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Old 07-29-2012, 08:25 AM   #1
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Caitlyn Rose's successful VBAC!

Caitlyn’s birth story;

I suppose her birth story started a good week before she was born. The third trimester was long, painful, stress filled and I awaited it drawing to a close with baited breath. We were moved, we weren’t unpacked entirely, but I was so tired and in pain, I wanted this baby out. On Tuesday April 17th, I had my weekly midwife appointment, I was 38 weeks pregnant. When I tested my urine in the office it was slightly high for protein, and my blood pressure when Haley tested me was somewhat high. She was a little concerned and asked me to come in on Friday the 20th to retest it, just a quick in and out to have it checked. Brian couldn’t take 2 days off in a week, so I had Steve take me. Since it was a PA day for Emily, she came too. Shaun, the midwife I saw on friday found that my blood pressure was alarmingly high and wanted to send me to Victoria hospital for bloodwork. While I was being seen and Steve was watching Emily, Emily had an accident, so we went to White Oaks, got her some new clothes, since of course I didn’t think to bring her a fresh set, got some food, and Steve dropped us at the hospital.

Mom came to join us at least to help keep Emily entertained, and they took a urine sample, blood samples, did a NST and ultrasound to check fluids, and of course checked blood pressure several times. They also took my history, where I told them all the gory details of the failed induction I’d had before and how I was dead set against induction and c-section this time outside of real medical need. I was told that I had some early symptoms of pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was kinda high, the protein in my urine was kinda high, and some of my blood work was kinda off. All three were enough to me noticable, but all were very borderline. Normally they’d push to induce me, but since they checked my cervix and it was unfavorable and I didn’t want it, plus baby seemed perfectly happy and healthy, they were content to send me home today so long as I came in the next day for testing.

Saturday same deal, all the readings were kinda off, but it wasn’t enough to just out and induce me. They sent me with a bucket to start a urine collection and had me come in sunday for testing. Sunday was the same, but it seemed like the symptoms were abating slightly. They asked me to come in monday for testing too. Monday the symptoms were even less, so since I had a midwife appointment on wednesday, they were happy to let me just go.

Wednesday April 25th I almost didn’t go to my midwife appointment. I had a miserable night, finally gave up trying to sleep at 5am for the prodromal labor that wouldn’t leave me alone. I’d put Emily in a cab to get her to school, I was just too tired and sore to make the long walk to her bus stop, and I had been told to take it easy. I couldn’t find a ride to london and I was sick of medical professionals poking and prodding me. Mom texted me about it, and I told her I couldn’t find a ride so I was going to reschedule. She tore me a new one and told me to wait and she’d come get me from London and take me to my appointment. I tried to talk her out of it, I really just wanted to lie down, but she wouldn’t hear it. She came and got me, and we went to my midwife appointment. Mom waited in the car and read while I went in. I tested my urine again, and the protein was still a bit high. Brittany already knew some of what had gone on, but not all, so I filled her in. The blood pressure reading she took then was the highest I’d ever seen it. She and I discussed several other things, and she checked my cervix - still high and closed, and then checked my blood pressure again - higher still. She recommended I go back in for more testing.

I really rolled my eyes again, this song and dance was getting old. Once again, I was in for urine tests, blood draws, NST, ultrasound to check fluids etc etc. Only this time the obstetrics triage was really busy for some reason, so it took even longer for them to get all the testing done and I had to explain my history over and over. Mom went and got us some food for lunch. After a few hours I texted Brian to let him know that he had to pick Emily up from the bus stop. 6 hours we waited, and finally we saw the OB on call. He was a funny guy who called me mother through the entire conversation, and I fully had expected him to discharge me like all the others had. He really wanted to induce me. I explained that I didn’t want an induction as my cervix was unfavorable and the last time I was in that position, the induction failed and I ended up in cesarian section. He then asked how the induction went, and I explained that I spent 5 hours on an ever increasing pitocin drip and when that didn’t ripen my cervix they shut it off and convinced me that I really had no choice but to have a section, be it now or later. The other OBs didn’t say much when I explained that, which I understand, they didn’t want to badmouth a fellow doctor. He said “Well, that doesn’t sound like they really set you up for success.”

