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.


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.

    55 Comments on “My VBAC birth story”

  1. Pingback: 26 VBAC Success Stories That'll Empower Your Trial of Labor

  2. Thank you for sharing your story!  Was your OB in Columbus, Ohio?  I am looking for a pro-VBAC doctor in Columbus.  Would you mind sharing who he is?

  3. I’m so excited you got your VBAC! In 2009 I had my son by an emergency c-section. Labor was going fine and I had just had my epidural when my baby’s heartbeat faded. The doctor and nurse turned me from side to side and when they couldn’t get his heartbeat back they rushed me to the OR. I never knew how much pain you feel with a c-section. What they call pressure… I call PAIN. I have a healthy three year old boy because my doctors were quick enough and smart enough to do an emergency c-section. Fast forward to 2011, I’m pregnant again with another little boy and my original OB wasn’t taking any new patients so I found a new one. This doctor told me that to be able to have a VBAC I couldn’t deliver at my original hospital and that she would transfer me to an OB that delivered at a hospital 40 minutes away from where I lived. A day after my due date I went into labor at 2AM. I was tired but very glad because there wasn’t any traffic and I was in labor and heading to a big city. After hours of hard contractions I had my epidural. My baby’s heartbeat began to fade… but this time it came right back up. The nurses helped move me and change my position and little did anyone know my epidural was pulled out a little too much. I started to feel my contractions so they gave me more. They tried several times but no relief. I had full feeling and I was ready to deliver. It is the worst pain you can imagine and I remember saying over and over again “Where’s my epidural? I’m supposed to have an epidural!” After hours of pushing and my vision blurry and broken blood vessels in my face I found out my baby was stuck. I won’t go into details but no instruments were used and after the doctor trying several things I had a successful VBAC! I had pain relief in my labor but none during delivery. It was hard and painful but I’m glad it happened that way. Again, congrats on your VBAC! It really is a wonderful experience.

  4. I know how amazing that feels! I had a vbac after a very traumatic birth and rough c-section recovery 6 months ago (ah, baby boy is 6 months tomorrow!) Congrats, momma and happy bday baby girl!

  5. My son was supposed to be a vaginal birth, but after reading all the baby websites I was prepared for anything to have a happy, healthy baby. After two hours of pushing I could feel that he hadn’t moved down at all, could still feel his feet up around my chest, and he was face-up (though they had *painfully* rotated him once during the night, he went right back to his old position). I had an epidural as well, but they allowed it to wear off a little when so when it was time to push I could feel the pressure of the contraction. After two hours I was just exhausted and couldn’t do it anymore, especially since he hadn’t moved – I felt I was doing something wrong. I asked for a c-section and though the doctor wanted me to deliver naturally, she said it was my decision. Turns out, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my son’s neck three times and that’s why he wasn’t descending fully into the birth canal – every time I pushed he would move a little, then the cord would pull him right back up. He wasn’t breathing at birth and was blue, they rushed him to the NICU, my husband had to approve for them to intubate, but fortunately by that night he was normal, healthy color and breathing on his own. I wasn’t allowed to see him for almost 24 hours since I had a c-section (I couldn’t leave the room and he couldn’t leave the NICU). I would *love* to have a VBAC, but after the complications he had I’m scared to do it. The doctor admitted I made the right choice, and I honestly feel the pure exhaustion was my body’s way of telling me something was wrong and I needed to do something about it. I just don’t know if I can go through something that traumatic again (and miss out on the most important hours of the baby’s life and that bonding). Thank you for sharing your story, it was beautiful and maybe one day I’ll come around :)

  6. You should be proud mama! Thats amazing! Good for you for wanting more from your second birth! You are amazing and strong and have every right to feel like a super hero!!

  7. That got me teary eyed! I had a c/s w/my first in 2009 & we’re planning to get pregnant again soon but I’m truly fearful of going through another c/s. It was a painful recovery & not what I expected my first few weeks of motherhood to be. I very much want to do a VBAC but w/that comes new fears. Loved your story!

  8. This is such a great story! And it really is interesting to hear from someone who had a c-section go through labor like that. With my first child I developed raging, uncontrollable diabetes and then preeclampsia, so I was induced (took 3 friggin’ days!), and the pitocin/manually-broken water gave me the most insane contractions I begged anyone within earshot for an epidural (ha). She ended up being an emergency C because of placental abruption. 16 months later I had another c-section because I again had diabetes and elevated blood pressure so for safety’s sake we went that route.

