*This is not medical advice.*
Elianna had just turned one, and we were more than ready for another baby. A month later, however, we found ourselves in the midst of the most difficult time we had ever been through. A fever that wouldn't go away and multiple trips to different doctors eventually landed us in the hospital with a very sick little girl. Pneumonia, an unknown virus, a neutrophil ( type of white blood cell for fighting infections) count of 0, and sky high platelet counts that put her at risk of blood clots as we prayed the antibiotics would fight off the infection for her. As various virus possibilities were tossed around (rubella among them - dangerous for pregnant women), we were nervous about me being exposed to her in case I was pregnant, which was a very real possibility at the time. I wasn't. The Lord knew it was not the right time as a month later I got very sick and was in the hospital undergoing all kinds of tests to figure out what was wrong with me. A few months later, I was completely better and we were (again) ready for a baby. We were thrilled to find out we were expecting a boy, due January 12, 2012.We kept the gender of the baby a secret from eveyone including family.
I had undergone an emergency c-section with Elianna and was really hoping to get on with the midwife in town to try for a VBAC this time around. The day I found out I was pregnant I called the midwife program only to be told they were already full for that month. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I looked for another doctor in town that would be supportive of a VBAC, but the best I could find was one who admitted he was not too keen on them and gave me a list of circumstances in which I wouldn't be able to have one..."big baby" and "posterior" as just two of them. (Nathanael was in fact posterior when I went into labour, and was by definition a bigger-than-average baby.)
At about 20 weeks pregnant I got the call that our region was hiring another midwife; I was off the waiting list and now able to get on with a midwife! I was SO thankful; this was a huge answer to prayer as the midwives here are fantastic and very supportive of VBACs.
Now...onto the birth story...
I was overdue and the clock was ticking. As a VBAC candidate, the health region's policy is I must transfer over from midwifery to obstetric care if I go much over a week overdue. At 9 a.m. on Friday, I decided to take the dreadful castor oil. And was it ever dreadful. At 6 p.m. I noticed I was having regular contractions, 5 minutes apart, which latest until after 10 p.m. and then dwindled off but never totally disappeared. For the next 5 days, I had a few contractions every hour, just annoying enough to wake me up in the night. On Tuesday I was nearly a week overdue. The contractions seem to be a bit stronger but not enough to be much more than annoying. I met with the midwife at 2 p.m., we went through the usual things, and I had a few contractions while I was there. When she checked me, I was shocked to hear I was 4 c.m. and could be stretched to 5! She also told me the baby had turned posterior instead of the more favourable anterior position. This made me super nervous because Elianna was posterior, and the back labour was insane. She sent me home, and I became a lot more confident that maybe this baby would be coming soon.
At home, I got on my hands and knees and tried positions to help get the baby to turn anterior. The contractions continued on and off throughout the day as I debated whether or not this was the "real deal." A friend called me around 8:30 in the evening and we had a nice visit while I had a few contractions, but nothing very painful. They had become less frequent at this point, so I had started to think it probably wouldn't happen tonight. Around 10 p.m. my husband and I sat down to watch a movie, and suddenly it seemed that the contractions were getting a bit more painful.
We decided to call my mom and see if she'd come for the night just in case. At this point, I still wasn't sure if things were for sure picking up, but because it was extremely cold (-40 degrees C) and late in the evening, my Mom figured it would be better to come for a false alarm than be called in the middle of the night and have to come then. I decided to call the midwife to warn her that this might be it, and she encouraged me to stay home and try to rest and call her if things picked up. My Mom arrived around 11 p.m. and I told her that I didn't really think we'd be heading in to the hospital tonight but maybe the next day or two since the contractions were really not that bad or close together at this point. I tried to get some rest, but all of a sudden just after midnight, things really picked up. Elianna got out of bed, and while putting her back to bed, I had to breathe through a few of them. When my husband came to check on me, I told him I was now sure this was the real deal; I think we need to call the midwife. I called her to ask if she wanted to come check me at home, but she said she had a feeling I should just head to the hospital because I was probably quite far along already.
We got things together quickly, but by this point I was in quite a bit of pain. A whopper of a contraction had me on my hands and knees right by Elianna's room, and she woke up crying. She was crying like crazy as we hustled out the door before another contraction started. We got to the hospital around 2 a.m., and I was 6 c.m. Shortly after that I hit transition. I was managing quite well, although the pain was getting intense. At around 4:30 a.m. I started feeling the urge to push and the midwife thought I sounded "pushy", so she checked me and I was nearly 10 c.m. Shortly after that, I got the go-ahead to try pushing. After about half an hour, something just didn't seem right, so they checked me again, and they realized I was only a 7. (In hindsight, the midwife said she may have made a mistake when she checked me around 4:30, but they are not sure what happened exactly). I laboured on for a bit longer, but when things seemed to slow, my midwife advised breaking my water. I really didn't want her to, but I reluctantly agreed because it could really help things get moving again. I think this was around 5 a.m. or so.
Immediately after she broke my water, the pain got really, really bad. I was literally begging for an epidural. My midwife suggested trying a few other things first, but I just wanted to go straight for the epidural. So, they started an IV and pumped some fluids into me while unbeknownst to me at the time, discussing how my blood pressure was a bit low and the midwife and nurse didn't think the epidural was the best idea (my husband heard them discussing this). I did get some type of pain med that didn't help at all except make me sleepy between contractions while I waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive.
Time kept ticking on, and in between contractions, I kept mumbling about the epidural, wondering what was taking so long. The anesthesiologist had to be called in since it was the middle of the night. He was certainly taking his sweet time. Eventually I received the news that the anesthesiologist's car would not start due to the -40 C weather. Now he and the other anesthesiologist were fighting it out to see who'd arrive first. I was not impressed. This was around 7:30 a.m., and I remember thinking that maybe I should ask for a C-section (the words never came out of my mouth, though! :-) )
A few minutes later, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be needing the epidural because it was time to push. I tried a few different positions and eventually ended up in the bathroom. A few pushes later our was born on the bathroom floor at 8:14 a.m.. I could not believe he was out! He was SO chubby. Everyone was guessing he was over 10 pounds before he was weighed. His actual weight was 9 lbs 8 oz and he was 20 1/2 inches long.
We had 2 boy first names picked out but hadn't decided for sure before he was born. We actually were leaning toward one name, but right after he was born I kept looking at him thinking "What a gift from God!" My husband and I talked about it and prayed about it for a couple hours, and then eventually my husband decided his first name would be Nathanael ("Gift of God"). The name we had previously been leaning toward as a first name became his middle name instead as we felt God leading us to still include it as part of his name. (Before that, we had a completely different middle name picked out to go with Nathanael.)
I was surprised at how great I felt just after the birth. It was a completely different feeling than having a C-section. Later that day I was even able to go home! I could hardly believe that I actually had a successful VBAC. I was so thankful that the Lord had answered my prayer with a "yes" to the VBAC as we welcomed our Nathanael, our precious Gift of God.
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