Saturday, July 09, 2011

The VBAC That Wasn't

Many of you know that going into this birthing experience I was completely committed to having a successful VBAC.  I prepared for a VBAC through research, praying a lot, connecting with a local ICAN group, re-reading Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth about 1000 times, having many positive conversations with my midwife regarding my chances of success (95% prior to the actual birth), hired a doula, and by working through some of my residual emotional issues that were leftover from my first birth experience (very unplanned c-section).  All in all, I would say I was 100% confident that I was going to be a successful VBAC mama and that I would have a lovely recovery in which it would be little to no trouble to get into a routine with Urban Cowbaby and UCB2.  Well, it didn't work out quite the way I planned or wanted it to.  I am not a successful VBAC mama.  And, you know what, it's ok.  Really, I am ok with UCB2's birth experience.  I did everything I could have to be successful but my body just did not cooperate and, truthfully, there's nothing I can do about that.  What's more?  I feel extremely fortunate to be living in 2011 because if I had been laboring with UCB2 in 1771, my daughter and I would surely have died as they did not have the medical means or knowledge to recognize the need for a c-section or to preform one.  In 2011, I am happy knowing that my daughter is healthy and with us and that my son is not motherless and that my husband still has a living wife.  I know that sounds dramatic but it's the truth.  And, honestly, I'm really proud of myself for laboring so long at home (read details below) and walking into the hospital at 10cm dilated, fully effaced.  My midwife used the following words to describe me: tenacious, committed, spirited, strong.  Did I have a VBAC?  No. Am I a birth failure?  No.  Am I happy with the ultimate outcome of healthy baby, healthy mom?  Absolutely.

If you're interested in the details, keep reading.  If not, stop now.  UCB2 was born 8 days past her official due date and, I'm not going to lie, I was getting nervous about how big she must have been getting in those last weeks of pregnancy.  I was hoping for an average 7lbs baby.  Hahaha - life is funny, eh?  Anyway, on Sunday, June 19, I went to church in the morning because I decided that maybe I needed to actually visit God's sanctioned house to get things going vs. just chatting it up with Him.  While in church, I did begin experiencing contractions which was good sign for me.  Over the course of the day, I kept experiencing contractions but nothing regular and not too frequent.  I decided I was likely to have UCB2 in the next couple of days.  I said to myself, "maybe she really does want to be a Cancer instead of a Gemini".  By Sunday evening, however, things were picking up and I was experiencing contractions very regularly - every 20 min to 15 min - but they weren't anything to write home about.  I could talk through them and they were only mildly distracting.  Then, around 9, they stopped.  I told myself that was a good practice round.  Little did I know that by midnight I was going to be re-introduced to them and that they were going to rock my world.  LOL  So, beginning around 12am, my contractions came back and they were not ignorable, they were very uncomfortable, and I did need to work through each one.  They were also very consistently 15 min apart, then 10, then 5, etc.  I slept between contractions as much as possible and tried to wake Urban Cowboy as little as possible so he would be well-rested for the big show.  By 5:30am, I was getting very concerned regarding how far along we were because I wasn't able to rest during any of the contractions, they were very close together and extremely intense, and I could not be still during them - I had to constantly be moving, walking, etc., to work through them.  By 6:30a I decided it was time to call the doula and ask her to come over because everything was getting really intense and I wanted her help to focus.  I was also concerned about Urban Cowbaby and when we should take him to Grandma & Opa's house.  She got to our house, looked at me and immediately told Urban Cowboy he needed to take  Urban Cowbaby to Grandma's because it was going to be time very soon.  I continued to labor for a few more hours and by 9:00a, our doula strongly suggested we begin to head to the hospital.  Thank goodness she was there because she handled the phone calls to the midwife and to the hospital and coordinated us all getting in the car.  By this time, I was telling her and Urban Cowboy that I was feeling the need to push and they were, of course, encouraging me to wait and keep breathing through the contractions as best as possible.  We got to the hospital in record time, my water broke as we were walking through the parking lot to the doors, (Urban Cowboy was driving very, very fast - but safely!) and the nursing staff was still prepping our room when we got to maternity!  Once we were in the hospital they immediately checked me and pronounced me at 10cm, fully effaced, and ready to push.  And push I did.  For 3 long hours I pushed.  I discovered several things in that time: 1) I'm a good pusher, 2) I have a reservoir of strength in myself that I could have never guessed I have, and 3) my body has no intention of delivering a baby vaginally.  UCB2 was posterior and not descending so after about 2.5 hours my midwife recommended a c-section.  We begged for more time and my doula helped Urban Cowboy and I try different positions to try and get UCB2 to turn into the right position.  Nothing worked - Urban Cowboy was so amazing as a coach, though!  I was getting frustrated and exhausted and, really, just wanted my midwife to be able to reach up inside me and pull the baby out! I guess it doesn't work that way, though, so that's how we ended up with a 2nd c-section birth because despite all our effort it was time to "call it" and make the decision to move in an alternate direction from the original plan  To the OR we went and UCB2 was born at 12:25pm. 

And that, folks, is the story of the VBAC that wasn't.

1 comment:

Urban Cowgirl said...

I need to follow-up with an additional fact I left out from the story. While the surgeon & mid-wife were performing my c-section, they discovered that my uterus does not contract in a funnel/v shape as it should. It contracts in an hourglass shape; consequently, my kids get part way down the vaginal canal and then get "stuck" & a little beat up from the contractions at that point. While that's disheartening to know and sad to think I won't ever have a vaginal birth, it's extremely gratifying to know that it is something physical and something I cannot hope to fix. It has nothing to do with me, the person. There's something comforting about that.