When I woke up Saturday (11/11) morning around 6am, I noticed I was having contractions- which felt like period cramps. I didn't put this together that they were actually contractions until my water "broke" (but really just started leaking little by little) around 11am.
We had planned to take Kenzie to play "video games" aka Dave and Busters (his new favorite thing to do) that afternoon and I quickly realized after my water started leaking that we probably wouldn't make it. I quickly changed my story and told him that instead he was going to get his special surprise that baby Leo bought him (a new bike). Luckily he was cool with that.
I called my OB and told her my water broke around 11am. She told me since my last birth was a c-section that they would want to monitor me a bit closer so to be at the hospital around 4pm at the latest. Contractions were coming but sporadic and not at all uncomfortable. I could easily move and talk through them.
I had actually already scheduled a repeat c-section with her for the upcoming Wednesday bc I tend to have big babies and since I was overdue the chance of me being able to have a VBAC with a baby that was close to Kenzie's birth weight (9 lbs) was slim. If you haven't read Kenzie's birth story you can find it here: https://www.nancyandersonfit.com/blogs/news/kenzies-birth-story
I decided that I wanted to schedule a c-section and not keep waiting to go into labor naturally since I was already overdue. I knew that the outcome of trying to VBAC a big baby out of my small pelvic inlet (what I learned from my first labor and delivery) would probably not work out for me. However; since I went into labor on my own IE water breaking my doctor and I confirmed on that phone call that the plan was to try for a VBAC.
So, I hung up with her and we went about our day staying at home. We played outside with Kenzie, made food, watched tv and waited for things to pick up. We have no family on the west coast so it's just my husband and I. I called our nanny (who bless her heart had basically been on call every weekend for 3 weeks) and she came over around 230pm.
By now Kenzie knew something was up. He didn't want me to go to the hospital unless he came along. He was getting very clingy and emotional. It sort of broke my heart- his whole world was about to change. I was trying to stay calm because now I am thinking well F*CK this might be a long ass night (I had a VERY long labor with Kenzie), I need to conserve energy and stay relaxed. So my husband took Kenzie to target to pick up a few things for me (headphones, batteries for my tens machine and pads for post hospital). By the time he came back poor Kenzie was sleeping (passed out from crying so hard) and it was time to head to the hospital.
We got to the hospital around 5pm, checked in and went to triage. There they tested if my water broke (which it did) and checked my cervix (3CM and 70% effaced). This was great news to me b/c with Kenzie I started at 1.5 and 50%. We stayed in triage a while, not much happened. I was having contractions but easy ones and about 5 min apart but not consistent. Some were 1 min some were 10 minutes. Sometimes I didn't even know I was having one. I kept having to ask how often they were happening.
I think we were in triage for a couple hours then they took us to labor and delivery. I got set up, met my nurse (Sara- who was freaking amazing) and started laboring for a while longer. I actually don't remember how long but I know we watched a whole movie and then some. Things just weren't moving quickly. I was staying at 3-4 cm and my body wasn't kicking the contractions into high gear. Since I've already had a c-section it is a risk to have a rupture if your uterus has too much wear during a long labor plus my water had broke so now time was also an issue bc of the risk of bacteria or infection for mom and baby.
We decided to start a very low dose of pitocin to try to speed things up. I'm not a fan of medicine however I would rather have medicine like pitocin and have vaginal birth than have to have a repeat c-section. Now at this point- my thought of going natural (no meds or pain killers) is out the window in my head b/c I labored without any meds or pitocin with my first for 20 hours and I know how painful our own contractions can be but dealing with pitocin contractions without pain meds? OH hell no. Not interested. Until my pain level got to a 6/10 though the nurse said we can hold off on the epidural. I was at like a 2, even with the pitcoin.
