I am super excited to announce that I will be teaming up with the wonderful Julie Francom in a company called Utah VBAC Link. Together we are trained doulas who can’t wait to help couples during their VBAC journey’s and educate on Cesarean prevention. We will be providing evidence based information and helping couples have educated conversations with their providers and support teams. I am honored that Julie has asked me to partner up with her. We wan’t The Utah VBAC Link to be a safe place for you to ask questions, share your stories, and find great resources during your birth experience. Both Julie and I have had Cesarean Sections and have had VBAC’s. While pregnant with the ending goal of a vaginal birth we both found ourselves looking for resources and facts that we could get for ourselves. Although there is most definitely information out there we always seemed to want more. Coming fall we plan to bring a whole new resource to our mommas here in Utah and look forward to educating couples all over the Utah Valley.
This pregnancy was a high-risk pregnancy due to my Type 1 Diabetes. This time around I didn’t have as tight of control because I was now not only taking care of myself, but a toddler. It was hard to focus on me when my toddler wanted me to always focus on him.
We were with the same doctor because we absolutely loved her with my un-medicated delivery and wanted the same experience. This time around though, she was more hesitant to deliver a big baby due to the shoulder dystocia with my last baby. She started talking about cesarean section before 30 weeks. We absolutely did NOT want a cesarean section. I had some misguided ideas of people who have had cesarean sections. I thought they didn’t try hard enough, they didn’t know better, they didn’t want to know better, they wanted to “take the easy way out”, etc. If you’ve had a c-section, you know these are very misguided ideas.
My doctor wanted me to have twice a week non-stress tests. Her and I agreed one once a week since my blood sugar control was decent and I was doing my kick counts. At my weekly non-stress test they found that this little boy was breech, meaning his head was up when it should have been down for delivery. I started getting nervous about him staying breech. My doula was helping me find things to do to turn him such as Moxibustion, the things listed on spinningbabies.com, chiropractic care specializing in the Webster technique, rebozo sifting, etc. We did all of these things with no luck. My doula thought that perhaps when I broke my foot around 30 weeks all my ligaments tightened up so my body didn’t allow my baby room to turn
We scheduled an appointment with one of the few OB’s that delivers breech babies in Utah, Dr. Silver. We were going to see him when he was doing his rounds at IMC, since my insurance didn’t cover the University of Utah where Dr. Silver delivers. We would do my weekly non-stress test then consult with Dr. Silver. We were going to see if he would do an external cephalic version, or if a breech delivery was possible. While I was getting ready for this appointment I started having regular contractions. I got my toddler’s things ready to go to my parents’ in case they were able to do a version and I had to stay to deliver. I dropped him off at my parents’ house and told them I may or may not be picking him up later that day.
On my way to the appointment at 3:00, I was starting to have to breathe through the contractions. I called my husband, who was meeting me at the appointment, to let him know that I thought I was in labor and to let our doula know. When we got all settled in for the non-stress test I was having some serious back labor. I had to put my fist in my back during the contractions while trying to hold still for the non-stress test monitors. Laboring on your back really sucks, especially with back labor! During the test, baby’s heart rate was decelerating. The nurse doing the test looked concerned so I asked if the monitor just wasn’t picking up, or if it was a real deceleration. She said the monitor seemed to be working. A few minutes later, Dr. Silver came in and said that I seemed to be laboring and asked me if I thought I was in labor. I told him yes. He told me that since I was in labor and baby was having decelerations we could not do the external cephalic version and baby was too big for a breech delivery so I should go downstairs and have a c-section. My heart sunk. This was not how I wanted to bring my baby into the world, plus I was terrified of surgery.
We went down to labor and delivery and the nurse got us all checked in and started prepping for the cesarean. Chase, my husband, went and got our birth bag, which I had packed a few weeks ago and had ready in the car for when the time came. He called our birth team and told them what was happening. One of the doctors wanted to check my cervix. I asked why because I was having a c-section. She told me that they needed to know if I needed to go back right away or if we had a while. Really, they could have known by the way I was acting, but I didn’t think about that at the time so I let them. I was 1 cm dilated, so they had a while, especially with him being breech and not pushing my cervix open efficiently.
