Our baby is here!! And it was quite the long process, what with going well over my pregnancy due date by 13 days, making it 41 weeks 6 days pregnant, and being in labor for more a day and a half.
But, we did it! I had a successful VBAC delivery!
9:00am Wednesday, March 20 – OB stripped my membranes. 2cm dilated.
10:30am Wednesday, March 20 – First real labor contractions begin
2:00am Thursday, March 21 – Head to the hospital
3:00am Thursday, March 21 – Officially admitted to the hospital at 4.5cm dilated
1:00pm Thursday, March 21 – Got some pain meds via IV
4:00pm Thursday, March 21 – Got an epidural
9:00pm Thursday, March 21 – Midwife checks me – Only 6cm but she breaks my water
10:30pm Thursday, March 21 – 9cm dilated!
12:00am Friday, March 22 – Start pushing!
12:26am Friday, March 22 – Michael is born!!
On Wednesday, March 20, 2013 I went to my last prenatal appointment, meeting with my OB. She was determined to help me start labor naturally, so she worked hard and got in there and stripped my membranes, which was really uncomfortable/hurt. I was at the time only 2cm dilated, about 50% effaced and hadn’t had any real contractions yet, even though I was at that point 11 days overdue.
Well, “stirring up the pot” seemed to work as a couple hours later I began having my first real contractions. They started about 10 or 11 am that Wednesday and slowly progressed from about 30 minutes apart to about 20 minutes apart as I walked around Target with my kids that morning.
My husband decided to come home after his morning classes and get notes from classmates for his evening classes so he could be home with me, just in case. I dozed and took a little nap that afternoon. My labor steadily progressed that evening, with contractions getting closer together. After the girls went to bed, we watched SkyFall and I tried to rest a little. But, a little after midnight the contractions kept getting closer together. So we started making some phone calls. They got to be about 2-3 minutes apart for a while so we decided to head into the hospital after our friend Hillary arrived to watch the girls, around 1:45am.
We got to the hospital triage and I was checked and was told that I was at 4.5cm and 75% effaced! I had made progress! I was really in labor! And I was so excited about it! I was so glad my doctor had been able to (finally) strip my membranes that morning! Because also that morning we had scheduled a repeat C-section for Friday morning, and I really did not want to keep that appointment.
Laboring at the Hospital
We were fully admitted to the hospital and got into a room at about 3:00AM on Thursday, March 21. Little did we know that we still wouldn’t have our kid that day… It took all day for me to slowly and painfully progress from that 4.5cm to 6cm by about 7PM that day.
So, let me take a minute and talk about labor pains. I thought laboring at home was generally going pretty well. It didn’t hurt that much, and I could still talk or laugh through them, though I concentrated and worked at breathing through them. While still at home I took a shower which felt really great.
At the hospital the contractions slowed down from when we were at home and were pretty regularly about 4-6 minutes apart most of the day. I did really well handling the labor pains for a while. Josh was a great support. We walked the halls some, stopping the lean against the rails while I had contractions, Josh rubbing my lower back at the same time. In between contractions we were in pretty good spirits. In fact, I even managed to doze for a while between contractions for maybe an hour or two that morning. I thought I was doing pretty well! I was also very appreciative that they let me go on intermittent monitoring so I didn’t have to be on or near the bed the whole time.
But, then the fatigue set in as well as the very painful back labor. By about 1pm Friday, I was very exhausted. I hadn’t slept much at all, and hadn’t eaten much either as they wanted to me stop eating once I was in “active labor” although I kept feeling like it was getting further and further away.
I eventually asked for some pain meds in my IV, one that was also help me sleep for a while. I hoped that with some rest I may be able to tackle the rest of the labor a little better. I did sleep for the next 2 hours without waking, but then woke to long, painful back contractions that woke me up every 5-6 minutes, though I was extremely tired between them, unable to communicate very well at all I was so groggy.
I tried different positions as the back pain seemed to indicate to the nurses and midwives that the baby was posterior. I tried leaning against the bed while standing. I tried taking a shower. I tried walking a little. I tried sitting in the bed with a hot pad against my back. I had Josh massage my lower back. I tried using a birthing ball (but didn’t like it much at all). But, nothing seemed to help this pain!
The labor pains would start in my front lower abdomen and then radiate to my lower back where it would last for a good minute. Breathing through the contractions was proving very difficult. I hated it.
