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CAM Birth Story #40: Jennifer’s Third VBAC

In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month 2010, we will be filling the blogosphere with stories from real women (and their families) who know first-hand the consequences of a 32% cesarean rate. Each day we will post at least one birth story submitted by these women. Prepare to be moved (hint: grab a box of Kleenex)!

From Jennifer…

I had wanted Olivia here by Valentine’s Day at the latest, so we went ahead and chose the 12th to induce. By my calculations I was due on the 11th, so I was 40 weeks. I was having severe pain from Symphisis Pubis Disfunction and it had been a very long, painful pregnancy trying to care for myself, my husband, and my three young children. I had seen the OB on the 9th and was 2-3cm, 75% effaced, and -2 station. Not ideal, but this would be my 4th birth and 3rd VBAC so I felt o.k. going ahead as planned.

I get to the hospital just after 7am on the 12th and get checked in. My husband had to drop the two youngest off at my mother-in-law’s and the oldest at school. I get in my room and end up having a student nurse shadowing my nurse, but I don’t mind. She had been on the floor a few days and had yet to see a vaginal birth! She asked if I could be done by 11am and I was happy to try for her because I did not want her leaving her maternity rotation the next day without having seen a vaginal birth!

The nurse checked me and I was 5cm and 0 station! That explains the long night I had when I should’ve been resting. I’m already that much closer to the end though! I get my pitocin start about 7:50am and the nurse said I could have my epidural whenever I wanted. I have never had good success with epidurals but still fell into the trap of ‘needing’ one later with the induction. The OB comes in at 8:10am to break my water and things start moving fast!

The anasthesiologist comes in and I explain to him that I have a history of hot spots and epidurals not working. For some reason I believe him when he assures me it won’t happen this time and things will be fine. I had called DH by now as it was 8:30am and I needed him there! He’s on his way, just a few more minutes.

I get the epidural and sure enough, my right side is numb and my left side is not. At this point I’m not handling the contractions well and am crying for someone to do something! These contractions were very different from my last 3 births, very low in my pelvis and very intense in that area! The monitor wasn’t picking them up well.

This isn’t my favorite part of the birth by any means and I have rather hostile feelings toward the resident at this point who is shoving her hand in me and trying to numb my cervix because I’m in so much pain. I have never met this person before and I feel she completely took advantage of the situation and my vulnerability. This is why doula support I feel is so important. I was in no way able to make rational decisions at this point or I would’ve kicked the DR at this point.

It’s about 9:40am and I feel the need to push. The OB is not back but has told them to get everything set up for me to start. They call him again because my body is pushing on it’s own even with them yelling at me to not push. I guess my body didn’t get the memo. My OB rushes in the door and then becomes my pushing support as the resident is already gowned and my DH is on the couch. He gets overwhelmed with so many people in the room and doesn’t know what to do. I push actively through about 3 contractions when I am given a small episiotomy. The next push Olivia is born! Oh the relief!

It’s 10:01 am and Olivia Jean is 8#1.7oz and 19.5″ with a 14.25″ head. My largest baby yet! I ended up with about 3 nursing students in there as several of them had not seen a vaginal birth, let alone a VBAC birth so I was happy to oblige them as a future nursing student. It’s not a perfect birth, it wasn’t a peaceful birth, but it was a vaginal birth and emotionally and physically easier for me than my cesarean was almost 6 years ago.