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Archive for the ‘VBAC’ Category

After taking some time to monitoring the baby, I was allowed to take the monitor and spandex belt off.  If I remember right, we were still being monitored when my doula arrived and boy was I relieved.  She told me my other doula was going to try to come, but her kids were very sick.  They were throwing up and had diarrhea.  “No!”  Scott and I both said.  The last thing we wanted was to expose our newborn to sickness!

So I just had one doula, the doula who is being mentored.  She knew some of the techniques that helped a laboring woman get through the intense contractions and she began to show them to me.  It wasn’t long after that when they moved me to the laboring room.  I have to admit I was relieved because then I knew I REALLY was in labor.  This baby really was going to be born soon! 

The room was huge and the nurse transfering me (while I lie on my bed) bragged that she got me into the “newest” room.  It certainly was new and very nice.  Flat screen tv, marble shower, hardwood floors.  It was beautiful.  There were plenty of chairs, a table, and a rocking chair in there also, but at that point, I was just happy to be in any room.  I was in pain. 

 

I tried a number of laboring positions, from leaning over the table/tray to sitting on the birthing ball.  At that point, I just wanted to stand up and lay my head on someone’sshoulders and breath as I rocked through the contractions.  The back pain was bad and it seemed that when someone would push into my back to relieve the back pain, my belly pain just got worse.  Eventually, the contractions became even more intense and I headed for the shower.  I sat on the ledge as my doula sprayed hot water on my belly.  It was amazing how much relief the water provided during the contractions.   I sat there for what seemed like forever, breathing through the contractions.  I kept my eyes closed most of the time not even noticing when someone switched out with my doula.  I didn’t even care how hot the water was.  When the nurse returned to my room to tell me we had to put the monitor back on, I nearly cried.  I hated that stupid spandex belt.  It made things worse.  But I complied.  I got out of the shower, dried off, and pulled the belt up over my body and onto my now red, water-burned belly.

I had the nurse check me again.  To my surprise, I’d progressed to 7.  Maybe this labor wasn’t going to last too long.  The pain was terrible, but as long as I could hang out in the shower, I thought I might be able to make it through.

But the contractions continued to get worse.  They monitored the baby and it seemed to take forever to get the readings they were looking for this time.  Of course, the baby was fine, so they  let me take the belt off again.  I headed back to my comfort zone – the shower.  But the contractions were getting worse and the shower didn’t provide nearly as much relief this time.  The night wore on and everything seemed a blur because all I could do was prepare myself for the next contraction.  I remember trying different positions in the shower, the back pain getting so intense, I hoped the hot water being sprayed on my back would help.

 

It didn’t.  I remember the nurse checking me again, I felt like I needed to push, like the baby was hitting my bottom.  It was not comfortable, no, it hurt.  I hadn’t progressed anymore, but the pain continued to increase. 

I was frustrated because I wasn’t progressing but the pain was getting so bad I was yelling and tensing up.  The shower no longer helped.  I remember being on my knees, thrashing my head back and forth in agony with each contraction.  I didn’t want to lay down, sit down, stand up.  I just wanted to get this baby out.  At one point, I apparently bit my husband on his chest.  This served as a humorous moment for my mom and Scott, which was good because they felt so helpless.  I didn’t remember biting him, until they told me about it later.  Then I remembered being in so much pain, I even stuck my own hand in my mouth to bite down. 

I was out of control.  I started crying to Scott, telling him I could not do this anymore.  “I can’t!  I can’t!”  I screamed.  Finally, the nurse talked to me.  She told me that it was possible that I was tensing up so much I was not allowing my body to progress.  I knew my next option was an epidural, but I did not want to do that.  I was afraid that if I agreed, I wouldn’t progress anymore and I’d end up with another C-Section.  Memories of my first labor experience haunted me.  It seemed things were following the same pattern. 

Scott and I talked, and finally, I knew I couldn’t take anymore.  I knew that I wasn’t progressing and I knew I was closing my body up every time a contraction came along.  So I agreed to an epidural, hoping I wouldn’t regret my decision later.  The nurse hooked up some fluids and told me I’d have to wait until the bag was empty before they could give me an epidural. I looked at her in dread.  “How long will that be?”  I asked.