So, I told my nurse that I wanted an epidural. While I wanted to birth naturally, this back pain, plus prolonged labor, lack of sleep and food, made it extremely hard! I needed some sleep. So, at 4pm Friday I finally got an epidural. And it was great! They finally hooked up an IV to my saline lock in my arm, got the anesthesiologist in there and he put in the epidural (though they kicked Josh out of the room to put it in which was weird since he was with me when I had an epidural with the twins). Soon, I was in a blissful sleep! Though after that nap the contractions seemed to have slowed down some, so I sat up in bed, frog-legged, and they picked back up some.
The midwife finally came in to check me again at about 9:00PM. I was still progressing slowly and she said I was at about 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. But, as she checked me, she broke my water!
Well, apparently, breaking my water was the key ingredient! She came and checked me again at about 10:30PM and I was at 9cm 100% effaced! I was SO happy to hear that, especially as she had told me when she broke my water that I had about 4 hours before they would start talking about a repeat section because labor had been so long and now the membranes were ruptured. She had me lay on my side for 30 minutes, with my top leg propped up on a table next to the bed to help dilate the cervix, and then flip over to my other side and do the same.
While on my other side I got the feeling I was fully dilated and ready for pushing! So we called the midwife back in and she checked me, and sure enough, I was at 10cm! They got things ready and got me into position, flat on my back, with Josh supporting one leg, the nurse supporting the other, the midwife at the business end. They had a mirror ready so that I could see what was going on too, which was actually very helpful and very cool!
VBAC Delivery Time!
So, finally, at midnight, Friday, March 22 (now officially 13 days past his due date) I started pushing, after about 22 hours after arriving at the hospital, after about 38 hours of labor in all. I was so ready for this part of labor. Thankfully the epidural was starting to wear off so I had some feeling in one of my legs and parts of my abdomen. I could feel the top of my abdomen to know when I was having contractions.
I ended up pushing for 26 minutes, delivering a posterior (or sunny-side up) baby boy! His umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck, but they unwound it and I delivered the rest of his body. They pulled him out and put him on my chest. It was awesome. I was so happy! Josh cried (can you believe I actually didn’t? I’m so weird) and he got to cut the umbilical cord. I held onto our babe on my bare chest as the midwife helped take care of the afterbirth and such. He peed on me while I held him which was pretty funny.
I tore some and had to have 5-6 stitches total. I blame that on the sunny-side up baby, and lying flat on my back to push.
They eventually took our baby and weighed and measured him – he was 9lbs 8 oz and 22″ long! What a big boy! I nursed him and then they cleaned him up. And then Josh finally got to hold him for a while. We had our son! And he was perfect and beautiful and healthy!
We named him Joshua Michael Fagan – his first name after his father, the middle name what he will go by (which is not Josh’s middle name), the name I really wanted to use. He’ll be J. Michael Fagan, or just Michael, Mike, or Mikey. Whatever we feel like calling him.
While this labor took far longer than I expected it to, I am so so happy I delivered him vaginally! It was what I wanted so badly! While I had wanted to go natural, I know I wasn’t as prepared for that as I would have liked to be (maybe for the next kid?) and didn’t feel bad about getting an epidural because it still meant a vaginally delivery, which is what I cared about more than whether it was a medicated birth or not.
We are very happy to finally have our son with us! He’s adorable. He’s been a pretty good baby so far. They circumcised him at the hospital (poor guy!).
Josh’s parents and the girls came to visit me at the hospital. The girls loved meeting their baby brother! They were in love (well, until Michael spit up on Lisa).
Benefits of my Successful VBAC Delivery
We decided to not stay for two nights after he was born (because I was already there for two before he born!) and so we headed home Saturday afternoon. I was pretty done with being at the hospital and was greatly looking forward to my own bed. A huge plus for a VBAC over a repeat section – I got to go home much sooner.
Having a vaginal birth has been so much better of recovery than a C-section already! I walked much quicker (my epidural was starting to wear off during pushing) and didn’t have my insides cut open! I am only on ONE drug for pain – a simple ibuprofen. Yes, my bottom hurts where I had some tearing and stitches, and yes, I feel cramping in my uterus when I nurse Michael, but nothing that is all that painful. Uncomfortable, yes. Annoying, yes. Unbearable? Not at all. They gave me some medicated sprays and pads and such to help my bottom feel better soon, which I am guessing will be much sooner than my abdomen felt better after my C-section.
We would like to thank all of our friends and family who have been praying for us and thinking about us over the last few weeks. We are very thankful for all the support! We are also thankful for a great medical team! We did indeed end up with the type of birth we wanted and the type of baby we wanted – a very healthy baby boy. May God bless you all for your love! We couldn’t have done it without you! I am so thankful for my successful VBAC!!
Also Check out:
C-Section Vs VBAC – The Pros and Cons of Both