Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I haven't given a lot of thought into writing my birth story with Walter. Lily's was a marathon multi-post on my other, pretty much retired, blog. I'm going to keep everything here now, and it's not exactly the place for gory details.

The significance of Walter's birth was its status as a failed VBAC. That simple fact is extremely disappointing and hard to recover from, both physically and emotionally. The easiest part has been caring for and loving this delightful human, so I've been spending most of my time and emotional bandwidth on that.

So here is my birth non-story. First, a refresher of my experience with Lily: induced five days early for high (borderline, actually) blood pressure; cervadil, pitocin, water artificially broken early on, in labor for 14 hours, quickly dilated to 2-3 centimeters, no progress from there, c-section at 10:50pm. Healthy baby, 9lb 1oz, 22 in, never in any distress throughout labor.

Walter: went into labor naturally 8 days late with water breaking and very frequent contractions at 2 am. Admitted at 3 cm at 7am. 20 total hours of regular, intense contractions including pitocin augmentation in the late afternoon. Maximum progress: 3 cm. In other words, no progress. C-section around 11pm. Healthy baby, 8lb 12oz, 20 in, never in any distress throughout labor.

I don't think it takes a degree in obstetrics to see the probable issue here. Two labors which began vastly differently ended almost exactly the same way. Maybe there really is something wrong with my body that it can't birth babies. At least not biggish ones who may have had (at least in Walter's case, I believe) insurmountable positioning problems.

Then of course there are all the questions for next time. I spent nearly two years obsessed with my VBAC, and it never happened. Do I go on the hunt next time for a provider who would allow for a trial of labor after two c-sections, knowing it's pretty likely I'll fail again, or do I stick with what I know and like and simply plan for the best possible c-section? It is pretty darn tempting to just schedule a birth for a convenient time of day. Being post-op in the middle of the night is awful, and after a long day of hard work, no less. I was so exhausted but I could never sleep because of automatic compression boots, automatic blood pressure cuff, constant interruptions from nurses for who knows what. Would it be unwise to hope and plan for a VBAC only to throw in the towel after a few hours of no progress? To have gone on the hunt for a supportive provider and probably driven a great distance for prenatal visits only to have everything end the same yet again? Because I do have extremely supportive providers whom I love--they just don't do VBA2Cs. These are tough questions. It would be so much easier if only there were some way to definitively know why my babies can't seem to come out without a scalpel.

But it just isn't that easy, and I can put on my big girl pants and accept that. It doesn't mean that I wanna. :(


Danielle said...

SUPER PROUD of you for even trying! Most women don't even try, so be proud!! As we dream of #2, i wonder if its worth trying for a VBAC, or just scheduling #2. i know what a Csec feels like, i know what the recovery is like... of course it might not be the same--but your right-what's the point of going thru ALLLL the work if its not going to turn out? then not only will i regret all the gas/time/patience wasted on finding a supportive provider, but then wasted energy in the birthing process...
Bravo for trying. Your questions are tough and you will know what to do when the time is right!!
Walter is perfect--YOU MADE THAT! :D

Susan K said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Danielle. :) They brought tears to my eyes! If I were you, I'd go for it (easy for me to say since I'm me and I did go for it). But for you, you have the blessing of knowing that the reason you had your first c/s is unlikely to be repeated, so your chances of a successful VBAC are high. Secondly, even though I ended up with another surgery, I believe Walter benefited greatly from a natural labor. It was good that he got a chance to choose his birthday, in a sense. Just some food for thought! Thanks again for your wonderful comment!