She didn’t want to give me a time frame. She knew better.  Even 5 minutes would have been too long.  “Until it’s empty.”  She said, and then walked out. 

Finally the anesthesiologist walked in.  They made my mom and doula leave the room as she prepared to give me the epidural.  She started talking immediately, telling me the procedure.  When she told me that I would have to completely hold still during the contractions while she inserted the needle, I freaked.  “It could be dangerous for you and me.”  She said.

There was no way I could sit still.  I asked her how long it would take, she told me about 20 minutes.  20 minutes!?!  That’s like 10 contractions!  I looked at Scott and told him I didn’t know if I could hold still that long.  He assured me I could.  But as the contractions came, I couldn’t. 

The anesthesiologistrefused to do the epidural if I couldn’t sit still, and that was understandable.  I didn’t want her sticking a needle up my back if I couldn’t sit still either!   I asked her if she would give me just a contraction or two to practice being still, and if she would wait until the contraction was over before starting so I’d have one less contraction to endure.  She started packing up her supplies.  “I’ll tell you what.  When you make up your mind, call me.”  And walked out.  She was not a patient woman.  She wasn’t going to give me one contraction to breath through, to practice being still through, and she was not going to promise me that she’d wait through the end of a contraction before starting on my back.

I cried.  I told my nurse she was not a patient woman and I saw the look on her face.  She was pissed.  She agreed withme.  My mom and doula came in.  I guess when the anesthesiologist walked out, she smiled at them and said, “She changed her mind.”  Only my mom said it was almost a half-evil smile.  My doula called the other doula.  The other doula called her a real bitch.  She said she was like this to everyone…very difficult to work with and the nurses dreaded sharing the same shift with her.

I told Scott I didn’t want the epidural now, because I knew I couldn’t sit still.  But I couldn’t endure this pain either.  I was trapped.  He continued to talk to me, speak logic into my clouded mind.  “She’s not going to take any risks, Melissa.  This is her job, she knows better.  She will wait for you to get through the contraction.” 

Finally, I agreed to the epidural and while I waited for the “bitch” to come back, I practiced breathing through some contractions.  She came back in, again expressing the importance of being still.  While she prepared everything, I continued to practice breathing.  I had to sit on the edge of my bed and lean over, hunching my back good so she could see my spine.  I dug my foot under the bar on my bed and used that foot to brace myself through the contractions.  With the urge to move and sway, I pressed my toes up under the bar and pulled on it with my foot.  Doing this helped me remain still through the contractions.  I figured out a way to do this and she hadn’t even inserted the needle yet.  It turned out the 20 minutes she said I’d have to remain still, was only about 2, the actual time she took inserting the epidural.  The rest of the time, she was simply preparing, washing my back, taping the needle in place, etc.  “She COULD HAVE TOLD ME THAT.”  I thought.  For some reason I thought that the actual insertion was going to take 20 minutes, which was silly because I’ve had an epidural before.  But I just wasn’t thinking straight. 

Finally, relief.  My screaming and moaning (and biting) stopped.  I was able to relax.  I could still feel the contractions coming, but it was the pressure hitting my bottom I felt, as if my uterus was pushing the baby downwards.  It wasn’t comfortable, but certainly bearable.  The anesthesiologist returned to my room after a while and didn’t so much apologize, but told me she was proud of me and told me she wasn’t trying to be mean, she just wanted to make sure I didn’t get hurt.  At that moment, she could have been my best friend.  I didn’t care how rude and terrible she was during some of the most intense pain I’d ever experienced…I was finally experiencing some relief.  She walked out and told my mom I was a real “sweety.” 

Sometime during the night, and I don’t remember if it was before or after the epidural, my mom told me if I could just hold on a few more hours, I’d have the baby on her birthday.  I looked at her and said, “I don’t really care.”  She laughed at me.  Even though deep down inside I thought it would be extra special to have the baby on my mom’s birthday – the 4th of July, while she was here to witness the birth of her grandchild, I couldn’t help but wonder if this baby was ever going to be born!

