Passionate About Fort Worth
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Tales of a VBAC

This post is part of an editorial series, “The Stork Stories,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Texas Health. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and answers as you prepare for baby’s arrival.

Stork stories

Looking at the positive pregnancy test, another birth was the last thing on my mind. I was more concerned about being pregnant and keeping up with our 14 month old twins, not to mention eventually having three kids under the age of two (you can do math shockingly fast when panicked.) In fact, I spent most of my pregnancy hoping that baby stayed in as long as possible because baby-in seemed a whole lot easier than baby-out. However, I am nothing if not practical, and I knew I had to plan for the birth eventually, so I began thinking about what birth might look like this time around.

304352_10101090786891200_5284163_nOur twins were born via C-section at 35 weeks due to some twinny complications. There was no induction, no laboring, nothing, just a quick C-section and boom, two babies. While my recovery wasn’t as painful as some I have heard about, I did contract a uterine infection from the C-section and had to be readmitted to the hospital for four days and on IV antibiotics. I was absolutely willing to look at other options that might keep me from that same situation. I had hopes that this go round would be less complicated, you know, because there was only one in there. I had a pretty firm idea on my priorities for a birth:

  1. Healthy baby.
  2. As few medical interventions as possible.
  3. Get home as soon as possible.

After looking at my list, I started researching a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

Preparing for a VBAC involves some research and decision making early on. First, I visited the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) website. This is a great resource for any mom considering a VBAC. I worked with them to find a list of VBAC friendly doctors and hospitals in San Antonio, where we were living at the time.

Another choice I made was hiring a doula. A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides support. They don’t actually deliver babies, they take on more of a coaching/advocate role for you. Our doula, Beth, was absolutely amazing. During pregnancy, she worked with us and did childbirth classes. When I went into labor, she came to my house to help me through the early labor before going to the hospital with us and serving as an extra support system for both my husband and me. Beth was the one who gave my husband a break when labor lasted forever (and ever, and ever). She asked doctors if we could have a minute to discuss whenever interventions were suggested. We had the benefit of her experience of many births, instead of just the one we had both attended. I firmly believe that Beth is one of the biggest reasons my VBAC was successful. And as much as I loved her, my husband was even MORE grateful for her because it took some pressure off of him.

When I went into labor two days shy of my 40 week mark, I was relieved. VBACs and inductions don’t mix, so I really needed to go into labor naturally by 41 weeks to have a shot. Labor was long and slow for me, starting on a Thursday morning. I labored at home through the day, and the night, and the next day. We finally went to the hospital on Friday night and continued the process there. I dealt with normal labor issues. I had a hard time finding a comfortable position. I had to pee so much that the monitors became an afterthought because we unhooked them so often. I couldn’t seem to get cool, no matter how low they turned down the air, so I ripped off my hospital gown and labored naked. (Those poor nurses.)

When Saturday morning came, labor had gone long enough that we started discussing some interventions. First they broke my water, which made me immensely more comfortable (bulging waters is about as fun as it sounds), but it didn’t help me progress enough. At this point, doctors had been telling me I was dilated 7 cm for hours (long enough that I actually yelled at one, “Are you {expletive} kidding me?!”). My body was wearing out. The doctors suggested the faintest whiff of Pitocin to move things along, and my doula added an epidural to that list so I could get some rest. I agreed, knowing at this rate I wouldn’t have the energy to push even if I could progress naturally.

Emily H BirthAfter a two hour nap, I woke up to find that I was finally past the 7 cm mark and headed towards ready to push. I was ecstatic. (And rested, thank goodness!) I turned off my epidural, and by the time all systems were go, enough medicine had worn off that I was feeling contractions and the urge to push. Twenty minutes later, my third beautiful baby boy was born, 50 something hours after labor began.

Since my epidural had worn off, we were moved into a room almost immediately. I was able to rest, shower, eat, and snuggle with my littlest love. The twins came up to meet their baby brother and assure themselves that Mommy was all right. After some sleep (baby was a rockstar and slept seven hours that first night) and paperwork, including bestowing the name Wesley Russell on our newest bundle, we were discharged at exactly 24 hours after birth. I headed home to begin my life as a mother of three (under two).

Going home so soon was one of the best parts of my VBAC. I wanted to spend as little time away from my other two children as possible, and sleeping in your own bed is pretty fantastic. I loved being able to walk around and have more energy than I did after surgery. All in all, I had a great VBAC experience, and most important, I had an amazing baby at the end.

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Stork Stories photo credit: www.freepik.com.

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