October 30, 2014

My Journey to the VBAC not meant to be

When I got pregnant this time around I knew I wanted to do things differently.  With the twins I think I believed a C-section was inevitable.  I tried for a vaginal birth, but I think I never really believed I could do it.  So when we hit a few hiccups we had a c-section.  I don't think I realized then how much that would follow me around for the rest of my life.  The twins birth story really set the stage for this uphill battle that happened during my pregnancy with Judah.

After having the twins, birth and birth stories became something I really enjoyed learning about.  I did so much research and heard so many birth stories, so when we learned I was pregnant we knew we wanted things to be different.  Mainly I knew I wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and I wanted to have a natural birth.  To do this I knew I needed to have a great birth team.  So I started researching OBs and Midwives in my area and I asked the advice of a few like minded people I knew.  I also asked for suggestions for a doula.  I did some interviewing and settled on a birth team that I thought would give me the best shot at the birth I wanted.  I also signed us up for Bradley Method birth classes.

Now I knew going into it that getting a VBAC is not always easy because of the risk of a uterine rupture, although the risk isn't that great, it is a scary thing. So not all providers are on board. I never really thought it would be quite as challenging as it was.

The first part of the pregnancy was smooth sailing.  My provider was super on board.  I was signed up for classes and getting comfortable with our doula.  I had mild morning sickness but felt good.  I was really tired this time around, but such is the life of a pregnant working mother with twin 3 year olds.

Come the second trimester things started to get a little trickier.  I had started my birth classes and things were going good there. Then I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.  This really threw me for a while.  There was tears and calls to my doula and talks with my Bradley teacher.  I was scared what this would mean for the pregnancy I wanted.  So I saw all the specialists, pricked my finger 4 times a day, and watched my carbs and exercised.  Doing all of this my blood sugar was very controlled.  The baby grew at a good rate and I only gained 6 lbs for the whole pregnancy.  So hurdle number one was cleared.

The next hurdle came when the provider at that time told me, out of the blue, that due to my high pregnancy BMI that he wanted me to give birth at 38 weeks.  I would be allowed to VBAC, but I would not be induced.  That was really no choice.  How can you make yourself go into labor before you are ready?  This started a search for a new provider who was more willing and capable of dealing with my circumstances.  I had heard good things about a midwife a about 30 minutes away who used to do home births, but now worked in a hospital.  We went to talk to her and the OB she worked for.  Both of them heard our story and read our files and agreed to take us on and allow me to try.  They were going to let me go till 41 weeks and I instantly loved the midwife, so hurdle number two was cleared.

Part of them agreeing to let me go so far involved non stress tests, where I would be hooked up to monitors and the baby would be monitored.  These happened twice a week.  I always passed, but the baby was always so active it was hard to keep the monitor on him.  Also towards the end of my pregnancy there was some concern the baby might have turned head up so there was a sono scheduled.  At this sono they also decided to measure the baby.  When you measure at that point in the pregnancy (I was 36 or 37 weeks) the measurements can have a 30% margin of error on either side, so they are not super accurate.  The baby was measuring slightly bigger, but because of the margin of error and my Gestational Diabetes, the OB was concerned that I might have a big baby, so he scheduled my c-section.  I was really disappointed with this.  He also decided that instead of nonstress tests I would get weekly sonos to check on the babies.  The next couple sonos measured the baby smaller, so I asked if we could move the c-section date.  He let me, which helped me over come my last hurdle to a VBAC.

I went into labor on my own 2 days after the original c-section was scheduled. The final hurdle to my VBAC was given to my by the baby.  The baby was OP, which meant he was face up.  This involved lots of very painful back labor because he was not positioned correctly.  But I tried.  With out any medication I got to a 10 and I pushed for an hour and a half.  He just wasn't going to come because of his positioning.  So that is when the OB said we should have a c-section.

So no, I did not have the VBAC I tried so hard for, but I am very at peace with Judah's birth experience because I know I did all I could.  From all the steps I took during the pregnancy to the natural labor until that very last minute.  I did everything naturally except push that baby past my pelvis.  But in the end baby Judah got here safely and I have no complaints.  I feel good about all the decisions that were made and that I didn't give up when there were road blocks.  I must also say that this could not have happened with out the support of my doula and my birth teacher.  They were amazing sources of support and knowledge.  I could not have cleared the first couple hurdles with out them.

So my journey to a VBAC may have fallen just short of the goal, but it got me to the end my baby and I needed.  I learned a lot about the birth process and a lot about myself.  Plus the end was with this amazing little guy.  Nothing can be wrong with that.



  1. What a great birth story, Mary. I'm so glad you are at peace with how things turned out and glad that Judah arrived safe and sound!

  2. You are so incredible. I can't wait to talk about it in person!


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