Since this is so long, I broke it into parts for your convenience haha. The short summary, the pregnancy leading up to the birth, and then the actual labor and birth. Sorry this is so long!
August Judah Charnock
10 lbs 3 oz
22 inches long
Born via 2VBAC after being induced with pitocin at 42+1, no epidural.
PREGNANCY / LEADING UP TO LABOR:
With our second baby, I was able to have a wonderful and healing home birth after having the most stressful pregnancy. It was beautiful and I loved it, so for our third baby we planned to have a home birth from the beginning. We worked and saved and put any money gifts we received towards saving for this birth, since insurance would not cover it (which stinks!!) God did provide and we were able to pay for everything and had it all taken care of one month before my due date (January 12th).
This pregnancy was not stressful. I knew my body could do this and we were both healthy. I felt confident in the midwife I had chosen and I was made to feel comfortable with my decisions, which I made through lots of previous study of all things birth.
We expected (and I had told the midwife since day 1) that I would probably go to 42 weeks. Noah (my second) was born at 41+6 and he came all on his own so I pretty much thought the same thing would happen this time. Well, as I approached 41 weeks, my midwife was starting to get a little anxious because I had had some polyhydramnios earlier in the pregnancy and the baby was measuring a little big (both things I expected, based on my previous pregnancies) and so she was concerned with my uterus stretching too much as baby gets bigger the further I go past my due date. I wasn’t worried about that, though I know uterine rupture is a possibility, even for first time mothers. I had a back up doctor the whole pregnancy that I saw for tests and ultrasounds just because the insurance would pay for those things if I went that route. I was okay with that. I had told this doctor that I would like him to deliver this baby if I had to be transferred to hospital. He isn’t super warm and friendly, but I didn’t feel any harshness or judgment coming from him about my birthing preferences (which was SO amazing, after having been told by an OB/GYN in Kentucky that he wishes he could hit me with a baseball bat for having a home birth (bedside manner?? rude). So I was impressed with this guy).
I went to see this doctor at 41 weeks, per midwife’s request, to get a non-stress test and biophysical profile to check everything out. I told him I know the baby is big (I’ve had two “macrosomic” babies before, for crying out loud) and that I didn’t want to discuss that at all. He respected my wish (without so much as a jerky look on his face. impressive.) and did the ultrasound without saying anything about baby’s size. Baby and I were perfect, so he said he was fine letting me continue to 42 weeks since that’s my history, even though he didn’t like me going past 40 weeks. He called my midwife and told her everything looked great. Evidently I hadn’t told her that I requested that the doc not say anything about baby’s measurements, because she called me the next day to tell me what the doctor said and mentioned that the baby looked to be about 8 lbs. She wanted to emphasize that just because he looks 8 lbs, doesn’t mean he will be, because the ultrasound is just measuring bones and can’t predict the amount of fat that’s on the baby. I told her that I didn’t know what he had measured and I was confident that he was more than 8 lbs. I still wasn’t worried about it. Midwife still seemed concerned, though. So we waited until I hit 42 weeks and she wanted me to go back to the doctor again. She said since I’m a VBAC that she’s not really allowed to attend me past 42 weeks and didn't feel comfortable with it, either, with all the other factors. We prayed about it and decided (after much of my crying), before we saw the doctor again, that even if I went into labor before the doctor appointment, we would go to the hospital. I was losing confidence because I felt the concern coming from my midwife. That made me uneasy... I decided to trust her intuition and thought “maybe this is God’s answer to our prayers for safety.” Nothing looked wrong with either of us....but I know midwives are very in tune with their clients and their feelings of uncertainty should be trusted, especially from a midwife that has practiced for decades. I was, however, really upset that we had spent so much money on our birth plans and wouldn’t be able to get any of it back. After much praying I realized that was the biggest reason I was hesitating about changing my plan...so I concluded that if money is the biggest reason then I should just trust what my instinct was telling me, forgetting all about the money loss. My gut said I needed to go to the hospital and that the baby was probably not coming until sometime after 42 weeks if I waited...which I’m not comfortable with, for several reasons (though I know some women can go up to 44 weeks with no problem).
