Torgesen Family Times

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Birth story, part 2



Let’s back up a bit here…


VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) vs. elective c-section is a big decision – one that should not be taken lightly.  I am, by no means, an expert.  I can only tell you what I’ve read and how I made the decision for me.


The old rule was “once caesarean – always caesarean” because of fear that the scar will rupture during labor and delivery.  That old rule has changed throughout the recent times, going in and out of favor. 


To be a candidate for VBAC you need to meet certain criteria and I met all of them: low transverse c-section, preferably only 1 c-section, original reason for the c-section is not repeated in this pregnancy (NOPE!), no major medical problems, baby is of normal size, baby is head down, among others.  To say that VBAC was my preference and I was going to “attempt” VBAC, I not only had to sign a consent form ahead of time (like at 28 weeks) but also consent to having an IV, constant monitoring of baby’s heart rate and of my contractions while in labor, among other things.  The hospital and doctors also had to be willing to do this (Evergreen Hospital is great and does allow VBAC as does my OB practice) – current guidelines say that an OB and anesthesiologist have to be “immediately available” in the hospital at all times.  I also could not be induced (with pitocin) – or only a little tiny bit, if other methods weren’t working to get labor going (this was not a problem with walking into the maternity center 5 cm and 80%).


About 90% of women who have had caesareans are good candidates for trying for a normal vaginal birth, or “attempting VBAC”, and 60-80% of those who try SUCCEED!  But, only about 10% that are candidates actually attempt VBAC.  I wonder why (scared, ability to “schedule” birth, etc)?  I have no idea.  For me, it was what I wanted to try – for some reason, I was just very calm about it and just knew I would SUCCEED.  I don’t know how, I just did.


But, it was funny the reactions I would get when people asked about it. 

“Of course, you’re going to have a planned c-section, right?”

“Of course, you’re going to have a VBAC, right?”


There were really only those two view points that I heard most.  Strange to me – considering what I was comparing it to was emergency c-section, 34 week premature baby with immature lungs and severe pre-eclampsia – attempting VBAC didn’t seem that out there to me. 


There are risks with both ways of giving birth.  The big ones for me, and how I made my decision, was the experience of giving birth normally/vaginally, recovery from a c-section is much longer and tougher (been there – done that!), shorter hospital stay, delivery of baby vaginally clears the lungs of fluid, it’s healthier for me and baby. 


With this in mind my wishes for this birth of our baby girl was this:

healthiest baby

healthiest mama

attempt VBAC, but if health of either one of us was compromised – then c-section was fine

baby placed up on my chest after birth, or as soon as possible, as I didn’t have this experience when Alex was born



OK, back to the birth story now…


With this in mind – we decided that since I was officially “in labor” – even though I didn’t feel like I was in labor – the OB would break my water and this would get labor going.  I was hesitant about this at first – baby girl was 37 weeks/3 days, but still… full term, but early full term.  Was this “induction” the right thing to do?  Would this lead to more labor interventions and possibly a c-section?  Shouldn’t we let things go for a little bit more to see if labor would progress naturally?


Well, after consulting my doula – we decided to go ahead and “break the water”.  The procedure (done around midnight 4/10/10) was very easy and pain free – a gush of fluids that were clear, with no blood (a good sign since the doctors were worried about placental abruption) and I was going to have this baby in the next 24 hours, one way or the other.  We all thought about 4/10/10 and thought that was a great birth date. 


After the bit of scariness with the blood, the clot, etc – after this procedure of breaking the water – I fell into a sense of calmness.  This is exactly where I want to be.  I can do this.  My body can do this.  My Mom is taking care of Alex and I don’t have to worry  about him.  My wonderful husband is here and supporting me.  My Doula is here.  My body is dilating and getting ready to have this baby. 




By the way – a doula is a labor coach that you hire privately.  A midwife is a medical professional, like an OB, that does procedures and delivers the baby.  The doula just supports the Mom and Dad, but doesn’t do procedures and doesn’t deliver the baby.  I’m SO glad that I hired a doula – her philosophy and mine were in sync and I can’t imagine doing this without her.  Her presence there made me calmer and more relaxed because I knew someone was looking out for me and my wishes, and had the knowledge/background to make suggestions, ask questions, etc.  


I walked around for about 2 hours.  We didn’t take many pictures, but here are a few.  I was feeling fine.  The nurses and doula would ask me what I was feeling and they would always ask on a scale of 0-10 pain scale.  At first I would say I was a 1 or a 0, since sometimes I didn’t feel anything at all but the monitor picked up a contraction.  It progressed to 2 and then 3 by the end of the of walking around.  By that time, I was tired (it was about 2 or 3 AM!) and wanted to rest.  By the time I would say 3 on the scale – my attention wasn’t totally focused on the contraction, but I was definitely distracted. 




Sara's Birthday-1-2 Final

Me (in the ever so stylish hospital robe) walking around trying to get contractions/labor to really start.


Sara's Birthday-2-2 FinalNurse hooking up monitoring equipment so I can walk around, Doula is on the right. 




The next part is where it all gets interesting… stay tuned for part 3