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I'd prayed for a VBAC all throughout this pregnancy. However, I was also trying to keep an open-mind about any issues during L&D, b/c my end result was obviously a healthy baby. Nevertheless, every day I would hope that I would have an easier time with this baby's delivery than I'd had in the past.
This pregnancy had been pretty easy on me too, even being my first in the summer. BH contractions were minimal, as was swelling. Heartburn was horrible though. Overall I felt really good.
The week leading up to labor, however, I began to feel more BH contractions, some becoming painful. My back started to ache, and I also began feeling pelvic "zingers" and pressure (both pretty new to me). I hoped the latter symptoms meant Elise was descending, as none of my previous births really did that. Although some days were filled with these symptoms, I also had days where I felt fantastic, barely pregnant, and full of energy.
A couple of weeks before labor began I started losing my mucous plug- a little every 4-5 days. The day before labor I noticed it was twinged w/a slight hint of blood. I also felt extra crampy and had more of a back ache that night.
Looking back I was in pre-labor for sure. I had progressed in 3 weeks from 1 cm/40% e ffaced to 2 cm/60% effaced, to 3 cm/80% effaced. The last measurement was the day I had Elise, at my 39 week appt that morning.
I also woke up the same morning with true contractions that were coming about every 15 minutes. At my appt. my doctor said it was possible for Elise to come that day, that night, or anytime in the next week. I was told to go home and rest, eat, and monitor signs.
My contractions continued throughout the day, moving to 10 minutes apart, to 8, and finally to 5-6 minutes. I was becoming uncomfortable, but still had enough time b/t each one to wonder, "is this really labor?". My MIL finally came and got the boys at 4pm, when contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart.
We live 40 minutes from the hospital and of course, hit traffic on the way in. My doctor had asked me to go to her office instead of the hospital in case I wasn't as far along as I thought. I questioned this b/c I was in so much pain, but we decided to go ahead and go there, since her office is only a block away from the hospital.
While sitting in traffic my contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes, and I wondered aloud "is this transition??". But we still drove to her office.
As soon as Greg parked the car a big contraction hit and I felt a pop. My water had broken, big time. Greg called the office and told them we would be heading to the hospital instead. Once my water broke I actually had a couple of minutes without any pain, so I started to wrap my head around what was happening.
Greg parked us outside L&D and we walked inside. I was soaked with amniotic fluid and I figured labor was about to get even more intense. I was right.
We got to the desk and the nurses took a second to figure out what was happening. I’m sure many women come in thinking they are in labor, but may not be as far along as they think, so of course they’re asking us all kinds of questions about symptoms, past deliveries, doctor info, etc.
About a minute or so into questions they figured out that I was seriously close to having my baby. I was rushed into a room (as fast as I could walk there). I told the nurse I needed to pee, and went to do that. The floor was flooded with amniotic fluid. After leaving the bathroom, the nurse told me she needed to get 20 minutes of contractions on a tape before they could proceed. Inside I kinda laughed b/c I didn’t think I had that many contractions left inside of me! She put the monitors on my belly (and I am still contracting every 2-3 minutes) and told me to lie on the bed so she could see if I was dialated. I told her I didn’t want to lie on the bed. She said as soon as she checked me I could get back up, so I said okay, and she checked me. I was 8 cm.
I got back up and the contractions got even more painful and intense. My legs started shaking like mad, and I just wanted to bend over on the bed. I started to feel enormous pelvic pressure and told the nurse that Ineeded to go to the bathroom. She said, “that might be the baby- let’s check you again”. I told her I did not want on that bed again and she said she could check me sideways, instead of on my back. She did, and said I was a 10 and the baby was right there at 0 station. None of my babies had ever been at zero station before I’d begun pushing! The baby was coming now! I still refused to be on my back b/c it felt soooo much better to lean forward. So I kneeled on the bed, on my hands and knees, leaning into pillows. I had a lucid moment right then of, “OMG, I’m about to have a baby without any drugs!”
As soon as I got into that position I could feel Elise’shead starting to crown! It was unreal. It felt so good to push and mybody just knew to do that, without direction. It was amazing to push without having nurses counting for you. I just did what I needed to do. All the nurses were coaching/cheering me on, and it was great to have that support. She crowned on the first push, her head was out on the second push, and her body waso ut on the third! As soon as she was out the pain immediately ceased. It happened so fast. From the moment the nurse put the contraction monitor on my belly to Elise being born was 4 minutes.
My doctor, Dr. Fuller, didn’t make it to the birth in time, so Elise was delivered by a resident doctor. Dr. Fuller did arrive in time to deliver the placenta, haha. That took longer than expected, but felt great when it did finally emerge (about 15 minutes). My doctor checked for tearing, but found none at all. Amazing!
I never really intended to have a complete natural birth, although I’d read about it and read wonderful birth stories of successful natural VBACs. I just never thought I’d be strong enough to handle labor without pain-relief. I am thrilled though that it happened the way it did, and would not change a thing. I think a big part of why I was able to VBAC was because I had little to no interventions. No IV, little monitoring, and no epidural.
Greg was wonderful throughout the whole time. He was calm, got us safely to and inside the hospital, and informed the nurse that I wanted to deliver as naturally as I could. He stayed by my side the whole time, and after it was all over was about as in shock as I was!
Elise was so alert after birth, as was I. She had some bruising on her face and redness in her eyes, due to the fast exit, but otherwise was (is!) perfect!
Elise Juliana Garcia, born August 2, 2012, 5:10 pm, 6 lb. 9oz, 19 ¾”