In the operating room I received my spinal block. He started numbing it and I just broke down crying. I really didn’t want this. I had an amazing un-medicated, natural, vaginal birth last time. I knew my body worked, so I didn’t understand why everyone thought my body was broken this time. The anesthesiologist said you should feel better in a minute. My doctor touched my shoulder and told me the anesthesiologist was almost done. They were both trying to comfort me, but they didn’t understand that I wasn’t crying about the spinal. The spinal sucked, yes, but the situation sucked more. It was around 6:00 when my doctor showed up and was ready for surgery. She asked my doula if she was going to go back with me and my doula responded, “Yes, if I’m allowed.” The nurse told my doctor that due to the OR not being big enough (which it was definitely big enough) only one support person was allowed back. This made me even more nervous. I was not ready for this and now I was losing one of my support people. My doula walked me to the OR with my husband and she said she would see me when I’m done.
Once he was done they had me lay on my back before I got too numb to move. I felt so nauseous. I told the anesthesiologist but he just said that he gave me some anti-nausea medicine so I should be fine in a second. Since he was not listening I told Chase, my husband, to find me a garbage to puke in. The anesthesiologist did something about it since he finally got the hint that I was serious and gave me an alcohol swab to sniff in my oxygen mask. It smelled awful, but it worked.
The nurse leaned down asked me if I was okay and told me my eyes were beautiful. She was very nice, but didn’t have any regard for personal space. She was literally right in my face. This just added to the situation. I felt like I had no choices, no personal space, nothing. Everything was up to them and I had to rely on them and go along with whatever they wanted to do.
My doctor asked me if I could feel her cold hands on my stomach and I couldn’t so they said they were ready to begin. I was not ready to be cut into, but I never would be, so whether I was ready or not, they began. My doctor asked me if I still wanted to have the surgery explained to me, per my request in my birth plan. I told her I changed my mind and didn’t want to know. Chase was trying to comfort me as much as he could. He didn’t want this either. He played music for me and stroked my hair. A few minutes later my baby boy was out! He was born at 6:19 p.m. They lowered the drape a little and I tried to lift my head, but couldn’t move much since I was numb from my chest down. He looked so big in my doctor’s arms. I barely saw him over the drape then they handed him off to the pediatric team.
They weighed and measured him. He was 9 lbs 14 oz and 23 inches long. He was huge! No wonder my belly was so big. They stitched me up while Chase went over to be with him. This is why I wanted my doula with us. She could have been by me telling me what is going on with my baby or the surgery. Instead I had to listen to the doctors talking about where they used to live as they put me back together and stitch me up. My doctor asked how I was doing, but because of the anesthesia I felt like I had big sand bags on my chest and could only muster out whispers. I’ve never felt so out of control of my body, and this was normal from the anesthesia.
After they stitched me back up one of the doctors who was operating on me asked how I was doing. I said I was fine, but I wanted to know how my baby was because I couldn’t hear him. She looked over at him and said that he looked good, but she’ll send over one of the nurses to let me know. They brought a hospital bed in to put me on. It felt very strange to be turned side to side and then lifted by several people onto another bed. They handed me my baby, finally. About an hour after he was born I finally got to touch him. I didn’t want to let him go. I couldn’t see his face because it was under my chin, but I was fine with just snuggling him. This was the only good thing about the cesarean, my healthy baby boy.
Once I got to my room my parents, our son, doula, and photographer were all there. My dad took some pictures to send to people and asked me who to send it to. I was so high on all the drugs they gave me for the surgery that I couldn’t answer his question. My doula was trying to help me feel better with essential oils, which did help. I got a couple minutes of bonding time with my new baby before they had to take him to the NICU for low blood sugar. His sugar was 26. I was sad about this, but understood. Chase and my photographer both went to the NICU with him.