For the next several hours, the nurse came in to check on me.  The spandex belt I grew to despise was already on me and the baby remained monitored since I was stuck in my bed.  Every couple hours, I was rotated from one side to another, lying a bit on my stomach.  These different positions continued to help me progress and try to get the baby to turn the right way, because the baby was face up and not wanting to turn. 

I tried to sleep the best I could, to get rested up so I would have the energy and strength to push.  I managed to sleep lightly, but woke up through most of my contractions, because I could still feel the pressure.  I remember Scott and my mom taking off for a while to get something to eat.  I remember the doula doing the same, and then returning before my mom and Scott and setting up the sofa seat for herself to sleep on.   This left a couple of chairs and a rocking chair for my mom and Scott to sleep on.  They came back and Scott had my mom sleep on the two chairs while he attempted to sleep on the rocking chair.  I remember thinking it was a bit strange she was taking the couch.  Wasn’t she supposed to be looking out for me and my husband?  But I was just too tired to say anything. 

The night progressed into the wee early hours of the morning and eventually Scott found his way to the floor.  I felt bad for him, wishing there was room on my bed to share.  Finally, the sun rose, and it was getting close to time for my doctor to come into the hospital to check up on me.  The good news was, I was progressing, and around 7-ish in the morning, I heard the even better news.  I was ready to start pushing! 

They sent the anesthesiologist in to turn my epidural down so I could feel what I needed to feel.  A quiet man walked in.  He wasn’t so very friendly either, but he wasn’t unpleasant, just quiet and serious.  He turned my epidural down, and I started pushing as we waited for the numbness to subside.  Finally, I had enough feeling in my legs to get up on my knees.  I leaned over the back of my bed and pushed from that position, letting gravity help me. 

I stayed this way until I felt I could do other, preferable positions.  I couldn’t wait to pull out the bar and start pushing in a squatting position.  To me, this seemed an even more natural way to push.  I pushed for a while as the nurse and doctor checked my progress.  They told me I was doing a great job pushing.  That made me feel good, like I was doing my job.  Even with the epidural, I was strong enough. 

 

The baby was still facing up and my doctor came in and said he wanted to try to turn the baby’s head.  I agreed, knowing it would be easier to push the baby out that way.  So he put his hand up there and tried to turn the baby.  He smiled.  “She’s got plenty of room to move.”  He said.  She’d turned right around.  And then another look on his face.   A look of surprise.  He shook his head.  “She turned back.”  He said. 

“You have one strong baby!”  He said as he wrestled with this little one trying to get the child to turn again.  Apparently, this baby was fighting him.  He kept shaking  his head, half-way laughing.  This child didn’t want to turn. Every time he’d get the baby going, the baby would turn back up.

I kept pushing for a bit, and the pushing time reached to about 2 1/2 hours.  My doctor decided to talk to me about other options.  He explained how the vacuum worked and asked me if I’d be interested in trying it.  I kept thinking I’d still be pushing for a while before we used the vacuum and remember asking him how long it would be before he’d try it.  “Right now.”  He said.  “We can do it right now.” 

“Oh!”  Wow.  “Okay, let’s do it!”  I said.  I was ready for this baby to be born and it looked like I was going to need a little help to make it happen.  At this point, the thought never occured to me that if this didn’t work, I’d have to have a C-Section.  I just knew she was about to be born. 

The nurses and my doctor started to prepare things for the birth of my baby.  A table was brought towards the doctor where he was sitting.  He attached the vaccuum to the baby’s head before I even realized it and then it was time to push again.  I pushed.  Pushed again.  I could feel the baby moving and before I knew it, the baby’s head popped out and everyone started getting excited.  I can still remember the feeling of her moving out of me.  The doctor told me to stop pushing for a minute.  I guess her cord was wrapped around her neck, but he also didn’t want her coming out too fast.  Too bad, because before I knew it, the rest of her just popped out.  “It’s a girl!” 