One simple sentence and he had my trust. He was the first mainstream medical professional to admit that the OB who’d delivered Emily might have done wrong by me. I asked him why after all this time he was pushing for induction and he said he didn’t like the pattern this was taking. He’d seen women stay borderline for quite a while and then go downhill rapidly, and he didn’t want that to happen to me, especially since I lived so far from the hospital. He also mentioned that while Caitlyn seemed happy in there, it could be doing damage to her that we didn’t know about. And then I remembered the reading I’d done on pre-e and the one bit that scared me - pre-eclampsia can lead to placental abruption. Small chance yes, but one of my best friends had nearly lost her first born to an abruption, and only being in the hospital at the right time for another test had saved her baby.

I really ran the poor man through the ringer. He and a nurse talked to me about the plan for an induction, foley bulb to ripen the cervix, followed by pitocin and breaking my waters. He assured me if I was unhappy with the way things were going, I could pull the plug any time up to when my membranes were ruptured. After he’d answered my questions, I finally gave the ok. I figured they’d have me come back in tomorrow. Nope, they wanted to start right there. Ok then. We’ll start tonight.

I texted my husband to let him in on what was happening. He got my sister Mell to take Emily for the night, and after a phone call figured out some of what I would need him to bring. They put in the foley bulb, which was unfun, but it did kick start some contractions. Brian arrived, and let me know that I was going to have some company. Sure enough I had a parade of visitors despite telling everyone that it could be 12 hours before there was anything worth talking about. The contractions were manageable, I just couldn’t lie down, I had to be at least sitting if not standing and moving, which since I was GBS positive and hooked to an IV was rather difficult. As my visitors started leaving, I started asking about some pain relief measures to relax me. I knew in order to make the contractions really work to dilate the cervix I needed to relax. My go-to pain relief is always water. Warm water does it for me every time, doesn’t matter what I’m sick with, so I wanted in a shower or in the wonderful huge bathtub in my room. And here was the first time I doubted the whole induction - I was told I couldn’t get in the bath because of the foley.

I was crushed. Seriously sitting on the bed head down and wasn’t acknowledging anyone. I needed to think. So I asked if I could once the foley was out, and they said no, because once the foley was out, they’d be starting pit, and somehow I had missed or forgotten that pit is on an active pump, meaning electricity and not just a passive drip. I came very close right then to calling the whole thing off and going home. I really honestly didn’t know if I could get through this without the relaxation of the water. I didn’t want drugs, I was petrified that an epidural would slow or stall my labor so I really didn’t know what else to do! But we’d made all the arrangements, DD1 was at my sister’s, most people we knew had been told to expect baby tomorrow, and I was tired, sore and afraid of what might happen if the pre-e were to continue, so I resolved to try.

An hour later the nurse checked me and was able to pull the foley right out - I was about 2.5cm, which gave me more confidence. Pitocin was started, contractions were more intense, but I was still ok. At 2am they asked if I was ok with getting my water broken, and I said sure. DH had nodded off, and mom held my hand while they did it. I was NOT expecting it to be that painful, but my cervix, while somewhat dilated was still pretty high. I got through it and then things started to fall apart.

The contractions were MUCH more intense. I couldn’t relax and work through them anymore, I was starting to cry or hyperventilate at the peak of the worst ones. I’d reached my limit. It was 3 am, I’d been up for 22 hours straight, and what sleep I had gotten the night before was not very rejuvinating, and I was simply cracking under the stress and worry that all this was going to end badly. My distress had woken my husband, who is a very deep sleeper, and at 3:30, after about an hour and a half of trying as much as I could to manage them I asked about pain relief measures. Nothing they offered me seemed like it would really work, or was unacceptable to me because it would pass to the baby. And then there was the epi. They were very blunt about the possible ramifications of getting it, even including the possibility that it could paralyze, cause massive headaches, stall my labor etc, everything I’d already read about and knew well. Through my tears, I asked for the epi. My nurse, Kathy, sat down with me and actually had a good conversation with me wanting to be absolutely sure I wanted it and I wasn’t just panicking because I had been very vocal about not wanting it. Once she was satisfied that I had thought it through and was very sure that I wanted it, she made the call.

