Without the support of Jon, the labor and delivery nurse Kristin at TMC, and our Doctor Jennifer Reinhart – Gabriel’s birth would not have been as smooth and easy as it was. My doctor believed every step of the way that I would be able to have a successful VBAC, and I did – it was everything I had hoped for. Here’s Gabriel’s birth story, just in time for Labor Day!
Beginning at the 36 week check-up, I was surprised to find out I was dilating more and more each week, and making progress towards a natural birth. My experience with Sophia was completely different – i.e.: no progress whatsoever! This baby was shaking things up, and I was having some contractions off and on. By my last visit, my doctor felt that baby would come within days, but if not, I would have c-section scheduled for the following week (due to Sophia’s emergency c-section and the type of surgical incision I had, I could not be induced). She really didn’t think the surgery would be necessary – she felt the baby would be here before then. I had contractions off and on the next two days, but nothing continuous.
I woke up that Wednesday morning with a really strong contraction. We got up, did the normal morning routine, and then Jon took Sophia off to school. I had some work loose-ends to finish up, and I wanted to make progress on Sophia’s quilt.
I had steady and strong contractions all morning, about fifteen minutes apart. I finished the work items I needed to have cleared off my plate, and even managed to finish all twenty quilt squares for Sophia. I decided to eat something and try to lay down for a nap. The nap just wasn’t happening – contractions were every ten minutes. I didn’t want to call Jon just yet – I wanted to make sure I was really in labor. My fear was to be sent home or that they would just schedule me for a c-section. I really wanted to try for a natural birth.
On my way to get Sophia, the contractions began to come every five to ten minutes. I frantically called Jon, who was already home. He packed a bag while I got Sophia. I wasn’t sure if I could make it home…I cried a little picking Sophia up from school. I thought I was in labor, but wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to sound the alarm just yet, but these contractions were getting closer and stronger. I think the baby was sounding it for me…
Once we got home, Sophia ran in her room and grabbed her pajamas and shouted “let’s go!“. We had told her she would spend the night at our friend Amy’s house…and she was ready to go! I already had a bag packed for her and myself, and Jon drove us to Amy’s. After dropping her off, my mom called to check on us. I told her I thought I was in labor and we were on the way to the hospital. She just laughed at me and my “I think I’m in labor” statement and told us to call her – she was so excited!
I had filled all my TMC paperwork out already and sent it in. Checking in took twenty minutes or so…I couldn’t believe the delay! I was checked in by a gal in triage, which took another half hour and 500 questions. Finally, she confirmed that yes, I was in labor and at five centimeters. She called my doctor, who was on call in the hospital (we really lucked out!), who wanted me to walk around the hospital for an hour before we officially checked in to the L & D department. Once there, I’d be hooked up to a monitor and have less freedom to move around.
We walked and got some food. This was a mistake on my part, but I was hungry. We officially checked in to the L & D and met with my doctor. I was six centimeters and contractions were every five to ten minutes. We had the option to break my water and I went with it. The floodgates opened (literally) and so did the pain. I began throwing up with every contraction, which were minutes apart. Jon ran aorund the room, looking for something for me to throw up in. All he could find were these little kidney-shaped bins, which filled up with one throw-up. A nurse brought him a large bin…which then disappeared just when we needed it again.
And then the pain level jumped again. The pain began like a fire in my back and spread through my uterus. The nurse gave me some pain medicine intravenously, which lasted an hour. My back pain was immense. I took a shower, hoping to relive the pain, and only managed to make myself very cold. Then I began throwing up again non-stop. Jon still couldn’t find anything larger for me to throw up in! At that moment, I elected for an epidural. I hit the call button. The nurse asked “what can we do for you“…I said “epidural, please!” quite forcefully.
With the epidural, my legs went cold and numb a bit. The guy gave me more than usual of the epidural medicine because it just wasn’t kicking in quickly, but then it did. I was able to get a little bit of rest and dilated to ten centimeter. The baby had also descended and was ready to come on out!
I began pushing in time to the contractions. My epidural had eased quite a bit by this time, and I could feel each contraction on one side, but the pain wasn’t too much. I pushed for about an hour, and then my doctor came in. She took one look and said that the baby would come out in the next two pushes. She calmly began to do her prep. At the time, I was thinking, umm…okay...but one contraction later, I felt like pushing after that contraction, and then out came the head. Everyone told me to stop pushing so the head and neck could be cleared, and then one big push more – our son was born and placed on my chest. I was so surprised to see a little boy’s body come out of me – I had convinced myself that we were having a girl because I had thought we were having a boy – complicated thinking, I know. I got Sophia’s sex wrong and it made me think I was wrong again..
Our son! What a amazing, and dare I say, stress-free birth experience? It was calm and peaceful environment, other than wondering if I was really in labor in the beginning. There were two other nurses in the room to take care of Gabriel after birth, but Jon was able to help with the cutting of the cord. We just held him and looked at him in awe! I still couldn’t believe we had a boy – we had no boy names that we agreed on! Luckily, we managed to agree – Jon picked the first name and I picked the second. Gabriel Henry Pelletier. Our son.