So at 42 weeks and still no baby or even any signs of impending labor (though there aren’t always signs before labor, by the way) we went to see the doctor. He did an ultrasound, non-stress test...all that stuff again. We both still looked really great! But, of course, I was 42 weeks and not in labor, and baby was really high up. So the doctor said these were my options:
1) Show up to the hospital the next evening to have my water broken to try and start labor, and if that didn’t work, I’d be put on pitocin.
1) Show up to the hospital the next evening to have my water broken to try and start labor, and if that didn’t work, I’d be put on pitocin.
2) or I could refuse and just wait for spontaneous labor, but then get an on call doctor that would put me straight to a c-section
So we hoped the water breaking would work and that I wouldn’t have to be on pitocin...it’s okay for VBAC patients to be induced with pitocin, but it does slightly increase the risk of uterine rupture...and, of course, make the contractions much more painful and junk. And comes with risks, too. But I consented to pitocin in the event the water breaking didn’t work. I wanted my baby here and I wanted him safe. I was more scared of him asperating meconium or passing away, etc. than I was of a repeat cesarean. Get this baby out.
So we left the doctor’s office with our new plan and found some peace in it. Of course, I still cried like all night and all day the next day because I had so many worries and was seriously terrified of going in the hospital (if you’ve only had great birth experiences and were never spoiled with a perfect home birth, then I wouldn’t expect you to understand why I was scared).
I told my midwife the plan and asked for her to be there with me for support. I told her I would need her help in remaining calm and sticking my plans and such. She felt better about me going to the hospital and said she thought that was for the best.
HOSPITAL / LABOR:
The next evening we ate a big lunch (I thought I’d be starving for the next 24 hours or more) and checked in to the hospital. I was not happy to be there and I’m pretty sure it showed (but don’t worry, I was still a sweetie to the nurses :) who were REALLY great, btw). I asked the nurse a bunch of questions and expressed my wishes. She made me feel SO much better. She said in the past 4 months they’ve made some changes at the hospital to be more baby friendly. So most of the things I wanted after the birth were routine anyway (immediate skin-to-skin for 2 hours, delayed cord clamping, delayed bath, I could make specific requests...) so I felt much relief after that. The nurse that attended me on the first night spoke all the right “natural birth language” and I couldn’t believe that we were on the same page. I was so thankful. She agreed that my doctor may be impatient to get things going and might be slightly difficult to hold off from a c-section. She said she’d help me hold him off and help fulfill my wishes.
|not happy but trying to be.|
The doctor was AN HOUR late to coming to break my water. I was so impatient. The nurses said he usually is late (which would only be more frustrating later in my birth story...) but he finally got there. The doctor told me this would be a 30 second procedure and I heard that it wouldn’t hurt. But as soon as he put his hands on me I felt immediate pain. Like, not just uncomfortable...I was SCREAMING and crying and telling him he’s hurting me. It was quite ridiculous. My cervix was so high and posterior that he said he couldn’t reach it. He tried 3 different ways to break my water and finally gave up and had this little attitude like it was my fault that my cervix was so high haha. So he said I’d be going on pitocin. I was mad. I told him I want to eat dinner first since he took so stinking long and I didn’t know if I’d ever eat again (ha) so they let me have dinner and then we’d start pitocin at 10 pm and he would try my water again in the morning. I cried....again. And while Robert was gone to get food I cried even more. Just sat alone in the hospital room bawling hehe. I was truly scared and I just kept telling myself that this stinks and that I didn’t want to be there.
I kept leaking an abundant amount of nastiness to where I had to eventually put on an adult diaper. I asked the nurse what in the world this was (I figured my cervix would be irritated but I couldn’t imagine this was anything other than amniotic fluid....there was a lot!) and she just said I’d had some irritation from the doc’s man-handling.
When she came back later and saw my massive puddle on the bed and with my asking for a new robe because mine was soaked, she said that the doctor actually did break my water but didn’t realize it. Whoo hoo! This made me happy because all I could think of was “yesss that doctor won’t have to do that horrible thing again!!” I seriously dreaded him touching me again because it hurt so bad (are you wondering how I ever had an unmedicated birth? ha)! They had already started the pitocin when she finally declared that I had ruptured but she said the doctor said that if I ruptured I could be taken off pitocin and would be checked on in the morning.
