is... a wife constantly in tears is definitely NOT sexy and I'd like to bring sexy back as quickly as possible, haha! ;-)

    Me: 31 & DH: 36
    Married 2009
    DS: 6 y/o
    TTC #2 for (way too long)
    BFP: 12/30/2016 !!!

  • @PKFMommie I’m sorry you had such a difficult birth experience and are having a hard time with postpartum too. I agree it’s a good idea to see a therapist. In addition to that, is there a local moms group you could join? I go to a weekly breastfeeding moms support group and I find it really helpful to have other moms to vent to or to hear other moms are having the same challenges. While my husband is very supportive, I think men just can’t completely relate to what women are experiencing.
  • Just wanttto check in and see how you are doing now? @PKFMommie

    I also ended up with a RCS. I was hoping for a VBaC but never dilated. Although it wasn’t my ideal, it hasn’t given me any feelings of failure or sadness. Im hoping you have been able to process and feel the big family you wished for might still be in the cards. Be well. 
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