Monday, March 3, 2014

A VBAC Story and The Many Faces of Eleanor

As the first birthday of my little girl has recently come and gone *sniff* I realized I need to go through the random notes on my phone from her delivery and get her birth story down on paper.  If you're not into birth stories, you can skip this and come back another day.  If you are sticking around, remember I'm a rambler.

We found out we were expecting Baby #3 in late spring of 2012.  This was without a doubt, the longest pregnancy ever.  I was like an elephant.  In size and length of gestation.  Okay, it just felt like it.  While technically I went further past my due date with my first pregnancy, my mommy intuition "knew" about this one almost immediately, so maybe that's part of why it felt so long.  Plus, my body was over the whole pregnancy thing and wasn't quite as accommodating to the stretching and aching.  Oh, and I was huge by the end.  Elephant huge, remember?  I am a petite person, so the look on people's faces when they realized I had a full trimester left to my pregnancy was pure horror.  And slightly entertaining for me.

 27 Weeks and most people thought I was full term

Anyway, my first pregnancy went nearly perfectly, but somewhere along the way the induction and delivery just did not go smoothly.  (Had I known then what I know now there would have been no induction, but it's too late to dwell on that fact.)  Long story short, I ended up with an unscheduled cesarean.  During pregnancy #2, I insisted on a VBAC.  My midwife is part of a larger practice, and wanted me to at least get a couple of opinions.  I got the green light, and while they were willing and supportive, I had to prove myself to a very unfriendly nurse at the hospital.  She was already marking me for a c-section when I came in.  I am pretty sure I threw her an "I told you I could do it" after I delivered Emory.  So much for humility.  Needless to say, by the time baby #3 came along, I was much more confident and knew I could have another VBAC. 

I was due late January.  By the beginning of the year, my blood pressure was usually high at every appointment, and there were times where I'd have to sit it out and be checked again, or her heart rate would also be up and she and I would have to be monitored.  The girl was difficult from the start!  ;-)

At 38 weeks, my midwife suggested I have my membranes scraped.

I had my membranes scraped again at 39 weeks.  Still nothing.

At 40 weeks, on a Wednesday, I had an ultrasound and they estimated baby girl at 7 lbs 12 oz.  Then I had my membranes scraped again.  At that time I was already dilated to 5 and effaced 80%.  Miserable, uncomfortable.  Husband was traveling back and forth for work but the midwife told him he better not leave me.  She told him to take me for a walk around the mall and that he probably wouldn't be going back to work.

We went for a walk around the mall that night, and we finally, finally agreed and committed 100% on her name.  He took Thursday off, but there was nothing other than sporadic contractions for the next 24 hours before everything stopped.  It was the calm before the storm.

Around 3:00 AM Friday morning I woke up with an odd feeling, and all the way to the bathroom I knew my water was leaking.  I didn't quite make it.  I woke the husband up, and in his sleepy stupor he actually asked "Are you sure?"  Uh . . . let me think.  YES!  We went through this conversation when my water broke sans contractions at work at 38 weeks with Emory.  We gathered up our stuff and my father-in-law came to sit with the boys until they woke up, and then they'd go spend the weekend with mawmaw and pawpaw!

We got to the hospital around 4 AM.  Security looked at my pathetic waddling self and waved me on without a word.  The nurse looked at our bag and said "Somebody must be staying awhile . . . " (for the record, I've never done "false" labor or gone to to the hospital too early--my first was a scheduled induction, and labor for Baby #2 also started with my water breaking.)  When I gave her my name and told her my water broke she reached behind her and grabbed my file off the counter.  I'm sure my midwife gave them a heads up we'd be in soon. 

I was still dilated to 5, but effaced 90% now.  It was my midwife's off day, and I knew as a VBAC that an OB had to be there the entire time anyway . . . after three pregnancies I had met everyone in the practice at one point or another, we decided to see who the on-call doctor was for the day.

The overnight doctor was one of my favorites from the practice, and I almost begged him to deliver Emory while I waited on my midwife to arrive, so I was fine with him.  The day shift OB was going to be the one who performed my c-section.  He is one of "the" OB's in our area, one of my husband's sisters used to work for him, and he was completely supportive of my first VBAC, so I was okay with him delivering too.  I needed someone on my side in case I had another bad nurse, because I wasn't taking any you-know-what this time around.

