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CAM Birth Story: Nikki’s VBAC

This birth story, in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM), comes from Nikki Hauser. To have your birth story posted on this blog, email it to: blog@ican-online.org

Beanling’s birth timeline

Monday 8/9/10 was my 41 week 2 day appointment with Doc Tate. Went out to the office, has my NST (little girl did well) and went into the room. Chatted with Doc Tate, about how I was uncomfortable about inducing at 42 weeks (due to family history), and that I was willing to do a cervical check, and base my decision of how to proceed on it. Check occurs, and I am closed up like Fort Knox! So, with that, we’ll play it by ear and I’ll likely see you Thursday. No decisions before then. I meet up with Trin and Mat for Krispy Kremes and tea. From there I head home. I rest.

I go and pick up Doomling from school. The teachers and staff are surprised to still see me picking him up and carrying him around. We head home, where Doomling sees Da (Clint) for a little bit before Clint heads off to work for the poker league. Doomling was way past tired… he was overtired and cranky, so we sit down and nurse, for a good 40-45 minutes. In the past, I would get a small increase in contractions, then it would go back to what I dealt with for the prior six weeks. This time, not so much. Instead of the dull achey contractions, I was getting sharp, crampy contractions. Doomling fell asleep, and I got him situated. This when the back and forth to the bathroom began. I felt like I had to void constantly…the feeling would go away, I would go back in the living room. Then back to the bathroom. After this occurred for 45 minutes and Doomling woke up, I messaged a friend nearby, after messaged Sarah (my back up driver) and got no response, and Jo came over to help with Doomling.

They sharp crampy sensation continued, and after 90 minutes I called the service, who then put me through to Tia (the Nurse Practitioner at the practice). After timing, my contractions were 1-1.5minutes apart. Tia said she would talk to Doc Tate, but suggested I head in, just to be safe, since they were close.

I get my bag, and Doomling’s backpack. Sarah called back, had her meet me at Midtown, since she was coming from near Toco Hills. Called Clint and told him Jo was taking me in. He asked I keep him updated. (Little did I know he looked at the poker players and said “My wife is in labor, y’all need to hurry up”)

Jo was entertaining as she drove my car down 75 to get to Midtown… Cursing, honking… Me telling her to get into the HOV lane “Why is the woman in labor directing me… something is wrong with that.” We park in the deck, and get the three of us walking in.

I check into L and D at 8:05pm, Sarah is already there waiting for us. Jo and Sarah get their visitor badges and they lead us back. I laugh as they put me in triage 14, again (third time in the room!)

At 8:30pm, nurse comes and checks me, after explaining to her my anxiety issues with gurney placement (from my experience at Northside, if people move the gurney without telling me, I start to get flashbacks from how I was handled there, and start hyperventilating) verdict is: fingertip dilated, placed on monitors until 9:15pm. Get a baseline read. The nurse brought me apple juice and graham crackers (I shared the crackers with Doomling)

9:15pm I get off the monitors and start walking floor with Jo as Sarah tried to get Bradley to sleep. Find out Doc Tate was at the hospital and planned to come by to check me… Sarah texted me to let me know that Doomling was getting to the point of sleep.

10pm saw me still walking (Jo and Sarah trade places, now that Doomling was asleep). Sarah and I continue walking, we get a call that Clint is on his way in from Woodstock where he was working. Meanwhile, I text Talitha to keep her updated as to what’s going on.

10:45pm Clint gets to Midtown, and I am back in the room, because the contractions were stronger, walking was more difficult and I was laying on the gurney on my side rocking through them, trying to stay relaxed as possible through them.

At 11:05pm Jo and Doomling leave, as Jo was a saint and kept Doomling for the night, as she was there. It made more sense than calling Steph or Trin, and shifting him again. Trying to have consistency for the toddler, or something like it, right? It’s the first night I have spent away from my son. A bit bittersweet, as I worried about what he would think when he woke up and Mama and Da weren’t there. Doomling was in good hands with Jo.

After they left, I snacked on the remaining apple juice the nurse brought me earlier. I will admit, I wasn’t nearly as good about fluid intake as I should have been. At 12:30am Doc Tate arrives in my room. Before he came in, I noted that he was there, as I could hear his voice through the door. He checks and I am 2cm and 80% effaced. I am given the option of staying or going home. I note the car ride would be uncomfortable back to Marietta and something told me we would be turning around to come back as soon as we got home. I decided to stay on gut call, I admit! And I am glad I listened to my gut. With the new moon, seems mamas were flocking into L and D. We would find out more about this later.

I continue laboring, and Sarah calls Talitha with the update. We are supposed to call when I am moved to a LDR. 2:00am rolls around and I start discussing meds, the nurse said she would ping Doc Tate (the nurse I had was not familiar with him or how he handles things, so made things interesting). I told her no epidural (or at least Clint and Sarah knew I didn’t want one and relayed that information). (I will also note here that I was going back and forth to labor in the bathroom. Bits of my plug were coming out, nothing like what happened with Doomling, spent a lot of 1-3:30am back and forth between the gurney and bathroom, and the infamous bloody show came about after my water broke)

About 2:10am I’m sitting back up to walk back into the bathroom when I feel a very small ‘pop’ and I ask Sarah and Clint “Did my water break or did I pee myself?”

Right after, about 2:15, Doc Tate comes in and checks to find light staining, I am 3cm/-1 (never got this far with Doomling!). He asked when my water broke and I mentioned what I felt. Dr. Fletcher came in and got the intake questions/paperwork to admit me. I later found out active labor was called at 2:10 by Doc Tate.

