Friday, July 05, 2013

Gabriel's birth story - VBAC

I'm still at hospital and am going to be discharged tomorrow.

Sammy is currently at his Godparents so hubby has been able to take care of us 24/7 at the hospital. I'm very grateful for this time when I can just focus on Gabriel and take things easy recovering from the birth before we go home tomorrow.

And since I got more time on my hands now, I figured I might as well document my birth story before I forget all the nitty-gritty details!

Well, the long and short story of it is that I managed to have a VBAC!

This is such a relief for me, because with Sammy, I had to have a unplanned C-section and the recovery process was tedious to say the least.

Warning: The rest of the post is not for the squirmish.... read at your own discretion.

Tuesday (5.7.13)

5am - I woke up in the middle of the night to visit the ladies. Came back, laid down and felt a weird backache on my lower back. I dismissed it thinking that it was due to some random muscle ache because I had to run after Sammy the day before.

While lying on my side and trying to drift back to sleep, I realized that the backache refused to go away. I laid still and tried to figure out what was happening.

I felt a contraction radiating from the back to the front - even without me moving. The contraction was like a mild period cramp but nothing unmanageable.

A few minutes later, I felt a similar contraction in the same region. After a few contractions, I knew that my labour had started.

I decided to breathe through each contraction and realized that they lasted about 3 deep breaths before dissipating.

5 to 7am - I slept intermittently and at some point in time, got out of bed to make some breakfast.

7am - Called my midwife to explain my contractions to her. By this time, they were coming every 5 minutes and lasted about 30 seconds.

She said that while the contractions were frequent, they were not lasting very long yet. So I could choose if I wanted to labour at home or go down to the hospital.

Knowing how long my cervix took to dilate with Sammy, I chose the former option because I certainly didn't want to be stuck in a sterile hospital room for hours!

7 to 11am - I labored at home while playing with Sammy, surfing the internet and whatsapping my close friends and family to pray for me.

I remembered thinking to myself, "Oh man, this is so manageable! If every labour was like this, I would definitely not hesitate to have a 3rd pregnancy!"

The contractions were coming every 5-15 minutes and were strong enough for me to have to stop whatever I was doing and practise my deep breathing. But when they were over, it was as if everything was back to normal and I could resume doing whatever I was doing before.

Occasionally, I would have a really strong contraction that bowed me over, but on the whole, most of the contractions were fine.

I was very grateful for the intervals in which the contractions came in, because with Sammy, the contractions came every 2-3 minutes within the first few hours and I was simply out of it!

11am - Sammy's grandfather came by to pick him up, while we left home and drove to the hospital.

12 noon - Arrived at hospital where my midwife examined me.

I was thinking to myself, "If she tells me that I'm only 1-2cm dilated after laboring for 7 hours, I'm going to go straight for an epidural!"

Turns out, she said that I was about 5cm dilated!!!

My heart did a little dance when I thought, "Oh man, that's already 50% and I'm still feeling pretty good!"

She wanted to examine me while a contraction came, so I had to lie on my back. That was really tough because I wasn't able to get comfortable in that position. However upon internal examination, she confirmed that I was more 6cm dilated rather than 5cm!!!

This was when my midwife said she was quite surprised that my labor had progressed so quickly. She had suspected that I would only be 1-2 cm dilated, judging by the intervals of the contractions. So 6cm was awesome!!!

1pm - Midwife said that she wanted to speed things up. Contractions should be coming every 2-3 minutes when I'm 6cm dilated and not every 10 minutes.

My heart dropped because the last thing I wanted was more frequent contractions!!!

But she reasoned with me that because I had a prior C-section, she wanted me to conserve my energy for the pushing phase and didn't want me to labor too long. She mentioned that if I labored too long, I would probably be too tired for the pushing phase and that would be very detrimental for a C-section scar (ie. I might face a higher possibility of having another C-section if I'm too exhausted to push).

Thus, she recommended that I allow her to manually break my waters.

We opted for this option because I would have to have my waters broken sooner or later. And I'd rather do it sooner since its something that can't be avoided.

She broke my waters and my contractions became more frequent and stronger.

2pm - I had dilated to 8cm and somehow felt the sensation to push. Midwife examined me and said that the cervix would readily dilate to 10cm but somehow Gabriel's head was not sitting directly at the birth canal but was slightly slanted.

I would have had to lie down on my right side during contractions to enable Gabriel's head to slide in the right direction.

Oh man, that was seriously impossible! Lying down while having a contraction is like asking a person to stick his body in a furnace when one just wants to run away from the heat!!!

I started panicking at each contraction and instead of breathing through them, I started screaming through each contraction - BADDD decision.

Rationality is thrown out of the window when one is so delirious in pain.

I asked for some pain relievers and she gave me an infusion that made me a bit "drunk". BUT this was useless against the intensity of the contractions.

At some point in time, my midwife was unable to locate Gabriel's heartbeat and everybody in the room started going into a frenzy. All I remember was that she said, "Where's the doctor? Is he outside? Can someone get him in? Where's the doctor?"

