Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Everly's birth story, My VBA2C

Everly Antoinette Christensen
8lbs 14oz and 21 inches long
September 24th, 2013
 Change of plans
Everly's birth story really begins in the beginning of September when I cancelled my scheduled c-section for the 16th of September and pushed for a VBA2C (Vaginal Birth After 2 C-sections.) I get a lot of inquiries as to why I changed my mind and the best answer is, I had to follow my gut. I started having bad feelings about having a third c-section two weeks prior to the scheduled date and that is what prompted me to look into a VBAC. 
I first turned to my sister's friend Kelly, who is a certified doula and asked her if a VBAC after 2 c-sections was even possible. My doctor never told me I couldn't she just advised against it and at that particular time I had no desire to experience natural labor so I just followed their recommendations. Kelly told me I could absolutely have a successful natural birth and right away sent me articles to read, connected me with a VBAC group on facebook and suggested that I hire a doula to be there during labor. The next day I talked to my doctor and to my surprise she gave me her blessing with little pushing on my part. The highest risk of a VBAC is a uterean tear but that percentage is less than one percent after one c-section and a slight increase after two c-sections. There are multiple risks for a third c-section but for reasons I have yet to discover, hospitals and doctors claim the third c-section is safer than a VBA2C. 
Anyway, to avoid turning this post into a bunch of statistics, I will skip the mumbo jumbo and just tell my personal story. After talking with my doctor my next step was to get my husband on board which went a little something like this via text; Hi, babe. I changed my birth plan. I don't want a third c-section instead I want a natural birth. Kiel: Ummm, ok. Should I still take my scheduled vacation time on the 16th? Me: Sure! Next my focus was how to have a successful VBAC. In order to insure I had a successful VBAC I made a few decisions; 1. Labor needed to start naturally and not induced by drugs or breaking my water. 2. No drugs during labor. 3. Labor at home as long as possible and 4. Hire a doula. I ended up not hiring a doula, not because they aren't worth every penny they charge but because it just wasn't in our budget. In the end it worked out and I didn't need one. Also note that all of these decisions were ones I made personally, with help from Kelly and another doula interviewed, but all of my choices would not necessarily determine a successful VBAC and had I decided to take an epidural or labor at the hospital from the start of labor, that would not determine a failed VBAC either. I chose not to have any drugs because that played a big part in my first c-section and I preferred not to take the risk. I wanted to labor at home because even though I had a supportive doctor, my delivery hospital was not supportive of high risk patients and I didn't want to worry about them pressuring me into a c-section unless it was a matter of life or death.
 Waiting for Labor
My due date was the 21st. Kiel's time off started on the 16th. I took advantage of him being home and worked my hiney off getting everything ready. Around the 20th I got the urge to scrub and disinfect the entire house. That took about two days. My due date came and went. Every now and then I felt contractions. My doctor confirmed I was dialated at a 2 and 70% effaced. She suggested to break my water at 41 weeks. I talked to Kelly (remember my doula friend?) and decided that was not a good idea. I prayed Everly would come before then. On the 23rd, around 8pm, I started feeling stronger contractions that averaged about 7 - 9 min. apart and lasted for 45 seconds. We played a marble game with my parents and after the first game I called it quits. I decided to take a bath and shave my legs. A very daunting task I might add and my physician didn't even thank me for it. Next time I won't even bother. Insert laugh here. Kiel packed a hospital bag. I called my sister and talked to her for about an hour, while contracting, who confirmed I had plenty of time before I needed to go to the hospital because I was still making jokes. She also texted Kelly who happened to be up at midnight and Kelly sent some helpful links for me to read regarding labor positions. I decided to try and get some sleep.
Laboring at home
Periodically I would wake up with a strong contraction and grab Kiel's hand, breath through it and then go back to sleep. At this time I wasn't able to keep track of my contractions and Kiel was asleep so he wasn't keeping track either. I think both of us were in denial that this was actually happening. I figured I still had a lot of time. I think it was somewhere around 3:30 am that my contractions because so strong I was yelping in pain. I started sweating and I got the shakes and thought I was going to vomit. Kiel had gone to Rhyan's room to coaxe her back to sleep and never returned to our bedroom. It finally dawned on me that we needed to go to the hospital. I was completely helpless and could barely move. I managed to crawl down the hallway to Everly's room and let out cries for help hoping Kiel would hear me and I wouldn't wake up Rhyan. I didn't even recognize my own voice, it was so high pitched. I just kept repeating "help me!" "hospital." My mom was the one who heard me and woke up Kiel, who was in such a deep sleep it took FOUR attempts! That guy, I swear! He grabbed our stuff and I somehow survived the twenty minute drive, having contractions every two minutes lasting sixty seconds, while hitting every red light possible! There was an abandoned bread truck in a left turn lane across from us that made our light take forever to turn green. That was probably the 8th red light we hit and I was ready to scream!

