Planning for a "normal" birthing time (AKA labour and delivery) is somewhat challenging, you have preferences of how and where you want to have a baby, whether or not you want drugs for pain, how you want the baby to be treated when they arrive, etc. I was planning what they call a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) because David was delivered through a cesarean section because I was told that was just how it had to be because he was breech and had no education around what my options were. For this pregnancy and delivery, I was determined to have it differently than the last and know what my options were ahead of time and make educated decisions on everything that comes up. We decided to take a Hypnobabies prenatal class to prepare us for the birth of our baby. Hypnobabies is a way of reprogramming our minds to think positive about birthing a baby and teaches us how to use self hypnosis relaxation techniques that will help to get through the birthing time. It's a little known fact that birthing babies is not easy, hence why it is called "labour", and this class better prepares you for the work that is ahead. It is wider known from stories you hear that birthing babies is very painful and this scares many of us women about what is to come. The unknown is scary, so hypnobabies helps to take the unknown out of the equation. I wanted to have a "normal" drug free VBAC, that was my preference but as with many things in life, it did not go as planned.
Hunter Wilson Bennett joined us on September 25, 2012 at 7:52am after 32 hours of labour that started at 1am on Monday morning. It was a very long road for both myself and Clayton. He was 6 days late and weighed 9 pounds 7.5 ounces. He was not in a favorable position for birthing and my labour started out in my back that is known as "back labour" and got progressively more intense as the night went on.
Labouring at home went pretty well, we used hypnobabies techniques to relax and breathe through pressure waves (AKA contractions) however some waves were so intense that they made me vomit, I wasn't expecting that. Clayton helped by reading hypnobabies scripts, getting me to relax through each wave and timing them, he got me water and snacks. We stayed home until 6:30am when we decided to go to the hospital for an assessment. At 7:30am, they sent me home because I was only dilated 1cm and the baby was not in a good position. We went home and continued using relaxation techniques to try and breathe through the pressure in my back.
I got into the bathtub because it gave me a little break from the intensity of the pressure in my back but I think this slowed down any progress. Baby still wasn't moving from the position he was in from the beginning. We decided to head back to the hospital. I was assessed around 4:30pm and was dilated 3cm and baby had not moved. This news was very discouraging after 14.5 hours, however we got settled into our room and prepared for another long night.
Every other pressure wave was very intense in my back and I would have a short break in between. It was around this time that I was offered gas to take the edge off the pressure, I took the gas to see if it worked. It did take the edge off the smaller less intense ones however, not the more intense ones. It also helped regulate my breathing through them but I was getting very tired and on the verge of giving up. We had a hot bath that gave me a little break. My midwife suggested we try acupuncture to see if that would get baby to move, we thought we would give it a try and an acupuncturist that was also a doula came to the hospital to do some work. Some of the intensity was taken away by acupuncture but not totally which I was hoping it would.
Another assessment took place and I was around 4cm dilated, baby still had not changed his position. It was around 8:30pm, I had a good cry, talked to Clayton and decided that plans had to change and we discussed what our options were for pain management. My midwife, nurse and Clayton felt that I had given it a good go so far, I on the other hand felt like I was giving up and was feeling a little proud to turn to pain medication but didn't think I could go any further without it. I needed to rest and build up my stamina to push this baby out and Clayton also needed a rest, so we opted for the epidural. In the meantime, I was given a couple shots of fentenol until the anesthesiologist could get there. Once I was given the epidural, my water was broken, oxytocin was started and we were able to rest... I could still feel the back pressure waves but they were nowhere near as intense.
At midnight, my nurse went for her break and the relief nurse checked on my "blocks" before my nurse left. She thought that my epidural was too high up my chest and proceeded to turn down my epidural. My nurse told her that she talked to the anesthesiologist and not to turn it lower than 10. When my nurse returned, the pressure was returning in my back and due to oxytocin, were more intense than they were before the epidural started. Unfortunately, the relief nurse had turned the epidural too low and the freezing had went away on half of my body, including half of the cervix that was swollen on one side and dilated to about 8cm. Baby was finally in a better position but resting was not an option, the epidural was not working anymore and the nurse couldn't get it back to what it was. The anesthesiologist had to be called back to fix it. By the time it was somewhat regulated again, I was starting to feel pushy, my midwife arrived to assess and I began pushing around 6:30am. I felt everything that was happening, I got up in a squatting position and was given a birthing chair to sit on. The waves were intense and difficult to the point where I didn't want to do it anymore. I would get discouraged every wave because it would feel like he was coming out but the wave would end and he was not there. It was very hard for me to keep going, but at the same time I just wanted it to end.
Hunter arrived at 7:52am and was immediately placed on my chest... I was so relieved to have him out and the next few minutes were a blur. Our relief and happiness that he was here turned to fear and sadness when our baby wasn't breathing on his own. The nurse pressed a button and we were warned alot of people were going to enter the room... about 8 nurses came in at once and took baby away to the big contraption in the corner. As one nurse took him, I saw he was a boy and told them his name was Hunter, the next couple minutes seemed like forever as the nurses helped him breathe on his own by giving him oxygen and massaging his chest. He started to cry and we were happy all over again that he was ok, he was brought back over to me and Clayton and I were crying tears of joy as we looked at our boy who was looking back at us. We were told he did have a heart beat, he just needed some help to take his first breath... I would never wish that on anyone, it was the scariest moment of my life fearing my baby boy was not going to breathe.
So, overall, I did get to have a VBAC, it was not how I "planned" it but it was all totally worth it no matter how haywire it went. Hunter is a beautiful little man that Clayton, David and I are so happy to have in our lives.