Stephan said one of the nurses started preparing this injection to alleviate Gabriel's heartbeat already.

I felt a sickening thud in my stomach when I realized that I couldn't hear the familiar beating of Gabriel's heartbeat from the monitor. I asked my midwife, "How's my baby? Is he still there?"

At this very moment, she was able to locate Gabriel's heartbeat again and suddenly there was a sign of relief in the room again.

The doctor came, examined me and said that I should go for an epidural because we need to "buy time" for me to lie down on my side through the contractions.

I kept asking for the epidural but it took forever to come! The anesthetist even had to read out a list of things which I should be agreeable to before she administered the epidural. Even my midwife tried to  help me by asking the anesthetist if there was any way possible that I could sign the papers later, but the latter was adamant about me doing it on the spot.

So at 9cm dilated, they administered the epidural.  

I was still shocked that the epidural took such a long time to work!!! I could still feel the nerve-wrecking contractions but at least it took the edge off enough for me to be able to lie down so that Gabriel's head had a chance to slide to the right position.

3pm - They said that I was ready to push.

By this time, I was so "drunk" (ie. sleepy) from the infusion they gave me that I could barely keep my eyelids open, let alone push!

It was like watching a movie during which you could hear voices telling you what to do, but it felt like they were talking to someone else instead of yourself.

I remember them saying, "Frau T., it's time to push. You need to keep your eyes open. Your baby is going to be born."

And all I could think of was, "Really??? Why am I sooo freaking tired!!! I'm sooo sleepy!"

My midwife tried to explain to me that the epidural took the edge off the contractions so my body is going to standby mode, but I needed to keep my eyes open.

Pushing - That was the hardest thing ever! Because of the epidural and baby's position, the only position I could push was on my back! I can't push on my back. I didn't have the advantage of gravity on my side and I had no leverage!

After 2-3 attempts at pushing, they said they would use a suction device to help get Gabriel's head out because his heartbeat was falling.

That was the best decision ever because with this device, his whole body came out within the next few pushes and the next thing I knew, was that they put this bloody, slimy, crying "thing" on my chest.

I was able to have skin-to-skin with my baby for the next 2 hours.

This was totally new for me because I didn't have that with Sammy with the C-section. He was taken away from me straight from birth.

The only thing I remember was, "This is my baby! I did it! They didn't have to cut me up! Oh my! Thank you GOD!!!!"

I would have cried tears of joy if I weren't so exhausted and drugged.

They did have to give me an episiotomy because his head was big - 37 cm in diameter. This didn't hurt at all, but the stitching up was a bit more painful.

Oh yeah, I remembered the smell of blood too. I kept wondering why aren't they bathing Gabriel? But instead, I had the raw, physical, mother-son body contact for the first 2 hours of Gabriel's life.

It was so surreal. I was over the moon. Gabriel was born at 3.15pm. About 3 hours in total from the time we entered the hospital! This compared to 17 hours with Sammy's birth!

I spoke to my midwife today and expressed my deepest gratitude for her help through the birth. She was amazing! She gave me just the right advice and I never felt that she took away any of my decision-making ability. She really was the right mix of advising me in the right direction and yet giving me the space to choose my options.

I apologized for pinching her in the heat of things though. She said it was no problem at all because it wasn't the worst of what she's gone through (she's been bitten before!)

She said that I would have had no problem giving birth without an epidural if Gabriel's head was sitting at the entrance of the birth canal.

Yup. That's my whole birth story. A VBAC with epidural at 9cm.

Looking back, I just know that it was the right decision that Sammy was born via C-section because when things are progressing well, a labor shouldn't last that long.

It was such a healing process for me too. There were quite a few emotional scars from my first birth with Sammy and I was seriously terrified of having to give birth again. But this birth has helped to erase the trauma of the first birth and I really felt God helping me to overcome my deepest fears by being able to face them again and this time, with the joy of victory.

"The Lord your God is with you. He is MIGHTY to save. He will take great delight in you. He rejoices over you with singing and He quietens you with His love". Zephaniah 3:17 - Indeed!

Love my two boys!

Sammy had such a tickle because he was feeling Gabriel's hiccups through his belly!


Anonymous said...

hi pris...that was interesting!
nice pics of your two boys.

Cassie W said...

Got teary reading this! I'm so proud of you!! Big congratulations mama!!!

Bern said...

Sammy's so sweet to his lil' bro! awwww....

Beverly! said...

Such a wonderful story. And a VBAC! I'm so happy for you :)

Incidentally, it's almost identical to my birth story with Carter!

Pris said...

Kimberly - Thanks a lot! :)

Pris said...

Cassie - Thanks a lot hun! I'm still so amazed that it worked out in the end!

Pris said...

Bern - Yeah he's been pretty sweet.... so far. Lol.

Pris said...

Beverly - Hey! Thanks!

Yah I remember your VBAC story with Carter too. Gave me hope that it would be possible!I tried to search for the story on your blog but couldn't find it anymore!

elainegan said...

oh wow to the birth story!! Praise God indeed! Love Sammy's WIDE smiles, he's definitely ready for big bro role asap :) Rest well.


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