I hope in 20 or 30 years, when you decide to have children,
that a VBAC is no big deal. I hope that it is looked upon as commonplace and
something to strive for with your 2nd baby if you happen to have a
C-section with your 1st baby.
I seriously didn’t think that I would be allowed to have a VBAC
with the team, hospital, and way that I wanted. I figured my blood pressure
would spike once or twice, and the doctors would roll me into the operating
room. I WAS WRONG, AND I GOT MY VBAC!
disclaimer: this is me TMIing all over the internet again.
The day you were born was more like the finale after a
really long weekend of sporadic contractions that started Thursday afternoon;
your Grammy and I started timing contractions around 4pm. They were slow and a
little irregular, but after a warm bath around 11pm, they were steady at about
8 minutes apart. I couldn’t sleep- I was nervous, and I kept thinking, “This is
it!” So I waited until about 1am, when the contractions were 4 minutes apart. I
woke your daddy, and we started towards the hospital, which was about 40
minutes away. Your Aunt Jessi was at our house watching Maggie.
We called your Grammy and Papaw and told them that we would
call back as soon as we knew if we were actually in labor. But as the car got
closer to the hospital, the contractions got weaker and farther apart; and it
didn’t matter what I tried- I couldn’t willpower them any closer together. We
went ahead and went into the emergency room, where we checked in, and I told
the lady at the desk that I was a VBAC. She sarcastically asked, “Why?” I was then
wheeled upstairs where I asked for a nurse that didn’t “scare easily and was
VBAC-friendly.” I was determined to still try this VBAC.
They took me to my room and hooked me up to the blood
pressure machine, but the first reading was borderline dangerously high. “Oh
sh*t!!” I was afraid they were going to
pull you! Over the next few hours, I rested on my left side to bring down the
blood pressure, but my contractions slowed down and stopped registering on the
computer. Your Grammy and Papaw drove all the way up there (without telling us)
just to find out that it was FALSE LABOR.
I WAS GOING HOME.
I was told to rest, lie down, and come back when the contractions
were steady, 4 minutes apart, and I “couldn’t talk during them”. I had to do
the walk of shame out of the hospital without a baby.
Your daddy and I got home around 5am, and we were so tired.
OVER THE NEXT 3 DAYS
I had weak sporadic contractions, so I stayed at home
resting, watching TV, and sleeping. Grammy and Papaw took Maggie that weekend
so I could sit on my tooshie and not worry about a toddler.
Sunday came and I needed to get you out, I tried all the
tricks to get my body to go into labor, I walked, I ate spicy food, I even
tried the #1 thing to induce labor (wink wink). Your Grammy and Papaw had to
return Maggie on Sunday night, but they agreed to stay until she fell asleep so
I could continue to rest. Papaw bought tacos with lots of jalapenos and hot
salsa for me. I ate all of it.
I don’t know what actually started the stronger contractions,
but I’d like to think that it was a combination of everything I was trying that
day. When the contractions started up again with more intensity, Grammy got
excited and started timing them. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, or get too
excited. Papaw ran out to buy a home blood pressure machine so we could monitor
my blood pressure ourselves.
Over the next few hours, we timed the contractions. Four
minutes was the magic number, and they were steady, intense, and regular. They
would start in my lower back, creep around under my pregnant belly, and end up
on top of my belly. They were just like menstrual cramps, but much worse. We
also took my blood pressure several times and the readings were too high for anybody,
let alone for somebody in labor. But I lay down on my left side and tried to
Around 8pm, we decided to go to Labor & Delivery again.
We called your Aunt Jessi to come watch Maggie that night and called your Daddy
at work to come drive me to the hospital. Your Grammy was on the phone with
on-call nurses to see if this was it IT. While we waited for everybody to
arrive, your Papaw sat at the edge of the bed, telling me stories and making
fun of my bedroom décor. He even tried on some hats that your daddy had lying
around; it definitely helped pass the time.
Once Aunt Jessi and your Daddy had made it to our house, we
all got ready to go. Your Daddy and your Grammy escorted me to the hospital; the
last words that your Papaw said to me was “get the pain meds”. I told him I
All the way to the hospital, the contractions were steady. We
rode in silence, except when I said, “time” to indicate I was having a
We got to the hospital right before 10pm, so we were able to
walk right into L&D without having to go through the emergency room like we
did during “False Labor” day. I was checked into the triage wing and hooked up
to the machines. My blood pressure was ok, you were ok, the contractions were
there, but the nurses couldn’t get them on the monitor. Your Daddy and Grammy
took turns trying to sleep and help me through the contractions; they even lied
to me about the intensity of the contractions on the monitors.