Everyone cheered and got excited, but the reaction I’ll always remember is Scott’s.  He was so excited, so happy, so in love. 

They placed her in my arms nearly right away.  At first, I was just thrilled to have her in my arms. 

Then, I realized that I really didn’t know what to do.  My last two babies weren’t placed in my arms right after birth.  I had to wait until the surgeries were over. 

But I recovered from the shock quickly, and before I knew it, I was admiring the beautiful child lying in my arms.

My doctor shook his head as he told me she just came out, and I guess her coming out so fast caused me to tear pretty bad.  “Third degree tears” he told me as he stitched me up.  I even tore some on the inside.  I told him maybe I made the wrong choice, maybe I should have asked for an episiotimy.  He disagreed.  He said my tear avoided other areas that an episiotimywouldn’t.  Even with 3rd degree tears, I’d made the right choice. 

I turned back to my daughter, staring at her in disbelief.  I did it.  It wasn’t really a “natural birth” like I’d planned, but still, I’d reached my main goal – No C-Section.  My little girl was finally born…and the best part of all, she was born on the 4th of July, my mom’s birthday.

That night, Scott and I were settled in our room.  They moved me, and while the room was much smaller and not nearly as fancy, I was happy to be in this room, because it meant my baby was finally in my arms.  We talked about names, trying to decide on one that fit our little girl.  We had a list, and we went through it.  But Scott and I both seemed to like one name in particular…the name, you can find here, with the right password.  It just seemed like the name that was supposed to be, which made sense, because while I was pregnant with our little girl, I prayed and asked God to give us the right name.  The middle name seemed fitting, since it is also my mom’s middle name.  They share the same birthday, Scott and I wanted them to share the same middle name. 

After I got home, I looked up the meaning of our daughter’s first name.  We named her without knowing what her name meant, and tears welled up in my eyes as I read the one word that in many ways, changed my life – a word that I’d seen many times before, a word that meant many more words to me.  Even her name was a gift, an answer to prayer, a message and reminder that God will find little ways to continue speaking His love to me.

and that one word is

CAPTIVATING.

 

***If you haven’t, check out Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, get it at half.com!

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Sweetness!

Sweetness is finding out that the book your VBAC instructor recommends for your class next week was already sent to you by a dear friend who cares.  (Thanks, Jen!)

Self-Discovery is finding out you really do have the power to resist punching your smart-ass teenager in the face.

Exhaustion is looking at your busy calendar and realizing you haven’t even put everything on it yet.

Intimacy is turning the t.v. off and talking to your spouse, without interruption, because all the kids are fast asleep.

Sneakiness is trying to hide your icecream cone from your 1 year old because you just don’t want to share…and succeeding until you bite into the cone, which triggers your little toddler to whip her little head around and instinctively say, “I want a bite!” before she even sees what you are eating.

Irony is thinking that your kids are good to go after having faced just about every flu, virus, and bug passed around this winter, and then watching as two of your kids wind up with fevers and ear/headaches a few hours later!  (Joshua reached 103.1 under his arm!)

Maturity is talking with your hubby about all the stupid stuff you did as a teenager and knowing you’d never do something like that again…

And then realizing you haven’t completely grown up because you just took a picture of your hubby’s butt crack with your smart-ass teenager’s cell phone and saved the picture as his wallpaper…

And you thought it was hilarious…

Hope is praying your son doesn’t do something stupid with the picture – something that could get him expelled 3 weeks before school lets out!

Sweetness – real sweetness – is sparing you all the picture I took! 

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Since Scott called me with the news of the big move, the one big question that has been haunting me is, how am I going to do this VBAC thing in Arkansas?  I’ve been checking out websites online and according to the pages I’ve found, Arkansas is not a very VBAC friendly state.  I spent most of the weekend with a headache.  I broke down in tears once and Scott finally convinced me that I probably should put the computer away and make some phone calls.  Of course, right after he convinced me that there is no way there is not a single doctor who takes VBAC patients, we have a couple from Arkansas come over and what does the wife tell me?  “I think it’s illegal to do VBAC’s in the state of Arkansas.”  Needless to say, my headache returned and my stress level went up.   It was actually kind of funny because I could tell this woman, who is a GREAT woman, didn’t really seem to approve of VBAC’s.  I guess she had a friend who suffered from a uterine rupture and that did it for her, VBAC’s are dangerous!  But really, she didn’t come out and say that and she was kind enough to keep her opinions to herself. 

