Beautiful: The VBA2C Birth of Rachel

Rachel Kathleen, 8lb10oz, 21.5", Aug 9 2013
Our beautiful little girl Rachel Kathleen has joined the family! I ended up not going with the natural birth I'd planned, but it went perfectly.

Rachel was due August 23rd. Because I started my school semester on the 21st I really hoped she would make her entrance a few weeks sooner. Not only that but I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy and they don't like you going overdue if you have that. So my midwife agreed to try doing a membrane sweep at my appointment when I was 37w5d. It made me have some contractions and feel very crampy but that was it, so I went back the next day for another sweep, which also gave me crampy sporadic contractions. The cramping and contractions died down by bedtime that day and when I woke up on Friday the 9th at 38 wks, there was nothing at all going. I really felt that labor was not going to happen that day.


That afternoon I had to go pick up one of my foster sisters so she could stay at our house for the weekend while my mom was out of town. A few minutes after I got home with her I headed up to the bathroom and suddenly had a few small gushes of fluid. At first I thought I just took too long getting to the bathroom, but after I finished up my business and got changed and headed downstairs I had a few more gushes and started to believe my water had broken. It was about 2:15pm. This was a surprise to me as I've never had my water break until well into active labor/transition. I let Hubby know and told him that I wasn't having contractions yet so he could finish up at work and not to hurry. I also let my family know so that my mom and birth mom could head here from out of town and told Hubby to call my midwife (my phone had been dunked in the toilet a few days before and was dead, nice timing right?!) and to let his mom know too.

My sister Kelsey showed up with her husband and son around 4pm. I finished grabbing a few things for my hospital bag that was already packed and then they watched my kids while I hopped in the shower around 4:30 to see if I could get some consistent contractions. By the time I got out of the shower around 5 I was having contractions 4-5 mins apart. My brother and his wife had showed up by then (they were going to help watch the kids while I was in labor) and Hubby got home around 5:15. I ate a granola bar and grabbed my hospital bag and everything I was taking and we (me, Hubby, sister) left for the hospital around 6pm.

In Triage
Around 6:20 we got there, my midwife was already there for another birth and was excited to see me, and they put me in a triage room to check me and monitor contractions. I was 4cm and 80% and my water had definitely broken and contractions were about 4 mins apart. They finally moved me to a L&D room around 7:30 where I got hooked up to the monitors again and got my IV port (but no IV) put in. I sat in bed for a while, the contractions weren't too bad yet.

Passing the Time

My mom showed up soon after and we just talked and waited. Around 9 I asked to get up and walk around. I was 5cm and 90%. They hooked up the mobile monitors, but the contraction monitor would not pick up my contractions and I had to keep moving and holding the heartrate monitor because it would move out of place. I was very annoyed at the contraction monitor not working because I wanted to show them proof of how much I was hurting lol. My midwife told me the on call OB would come speak with me about vba2c risks and such, but when he came in we were in the middle of switching the monitors and he said he'd come back but never did lol. Around 9:30pm we got out the birth ball to sit on and I was hooked back up to the regular machine so at least I was able to stop holding the heartrate monitor in place, even though the contractions were still not showing up.

Sweet nurse Brooke on left, awesome midwife Julie on right
Near 10pm I could feel that I was getting close to transition. I was getting shaky and no longer wanted to go natural. I told them I wanted an epidural. I've had natural births and didn't need to prove myself to anyway, so I decided I wanted to enjoy the end of my labor instead of dreading each contractions. My nurse, Brooke, checked me and I was 6cm and 90%. She called for anesthesia and hooked up my IV to get some fluids in quickly. When the anesthesiologist came in I was in the middle of a contraction. He was asking me if I wanted the epidural strong or light. I held up a finger for him to wait a minute as I felt baby move down and my body started to push a little. I almost asked Brooke to check me again because I knew I was complete or close to it, but I decided I wanted my epidural anyway so I said nothing cuz I didn't want them to refuse for being too far along lol. Having to sit completely still while the anesthesiologist did the epidural and my body wanted to push was torture, but luckily he was very quick and the epidural took effect quickly. Each contraction got less intense until about 5 contractions in I could no longer feel them. Unfortunately I really couldn't feel anything, he had made it way stronger than I'd wanted. But I was happy to be out of pain. He put it in around 10:30 and my midwife came in around 10:45 to put in an internal monitor and found out I was ready to push.

Feeling good after the epidural

We decided to wait to push for a little bit because we were still waiting for my birth mom and mother-in-law to show up. Around 11pm my midwife said we should start pushing because Rachel's heartrate was dropping so we needed to get her out. Pushing is so much harder when you can't feel anything! Much easier to push effectively without the epidural. But they brought in a mirror so I was able to watch everything. Birth mom and mother-in-law were able to make it there while I was pushing. I finally was able to see her head and dark hair and slowly she made her way out.

Daddy assisting in the delivery

Hubby was gowned up and able to help deliver the baby with help from the midwife. Her shoulders got stuck a little so they had to push my knees way up by my head but she got unstuck quickly and at 11:30pm Hubby laid Rachel on me.

First cries and lots of vernix

She didn't cry much, was covered in thick vernix, and had a full head of hair. I helped rub her down with the nurse and talked to her as we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.

Daddy cutting the cord

Hubby was able to cut the cord and then Rachel was laid skin to skin on my chest.

Holding her skin to skin

Thrilled mommy and daddy

Her breathing was a little wet so we had to get her to cry so she could clear out her lungs, and she gave us some loud screams and sounded much better. I just held her while the placenta was delivered (which I didn't even notice) and I was cleaned up. I asked my midwife if I had any tears, and I didn't which was awesome since I tore with my other deliveries.

