So, on Oct. 8, I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I had an appointment with one of the midwives that day. I was nervous about this appointment because of my previous cesarean. I was nervous about the conversation I knew we would inevitably have. I knew I would have to make a decision and I didn't know what options they would give me. The midwife checked the baby's heartbeat and it was perfect. She then checked my cervix. I was one centimeter dilated and almost 50% effaced, and the baby's head was not engaged. Her head was not in the best position to put enough pressure on my cervix. The midwife gave me a bishop's score of 3, which means I wasn't a good candidate for induction because it more than likely wouldn't work. I was given three options. Option 1: I could go into labor and delivery that night and have a foley balloon inserted into my cervix. They fill the balloon with water and it dilates your cervix to 4 centimeters. Sometimes this is enough to get things going, but if not then they have to start pitocin which greatly increases my risk of uterine rupture and cesarean section. Option 2: I could schedule an ultrasound to make sure the placenta is still supporting the baby well and two non-stress tests during the next week and keep waiting and hope that nothing goes wrong. Option 3: I could schedule a cesarean section. I was in tears. I decided to talk to Joe about it and call the midwife that afternoon and let her know my decision.
After my appointment I called Joe at work and he told me to pray about it and he would support whatever decision I made. I knew I wasn't going to schedule a c-section, I wasn't willing to give up just yet. After praying and pondering I decided to schedule the ultrasound and non-stress tests. I just felt like the baby needed a little more time, and I wasn't willing to take the risk of the foley balloon.
After my appointment I felt a lot more pressure in my pelvis than I had been. She had finally dropped. I think having my cervix checked stirred things up a bit because I began to have more frequent contractions that were a little stronger than the braxton hicks contractions I had been having for weeks.
The rest of the day I had a huge desire to just take a nice long bath, but wasn't able to until after Sunshine went to bed. I finally got to take a bath around 9. I got in and Joe played my Hypnobirthing birthing day affirmations CD. I was finally able to relax after the stress of the day and that's when the contractions started coming stronger and closer together. It was finally happening! I finished my bath and got ready for bed. I turned on another relaxation track and tried to sleep. We called Joe's sister and put her on alert. We called her again at about 1 and asked her to come down so we could go to the hospital.
We got to the hospital at about 2:00 AM. I was monitored for an hour and my cervix was checked. I was dilated to a 2 and 50% effaced. I hadn't made much progress in the hour that I was there. They suggested that I go home and labor there. The longer I stayed in the hospital as a VBAC patient the more likely I was to have a c-section. So we went home. We slept in between contractions which wasn't much sleep at all. By the time morning came we were both very tired. We ate breakfast and around 9:30 we decided to head back to the hospital.
The contractions were getting much closer together and stronger with each one. We got to the hospital around 10 that morning. I was 5 centimeters and 50 or 70% effaced, I can't remember exactly. I decided to get in the jetted tub and labor in there. I labored in the tub for about 1 & 1/2 hours. The contractions were becoming unbearable and I couldn't handle them anymore. I couldn't relax my body anymore to let it do its job. They were close together and so strong my entire body shook. I told everyone that I couldn't do it anymore and needed an epidural. The midwife thought I might be near the end and checked me. I was 5 centimeters and 80% effaced. Her head was still turned slightly and wasn't putting enough pressure on my cervix. I was exhausted at that point and I knew that if I continued laboring without an epidural I would be in labor for many more hours because I couldn't relax anymore. Joe and my midwife tried to encourage me to continue but after explaining what was happening they agreed that I needed the epidural. So I got the epidural and I was in heaven. I do not regret that decision at all. After getting the epidural my water broke and I was fully dilated, fully effaced, and ready to push within 2 hours. The midwife was concerned that because her head was turned the wrong way that they would have to vacuum her out or worse, perform a c-section. Thankfully baby girl turned her head right when she needed to. I pushed for 30 minutes and she was born. It was an exhilarating experience and one I will never forget. She was put on my stomach immediately and then placed on my skin. We got to bond right away and it was just beautiful. We did it! We had a successful VBAC!
I wouldn't change anything about our labor and delivery. Joe was a wonderful support the entire time and the midwife who delivered me was so wonderful! I loved laboring at home for the majority of the time. It was more comfortable and more bearable. I enjoyed feeling the sensations of labor. I never realized how powerful my body is until I felt the power in those contractions. Birth is beautiful and I so loved experiencing a vaginal birth.
Our baby girl was born October 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 21 inches long. She is beautiful and we love her so much. We are glad to have her in our family.
Photo credit: Tif Photography