We always encourage parents to write out their birth story after their big day. As time goes on, you'll start to forget all the details and emotions you felt before, during, and after birth. Many parents are worried their story won't sound perfect or be criticized by others, but it doesn't matter, it's your story! We love giving parents an opportunity to publish these raw, powerful stories from time to time. This story comes from Abby and Howard who welcomed their son, Desmond, into the world this past summer! Abby has been a regular attendee at our VBAC and Cesarean Chat, as well as our Pregnancy and Postpartum Wellness Chat. Here's her story...
I wanted my second delivery to be opposite of my first. But talking about it now, that's stupid. The opposite of my first birth would be going home with no baby. I should have said I want the experience to be the opposite of when I had my first over 5 years ago.
This was already so different. Unlike with my daughter, We tried to conceive for 2.5 years. We needed artificial insemination plus all the other drugs that go along with that. We ended up with 3 IUI's and finally found out in the middle of November 2015 that we had finally conceived our second baby. I immediately started talking about a VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean). I felt that I was rushed into a cesarean the first time around and wanted to really try for a vaginal birth. I also, more than anything, wanted skin to skin contact with the baby as soon as possible. I wasn't able to hold my daughter for about 2 hours after birth, and I truly, down to my core, feel that I missed out on something extremely special between the two of us because I didn't have that immediate contact.
I had a new OB who was totally fine with me trying for a VBAC... until she decided to move across the country about 5 months in to my pregnancy. She explained there was an OB in the practice that she wanted to set me up with. She said the OB's name and I immediately started sobbing. The new OB was a resident when my daughter was born (at a different hospital) and also the same person who actually pulled my daughter out of my abdomen. I couldn't believe it--and was so excited to get started with her.
Dr. B. was also okay with me shooting for a VBAC but we proceeded with caution as I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the 3rd trimester. My first little lamb was 8lb 6oz... and this guy was gearing up to be as big or bigger.
Because of the GD, we did decide to induce at 40 weeks 1 day. July 26th. Originally we were scheduled for 6am, but we were pushed to 3pm due to my OB's vacation flight home being delayed. It was the longest day of my life. I was so disappointed in my body for not being dilated past 1cm at this point, so I knew I was in for a long labor and now have the day was wasted at home waiting for 3 pm to arrive.
We arrived at the hospital a bit early but were immediately shown our room. My OB had left instruction for a foley bulb to be inserted which was a surprise to me, but I was totally onboard. I also remembered the Pitocin contractions from my first birth and was dreading that, but was promised we would start out very low. The foley bulb did take 8 hours to dilate me to 5 centimeters. I vowed not to take the epidural too early because, damnit, I was VBAC'ing and was going to help nature along by doing everything in my power to get this baby out of me vaginally. So I endured the Pitocin contractions with the foley bulb and I walked the halls of the hospital for hours. I was miserable. After the bulb came out, as promised, the contractions didn't seem as intense, so after my water was broken around 1AM (10 hours into labor) we continued walking the halls. I was dilating at a snail's pace, but again, kept pushing on, as there was no going back. I KNOW what I did was heroic. I KNOW that walking those halls for hour upon hour and pausing to breathe through the contractions then just keep going was strong. I know now that I did everything I could through that night to avoid a c-section. Finally, around 4:30 in the morning, the contractions became too much. I was standing in my delivery room sobbing, waiting for the nurse to come in so I could tell her I was ready for my epidural. Side note: When the nurse came in, my husband was sitting in the chair playing a stupid game on his phone. I'm standing up holding on to a countertop. When the nurse did arrive, I was bawling. She rushed to me, gave me a hug and gave my husband the look from hell. Why? Because he was so nonchalant about my pain at the time.
I was also crying because I knew, after that, there was nothing more I could do. I had to lay in bed and wait for the remainder of the delivery.
I received my epidural around 5:30. And was therefore bedridden. However, I felt like a million dollars after that. I wasn't in pain anymore! I still hoped to help things along, so I switched positions frequently and utilized the peanut ball to keep my legs open. The day passed more slowly than anything else in my life. I was starving, I was tired, I wasn't dilating quickly at all. When we got to 8 centimeters in the mid afternoon of the 27th, I called my mom to come up. I wanted her and my husband in the delivery room and the concensus is the last few centimeters happen quickly.
A few hours pass... I'm stuck at 9 centimeters. My OB comes in around 5:30 pm. She says that she'll let me continue to labor for another 45 minutes if I want. After that, she would recommend a C-section. Because although I may be at 10 later on, I was still looking at hours of pushing ahead of me, because the baby was still sitting so high.
Devastation. I failed. Again. My body wasn't going to give up my babies! I asked for a few minutes with my family. I couldn't stop crying. All I wanted was to do what God intended a woman's body to do. But I was tired after 27 hours of labor. I agreed to the C-section immediately. The hospital team worked quickly to get everything ready and I was in the OR within an hour.
My husband was allowed in with me and though I begged, my mother was not. I also reiterated that I wanted that baby on me immediately. After being opened up, I felt an amazing amount of tugging on my abdomen that didn't cease and the OB grunting "come on!". I asked if my baby was huge and I was just laughed at. It appears there was a large amount of scar tissue from my last C-section and my uterus wasn't opening up.
Finally, finally, the sound of the baby we tried so hard for and wanted so badly. My son was in the world.
I cried. My husband cried. This time around, though I did not get immediate skin to skin, I was able to see him until the time I was able to hold him. My husband was close to him while he was in the baby warmer and I started yelling at my husband to please touch the screaming baby and let him know that he's not alone in the world. The man actually asked permission to touch his own son. I couldn't believe it. This is why I wanted skin to skin. If I was in his shoes, you wouldn't be able to stop me from touching this brand new little person.
9 pounds 1 ounce. He was huge. And perfect. I do believe I was stitched up quickly. I had a horrible case of the shakes. So much so that my husband was apprehensive about me even touching the baby while in his arms because I was jerking so violently. Also, oddly enough, though I hadn't eaten in over a day and a half, I threw up on the operating table.
We were taken to a recover room where the baby was in the warmer for a bit, I was under a heated blanket for a bit, and then we were together. I finally got to hold my perfect new little person. And unlike with my daughter, though with assistance, this little guy latched on to my breast immediately. I pumped breastmilk exclusively with my daughter for 9 months, but so far have nursed him with a nipple shield quite well.
Recovery the 2nd time around was easier. I felt like myself quicker and had more energy and less pain. I wonder if it's because it was my 2nd rodeo or if my body just knew that with a newborn and 5 year old, I didn't have a choice in the matter, I had to get moving.
Here we are, 7 weeks later, my baby is currently sleeping on my chest. This was not the birth I had in my head. However, no two birthing experiences are the same--this one was so much more enjoyable, but equally rewarding. And though I beat myself up for weeks afterwards, I do know that avoiding a csection was probably not going to happen. I was induced because of the gestational diabetes, but my baby just wasn't quite ready to come out. And it doesn't matter anymore, now does it? I have a baby, and that was the ultimate goal.