The anesthesiologist arrived and after a long discussion where he again went over the risks and explained exactly what he was going to do, spent a while positioning me before placing the Epi. DH held my hand, held me while I cried through every contraction until it really started to take effect. I was surprised at how much I could feel through it after hearing of my mother’s experiences with the epidural she had with both me and my sister, and after my experience with the spinal I had for my c-section 4.5 years before. I could still feel every contraction, but only the peaks of them were bothersome. I could still move my legs and even bear some weight on them, although I wouldn’t have trusted them to walk on them.

I honestly don’t remember much of the next few hours. They continued to change the chux under me, and check my freezing level and vitals, but I think I dozed most of the time between contractions between then and about 7am, when the OB came in to check on me and do a cervix check. I was at 5 and I could tell before he even told me that my cervix was much lower. Bored, I started texting friends I knew would be awake. 8am was shift change, and I had a new in room nurse, we said goodbye to Kathy, and I had a new OB, who sadly his name has completely eluded me, mom and Dh went for food also. My sister, who had Emily told us she would be on her way to the hospital within the hour, and my father said similar. Brittany, the midwife on call, also called around then to check in and told me she’d be in soon to help me through the birth. At 9 my new nurse checked me and I was at 8 cm, which I elatedly texted to my friends and SIL. My nurse and one of the other nurses started making arrangements for delivery, and while they were changing my chux pads I started to violently shake. I thought that it meant my blood sugar was low, so I started asking for something to eat, which they shot down, only clear fluids by mouth. I was about to start rebutting that policy when I realized I was in the midst of a wave of nausea and yelled for a bedpan. Just in time one was handed to me and I threw up the ginger ale I’d been sipping.

The nurses, alarmed by the shaking and vomiting decided to check me again, only 10 minutes since I was checked before. Sure enough I was at 9. The nurses started scrambling to make preparations and only a few minutes later I started feeling the overwhelming urge to push. The nurses checked me again, and sure enough I was complete. And they told me not to push yet, to which I started complaining how I wasn’t sure how much I could hold it back, epi or no, I could feel her moving down the birth canal.

All hell broke loose in the delivery room, my memories become very chaotic here, mostly because I tried to block a lot of it out and spent the next while with my eyes closed. Mom was worried that my father and sister wouldn’t make it. My midwife still hadn’t arrived, someone called her and she was already on her way. Nurses and doctors kept coming in and out, mom kept trying to get me to open my eyes to focus on something and I told her in no uncertain terms that I was focusing and to leave me alone. She then noticed my father’s jeep going into the wrong parking lot and had something else to fret about. My OB and midwife arrived within breaths of one another, and they moved my feet up into the stirrups,which caused me another moment of panic. Since Emily had been so large, I had researched all kinds of positions to help push her out and flat on my back with my legs up was NOT one of them. Plus with the SPD having my legs up like that hurt even through the epi, so I complained and was told with the epi, this was the way it had to be. I shoved that worry out of my head, I had too much else to think about.

FInally, finally I was told I could push. In the middle of my first push, my sister showed up with Emily, and I could hear mom quickly redirecting Emily out of the room to go find Grandpa. Poor Melanie who has never given birth or attended a birth walking into me yelling through a contraction, but to her credit she stuck it out. I couldn’t open my eyes, they literally felt glued shut. Pushing actually felt like a relief, but it was like opening my eyes was to invite more input than I could process at that time. Only a couple more pushes and they told me they could see her. Mom reappeared, apparently they found Dad and he was watching Emily in the waiting room. 2 more pushes and they told me to hold up while they cleared baby’s mouth and nose, and one more push after that and I felt immense relief and a weight on my chest.

