(You know, for those of you that are into this sort of thing.)
I knew from the get-go that I wanted to try for a VBAC delivery (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). Everything had been normal with Addy’s delivery up until I pushed for 3 hours and the girl was just painfully stuck in the face-up position, making us opt for a c-section. We had every reason to believe Grace could come the ol’ traditional route, and my doctor agreed.
After quite a bit of research, I also came to a few conclusions:
- I wanted to go into labor on my own (the usual dosage of Pitocin for a VBAC can lead to uterine rupture) (UTERINE. RUPTURE.)
- I wanted to go without an epidural for as long as I could (that way if Grace was face-up too, I could be more mobile and try different positions to see if she’d turn)
When my mom came into town the day before Grace’s due date, we made it our full-time job to get Grace to come. Whether she felt like it or not. I walked, jumped, danced, swayed, and walked some more. I drank herbal tea, scrubbed floors, took a warm bath, and had Doug massage acupressure points. And I was this close to taking castor oil. But even after all that, I didn’t feel so much as a weak sauce contraction.
Eventually we decided to go with my doctor’s offer to break my water and give me a small blast of Pitocin just to start things. I really felt passionate about going into labor on my own, but Doug gave me a blessing and we felt like it was the right thing to do. (It didn’t stop me from trying a few last ditch efforts to go into my labor the night before. But no dice.)
At long last, the big day came.
Zero o’clock: Doug and I report to the hospital. I have the ideas I liked for natural birth written on the back of a receipt (seriously).
7:10 am: After getting situated, my doctor breaks my water. I start the day at 3 cm. Doug and I walk the halls for the next hour. We do some fist pumps when I start feeling some mild contractions.
8:15 am: They start giving me the small dosage of Pitocin. I request some comedies on the TV to distract me. Fresh Prince really helped me through those early pains. So did standing next to the bed rocking back and forth like a crazy person.
9:00 am: My doctor checks me and I’m at 4 cm and 80% effaced. By this point we’re watching Psych, and I’m rocking AND moaning through the pain… double the crazy points. Doug is standing next to me comforting me, although I did have to give him a death glare during a tough contraction when I caught him watching the TV instead of tenderly caressing my face.
10:00 am: My Mom arrives and I can tell by her face I don’t look so hot. I’m in the fetal position on the bed. They turn off the Pitocin.
10:20 am: The contractions are mega uncomfortable and close together. The nurse checks me and I’m 7 or 8 cm. She brings up an epidural because originally I told her I might want it. I ask if she thinks it will be over soon, and the kind soul told me she couldn’t say. But really it could all be over soon. I decide to have her just start to prep some things in case I want it.
10:30 am: The contractions, to put it kindly, SUCK. The nurse checks me again and I’m still at a 7 or 8. I say, “I WANT AN EPIDURAL.”
10:45 am: The nurse checks me and I’m at a 9. We all realize there’s no point in getting the epidural now. My doctor had run back to his office when things looked slow, so now they were frantically calling him.
10:50 am: I want to push. And I’m begging anyone in the room to let me push. Still no doctor.
10:55 am: I’m fully dilated. My doctor comes huffing and puffing into the room, throws down his keys, and yanks on a gown. They let me start pushing within a few seconds. Hallelujah.
10:56 am: I realize pushing REALLY hurts. The doctor does some helping along, but now I’m begging them to let me NOT push.
11:00 am: The pushing hurts so badly that I stop pushing well. The doctor patiently reteaches me how to push. The doctor, Doug, my mom, and the three nurses are all cheering me on. Really, it sounded like a pep rally. "Come on Jackie! You can do it!" They reassure me that she’s facing down and everything looks great.
11:05 am: All the pushing pays off… Grace is born! They lay her on my chest and I immediately melt back into the bed. I'm in love with that baby girl and SO glad it's basically over.
The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I was just so shocked that it all happened in 4 hours. It felt fake for a while. It was so great to spend the rest of the day holding sweet Grace, introducing her to Addy, and eating Easter candy.
Looking back, I feel really happy with how everything went. I was able to have a successful VBAC at a hospital I love with a doctor we love and trust. Even now a week later, Doug and I can't stop saying how grateful we feel that everything went so well.
I loved that day.