Even though the contractions stayed consistent, they still
weren’t showing up very well on the monitor, so at 1am the nurses started
drawing up the discharge papers (I didn’t know this at the time). I was just
sitting in the dark room, working through the contractions, while lying on my
left side when MY WATER BROKE. Felt exactly like a water balloon had been popped
between my legs. So weird.
The nurses were surprised, and admitted that they were going
to release me. The contractions doubled in pain, but I was still only at 3 ½
centimeters. But once the water breaks, you don’t get discharged; you are GONNA
HAVE A BABY!
This is when I took off my own blood pressure monitor, which
I believe was the 1st thing that helped my VBAC be a success,
because I believe my blood pressure went up after my water broke (prior to the
epidural). Had I gotten a bad blood pressure reading, they would have sectioned
Nothing that your Daddy and Grammy could do could ease my
pain, and the nurses wouldn’t let me move around because it was putting “stress
on the baby” (whatever). I had your Daddy text the birth photographer my
status. The nurses were trying to transfer me to the Labor and Delivery section
of the hospital, but nobody seemed to be in a hurry. Everybody knew by this
point that I wanted to get the epidural; I was a little mean and short-tempered
during that time. When you are in that much pain, you really just want to hold
your breath and power through, but that was my problem- you can’t “hold your
breath”. The hardest part was breathing through the contractions. Breathing
felt wrong and seemed to make the pain worse. I really just wanted to grit my
teeth, hold my breath, and wait for it to be over with, but that’s not how it
works. Everybody kept telling me “Breathe Crystal, breathe!”
As I said before, nobody was really in a hurry to get me
into an epidural or a room in Labor and Deliver. But the triage nurse came in
one hour later to see how I was progressing, and “WHOA 7 ½ cm! Let’s get you to
L&D!” She moved faster; in fact, she ran down the hall, pushing my bed.
Once I got to L&D, I was handed off to nurse Tonya. The
contractions were bad, and I really just wanted to thrash around and kick a lot
(but that wouldn’t have helped). “Breathe Crystal, Breathe!” The
anesthesiologist arrived, and couldn’t have hooked me up fast enough. Once a
woman goes into transition (8 – 10 cm), typically, the epidural is no longer allowed.
Once I was sitting up, hunched over, using Tonya as support, the
anesthesiologist started his procedure. Then Tonya yelled at your Grammy for
videotaping the process- big no-no. I mumbled something to the nurse under my
breath about your Grammy being crazy. She has always been the type who would
rather ask for forgiveness than permission.
I immediately started feeling better, but it took about 20
minutes until I was calm and feeling less pain (mostly just pressure). My blood
pressure was fine at that point, and I believe that I have the epidural to thank
for that (reason #2 I believe my VBAC was a success). Every few minutes, I
could feel pressure as you got closer and closer to arriving. I was shaking
from the epidural, and I continued to shake for the next few hours, even after
you arrived and I stopped receiving pain medication.
The birth photographer, Caroline, arrived right after the
pain meds. At that point, it was just a waiting game. I talked and chatted
through the “pressure” contractions, asking everybody questions and trying
(unsuccessfully) to sleep between the contractions.
At 4am, I was 10cm, and I remember asking everybody to guess
what time you would be born. Unfortunately, I still didn’t start pushing till
5am because the OB doctor wasn’t ready. They even gave me a drug to “relieve
the pressure”, and slow the process. Once I did finally start pushing, it
seemed unreal that it was actually happening! I was going to have a baby the
way I wanted. The doctor wasn’t in the room at first/ It was just Tonya,
Caroline, your Daddy, and Grammy. My OB, Dr. McElroy wasn’t there, so the doctor
on call, Dr. Irwin, delivered you. I’m not 100% sure he knew it was a VBAC (3rd
and final reason I think my VBAC was successful).
