Andrea’s “Big Baby” VBAC Birth Story

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When I unexpectedly got pregnant with my second child I immediately knew I wanted to try for a VBAC, especially after the traumatic experience of my first labor and birth. It took a lot of work and a lot of educating myself but I built an incredibly supportive birth team and I am so grateful for all of them.

My due date was Sept 1. That day came and went. My induction was scheduled for the evening of Sept 9. I ended up with a total of three membrane sweeps. I struggled with several weeks of prodromal labor and a few false alarms at labor and delivery.

On Sept 6th, after my 3rd sweep, I finally was having consistent contractions getting stronger and closer for longer than an hour and a half at a time. We went to the hospital that night when my contractions were about 6 mins apart. Got there and was 2.5cm and 90% effaced. That morning at my last sweep I was only 1.5 cm 70% effaced. So they had me walk for 30 mins and check again. I did. No change. They wanted to send us home. But I wasn’t convinced we should leave. So I asked them to let us walk again. So we did. When we got back on the monitor my son’s heart rate dropped for THREE MINUTES. It was absolutely horrific. They flipped me on my side. Put an oxygen mask on me. Poked me several times to put in an IV. Checked my cervix. All while I’m laying there bawling and shaking. He recovered. But now we were admitted. I’m so grateful I insisted we stay. 

I ended up laboring for 30+ hours. They gave me Pitocin and after probably about 16 hours, my contractions became too painful and anytime I would get into a position that made them bearable, my son’s heart rate would decelerate. So epidural it was. This anesthesiologist had the hands of an angel. Perfect epidural experience. Thus beginning what I like to call my labor vacation. I got a break from my crazy 2.5 yr old and my day to day. And was surrounded with incredible people (my doula, awesome l&d nurses, my amazing midwife, and my fiancé). My labor was SO FUN. I was respected, informed, and included in every decision that was made. I did stall at 4 cm for probably about 12 hours even after breaking my water.

My midwife gave me another hour to progress before calling for a cesarean. So at this point I was okay with whatever happened. I already had an amazing labor and a much better experience than my first. I had a 30 min conversation with my nurse about my requests and options for surgery. When my midwife checked me, I was 7 cm and fully effaced. Holy crap. So we kept going. I started feeling like I needed to push with my contractions and my doula tried to talk me out of pushing until it was unbearable not to. My midwife came in and checked me. I was almost fully dilated but there was a tiny lip of cervix left so she had me push to see if we could get him past it and we did. So we started pushing. They turned my epidural down a bit. Enough that I wasn’t in pain but that I was able to control my body enough to change positions because I HATED pushing on my back. I pushed for an hour and a half. Throughout that time I would feel for my baby’s head to see how far I had come. Which I never expected I would want to do. His head finally came out, and his cord was wrapped around his neck. When they told me to push again I pushed as hard as I could and he didn’t budge. I told them I couldn’t push anymore. He was stuck and had deceled again. My midwife had to help him out. He was born and I pulled him onto me. But he was born floppy and had to be taken by the NICU team to make sure he was okay and I tore from the assist so I needed stitches. He was with the NICU team for about 30-40 mins before I got him back but he was PERFECT and get this… NINE AND A HALF POUNDS. He was 21 in long and his head was 13.5 in. He was born exactly at 41 weeks. He is the most perfect, chubby, dark-haired baby we never knew we needed. And I am so grateful I got the amazing, healing experience I needed after my traumatic first birth.

Congratulations, Andrea, and thank you for sharing your story with us!

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