Scott and I talked about it later that night.  HOW can it be illegal?  To tell a woman she is not allowed to choose her health care is to strip her of her rights and choices.  But even knowing that it’s impossible for a state to make VBAC’s illegal, my head was still pounding.  Maybe it was the stress, maybe I was dehydrated, maybe it’s the remains of that cold I had last week, but it just wouldn’t go away.

Last night I decided to get back online just to find OB’s so I can start making phone calls.  Only this time I lucked out.  I first tried our health insurance company, but their site was down, so I just googled doctors and what do you know, I hit a message board site from women living in Arkansas discussing VBAC births.  A couple of them specifically named doctors who are willing to work with the patient.  Yes!  Of course I haven’t called them yet, but I have names, and I’m so relieved.

But to be honest, it frustrates me.  To see how many women get on the message boards all over the country and say, “Well, I told my doctor I wanted to try for a VBAC and he/she said my C-Section is scheduled for so-and-so date and that is it.  I guess I have to go.” really gets my blood boiling.  Yes, I know there are some cases where it is necessary and unsafe to do a VBAC, but these doctors are seriously over-stepping their boundaries. 

After finding the doctors, I came across another website that tells you what to do if a hospital “bans” VBAC deliveries.  If you are seriously wanting to attempt a VBAC birth but have had the door closed in your face, check out this site:  http://www.ican-online.org/vbac/your-right-refuse-what-do-if-your-hospital-has-banned-vbac-q   I personally feel it is completely irresponsible for a hospital to “ban” these deliveries, especially in states where it is illegal for a midwife to attend VBAC births.  They are telling the woman, “get cut open, or get out” and that basically puts the woman at another risk of not getting the emergency help she needs should she decide to try for a home birth and something go wrong.   I understand the fear of lawsuits, but this isn’t hard.  Have the mom sign a waiver and then have a special VBAC team on board to help the mom through this and to tackle any problems that may come up during the delivery.

Going through all of this and researching everything I can about childbirth, I’m really starting to become passionate about childbirth and helping women through this.  I know I need to work on me first.  I hope that I can have a successful story to inspire other women, not to only have successful VBAC’s, but to make the right choices for their babies and their bodies, and to show them that their bodies were created by God to do this without the intervention of a sharp knife.  So many women are told these days that their babies are too big or there’s no way they can push that baby out.  What happened when women didn’t have a choice but to do so?   They somehow managed to find a way to get that baby out! 

Anyway, first priorities, continue my research on Natural childbirth, hire a doula, have this baby, and then as things settle a bit, I think I might just look into supporting the doulas and midwives in the area and possibly even heading in the direction of becoming a doula myself.  I never thought I’d say that.  Heck…I didn’t even know what a doula was a few months ago!

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Giving Birth

I’ve been in a funk.  Sure, Scott being gone might have something to do with it, but I honestly believe that if he was here, the things I’ve been questioning would have just been put on hold and I wouldn’t have dealt with them until I was absolutely forced to.

So I’ve been forced to look at some things and now it’s time for some honesty.

This pregnancy has me scared.  For some reason, I’m scared out of my wits.  I know that hormones play a part, but I have days where I’m thinking random crazy thoughts, like:

Somethings wrong.  I can just feel it.  Something bad is about to happen.

Is something wrong with my baby?  Something just doesn’t feel right.

I can’t do this.  I can’t go through this pregnancy.  I’m just not strong enough, I don’t  have the energy!  (Melissa, you LOVE being pregnant.  What are you talking about?) 

Ugh, I can’t stay in a hospital for three days again!  I don’t want to sit around in a bed and be bored out of my mind! 

