I just want to start this by saying that I am living proof that a VBAC is possible. If for whatever reason, your first birth did not go according to plan and you are hoping for a second chance, it can happen. I’m not here to give statistics on the probability that it will occur. I am not here to give you 101 methods to try in order to have a successful VBAC. Simply put, I do not know what I did that worked or didn’t work, if anything even contributed at all. I do know however, that Bee was delivered during a natural non-medicated birth. Thank God!
Now if you’re like me, you hope to at least have some sort of control over how you birth your baby. For 9 1/2 months practically everything that you do revolves around the health of the fetus you’re growing. Your body is not your own. So when it comes to birth, your determined to have it go as you plan. Unfortunately for a lot of us, there’s no such thing as a plan. With my first, Bug, I took the time to research and write a detailed two page birth plan and was so excited to follow it precisely. Safe to say, it went right out the window after the first hour and I never seen it again.
So what’s a VBAC?
New mommies out there, or parents who just haven’t heard about it, a VBAC is ‘vaginal birth after cesarean’. So if for whatever reason (health, failure to progress, emergency) your first birth didn’t result in a successful vaginal birth, this is an option the second time around. From what I’ve experienced most doctors ask that you wait (at minimum) 18 months to allow your body to heal from the surgery to get pregnant again. If done, I was told my rate for success would be higher of having a VBAC. I didn’t know if it was true, but I was willing to try anything to make sure I got to experience having a child vaginally at least ONCE.
I ended up having a cesarean section with my son after dilating to 9cm and my labor failing to progress. So much devastation crept over me when the doctor told me that a natural birth was out of the question. (I’ll be sure to share that story with you guys another time.) This time around, I didn’t waste my time on a birth plan. I went into the hospital with a hope and a prayer that I would be able to have a VBAC.
My pregnancy with Bee was an interesting one to say the least. The last say 4 months of my pregnancy I spent house hunting. Bug and I took lots of car trips to look at houses. A month before my due date, we found a house and spent the next 30 days back and forth with escrow signing papers and getting inspections. Geezus! I will tell you now, don’t ever do this. If being pregnant wasn’t stressful enough, this took the cake. So many tears were shed.
Anywho, I signed all necessary papers probably a week before my due date so the week that Nova was supposed to make her arrival, I was moving in . My mom had come down to help me with the heavier stuff but for the most part I was back and forth moving the smaller items, toddler in tow. I don’t know who the hell I thought I was doing all this pregnant, shame on me.
Fast forward to the night before her original due date
I say original due date because the doctors had actually pushed it out a couple days a few months back. I was hanging out with my family having a good time. We went to eat, I binged on Krispy Kreme doughnuts and fell asleep watching a movie with them. Around say 11 pm I woke up because I was uncomfortable. I looked around and every one was still up watching movies so I readjusted myself and went back to sleep. Now, for the next 6 hours, every hour and a half, I awoke and did the same thing. Around 5:30 am the discomfort had started to become a little more intense and readjusting myself just wasn’t working anymore. So I texted Bee’s dad, just in case, and let him know what was going on. I didn’t wanna call in the event that it was a false alarm.
For the next hour or so I rotated between sitting, standing and walking around. I just could NOT get comfortable for the life of me. I called Bee’s dad and told him there was a great chance that I was in labor so he needed to get ready. By this time, my pacing had woken my family up and my mom was insisting that I call my doctor and go in. I told her no initially, but I knew I was having contractions and needed to do something. So I started timing them and they were about 4-5 minutes apart and lasting for about a minute each time. It was time to call my OBGYN and I was advised to go to the hospital.
Did I listen? No.
I was in the middle of moving guys. There were things that had to be done. I was meeting my painter this day as well as my alarm company. Everything needed to be done before the baby got here. I was determined. Safe to say this attitude didn’t last. By the time the alarm technician arrived I was doubled over and could barely talk to him. So, I agreed to leave and make my way to the hospital. I grabbed Bug and my brother and we started to make our trek, with my mom agreeing to meet us there.
Here’s the kicker. . .
