Desiree’s Journey

I felt kind of like a rockstar after my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) – I can’t believe I just did this.

My second son and third child, Grayson John, was born October 17, 2017, at Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

Taking a Pregnancy Test on a Hunch

I actually found out I was pregnant on a Saturday morning at work. It was around Easter, and I’d gone to Walgreens to buy some Easter candy. I stopped and grabbed a pregnancy test, which I took in the public bathroom at work.

Jason was playing golf, so I had to hold the news until I got off work that day. The pregnancy was actually a bit of a shock, we weren’t planning it, but Grayson is his dad’s first child, so he was super excited. I was very scared and nervous.

We waited awhile to tell my family because my stepdad was battling cancer at the time. My mom had other things to focus on, so we held the news at first. We were able to share the good news about our growing family with my stepdad before he got too sick.

My other kids were excited. We didn’t have anything fancy to tell them about the new baby on the way. We just sat them down and had a conversation.

We found out Grayson is a boy at an ultrasound. My mom actually came with me to the appointment, so that was exciting. I was excited about having a boy, and we had names picked out before we found out.

Nausea and Fatigue

It was just hard to function my first trimester. My main symptom was really nausea. I was in car sales at the time, so working with the public and having to be in everyone’s face selling, it was tough.

I was nauseous during test drives, and it just made life difficult. I just kind of had to get through it, and I ate a lot of crackers. If I wasn’t eating I was sick, so I kept a little roll of saltine crackers in my jacket pocket at work.

The nausea did resolve, and the second trimester was pretty breezy. Nothing stands out as an issue of course just being tired and fatigued. In the third trimester, however, I started to experience a lot of swelling and water retention. My legs and feet were huge to the point where it was just painful.

Typically I’m a sweets person, but this pregnancy I did not want sweets at all. That was actually pretty similar to my previous pregnancies too. All I wanted was soup and salad. I lived at Whole Foods basically during this pregnancy. They have a really good vegetable soup there, so I’d go every day for lunch, fix a salad from the salad bar and get a big old bowl of vegetable soup.

I also had sciatic nerve issues in the third trimester. I saw a chiropractor throughout the entire pregnancy, as I was trying to take all the steps I could to have a successful vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

VBA2C Preparation

I had C-sections with both of my first two children, so I spent a lot of time during this pregnancy researching and talking to people. My OB, Erin Hemsell, MD, was very supportive of the fact that I wanted to have a VBAC. She was on board and didn’t try to persuade me in either way actually.

I’m the type of person who tries to be super prepared and has a list. Pre-registration for the hospital went fine. I did that ahead of time by myself on my cell phone, and it was quick and easy.

Another way we prepared: we actually did go buy a van in my third trimester because our middle child was still in a car seat at the time. We got our infant car seat installed about a month before Grayson was born.

When I was packing my bag for the hospital I was intentional about what was there, including essential oils. I went past my due date and went to the appointment without my hospital bag! So it’s important to put the bag in the car whenever you install the car seat!

Unexpected Induction

Although I’m a planner, I didn’t go so far as printing out a birth plan to hand to the nurses. I ended up having an induction, and because I also wanted a VBAC I was a little frazzled from the very beginning. I had hoped to go into labor on my own, labor at home as long as I could and then go to the hospital to deliver without medication. But that didn’t work out as planned.

My estimated due date was October 15, and I went to an appointment the next morning. I had a stress test, and Dr. Hemsell said my amniotic fluid looked cloudy, which concerned her. She wanted us to head right to the hospital. I asked if we could go home to get our bag and she said “NOPE – walk right over.” So that’s what we did. I was admitted around 10 or 10:30. My sister was able to bring my bag, thankfully.

I was started on Pitocin around 12, we had a couple of visitors, and I wasn’t really trying to rest or sleep or anything, just trying to keep my mind off things. At 4:45 I was still only dilated to 1 cm. With a VBAC I had to remain on the monitor constantly, which required me to stay super still. Grayson was way down low, and it was hard to get his heartbeat to even read in the first place.

At 7:30 I was almost 2 cm, and I was having serious pain with the Pitocin. I did not want to get an epidural, but the anesthesiologist explained the epidural technology that allows the flow of medication to be regulated. With a VBAC if something were to happen and I’d needed surgery without having the epidural placed, I would have had to been put to sleep. So I agreed to do an epidural at a very low dose. I could still feel my feet, but the pain wasn’t as excruciating.

Once the epidural was in, they gave me a peanut ball. I slept and got a little rest. I kept telling them I think I need to pee, even though I had a catheter. So they checked me and at 10:30 I was dilated to 7 cm.

I started pushing at 12:30, and Grayson wasn’t born until 2:23 a.m. He was facing the wrong way, so he basically had to be flipped around to get him to pass the other way. With two hours of pushing, I was thinking I didn’t want to do this, just cut him out. But in the end, I had a successful VBAC. Grayson’s dad, who is the least emotional person was very emotional, which was nice to see.
Once it was over, it was a very accomplished feeling. My recovery and how it compared to my C-section recovery: it was fantastic. There was a brief scary moment just after delivery. I had some numbness in my right arm, almost a tingling. It was present the entire two hours I was pushing, and I thought I had just been holding onto the bed’s railing too hard. When it didn’t immediately go away, it was a little scary. But it ended up being fine, and I think the epidural had moved or something like that. I felt good about the care I received, and my nurse during the delivery was especially phenomenal.

We stayed in the hospital maybe eight hours after Grayson was born. We had to tell our birth and newborn photographer to hurry up and come back to take those photos because we were ready to break out of there!

Third-Time Mom, First Time Breastfeeding

Grayson weighed 6 lb., 5 oz and was 19 inches long when he was born, and he did great as far as feeding as we got started. It was my first time breastfeeding.

In making the decision to breastfeed, I had a strong feeling he was going to be my last baby. And I just wanted to experience that bond that you get with breastfeeding. He did fine latching for a while, I’d say about three weeks after he was born we had to switch to exclusively pumping. We kept it up for 11 months.

I went back to work about six weeks after Grayson was born, December 1. Pumping at work in a car dealership wasn’t ideal, but I made it work.

Adjusting to Life as A Family of Five

Everything was perfect about my recovery and after being home. Grayson was very clingy, but I made him that way. He was always in my arms. If I wasn’t holding him in my arms, he was in a sling attached to my body.

My two older kids did really well and were very gentle and loving. They just couldn’t wait for him to be able to get up to play with them. Grayson did not like car rides as a baby, so we didn’t go anywhere very often.

Birth is such a quick moment, even when it seems like it lasts forever. I was very proud of myself for accomplishing a VBAC. It can be hard to find a doctor who will support you through that journey, be fully supportive and not push for another C-section. It was very important to me that I at least tried, and we made it through.

Desiree’s Favorite Posts

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