And that’s when it me!  I’ve been seriously considering a VBAC birth this time around. I actually thought about it with Madison, but all it took was for me to hit one website with a couple’s tragic story of how they lost their baby due to a VBAC delivery gone wrong and I was done.  When I went into labor the morning I was scheduled for a C-Section, I briefly reconsidered trying a VBAC delivery again, but after talking to my doctor, he convinced me that I should just go with the c-section.  Now don’t get me wrong, he was a GREAT Dr. and I felt he took great care of me, but I didn’t have the confidence that if something went wrong, that he was fully prepared, and he didn’t feel confident that I could deliver vaginally, and I figured if my doctor said I couldn’t do it, well, then I probably couldn’t do it.

And that got me to thinking about my first delivery.  They induced me a week early with Joshua because I had pre-eclampsia and things got so bad they decided to “call me in to talk about a plan” and once I showed up, they said, “Here’s your room.”  That’s when they started the very painful induction, including inserting a balloon up me to help me dialate.  It took the nurse forever to do that and I was in complete agony.  They continued to increase the pitocin throughout the night, and after 12 hours of hard labor, I was asking for relief from my pain. 

24 1/2 hours later and it was finally time to push.  I pushed and pushed for 2 1/2 hours but Joshua’s head wouldn’t budge.  They checked, and I heard the doctor say, “She’s too tired to continue pushing.  We’ll just schedule a C-Section.”  At that point I was so damn drugged up that even though inside I was thinking, “No I’m not!  I could keep pushing!”  I didn’t say anything.  And since I was so damn drugged up, I looked at my mom who was crying for me and I said, “I don’t even care.  I just want this to be over with.”

And now I think about it and I wonder.  What if the doctor said, “How do you feel Melissa?  Do you feel like you can keep pushing or would you like us to cut you open and then staple you shut in a quickie surgery that is way more convenient for us and will cost you 6 weeks of your life to recover and a year of post-partum depression?”  I’m thinking I would have said, “I’ll keep pushing!”  How I wish I’d said something now!  How I wish I’d stayed off the drugs.  But I guess the past is in the past. 

Still, I never gave myself the chance to mourn.  I rationalized my silence over the matter with the idea that something bad could have happened to the baby (even though he was in NO distress during my labor).   The truth is, I felt like less of a woman because I didn’t give birth to my babies the way God created me to.  I’m not saying that I am less of a woman, but this is how I feel.  I feel that I wasn’t given the chance.  I feel like I didn’t have the support and encouragement I needed to succeed in childbirth.  I feel like I needed someone to believe in me and speak up for me when I couldn’t.  But we’re all so used to letting the doctor tell us what we are and aren’t capable of that we’ve forgotten that they are there to help us, we are paying them for their services yet we are letting them make major medical decisions that impact our lives, not theirs! 

My only concern is that my risk for a uterin rupture is higher because my last pregnancy/delivery won’t have been 2 years apart from this pregnancy.  Fortunately, I did find a doctor who has an “Open philosophy” to childbirth and has experience with not only natural drug free birth, but VBAC.  I will talk to him about the risks after my first ultrasound (which has yet to be scheduled!)

But after going online and researching and thinking about things, I’m starting to feel better about this.  If I never try, then I feel like I’ve truly failed, but if I at least give it my all – if I eat healthy, excercise, read up, take classes, do everything in my power to succeed in a natural childbirth, then if I fail, at least I can say that it just wasn’t meant to be. 

So I’m off on a mission to start researching and learning and reading up on everything that I can.  I admit with my raging hormones I’m probably going to still be in a bit of a funk until I’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe things could have been different with my last two childbirth experiences.  

I tend to be a chicken shit at times and make decisons based off my fear.  I’ll do anything to prevent a tragedy!  So I’m thinking this time that I need to pray real hard about the motivation behind my decisions and if I still feel at peace about doing this, then I do this all the way. 

Wow.  I know this is completely off subject, but I never thought I’d cuss and talk about praying in the same paragraph!  I’m totally hormonal!

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