My body is not a Lemon
First lets start with my son's birth. I had a C-section with him. It was not the birth I wanted and I was left feeling kinda cheated and struggled with some postpartum depression after that; which I felt was mainly due to the birth and the hard recovery. My OB with him told me at my first pelvic exam when I was 7 weeks pregnant that I could never deliver a baby bigger than 7 lbs vaginally.
The seed of doubt about my body and it's capabilities was planted in that moment and then I just figured the cesarean was because my body was a lemon. Soon after his birth I started reading and researching my face off and learned that doctors actually cannot tell if my pelvis is too small or not by an exam. Not in labor, not before pregnancy, and not at 7 weeks pregnant. So then I began the pursuit of a VBAC.
Before we became pregnant with with our little girl I knew we needed a game plan for who to see and how to make a VBAC possible. I started messaging our CNM here in town about it and she assured me that she could see us through the pregnancy and transfer our care at the end and we could deliver down in the nearest city (1.5 hrs away). Perfect! We started seeing her and LOVED her. She assured me that my body was NOT a lemon and that we could do this. There was never doubt (at least none that I saw) that I wouldn't be able to VBAC or that I was somehow broken!
So on Monday night (11/21) I was having some contractions right before bed. They were mild. But different. I told my husband and we both laughed it off and went to bed. Throughout the night I was woken by a few strong ones, but once I would pee they were much better, so I thought "just more braxton hicks". That morning when I woke up and they were still around I decided to get checked.
I went and saw our Midwife and she said I was a good 3. That was progress. She said I was even close to a 4. I was happy with that. I went home and we planned to meet again in the afternoon. I went home and by about 11 I knew I was in labor. I was still in denial until that point. I asked the parents of the little boy I watched to come pick him up relatively soon.
I started taking showers, eating healthy snacks, and trying to rest! At 2:30 I went back to see the midwife and was more uncomfortable for sure. She checked me and said I was a good 4. A 4?! I've been laboring ALL day. I was pretty discouraged. But she assured me my cervix was changing and this was happening. Not sure when, but it was happening. So back home I went. Around 5 I was starting to really feel the contractions. They were actually painful and required my attention.
So Grammy came to get our little man and I of course cried as they drove away. My sweet mother-in-law prayed with me and I felt ready! Soon after the midwife came to our house to check me and said I was a good 5 and we were good to head on down to the hospital. No rush. Just at our leisure. She went ahead down and met with a friend from the hospital down there and would be waiting. So I took another bath and finished eating and packing and we headed out.
I was petrified of the car ride. My biggest fear was hitting transition and being stuck in the flipping car! But I just laid on my side with a pillow and blankets and breathed through and did quite well. Then we got to a small city still about 30 min away from the hospital. I HAD to pee and try to get rid of some of the pressure. So we stopped and while we were stopping and driving over bumps and turning I was miserable! I wanted to cry.
But after a restroom stop and some drinks from Del Taco I was feeling like I could bear the last 30 min. And I did. Once we got to the hospital I was ready to be in a room and away from people b/c I was in pain. No such luck. We got there and filled out forms in the ER and got some vitals done. Then we were put in ER triage with a bunch of other people. They were talking to us and cussing and I was thoroughly annoyed.
Finally the nurse came down to get us. Thank God. It took me forever to get to the room as I was stopping for contractions and breathing and swaying with my husband. But we got there. Guess what? More triage. I wanted to cry. But our midwife was there waiting for us and that made my heart happy! So we did all the norm stuff there and they told me part of the VBAC policy was to get a weight ultrasound. Are you kidding me? I'm in so much pain and you are going to make my lie on my back so you can tell me what a giant baby I have?! Fantastic.
So I complied and it hurt so bad. He finished and determined that baby would be about 6 lbs 11 oz. That sounded reasonable. Our son was 7.7. So once that was over they allowed us to walk up to our room. Again, it took forever and I just could not wait to get there!
Once in the room, I was checked and found to be a 6. I cried. A 6?! I'm in SO much pain. How am I not in transition?! Afterward we got all hooked up to the monitors and stuff and then it was quiet. It was just my husband, the midwife and I. There was relaxing music on and they would massage and rub me and help me keep my cool. After the initial strip I wanted the water.
I'd talked the entire trip down about the labor tubs and how nice it would feel to crawl in one as soon as possible. We soon found out I was in the last open room and my room only had a shower. You have GOT to be kidding me. I was super disappointed. But our midwife suggested that we go sit on the birthing ball in the shower and that water was glorious! I was feeling like I could do this. My family came in to visit real fast and I was still able to talk and laugh in between contractions and then they left. It was maybe 11 or so when she checked me again. I was a 6. STILL.
