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Birth Stories at StorkNet ~ your pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting community
Alana and Korey John
26 Hour Labor With Attempted VBAC, Cesarean Birth

I just got home today! I have a son . . . Korey John. He was born at 8:11 a.m. on Friday, September 14th, by cesarean. He weighed 8 lbs 14.5 oz and was 22" long. I am very happy with the process, the decisions I made along the way and the outcome. If I had it to do over again I would not do anything differently.

I went into labor on my own Thursday morning about 5:00 a.m. I was having regular cramping . . . not painful, just mildly annoying. I had a routine NST scheduled for that morning already. The contractions registered on the strip about every three to five minutes. They asked me at that point if I wouldn't mind doing this in the hospital. Knowing that I was in the very early stages I told them I wasn't ready. I wanted to go home and get my stuff together and make arrangements for my other children. I told them if things picked up I would come over, but if they petered out or stayed the same I planned on waiting until my DH got out of work and kids got out of school at 3:00 p.m.

Things remained the same throughout most of the day as I puttered around the house, packed my bag and the kids' overnight bags and relaxed in the tub. They called in the afternoon and wondered why I hadn't called. I told them there was nothing to call about yet. They wanted to see me anyway and get me on the monitor. I decided to take a walk before I went to get Tim at work. By the time I got to his job, I had to ask him to drive as the intensity of the contractions had picked up. We picked the kids up from school, dropped them off at my Mom's and headed for the hospital.

We got there about 3:45 and sat in a room for an hour before anyone even came in to see us. They were in such a big hurry to get us there and then took their sweet time. I guess there was a miscommunication and no one realized we were there. Anyway, they finally got me hooked up to the monitor and the contractions were pretty regular. The midwife finally arrived and checked me. I was at 4cm and completely thinned out! I was really excited. At that point we knew we weren't going home. They put in the heplock and moved us to a birthing room. I was using nipple stimulation to get the contractions to pick up. I lucked out with the nurse I got because she was an accupressurist and used pressure points on the inside of my ankles to take the edge off the contractions. I was doing really well with them. It's hard, because your first instinct is to fight the contractions and I would tense up and try to escape, but then I'd really concentrate and visualize my cervix opening and the baby coming through . . . breathe and know that if I just rode it out it would be over in a few seconds. I was moaning and lightly grunting through them and pretty darn proud of myself.

At about 11:00 p.m. I got checked again and was only at 5cm. I tried not to be discouraged. They did not want to break my water because I was laboring AMA. They were pulling for me, but didn't want to physically do anything to augment my labor because if anything went wrong, they did something to interfere and could be held liable. So I kept laboring . . .

They checked me again at 2:00 a.m. and I was still at 5 cm and so tired . . . I was working so hard. I was sleeping in-between contractions. At that point they offered to give me something to help me sleep. I declined, thinking it would stall my labor. I tried bearing down a little with the contractions hoping my water would break on its own. It never did. The midwife was going to sleep in the on-call room and would check me again at 6:00 a.m. I knew I could be doing more walking or more nipple stimulation to get things moving faster, but it hurt so much and I was so tired. I got in the bed and did sleep a bit between 3 and 6:00 a.m. While sleeping my contractions slowed to about 20 minutes apart but the ones I had were still really intense.

At 6:00 a.m. I was checked again and still had not changed at all. She suggested cesarean and I was really not ready to give up yet. I thought after a few hours sleep I might gain enough strength to try again. She left us alone to give it some thought. Having had three previous cesareans I knew what it would take to recover and knew I would be stronger if I had it done while I was fresh, then to labor for another couple of hours and go into surgery feeling beat-up. I had been in labor for 26 hours and knew that my uterus had been working hard for a long time. I was concerned about it weakening.

Also, the OR was booked for the entire day and if I kept laboring and got into trouble it wasn't a safe place for us to be. So my husband and I hugged each other and just said, "Let's meet our baby." The decision was ours . . . no pressure, no persuasion from anyone except us.

I had my spinal. Tim was with me the whole time and my best friend was allowed to watch from the window. Tim and I had eye contact the whole time. I requested that they lower the drape when the baby was delivered. They did but I still couldn't see. He started screaming as soon as they delivered his head!! I also asked that as long as the baby was healthy that he stay in the OR with me. They didn't strap my arms down, and I was able to hold him right on the operating table while they repaired me. I had asked my OB not to use staples. She took a really long time repairing me and did a nice cosmetic job on my old scar. Having been cut three times previously, it was at least 1/4" thick and very tough. She removed the old scar and gave me a nice inside stitch with dissolvable sutures so there is nothing to be removed. It looks beautiful and I am about 30 lbs lighter than I was with my last pregnancy so hopefully there is not as much tension there and it will not keloid as much.

Since my last cesarean they started using a drug that they put right in your spinal called Duramorph. It's a long lasting morphine. What a difference! I was up within hours of the surgery. I had my catheter removed that afternoon and was up using the bathroom on my own. The IV had to stay in a little longer because of the antibiotics, but I still got to have it removed before bedtime. I have been having minimal pain and taking nothing but Motrin and Tylenol.

Since my first baby was stillborn full term in 1993 (the reason for my initial cesarean), all I've ever really wanted was to be like everyone else. I wanted to be able to go into labor on my own and experience birth the way I should have been able to back then. While ultimately I did not get the vaginal delivery that I had wanted, I had an overall positive experience and have a beautiful son. I DID go into labor all by myself . . . no castor oil, no induction . . . just me. I got to experience labor and my son got to reap the benefits of that. He sent out the signal that he was ready to be born and for whatever reason, it didn't happen the way we had planned, but he is here and we are truly blessed.

Please don't label me as a failed VBAC. I do not feel like a failure. I feel like a strong woman who made informed choices and took control over her birth with glorious results!

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