He’s here! He’s finally here! My sweet baby boy, Hudson Maverick, finally arrived after 16 hours of labor on November 1st weighing in at 7lbs 4oz & 19″ long. And, he is beyond perfect. My labor & delivery was just as perfect. Perfect for me. Every mama has their birth-story and though mine is no more special than anyone else, my story is a story of determination & success that I hope to inspire other moms with.
Hudson was born though a successful VBAC – vaginal birth after cesarean section. For those who are unfamiliar with VBACs, I’ll give you some brief information… The national success rate for VBAC’s is in the low 70%. There is no one factor that may make someone a candidate or not. There are contributing factors for one’s success – or unsuccessful attempt – and those vary per mom, doctor, and situation. And, there are risks involved, too. The biggest risk is a possible uterine rupture. Scary, I know. I want to make sure that I am clear in one thing moving forward; I am not here to tell someone whether or not they are a candidate or whether or not they should make the decision to attempt a VBAC; those are decisions for you and your doctor. I just want to tell my story as I am a big advocate of them and now, as a success story.
I knew the moment I heard the words “…This isn’t going to work. You’re going to need a C-Section…” when in labor with my daughter, Poppy, that my next baby would NOT be born via c-section, also. Yes. While in labor – an unsuccessful one at that – I was thinking about more babies already. I am crazy. I know. Poppy was finally delivered via emergency c-section after 12 hours of labor & 2 hours of pushing. She was sunny-side-up (face-up) and got stuck on my pelvic bone and would not budge. After 2-hours of pushing I heard the dreaded words. I sobbed and sobbed, and sobbed some more. I remember the moment my eyes met my husbands and we both had the same look of sadness & disappointment. This was not what we expected. This was not what I wanted. Sadly, there was no other option. She had to get out and she was not coming out vaginally. I pleaded relentlessly to let me try pushing more but ultimately, her health & safety was most important. I cried the entire duration of the surgery. I cried during my recovery. And I cried for a couple of days after. My tears were mixed with so many emotions; joy for my beautiful healthy daughter, sadness for the unsuccessful birth I had planned, disappointment in myself, and fear that this would mean all of my babies would have to be born via c-section. And, to add salt to the wound, I recall my OBGYN performing my surgery and saying “once a c-section, always a c-section”. Good-timing, doc. I had a perfect pregnancy with her and I wanted a ‘perfect’ birth, too. The emergency c-section was not what I considered perfect. Don’t get me wrong; there is NOTHING wrong with having a c-section. It was just not what I wanted for myself.
From the birth of Poppy forward I researched & read about Vbac’s on a regular basis. I made it very clear to all of those around me that I was determined to have my next baby naturally. And determination is all it takes for me. The moment that I found out I was pregnant again (exactly 12 months later) I sought out a new OBGYN who came highly recommended because of his success rate at Vbacs. If I was going to do this I needed all of the help & support I could get and the right doctor was just the start. Upon meeting with the doctor he assured me that if he felt I was a good candidate he would do whatever it took to help me make this happen. I liked that attitude. I needed that attitude. I am a “make-it-happen” kind of girl and this instance was no exception. Unfortunately, I never got a strong feeling that he felt I was a good candidate. He never came out and said one way or another and kept telling me “We have to wait and see”. That, I did not like. I am a planner. I am organized. I am a Type-A personality border-line control-freak. I needed to know that I WAS a candidate. I needed to hear that YES, I would be able to try to push this baby out (operative word being try). And, I never got that from him. I was quickly approaching the full-term mark and was really really needing to have a plan intact for this birth. Finally, I got the plan; we’d do a sonogram at the next appointment and if the baby were face-up, I’d have a scheduled c-section and if he were face-down, I’d be induced to attempt a natural childbirth. That sonogram was 1 week away. Never in my life did 1 week seem like it was so far away! But, I never made it to that sonogram appointment. I went into labor the next day at 38 weeks.
