When Kelly asked if I would write my birth story to share on her website, I was a little hesitant because my story is not your typical all-natural birth that you usually hear about when a doula is involved. But I am here to tell you that a doula can be extremely helpful NO MATTER what kind of birth you have!
To give a little background, I developed Pre-Eclampsia during my first pregnancy and was put on bed rest at 38.5 weeks. By 39 weeks I was in the hospital. My Pre-Eclampsia went from bad to worse really fast and I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome and almost lost my life. They ended up doing an emergency C-Section and it took me months to recover not only from the surgery, but from the symptoms of high blood pressure and recovery from my organs starting to fail. Needless to say I was terrified to have another baby and have the same complications happen again.
I overcame my fears enough to get pregnant again and I knew that I wanted this delivery to go a lot better than the first. My husband and I knew this time around that we did NOT want another C-Section. Our goal was to have a successful VBAC. We wanted a more intimate delivery where I could hold our baby right away. We wanted my husband to be a part of the delivery as much as possible, but most importantly I wanted him to really be there for me and to be able to support me in any way that he could. That is what led us to taking a mini-doula class from Kelly.
My Birth Story begins before I was even in labor.
Prior to delivery I prepared for a vaginal birth as much as I could. I did lots of research on VBAC’s and I took Kelly’s class with my husband. I tried to refrain from focusing on what I didn’t want (a C-Section) and only focused on what I did want which was a vaginal birth.
I had my worries that complication would arise and I would end up having another C-Section. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to progress or labor because I never did with my first. I never even had contractions with my first so it was like a first-time delivery for me. I wrote positive affirmations down and placed them around my house where I would see them every day and I would read them out loud, over and over again every time I saw them. These helped me feel strong and confident that my body would do what it was designed for to bring my baby to me safely. As my due date drew closer I would take more time to relax and really focus on my deep breathing and take time to just enjoy the pregnancy and embrace the upcoming delivery. The pressure points that Kelly taught my husband were AMAZING and helped to relieve so much back pain and pressure from the baby while still pregnant and they would certainly come in handy during labor as well.
The morning of July 9th (9 days before my due date) I woke up early (5:00am) and went to the bathroom which wasn’t unusual. I noticed some pink mucousy discharge when I wiped. I got back into bed and did some research on mucous plugs and bloody show. I decided that it was more of a bloody show and that I would continue to watch it throughout the day. I was super excited that things were progressing and that my body was gearing up for delivery. I was getting pretty anxious at this point in my pregnancy. I was too excited to sleep so I got up and took a nice, long, relaxing bath. I went about my day and had noticed an increase in contractions as I was out running errands. They weren’t painful at all and I was just so excited that things were changing. I thought the contractions were just increased Braxton Hicks. I met up for lunch with my hubby at his work and would tell him every time I was having a contraction. He told me that I seemed to be having quite a few and that we should probably time them. My plan was to go to Costco after lunch and get the rest of the shopping done and then I would go home and relax and time the contractions. We had never timed contractions before so we started to time them while we were together in the office so that I knew what I was doing. Thank goodness for cool apps! We timed them for about 30 minutes and they were SUPER consistent and the textbook ‘Three to Five Minutes apart, Lasting for a Minute or Longer.’ It freaked us out a bit because we were not expecting that. My husband asked if I thought I was in labor and I said, “No!” We decided that I should go home and lay down for a bit and continue timing the contractions-they were getting stronger by this time. We thought that it would be best if we went to the hospital to be checked and make sure everything was ok where I still had some bleeding from earlier that morning. We started to pack our bags for the hospital, put our 2 year old down for a nap, cleaned up the house a bit and we were on our way to the hospital at 3:30pm.
I was grateful that we had decided to go to the hospital because my contractions kept getting stronger and I had to stop walking during each one and breathe through them. The nurse checked me and I was only dilated to a 1cm! I couldn’t even believe it. I thought for sure that I would be dilated farther than that because of how consistent and painful the contractions were getting. She contacted the doctor to see what he wanted to do. Because of my prior history with complications, prior C-Section, regularity of contractions and more bleeding than what they would have liked to see they felt it was best if they admitted me. I expressed my fears of having a trial of labor only to end in a C-Section because of failure to progress especially because I was only dilated to a 1. They gave me the option to:
a. Do a C-Section and forego the VBAC
b. Continue for a VBAC and see if I progressed
c. They could break my water to see if that helped get things moving rather than give me Pitocin and continue with a VBAC.
My husband and I asked all the medical personnel to leave the room and give us a moment to decide together on what we wanted to do. We prayed for an answer and listened in silence. We then talked about how each of us felt and came to the conclusion that we have prepared this whole pregnancy for a VBAC delivery and why give up now? We felt that everything would work out just as we had hoped.
I was transferred to a delivery room and this was it! We were going to have our baby soon!
The doctor broke my water and I immediately dilated to a 2+. This was such good news!
The contractions became more intense and painful. It was hard to focus on anything the RN was talking to me about during the admission process and I needed my husband to counter pressure my knees during every contraction. This helped tremendously. I also did my deep breathing and my husband would help me to relax my face and body wherever it had tensed up. I received an epidural around 6:30pm. I was dilated to a 3+ and boy was I so grateful! The epidural was a piece of heaven!
Now it was the waiting game. We just had to wait for me to dilate and be ready to deliver. We didn’t know how much longer that would be and we thought we should try to get some rest in now that I wasn’t in any pain and didn’t need my husband so much during every contraction. After a while of trying to rest, my husband and I talked about our excitement and couldn’t believe this was really happening and how fast things seemed to be happening. I asked him to read me Positive Affirmations and he read those to me over and over again. Even with an epidural I couldn’t believe the deep relaxation I had felt while he read those to me. These affirmations relaxed me in both mind and body and I was able to rest without sleeping at all.
The RN came back in and checked me and I was at a 7+!! My body was doing what it needed to do and it was such an amazing feeling! I was calm, relaxed and I felt so confident and ready to have this baby vaginally. Before we knew it I was dilated to a 9+ and they were bringing in supplies for the delivery. The RN kept telling me that when I felt the urge to push to let her know. I told her that I REALLY felt like I needed to have a bowel movement and couldn’t hold it back. She assured me that that was a good feeling to be having and that it would get more intense as baby got more into position. I told her 3 more times that I felt like I couldn’t hold that ‘need to poop’ feeling back any longer. We did some practice pushes and next thing I know they were yelling for the doctor to get in there quick! They told me to stop pushing and that was the worst feeling. I had even written in my birth plan that I did NOT want to be told to stop pushing and the nurses assured me that that wouldn’t happen because I was having an epidural. Well, it happened and I wasn’t too happy.
The doc came in and I pushed with my husband right there by my side, anticipating the arrival of our little girl together. I loved watching him and the excitement on his face as he could see our daughters head for the first time. I loved the positive reinforcement and encouragement from him and everyone else in the room. After 4 intense pushes, I watched in the mirror as our little one came into this world. I felt her little body come out and it was such a relief! Taylie was born at 11:14pm. They placed her right onto my belly and it was so surreal. I just had my baby girl with no complications and a successful VBAC! I accomplished my goals and I couldn’t have been happier.
Having a doula or in my case knowledge from a doula is extremely helpful in ANY kind of delivery and is well worth your time! The things my husband and I learned and were able to implement in preparation for and the delivery of our little girl are all thanks to Kelly!