The labor of my natural birth with my fifth child wasn’t that long, but I feel like there was so much to his birth story! It’s not every day that someone you know has an 11 pound baby, let alone via a natural VBAC birth, right? Imagine how weird it is that it happened to me. I’m still in awe!
If you’re just joining me, be sure to check out The Natural Birth of My 11 Pound VBAC Baby, Part 1 to get caught up on my birth history and what led up to me actually making it to the hospital. You can even see my video I took of my reaction right after my water broke unexpectedly!
November 1, 2014
10:10 AM – We Arrived at the Hospital
Once we arrived, we had to figure out where the entrance to the parking garage was. I had pretty detailed information about this on a sheet that I’d made up a few weeks before with pertinent info, including everyone’s phone numbers, address and directions to various parts of the hospital (they have valet for laboring moms, but only Monday through Friday), and things of that nature.
Once we got in there, we realized that the first several levels were just for specific people. I hate parking garages with assigned parking and parking for the general public. We went up several levels, I think to level 5, before finding a spot reasonably close to the elevator to get us to ground level.
I was dripping with amniotic fluid (ick), so when we got out, hubby grabbed all of our things and I wrapped a huge towel around my butt and crotch. I waddled over to the elevator and we made it down there and across the street to the entrance with no problem. Once we got to the information desk, my water leaked out a bit more, so now it was really running down my legs. I remember telling my husband that it felt so disgusting that I had no idea how potty training kids could pee on themselves and just not care. GROSS.
The ladies gave us directions on how to get to Labor and Delivery and we took an elevator up there and got to the admissions area. The midwife had already let them know I was coming, so I just had to sign a few forms, tell them I wasn’t at risk of having Ebola, and then I was whisked away in a big wheelchair to my room.
10:15 AM – Intake Begins
Good golly, have you guys ever had a baby at the hospital? The intake took hours. Literally! Between the huge amount of questions, the blood draws, getting my Penicillin started (which I opted to do since I was GBS positive), monitoring the baby, and getting my vitals, it took about 3 hours. I dozed in between times of people being in and out of the room, which maybe made it a 3 minute nap here and there.
11:16 AM – Text to doula
Me: Checking in. Will get checked after I get abx. Baby is good. Small ctx happening, reminds me of early labor with Charlie – frequent, but small for now. Will probably go walking at some point after check. Might nap if feeling lazy. 🙂
Doula: Nap. This mom could deliver soon then I can come to you. 🙂
In that time, I went from having very few contractions to actually being able to tell that they were starting up and trying to have a pattern. I was breathing a huge sigh of relief about that, because I had been so worried that my labor wouldn’t start on its own or that it would take forever to get going.
1:14 PM – First Check of Dilation
My nurse decided to go ahead and check me to see where I was at. I hadn’t been having many contractions, but we obviously knew I was in labor by their standards no matter what because of the huge amount of water I had lost.
Text to doula.
Me: 5cm, 70%, -2
Doula: Impressive. Are you having contractions?
Me: Still laying here being monitored bc baby isn’t as responsive as they want for a strip. Contracting some. More now that I’m laying. Baby is really active but my belly is so round that monitoring is hard…As usual! Nurse guessed 9lb12oz 😛 I’m having a lot of gross mucous so that is good.
Doula: Is he sleeping? My back up is so ready.
Me: He is awake but won’t stay on the strip. 🙂 One nurse said the current strip looked good, the main nurse didn’t like it and has me flopped onto my other side. Breathing and focusing through ctx now, still not super frequent.
1:20 PM – Vlog Break!
I was put on a strip to do a Non Stress Test (NST) because they wanted to see if my baby was responding appropriately to the stress of labor. The midwife wanted to have a good 20 minute strip, which was hard because my belly is so round and huge during my pregnancies that the monitor just wiggles around a ton.
Once I was laying on my side for a while, we got a strip going that one nurse said looked great to her, but then the main nurse said it didn’t look good to her. She made me switch which side I was laying on and we’d try again.