My doula helped me get all situated in my postpartum room. One of the nurses came in and asked me if I needed more morphine. I don’t like to take medication unless I absolutely need it, so I was hesitant to get it. My doula suggested that I take it before I start hurting, so I told the nurse I wanted it. I asked her if it would make me nauseous and she told me she had given me some ant-nausea medication so I should be okay. Immediately after getting the morphine she left and I started puking. My doula got me some bags to puke in and was trying to push the nurse call button but it wasn’t working. Luckily my photographer had just come into my room and went and got the nurse. Apparently they forgot to plug in my bed so none of the buttons were working.
The nurse felt my legs and asked if I could feel her touching them. I told her I couldn’t and she gave me a look. I don’t know how to describe it, but it made me kind of nervous. A few hours later I could finally feel my legs.
After several more hours of getting me settled in, my doula left. She was so amazing for after delivery. I’m sure she would have been amazing during, but they wouldn’t let her in. I asked when I could go to the NICU to see my baby. They told me once I had gotten up to pee and my catheter was out. I kept asking for updates on my baby, but they didn’t know since they didn’t work in the NICU. I called Chase since nobody was updating me. Baby Wesley’s sugars were stabilizing and he was on oxygen.
Later that night I asked if I could see my baby. The nurses got me out of my bed to pee. I was still really dizzy, but I wanted to see him so I made myself get up. I asked the nurses if they would catch me if I fell. They responded, “Of course!” I finally got up and peed so now I could see my baby. They wheeled me down there and I told me that I couldn’t stay long because they needed to get to their other patients. I kissed him and stayed for less than 5 minutes before being wheeled up again. They told me that I needed to get some rest.
The next morning I called Chase to come bring me down to the NICU again. Chase had been there all night with him and didn’t leave his side except to go to the bathroom. We spent all of our time there for the next 6 days. It took a while to wean him off of the glucose IV, but he was able to go off oxygen on day 2. My nurses had an easy job with me since they never had to check on me because I was always in the NICU. I got discharged after 4 days, we did a hotel stay in the hospital for 2 days, and finally baby was discharged before we had to figure out where to stay again. The NICU is a depressing place and we are grateful for all they do, but we were glad to finally be going home and to see our other child.
This was a very humbling experience for me. I learned that cesarean moms are strong, stronger than I ever imagined. I learned that c-sections are not always avoidable no matter how many things you do right. I learned that cesareans are NOT the easy way out. I have a newfound respect and love for cesarean moms.
April is C-section awareness month. I would love to share some stories from mommas this month. I have had two c sections and would love to share my stories with you.
I was pregnant with my first baby. My husband and I were so excited when we found out we were expecting. I had a wonderful pregnancy. I loved seeing her grow from the outside and feeling her movements get bigger as she grew. I was tracking my ovulation very carefully because we had been trying for a bit and a friend told me that tracking with ovulation strips help so I had a really good idea on the time that we conceived her. When we went in for our first ultrasound they gave us the date of October 26th which was pretty accurate from the time that we had written down when tracking. However as the pregnancy continued they changed the date on us due to growth. They said that her new due date was November 6th. As the days got closer I got more swollen and uncomfortable. I was still stuck on that 26th date and couldn’t seem to get past it because “I KNEW” the 6th had to of been wrong. (OH HOW I LAUGH NOW)
Anyway October 26th came and went and I started to feel VERY pregnant. I was doing it all from Spicy food, running all over the place, taking drives in the mountains, eating pineapple. YOU NAME IT I was doing it. I tried everything google provided me except for a few things like Castor oil and B&B cohosh. My cousins told me that they did Castor oil and it worked every time. Hmmmmm It got me thinking. I decided one night I was going to try it and see what happened. I took a small small amount and went to bed hoping I would wake up in labor. Sadly I woke up and nothing was happening. I looked at the dosage and realized I had taken a childrens dose. All day at work I went back and forth should I do it again??? should I just wait it out???
