Melissa shared her natural VBAC story with me and I am so excited to share it with you. It is powerful and inspiring. Thanks Melissa!
First, here are a few thoughts on having a VBAC:
You can go natural and still have an IV and even internal fetal monitoring. I had a mental list of the things I did and did not want... that didn't happen and I felt like the choice wasn't mine. I did have an IV and internal monitoring because my Nurse Midwife said it was necessary. I still wish I didn't have to have the internal monitor, but I am so grateful for the IV that I "didn't want". It provided the liquids I needed. I had been sick to my stomach (everything coming out both ends, eeewww) all day, so I hadn't eaten since the night before! After 22 hours of labor and not eating for over 24 hours I need that IV.
Don't under estimate the power of positive thinking. I worked diligently on my Hypnobabies program and during labor I didn't even turn on the CD. I just listened to the Positive Affirmations CD. Over and over again I listened to someone tell me that birth was wonderful, natural, and that I could do it. I loved it! The days and weeks before my birth I would read positive birth experiences and talked to woman who believed in me. If I had a moment of self doubt, I would call the people that supported me and believed in me, just so that they could give me a pep talk.
You'll never do anything more rewarding. Natural birth has given me a confidence in my self and in my body that I didn't know I could have.
Lastly, birth is powerful and spiritual if you'll let it be. I prayed from the day that I found out I was pregnant that I could have a natural birth. I hated my c-section. It was miserable and a second would limit the number of babies I could have. I want to choose that... I chose a natural birth because I felt an epidural would put me one step closer to a c-section. My natural birth was a blessing because of prayer and preparation. I feel like it is something the Lord intends and wants us to experience and I know that great power and holy helpers attend every birth.
My birth story:
I was due today! October 25th was the big day and I already have a 2 week old! I thought it was an appropriate day to share the story of Henry's birth.
I woke up at 2:30am on Saturday, October 10th with contractions! I figured it was false labor, but it was exciting to have contractions that were coming and going... around 5am I woke up Thomas and asked him to time a few to see how we were doing. Contractions were coming 7-10 mins apart and were about 30 seconds long. I was also leaking amniotic fluid every time I stood up or moved... a slow leak if you will.
Thomas went to play basketball that morning and came home around 10 am and I was still timing my contractions - still 7-8 mins apart.
Thomas' work planned a fall party at HeeHaw farms and pumpkin patch that I really wanted to go to! So I took a shower and we got ready to go. I thought it would be a good distraction and either my false labor would go away or we would know it was the real deal. At this point the contractions were still not super close together but I still needed to stop and take a moment when they came. I was also throwing up and feeling sick to my stomach. Why we went to the work party I am still not sure... all I know is I really wanted to go and so we did. Macey had a great time! We picked out a pumpkin, petted sheep, had a nice lunch (which I didn't dare eat...). By this time contractions were about 45 seconds long and 5-7 mins apart. On the way home from the party I called my sister Sarah to tell her I thought we would go to the hospital sometime soon, so keep her busy schedule open.
We went home, put Macey down for a nap. By this time I couldn't walk or talk during contractions but they still weren't super close together, so I got into my zone. I've been doing a "Hypnobabies" home study course for the last 4 months or so. It sounds odd but I really liked it. It is just very positive deep relaxation and visualization techniques that I practiced almost daily for most of the summer. So I got out the "positive affirmations" cd and just listened to it and focused on relaxing through my contractions instead of just dealing with them. This helped a ton! Macey woke up, Sarah came and got her, I still wasn't ready for the hospital - I wanted to labor at home for a long time. Sarah brought Macey home around 7:30pm and we got her ready for bed.
We left for American Fork Hospital at 8:30pm - contractions were finally 3-5 mins apart and had been for over 2 hours! That was when were told was the appropriate time to go to the hospital. So 18 hours into labor we go to the hospital. They check me when we first get there and I am 4.5 cm dialated and my water has broke, no going home for me (every mom's fear when going to the hospital... being too early)!
So we get to the room where you labor and get all set up. I get back in my zone with my cd going. I have to have an IV and continuous fetal monitoring because of the the C-section I had with Macey. VBAC's or "vaginal birth after cesarean" have higher risks than normal vaginal births so extra precautions have to be used. I didn't really want anything extra but I didn't have a choice... the IV we used a lot though. By this time it had been over 24 hours since I had eaten anything or been able to keep much water down, so they started me on sugar water to help with my fatigue.
The external fetal monitoring wasn't working very well because I liked to move during contractions... rocking mostly, so after a while my midwife decided I needed internal monitoring. Let's just say "ouch" and "yuck". I'm sure it's not a huge deal if you have an epidural but I didn't... and it hurt! It is this huge probe that they put inside the womb to monitor the baby and they but an electrode on the baby's head. It wasn't super fun having it put in and I felt more restricted once it was all in place.
The next while is all super fuzzy to me. I took off my glasses so that I couldn't watch the clock and I had Thomas turn the lights in the room off. I labored on my own at this point. It was me and my contractions. I didn't want Thomas near me, I didn't want my midwife around... I had do it alone.
I had a midwife, but I was still under a doctor's supervision because of the VBAC, so sometime around 11pm the Dr. makes an appearance... not a good sign. He is only there in case we need him. He tells us that Henry's heart rate is "too steady" and that things need to change or I will have a c-section. He gave us a 15 minute window to see the baby's heart rate change. At this point I had done what I could to have a natural delivery and if the c-section was still going to happen I didn't feel like it was in my control anymore. I left it up to the Lord... he knew my heart's desires but he also knew what the baby needed more than I did. I was ok with whatever happened at this point.
This is where Thomas really stepped up to the plate. I was exhausted and just managing my pain, not in a position to think tons about other options. He was the key to my success at this point. He said that we needed to do something different, so why don't I try standing up. He also asked the midwife if we could change the IV fluids from just watery stuff to sugar water again to wake the baby up. This was key. I started laboring in different positions (on my sides, standing up...) and after 15 minutes of moving and sugar water the Dr. came in a said that the change was minimal but if it didn't go down again he would continue to let me labor!!! Thomas saved me from another c-section which would have been my second - which would have meant that all of my births after that would be c-setions - which limits the number of kids you can have! All things we wanted to avoid...
So at this point I am at an 8, I continue to labor until around 1:30am Sunday morning when I am finally at 10... I start pushing then. Pushing was a lot harder physically than I thought it would be, enough details on that! So after an hour of pushing they plop a sticky white thing on my tummy and I just stare at him. I didn't cry, I was just so glad that he was here, safe, and I was done. He didn't cry even then. Thomas cut the umbilical cord and we had a baby to call our own! I never felt so proud of an accomplishment in all of my life.
I loved the unmedicated birth! I know people think it is crazy, but they haven't tried it. It was an incredibly spiritual experience. The pain was a very natural pain that ebbed and flowed, it never got to a point where it was intense pain all the time... you have time to regroup during contractions even when pushing.
All in all, I would do it again in a heartbeat!