The whole journey toward my goal ended up being quite an ordeal. We had to switch OBs twice; the first switch was due to billing inflexibility with my original OB in regards to our FSA account, and the second OB scarcely looked up from his chart to verbalize a “it’s not going to happen” when I told him I was serious about going natural after 2 C-sections. Even when I demonstrated my knowledge of the risks of uterine rupture with VBACs and told him I knew what I was getting into, he hardly treated me seriously.
I knew from the get go that for success this time, I should hire a doula. Thanks to her and the Indy Moms website, we found a great doctor who was willing to give me a shot at the VBAC, and fortunately she delivers at one of the most accomadating hospitals in Indiana.
I’ve always been really discouraged at how my first son’s birth turned out. I was overdue and was induced to get things going. After 30 hours of unmedicated labor, I was miserable and exhausted, and hadn’t gotten past 4 cm. 6 hours later, after having been given an epidural, my OB recommended a C-section. Over the last few years I always wondered if maybe we all got into a rush with the inducement, and maybe my body just wasn’t ready to have the baby quite yet. Perhaps we should have left it alone another few days or a week.
With my second birth, I gave in, I feel, way too easily when my OB discouraged me from trying a VBAC. So, I had a second C-section and came out of the whole thing feeling just as discouraged and frustrated that I hadn’t been able to give birth naturally.
With this third birth, I was determined to leave things alone. No inducing, no scheduled C-section unless I was 42 weeks, no nothing. To my surpise, my water broke at 38 1/2 weeks, and off to the hospital we went. My doula met us there and we prepared to labor and meet my goal of a natural, unmedicated birth.
Things didn’t so much go to plan. In fact, the whole birth process mimicked my first birth almost exactly. After laboring for a while, and working with my doula, I wasn’t progressing, so in came the pitocin augmentation. I made it 24 hours without any pain meds, and was beyond discouraged when at the end of that time I was still at 1 cm. OK, I cried. Did I mention that pitocin contractions are of the devil? Most OBs would have insisted by then that I have a C-section, since my water had broken so long before, but my super patient doctor felt no reason to hurry, and after giving me an epidural, let me go another 12 hours.
The handwriting on the wall appeared after those 12 hours…I was only at 3 cm, and that was enough evidence for all of us that this probably wasn’t going to happen. Off to the OR for the third time.
At first glance, it looked like my VBAC failed. But, this time I don’t carry any lingering regret or discouragement. This birth proved to me that I in fact did not screw up my first son’s birth with impatience, and my body just isn’t set up so well for letting go of pregnancies, as verified by my OB. Also, I put in the same amount of effort and went almost as long without meds so I don’t feel like I wussed out in the end.
And, while I didn’t help overall VBAC success stats for women with multiple C-sections, I did show that one can labor a very long time with significant contractions and still not have any problems with uterine rupture. So, a few brownie points there.
I’m glad I found such a great doctor and doula to help me try to VBAC, and I’m so glad I can enjoy this new baby without wondering if I made bad decisions like I worried I made with my first two births.