Dear Crissy

My VBAC birth story

VBAC Birth Story

I got my VBAC!

On December 14th, 2011, at 11:11 a.m., I had a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and met my beautiful baby, Kara Elizabeth, for the first time.

VBAC Birth Story

What happened last time

As you may know, I had a c-section birth with my son in 2009, due to breech presentation.

While a cesarean wasn’t in the plan with Evan, it was necessary, and I really thought from that point going forward that a subsequent c-section was my only option for future births. You see, my hospital did not offer VBAC — period. This fact erased any lingering glimmer of hope that I had of ever experiencing a vaginal delivery.

Turning point

I was never truly happy with the OB, practice, or hospital that I used during my pregnancy with Evan, yet I saw myself heading into the same scenario when I found out that I was pregnant with baby number two last April.

After walking out of my doctor’s office feeling frustrated yet again, I made a huge decision. At 14-weeks-pregnant, I walked out of my OB’s office, medical records in hand, and I moved to a new doctor, in a new practice, who delivers at a different hospital.

After my first appointment with the new doctor, I found out that he supported VBAC, and felt that I was a great candidate. I can remember walking out of the office that day feeling like a new door had been opened for me. It was a truly amazing feeling, and I spent the better part of my pregnancy fantasizing about what this could mean for me. Would I really be able to have a baby vaginally?

The big day

On December 13th (my 32nd birthday!), I went to my doctor for a regular 38-week check-up.

My blood pressure was sky high, and had been a little high several times in previous weeks. I was hooked up for a NST, and my doctor concluded that he would like me to go to the hospital for some closer monitoring of my blood pressure and baby.

I met Zach at work, and we headed to Columbus to the hospital. I really figured that it was going to be a wasted trip, and that they would be sending me home to endure another week or two of being extraordinarily, painfully pregnant.

We arrived, and the testing began. Just when I thought they were going to send me home, something funny happened on the monitor. The baby’s heart rate seemed to have decelerated briefly, and after consulting my doctor, the consensus was to go ahead and start a slow induction.

Yes, I know that with inductions, come a lowered chance of a successful VBAC. At this point, I was just going with the flow, and doing what my doctor recommended for my health, and the health of the baby.

I kept hearing the words “slow induction”, and the idea here was to induce my labor as gently as possible to reduce the risk of uterine rupture.

I was started on a Pitocin drip, but nothing exciting happened during that first hour or two. In fact, while I was having mild contractions, I was not progressing at all, and still sat at barely 2cm dilated after several hours.

The next thing I began to hear were the words Foley catheter uttered here and there. The plan of attack to get my labor under way was to insert this catheter into my cervix, to manually help with dilation. Honestly, the idea of this freaked me out more than anything, and I was becoming very nervous.

When the resident who would be putting the Foley in entered the room, I was even more nervous. What I saw before me was a baby-faced young man, who looked no more than 18 years old. I suddenly felt like I was on some kind of doctor-drama made for television.

The Foley wasn’t as bad as I expected, and soon enough this manual dilation combined with increasing Pitocin sent me from zero to a million on the pain chart.

I went from being tolerably comfortable with manageable contractions, to OHMYGODKILLMENOW contractions that were coming fast and hard.

Having went into labor naturally with Evan, and reaching more than 6cm before my c-section with no pain medication, I felt that these drug-induced contractions were just unreasonably, HEINOUSLY bad. There was even a moment, when I was shaking from head to toe with pain, sweating, and begging for some help that I asked if I could still change my mind and have a c-section. I was in that much pain.

At this point, they called my doctor, who said to go ahead with an epidural if I wanted it.

I wanted it. I got it, and it was good. They did end up having to dose me a second time, though, because I could still feel the pain down one side.

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, aside from hot flashes and nausea. I was numb from the waist down, and able to fade in and out of sleep, and Zach slept in a chair beside me.

My water broke overnight, and I didn’t even know it. I kept asking the nurses if it was normal that I had NO FEELING in my legs, and they said it was, and that I should be happy that I couldn’t feel the pain. I was pretty happy that I couldn’t feel the pain.

By morning, there were nurses scurrying around saying that I was 10cm dilated. The doctor was rushing to the hospital, and I was just kind of being still, waiting for the main event.

Soon, my legs (which may as well have belong to a corpse, because I could not feel a thing), were lifted up into the stirrups, and with the help of a nurse, my doctor, and my husband I was coached to push even though I couldn’t feel the muscles that I needed to do the job.

So, epidural meant no pain, but also no feeling or ability to adequately push. Kind of bizarre, and I am still not sure how common this is.

Kara makes her grand entrance

After an hour and a half of grueling pushing that left me very little time to breathe or recover between rounds, my we were close to the end. My doctor lowered a mirror and showed me Kara’s head, which was covered in long, thick black hair. My OB used this vision to motivate me to push through to the end, and in a rush, I saw my little girl emerge from my body.

VBAC

Joy, relief, and tears were had all around, and immediately, my screaming, pink, beautiful little girl was placed on my chest. She was perfect.

