In this post I will cover all aspects of my attempted VBA2C Hospital Birth Story. Continuing on from my emotional journey preparing for my VBA2C, I was looking forward to a natural birth and did everything in my power to mentally not let anything get in the way.
I went for my last acupuncture and adjustment at 40+4 weeks (Wednesday) in the evening. From that night I had inconsistent contractions. They mainly would come on strong in my sleep and then went away by morning but I was still so excited as I had never gone into labor without intervention.
I continued to have what seemed like strong prodormal labor for 5 days. On Monday October 9th when I was 41+2, I was due for my foley bulb insertion. I had lost my mucous plug and spent all night up in labor and didn’t want to jeapordize my body preparing for labor so I called in and canceled my foley. That set a series of phonecalls back and forth between a very upset doctor/assistant and myself. They scheduled me for a later appointment and told me not to miss it. I said I would let them know if I could go. Even though I wasn’t against the foley bulb, I was afraid it wouldn’t do anything and I would be forced to get pitocin the next morning which was how it was arranged. I decided with my husband to go to the hospital for the second foley bulb appointment to see my doctor and not leave things on a bad note in case it brought on bad vibes for me for when I did go into labor and got another on-call OB. Also since I didn’t have any appointments set with her after that day I felt it was best I go and resolve things. I was trying to be diplomatic.
At the appointment, we discussed the foley bulb and had a lot of back and forth debating. However in the end, my husband and I managed to convince her to delay the foley bulb insertion by another 2 days. Since we hadn’t done a cervical check for the foley she asked if I wanted to do one which I didn’t refuse. To our pleasant surprise I had progressed to 3 cms, 70% effaced and my baby had moved down to -2. So technically I didn’t need the foley but she kept the appointment anyway just in case. When she did the check it seemed like she did something to my cervix because I immediately started getting contractions when I left the hospital. And they didn’t stop this time….
Laboring at Home
From when I got home to the time I slept I had severely intense contractions. This pain was different. It all over my hips, lower back, bottom, pelvis, abdomen etc. So I took a shower and decided to rest as it started to feel like the real thing.
My mom (who had just arrived from Africa less than 48 hours prior) and husband told me I woke up a lot in my sleep from painful contractions. They continued consistently through the night. Since my son was resuming school after a 3-week break, I asked my Doula to come over and support me as my mom was helping care for my 2-year-old. Since my contractions were 3-4 mins apart she said we should go to the hospital once my Hubby got back from dropping my son to pre-school.
It was a struggle to get to the car, and the contractions were unbearable especially if I was sitting down. When we got to the hospital I was only 4 cms, 100% effaced but the nurse insisted baby was NOT head down. I was so disappointed because contractions were UNBEARABLE and I thought I would be much further along. They had to do an ultrasound to confirm that baby was head down but the nurse still said she felt like the baby was posterior. In my heart, I knew she was right because of the positioning of my baby’s kicks in the last few weeks but I had asked my doctor and she said there was no way of knowing without an ultrasound and until labor.
Laboring at the Hospital
They checked me in, and while I waited for my doctor they got my heplock set up. I didn’t want to get into bed as I couldn’t manage the contractions laying down or sitting. My husband had to leave to pick up my son from school early and take him back home so he could be back in time for what we thought would be a natural birth. I tried to manage my contractions with the help of my Doula but I couldn’t handle the pain so I asked for morphine which was the only pain medication they offered other than the epidural. All morphine did was make me dizzy which made dealing with the contractions MUCH harder. When I think about it right now, I don’t know why Doula & husband & I all forgot about the labor tub the hospital had in the bathroom. Even the doctor and nurse didn’t offer it and when I think about it now, it makes me really upset.
My doctor came in and said that if I needed it, I could get the epidural. She didn’t want to do a cervical check as everything looked ok. When my husband got back from school I discussed it with him looked to him for approval to get the epidural. I was exhausted from 6 days of labor, the nurse said I was dehydrated (they had a very hard time drawing blood) and I seemed really weak. So even though it was against my birth plan, I got the epidural around 11:30 am.
