Everyone's story is different. A woman's birth story has been around for generations. The world may change but the act of giving birth is so natural, so raw that it connects us all. I love listening to a woman's birth story. It is their own story to tell and something that more people should share so that those connections never go away. Here is my tale that goes from C-section to VBAC.
I can still remember how I felt when I was pregnant with my first. There was so much joy in those days. I loved the secret that my husband and I walked around with for twelve weeks. As I started to show and felt those first movements, life changed forever. I won't lie, I hated the weight gain. I know, it is all part of the process. However, it bothered me. I also had gestational diabetes with my first, so scarfing down large amounts of sweets and pasta were out of the question for me. I was so excited to meet this baby but I felt trapped in my own body. I couldn't eat what I wanted. I couldn't move the way I wanted to move. I had to prick my finger three times a day for 4 months to make sure my sugar levels were normal.
In all honesty, though, I should not have complained. It was an uneventful pregnancy. I am so grateful for that now. I guess when you are in the moment you don't look at the big picture. As I reached the end of my pregnancy, I became so nervous about giving birth. I must have heard a million times, "Don't worry. Women have done it for thousands of years". Sure, easy for someone to say who has already gone through it. I don't like the unexpected. I need to know step by step exactly what is going to happen. I tried to read as many books I could on giving birth, breastfeeding, and bringing a baby home. Unfortunately, for me, giving birth to a child does not work out as easily as it is described in a book.
With my first my labor was 15 hours in total from start to finish. I had back labor, so I will never forget the feeling of those contractions. After laboring at home for a few hours and then my water finally breaking, I was in the hospital with an epidural. I know, there are lots of women who give birth without any pain medication. I know, a hundred years ago women didn't have a choice to use pain medication. Well, we don't live a hundred years ago and this momma never wanted to find out what contractions felt like beyond being 4 cm dilated. I usually don't take medication for anything (I am the type to suffer through the worst headache without taking something). However, this pain was too intense for me.
Unfortunately, the peace of an epidural was shattered when my son's heart rate dropped extremely low several times throughout my labor. I had to flip flop from side to side to get him to move (not an easy feat when you are numb from the belly down). Nurses poked and pushed on my belly. After the third time my doctor suggested to have a C-Section to get him out. Not quite how I pictured my first baby being born, but in the end he was healthy.
Some may ask how my recovery was. In all honesty, it really wasn't that bad. I was offered pain medication but refused it due to breastfeeding. I know they say it is okay but I didn't feel comfortable using it. I was up and walking about twelve hours after surgery. I remember the day I came home I put on a laundry (which my husband was so upset about because I had to walk down a flight of stairs. I am woman. Hear me roar!) I definitely had the baby blues (and even a touch of postpartum depression if you ask me). I cried at everything and was so worried that I was going to do something wrong. I felt like I couldn't do anything right except for pumping breastmilk,so that it what I became good at. My son and I had lots of meaningful conversations during those pumping times.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second 20 months later, I was filled with so much joy that I was going to give my oldest a playmate. It was such an exciting time! I had another uneventful pregnancy. At around 5 months, my OBGYN asked how I preferred to give birth. I told him that I had a previous C-Section so obviously I had to have another one (or at least that is what everyone else told me). He looked at me and said I was perfectly healthy, and that if I wanted to I could try for a vaginal delivery. Well, there started my four months of struggling with my decision. Sure, a vaginal delivery would be so much better since now I had a two year old to take care of as well as a newborn. But the stories I have heard of things that could go wrong with a VBAC had me in a tail spin. During each prenatal visit, I asked my doctor tons of questions about a VBAC and the complications that could arise. He of course said that yes those things could happen but they were so rare. I had scheduled a C-Section date at around 7 months just in case I changed my mind. As the day drew closer, I was so nervous but something inside of me kept saying that I should try the VBAC. I remember the day I went into labor. I was cooking dinner and I started to feel minor cramping. My husband had to put my son to bed that night because the contractions were getting pretty intense. All the while, I was obsessing about having a vaginal delivery. Was I putting the baby in danger? Myself in danger? I had a two year old at home who depended on me for everything. Was I making the right decision for him?
I labored that entire night at home and as the morning came, my contractions were about eight minutes apart. My mother in law came to watch my oldest while my husband and I went to the hospital. When I got there my contractions were five minutes apart. They could not admit me since my water hadn't broken and the contractions weren't two to three minutes apart. I walked the hospital lobby for two hours. I went back up to get checked and the same thing: I wasn't dilated enough, my water hadn't broken and the contractions weren't close enough. I was told to go home. I did and labored for five more hours until I couldn't take it anymore. I called my own doctor and they told me to come in to get checked. We went and the minute my doctor saw me he asked why I wasn't in the hospital getting pain management. Let's just say as a woman who had been feeling contractions for 36 hours at this point, my answer was not too kind. I feel bad now, but honestly, I had had enough. He called the hospital for the on call doctor and he said they would admit me.
Funny thing is that triage almost sent me home since my water hadn't broken yet. I said I wasn't going home and got up to change into the hospital gown. Lo and behold, my water broke in the bathroom. I came out all excited screaming "My water broke!". I was finally admitted. After almost 48 hours of contractions, I was given an epidural and my healthy son was born six hours later. My VBAC baby :).
Having experience giving birth both ways, I understand how each woman feels about their delivery. A C-Section is very scary but you are giving your body to deliver this baby. Plus, I love my Love Line, which is what I refer to my scar from the C-Section. It was definitely a proud moment and I have a battle wound to prove it. A vaginal birth is the most natural thing you can experience. Whichever way you give birth, be proud of how your baby came into this world. It is something you get to experience for only a short time. Embrace it. It is what makes you special. And the prize at the end is completely worth it.
About the Writer: Mrs. Z is a stay at home mommy to two wonderful boys and wife to an amazing husband. Spending time with her family, writing, and enjoying life are some of Mrs. Z's favorite pastimes. You can check her out at The Mrs. Z Files. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.