Getting weighed, 8lb10oz, 21..5"

 let the nurses take her for a few minutes to weight and measure. She was 8lb 10oz and 21.5"! I was shocked at her size. Not only had I measured right on track this whole time (always measured 2wks ahead with my boys) but she was 2 weeks early too. I was thinking 7.5-8lbs tops, but she surprised us. If she'd gone to her due date she would have been my biggest baby! She was brought right back to me in a few minutes and I held her and attempted nursing. It took a few minutes to get her to latch on and then she nursed for a while.

Daddy getting some cuddles in

I finally let Hubby take her around 12:20am and he held and cuddled her for about 15 mins until they took her to be checked out at the warmer for a few minutes.

Checked out perfect, Apgars 8/9

They moved us to a mom and baby room around 1am and after letting the moms and my sister hold her for a while we settled in for a short night of little rest.

Brothers meeting her for the 1st time

Because of my gestational diabetes they had to check Rachel's blood sugar levels every 6 hrs the first day, and luckily they were always fine. She was also Coombs positive, which means we have different blood types that had gotten mixed during the birth which increased her chance of getting jaundice, so they had to test her bilirubin every 8 hrs during the stay. Again, luckily they were always at the low-intermediate risk level. With all those checks plus the normal vital checks for me and her, we really were not given much time to rest lol.

Daddy's already wrapped around her little finger

But Hubby and I enjoyed the time in the hospital to just hold her and do nothing else. Anytime I wasn't nursing she was in daddy's arms, it was so sweet.

Cute bow hospital cap a sweet nurse made for her

My milk started coming in the first day and she was eating really well, except for some trouble latching on my left side. She only got down to 8lb4oz by the time we left the hospital Sunday. At her 4 day checkup to get her bilirubin tested again she was already back to 8lb7oz, and by her 2 week checkup she was 9lb3oz. So she is a great eater.

Just home from the hospital

I have been loving having her here, cuddling, dressing her up in cute outfits, and kissing her adorable face. I don't think it's just bias that she is completely adorable, a beautiful little baby girl. The boys love her so much, always wanting to hold her and give her kisses. Here are some more pictures of her from the last 2 weeks (there's a lot!):


"Trust Birth"

On many natural birth messageboards I've been to, this phrase is often said- "Trust birth". They want you to trust that your body and baby know exactly what to do and that the majority of time things will go exactly as they should. While I agree that the majority of time an unmessed with labor will go just fine, I do not agree that you can "trust" that it will.

I do not trust birth. I've had too many differing birth experiences to trust it. Only one of my births has gone according to plan, my vbac with #2. All the others did not go at all as I'd planned. Even though the twins vba2c was so quick and easy, it was still not how I'd planned and at the time was very scary because of the quickness and not getting the epidural I'd thought I'd be getting.

Birth cannot be planned. Yes, we can do our best to prepare our bodies and minds, but in the end it is very much out of our control. Things can change in an instant. This is not meant to sound scary, just that no matter how you prepare, the most important thing is to be flexible and prepare for how you will react in any scenario that comes up so that if things stop going as planned you can still feel in control of the decisions you make at the time.

Right now I'm 37.5 weeks. As the birth of our little girl gets closer (yes, a girl this time!) I've found myself getting scared. Sure I've been through all these different births, so I should be used to taking whatever comes, but because I've been through 4 very different deliveries I know just how much I have no control over what is going to happen during this one. I am planning a natural birth again, but terrified of the what-ifs. How fast will my labor be? If I'm GBS+ again when should I go in? What if I need another c-section? What if the OB on call doesn't want to stick around for a vba2c? (I'm seeing a midwife who's supportive, but an OB has to be there the whole time too and some are more supportive than others.) Who will watch my kids while I'm in the hospital? (Because my family all have very different work schedules I'm not sure who will be available depending on the time I go into labor.) What if I have another fast labor and don't make it to the hospital and something goes wrong at home/in the car? What if my baby's blood sugar goes too low after birth and she has to go to the nursery instead of stay with me? (I have GD this time.) Will baby be born before my school semester starts in 2 weeks? What if I need to be induced?

I have a birth plan typed out and gave it to my midwife and she thought it was perfect. I know she will do everything she can to help me get the birth I want, but she has just as much control over it as I do, which isn't much lol. I've avoided doing anything to really prepare for the birth mentally. I know I can do a natural delivery, I've done it twice before, but I also know that it hurts like nothing else lol. But I haven't read any books, done any relaxations, etc. Things I did to prepare previously during pregnancy. And I have avoided thinking too much about what I'll do if things do not go as planned.

This has turned out much longer than I meant lol. Really, I am very excited my baby will be here soon. I can't wait to see what she looks like and hold and cuddle her. Although I'm freaked that the baby actually has to come out of me somehow lol, I know that soon it will be over and no matter what I will be so happy to have my little girl in my arms.


Preparing for #6!

I found out on December 10th, the day before my birthday, that we are expecting baby #6! We waited a few weeks to tell everyone because I had 2 chemical pregnancies previously and wanted to be sure this one was sticking before announcing. I'm currently 7.5 weeks and feeling mostly good so far. I got bloated right away this time, which never really happened with any of the others. Luckily I haven't had bad morning sickness, so far (though baby is not liking the smell of the homemade chicken noodle soup I have cooking right now!). I don't have my first appointment for another month, and I'm impatiently waiting. I'm going to the midwife that my sister has seen for her last two pregnancies. The hospital is closer than the one I went to last time, which will be nice, and they said they will support VBA2C. It doesn't quite feel real yet because I haven't had an ultrasound and haven't been too sick, so I'm hoping they do an ultrasound at my first appointment, if for nothing more than to check for twins again lol.