They say every pregnancy and birth experience is different – and that has absolutely been true for me in each of my four deliveries.
After two straight-forward and healthy deliveries of my sons, my third delivery threw me off. I had a healthy pregnancy with Briela, so for it to end up with a placental abruption, C-section and the loss of her life was completely unexpected. After she passed away, I went through several thoughts and emotions regarding any future pregnancies. I went from one extreme to another – from choosing to have a repeat C-section to avoid another abruption, to attempting a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) and not letting fear dictate my choice.
Ultimately I chose to try for a vbac, and here’s the resulting experience…
On July 27th, 2016 at about 38 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. They became regular and timeable, so when they were about 4 minutes apart lasting a minute long each, I decided to head to the hospital. We were excited! We told the boys they were going to meet the new baby the next time we saw them… it was go-time!
When we arrived at triage I was only about 1-2 cm dilated, and it became clear that it was in fact, not go-time. I was so disappointed, but I had a strong feeling the baby would be coming very soon… probably the next day!
Fast forward over two and a half weeks, I was still pregnant and still having contractions. Every day became a flurry of contradicting emotions. I felt like I should know what was going on… this was after all, my fourth time going through labor! I had days of feeling defeated, days of choosing not to care, days of hoping that it would be the day… and finally, on the evening of August 14th, I started to have real contractions! I knew instantly that these were different, and couldn’t believe that I had been fooled earlier.
The evening went on, and I chose to just stay awake through the night since the contractions were too strong to sleep through. They were still only 10-15 minutes apart, so I didn’t wake my husband up or let anyone know otherwise. At about 3am, though, they instantly became about 5 minutes apart and I decided it would probably be wise to start taking some action.
I called my midwife to let her know, I woke Franklin up and called my parents over to stay with our boys.
We arrived at the hospital at around 4am and I was about 4-5 cm dilated. We were able to get into a room right away, and I continued to labor there.
Because I had had a C-section with my previous pregnancy, I was placed in the high-risk unit because of the risk of having a uterine rupture. Now, you’re probably wondering how I was feeling at this point. Was I worried that I might need surgery again? Was I terrified that I might lose this baby as well?
You know what? I was in such supernatural peace throughout the entire process. I focused through each contraction, laughed and told stories with my husband and midwife between contractions, and worked on my Sudoku in every other spare moment. While in my pregnancy, I had thought up a list of songs that I knew would keep my faith up and encourage me if I ever felt fearful or anxious through labor, and you know what? I never once pulled out my music! The fear never grabbed hold… hallelujah!
At about 9:30am I started feeling the urge to push… I knew it was so close! I was about 9cm, and after breathing through a few more contractions my body began pushing all on its own. It was time for the worst part of labor! (in my opinion)
I pushed for a moment, then my water broke. I then continued pushing for another 10 minutes or so. I managed to push the baby’s head out, then all the fun began!
Something wasn’t happening. As far as I was concerned it was just taking way too long to deliver the rest of the baby’s body. I had my eyes closed and was trying to deal with the intensity of the moment (did I mention that I hadn’t taken any pain management this entire time?) The baby seemed to want to stay put and wouldn’t budge, so the midwife called in for some extra hands.
Now there were about 6 people trying to help me get this baby out… fun fun! They moved my legs and body into different positions to help encourage the baby to come out, and my midwife actually inserted her hand into me to pull the baby’s body out. Ouch!! Miraculously, through this entire process I didn’t even tear!
About 3 minutes after his head was delivered, the rest of him decided to join the outside world too. And welcome to the world our newest addition… our rainbow baby Tobias!
We just feel so blessed to have such a healthy and beautiful baby who arrived into this world without us feeling fearful of what might happen. He is truly a gift from God!