Sure enough, at nearly exactly the same time I woke up to my water breaking with Austin, I woke up around 4:00 a.m. to terrible contractions. They were not mild anymore, they were the kind that rip through your hips and abs like a meat grinder, and had me shooting out of bed.
I woke up Ben to tell him how I was feeling as I paced our bedroom deep breathing. At that moment my water started breaking, not a gush, like with Austin, but it was definitely breaking.
I called the on call number for my OB practice and immediately started to freak out when they told me none of the doctors in my practice were on call. What?! How could this happen?? Well, on very rare occasions (and I knew this was the case, my practice kept me well informed on this) if all of the doctors in my practice have the weekend off, there are a group of fill in doctors on call to cover for them. It only happens a handful of times a year, and this was one of them.
Admittingly, I lost my shit at this point. I told Ben that if they wouldn't let me VBAC, I would walk out of the hospital. "I'll do it! I'll just leave!" Yeah, not sure where I was going to go...
Anyway, when the doctor on call called me back, she was very nice, told me of course they'd be okay with a VBAC if that was the birth plan, and to come in to the hospital and get checked out and we'd review things.
Ben woke up my mom to let her know what was happening, and I gobbled down a bowl of Rice Chex and a Snickers I had set aside for when I went into labor (seriously) and we headed out.
The 20 minute or so drive to the hospital was nice on the empty early Sunday morning highway, except for every few minutes when i would have a huge, painful contraction. It made me happy that my body was obviously laboring on it's own, which is a great thing for qualifying for a VBAC, but my goodness, did it hurt.
When we arrived, we quickly got into triage (oh, and the parking garage was closed for cleaning, so Ben had to park nearly a half mile away and hoof it into the hospital with all my stuff after dropping me off), and met the on call doctor. She was nice, told me I was three centimeters after checking me... and then told me she was off at 7:00 and another doctor would be in shortly. WHAT?!?
"I'm sure she's fine with you VBACing," she said.
"She damn well better be," I thought as I scowled in disgust.
The new doctor arrived not twenty minutes later, and it was like God knew what he was doing when he had her on call that day. She was awesome. She told me her criteria for a VBAC (progressing mainly on your own, but could have a small dose of pitocin, went into labor on your own, baby reacting well, and no pressure in my scar area). She was very reassuring and made me feel great about things.
We got into labor and delivery, met our nurses (there were several, and this gave me anxiety that I didn't have just one, and I had a minor breakdown about this until our assigned nurse came back to be with just us), and I received an epidural that went SO much better than my very painful one with Austin. The needle hardly hurt at all, and brought immediate relief.
Ben and I took naps on and off, and I was checked again after a couple hours, where they found I was making no progress, and the baby's heart rate was starting to drop. My doctor told me, "I have a three strikes rule for VBACs, I can't be as liberal with letting baby go through possible trauma in these situations, this is strike one."
|The one picture I took during labor, Ben napping|
After a couple hours, I started to get really intense contractions that I could feel, even through the epidural, all over my left side. It was awful. I was on my side, gripping the bed rail, while Ben stood next to me, and I tried to breath. The contractions felt like they were ongoing, with no break.
This went on for over an hour, and from what I know of labor, it was clear I was going through transition. Sure enough, when my doctor came back to check me, she said words that were music to my ears, "you're at ten (centimeters), lets get ready to push!"
I was so relieved to hear this, I had gone from three to ten centimeters in just a couple of hours, and had a chance to deliver my baby vaginally!
Pushing started, and was harder than I thought it would be. I pushed and pushed for nearly an hour, making little progress. The doctor and nurse were determined to help me push this baby out though, and, which I appreciated, so they tried putting a mirror up to motivate me, but it only weirded me out. They also had me do extra pushes during each contraction, still not a lot of progress, after every push, the baby's head would creep back up, and I was getting exhausted from all the work, and had to put back on oxygen between each round of pushes.
In total, I ended up pushing for two and a half hours. The next day my back, shoulders, arms and leg muscles all hurt from the effort of those pushes. I compared pushing, to swimming a bunch of laps, a full body workout!
I was feeling so defeated and very tired at this point in labor. Then, the doctor decided to not have me lay back down between pushes, but keep my legs up in between contractions, and that made all the difference. Progress, finally!
It was at this point my OB came in and sat with me, and told me she would be there through the end of my labor unless something else urgent came up, and told me the second best words I heard all day (besides that I had a healthy child), "you're going to deliver this baby vaginally, it's going to happen."
I burst into happy tears.
From here things are a blur, I remember my doctor saying to know it was getting close when she put on her mask and shoe covers. Since we didn't know the gender, she told us she would lift the baby's leg after she placed it on my chest for Ben to announce the gender.
Minutes later, Ben was telling me, "The baby's coming! It's coming out!" The guy who always said he'd stay "north of the border," was watching his child be born in anticipation. And in a whirlwind, suddenly a baby was on my chest, a screaming, white covered, red little human, and they said, "Tell her what it is Dad!" But he didn't have to tell me, it was plain as day staring back and me, and we both said loudly, "It's a...BOY!!"
Again I was a blubbering mess of happy tears as I helped wipe off my son with a flannel blanket while he laid on my chest. I remarked how he looked like Austin, and my heart felt so full. Two boys, less than two years a part, that I hope will be life long friends.
They weighed, measured and did Everett's apgar tests, and returned him to my chest. It felt so great to get to hold my baby right after birth, instead of waiting to get to the recovery room like with a c-section.
Six weeks into Everett's life, and my heart is still so full. I am more tired than I ever knew possible with a night owl newborn, and a toddler who gets up by 8:00 every day (and I know how lucky we are to have him sleep that late), but I love these boys so much.
|Austin and Everett meeting for the first time, and Austin showing us that Everett has a nose (right after he ripped his hat off)|
|Cooper guarding the door, and his littlest brother|
Six Weeks Old