Of course, during all of this, I was up and taking bathroom breaks as needed. They took my IV fluids off and let me just have a heplock when I wasn’t receiving antibiotics, which I appreciated. It made things a lot easier without a dumb pole to drag around.
I also snuck in a little nap during this time. So did my husband…
2:28 PM – Walking Around – FINALLY!
At 2:20 PM, the nurse finally came in and said my strip looked good, the midwife wanted me walking around, and to get up and move. I had not ever been around this hospital before, so I asked where we could go walk. The nurse said she’d show me, and she did. As we started walking down the first hallway, I had a pretty intense contraction. It felt so good (yet so crazy hard) having one standing up, finally. I expected we’d have a long time of this stopping and starting during our walk!
Once that contraction was over, she showed me that once we walked through that hallway, we could walk through the family waiting area (right in front of a pair of elevators), and then walk through the doors back to the hallway in front of the L&D rooms, and then could circle right back around to that first hallway again to basically just make little circles.
2:31 PM – Texted the Doula
I was told that I needed to be back in my L&D room at 3:20PM for another NST strip to be done. I texted the doula at 2:31 PM and let her know that and also that I might need support but just didn’t know. I told her he was getting low just from 2 minutes of walking and told her my room number.
We walked from the hallway to that family waiting room area. I had one contraction leaning against a short chair and I *hated* how that felt. Right after, I moved over to this taller-backed chair that happened to be right in front of the elevator and leaned against that one. I made it just in time to have another intense contraction. I was breathing through them, furrowing my brow a bit, and burying my head to get away from the bright glare of the fluorescent lights of the hospital.
2:35 PM – Texted the Doula again
Boy, oh boy! Things changed fast once I started moving around. At 2:35, I texted my doula back.
Me: OK, yes, send the doula. 🙂 This is the real deal. Standing. Omg.
My doula texted me back to let me know her back up doula’s name (I will now refer to her in this story as BUD – Back Up Doula) and that she was on her way and would be there within 40 minutes, which just happened to be when I needed to be back in my room. Perfect!
I stayed right by that chair for the remainder of our “walk”. Since it was right by the elevator (with my butt facing it), I was glad that I had gotten a second gown to cover my butt. Anyone coming up to L&D got to see me right there laboring. There was one lady that came and sat in the family waiting area for a while and ate a little bag of chips for as long and as loudly as possible. She even crumpled the bag about 5,000 times before throwing it in the trash can. I was in labor, it felt like she was doing this on purpose. 😉
I was having my husband rub on my back to give counterpressure during several of the contractions. It helped to ease the pain and also give me a place to focus my energy during the contractions. I was surprised I was asking him for help since I’d wanted him hands off during my last 2 labors, but it just felt right.
Once our time was about up, I mustered up the courage to walk back to the room. I was able to shuffle in before the next contraction hit.
3:20 PM – Returned to the Room
Once we got back into the room, I went to the bathroom and got settled in the bed again. The nurse started another round of antibiotics and let me know they wanted to get another good strip to make sure Baby was okay. I got hooked back up to everything and tried to settle in to labor. I really wanted to sit on the edge of the bed, but it felt awkward. I was having a really hard time staying still. Eventually, I mostly settled on laying on my side.
3:30 PM – BUD Arrived
We had a good time getting to know each other. Between contractions, we were able to do some small talk. I had a chance to fill her in on my past birth history. We even talked about doula work. I found out a bit about her family and job as well. Although we had not met prior to the labor, I felt at ease with BUD and we had a good rapport from the start. She was really easy going with the nurse and with me, and my husband was relieved to be able to sort of retreat to the couch in the room and got to nap a little.
Contractions were harder now, but I still felt like I was in control. I would just close my eyes and breathe through them as they came. They didn’t have a super regular pattern, and the strength of them varied a bit each time.
4:50 PM – Finished 2nd Round of Antibiotics
At this point, I was feeling downward pressure with my contractions, but didn’t feel pushy. They were very intense, and I was beginning to really focus during them. I wasn’t able to talk through them anymore at this point. Luckily, everyone was very respectful of my need to just shut down a bit during the contractions. BUD, the nurse, and my husband left me alone when I got quiet.
