(by Nikki Zizak, about the birth of Anabelle Lily, born 01.04.09)
The night I went into labor, around 8 p.m. my husband, Chris and I were watching a movie when I felt a bit of pressure on my lower back. It wasn’t bothering me too much so we continued watching the movie while he rubbed my feet. We went to bed around 11 pm.
Around 1:00 a.m. I awoke with a strong contraction and stronger back pressure. I started to get really nervous and was hoping I wasn’t going into labor. My “VBAC friendly” doctor was not on call at the hospital that weekend and I was told that if I showed up at the hospital in labor, I would have to have another cesarean. At that point, my only hope of a VBAC was to hold off as long as possible, and show up at the hospital ready to push.
My contractions were coming every 30 minutes, which allowed me to sleep between them until around 4:00 a.m. when they started getting stronger and more regular. At 4:00 a.m., my lower back pressure really got to be painful. I had to stand up and lean over the bed during the contraction to help alleviate some of the pressure. I was getting nervous because I was pretty sure that Anabelle was posterior and was unsure of how I was going to handle back labor. I woke up Chris and told him what was going on. I was actually not positive I was in labor. It almost felt like I had to have a bowel movement, so I spent a good portion of an hour on the toilet trying to go. The sitting on the toilet actually helped alleviate the back pain.
When the contractions and back pain started to get stronger, I decided it would be a good idea to take a shower and bath, which also felt wonderful. At this point, I was still not positive I was in labor so I hadn’t called my doula or anyone else yet. My contractions were 10-15 minutes apart.
By 7:00 a.m., I was starting to think maybe I really was in labor so I decided to call my mother in law who would come over to pick up my son, Gavin so we could get ready to go to the hospital. She lives in North Port, so we knew it would be awhile before she would be here. The back pain was getting to be bad enough to where the only way I could really get around was to hunch over, or crawl around on my hands and knees. I was scrambling around trying to get Gavin and my bags packed while Chris fed everyone (Gavin, dog, cats).
Around 8:30 a.m. I called my “doula, Ann (who was acting as my doula, she is actually a massage therapist who is good personal friend of mine). Anyway, when I called her she could tell by my voice that I was getting close. The contractions seemed to be coming constantly. I wasn’t sure when one ended and the other began because the back pain was constant. It made it really hard to time the contractions. What got me through was breathing and trusting my body. I kept thinking “This isn’t so bad, I can do this”. (Compared to my intervention laced first birth, this was so much more manageable).
At 9:00 a.m. my mother in law came to pick up Gavin. I was having a really hard time moving around so the only place that felt good was to kneel on the floor and lean over onto the couch. I kept rocking back and forth when my mother in law came in and gave me some encouragement. I started crying because for some reason I felt like I was giving up by going to the hospital this early. I was starting to reach the end of my rope and I was really dreading the long drive to SMH.
At 9:30 a.m. we left for the hospital. I was unable to sit in the seat so I had to squat on the front seat of the car. It was the longest car ride ever. I just closed my eyes and envisioned waves crashing on the beach. We called Ann, my doula and she said she would meet us at the hospital. I was mentally preparing myself for the likely possibility of having to undergo another cesarean and was beginning to feel defeated because, again, I didn’t think I was far enough into labor. I couldn’t believe how bad back labor was and felt myself giving up physically and emotionally. I was praying they wouldn’t try to get me to have another cesarean. I remember Ann asking me several times, “how much are you willing to fight?”
When we got to the hospital, we went to check in. I had not pre-registered so this would have took a long time until a nurse walked by and saw me trying to fill out paperwork when she told the receptionist that she should just let me go and get a room. I got to the room at around 10:15 A.M. Ann was with us and she and Chris were wonderful support. I really didn’t want to be touched or anything, but just having them there was all I needed. Ann gave the nurses a copy of my birth plan while I got dressed and signed a couple papers. The nurse did a cervical check and found out I was 8 cm. I couldn’t believe it. No wonder I was feeling rough. That was when they had read over my medical chart and found out I was VBAC. The two nurses looked at each other with shock on their faces. The contractions and back pain were so bad now, I couldn’t think of anything else except how I was feeling.
The doctor came in and said, “Ok, let’s go”. The nurse asked if he was going to let me VBAC, and he told her that it was too late to turn back now. The next few minutes were a blur but I remember them getting me on all fours to attempt to turn Anabelle so she wasn’t posterior. Then it came time to push and I was feeling itchy, so pushing felt really good. After a few minutes she was out, 35 minutes after arriving at the hospital. I was so proud of myself, and so happy. Anabelle was the most beautiful little person in the world. She breastfed right away, and for the most part, my birth plan was followed. I’m so thankful and fortunate to have had such a good hospital VBAC.