Going into labor was pretty different this time around. My contractions started around 6pm on Halloween and though they were bearable and inconsistent at that point they slowly became less bearable and more-consistent as the evening passed. I was unsure if this was “true labor” as I never did the whole timing-of-contractions with Poppy. With her, my water broke at midnight and that was a pretty easy and clear sign I was in labor and had to go to the hospital. This time I was using an app on my phone to time my contractions as I sat in bed next to my husband whom I am certain thought I was just over-reacting. Finally around 9:45 I just knew this was real labor and I called my doctor and found out he was out-of-town. The doctor that I sought-out, pulled strings to get into his office, and ‘needed’ for my successful vbac was out-of-town. Dude. What are the odds? The on-call doctor was a bit wacky and told me that despite my minute-long contractions every 6 minutes for a couple of hours, I should go shower and go to sleep. Are you kidding me??? I hung up. I sat on my bed. In pain. Counting & timing contractions. And cursing this wacky doctor whom I was certain had one-too-many Halloween cocktails. Sidenote; it ends up this doctor wasn’t drunk but apparently isn’t someone you want to wake-up in the middle of the night and carry on a conversation with. Cut to an hour later. I called the doctor back. I told him that the pain intensified and timing increased. I was going in. He finally agreed – albeit reluctantly. As a matter of fact, my husband also seemed reluctant to take me! He says I have really bad timing when I go into labor before my due-dates because it never coincides with a good time for work. I think I told him something in response to this…but I’ll keep this PG =) Once at the hospital they hooked me up to all of the monitors & checked me. Such a pleasant experience. I hadn’t made any progress since my last doctors appointment; 3cm dilated & 75& effaced. The same since 36 weeks. I was now at 38 weeks. The on-call doctor gave them instructions to have me walk around for an hour to see if I progressed at all because he did not want to admit me since I was not in “true-labor”. So, we walked. Lap after lap around the labor and delivery ward. They checked me again; minimal progress. I was told to rest for 30 minutes than walk around for another 45. Did that. Progressed .5 centimeter. Still not getting admitted. This doctor was quickly becoming my least-favorite person. Finally, God had mercy on me & my water broke. 3.5 hours after arriving at the hospital, I was finally admitted. After my water broke the contractions quickly intensified. And holy hell, did they. I was having back labor again – which almost always indicates a face-up baby. I was panicked. No, No, NO. I cannot have another face-up baby, dammit! I finally gave in and got an epidural around 6am when the contractions were just no longer bearable. The first attempt at my epidural didn’t take so they had to remove it and do it again. Fun times. I kept letting the epidural wear off because I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to feel anything while trying to push Hudson out and that it would impair my ability to do it. The nurses kept telling to me to up the epidural so that it would save me the energy and pain. I kept giving in to their advice. I was very fortunate that I didn’t need any pitocin because I was progressing on my own. Finally around 1pm they said I was ready to start pushing. By this point, I had let my epidural start wearing off again. I had to push for almost an hour while laying on my right side because he was turned sideways and the doctor said that it would help him rotate to be fully face-down. The doctors that were there to help me were SO supportive and kept telling me “we’re going to do whatever it takes to make this happen for you”. It was amazing. So, if they said to push while standing on my head, I would have done it. So, after pushing on my side for almost an hour, I was able to rest for about 45 minutes. Than, I was able to get back into position and the real pushing began. My epidural had almost completely worn off by this point and I was able to feel everything. I was good with the pushing the first 45 minutes. After that, I was losing steam quickly. The pain was pretty bad, the pressure was awful, and my desire to get the baby out and be done with this was intense. I had my husband, sister, and mom all in the room with me and they were the perfect supportive team I needed. My husband knew how badly I wanted this and knew the perfect things to say to push me further and further to do this. I needed his support and encouragement the most. I swear it’s what got me through the times that I just wanted to stop and give up. The nurses were awesome, too. They supported and encouraged me – a complete stranger – as though I was their own daughter. I had quite the team with me. I kept pushing. Pushing myself to go on and Pushing this baby out. It was finally time to call the doctors in. My OBGYN came in along with a team from the NICU for Hudson. I had developed a very high fever and infection while in labor which put the baby at risk. So he had his own team coming in just for him. The doctor finally came in and was putting his covers on and taking his sweet ‘ol time. When a woman is in pain and trying to push a baby out the last thing you should do is act totally nonchalant. At one point the doctor, standing casually between my legs not doing anything as I am pushing like crazy, asked a nurse for shoe-covers. I about lost it. I actually said to him “Dude, we don’t have time for shoe covers!” He laughed and said “Ok, I’m just waiting for you”. I definitely responded but I don’t recall what exactly I said. 4 pushes later (almost 2 hours of pushing altogether) and I hear my husband say “Oh my god! You did it! He’s out! You did it!”. I don’t think it really registered until they held the baby up and I saw him for the first time. I did it. I really did it. I was in shock. It was such a surreal moment. Our baby boy, Hudson Maverick, was born! My husband was crying, my mom & sister were crying, lord knows I was a sobbing mess. All, with tears of joy. To this day, it still seems unreal to me. Hudson quickly got whisked off and taken to the NICU to run some tests and start his antibiotics. He had to stay there for 6 hours but we were able to visit him. He was perfectly healthy, thank God.
The doctor got me all cleaned up and comfortable and I was able to rest a bit and hang out with everyone before getting transferred to my room. The recovery was quick, easy, and relatively painless. I wasn’t in a room by myself like last time. I wasn’t shaking uncontrollably like last time. And, I wasn’t sobbing like last time. What a contrast. I was so proud of myself. I was so excited. I was so happy. I was happy that I was successful, I was happy that I had such a great team helping me along, and I was so excited that my recovery was going to be great and make life with a newborn and a 20-month old so much easier. And so happy for my baby & my little family.
My experience wasn’t perfect. But the ending was. And that is what matters.
Our sweet Poppy Ireland came the next day to meet her baby brother, Hudson, and my heart truly melted. I am such a lucky mommy. I have 2 beautiful & healthy babies. I have a husband who supports me and loves me no matter how crazy I am. And the cherry on top; I got the birth that I wanted this time.
Life is amazing.