Now this is where shit got scary. About 30 minutes after we started pitocin, I was sitting on the birth ball and my nurse rushed in the room telling me to please quickly get back into bed and lay on my left side. She put an oxygen mask on me and told me to take long deep breaths. She then hit some call button (to the nurses station?) and said she needed "more people now" and I am internally freaking the f*ck out bc obviously something is wrong. She then move me to all fours. By now there is like 5-10 people in the room with the on call OB (mine wasn't there yet) and they are talking about how the baby's heart rate had dropped too low and they are trying to position me plus give oxygen to bring it back up. Which it did come back up- he actually recovered "beautifully" they said- which honestly in that moment made every single workout and healthy lifestyle choice for the past 10 months 100% worth it. Strong Mom = Strong Baby. Does this mean that bad things can't happen in healthy labors? No. But it was reassuring to me to know that I did everything to my knowledge to prepare my body and baby for stressors (exactly like this) that can be put on them during labor.
So they then turned off the pit. My OB ordered a epidural (in case it happened again and we had to do an emergency c-section). I honestly wanted to say fuck it right then and there and have another c-section which is what I told basically asked my OB via phone. That was enough for me. She said although it was scary to me- this happens in labor and maybe the cord got pinched during a more intense contraction. She noted it wasn't time to throw in the towel yet- a VBAC was still possible. We decided to let my body labor on its own and see what happens. They planned to assess and check me again at 4am and see where I was at.
A couple hours passed- still was 3-4 centimeters. By now I had the epidural, which by the way makes contractions a BREEZE lol. Such a huge difference than no epidural. We used the peanut ball and switched my position every 30 minutes. I had to dilate after all- which was my problem last time. I got to a 5 then started swelling because Kenzie was too big to fit through my pelvic inlet. So basically I got to a 5 then started going backwards because my cervix was swelling.
Around 1am (I think?) they started pitocin again bc my contractions still weren't picking up. Around 2am the heart rate dropped AGAIN. My nurse was in the room this time- same routine. She called for help and "more people" put me on oxygen, on all fours everyone rushed in. I was naked this time by the way ass in the air on all fours, vagina out. In the moment you don't care bc you're just worried that your baby is going to be ok but after all is good you look back like OMG how mortifying. Lol. I'm sure they are used to it. Anyway, this time they gave me a shot of something that basically stops labor. They checked me again and I was still 3-4 centimeters. I am sure once I got to 5 I would have started swelling. Same thing, different birth. This time my OB called it- we would have a repeat c-section. The cord was likely bunched up somewhere or getting caught or pinched and it was getting cut off during contractions. If I was close to a 10 maybe we could have kept going but I had a long way to go and was making like no progress over the course of several hours.
(my amazing husband was so supportive the whole way. So lucky to have such a great partner in life).
30 minutes later my OB was there, we reviewed the night, the reviewed some things about the c-section and got ready for surgery. C-sections are hard. I had serious PTSD after my first one. I was so heart broken over it. This time- I knew it was possible and I went into labor with an open mind so I wasn't nearly as disappointed. I just wanted my baby to arrive healthy.
At 3:53 am Leo was born. Again handful of people saw him before did, I saw a picture of him on my husbands phone before I saw him in real life. It sucks. C-sections suck. The recovery is hard. I hate the fact that the one thing my body should be able to do as a woman- it can't. If I made 6 pound babies it could (maybe) but not when I made 8-9 lbs babies. I married a division 1 football player. He is big, then men in his family are just as big or bigger. It's not will, it's not about 'letting my body to what it's supposed to.' I tried- both times. The out come was this- c-section or bust.
At the end of the day, I wouldn't have been able to vaginally birth either one of my babies. My OB said that my hips are normal sized but my inlet is just VERY narrow and would not fit babies that are 8-9 lbs. After opening me up, she noted Leo wouldn't have fit either, same as she noted with Kenzie. Some of her tools wouldn't even fit which I guess never happens.
I used to be so against medicine. Pain meds, c-sections, other intervention meds and then I realized through my own experiences that modern medicine is amazing and saves lives and without it I wouldn't probably wouldn't be here and neither would my boys. So I am thankful for it. I praise it. It may not always be necessary as many people would argue, but it was necessary for me. Both times. It's a little heart breaking that I will never be ale to experience a vaginal birth as I imagine there is something magical about bringing your baby into this world.
I am thankful that I had such an amazing hospital, nurses and especially my OBGYN who I just can not say enough great things about. She was always supportive of my wishes with both pregnancies, she is just above and beyond anything you could ever ask of an OB. I wish every woman could experience such an amazing rapport with their OB.
Leo Maddox Anderson
8 lbs 6 Ounces