Okay, so if you read Birth – Round One, you know I ended up having a c-section. So when I was pregnant with my second son, my doctor asked me if I’d thought about my birthing options. I just said “Er, I thought I’d have to have another c-section. Isn’t that the rule?” Turns out it isn’t anymore. She suggested I try giving birth vaginally this time. That’s when I started to sweat – well sweat more that I usually do when I’m pregnant which is up there with a Tijuana toilet tank. If I’d had it my way, I would have had a zipper installed where my first incision was so we could just pop any subsequent children out. So I made a deal with her, if she gave me an epidural before I was induced, then I’d give it a try.
[note: My doctor decided to induce me at 38 weeks in an effort to have me give birth to a slightly less mammoth baby than my first son (who was 10lb 1oz. at 41 weeks), thus avoiding breaking me open like party favour. I thought this was a very good idea.]
I got my delightful Foley induction the night before I was scheduled to be induced and the doctor on call at the hospital asked me if I had any other children. You know, just making chit chat as he’s pumping a balloon up in my cervix. So I said “Yes, I have a two-year old son. He was a c-section so we’ll see how this whole doing-it-the-old-fashioned-way works” Well, both the doctor and the nurse gasped. “You’re having a VBAC?!” Um, I guess. “Are you sure you want to do that? VBACs can be very dangerous and there’s a chance your uterus may rupture during delivery!! Have you discussed this with your doctor?!”
Are you fucking kidding me?! Isn’t there some kind of code that you can’t scare the crap out of any woman without underpants on? “Yes, I’ve discussed this with my doctor, she’s the one who talked me into this!” Then in a very uncharacteristic move, I decided that I wasn’t going to panic and that these two could just suck it. I loved my doctor. She delivered me one healthy kid and I have no reason to think she wouldn’t do it again despite what these two unprofessional strangers were telling me. They made me sign a release saying that “I understood that my body could break apart like a wet paper bag if I chose to go through with a ‘vaginal birth after cesarean section'” and I went home. Once again, the Foley did dick all.
So in I shuffle with my husband and my useless Foley in place at 38 weeks to get my glorious epidural and my baby.
First up is the summer solstice. Did you know every pregnant woman on the planet goes into labour on this day (except for me of course)? There were 12 other babies being born at the same time and, as far as I could figure out, my doctor was the only one there to deliver them.
Second up, the nurse informs me that one of the anesthesiologists is retiring so all the other anesthesiologists are at his party. Um, like a drinking party? Like I’m going to have a drunk anesthesiologist? I’d prefer a sober doctor inserting a needle into my spine so if that could be arranged and put on my chart somewhere that would be great. No, no, I’m assured, they’re just having cake.
After a little while, my anesthesiologist arrives. He looks sober enough and I’ve felt labour pains before so I take my chances with him. I assume the position of being crouched over a pillow holding my husband’s hands in a death grip and then I feel it. MURHTER FURKIN OUCH! Now, the first time I had an epidural I was in labour. I would have let someone take a shovel to my head if it would have stopped the pain so I failed to notice that a needle in your back hurts. No, no, don’t run away from reading this screaming “I can’t do this!!” You can. It’s over and done with before you know it and then a feeling, that I can only describe as a delicious full-body buzz, washes over you (well, it did for me) and you’re oh-so good. I didn’t care what gasket was going to blow with my VBAC – I loved my drunk doctor and his yummy yummy epidural.
Things are going along quite well and my doctor (who has been around as much as Dr. Meade when there were about 9 acres of wounded confederate soldiers in Gone With the Wind.) decides I can start pushing. How novel. I haven’t done this before. So she leaves me to check the 12 other women and the nurses have me grab the back of my knees and pull them up to my chest and push while holding my breath. Honestly, who came up with this position? Did somebody research the most humiliating position on earth then pair it with the one that is least likely to work with gravity? Well, winner winner chicken dinner, they found it.
I do this delightful yoga pose that I will call “gasping monkey” for about 5 minutes when I’m told to hold the press. It looks like the baby might be facing up. The doctor is called back to do a little feel around and, sure enough, he’s facing the wrong way. They decide to roll me on my side for a bit to see if he’ll move on his own. This is when I decide that my husband can’t be there. For some reason I hadn’t really thought of what he would be seeing with this kind of birth and it turned out that I was more comfortable with the thought of him seeing my internal organs sitting on my chest than I was with the idea of him seeing me poop on a delivery table. I said “I’m so sorry but I don’t think I can do this with you here.” And him, being the brilliant man he is, said “No problem. Whatever you want. I can wait outside if you’d feel better about it.” After a few minutes pondering the fact that he would miss the birth of his son because I had a shred of dignity left, I said “Okay, you can stay but just keep above my shoulders”. He agreed.
The nurse came back and did a little feel around and decided that the baby shifted and I could push again. Assume gasping monkey. Still nothing. So the nurse, who was kind of smug up until this point decided that I wasn’t pushing hard enough and she was going to get the doctor to see if my epidural should be turned down. Now, I didn’t say anything at the time but if anyone had tried to turn my epidural down, I would have dragged my body out of the hospital bed like a beached Little Mermaid and garroted them with my IV tube. Not going to happen so back the hell off.
My doctor comes back and says “Nope, she’s pushing fine. The baby is still facing the wrong way.” She then looked at the machine that goes ‘beep’ and said “I’m going to get this baby out of you, okay?” Hell yeah, get this kid out. So she grabbed a pair of forceps (and I suspect a backhoe) and said “PUSH”. She grabbed a hold of him and all his 8lbs 11ozs came into the world.
The next few minutes was spent putting Humpty Dumpty back together again then all was well. All I could think was “This was the way to go. I felt great and no scary incision.” The nurses asked if this was my first baby. When I said “no” and I was promptly wheeled into the furthest, darkest corner room all by myself and it was glorious. Then my epidural wore off. Sweet Baby Jesus was I in pain. I felt like I had been hit by a truck then run over by a snowblower. After what seemed forever, a nurse poked her head in and asked how I was doing. I said I was in quite a bit of pain so she asked if she could take a look. All she said in her awesome Jamaican accent was, “Oh girl, you’re messed up good. I’m getting you some drugs.” Did I mention she was awesome? She brought me ice, drugs and something that resembled dinner but I didn’t have to cook it so it was awesome too.
I actually stayed in the hospital a day longer than I did the first time with my c-section. But if I had to do it again (and I won’t) I would say that doing it the old fashioned way is the way to go. I think if they hadn’t used the jaws of life on me, it actually would have been pretty easy experience.
At the end of the day, I had another healthy baby and I was there to enjoy him no matter how mulched up I was. Crack and VBAC are both indeed, whack.
And that, boys and girls is the end of the birth stories. Hope you enjoyed them.