    Only four days after #2 turned ONE, I went to the OB for my weekly checkup and declined a cervical check, because just the day before I was in the ER getting pumped full of fluids from being sick for the entire previous week. Needless to say, the very moment I left the OB I noticed pain that I assumed was from my former dehydration and I let my husband leave to go play golf. Within an HOUR I was literally screaming in my bed in full-on labor (I was totally in denial at this point), the pitocin induction had NOTHING on the pain of a newly healed twice-sliced c-section scar during contractions. When I got to the hospital I was already 6cm dilated and my OB actually asked if I wanted a VBAC. I may have tried to punch him…

    This ended up being a lot longer than I’d anticipated…I just wanted to mention how cool it was to hear your story and the way you felt going into labor and all that. I’m, uh, gonna shut up now. =D

  9. Lovely story! Gives me hope that I will be able to have a VBAC the next time I get preggers!

  10. Happy Birthday To Kara, and are those butterflies I spot on that receiving blanket?

  11. I am so glad you got the experience (mostly) you wanted – it is so important to be your own advocate!! Congratulations; she’s beautiful.

  12. I loved reading your birth story and what it meant to you! Healthy baby, healthy mommy is always a great outcome! And yes, you should feel like a super hero, you most certainly earned that title! Blessings to you and your newest addition.

  13. Congrats! She is so precious!
    I never got to have a vaginal birth. I had 2 c-sections due to my pelvis being to small for my babies to pass through. Also with my 2nd son I had toxemia and had an emergency c-section. I had to have bp lowering meds put under my tongue for several hours to get my bp under control. Scarey! After being told either I or my baby or both wouldnt make it through another pregnancy I had a tubal with that pregnancy . So I will never know whats its like to give birth vaginally. At first it kind of made me sad but now that its been 14 yrs Im ok with it.

  14. Congratulations!! What beautiful pictures to capture such precious moments!! Your daughter is adorable!! Glad to hear you were able to have VBAC. I was looking forward to a VBAC with my second but had to have another c-section. Thanks for sharing the experience you had.

  15. She is so beautiful. I’m glad that you were able to get the vaginal delivery that you wanted and that you are both healthy and doing well. Congratulations to you and your family. She is so precious. I had a vaginal birth with my son and the recovery was no picnic so I can’t imagine recovering from a c-section which I’m told is so much harder.

  16. Kara is a beautiful name, I love it.. Barely anybody has the name and it makes me feel unique. I think she’s going to love it as she gets older, and I was also a C-Section baby. (:

  17. You have every right to be proud of yourself! I felt so elated after both of my births, I am so glad you got to experience that same feeling. Your baby girl is absolutely gorgeous. :)

  18. Oh Crissy, I am so happy for you that you got the experience you wanted. Kara is just beautiful. Congratulations again!

  19. Gorgeous! I’m so happy that you followed your own mind and switched to a doctor and hospital that supported VBAC! When they induced my labor with my son, they ended up giving me something called Nubane (sp?) through my IV rather than an epidural (gosh! Sitting up and bending way over when you’re having contractions is yuck!), and IT was good too!

    Your new baby is beautiful! Congratulations to you and your family!

  20. Congrads on your 2nd bundle of joy.. what an achivement to be able to go through VBAC.

  21. Her smile in the last photo is just precious!

  22. Wonderful, Crissy. After all you have gone through, here is your little girl :) I’m so glad you had the birth experience you wanted.

    Rest up, stay in bed with her whenever you can, and ask for help :)

  23. She is so beautiful ! And yes , you are a superhero ! As far as I am concerned there is no tougher job than giving birth as you experienced !
    It is truely amazing and you should be very proud of yourself.

    I did it natural with nothing, and I am feel as though I was Superwoman.

  24. Congrats! It is always a great thing to hear of a successful vbac! My second SHOULD have been a vbac but my epidural never worked and they wanted to just shut me up. They over sedated me with the c and my son was born blue, floppy, and not breathing. They were unable to resuscitate him and needed to intubate. Because of the whole ordeal he was sent to the NICU at another hospital 40 mins away. I didn’t see him for three days! I have been mourning the loss of what should have been my normal birth since my son was born. I am so happy to hear your vbac happened!

  25. Congratulations! Thanks for posting your story!

  26. I am so happy for you. The baby is beautiful and just for your curiosity, the one epidural I had left my legs numb too. The first time I managed without it and the third time I’d have killed to have one but they couldn’t find the anethesiologist and then it was too late.

  27. Awesome! So happy for you!

  28. This story made me cry tears of happiness, and made me pray I don’t need a C-section if I ever decide to have a child…it’s such a beautiful part of nature.

