Birth of Gabrielle Elaine Robinson

Un-medicated VBAC!

After two weeks of prodromal labor, two false-alarm visits to Labor & Delivery, and

an external cephalic version to turn baby girl head down since she was breech, my birth

time had finally arrived at 36 weeks 5 days. You would think after going into labor on my

own two times before that I would know when it is real labor, but this little girl was a


I had my growth scans done with Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM), due to Type 1

diabetes, and they said she was around 8 lbs 11 oz at 35 weeks. Two different MFM doctors

told me that I should have a repeat c-section especially since my first baby was 8 lbs 13 oz,

and had shoulder dystocia. On top of that baby girl was breech and she would more than

likely be bigger than 8 lbs 13 oz at delivery if I went to 40 weeks around August 28, 2016.

I went in to my OB, Dr. Sean Edmunds, for my 36 week appointment on Friday

August 5, 2016. We had previously talked about doing an induction soon because baby girl

was getting big and chances for successful VBAC went down the bigger she got. He told

me that MFM wouldn’t approve an induction this early because her lungs may not be ready.

I was contracting quite frequently at this appointment and Dr. Edmunds said that he’ll

probably be seeing me this weekend in Labor & Delivery. He sent us down to talk to MFM

and go over our options for induction. The MFM doctor said that we could have an

amniocentesis at 37 weeks to see if baby girl’s lungs were developed enough for an

induction, or just wait until 38 weeks for the induction. We were pretty sure that baby girl

was coming before that so everything he was saying was moot. This MFM doctor told us

that if I were his wife he would want me to have a repeat c-section. I just ignored him

because I was pretty sure baby girl would be making her debut soon.

We got home around 11:00 a.m. and I asked my mom took our two boys since I was

contracting and Chase, my husband, would be working and wouldn’t be able to help out.

My contractions were getting a lot stronger now and I started losing my mucus plug. With

my other two I had never seen my mucus plug, but this whole pregnancy was way different

than the other two. I tried sleeping through the contractions because that was the only

way they would stop the previous two weeks, but now they were waking me up. Since I

couldn’t sleep, I asked my husband to play the card game Rummy with me. We played

Rummy between contractions, even while I was in the tub. Around 7:00 p.m. the

contractions got more intense and closer together. We decided it was time to leave for our

pre-birth place, Little America, and call the photographer, Julian Marks and doulas: Rachel,

Alexa, Robynne, and my sister Natalie. We wanted to labor somewhere closer to our

hospital in case anything happened, but not at the hospital so I could not be disturbed.

Little America also has great tubs!

When we arrived at Little America I waited in the car while Chase got the keys to

our room. The contractions were pretty strong now. Once we got up to our room, room

902, Chase filled up the tub for me and I labored there while my birth team arrived. I

labored in the tub for a while, and then I felt like I needed to change positions. I labored

standing, on hands and knees, in the bed on my side, on the birth ball, with rebozo sifting,

basically everywhere and in all positions while my doulas and Chase applied counter-
pressure. This was unlike my other un-medicated delivery where I didn’t want to move at

all. After laboring for 6 hours at Little America I was getting tired and things seemed to be

moving slowly, so we decided to go to the hospital to see what was happening and decide

our game plan from there. I started crying because I felt like a failure. Alexa and Rachel

came down to my face and told me that I was not a failure and that I am still doing it. This

helped me feel better and get me back into my zone.

We arrived at St. Mark’s hospital and walked to Labor & Delivery stopping every so

often to breathe through the contractions. The nurses asked me if I needed a wheelchair,

but we told them I was fine. They took us to room 13. They gave me a band to hold the

monitors in place and told me they would get me a different gown to wear. I told them “I’m

wearing this”, pointing to my Pretty Pusher. Chase handed over my birth plans (Plan A and

Plan B) to our nurse, Chelsea, and I continued laboring. I let her do a cervical check but

told her not to tell me what I was. I found out later that I was 5 cm and 100% effaced.

Rachel went in the hall to talk to Chelsea so that we could decide on a game plan. Rachel

didn’t tell me my dilation but wanted to let me know that I was 100% effaced and said that I

was further along than she had expected.

