Monday, September 22, 2014

Beautiful and Healing VBAC Birth of Hux-ta-Bux

It took me almost a year to write this, but here it finally is. The birth story of my second baby, hux-ta-bux.

I haven't written a post on my first son's birth, but I may have mentioned it here and there in my posts. My first son was born via cesarean after a very long and very painful labor that left me exhausted. I got all the way to 10 cm, but was too tired and had an epidural at that point. On top of that, his head was huge. I was pretty grief stricken and struggled through a terribly hard and painful recovery after the dust settled. I controlled what I could after and fought through early difficulties, but managed to pretty much (he had some formula in the early days) exclusively breastfeed him and only just recently weaned him at 2 1/2 years old. Because, dammit, I wasn't also "failing" at breastfeeding and I was bound and determined NOT to go through another cesarean.

I never wanted a cesarean. My mother had 3. Their paternal grandmother had 2. I wanted to break the cycle and not have c sections. I had one. However, as much as I felt like a failure, I was also determined to learn from my first birth to better my odds of not having to have repeat surgery. I did so much online reading and knew that I was not doomed to another c section. The biggest thing I learned from all of it, was that I needed a doula. Someone trained and practiced in helping women emotionally and knowing about what natural birth looks like. I knew from my last birth that transition was HARD. Harder than can even be described and it's where I needed emotional support not to cave and get drugs. The money spent on hiring a doula the second time around was some of the best money I ever spent. I also learned that I needed to just let go and prepare myself mentally during my pregnancy.

I woke up feeling crampy on Saturday, November 30th. It was my weekend to have the oldest, but within an hour I knew I needed to have his father pick him up and contact the doula. I spent the day relaxing, eating, showering, timing, and bouncing on a ball and hanging over it. The doula and student doula showed up to chat and see how I was doing. Since the contractions were spacing out and I could talk through the contractions, they decided to leave me be so I could relax. I kept her updated and took my time making sure all my bags were packed and accessible while my brother impatiently waited. By the late afternoon, early evening I was needing to listen to my HypnoBabies tracks more and more to stay comfortable and was starting to feel like I wanted to go to the hospital. I called the doctors while my doulas headed over. Once they arrived, I changed my mind and wanted to rest instead. The student doula went home while the doula stayed with me. She recommended some exercises to help get baby into an optimal position. I did them, listened to my tracks, and fell asleep for 3 hours. 

I was then awoken at 5:30 am on Sunday, December 1st by a the telltale popping sensation of my water breaking and I knew it was time to go. The doula came up to help me get to the bathroom without leaking everywhere, I sat on the toilet and waited while she gathered clean clothes and a depends pad my mom had left behind. At this point, the contractions where getting stronger and closer. Once, I got cleaned up, I stood up and noticed my mucous plug hanging out on the toilet seat. I managed to get downstairs, but was soaked through again. I had the doula grab one of dude-y's diapers and more clothes while I sat on the downstairs toilet. She loaded up the car while I dressed and then we headed out into the cold.

The car ride was so difficult since I couldn't listen to my tracks. It was only a 15 minute ride, but the contractions were coming on stronger and closer together. It took forever to walk up to the emergency entrance since I had to keep stopping with each contraction. The nurse greeted us with a wheelchair so I didn't have to walk all the way over to labor & delivery. It was about 6:30 am when we arrived at the hospital. I was greatly relieved when they wheeled me into a different room from the one I labored in with dude-y. They then began asking questions and prepping me for admission. I think it took a good 15 minutes for me to just get my shoes, pants, and underwear off. I refused the hospital gown and just stayed in my shirt and socks. As my doula helped me, I kept repeating to her, "I can't do this. It hurts." In my head though, I was saying, "I just want a c section. I don't want to do this." She continued to reassure me by stating that I was doing it and I could do it. I finally got into the bed and was checked. I was 9 cm!!! I was so relieved since I was worried I still had a very long haul ahead.

While I labored, they continued my admission. I made sure they knew I was declining vaccines and circumcision for my son. I laid half on my back, half on my left side whilst gripping the bed rail. That was the only position I wanted to be in and I wasn't moving. My doula turned on my tracks to help me focus. I felt my hips coming apart at the back. I screamed, I moaned, I made weird noises, and I breathed. They asked to check me again. I said, "No!" At some point the nurse told me that she was a VBAC mom and I already knew my doula was. It was comforting to know I was surrounded by women who had successfully done what I was attempting. 

Eventually I felt like I wanted to push and asked to be checked. They were still admitting me and processing the paperwork. I was checked and I was fully dilated. The first few pushes were awkward and I was working out how to do it still. Somehow I figured it out and was able to push with the contractions. I turned down the mirror I was offered as the last thing I wanted to see was crowning happening to me in that moment! I remember feeling the pressure of the head and the eventual pop as the head was pushed out. Then the body! He was born at 8:29 am. The doula said something about only 30 minutes of pushing (felt longer) and I was amazed after the 5 hours of unsuccessful pushing I did with the first. I then started screaming joyfully, "I did it! I did it! I did it!" over and over. The doctor waited for the pulse to stop in the cord and I reached down and felt my newest baby boy. Once his cord was cut, they put him on my chest, covered him in a blanket, and I got to see his beautiful face for the first time. The doctor stitched my minor tear while I nursed hux-ta-bux for the first time. It was so different and so much nicer than my surgical birth. The ability to hold my baby almost immediately was priceless.

At some point, I asked to see my placenta and the doctor obliged AND explained all the parts to me. Hux-ta-bux was checked, measured, weighed, bundled, and handed back to me. Breakfast was wheeled in and I was able to cuddle up with my new baby. Eventually, his father showed up to meet him. Then dude-y was brought in to meet his baby brother. The look of excitement and pride when dude-y met hux-ta-bux was the second best thing of that day. 

I did end up having trouble with clotting and hemorrhaging, but thankfully the doctor was able to get things under control with major uterine massage. It was a bit scary, but it beat getting cut open again by far! I also healed immensely on that day. As much as I wanted to never have a c section in the first place, it was honestly more rewarding to have gone through one and then go on to be a VBAC mom. I cherished my easy recovery so much more for having gone through a difficult one the first time. I also let go of so much more than I likely would have if it weren't for my experience. It helped make me who I am today.

Holding hux-ta-bux for the first time.

Sweet baby.

Pouty lip.

Doctor showing me the placenta.

Getting all checked out.

More bonding with hux-ta-bux.