I felt immediate relief, and my doctor came in and asked for me to use a peanut ball to help progress the labor as I was 6 cms by then. She also broke my water to help move the baby into better engagement. She then said something that I heard from afar (since I was high on morphine and sleepy from the epidural). I heard her say (my husband confirmed it later) that she didn’t tell us but she “may have done a little stretching to get things going faster” when I saw her the day before at my appointment. This made me so upset, because everything happened SO fast right after the appointment but since I was progressing I didn’t feel the need to say anything.
I got a tiny bit of sleep but was super dehydrated and exhausted. I was laying on my side using a peanut ball to get things moving and the nurse and my OB said my contractions were great and I should rest and when I felt like I needed to push to let them know which was music to my ears!
A little while later my baby was having decals and they would keep dropping to like 100 when I had a contraction. My contractions were strong and I felt movement and pressure even with the epidural but somehow my baby was having decals. So they just moved me over to the left side and that’s when it got worse. They then realized with another cervical check that my baby was posterior as they kept touching the nose and eyes the moment they did the cervical check and the chin was upwards. That made it hard for her to try moving the babys head a little to get him more into a better position for me to push. My baby was in brow presentation and from what the nurse said she has never seen a case like this at their hospital and there was no way I could push because if baby came down with its chin that way, it could cause severe damage. According to Baby Center, Brow presentation is a rare complication, which affects only one in every 500 to one in every 1,400 births.
They still gave me time and moved me from side to side and did another cervical check a few hours later to try move the baby’s head. Around 4 pm (I had been in the hospital for 7 hours by then), my OB came over and spoke to me and explained the risks of delivering the baby this way. She suggested doing a repeat C-section even though this wasn’t the route I wanted to take but there was nothing we could do to change the situation. I was gutted and needed time to process everything and discuss with my husband and Doula. We did our research and I asked a few of my VBAC sources, and my birth coach as well. My doctor said that I could wait a few hours but if I did she wouldn’t be able to do the c-section as she would leave at 7 pm. This put me under more pressure.
About 5 pm, I decided not to risk it and do the c-section. I could have waited another few hours or got on to all fours but there was a risk baby’s neck would move the wrong way. Something deep down inside me told me I tried my hardest for my VBA2C and I had to look out for the baby. I was also super exhausted after a 9-month fight of a VBAC journey and got this far so I decided that if I were to do the surgery it had to go my way.
I made sure to tell the OB exactly what I wanted from the c-section, i.e to hold & see him when the baby was born, not to be knocked out, for photos to be taken of us, for my Hubby to tell me the sex (since it was a surprise) and to go home as early as possible.
She agreed to my terms and the surgery preparation was the smoothest & least traumatic I ever had. I felt respected, cared for and supported and this was so helpful in my healing process. My husband got to witness the whole surgery, I saw my baby as soon as they pulled him out. He had a HUGE swollen bump on his forehead from pushing against my pelvis the wrong way AND he had the cord around his neck. So from what we saw there could have been damage from allowing labor to progress further. I didn’t get to hold him as I wanted but I did get a (not so great) photo of him next to me after birth. So yet again for the 3rd time, I didn’t experience skin-to-skin immediately and this was very upsetting.
Recovery & Postpartum
My recovery was really rough compared to my other surgeries. I think mostly due to having 2 toddlers at home. It’s been exactly 4 months since the birth and I have healed but I am super weak and have started a fitness program to start to feel healthy and get my body back after 3 surgeries in 4 years.
I guess you could say I am at peace with the decision I made although the scenarios keep playing in my head. The What-If’s, and why my doctor did a sweep without my consent and whether I would have progressed if I used the tub. I will never know, but what I do know is that I have a beautiful baby boy who is truly a blessing and brings complete joy to my heart every time I see him.
Despite the end result, I am happy I was able to advocate for myself for this birth. If you are preparing for a VBAC and want to see the Birth Plan I used please enter your details below to subscribe to our mailing list to get the printable emailed to you – >
This Visual Birth Plan will make it easy for the staff to understand your needs. After years of research, I can safely say I know that doing all these things in my VBAC Preparation Check-List helped me go into labor on my own.