By the time I was settled in, I met the nurses on day shift.  I got two this time, since one had just transferred to L&D and was shadowing.  By then the contractions were really picking up, but they didn't start getting bad until about 6:30.  I think there was a lot of silent crying in there before I got my epidural around 7:30 AM.  Not only did it take the anesthesiologist more than one try, it made me sick.  By the way, IF there is ever another one, I am seriously considering going natural. 

By this time I'm also realizing I made the mistake of not grabbing food on the way out of the house. I had told myself I would remember to eat, after going into labor with Emory right before dinner, but at 3 in the morning I was just worried about covering my big kids up and giving them a goodbye kiss.

The overnight OB finally makes his way into my room around 9:45 after doing rounds and such.  He said I still had a pocket of water, so he finished breaking my water, and said that would hopefully be enough for contractions to pick back up, because of course the epidural nearly stopped them, but I was at 7 and fully effaced.

My contractions remained irregular though, so they started pitocin around 12:30.  I was almost fully dilated but the baby girl just wasn't moving down.

The second doctor, who had been completely supportive of my first VBAC, came in at some point after that and said he wanted to see me progress faster.  He talked about how her position, if she was at an odd angle, may be preventing her from moving down.  He said he would check on me in another hour, and give me two hours before "bailing" then he left me.  The Husband and his sister went to get coffee, and I lost it.  I was so mad and so emotionally exhausted that sitting in that hospital room alone, I just cried.  When the Husband came back and found me upset, he said he was going to get tissues, but the nurses followed him back in.  He told me later that when he went to the nurse's station he was polite, but he made it very clear how I felt about a c-section and that I was going to fight it, and how he was upset that I was upset.  The nurses really did try their best to comfort me and get me into positions to help the baby move down.  I found these two nurses to be much more supportive than that nurse with Emory, and that really does make a huge difference at this point.

The new anesthesiologist came in to check on me around 3:15.  He set me up so that I would be ready for trial of labor or a c-section, and within minutes I was feeling very, very sick again.  They all joked that if I got ill it might help things along.  Within minutes of everyone walking out the door I was sick, and almost instantly my contractions, and pain, were off the charts crazy.  I was fully dilated and she had dropped completely.  We were ready to have this baby.  I'm pretty sure I cried tears of relief.

I started pushing around 3:50 with just the nurses.  While they had been very helpful and supportive during labor, we were not in agreement about my position during delivery.  We went back and forth, but at this point I know what worked last time, I knew in the moment what wasn't working, and I didn't have the pressure or urge to push.  I know there was some "I can't do this" screaming and crying fits, and the reassurance of my husband.  Yes you can.  He was my rock.

About the time I was ready to start screaming and demand they just get the doctor, they finally called him in.  He asked what I needed.  You can bet the first thing I said was that I needed to reposition again.  He helped me himself.  "Let's have this baby now" he said.  Then we started pushing again.  I was right all along, by the way.  Now, it was somewhere in here that I looked and realized there were all these extra people meandering around my room.  Don't get me wrong, this is my 3rd kid, so I'm pretty used to the idea of being half naked in a hospital bed with nurses handing over delivery tools and spotlights shining . . . but I specifically remember wondering about the strange man in the white coat, standing alone by the window.  I made a mental note to find out more.

This doctor showed no mercy.  He didn't coddle and sweet talk me.  Just do it could have been his motto.  I liked this arrangement.  It seemed like hours of pushing, but in reality it was only 46 minutes from start to finish.  The shortest of all three.  

Relief.  Tears of pure joy.  This beautiful baby girl was all mine.

Eleanor weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz (my tiny little chubs!) and was 20 inches long.  She had a head full of dark hair.  Blue eyes.  Perfection.

Now she is a petite, but feisty little girl!  After starting out as my largest, she is the smallest, and averages the 5th percentile.  That's okay though, she has the big personality to make up for it, as you can see in the Many Faces of Eleanor!

This post is linked up to Blogging through the Alphabet for letter V.

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  1. she is adorable! as a former labor nurse, I loved reading your story :)

    1. Thanks Marcy! I do know that a supportive nurse in a good mood makes ALL the difference! :)

  2. I love birth stories; thank you for sharing yours! Yours just goes to show that we mommas know what we need and what is right! :)

    1. Yes, all it took was to start trusting in myself!

  3. And who was the stranger at the window?

    1. Oh yes! Apparently he was the hospital's pediatrician. He was only in there for a few minutes, but I never did figure out WHY he was in my room at that time.