Our daughter is here! Little Lucy Joy entered the world at 9:21pm on Tuesday, August 19th. It’s only taken me seven weeks to get around to writing this blog post. Someone likes to be held a lot, and that’s just fine with me. We are finally settling into a routine, or as much of a routine as we can have with a newborn…
Reading over Lucy’s birth story, I realize that it is mostly about Leo; It was really Leo and his birth that drove me to want a VBAC so badly. A little backstory…
Leo was an unplanned c-section. After seeing “The Business of Being Born” I knew that I wanted a natural birth. Lenny and I took hours and hours of Bradley Method courses, I think we were probably qualified to deliver babies after all of the coaching and reading that we completed. But throughout the class there was a clear message that all interventions were bad. There was even one class devoted to talking to your doctor and nurses when they are trying to “push you” into interventions. Pitocin only benefited the doctor and epidurals were for wussies- the message was clear.
And there I was at 38 weeks pregnant with Leo when my water broke (at the mall in front of a crowd- but that’s a story for another time). And nothing happened. No contractions. And after 24 hours my doctor told me I had to start pitocin to get my labor going. I consented, but I promised myself that I would not get an epidural. Guess what? After 12 hours on the pit (when I was already at 10 centimeters but nobody had bothered to check me), I BEGGED for that epidural. There were a few really big mistakes made by the hospital and the doctors, but to tell the truth, I think that I mentally gave up the second that they started the pitocin. I had already “failed” at natural childbirth in the eyes of Ricky Lake and our Bradley Class. A very long 38 hours after my water broke, Leo was born via c-section. We were so in love with our new baby that it took a few weeks, even months to realize that we weren’t happy with our birth experience.
With a new doctor, a new hospital and a new mind set- Lucy’s birth was a completely different experience. My goal was to have a natural birth, specifically a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian). Because I did have a previous c-section there was a (small) risk of my uterus rupturing and my doctor really wanted her out by week 40, but he was very supportive of my desire for a VBAC and a natural birth. The last few weeks I was pregnant I was extremely focused on trying to push myself into labor- I tried everything long walks, herbs and oils, acupuncture, Thai massage, eating a whole (upside down) pineapple. Nothing worked.
I was determined to have a VBAC and as week 40 was rapidly approaching I made a decision that surprised even myself. I wanted to be induced. All of the “induction” methods that I had learned in my natural childbirth class weren’t working. One thing that I did learn from Leo’s birth is that pitocin works on me… and once I hit that 40 week mark, I would lose it as an option (most doctors don’t want to induce a VBAC after your due date as the risk of rupture is greater).
I met with my doctor and he was on board with my decision; Lenny and I walked over to the hospital from our appointment knowing that we were going to have our baby that day. It was a pretty calm day. I had an IV drip but I could get up and move around. We watched a lot of day time talk shows and local news. We checked in with my parents who were with Leo. I caught up on celeb gossip with a few US Weeklies. Every time my doctor came by to check in he did something to get my labor going from scraping my membranes to finally breaking my water- none of that was comfortable but the pain was pretty brief. They kept turning up the pitocin and the contractions were getting stronger and more frequent as the day went on but they weren’t too bad. The doctor had told me to ask for the epidural when I “really needed it” so I had that sort of vague statement in the back of my mind as the day progressed. You can see from the below selfie that we were having a pretty fun day in the hospital.
It was about 7:30pm and Lenny was hungry for dinner so he went to grab something to eat down the street. We had said goodbye to our first nurse and met the evening nurse. Things were progressing slowly. I was watching “Extra” and talking with my mom to see how Leo was doing. I really had to pee and I was going to wait until Lenny got back because each time I got up I had to unplug the IV drip and cart a whole load of wires and tubes to the bathroom with me, but I decided I could handle it on my own. Something about that walk to the bathroom kicked things into high gear. By the time I got back to the bed, which was about a 15 foot walk that seemed like 15 miles, I went right for the nurse call button and asked for the epidural. By that point I was shaking like crazy and there was little relief from the contractions. Even though I was miserable I was excited because knew that I was in transition.
Everything after that was a blur… Lenny came back, the anesthesiologist came and gave me my epidural, the doctor miraculously showed up right after and checked me and it was time to push. This was the part that I was the most scared about. With Leo I pushed for hours and hours and was eventually told that my pelvis was too small and that my baby couldn’t fit. This time, it was different. I thought about Leo and how hard it would be if I wasn’t able to pick up him up or drive him to school for six weeks and I used that as my motivation. I gave it my ALL and after only 20 minutes Lucy was born! I’m not going to say it was easy per se, but this birth was a dream compared to the last… we were home with Lucy with in 24 hours.
I guess the lesson that I learned is that there is no “right” way to have a baby. The most important thing is being informed and in control of your birth. I am very happy with the decisions we made on August 19th and, most of all, so happy that sweet Lucy is here.
(written in several five to ten minute increments while Lucy sleeps in her swing and Leo is in school)