Margaret’s VBAC Birth Story

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I want to share my story not because it’s flawless but because success looks like a lot of different things. This birth experience was empowering and healed a place of lingering doubt in my heart.

After 3 nights of prodromal labor that subsided by morning, on Friday June 26, I finally woke up to contractions that were still 8 min apart but not necessarily progressing.  I got an NST at my OB office to check all was well with baby and was encouraged that waiting was a perfect option. I went home to take a nap and within the hour could no long sleep through contractions. They came fast and hard, 5-8 min apart. I hopped in the shower and called my doula. 

Both she and my husband weren’t totally convinced I was in active labor so we decided to all get some dinner. In the time it took my husband to cook a frozen pizza and make me a smoothie, my contractions started jumping closer to 3 min apart and my Hypnobabies training kicked in and I KNEW it was time to go to the hospital. 

I was 6 cm and 100% effaced upon arrival to the hospital and was admitted. By midnight I was at 8 cm and set up for delivery. However my water just wouldn’t break so we labored all night with my doula and husband applying counter pressure to my hips and back. 

By morning I was 9 cm with a residual cervical lip. After another hour my water still had not broken and lip did not resolve. I was nervous to start intervening due to my history and previous birth, but my OB and incredible nurse took the time to explain with love and patience every procedure that would be done and the specific way they felt it would help me achieve my VBAC. 

After some emotional decision making, we broke my water to try to resolve the lip but it did not work. I was allowed to start pushing since the lip was so soft but her posterior position made me not feel an urge to push, instead my back labor got really intense and I was asking for the epidural.  Everyone encouraged me to push for a bit without it and see what happens. 

After an hour with no push urge, and severe back labor my OB suggested the epidural might actually resolve the lip that was still present and allow baby to turn into the correct position. After about an hour with the epidural, I was complete with no lip, my baby had turned completely around, and it was time to push again! At that point I KNEW this was going to be a VBAC and my whole care team was encouraging me – they could see her hair!

My OB told me her head likely molded to the posterior position so pushing could be more difficult. After 2 hours she just wasn’t getting around my public bone (come to find out later her feet were tangled in her cord and possibly holding her back just enough that her head molding combined just wasn’t letting her come down). 

My OB offered to let me keep pushing since she was doing fine or he could use forceps to guide her head. I decided on forceps because I just didn’t see the point of trying for a whole hour when I was fairly certain we’d be in the same spot. After showing us the forceps and explaining so patiently exactly what he would do and what would happen, he gently went in with the forceps, narrating the whole way, and 2 pushes later she was in my arms!! 

This birth was the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. I birthed my 8 pound baby surrounded by a team of nurses cheering for me, a husband actively involved in the process, and an OB with such wisdom and patience I’ll forever be grateful for. It was informed consent all the way through – every decision was mine and every choice we made was given to me as a person not a patient. This experience was everything I’ve ever wanted and more.

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

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