Finally I could open my eyes, and the first thing I saw was a tiny eye staring up at me from under a blanket. She wasn’t crying, although she had made a yell of protest just before they put her on me. I put both hands on her and started talking to her, telling her things were ok and mommy was here. I could really only see one eye from where she was, but didn’t want to pick her up just then. She was safe and warm on my chest and I wasn’t sure I trusted myself yet. I got distracted for a moment while they had me push out the placenta, much easier than pushing Caitlyn out, and then I turned my attention back to the little person on me. She just seemed content to stare up at me, and I was tired enough to simply let her. I was talking to her and everyone around me and then got annoyed that they wouldn’t let me get my legs out of the stirrups and could feel someone doing something down there. Only then did I find out that I had torn badly and they were stitching me up. Everyone was congratulating me, asking me if I wanted to weigh her or breastfeed or what have you, and I said no, she and I were happy right here for now. They’d offered my husband to cut the cord, and he declined, so my sister piped up and asked if she could do it. I think they asked me if that was ok, to which I said yes. Finally after what felt like forever, they pulled my legs down, and I trusted myself to pick up my new daughter and really look at her. She was a long skinny thing, much smaller than I had expected. She had a full head of fine dark hair like her sister had, and looked very much like a tiny version of Emily as a baby. I even looked for the tiny divots in her ears like Emily still had, but she didn’t have them. I cuddled her close and my Dad brought Emily in to see her. Emily was completely enchanted by her sister.

I finally did allow her to be weighed and measured, and everyone was so surprised to find out that she was a tiny 7lbs 2oz and 20 inches long, unlike her 9lbs 10oz 23” long sister. My midwife who was back in charge of my and baby’s care again, did the measurements and asked me about the other things like eye goop and vitamin k shot, the latter of which I approved and was administered. She put a diaper on her and dressed her in the sleepers I’d packed and gave her to Daddy for a bit, who was a little nervous to hold such a tiny baby, but to his credit, he got over it quickly. We even let Emily hold her for a short time, and Mel took pictures and posted on facebook, and I finished texting everyone to let them know that Caitlyn was here.

I can’t help but to finish with what I would have done differently, now that I can step back. Not that I think there will be a next time, but who knows. I think a large part of the reason I couldn’t go without the epi was a lack of sleep. Knowing what I know now, I’d have insisted on the foley bulb, something to help me sleep and either being sent home or not allowing them to start the pitocin or break my water until the next morning. I do feel in that moment in time that I needed it because I really didn’t start to progress until I had it, largely because I wasn’t fighting the contractions anymore and could relax, so I don’t really regret getting it, I just kinda regret that it was necessary. I’d also have fought a lot harder about the tub - it now doesn’t make sense to me why the foley didn’t allow me to get in the tub - women wander around for weeks or even months dilated and they’re not restricted from bathing or even having sex, so the foley shouldn’t have kept me out of the tub. I still wouldn’t have been allowed into it once the pitocin started, but some relief early on would have made me feel better. But despite the few things that were less than ideal, including the need to be induced at all, I am so very proud of myself for attempting and being able to have my vbac. Part of me is also perversely disappointed that Caitlyn was so tiny - it would have been major vindication of my feelings that I was abused in my first birth if Caitlyn had been at least similar in size to her sister, since they kept insisting that the only way I could birth Emily was via c-section. But I know my chances of being able to vbac a baby that size would have been more difficult, especially considering that I had the epidural and would have had major difficulty changing positions to allow a larger baby out, and it was nice to actually be able to use newborn clothing on one of my children!

So in conclusion, Caitlyn Rose was born at 10:06am EST on April 26th 2012 with both an OB and midwife in attendance, as well as her Daddy, Auntie Mell and maternal grandmother, a successful induction and VBAC after 16 hours. She weighed 7lbs, 2oz and measured 20” in length. She nursed within an hour of birth and both she and I were discharged just over 24 hours later with clean bills of health. I did tear in the birth, but healed up quite well in the following weeks, and other than a short nursing strike and a complication that arose from about a day’s worth of formula she continued to nurse well right up until present. She’s now 3 months old and well on her way to doubling her birth weight, at 13lbs 5.5oz and almost 24” in length. She smiles often, just started to giggle and is adored by everyone around her.


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Old 07-29-2012, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: Caitlyn Rose's successful VBAC!

congratulations! What an amazing story!
tina UC mama of 5!
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: Caitlyn Rose's successful VBAC!

Awesome! I cried .
Mo, wife to Ed, SAHM to Isaiah 3-04,Rosemary 1-07, John Paul 9-09, Ivy Ana 8-12, Azalea9-15
I teach Natural Family Planning! PM me for more info.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:26 PM   #4
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Re: Caitlyn Rose's successful VBAC!

Congratulations on your vbac!
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:18 AM   #5
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Wonderfully story!!
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: Caitlyn Rose's successful VBAC!

A late congratulations and a
Sarah, mom of many
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