Around 4:45 or 5am, Tonya calmly told me to start pushing
the next time I felt a contraction. I felt so calm (nothing like you see on
TV). After several minutes of learning how to push with Tonya, (I pushed too
much with my face, rookie mistake), Dr. Irwin came in to suit up; this ensemble
included goggles! Your Daddy moved around to my right side, and Tonya moved to
my left so that she could keep track of the monitor. I asked the doctor not to
give me an episiotomy and that I wanted a slimy baby on my chest as soon as
possible. I pushed and pushed, and I didn’t really feel like I was doing
anything. I was surprised how quiet the room was- I wasn’t screaming, nobody
was talking, everybody was just looking at the monitor and asking me to push
when I felt the urge to push. They called in a nursery nurse to be there for
you, but really it was a very simple, quiet moment without any complications.
When I pushed, Tonya would place her arm around my neck to help me sit up, and
she held on to the back of my knees.
I pushed and people cheered me on, until your Grammy and Daddy
said they could see the top of your head! You had hair! This excited me, and
gave me a burst of energy (my kid had hair!!). I pushed a few more times, until
you just slid out. It was 5:21am. After the doctor sucked all the fluid out of
your mouth, I could hear you scream; it was the best sound ever. The doctor
asked your Daddy if he wanted to cut the cord, to which he declined at first;
but we all pressured him into it. Later, the doctor complimented your Daddy on
his cord-cutting skills because he did it without spraying blood everywhere.
The doctor placed you in my arms, and you were so beautiful
(and slimy) with your cute little pointed head. Your nurse helped me hold you
for a few minutes (because you were slimy and slippery). I was in awe of what I
had just done. I just kept saying, “I did it”. You were stunning and there is
nothing comparable to that moment. Nothing. I hope I’m there when you have your
They took you from me, and over the next few minutes, they
wiped you down, stitched me back up, weighed you (6lbs 9oz), and measured your
head and length (20 ½ inches). I just kept thinking and saying, “I did it”.
Within a few minutes they had everything cleaned up, the doctor congratulated
me, and he left. Your Daddy handed you back to me; you were all bundled up with
a hat on. I got to nurse you immediately, and you latched on, which was great.
We took a few more pictures, and I got to talk to your Papaw and your Aunt Jessi
on the phone. I cried so hard- happy tears.
Within the next hour or so, I announced your arrival via
Facebook, and your Papaw and Aunt Jessi came by with your big sister. It was
early in the morning (6:30-ish) and Maggie was still very sleepy when she got
to meet you. She was actually more interested in the new surroundings and the
nearby banana than the fact that we had a new baby (but don’t worry! She was
more interested in you the next day when she met you in our home without any
distractions). Aunt Jessi made a McDonalds run and my first meal after you were
born was a McGriddle. Don’t eat those; they are bad for you. I sent a couple of
text messages to my work colleagues, and Grammy texted the whole family.
Everyone left the hospital, your Daddy laid down to take a
nap, and just the 2 of us spent some time together. You still had blood matted
to your hair under your hat. You were so brand new. I was in awe, and I was so
excited and energetic. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be considering I
hadn’t slept in 24 hours and I just birthed a baby. I was running on adrenaline
and pure love.
Over the next few hours, I figured out how to function
again. They bathed you, and we moved into the postpartum wing of the hospital.
But that was short-lived because the first time they took my blood pressure in
postpartum, it was 110/199, so they sent me back to L&D to be hooked up to
magnesium. All without my lunch.
After being hooked up to the magnesium and all the other
contraptions that come with it, I got to see Dr. McElroy. I talked to her about
the delivery, my medications, and how long I would have to wait for the cherry
pie I wanted to order. I learned of the Moore, Oklahoma F5 tornado that
afternoon, followed by your first few visitors. First, your Grandma Roznik
brought you gifts and sparking grape juice. That night, my Aunt Marsha along
with my 2 cousins, Trey and Logan, came to visit you for a few minutes. Tuesday
your Grandma Betty Mabry came to visit us.
I had to stay in L&D until 24 hours after you were born.
Your Daddy and I drifted in and out of sleep, and I woke up every once in a
while to nurse you. (I forgot how much that hurts the first few days). I remember
wishing you “Happy Day One” around 5:30am.
My blood pressure leveled out, and we moved back to
postpartum before breakfast that Tuesday. The rest of day two was quiet and
peaceful. It was spent resting, showering, watching the developing storms,
paperwork, finalizing your birth certificate, and convincing the nurses that I
could go home (half-way joking that I should be allowed to take one of the
postpartum beds with me).
We left the hospital around 4pm that day. Just you, your
daddy, and I drove the 40 minutes home with dark storm clouds overhead. I rode
in the backseat, and you held onto my finger tightly.
WE DID IT. You are my VBAC Baby. I love you so much, Willow