We talked about breaking my water but I was really afraid to. I had A LOT of fluid

(polyhydramnios) and I was very concerned about cord prolapsed because I had some

dreams during pregnancy about it. I also knew the contractions were going to get more

intense when my water broke and they were already pretty intense. After 3 more hours I

decided to let them break my water because I was getting starting to get exhausted.

Chelsea said the hospitalist would come and break it since Dr. Edmunds wasn’t there yet.

While we were waiting for the hospitalist to come, I had a contraction and during that

contraction I remembered that Chase and I hadn’t put on my special jewel stickers. As

soon as the contraction ended I said, “Chase…”

He said, “Yeah?” with concern in his voice.

“We forgot to vajazzle!” My birth team just started laughing, then asked what I was

talking about. I explained what it was and luckily we had packed the jewels in the birth bag.

Chase hurried and put some on while the nurse was facing the other way. Really, I just

wanted to see what the hospital staff’s reaction would be.

After a while Chelsea came in and said Dr. Edmunds was here so he would break my

water instead of the hospitalist. Dr. Edmunds came in shortly after. He walked in with a

big smile on his face and said, “So you’re 5 cm dilated!” I had just finished a contraction and

looked at him teasingly and said, “You’re not supposed to tell me.” He felt so bad for telling

me, because we had gone over it in our prenatal appointments, and hurried to read my

birth plan so he didn’t forget anything else. They laid me down so they could break my

water. He did a cervical check at the same time and discreetly told Chase what I was (I was

6 cm). I asked Chase if I had made any progress and he told me I had. Surprisingly there

was not a lot of fluid that came out when they broke my water. I got up and wanted to sit

on the ball for a little bit. Once I started swaying on the ball tons of fluid came out and

soaked the floor and my ball.

I still wanted to move a lot, so I labored sitting in bed, standing up, sitting on the

toilet, sitting on the ball, squatting with the squat bar, etc. There was a point when I was

sitting on the bed where I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore. The contractions were so

intense and it felt like it was taking FOREVER! My doulas and husband told me to change

positions and applied more counter-pressure and provided distraction. I went to the

bathroom and before I sat on the toilet another contraction came. This one felt different

and I started pushing at the end of it. As I was on the toilet, Chelsea said I needed to come

to the bed after I was done so that I didn’t have my baby on the toilet. I went to the bed

and hung over the back of it while on my knees. Chelsea tried to check me but wasn’t able

to in the position I was in, so I rolled over so she could check. She told the room I was 8

cm. She probably forgot that I didn’t want to know. I was so mad that I was only an 8! I

told everyone that I really couldn’t do it anymore and I needed the drugs. I felt like I was

yelling at everyone to just get me the drugs. Everyone was just trying to distract me and

tell me I was going to be done soon. It really didn’t feel like it. Finally, Chelsea said that it

was too late for Fentanyl, that I needed a bag of fluids before getting the epidural, and that

the anesthesiologist wouldn’t be here for about 30 minutes. It was going to be about an

hour before I could have anything and they were certain baby girl would be here by then.

She told me that she would start the fluids if I wanted her to. I told her to start the fluids.

My doulas had me get on my hands and knees hanging over the bed again so they could

provide counter-pressure. A lot of these contractions felt like I needed to push now, so I

did. I’m not sure when Dr. Edmunds came in, but he came in and checked me and I was

finally 10 cm. I just pushed when I needed to and rested in between contractions. My arms

were feeling very tired and shaky so my birth team convinced me to lie down on my left

side and continue pushing that way. I kind of just plopped down, I was so tired. My butt

was basically hanging off the side of the bed, but Dr. Edmunds was fine catching in that

position. I pushed a couple more times before baby girl came out. Dr. Edmunds told me to

reach down and grab her since he knew we wanted to catch her, but I was so tired and I

didn’t feel like I was in a good position to grab her, so I said, “Just pull her out!” A couple of

more pushes and her body was out. Her body felt massive coming out, much bigger than

my first baby. Baby girl was born at 7:28 a.m. on August 6, 2016 via an un-medicated VBAC!