Yay. I was happy to be able to move around a little bit more, even though I was still on the continuous fetal monitoring (ugh). So all night long I tried to rest and got a few minutes of sleep here and there but mostly I just stayed up playing on my phone and walking around the room, doing things to try to get baby moved down some more. I had small contractions all night long but labor wasn’t really going anywhere.
The next morning, the nurse came back in to check my progress. She actually had to pull in another nurse to try because she was having trouble reaching my cervix. I could hear the other nurse breathing heavily as she tried to check me lol. She finally stopped and said “I need a break after that! phew!” I was like "YOU need a break? ouch." She said she thought I was about 2 cm. Their checks hurt but not nearly as bad as the doctor. Since I hadn’t progressed at all, they said I had to go back on pitocin (bummer). They had it turned up much higher than they did the night before. The contractions started picking back up and gaining intensity, but they were still quite manageable. My midwife asked for an update so I gave it to her and asked when she’d be there. She said she’d come whenever I told her to, if I was in active labor. Since my labor was artificially started, I didn’t know how to define “active” in this case. Especially since my contractions weren’t bad enough for me to put down my phone or stop talking, etc. I was in a labor pattern and had about 3 minute breaks in between contractions. I asked the nurse if I was considered active at the moment and she said they considered me active when my water broke...okay. So I told the midwife to go ahead and come, especially since it would take them an hour to get there. I think they checked me again after this (can’t really remember) and I hadn’t progressed. They did an ultrasound to make sure the baby wasn’t malpositioned. They threw around words like “breech” and “transverse.” Although I was pretty certain he hadn’t moved THAT drastically, I still didn’t like hearing those words!! During this time my midwife showed up but they asked her to wait outside a second.
|trying to relax during a contraction|
They confirmed he was still head-down, but he had moved to my right side and his head was kind of sideways. They helped me get into a side-lying position and placed a rolled up towel under my belly where the baby was, and used this peanut-shaped exercise ball between my legs to encourage baby to drop down into my pelvis. The nurse told me to let them know when I started feeling pressure on the bottom and then left. They let my midwife and her apprentice in then. I was still not really feeling contractions too badly and was still able to talk and all. I think they turned up the pitocin once they got me in that position. The contractions started picking up a bit, getting a little more painful. The apprentice told me to squeeze my belly during contractions to help manage the pain. I did that for the time that I was lying down. During this time, visitors came to drop off a gift for me. That was sweet and appreciated, but I didn’t want to see anyone at the moment haha. Thankfully they were only there a few seconds to say that they had gotten me a stuffed animal that I could hold during labor. After they left the midwife asked if I wanted to hold it and I said I’d probably rip its head off ;) After 30 minutes had passed in that position, I said I would really like to get up and move (the contractions were worse now). The midwife told me it had been long enough so that was okay. The nurse came back in and saw that my contractions were getting more intense and closer together. My midwife told her I had been handling the contractions really well. I explained that I wanted to get up and the nurse said she wasn’t coming to scold me for doing so, since I had been in that position long enough :) I told them I was feeling a little more pressure down there now. I sat up and was trying to handle my contractions as they got worse. I was definitelyyy feeling them now and squeezing my belly wasn’t helping much anymore. I said I needed to go to the bathroom, so they made it possible for me to be mobile for a minute and I went in the bathroom. Robert helped me and as I felt a few contractions while on the toilet I really needed to lean on him for help. They were bad now. I finally got up and started heading back to the bed when the nurse said “doctor’s here!!” and I replied “I do NOT want him to touch me.” Somebody (I guess the nurse) laughed. I’m not sure what was happening then...if the doctor talked to me or what. I think the nurse checked me instead of the doctor. She said I was at 4 cm and they were all like “yay!” I asked the doctor if I could come off pitocin and he coldly said "I don't see a reason to." haha. Well, I tried.
