At my first prenatal doctor appointment, we discussed delivery, and I decided that I truly wanted a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). It was very important to me after my first daughter’s birth, which included hitting 41 weeks without any signs of labor, an induction, three hours of pushing and a big baby that would only enter the world via C-section. My doctor not only supported this decision, he encouraged it. As the weeks went by, the VBAC plan remained the same.
This time around, I experienced weeks of Braxton Hicks contractions and was dilated to 1 centimeter before my due date. I still hoped to have those questioning signs of labor or that first painful contraction in the middle of the night. Again, they never came, and my doctor decided to schedule induction at 39 weeks, six days.
Induction day arrived, and we checked into the hospital on September 13 at 6 a.m. I was ushered into the labor and delivery room to change and begin IVs. My veins and IVs wouldn’t cooperate, so I didn’t receive my first drip of Pitocin until 8 a.m. My husband and I excitedly talked about meeting our second daughter and laughed at memories of our 2-year-old daughter.
My doctor came in during the early part of the afternoon to check me. I was 4 centimeters, and he decided to break my water. The contractions came fast and painful. I requested an epidural and impatiently waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive. There was so much pressure down below that I didn’t think I could sit still long enough for the epidural process, but I also knew that I couldn’t do it without one.
The epidural medication began. Soon after, I started having double vision, and it was difficult to lift my arms. I notified the nurse, and she asked me some questions and determined that the epidural went too high and was now a subdural. She immediately turned the medication off and sat me upright. At this point, I was unable to swallow, put on oxygen and trying not to panic. All we could do was wait for the medication to wear off, so I laid there with my eyes closed and tried to keep myself calm.
Once the medication cleared, I could see and swallow once again. I could also feel those terrible and nearly unbearable contractions. The nurse said that they could have a different anesthesiologist administer another epidural. As scary as the first epidural went, I still knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep going without one. Kudos to those who don’t choose or have time for an epidural. However, I was going for a participation ribbon, not a trophy.
The second anesthesiologist was comforting, and I instantly trusted her skills and knowledge. This time, the epidural went into the right area, and I felt sweet relief and comfort.
At this point, I was at 9 centimeters and waiting for the baby to move farther south for delivery. After nearly 12 hours of Pitocin, I was finally ready to push. I pushed with everything in me but wasn’t feeling like I was accomplishing anything. Some contractions were wasted because of my coughing fits. Go figure, I would get a terrible cold and cough just before my due date.
My husband, nurse and doctor would chat in between contractions. They talked about the show that was on TV at the time, vacations, cars and other completely random topics. I was really annoyed that they were talking like we were all just hanging out. Meanwhile, my legs were spread, the nurse wasn’t holding my foot like I wanted her to (but I didn’t say anything), and I was trying to push a little human out. Oh hey, no big deal. Looking back, it makes me laugh, and it really wasn’t a big deal!
Because of the epidural, I couldn’t feel any progress. My doctor brought in a mirror so that I could focus on pushing and see that things were really working. He was so encouraging and had full faith that I could do it. My doctor’s confidence and my husband’s encouragement kept me going.
Each time they prepped for delivery by adjusting the bed or putting gear on, I felt more and more excitement that things were moving along, and I was closer to meeting our baby girl. After an hour and a half of pushing, Macy Mae made her debut. She weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 19 ¾ inches long.
They brought Macy to my chest, and I stared at her with disbelief that I had brought her into the world the way I wanted (for the most part). I felt so alive and in the moment by having a vaginal birth—as compared to a C-section. An easier recovery and more confidence from becoming a mom for the second time allowed me to enjoy those first moments even more.
Once again, the unpredictable rollercoaster ride of labor and delivery was completely worth it. Macy makes my heart feel so full and happy. I burst with pride and gratefulness each and every day for my two beautiful girls. My VBAC made me feel like a champion. Maybe I did get that trophy after all.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!