I was feeling kind of tired between contractions, but they were keeping me up. Still, sometimes I would keep my eyes closed during the break between contractions to just relax. I still got up to go to the bathroom every 45 minutes or so, but it was making me nervous because it was very uncomfortable to sit on the toilet.
5:45 PM – Doula Checks in with BUD
At this time, BUD was contacted by my doula to see how things were going. She told her, “Going great, it will be a while before the baby is born, she is doing AWESOME!”
A few minutes later, I got up to go to the bathroom again. Everything was fine, until I opened the bathroom door.
6:01 PM – Sad Face
Once I opened the bathroom door, I lost it. I started bawling like a little baby! Oh my gosh, I couldn’t help it. I am not a crier at ALL, so this reaction to labor caught me completely off-guard!
I was thinking, “Oh man, this is a sign of transition. How much longer is this going to freaking take? This better be transition! I’m not ready to have a baby. What if this takes HOURS?”
I was saying all sorts of sad things like how much labor sucks, I hate this part, I can’t do this much longer, I don’t want to do this anymore, how long is this going to take, and things like that. I was also inwardly simultaneously humiliated for crying in front of people but also feeling a little sassy like, “Yes, I’m the birthing princess, watch me cry!”
BUD asked me what I would like. She asked if I thought maybe I wanted to get checked since I was worried this was going to take a long time. After going back and forth about it for a bit, I told her that I did want to get checked.
She paged the nurses’s station and they sent a nurse in. BUD told her I wanted to get checked, but the nurse said the main nurse was busy with another mom and would only be about 10 minutes. They wanted to let her check me so that it was more accurate since obviously each care provider has a bit of a variation.
About 10 minutes later, the nurse did show up. However, my midwife also showed up because they had let her know that I was wanting to be checked. She took this as her cue to come on in, because this was definitely a change! I’m not one to beg for checks.
When my midwife got in there, she didn’t even mention checking me and didn’t even try. Neither did the nurse. She sat there and patiently listened to me go on and on about how much labor sucks and how done I was. She reminded me that if I felt like I might need to push, that would be okay. My BUD reaffirmed this, too.
6:15 PM – Pushing Begins
When I say I began pushing, I have to clarify this a little. I never really felt like he was very low in my pelvis at all. In fact, it was making me feel a little weird that I was feeling pushy because he still seemed so high. In hindsight, I feel like the first 15 minutes of pushing was purely pushing him down into my pelvis. I have no doubt that he went from that -2 to my pelvic brim.
Pushing felt like such a relief. I began by pushing laying on my left side. I just buried my face and closed my eyes, grunted and pushed! It felt like a relief, but I was getting really frustrated because I felt like it wasn’t happening fast enough. I totally let everyone know that, too! I was saying that I wanted to be done, this was the crappy part, why couldn’t this be over already, why was it taking so long.
This is when I started to get kind of spiritual, as I usually do during labor. I kept telling God and Jesus to PLEASE HELP ME and that I could not do this alone. I was so very tired and felt like I was just spent.
My midwife told me that if I wanted this to be over sooner, I would need to change positions. This did not go over well with me. I hate, hate, hate moving from transition on. She and the nurse and BUD convinced me to get on all fours. I started pushing this way and it felt good to sink back into it during contractions, sort of like child’s pose but much larger and pregnant looking. Oh, and miserable and exhausted.
I did this for a few contractions, but I felt hopeless and exhausted. The midwife had me turn and lay on my right side instead and was insistent that delivery was near. All the while, I had been receiving great counter-pressure and reassurance by BUD and my midwife. BUD even got cold rags for me because I was getting so sweaty and hot and yucky feeling. It was nice to have something else to focus on for a second and to feel cooler.
Once I got on my right side, things started moving along a bit more. Right around 6:30 PM (I’m just guessing, but I think this is about right), my pushes became much more powerful. Instead of working so hard to get Baby down, it was time to get Baby OUT!