I cried after being told I was 4 cm. They said “that’s good!” and I said “but it’s ONLY 4!” lol. I felt like it was lasting forever. I asked if the baby would be born today and the doctor and nurse laughed, saying he surely would be. The midwife told the other midwife (who wasn’t able to show up yet) that I was at 4 and to come on. 15 minutes later the nurses checked me again and I was at 7. They were amazed. I was much happier now with the progress haha. So the 2nd midwife was told not to come because she wouldn’t make the birth. I was hurting sooo much! I kept telling Robert to “pleeeeease help me!” I leaned on him and on my midwife a lot, and my midwife also put pressure on my lower back for many of the contractions. I told Robert to take off his sweater because the material was driving me crazy when I would put my face into him during contractions. So he took it off for me and just had his undershirt on :) At only 7 cm I was already saying “I can’t do this. I can’t do this much longer. I really can’t do this.” Usually when women start saying this, it means that it’s almost over. But I was only at 7...so I was confused. I figured pitocin was just making it that much harder. My midwife told me “PJ, maybe you can’t do this, but God can" and that she had had a fast labor before, too, and that it was much harder than the longer ones. I kept trying to relax and ride the waves of the contractions. It was hurting like crazy, though.
The nurse checked me again and smiled as she said “you’re complete.” I was so glad to hear this! It was almost over. So when I thought it couldn’t be around the corner as I was saying “I can’t do this”...it turns out it really was. I was just going that fast, fortunately. So we’re there waiting on the doctor to get there and I was kind of lying down now. I said “there’s just SO much pressure!”
I felt like I needed to push. With my last labor I never felt that urge before being coached to push...so it was neat to feel it this time. The doctor had left earlier and thought he had plenty of time... So when I said I need to push they said the doctor had been notified but was running late. They said NOT TO PUSH YET?! I was like “I NEED TO PUSH!!”
Robert said I yelled “WHERRRRE IS HEEE?!?!” My midwife said “Remember how you wanted to wait until you felt the urge to push?” I said “yes, and I FEEL it!” I was like “how in the world are you going to tell me not to push??”
This was the most unpleasant part of my hospital experience...my baby was trying to come out and they made me try to hold him back until the doctor got there. He finally showed up and they got me in position. I didn’t want to push the baby out on my back like that but at this point I didn’t care. I just wanted him out. The nurse said some things to me and I looked at her, confused, and said “What? What are you talking about?” She repeated herself and I just told her “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” lol. I still, for the life of me, cannot remember what she said. I’m not sure I even heard her. I was so out of my mind. I know at one point she asked if I’d be willing to get an epidural if it meant avoiding a c-section and I remember being like “What in the world? I don’t want an epidural but of course I’d rather have that than a c-section.” I didn’t understand why they asked me that.
So all of a sudden when I’m trying to push a swarm of people come in. I mean, it was so loud and so crowded in the delivery room, it was unreal. Such a contrast to my peaceful and dimly lit home birth with my second baby. It was absolute chaos to me. Someone brought in a table full of tools and things to prep me for an emergency c-section, if it was needed (do they always do that? or was it just me?). I felt so many hands all over my body and I have no idea what all they were doing. Just felt hands everywhere. EVERY where. The nurse told me that the baby needs oxygen and put the mask on my face. She assured me he was okay but that he just needed some oxygen. I told my husband not to forget to take pictures (priorities! haha)
I asked how long this would take and they said they didn’t know. I told them last time I pushed for about 2.5 hours before the baby came. The doctor chuckled and said “uh no I’m too old for that.” I was just thinking “well, you’ll just have to deal with it, no matter how long it takes.” ;)
The nurse started coaching me on pushing. I felt like this kid was never coming out. For the first time ever I felt what they call the “ring of fire” (strangely, I did not feel that with my 2nd baby). Wow, did I feel it! The nurse kept saying “good girl” to me and other things that helped me. It was almost over.
The nurse said his head was coming and put my hand on his squishy little head. I was relieved to feel him there. I asked what color his hair was and she said it looks dark like mine. I gave a disappointed “aww :( “ haha (my other two boys have red hair and I was hoping he’d be a red head, too. Turns out he DOES have red hair. It's just darker).
