by Andrea Bauer
On Thursday morning, I woke up to a contraction. I didn't think much of it since I had been having them on and off for a while now and this one wasn't very painful at all.
To help the morning pass faster, my husband and I took our son out to the mall so I could get in some walking since it was a dreary day outside. I noticed the contractions were getting stronger but they were still about 15 minutes apart.
We got home around 1 p.m. and a friend of mine came over with her daughter for a playdate and late lunch. We grilled up some chicken and sat around. I warned her that I thought I was in labor but there was no use in doing anything yet since there would still be several hours before going to the hospital. She provided a great distraction through the early stuff!
Meanwhile the contractions moved to every 8 minutes apart and then by late afternoon had jumped to 4 minutes from the start of one contraction to the next. My husband and my friend helped clean the house while I packed our hospital bag. I guess I procrastinated on that one but for some reason I figured I would have plenty of time -- which ended up being true.
My mother-in-law picked up our boy and my friend headed out. Around 6:30 we left for the hospital. My mom headed out and met us there since she and my husband were my support people.
At 7 p.m. I was checked in triage to find that I was only dilated to 4cm. I was a little disapointed with since I had been contractring all day and I had already been at a 3cm several days before. My contractions had slowed to every 7 minutes or so. I was worried they would putter out all together. We decided to give it another hour before deciding to go home.
In that hour my contractions got a lot harder and went to every 2½ minutes apart. When I was checked again at around 8:30 I was at a 6cm so we were admitted.
Baby girl had not turned yet so I was having back labor. Maybe I got lucky but it really wasn't that bad compared to regular labor. It still hurt but not that much worse. I got a lot of relief leaning forward onto a birth ball and rolling my hips around so that is what I did for several hours.
My husband and mom basically just kept their distance and softly encouraged me since I really did not want to be touched. My midwife was wonderful and encouraging, too.
The nurses had a shift change in the middle of things but they were both wonderful in very different ways. The first was uber sweet and helped calm me, the second was firmer and maybe colder (not too much though) but she was very experienced and that made me feel comfortable. I really appreciated how everyone was that night.
By midnight I was only at a 7cm and getting discouraged and tired. The next couple of hours were much more productive because I was checked at 2am and I was full dilated and effaced. I didn't have much of an urge to push though so we let it go an extra half hour or so to "labor down." By 2:40am I started feeling a lot more pressure and the need to poop so we figured this was it.
Honestly I was terrified of this part of labor because it was unknown. My son had been stuck up high in the birth canal for hours as I pushed -- after 4+ hours of pushing was a c-section. I was so scared of the stretching and possible tearing this time, especially being med free.
Since I was tired, I laid on the bed but on my side to push. I just tried with all my might as if I was having a really difficult bowel movement and the midwife and nurse were both amazed at how well I was pushing.
Within one contraction the head was visible. The next 15 minutes felt like 15 seconds. All of a sudden I felt a lot of burning and could tell she was crowning. I started panicking in my mind that this next part would take forever and that it would get so much worse before she was actually out. I was honestly psyching myself out before the next contraction. M husband just told me to forget about it and focus on the next push instead of the big picture. So I took in a deep breath as the contraction came and pushed as hard as I could past the scary burning sensation.
Amazingly, half way through baby slipped right on out like it was nothing, the burning pretty much completely subsided and they told me she was out. I was in total shock! I had completely braced myself for the worst and there I was having my baby girl being put to my chest.
I was ecstatic and remembered in time to ask the midwife to delay cutting the cord. When I saw Hailey, I understood why this birth had been so much easier, she was a little peanut. Her head was over 1½ inch smaller in circumference, kinda makes a difference.
She laid on my chest for over an hour and nursed like a champ from the very beginning. I honestly was still in disbelief that I got my VBAC and it had been so easy compared to what I had imagined. I tore a tiny bit but no stitches were even required. That was also a huge relief since tearing was such a fear of mine since my first pregnancy.
All in all I am so happy I tried a vaginal birth. My c-section healed very quickly but still doesn't compare to how much easier this has been. I'm also very thankful that she was smaller and made it much easier on me.
Meet Andrea Bauer, known in our community as Andy1784, is married with two children, Kalean (born April 2009) and Hailey (September 2010). Her first birth experience was less than ideal. After hours of pushing and two doses of spinal medication, she finally delivered her son via c-section. For her second birth, Andrea was determined to go for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). She researched and became her own greatest advocate along the way. She also had to channel her fears of pain, tearing, or a repeat cesarean into positive energy. Outside of enjoying her family, you'll find she is a frequent visitor to our Scrapbooking forum.
Copyright © Andrea Bauer. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancyorg, LLC.