Kieran’s Repeat C-Section turned VBAC arrival!

Kieran’s Repeat C-section turned VBAC arrival!

Mama: Mary Ellen M.

Stats: 8 lbs., 9 oz.

Type of Birth: Vaginal

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

I was over the moon with excitement when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. It was shortly after the 4th of July in 2012. I went out and bought a “Big Brother” t-shirt for our toddler and dressed him in it for when my husband came home from work.

Surprise! We’re going to have another baby!

Fast forward through many, many doctor’s appointments, seven ultrasounds, a gender reveal cake party (it’s a boy!) and a bright and cheerful nursery waiting for our little one… and I was READY.

My pregnancy was fairly easy and uneventful. Our little guy’s official due date was March 16th, 2013 and I could not wait! I enjoyed pregnancy both times, but this time was easier than last, as I was sleeping through the night still and not suffering from PUPPS or extreme thirst like when I was pregnant with my first son. I was trying to be patient, but it was so hard to wait.

Our first son, B, was born via cesarean section after several hours of labor and signs of pre-eclampsia. My doctors left it up to me, but strongly encouraged a c-section. My blood pressure was high and B’s heartbeat was too steady. Surgery it was.

I had an excellent recovery, I didn’t mind in the slightest that I did not get to experience a vaginal delivery. So this time around, I was given the choice- I could opt for a repeat c-section (RCS) since I had already had one, or I could try for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

After going back and forth for months and months, and talking to moms that had gone both ways, I decided to schedule a RCS, but hoped that I might not need it. I was nervous I’d have another huge baby (B was 9 lbs 15 oz) among other concerns in trying for a VBAC.

The week before the RCS date, I had a promising doctor’s appointment where the nurse practitioner told me that I was already 1 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I could go into labor any time! Even with no change the day before my RCS, I remained hopeful and called the hospital to cancel it. I was only 39½ weeks and decided that I wanted to give my body more time.

An appointment at 40 weeks and 2 days showed the same thing – still no progress. My blood pressure was climbing again and my doctor didn’t feel like a VBAC was going to be in the cards, so I scheduled another RCS for two days later, at 40 weeks and 4 days.

Well, little did I know, my body had other plans!

The next morning, on Tuesday, March 19th, I woke up to some contractions. I just knew it wasn’t false labor. They were about 10 minutes apart and not too painful so I clued my husband in, he went to work, I showered, woke our toddler and drove him to daycare. By this time, the contractions were about eight minutes apart, but still not too painful. I went home and put my feet up for two hours to start timing them.

By 10 a.m., they were four to five minutes apart. I had a really painful one and realized that this was it! Baby day was here! But I was in denial. I put away some dishes, tidied up the living room, folded some clothes and made a snack.

I finally called my doctor and he told me to come in right away so they could monitor me. Silly, silly me… I drove to my doctor’s office. I think I only closed my eyes for a few seconds when the contractions were getting intense, but I’m lucky I made it there in one piece and didn’t hurt anyone else. Did I mention that it was snowing?

At my doctor’s office, they hooked me up to the non-stress test and yes, sure enough, I was in labor. The nurse checked me and I was 3 cms dilated! What a change in 24 hours! She sent me straight to the hospital. Even though I thought I could drive myself, she strongly encouraged having someone come and pick me up. My mom left work to get me and we met my husband at the hospital by 11:45 a.m.

I labored on my own for a while and my water broke on its own around 2 p.m. Our amazing nurse Emily was awesome and kept calling me a rock star. I know she was being nice, but it really helped me think that I COULD do a VBAC.

I asked for some pain meds through my IV around 2:30. Emily said it would be like knocking back four glasses of wine at once. I would still feel the contractions, I just wouldn’t care. I was afraid to ask for an epidural too early so this sounded good to me. The meds worked for about 10 minutes and then the contractions got super painful again.

I asked for more of the “wine meds” but Emily said that she couldn’t give me more. Would I like to be checked to see if I was at least 4 centimeters and could get an epidural? Sure, why not.

A doctor came in and checked me and I was… 9 centimeters!! I burst into tears. I realized how soon this baby was going to be born. Emily and the doctors kept telling me that I was amazing for making it this far, especially without an epidural. I, of course, asked for one right away because I knew the window was closing and if I progressed further, I wouldn’t be able to get one.

The anesthesiologist came in and started to prep me. While he was sticking my spine with the needle, my leg kicked forward – it was a reflex and nothing I could control. He stopped short, looked at my nurse and said “oh, shit…”

Make a mental note mamas, when someone has a needle sticking in your back and says “oh, shit…” it’s NOT a good thing.

I asked what happened and he said that because I had kicked my leg and moved, he mistakenly stuck the needle in the wrong place and I was now leaking spinal fluid. I was at risk for developing a debilitating spinal headache, which would most likely happen within 24 hours. Yay. He stuck me again, in the right place, and I started to feel relief.

My doctor came in and checked me… I was at 10 centimeters! Time to push! It was about 4 p.m. at this point.

When I started to feel pressure, I would give three good pushes and then wait for the next contraction. My husband was holding one of my legs and my mom was looking on from the side. It was such a casual and laid back experience —nothing like what I thought labor would be. I even mentioned to my doctor “this is kind of boring!” between contractions.

We were chatting about the weather, our kids, jobs, etc. She replied “well would you like things to be more dramatic?” Haha no, this was fine. I was quite content with feeling no pain.

Once I realized how soon the baby would be here, I started asking if I could push more than three times.

A few more pushes and Baby K was born! It was 4:53 p.m. and he came out pink, crying and beautiful.

He was quickly cleaned up and evaluated by the respiratory team (since there was meconium in my amniotic fluid, they didn’t want him breathing any in so he was whisked away for a few minutes to be evaluated next to my bed). The doctor stitched me up and K was placed on my chest.

It was an amazing experience and so NOT what I thought labor and delivery would be like!

He was 8 lbs 9 oz… a fairly good sized baby, but he felt like a peanut compared to my first son.

While I was completely at peace with having a RCS, I am so happy that my body had other plans and my little man arrived when HE wanted to. The VBAC was so much easier than I had envisioned and the recovery was 1,000 times easier than my first c-section.

If any of you mamas are on the fence, I would recommend giving a VBAC a try. I am so happy that I had the opportunity!

9 Responses to Kieran’s Repeat C-Section turned VBAC arrival!

  1. You are a rock star, mama! Wow! What a great story, I’m so happy you got to have a VBAC. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I LOVE this story… YAY for the unplanned VBAC!!

  3. awesome story! so happy and excited for you! congrats mama!

  4. Such an awesome story. I’m so stoked you were able to have a VBAC! Thanks for sharing.

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