I started pushing like a mad woman. I would feel the urge to push, but then it would sort of fade away. Instinctively, I kept pushing anyway until the contraction was over. Sometimes I would even push between contractions. I honestly just did what my intuition told me to do.
There were several times when I got very frustrated because it would feel like he was poking out a little and then would go back up when I would stop. This made me want to push as continuously as possible even more! No one was directing my pushes or telling me what to do, and no one was promising anything.
At some point, I was expecting to hear someone say, “I see hair!” or maybe, “One more push, and he’ll be here!” That didn’t happen. I know now that is because he came out slow and steady. My last births, it was like the head would be hard to get out and once it was finally out, it was like, “PLOP! Baby body!” This birth wasn’t like that at all.
I worked hard to get his head out and then his shoulders, stomach, butt, legs…. they all seemed to come out as one unit. My midwife said he sort of came out with his shoulders up by his ears and he had his little hands up in fists. His cord was wrapped around his body a bit, but it looked healthy with adequate bloodflow, so there was no panic. So, basically he came out fine, but it was a patience-testing delivery.
My midwife is so cool! She let BUD (okay, insisted!) get her hands on the baby to help deliver him, too. My husband swears they tugged him out, but I can say that they were supporting his weight and encouraging forward motion (as opposed to him sucking back in a bit between pushes), and I did the pushing. They did an awesome job at making sure I had pressure applied to my back as counterpressure, too. This was amazing because it gave me something to focus on during pushing. My perineum was supported, I believe by the midwife, during crowning too. All of this led to little guy’s birth!
6:40 PM – Ethan is BORN!
He was born and immediately brought to my chest. Hubby got to cut the cord because I make him do it even though it grosses him out. My placenta came naturally just a little while later and looked perfect. I was given postpartum Pitocin and Methergine to make sure I didn’t bleed out, and they kept me on a regimen of Methergine for about 24 hours since postpartum bleeding is a huge risk for me due to my hemorrhages in past births.
My doula came just a few minutes after the birth, so she got to see Ethan as he was still wet and squishy and slimy from the birth. I know she had to be disappointed, but I was so grateful to have had constant contact with her. I was (and am) totally grateful to BUD for her support! I don’t know how I would have made it those last 3 hours without her physical and emotional help. It was INTENSE. I can say without any hesitation that the last 30 minutes of that labor was the HARDEST I have ever worked in birthing a baby. HOLY COW!
Less than an hour later, I started nursing him and he latched perfectly from the get-go. He has been doing an amazing job ever since.
Finally, it was time to weigh him. Hubby had just gone out to get himself some dinner and the baby’s nurse was itching to see how big he was. She put him on the scale and we all did a double take as it read that he was 11 pounds, 1 ounce!!! (Funny enough, my doula had just joked how funny it would be if he was 11.1 since it was 11/1 and we were in room 111. We all pretty much agreed that there was no way this dude was that big. JOKE WAS ON US!) Hubby walked in the door right then and I made him turn around and look at the scale. He could not believe it!
They measured him at just shy of 21″, so they went ahead and put that on his information. What a perfect little (big) guy.
Quick (and slightly inaccurate) labor and birth recap vlog
I got some of the times off when recalling it that night for this video, but here is a basic rundown of my labor and delivery!
I had absolutely no tearing, not even a skidmark. They took precautions with me after the birth. Since they knew about my bleeding and fainting history, I was given strict orders to stay in bed and not get up at all for at least 12 hours. I think I went more like 16 hours before getting out of bed. That meant I had to use a bedpan, but after 5 kids, that was no biggie. I’ll take that over fainting or bleeding out any day.
I also didn’t get any hemorrhoids, prolapse, or even a burning sensation while going to the bathroom. I felt like a totally normal person “down there” within 24 hours. I’m not even kidding. Isn’t that crazy?
My sweet baby boy has been such a wonderful addition to our family, and I’m so thankful that I was able to have a natural birth with a midwife and doula in the hospital. This VBAC was certainly memorable and special. Welcome to the world, Ethan!