My providers started discussing a c-section around 34 weeks or so even though I had already had two successful VBACs. This time, I had gone to 41 weeks and two days, my longest pregnancy yet, and I was beginning to get nervous. My doctors would “not allow” me to go past 42 weeks and I was quickly approaching that number. I was barely one centimeter and her head was still at a -3. Although nervous, I prayed and trusted my body to do what it was created to do.
I went to bed around midnight and awakened at 4 am on October 29th with very painful contractions about 8-10 minutes apart. Was this it? I was not sure because even though this was my fourth baby, my labor patterns are never regular and I am never certain. I was unable to sleep through the contractions, so I bounced and rotated on my birthing ball. When my husband woke up for work around 5:30, I told him this could be the day and to stick close to a phone.
Around 9 am, I was pretty certain I was in labor and called my doula. We texted back and forth throughout the rest of the day. Although my contractions were coming between four and seven minutes apart for hours at this point, I wanted to spend as much time as I could at home to increase my odds of a successful vaginal birth. I also knew, for me, labor would likely be an all day event. Around 4:30 pm, I asked my husband to try to come home. Up until that point, I had been caring for my toddler while laboring and it was beginning to be too difficult to continue caring for her while I was contracting. He got home about two hours later and watched the three older kids, finished the dinner that I had started and cleaned up while I continued to bounce on the ball.
Around this time, my contractions began to slow down and the birthing ball began to annoy me. I decided to take a bath to take a little of the sting out of the contractions. It helped quite a bit. Over the next hour, they went from five minutes apart, to ten to sixteen minutes apart. Just as I began thinking I may have gotten everyone excited for nothing, my water broke. Contractions started coming every two minutes, lasting for about a minute. It was after 11:00 pm and I decided to head to the hospital. I sent my doula a final text and she agreed to meet me there.
I got to the hospital and everyone thought I was pretty far along. When the nurse checked me, I was 5 cm. I was so disappointed because I did not want to get to the hospital that early. When the doctor came in five minutes later, I was 7 cm and I was so relieved. I had done the hard part at home and the next few centimeters should go just as quickly as those two had. This, however, would not be the case.
My contractions were coming back to back and very painful. They kept trying to offer me an epidural. I was so proud of myself for being able to refuse without the support of my doula, since she had not made it yet. The doctor checked me again and I was at a 9. I felt a need to push a few minutes later. They checked me again and I was at an 8. I could not believe it. I cried; I was just at a 9. I had never heard of that before.
My doula arrived a few minutes later. Eventually, I got to a 9, but I had a cervical lip that would not go away. We tried lying on my side. The doctor even tried manually getting rid of the lip and nothing worked. I sat at a 9 for another hour and they continued to offer pain meds. I continued to decline them. Eventually, I told them I was pushing regardless because she wanted to come out. They called the doctor back in and he let me push with the lip. I began pushing and she came down. In between pushes, she would come out on her own. Our little girl was ready to be born and nothing would stop her now.
I pushed a total of five or six times and she was out. Our 7 pound 2 ounce baby girl had arrived at 2:02 am October 30th and she was just as beautiful as her siblings. I was so proud. I was proud of the fact that I fought for my VBAC. I was proud that I was my biggest advocate and her biggest advocate. I was proud that I had an epidural free labor. I was proud of the fact that she was here. My hard work had gotten her here and now we would begin the rest of our lives together. I got my third VBAC, but more importantly, I got my healthy baby girl.