Well the evening came and my frustrations took over. I decided that I would give it one more go. I took a normal dose with a protein shake and about 3 hours later started feeling a little nauseous. I sipped on some sprite and ate some saltine crackers and started feeling better. Super bummed I headed to bed. I woke up at 11pm as usual to go to the potty. I went into the bathroom and something didn’t really seem right???? I was going potty but it seemed to be a lot and I couldn’t stop it. My mind went to thinking…. Could my water just have broken? I sat there for a few more moments and sure enough it kept happening. I got up and put a towel in my pants and waddled over to the bed where Ric was sleeping. I woke him up and said hey babe I think my water just broke. He said okay and rolled over, while I waddled back into the bathroom and sat down on the potty again. I decided that I wanted to shower. My doctor always told me if your water breaks come right in! So I figured I would shower and get ready and head in. While I was in the shower Ric came in and said Did you just tell me your water broke. I said I DID. I was giggling at him. I finished showering while Ric packed the rest of the bag and we headed to the hospital. I kept feeling like I was going to poop all over. (I was so worried because I had taken the oil and everyone said that it makes you poop) But after a few times Ric said babe Its just your contraction??? Ha ha I had done very little to prep for this baby. No childbirth classes just a little bit of reading and hanging on my baby bump app. We arrived to the hospital and contractions were very far apart and very faint. (now knowing we went way too soon) I was GBS- and the fluid was nice and clear.
We walked in at 1am and they got me in the bed and got us all checked in. She checked my cervix and said you are 1cm! I was so happy. A couple days before at my visit I wasn’t dilated at all. I said okay they got me an IV and left. Ric and I looked at one another thinking hmmm OKAY. Contractions started coming on stronger and sitting in the bed was very hard for me. I was told that I could not get out because I was hooked up to the IV and they wanted my baby on the monitor. I still to this day cant remember where I was feeling it, in my belly or back or what but I remember that it was strong and hard. at 3 am they checked me again and said I was 2 cm and they wanted to start pitocin. I really didn’t know what that was at that point so I said okay and went along with it.
OMG things intensified from there. It was instant I immediately was clenching my hands around the bed telling Ric it hurt. 5/6 am they checked me and I was 2 1/2 cm. I was stoked but OH MY GOSH IN PAIN and after asking Ric to help me a million times and asking him to do something we decided to ask for the epidural. My doctor came in at 7:30am and checked me. I was still 2 1/2cm and 90% thinned. He said that he would be back in a couple hours. They continued to turn pitocin up and I was calm trying to sleep. around 9am they came in and said I was still only about 3cm. The doc said that he would give me about 2 hours and if I hadn’t made SIGNIFICANT change they would be looking at doing a C-section. (a little back story my mom had 2 C-sections and it was really something I was scared of happening so this really scared me) I mentioned it to my doctor during the pregnancy and he said that he didn’t see any reason at that point for me to need a C-section.
come 11 am they came in and said I was 2 1/2 maybe 3 cm and my baby had a couple not alarming but a couple decels and that I was going to have a c-section in the next hour. My heart broke. I was confused looking at the monitor she looked great had a solid heart rate of 150’s. I didn’t want a c-section but we trusted our doctor and figured if thats what he thought was best we would do that.Our goal was safe mom and baby. One hour later I was 3cm and the doc said that I had been in labor too long with no progress (failure to progress) soon after my husband was dressed and they took us out and down the hall. I was bawling and super nauseous but excited to meet my baby girl.
Not long after our baby girl was lifted over a blue curtain. I wanted to cry but couldnt seem to let it out. She cried and cried and my husband left my side to go see her.
I laid there and wanted nothing more than to see what was happening on the other side. All I could hear was the doc and his assistant talking about their trips they just got off of and how bummed they were with the snow storm outside. Soon after my husband brought my baby girl over and took a picture with me and him. I was so happy to see her. She was perfect in every way. He and the baby left and they finished sewing me up and got me back on a comfortable bed.
I was very sleepy after but enjoyed holding my baby girl once I was in recovery. We went into the hospital room and there were a lot of family members in there waiting for us. I was so dozy I was sort of in and out as visitors came and went. The birth that I anticipated was not what happened. This was hard for me to get over and even now typing it there are a flood of emotions that are coming in. I am grateful for this birth though. It taught me a lot and was the starting puzzle piece that led me into the doula that I am today. I love my little girl so much and am so grateful that she joined our family that day.
Next story to come ….
If you have a c-section story you would like to share Please feel free to send it to me pictures are also welcomed. Contact me HERE