VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean): A Natural Birth Story
This is a picture was taken right before my second natural birth, also a VBAC.
I'd been in early labor for several days before October 29th, so by the time that day rolled around, I was ready to go! I awoke to strong contractions around 1 am and couldn't go back to sleep. I proceeded to walk around in order to lessen their intensity, but they only became stronger and closer together. At 2 am, I woke my husband because something felt different; these contractions were more forceful than the mild, intermittent Braxton-Hicks I'd been experiencing for weeks. For the next couple hours, we both attempted to stay relaxed, but by 4 am, I'd decided it was time to go to the hospital. We hadn't finished packing our hospital bags or our oldest son's overnight bag, so my husband scrambled to complete those tasks while I focused on breathing deeply through each surge. To this day, I'm still not sure why we never got around to doing those things earlier!
(To all of you mommies-to-be: As silly as it may feel, pack your bags 3-4 weeks from your due date 'cause you just never know when your little one will decide to arrive!)
In record time, thanks to my husband, we clambered into the car and headed to the hospital. On the way, we dropped off our oldest with the in-laws and excitedly continued on our journey.
By the time we arrived at the hospital (around 5:15 am or so), I was audibly reacting to the discomfort I was feeling, yet I still felt in control of myself. In triage, we received two bits of good news: 1) Our midwife was on-call, so I'd be birthing with someone I knew; and 2) I was 8 cm dilated! Everyone was completely surprised, especially me! I'd hoped and prayed I was far enough along to have a normal birth, but I also knew there were no guarantees, especially when it comes to VBAC.
Anyway, we moved on to the Labor & Delivery Room where I labored until I literally couldn't see straight! I hadn't eaten since dinner the evening before and I was exhausted. It was and is the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. I got to the point where I wasn't sure how I would go on. I knew I had to, but the idea of moving forward and pushing my child out was completely daunting and defeating. To make matters more difficult, our midwife was at the end of her shift and lacked the energy to give me the patience and support I so desperately needed. Things were looking a bit grim.
After a failed attempt at standing and pushing, I waddled back to the bed and got on all fours. At the time, I only thought of this position as a last resort, but looking back, I understand that it was purely instinctual. As I attempted to reframe my mindset, the shift changed; suddenly, the room was flooded with a fresh batch of nurses and midwives. Instantly, the energy lightened and I immediately felt encouraged rather than criticized and judged. In those moments, I regained my focus and summoned all the strength I had left.
I made tremendous progress on my hands and knees, but it was a strenuous position, so I flipped onto my left side and pulled my knees up as far as I could. I worked with my body and pushed with each contraction, bringing Isaac down the birth canal. Looking back, I am thoroughly amazed at the power of my own body. Once I began to work with it, things moved much more quickly.
After another few pushes, the midwife, my mom, and my husband said they could see Isaac's head--I was almost there! Just a couple more pushes--slowly, to prevent tearing--and out came his head, followed closely by his slippery little body. We had done it and it was nothing short of miraculous.
As soon as he emerged, they handed him to me and I lost it. Unashamed, I wept joyously, washing away the trauma of my previous surgical birth. After years of feeling inadequate about my body, I was--and still am!-- secure in the knowledge that I am enough. I reached the end of myself and kept going, even when I thought I had nothing left to give. No drugs, no monitors, no interventions. Just my soul, my baby, and my body, doing what they were made to do. I had done precisely what I'd set my mind to, and I am damn proud of myself for achieving that goal.
Isaac was born on October 29, 2010, at 8:52 am, alert and ready to breastfeed. He was a healthy 7 lbs., 6oz., and 19.5 inches. He is loved and adored by his mom, dad, older brother, and pretty much everyone else.
Isaac in 2010...
Isaac in 2012-13...