The hospital I was set to deliver at was near my old residence which was about an hour and a half away from the home I had just purchased. Let me tell you, contracting while driving is a helluva feat. My contractions were coming so close together and were so strong that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I hummed, I rocked, I sang loud and I cursed and nothing made it better. Each contraction came with a grip of the steering wheel so strong that my hands turned white. My brother was terrified and kept asking if I needed him to drive, but I didn’t want to stop, I just wanted to get there.
We made it to the hospital and by the time I got to the front door I could barely walk. The security officer asked me if I needed assistance. But being the stubborn woman I am, I declined and inched my way into the elevator. I signed in, and made my way to get checked out by the nurse. Let me tell you, I was sure she would tell me I was overreacting and was probably only a few centimeters dilated. I had just went to the doctors a few days before and my OBGYN had told me I was barely 1 cm dilated and my cervix was still high. But to my surprise, her response was “Omg, you’re 7cm already.” I thought to myself, “Holy Crap!”
Bee was coming. . .
Everything kind of went into fast forward at this point. I started panicking. I’m calling Bee’s dad frantically saying “you need to get here NOW!” Thank God he lives down the street from the hospital because I was so scared he was going to miss this rapidly progressing birth. I called my mom next, because she’s basically my Doula, panicking that she wouldn’t make it in time. I was alone and was unsure if this baby would come without my support system being in tact.
The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. I declined. But I did ask her for something to take the edge off. To my dismay, it was apparently out of the question because it would take too long to take effect. It was either epidural or no epidural, and I chose the latter. I cursed myself every minute of that stroll down the long hospital corridor to my birthing room for choosing that, I swear.
Ironically, my mom and Bee’s dad walked into the birthing room at the same time. *insert sigh of relief* I swear by then my contractions were ridiculous. Checked again and I was 9cm. Somehow during this time, my mom convinced ME that I needed to use the restroom. How she did that, I do not know. But the time in the bathroom was short lived because my body went into overdrive and was trying to push her out on its own. I didn’t want a toilet baby so they helped me back to the bed. By then, the lights were on and the stirrups were up. We were having a baby!
Along came bee. . .
Push one, was totally out my control. As soon as my legs were in place my body say hey girl, you need to push. I looked up at Bee’s daddy and started crying saying ” I can’t do this” over and over. He looked down, looked at me and said “yes you can, I can see her head. You got this!” Push two was guided and I felt like my life was flashing before my eyes. SO MUCH PAIN! On Push three, bee came into this earth screaming loud enough for the entire hospital to hear her. I checked into the hospital at 10 am and she was in my arms by 11:37.
I cried because my daughter was here. Cried because of all the pain I had just experienced. And cried because I was able to experience giving birth vaginally. I said a silent prayer to God for allowing me to have a successful VBAC.
So What Made This Possible?
Mother Nature did it. To all of you mamas hoping and praying to have a vaginal birth, stay positive. I’ve connected with moms who didn’t have a VBAC until their 3rd birth. But what mattered most was that they stayed hopeful. In my case, I read everything I could about methods to ensure it was successful and met the requirements for what would be considered a good candidate for a VBAC. I even walked a little more this pregnancy. I was also chasing after a toddler this time around. But I don’t know if any that contributed to my success. I didn’t do the evening primrose oil (although I did read the benefits) or the raspberry leaf tea.
I think the most important thing was listening to my body. Without my body going into labor naturally ( i was induced the first time) and progressing on its own, I don’t think I would have had a successful VBAC. Bee came on her own time. She came in her own way. I am just blessed that she is here happy and healthy. And to be honest, I don’t know if I would do another non-medicated birth. It was an experience I am not sure I want to go through again. But at least I can say I’ve experienced both a cesarean and vaginal delivery.
So don’t give up!
Don’t let anyone tell you that you CANNOT do it. Don’t let anyone scare you into thinking you HAVE to give birth a certain way. My doctor told me if I didn’t dilate by 40 weeks she wouldn’t induce me because of the risks. I din’t need her to. Trust your body! You are a woman and you were made to do this!