1 year ago today, I was 38 weeks pregnant. “Due any day,” I was also preparing myself for the very likely possibility of going way past my due date of April 1st. See, with Lizzie I was due May 27th and she was born June 5th. Even though the 2nd child usually comes faster I wasn’t going to bank on it.
1 year ago today I was seeing my midwife once a week at a birth center 45 minutes from my home. I was praying every night over my baby, asking God to please work in my body to have a successful VBAC or Vaginal Birth after Cesarean. I attended the birth classes, watched “The Business of Being Born” and read every book on birth I could get my hands on. I was focused, I was ready. I wanted to meet my baby boy the natural way and bring him to my chest immediately. I didn’t want to deal with surgery and recovery. And I wanted breastfeeding to get off to a glorious start this time.
I was so focused, but in my heart, I always prayed, “God, I know you want to keep me healthy. Please help me have this baby naturally, please! But help me to be at peace if another surgery is needed. I want to follow your will Lord, not mine. But please let me have him naturally!”
1 year ago today I had lots of people supporting my VBAC and some telling me it would be safer to get a repeat C-Section. I didn’t listen to them, looking forward to how I was going to handle labor pains and what my birth story would be. I had my son’s cloth diapers neatly packed away, his going home outfit and my birth bag all packed.
Lizzie was still nursing for comfort before bed and naptimes. I was looking forward to tandem nursing, hoping it would ease the transition of a brand new baby in her world. We were still co-sleeping and I couldn’t wait to have this baby. It consumed my thoughts and my emotions.
I had a feeling I would have 4 more weeks of waiting, and I did. I was fine with it. I was NOT fine with the countless facebook and text messages asking “baby yet? let me know!” every day. But I was also very happy that I didn’t know when he would come. I was going to have him naturally, and that meant not scheduling his arrival, letting him come when he was ready.
How and when he came actually took me about 9 months to finally come to peace about. I praise the Lord that I didn’t go through depression. I just couldn’t read a natural birth story without wanting to hurl obscenities. I couldn’t watch “A Birth Story” on TV without throwing something at the television and crying.
But today, 1 year later, I can rejoice with other natural birth moms without so much as a flicker of envy. God has healed my pain, one little baby giggle at a time. You see, every time I hear him laugh or see him pull up on things with his strong and fatty legs, I realize how blessed I am. When he snuggles in to nurse and methodically grabs his toes the same instant he latches on, I know that my dream of breastfeeding came true. He was born healthy, nurses wonderfully and I could not be more blessed!
So you want to know what happened? How did my VBAC fail?
I’ll make this short:
On April 9th after dinner, my water broke. It was just an “I think I peed my pants” not a “there is a gush of water all over the floor” kind of broke. I called my midwife and she said to get some sleep and go to the birth center in the morning. I didn’t have any contractions really but I was so excited! David was coming soon – only 8 days late! Around 2 am I had such bad contractions I had to walk around the room. They were super close together and really painful so I took Lizzie to my sister in law’s house and went to the birth center. I was checked and found to be dilated to a 2 cm! Totally no impressive. I tried to sleep the rest of the night at the birth center but it was really hard with the contractions.
On April 10th I tried everything to help him come. We did 2 rounds of castor oil. We walked around Super Walmart. I went home and nursed Lizzie. Contractions got really good and intense. That evening I was back at the birth center with very painful and very long contractions. 24 hours after my water broke I was exhausted and dilated up to a 3cm, barely.
I was getting emotionally frazzled and upset. I mentally screamed at my body, “open up! Dilate! you are running out of time!” I did every position I could think of and worked hard with every contraction. But 26 hours after my water broke so did my will. I told everyone, “I can’t go on. I am too tired to cope. I have to have a c-section. Besides, I know it isn’t safe to go much past 24 hours.” They warned me that I would regret that decision. I told him that if I wasn’t up to at least the beginning of active labor by morning I wanted surgery. I wasn’t going to be in labor longer than 3 days. I couldn’t keep my strength up that long to do the really hard work at the end.
My midwife gave me some medicine to help with the pain so I could rest. In the morning I was still only 3 cms. 36 hours of labor for 3 centimeters. I got dressed and we headed to the hospital. He was born at 9:15 am on April 11th.
My amazing, wonderful midwife help my hand when I was getting my spinal. She prayed for me before the c-section. She helped position David on my breast less than an hour after he was born and he latched on so well!
I was able to overcome my guilt, my regret, and my jealousy because of my God and his provision. He provided an angelic midwife, wonderful hospital staff. On my own, I could not have come to peace with my decision, but with my Savior and priceless support system, I can now look back at it as my birth story. The day I met my baby boy for the first time!