  29. Congratulations Crissy and Family! You were fortunate to have the epidural. For my first child 28 yrs. ago – it was natural or a c-section. Thirteen years later – there were pain aides – I had the epidural…and wondered why they couldn’t have come up with this 13 yrs before! I don’t remember my legs being numb as you describe. I remember being extremely tired and had enough of pushing after 3 hrs. The nurse asked the Dr. if he could help me and he suctioned my daughter out – something I would have never allowed if I had known the dangers of it. I would have pushed for another 24 hrs. if I had to. I have to say I detested child birth – I was just not made for that. I’m very thankful I have two beautiful children – I have done my job in contributing to the human life cycle.

  30. I can see why you’re so in love, my friend. I am absolutely jealous! :-)

  31. Love the pics and your story. So happy about the VBAC, it is an amazing experience.

  32. An amazing and beautiful story. I had a horrible birth experience with my son, and ended up having an emergency c-section that ended with me being separated from him for 6 days and put into the ICU. I so desperately want to have a VBAC the next time around, and your story gives me hope that I can do that! Thank you so much for sharing. Kara is beautiful.

  33. She is lovely! Congrats on your daughter and doing it your way!

  34. Congrats. She’s so adorable.

  35. AWww what a great story. I remember with Gavyn(he was my first) not being able to feel pushing him. They also did the mirror and hubby put my hand on his head. It was amazing. I am so happy that you got your VBAC!

  36. I am so happy for you that you got the birth experience you wanted! I loved reading your birth story. Thank you for sharing it!

    I gave birth to all 3 of mine vaginally. I didn’t have an epidural with the first two. With #1, I really didn’t need it and never even thought about it. With #2, I wanted it; but, after I asked, my water broke and he shot into the birth canal. He was born an hour later. So, no epidural with him, but I survived.

    With #3, I was ready for the pain relief at 32 weeks. I am NOT kidding!!! I thought I was going to have him at 37 weeks. But, no, he was not quite ready. (He even fooled the doctor!) At 40 weeks, after almost 48 hours of contractions that just didn’t progress to the point of REAL labor, I went to bed at midnight contraction-free and woke up at 1:30 a.m. in HARD LABOR. It was awful! Our friend, who met us at the hospital to get our other two kids, took one look at me and said: “Why did you wait so long?” Um, yeah, I didn’t!!!! LOL! I didn’t get the epidural until a couple hours later and I was REALLY having a hard time! Once that epidural was in, though, it was F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! I was giddy from being pain-free after 8 weeks of dealing with pain. My 3rd was born at 7:30 AM. In retrospect, he probably would have been born much sooner, IF I had been allowed to walk around, or labor in a more natural way. But, my only pain coping tactic was to bend straight over – well, as much as a preggy woman can anyway – to ease the pain in my back. When they told me I needed to stay in the bed on my back, I was like: “Oh, h*ll no. That is not happening without DRUGS NOW!” So, yeah, I totally hear ya on that one! LOL!

    Anyway, may God bless you and yours! I look forward to seeing how Kara grows. Love the name! Bet you can’t guess why! LOL!

  37. What a beautiful baby girl. The not feeling your legs is perfectly normal. I had an epidural with both pregnancies and from the waist down could not feel a thing.

  38. Congratulations. Boys always have to make things so difficult. I also had to have a c-section with my son for breech presentation ;). I however was always told I could have a vbac. There really is a greater feeling of accomplishment when you do that. I’ve had two vaginal births without meds, my c-section, and then a vbac with some pain meds and there’s just something about the vbac that’s like ha, in your face. Not because my doctor never said I couldn’t do it, but because the oncall doctor when I went into labor was being such a jerk about things. And because so many people make it like if you labor in the hospital they will force you to have a repeat c-section. So successfully vbacing almost feels like paving the way for future women to do it.

  39. I’m so happy for you. I love that last photo of Kara, with a little smile on her face. Beautiful! And so precious! When I had an epidural, I could actually still move my legs on my own, and did feel a little pain when my son was born. Also, I could feel pain when they were stitching me up and had to ask for more anesthesia. So, I must have either had a low dose of the epidural, or else it was wearing off. Anyway, I’m just so glad things worked out for you even with the high blood pressure and everything. That’s awesome!

  40. such a cutie love the last picture where she is half grinning.

    tell hubby I love his International Harvester shirt

  41. Congratulations! She is beautiful!

  42. AWESOME JOB!!!!!! Congrats congrats congrats!!!

  43. 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)!

  44. 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!

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

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

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

  48. 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.

  49. 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!!

  50. 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!!!

  51. 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.

  52. 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. ;)

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

  54. 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!!

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