Cutting Cord

I can’t believe that I pushed this child out of my body. I can’t believe that I got my VBAC. I know it may sound silly, but I feel somewhat like a superhero for this act.

birth story photos

I am proud of my VBAC, and sort of want to curl up and live in the memory of Kara’s birth story.

successful vbac

If you would like to see some more images of Kara’s first day, be sure to check out my first post on Babble’s Baby’s First Year blog today. I’ll be documenting Kara’s first year of life there daily!

newborn birth photography

My healing is going well, and it is truly amazing (in my case, anyway) how much easier a vaginal delivery is when compared to the trauma and healing time that accompanies a c-section.

I am so thankful to God for this perfect, precious little girl, and for the chance to know what it is like to give birth vaginally.

Leave a Comment





57 Comments

1 2 3 4
  1. Karen — January 3, 2012 @ 12:43 pm (#)

    Love the story and the photos! Kara is absolutely adorable and I’m so glad you were able to have the experience you wanted!

    Reply

  2. Natalie — January 3, 2012 @ 12:57 pm (#)

    BRAVO!! I was unable to have my VBAC, but sooo happy for you!! My 2nd csection was a breeze compared to first (2nd boy came on 12/19), so I am happy for that. All in all, what matters is we both have healthy babies to start our new year, new life as a family of 4 with!! Happy New Year and again congrats!!

    Reply

  3. Devan @ Accustomed Chaos — January 3, 2012 @ 12:57 pm (#)

    beautiful story!!

    Reply

  4. Andrea — January 3, 2012 @ 1:04 pm (#)

    I am so happy for you Crissy! Kara is beautiful :)

    Reply

  5. Kristin — January 3, 2012 @ 1:13 pm (#)

    OMG, Crissy!!! This baby is so amazingly beautiful, I’m tearing up!! Congratulations and best of luck…she’s an angel. Looking forward to many, many pictures!

    On a side note, your blog redesign is also amazing. ;)

    Reply

  6. Kate @ The Shopping Mana — January 3, 2012 @ 1:15 pm (#)

    Yay! Thanks for sharing Kara’s birth story. My son’s birth was a really similar experience. I had a Foley catheter, didn’t know when my water broke and couldn’t feel a darn thing from the waist down until several hours after he was born. The epidural with my daughter was much better for me because I could feel pushing and had a clue of what was going on. While it did hurt more, I much preferred having some sensation while pushing.

    Reply

  7. Karie @ The HoB — January 3, 2012 @ 1:20 pm (#)

    I had a VBAC with my 2nd and in my situation there is no comparison the VBAC was way better then my c-section and recovery was so much better! Congrats on getting your VBAC!!!

    Reply

  8. Jennifer — January 3, 2012 @ 1:20 pm (#)

    Im so happy for you!!! I had my first induced, but other than that, totally natural. The plan with #2 was the same, but ended in emergency c-section. When super surprise baby #3 came along, I was planning, hoping and praying for a VBAC. When my water had been broken for 48 hours and I was still barely 1 cm after 6 hours on the drip, I had another emergency section. I was fine with it at the time, as the health of my baby was at risk. But, now, I still mourn for the loss of my VBAC. Having experienced both, I know how much easier the recovery from a vaginal birth is. I’ve had nothing but complications since, and I’m so sad I had to have another section. I’m so happy for you!!

    Reply

  9. Kristina — January 3, 2012 @ 1:32 pm (#)

    Great story! Congrats on your successful VBAC. I hope to be that lucky in June when baby #2 arrives. I had a emergency c-section with Lil J & I didn’t even get to experience contractions at all.

    Reply

  10. Vanessa — January 3, 2012 @ 1:33 pm (#)

    Beautiful!! Congrats! So happy for you that you got your VBAC!! :) Did you have a birth photographer??

    Reply

  11. Sonya - Belly Charms — January 3, 2012 @ 1:34 pm (#)

    Great story and lovely pictures as always. Congrats on your new addition!!

    Reply

  12. Emily (faliLV) (@FamilyNLifeLV) — January 3, 2012 @ 1:35 pm (#)

    So happy you got the delivery you wanted! She is perfect!

    Reply

  13. monique — January 3, 2012 @ 1:57 pm (#)

    Congrats! So excited that you were able to get VBAC! I had epidural with my 1st but for some reason “knew” when to push. My dad kept asking me how I knew. Pain free was awesome! My epidural was continuous, though. I’ve learned that different hospitals do it differently.

    Natural delivery with my 2nd, but boy did it hurt.

    I really like the last picture of Kara. So adorable, and congrats again to your family!

    Reply

  14. Angela Willis — January 3, 2012 @ 2:35 pm (#)

    I am so happy for you and Kara, Crissy! I know exactly how you feel… I felt like a super hereo after my VBAC, too! I am so glad that you had the chance to experience that… it is a feeling like no other, and it is so much easier to enjoy both children while not having to recover from C-section. I love that contented happy look Kara has in the last photo. What a happy baby (and Mother)!

    Reply

  15. Erin — January 3, 2012 @ 2:48 pm (#)

    AWESOME JOB!!!!!! Congrats congrats congrats!!!

    Reply

Have something to add? Leave a Comment »

1 2 3 4

you are beautiful. hope to see you soon!