When I got pregnant, I knew a lot of things were up in the air with how this baby might arrive. Having a previous c-section and placenta previa with 2 of my 3 pregnancies, the odds were really not in my favor to attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean). We were shocked at the 20 week ultrasound that the placenta was well out of the way (no placenta previa! Yay!)And so excited to find out we were having another girl! So my chances went up to attempt a VBAC. I talked to my doctor about it and really did my research about VBAC’s. Surprisingly the chance of my uterus rupturing was .3%. So very very low. But the percentage of women that actually attempt a VBAC is less than 50%, which I was surprised by. Plus I had a few restrictions, like induction was not really a route we wanted to take. And I really really wanted to go natural. My doctor was very on board with both.
So I studied some more about different methods to use etc. Pretty much you just needed your body to be limp so you don’t wear yourself out too fast, and you need to distract yourself while in labor. I talked with some of my friends that have experience with natural child birth; one of my friends highly recommended a doula (a birth coach). Brian wasn’t too keen on it at first because he thought he was getting pushed out of the process. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! My friend Summer is a doula, she lives in our neighborhood and we’ve known her for years. Brian was ok with her, since she’s a friend. I kept most of this information to myself. I didn’t want a ton of people to know I wanted to try a natural childbirth. I felt like there was a lot of negative feelings I would get from other people. Plus I was not in the mood to be told I was crazy, which happened in the beginning. So I just kept my plans to myself and a few people. All I wanted was happy positive feelings.
Summer, Ann, & Alice
As we got closer to my due date, it seemed I stopped growing. I went in for an ultrasound and the baby was measuring right where she needed to be, she was just starting to descend into the birth canal so it looked like I wasn’t growing when really I was. July 15th, my due date came and went and I was still pregnant. I was doing everything to try and get my body to start labor. Walking, running, meditation, pressure points on my feet, castor oil, (which is supposed to give you terrible diarrhea, I tried it 4 times! And got nothing. I guess I have bowels of steel!) My doctor stripped my membranes a few times too. Grandpa Glen even put my name on the Temple prayer list, so sweet! But nothing happened.
Finally, 5 days past my due date my doctor offered an induction. (I love my doctor; he’s not the type who will tell you how it is. He will give his recommendation, and let you make the choice.) But they would do this induction a little bit different. They would break my water when I got to the hospital and let me walk around for about an hour. Brian and I walked about 3 miles on the labor and delivery floor. Then hooked me up to the monitors and see if anything had started. Still nothing, so they gave me one more hour and we walked another 3 miles. Still nothing! So they hooked me up to Pitocin, (normally with inductions they will give you Pitocin on a scale of 1-4. Most women get a 4, which is “punch you in the face, you’re in labor! Really really hard contractions.” But they started me on a 1, to reduce the chance the scar on my uterus would rupture.) Contractions started for an hour or so, but still nothing major, so they bumped it up to a 2. Then things really started to pick up. In the beginning, I was able to talk and watch some Netflix. But eventually I started to get quieter and going into “the zone.” Trying my best to stay relaxed and limp. Summer would hold my hand and rub my arms and keep encouraging me. It was so crazy/interesting how much the power of “touch” helped calm me and comfort me. Brian was given the assignment of pushing on my hips when I had a contraction. All these months I prepped myself for this birth I would relax in the tub, or in the recliner. Always sitting up, thinking that’s the position I wanted to be in when I was in labor. But when it came down to it, I was laying down on my side for most of it. Summer told Brian to push my hip into the bed whenever I had a contraction. That felt so good! It really took away a lot of pain and discomfort. Summer was on the other side of the bed squeezing my hand every contraction (I know it was weird but it worked for me so they just went with it.) There were a few times Brian didn’t get a chance to push my hip in time before the contraction and I could really feel a difference without him. The whole time they just kept talking to me, saying words of encouragement. I could feel Alice nudging her way into the birth canal. That sort of freaked me out, but by that point I knew it wouldn’t be much longer. When I was about an 8 Brian and Summer asked if they could shut the Pitocin off and see if my body could take over and finish the rest. Toward the end, right before I started pushing I had some really intense contractions. It was so nice to have my “team” there always encouraging me. I pushed for about 15 minutes, that’s the longest I’ve pushed with any of my kids. My doctor was trying to give me time to stretch. Pushing was the most intense part for me. I pushed so hard I could feel my face turning red and my lips wanting to pop off! Poor Summer even got some wonderful birth gook splattered on her from my pushing. But after her head came out I felt so much relief. From the time they started the Pitocin to when she was born, it only took 5 hours. I was so thankful it went so fast.
They put her on my stomach and I just stared in shock and amazement at our sweet little girl. I don’t remember delivering the placenta, later I asked Brian if I did. He just chuckled at me and reassured me that I did. I do remember Brian giving me the biggest kiss right after Alice was born. He was beaming with pride for me, knowing this was something I had wanted to achieve for a long time. Summer gave me the biggest hug, and was so excited for me. The doctor had to check my scar on the uterus to make sure it was still intact and strong, THAT was so painful. I was so glad to have Alice on my stomach to distract me. When he started stitching me up, because I did tear a little, they wanted to take Alice to weigh her etc. I told them no, she was my distraction from all the poking. All the staff at IMC was so wonderful and supportive. We had a great nurse (Laura) who was willing to work with us, and Dr. Rappleye who was so great to let me have the birth I wanted. When they moved me to my recovery room it was so strange to be able to walk to the wheel chair. Later that night I got to help with the bath because I wasn’t numb and tied to the bed. I had so many nurses excited or surprised I was a VBAC and I did it naturally. I guess this is not a common thing.
Alice has been such a wonderful baby; it’s amazing how much she just fits into our family of 6. This whole experience was a slight roller coaster, but so wonderful and worth it in the end.
Alice Kaylee Wells
Born: July 20th, 2013
8 lbs. 5 oz.
21 inches long