Sarah called Talitha to let her know what was going on and we were still waiting for transfer to a LDR. Little did we know that Triage and L and D were full up, and they weren’t planning on moving me.

At 4:30am Doc Tate came in and asked me what I wanted pain management wise. I said PCB (paracervical block). He checked and I was 5cm. He was willing to try it, but wasn’t sure it would work well with me being 5cm. This is also where we find out I am not being moved from triage.

The needed items for the PCB are brought in and from4:45-5:05 Doc Tate administered it. Sarah calls Talitha to let her know I am not being moved, so she can head over. Talitha arrives after 1st side administered. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but once it was done, I did notice a difference.

From 5:05am-5:45am, we raised the gurney and got me on the birthball to allow the PCB to work effectively. I am laying on the gurney in between contractions trying to rest, as I had been up since 6:30am on Monday. A warmed rice pack on my spine, Sarah, Clint and Talitha helping me through the pressure of the contractions. Seriously, was not wanting for support. I could not have done this without them.
I was still on the monitors while on the ball, and we had issue keeping Beanling on them, even with Talitha trying to chase her. So at 5:45am Doc Tate comes in, gets me back on bed to check the possibility of decels (gets us to shut off the music… my DH rocks, as I had a good mix of music off of his iTunes… just had to skip past the Christmas music ;-) ) one more check, which shows me almost complete with cervical lip. Test pushes suggested by Doc Tate, and those test pushes sucked. I started reclined, shifted to my side and then to my hands and knees.

6:04am complete- on hands and knees. They come in while I am pushing and tell us they are moving me to LDR 11. I am covered with a sheet , wheeled down the hallway. Switch to the LDR bed. Couldn’t get up into full squat due to numbness in hands and feet/legs.

I got back into the semi-recline position as I was better able to curl around baby girl. Talitha right leg, Sarah left leg/camera, Clint at my head, Catie, a med student on left. Doc Tate was at foot, Dr. Fletcher bottom right. Mirror was placed. Quick set up due to the room change. Still can’t believe I almost delivered in Triage and they moved me during pushing. Started pushing again… effective. Low vocalization. I held my hubby’s hand with my right hand. Asked for the massage to stop, as it was taking away from my focus. I literally retracted into myself, and was repeating over and over in my head “I can do this, I can do this…”. I felt her hair… Oh my goddess, she’s on her way. I then saw hair, slowed down when she crowning. Right as I was told to pant. I continued to watch as this creature emerged from me. Her head comes out. And pop! The rest of her follows, with lots of fluid. Baby girl had a coating of merconium on her. Baby at 6:30am! (After the alarm goes off on my phone, my 6:30 wake up alarm). Doc Tate and Dr. Fletcher clean her off and place her on my chest. She cries. OMG, she’s here… I am so shocked, I can’t cry. Clint tells me he’s proud of me. Hat placed on Beanling, and a blanket. Doc Tate stating “I am seeing skin where I shouldn’t” and we cover her more.

Clint is offered to cut the cord. He declines. I was about to offer to Sarah, when they ask me if I want to do so. “Yes. Please.” I cut my daughter’s cord and hold her, and nurse while I work with the contractions to pass the placenta. Clint goes over to the warmer, and I pass Beanling over, so they can stitch me up. Placenta delivers about 6:45am. Some uterine massage was done on the uterus to expel additional tissue. Shot to help with the bleeding. Numbed up and stitched, due to the second degree tear. I also managed to knock out my hep lock while I was laboring… saved Doc Tate writing a discontinue order on that!

Beanling had apgars of 8/9. Beautiful, alert baby girl. Seeing my hubby hold her, it was amazing. Seeing her was amazing. Doc Tate posted to the ICAN forums from my LDR :chuckles:. 8# 10 oz, 20” long and perfect.

I truly thought I was going to be sent home, hence me not posting that I was going in.

I really cannot complain about my delivery. What I wanted and what I got meshed. The only pain management I wanted was the PCB, and that is what I got. I was surrounded by loving, caring people, and my daughter was loved on immediately after her arrival. It was a big difference from not meeting Bradley until almost 4 hours after his birth. I would take the 6 weeks of prodromal labor over again for the delivery I had.

I can’t thank Sarah, Clint and Talitha for the support. It was what I needed, when I needed it and kept me going when I was worried I couldn’t do it.

Some of the pictures Talitha took are here starting on page 3 of the album.

The other thing is, I noted I had a med student in on my birth. Catie was a sweetheart. She had been to 6 births, all cesareans. So, I was not only her first vaginal birth, but her first VBAC as well. She thanked us for allowing her to be part of it. Come to find out she was rounding out the end of her OB rotation, and she expressed an interest in pursuing OB. I saw her my last morning at Midtown, and she said she was planning on learning more, so she can help moms “…do what you did. Thank you again, for sharing the experience with me, as it was amazing.”

I truly hope more med students see a VBAC/vaginal birth and realize what the experience means. And help normalize what we experience in birth.

While I am a far way from being “healed” from my experiences with Doomling’s birth, I know what happened is not my fault. I had control taken from me, and that is not the way things are supposed to go for a normal birth. My providers failed me in that regard, and left me feeling traumatized and scared about any future pregnancies.

I can say I am not scared anymore. My body can do it, I did it. And I have to say thank you, Dr. Tate, for the chance to prove it to myself.