After her body was out a HUGE gush of fluid came out. I literally soaked everyone that was

on that side of the bed. I ruined a couple of people’s shoes because of the flood of amniotic


I was concerned about shoulder dystocia because of my first baby getting stuck, so I

asked if she got stuck. Dr. Edmunds said, “I don’t think so, she just had a big body.” He

handed her to me and we snuggled. I had asked for a lotus birth with baby girl because I

wanted my photographer to capture her attached to placenta and because when I had

asked my previous doctor for delayed cord clamping I didn’t get it. I felt like if I asked for

an extreme, maybe they would meet me in the middle. Dr. Edmunds was amazing though

and left her attached to the cord. The nurses were saying that she was cold and they

needed to get her over the warmer, but Dr. Edmunds said, “She’s still attached to the

placenta.” I finally got more than 2 minutes of skin-to-skin with one of my babies! It took

about an hour before the placenta completely detached. Some of the membranes were still

attached inside so Dr. Edmunds cut the membranes a little so they could take baby girl, still

attached to her placenta, over to help her because her blood sugars were low and her

breathing wasn’t awesome.

Since the membranes were still attached, Dr. Edmunds had to do a manual sweep.

He said he would try to be done by the count of 10. Alexa and Robynne were holding my

hands and counting for me while he reached inside and got the clots and membranes out.

He did about 5 of those. Man, those sucked! After the fifth he said, “Okay I think I’m done.”

I asked, “Forever?!” He laughed and said yes. He then examined me for tears. He said I had

a 1st, maybe 2nd degree tear. While he was stitching me up they weighed and measured

baby girl. Dr. Edmunds and I guessed around 9 lbs and my doulas guessed around 9 lbs 2

oz. She weighed 9 lbs 10 oz and was 20 inches long. She was only 4 oz lighter than my c-
section baby and almost a whole pound heavier than my baby that had shoulder dystocia!

The nurses came over and told me that baby girl’s blood sugars were really low and

they needed to take her to the NICU to start a glucose IV through her umbilical cord. This

broke my heart because I had tried so hard to keep my blood sugars down so this wouldn’t

happen again. (This happened with our second baby). Baby girl and Chase left to the NICU.

Dr. Edmunds came back in to give me an update on baby girl. He said her blood sugar was

so low the monitor couldn’t read it, but that she was getting the help she needed.

Every time I moved I felt some blood come out. I didn’t remember this happening

with my other children, so I was kind of concerned. I asked Dr. Edmunds to take a look at

my bleeding to see if it was a normal amount. He said it was a little more than he liked so

he wanted me to have some Pitocin. I was hoping to avoid it unless it was necessary, but

now it was necessary. As soon as they started the Pitocin I felt short of breath and had

REALLY bad cramps. I hate Pitocin!

My birth team stayed for a while after and chatted with me and made sure I was

okay before taking off and getting some well deserved rest. My new nurse, Michelle,

helped me get into a wheelchair so that she could take me into the NICU to see my baby

girl. In the NICU it looked like my gown and the walls were sparkling. I thought it was just

the Percocet kicking in. I told Chase that I felt super high. A couple of seconds later one of

the NICU nurses handed me a cup to throw up in because I wasn’t looking so good. The

next thing I remember is that same nurse asking me if I’m okay. I lifted my head up and

couldn’t see well, my ears couldn’t hear well and were ringing. I asked what was

happening. I had just fainted for the first time in my life. They wheeled me back to Labor &

Delivery and did some blood work to see what was going on. My bleeding wasn’t bad, and

the blood work came back normal, so they gave me a bag of fluids through my IV to see if

that would help. Since my birth team had left, Chase called my mom to come keep an eye

on me in case I fainted again so that Chase could go be with baby girl.

Baby girl had to be weaned off the glucose IV slowly so her blood sugars wouldn’t

drop. She was finally about to be weaned off after almost a week when her oxygen levels

started dropping. We ended up staying in the NICU for 9 days. We didn’t leave the entire

time and only left her side to eat, sleep, or use the bathroom. It was a LONG 9 days. On

day 8, she failed her car seat test twice. They did her car seat test again on day 9 and she

barely passed. They finally let us go home with a pulse oximeter to measure her oxygen

levels and some rescue oxygen if her levels got too low.

I am so glad that most of our plans actually got to be a

reality. It would not have happened without all of our hard work,

preparation, Hypnobirthing classes, and help from my amazing

birth team: My husband, Dr. Sean Edmunds, Angie Rosier, Rachel

Britton, Robynne Carter, Alexa Nielson, Natalie Rohde and our

amazing birth photographer to capture it all: Julian Marks. Even

though they were not the star of this show, this show would not have happened the way it did without them.

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