"I don’t know why my birth stories are always so lengthy… I just want to remember stuff!?
Booker is my third babe. My first labor was a hellacious experience of doctor/hospital over reach, a 40+hour long labor, and a c-section that I was not ready or awake for. It left me with some real postpartum/PTSD issues. My second was an elective c-section because of life things at the time and probably mostly the fear of repeating what had gone down before.
I decided this third time was my time. I was going to attempt the VBA2C (Vaginal Birth after 2 Cesarean Sections) and do everything in my power to make this a natural, safe, controlled, happy time for my babe and me. So we set out to do that.
During one of my early appointments, Dr. Cooper suggested that I consider hiring a Doula because VBACs tend to go smoother with their help. I asked her to recommend someone that I could yell at (ha) because I can be a bit blunt and I wouldn’t want to have to worry about offending someone while in labor! (I will have you know I did not yell at Dalia once… just John a few times! But I apologized quickly… and that was just because he was trying to touch me- ha!) I digress… So she suggested Dalia Abrams and I looked her up right away.
We met for coffee with Dalia for our first meeting and let the kids play on a nearby playground while we talked. She was engaged and kind and gave me good vibes. (Is that a thing?) She made me feel comfortable right away. The second visit with her I was having a hard time accepting the upcoming labor, and pregnancy hormones were real and putting me in a real funk. She listened in a way that allowed me to process those feelings and really work them out, She then suggested I attend a birthing class so I could better visualize what the labor would be like and what I would need from her and John. It was amazingly helpful for a planner/type-A like me. She knew me! I knew she would be invaluable when labor actually happened.
So let’s get to that…
I tried everything to get things going… dates, pineapples, spicy food, evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, acupressure, sex (ha!), walking, squatting, circles on the ball.. all the things! And we were doing nightly Spinning Babies exercises at Dalia’s advisement. I was huge (200+lbs on a smallish 5’4” frame aint no small feat) and swollen and super uncomfortable in everything. So at my 39 week appointment I asked Dr cooper to check my cervix for any sort of good news. 2 cm! That was GREAT news to me! My body had never done anything by itself and it was taking baby steps (pun) in the right direction! I had her go ahead and strip my membranes (couldn’t hurt right?--- except literally… literally it hurt like hell) and I left the office feeling like a beast of a woman! I had a fighting chance at this! That night around 11:30 pm I lost my mucus plug and could barely sleep from the excitement… nope, actually because I was having contractions 10 mins apart all night. The never got closer/stronger so I finally fell asleep at about 4am and woke up around 8 bummed with no baby.
The whole week following I had probably three more of those nights. One of those was Sunday Aug 27. I talked to Dalia the next day and told her I was really having hard contractions and she suggested that it maybe meant bad positioning for the babe and gave me some more exercises to do and encouraged me to sleep when I could. Well… Monday contractions picked up and got harder so we went ahead and had my mom drive down from KY to be here just in case. I am thankful to the Lord for the wisdom and timing of that… because Monday night around 8pm I started noticing a consistency in my contractions. 10 minutes, then 7 minutes, then 5! Around 11pm Monday night John and I decided it was time to go to the hospital!
He drove like a bat outta hell (it’s a little intimidating living an hour from the hospital!) and we listened to my labor playlist! I booty danced in my seat to distract me and we both were basically squealing inside because soon we would be holding our Books! Went into the emergency room, they sent us to L&D, and I got checked and signed all the papers and bounced on the birthing ball and we waited the hour required to make sure I was progressing before calling Dalia and John’s parents.
I had dilated from a 3cm to a 4cm in the hour so they said go ahead and call Dalia. The nurse told me the doctor on call was Dr. Bell and she usually doesn’t take VBA2C patients but that they would inform her I was here. Dr. Bell came in and introduced herself to me and was nothing but kind and supportive. I was thankful. Dalia arrived around 3:30 am, just as I was starting to feel more and more painful contractions. I instantly asked if I could get in the bath when she got there and she was shocked when the nurses said yes.. I was relieved!
So bath time in labor is the best time in labor. Dalia had candles (electric) and I was able to hold john’s hand and rock in the tub through the waves. I focused on breathing and rocking and would verbally remind myself “It’s a wave, it has to go down… it’s just a wave” – when I wasn’t able to say that out loud John would pick it up for me. He was so great. I got out after a while and did some leaning and squatting and ball time and worked through painful contractions that were 3-4 minutes apart until about 7am. Then I called it. I hadn’t slept in days and I was tired and unable to focus through them anymore. I had been working each contraction for about 12 hours and I was done. I knew ahead of time that an epidural was not the enemy but a tool that I could use if I felt I needed to. It would not be a failure to use what I needed to get my baby here. So I confidently asked for a little assistance. Before they got the anesthesiologist in there they checked me and I was now 6 cm dilated! YAY! Perfect. Now the plan was to get the epidural and let my body do the work to the end!