His head was out and Robert was taking pictures. One of the nurses told him to stop taking photos, because they saw baby had a double nuchal cord (his cord was around his neck twice). Thankfully, it was okay and the doctor quickly unwrapped it. I gave another push and out came his body. They put him straight on my chest and I kept saying “he’s beautiful! He’s SO beautiful! He’s perfect” Oh, I was SO happy to have him out. He was having trouble catching a breath and was kind of choking which alarmed me a little bit (my last baby didn’t even have to be suctioned. He just breathed on his own). So they suctioned him while on my chest until he sounded clear. After about 5 minutes they cut the cord and I gave a tiny push for the placenta to come out. Easy peasy.
|the BEST moment!|
Baby was able to be on me for about 2 hours, before they weighed him or anything. It was so special. They covered us up and put a diaper on him while he was still on me.
I felt quite a burn down below and assumed I had torn. I asked them how bad it was and the doctor said “either a 2nd or 3rd degree”....my midwife and the nurses said it looked more like 2nd. They asked if I wanted topical anesthesia to stitch it up and I said yes. I was done with pain, thank you ;) I felt some pulling and such from the stitching but it was a bit numb. The doctor did a super job on it (he better- being a surgeon and all!)
My body was shaking uncontrollably. I shook a little with my last birth but this time I was shaking SO much. It was very annoying, waiting on it to go away.
After a while holding the baby I let daddy hold him, and I took some pictures of them.
When we were ready to have him weighed, they put him on the scale and everyone was waiting to see how big this baby was.
August Judah Charnock was 10 lbs 3 oz!! 22 inches long, larger than average head and his chest was even BIGGER than his head! The nurse left and told the doctor and announced it at the nurses station and everything. They were all super amazed haha. Being that I had a supposed “small pelvis,” was a VBAC mom, had pitocin but NO epidural, pushed out this giant baby with a double nuchal cord, and having NO shoulder dystocia, they treated me like I was the queen of birth. One sweet nurse kept telling us she’d never forget me and that I was her hero. I suppose they don’t see this much there. She kept telling my husband that he needed to buy me presents and she tried to find out what I wanted him to buy ;)
|10 lbs 3 oz, baby!|
My midwife said I did great and that she was proud of me. Her apprentice said “you did it!”
They left, after I thanked them for their help.
I had to wait for the nurse to come back with after birth supplies to get out of the bed. When she came in she helped me stand up and blood went all over the floor. yuck. For just having had a birth without pain meds I sure was being a princess :) She got me all cleaned up and put a new gown on me. She put me in a wheel chair and we waited on Robert to get back from taking our stuff into the other room then she led me to our room while robert took the baby. I thanked that sweet nurse for all she did for me. I am very grateful to her for her help. She was the best.
Although it was not the home birth that I had hoped for, I am so thankful for the way it turned out. A healthy birth resulting in a healthy baby and healthy mommy. I no longer cared that I was in a hospital. I was just so thankful to have my sweet boy in my arms. I’m so excited that I’ve been able to have 2 VBACs without pain medication, and I’m especially proud of myself for resisting an epidural while I was on pitocin and the epidural was so close. At my home birth it wasn’t even an option so it was easy to do without it. At the hospital it took a lot more willpower. But I held out and I’m proud of that. My midwife, her apprentice, my husband, and my nurse were all so helpful to me in keeping to my plan.
So, not exactly sure how long labor lasted but it was something like less than 7 hours (more like 3 ish, from the time I started actually feeling it), only 30 minutes of that was pushing, and the placenta came out a few minutes after birth. It was a HARD and fast labor. But I’m so glad it was fast, even though it was harder than my previous 17+ hour labor.
Childbirth is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my life. My past two experiences have been so healing and so empowering. I know many would not understand why, but my VBACs have done so much to change my life. Although I didn’t want that primary cesarean, if I hadn’t had it things would have been very different. Birth is something I’m passionate about and it’s been something I’ve been able to bond with other women over. I’m thankful for its design from our Creator :)
|So silly and SO happy with our little boys|
|happy, healthy mommy and baby|