Emotionally I began to lose it. This is what happened with our son. I got stuck and then they took him. I started to panic. Everyone continued to reassure me that it was just going slowly and no one was pressuring me. There was no clock. I believe with that check they broke my water and there was not a whole lot of it because she was so low her head was like a cork. Every time I was checked the midwife would say "her head is just SO low". That was very encouraging to me that my body was doing something! After that, it all gets blurry.
I took another shower at some point and peed and labored a lot. There was lots of rubbing and encouraging words. Then at some point I lost it. I started crying and begging for an epidural. I was fighting with everyone and felt SO out of control. It was transition. I knew it in my head but HOLY COW! It hurt. Like bad. At this point the midwives were suggesting some IV meds. It went against everything I'd said I wanted. But I just could not pull it together. I really wanted an epidural, but figured I'd try that first. The nurse came in to hook up my heplock and couldn't get it in. Blew two veins.
It was killer to have contractions and then in between get poked with needles!! Finally another nurse came in and got it in. They gave me something through it and poof. I could do this. Did it take my pain away? No. I still was writhing with every contraction and had to work to get through them, but the in between was wonderful! I was able to rest. I felt so relaxed and I knew that's exactly what my body needed to do. The rest was history. I flew from a 7 to ready to push in what seemed like no time.
I was in such an animalistic state I really could not even comprehend what was going on. I was trying to listen to the midwife coach me through pushing and trying to soak in all the "you are doing great" and "you're a rockstar" compliments, but all I could think about was getting the baby out! So we started pushing. I could feel after just a few pushes what needed to happen and the way I needed to do it. So I did it. With all my might. It felt soooo much better to be pushing!
So after 15 minutes or so we got to that ring of fire and that's when I knew it. I am doing this! I am going to deliver this little girl the way I wanted!!! Someone told me to feel her head and I did quickly but needed to focus. A few pushes and out she came. It was incredible. Feeling her little body slip through mine. It was the most incredible feeling ever. And then such relief! They put her on my chest and I just bawled. I couldn't believe I did it. I couldn't believe my little girl was actually finally here! While they were cleaning her off someone made a comment about her definitely not looking like a 6 lb baby. This made me excited because I'd been hoping all along she would be bigger than our boy and I'd be CERTAIN that my body was capable and did not have any stupid limitations put on it. I could birth any baby I could make!
They took her to be weighed while I got stitched up quickly. I was SO thankful to have only a tiny tear that barely required any time at all to fix! They yelled over to me 8.1! I had an 8 lb baby!!! Later the nurse told us that because of the extra grams she was actually 8.2. Incredible. I still cannot believe I did it. I cannot believe I birthed my baby vaginally. And without an epidural. And without ripping to shreds. And without needing assistance. My body was able to get pregnant, carry a baby to term, know when and how to go into labor, push and deliver a baby, and then feed her completely once she was out! It is truly incredible. I have an entirely new view of my body and of my own capabilities.
Once everything settled a bit we nursed and it was blissful. She was so content to be with me. She has been so calm and cuddly and responsive to me especially. It has been a very special experience for me. I feel like it's healed some places within me and given me a very special bond with our little girl!
I must give credit now where credit is due. I could not have done this whole laboring thing without my incredible husband. He was there for me every second and step of the way. He was rubbing me, encouraging me, praying for me, reading me my birthing affirmations, and making sure that things went the way he knew I really wanted them to. I think he was the best labor partner ever!
Next, Our midwife. She was just magnificent. She knew where to rub and where it hurt and what I needed. She kept everything calm and peaceful just like I needed. It was so special to have so much time with just her and my husband and I. She was just the person I needed and wanted to be there and to catch my little girl :) Finally, Lisa. Lisa is our midwife in the city and she was just awesome. It was incredible to be able to do what we did in a hospital that wasn't ours. She was so supportive and a great addition to our little team. We certainly could not have done it without her!
Life since the birth has been great. We were discharged from the hospital a few hrs early and were able to be a family at home on Thanksgiving :) We are 4 days out now and I feel so human. So normal considering everything that just happened. It's absolutely incredible. 4 days after my C-section we had just gotten home and I could hardly walk and was essentially useless other than to feed myself and my little boy. I cannot imagine coming home to a toddler and a newborn feeling like that!! The recovery has been a complete 180. We have been SO blessed!!!