GETTING AN EPIDURAL IS THE WORST. I’m convinced. Having a contraction while having to hump over like that on the bed is horrible. Thankfully Kristy my sweet nurse didn’t mind me holding onto her for dear life and squeezing her sides through each contraction! Thanks Kristy! But it brought some relief and in no time I was napping with the peanut ball between my legs.
Around 12:30 my water started leaking (good sign!) But when Dr. Williams (another in the practice… super sweet and supportive) checked again I was still only 6 cm and Booker was high and had his head turned weird! Good news there is that epidurals don’t work on me in the traditional sense. It takes the edge off but I was still able to move around and feel the pressure. So we did all of the Spinning Babies exercises (inversion/shaking apples, side-lying release, sifting) for a long time in an effort to back him out of position and restart so he would engage correctly and cause my cervix to finish the work! Turns out the epidural had slipped out during that and I started feeling VERY INTENSE back pain with each contraction- also suggesting a bad position for Books.
As I waited for them to redo the epidural I worked through each contraction the same way as before. I leaned against the back of the bed and swayed a little.. breathing and cursing a bit and reminding myself about the wave. It was nice when we fixed that and I could rest a bit again- switching sides with the peanut ball. I think I fell asleep for a couple of hours in there actually!
Around 6:20 pm Dr. Williams came back in for a progress check. She said we had fixed the positioning issues with the Spinning Babies stuff but that he was still pretty high and only 6 cm dilated- which suggested he could not get lower to engage for some reason. She suggested Pitocin to artificially dilate me to a 10 and then give pushing a try but I had been here before. I had tried pushing a baby that wouldn’t engage for 2.5 hours and ended up not being able to be “there” when he was born. I didn’t want that for anyone here. I realized that the most peaceful and controlled choice for us now was a c-section. And at my suggestion they agreed. They would start prepping the room.
My only request now was to be awake and alert during his birth. I knew what this meant. What doesn’t work on me is epidurals… what worked for my girl’s birth was a spinal. This meant I needed to let the epidural run completely out so they could restart in the OR with a spinal instead. The anesthesiologist (who was a real gem by the way.. super communicative and aware of my needs and sweet to seek out my family about all the things!) agreed to do that. So they pulled my epidural. And I CARED NO MORE ABOUT THE STUPID WAVE.
The hour (YES! HOUR! WHY!?) that it took them to clean up the OR for me was the most horrific of my life. Contractions 2 minutes apart… rocking… cursing a lot a bit… blowing breath in every direction… continually asking what the hell was taking so long… yelling at anyone who walked in to be quiet… and y'all… truly if it weren’t for John and Dalia I don’t think I could have done this. They held my hands and let me push on them and encouraged me and gave me the strength I needed to get through each one. Man… y'all… unproductive labor contractions are no joke.
Finally, around 8 pm, after meeting Dr. Ashford, who also shares call with the Simon Williamson Clinic OB group (right after shift change) they wheeled me into the OR to be cut open.
Oh and Tonya was back! She was my first nurse and praise God she was scheduled to be back because I needed her! I sat on that table and she just held me like a baby and let me dig into her during every contraction and all the yucky spine poking. They laid me back after I couldn’t feel my butt and went to get John. He was cute in his little space suit thing and we both regained a little of the initial excitement. Even tho I was throwing up. Ew.
At 8:25pm on Tuesday August 29 Booker Floyd Wardlaw was born!! 9lbs 7 oz, 21 in long!
Did you read that? 9lbs, 7oz! CONFIRMATION! I had made the right choice for us.
It’s funny. His birth story doesn’t read too differently from his older brother's if you’re just looking at the facts- long labor, lack of engagement, weird positioning, ending in a cesarean. But oh my goodness does it read differently in my heart.
This was MY call. It was right for US and not the doctors.
I was in a place that supported me and the choices I wanted to make.
Every nurse and doctor (none of which happened to be my specially chosen doc) gave me the freedom to make this labor what I needed it to be.
I have never understood the people who say “well you have a healthy baby, so that’s all that matters!” NOPE… mamas matter and their brains and feelings matter and I truly felt that the whole time from Princeton.
I could not be more thankful.
So he screamed for a long long time. Maybe he’s type-A like this mama and it was all too much! And then started nursing like a champ. He has been an angel baby sleeping four hours at night and nursing well and taking a paci. He left the hospital weighing 8lbs 13 oz and 5 days later at his check up weighed 10lbs!
So we’re rockin it! I am in love with this chunk of a boy I get to call son and I am so thankful to everyone who helped get him here. And also to live in a time where my baby can get here safely even if my body isn’t able to make it happen.