Thursday, August 13, 2009

Successful VBAC, HURRAY!

As the mother of three young children, I have had many reasons to pull an all nighter. But my favorite reason to do so is serving a couple as their labor support doula. It all started around 2 pm, when my client gave me a heads up, saying she was having consistent contractions. I met her and her husband shortly before 7 pm at St. Als, and she was dilated 5 cm and 80% effaced. I thought, "wow, this is going to be a fast delivery".

One thing that made this birth different is mom had the goal of a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). VBAC moms are different in that they don't just fear the cesarean like most moms do, but they have experienced one; and know exactly why they don't want to endure one again. VBAC moms have a different determination, and a greater understanding of why delivering vaginally is so important.

We spent the next 7 hours doing all sorts of comfort measures, and mom was AMAZING. She was very instinctual and in tune with her body. She entrained easily with her labor music, moving and swaying to the rhythm it provided. She never tried to fight against the contractions (many moms will do so to try and avoid the pain), and stayed in control. She walked, squatted, used the birth ball, labored in the jacuzzi, threw up, used deep breathing and imagery... everything imagineable. But by 2 in the morning, she was only dilated to a 6. This news was very discouraging, as mom was getting extremely worn out.

After much deliberation, the difficult decision to use pitocin and pain meds was made. I typically do not feel that a decision like this is the best choice, but in this case, it absolutely was. For unknown reasons, labors (VERY seldomly) just don't progress enough on their own. This leaves mom and dad worn out and disappointed. I teach in my classes that all interventions have their place. But when they are overused, moms and babies pay the price (as there is always a risk involved). But when they are used in the correct setting, moms and babies benefit.

After mom was comfortable (about 4 am), we all (mom, dad, grandma and I) tried to get some rest. Then around 6, mom woke up feeling more pressure. She began pushing at 7:20.

Once baby was about half way out of the birth canal, mom was able to reach down and pull her child onto her. I LOVE when care providers have moms do this. It is not only empowering, but a magical moment that really should be given to parents whenever possible. Imagine the difference from having a cesarean birth with your first child, to reaching down and pulling your second child towards you! Brings me to tears.

Weighing in at 8 pounds 2 oz, and 21 inches long!
Born at 8:21 am, after 61 minutes of pushing.

This little girl handled the long labor like a champ, and was nursing within minutes of being born.
Isn't she just adorable?!

And what little girl doesn't have daddy wrapped around her little finger? This dad has been fighting a cold all week, and even had a fever last night. But no matter what, his wife came first, and he was an awesome support to her.

Congratulations on your new baby girl, and THANK YOU for sharing your birth! I was honored to be a part of it!

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