Laboring at the hospital
We arrived at the hospital at 4:26am. There was an angel waiting outside for us but he didn't know it. I got out of the car and he ran into the ER asking for a wheel chair because "this lady was going to have a baby any minute." I was rushed to labor and delivery where they checked me and told me I was a ten. I couldn't believe it! For some reason I thought I would only be a 3 or 4 and I just wanted an epidural to make the pain stop. They asked me to change into a gown and put the monitor straps around my waist. Kiel tried helping me, because I was helpless and that's when a huge gush of water just splatted all over the bathroom floor. Kiel jumped back and I said, "I think my water just broke." He replied, "yeah! no kidding. It went all over my shoe!" Ah, the comedy. Even when you are about to have a baby come out of you. 

The nurses quickly ran in and rushed me out of the bathroom. I think they thought Everly was going to be born on the bathroom floor and just wanted to get me to a bed, asap. Suddenly the delivery room was filled with about six nurses, I don't remember it being this way for Bruce's delivery but we were at a different hospital. I had people trying to get me dressed, the heart monitor on, an IV in my arm and then others were in the room getting things ready for the doctor who was on her way. With every contraction I had the urge to push and I had everyone telling me to just breath. I pushed anyway, I figured that one person out of the six could catch the baby if she was born before the doctor came. I hated every single one of those nurses. Kiel became my saving grace, he breathed with me, held my hand and calmed me down. Dr. Stewart arrived just in time, 9 minutes later Everly was born!

She cried right away. Her eyes were wide open and she just looked around the room. We couldn't believe how alert she was. She latched on immediately and nursed for two hours. I was in awe of the whole experience. I felt like I could run the world. I just gave birth, me! What's next America? The whole experience was so surreal.  One minute I was screaming some crazy things, I felt my body split in two and then BOOM, we had a baby. A sweet beautiful baby. 

Everly was 8lbs 14 oz, 21 inches long and perfectly pink. My labor lasted a little longer than 8 hours. The nurses thanked us for not telling them I had never had a vaginal birth before because it would have sent them into even more of a panic. I just laughed. In the back of my mind, I thought the only way this birth story could be more perfect is if I had done it at home and not  here at the hospital...maybe for baby number four?

Many have asked how my recovery has been compared to my two previous c-sections and overall it has been amazing. There is pain but I can laugh, sneeze and get up with ease  to take care of business. I don't need Kiel to hand me the baby every  time she's hungry or help me to the bathroom. I took a shower 12  hours after labor, got dressed in normal clothes and put my make up on. The only medication I took was Motrin. I've been able to play with Bruce and Rhyan, pick them up, give them  baths and get down on the  floor with them. All of these are things I wouldn't be able to do normally, had I had a c-section. Overall, this has been an amazing experience and I am so grateful my body did what it was supposed to do. God is good! 

Thinking about a VBAC? Here are links that helped me  prepare:
Also watch "The Business of Being Born" on Netflix 

Love to all!