Birth Story: Quinn Louise
I’m not usually one for sharing super personal/vulnerable stories of my life on the Internet, but I wanted to share my story of having a vaginal birth after a C-section, because hearing other women’s stories encouraged me in my decision to have a VBAC myself. So here is my story, as well as some things I did during pregnancy that I think made my VBAC possible!
After having a long labor & hard c section/recovery with my first daughter, Evelyn, I knew the moment we found out I was pregnant with our second that I wanted my birth experience to be totally different from last time. I had this deep desire to experience labor and birth the way God designed it, instead of just scheduling a planned c section. Nothing wrong with doing that if you so choose! I just had a rough experience with my first c section and wanted to avoid it at all costs if possible.
So I decided to plan for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesearan). I was nervous at times, worried I would go through the entire labor process as I had with Evelyn, just to end up in the operating room again. So I started reading stories and listening to podcasts of women who had had successful VBACs. I talked to my OB’s who said I was definitely a candidate for someone who wanted to try for a VBAC, which I was extremely thankful for. I started praying and asking God to make this possible for me. I prayed very specific prayers & just believed He would give me the redemptive birth experience that I so longed for.
My due date was August 8 and the night before, I started having small contractions. When I woke up the next morning they had gone away, but I was showing other early labor signs. Nothing too intense happened the rest of the day, but the night of August 8th, I had slightly stronger contractions during the night again. I woke up on the 9th and they started out being every 10-12 minutes, but then stalled as the day went on. I had an OB appointment at 2:30, so we went in and I had specifically prayed that I’d be dilated somewhat or making progress. We went in and she said I was 3cm & 80% effaced which was SO encouraging because I felt like I hadn’t even started real labor yet and I was already at 3 cm!!! She swept my membranes to really kick things into gear, which worked because at around 6pm that night, contractions started coming faster and were more intense.
By 8pm I texted my doula because contractions were about 5ish minutes apart, so she came by the house to check on me. After watching me have a few contractions, she suggested we go to the hospital. We were on the road by 830pm & that car ride was HORRIBLE lol. I was having such painful contractions and they were getting much closer. We got to the hospital by 9pm & the second I walked to the front desk, I started throwing up everywhere. All the yummy dinner Chris had cooked for me to give me energy during labor was in the trash can . They didn’t bother taking me to triage but instead took me straight to the birthing room. They checked me and to my surprise I was only 4cm, which was slightly discouraging. Even though the contractions were painful and close together, I wanted to try to labor as long as possible without the epidural because with Evelyn, I think I got one way too early and it stalled my labor.
So with the help of my doula, I labored for 4 hours without an epidural. Contractions got SO intense and at 1am, I was exhausted & was hardly getting any rest inbetween contractions. I finally asked them to check me and they said I was 7-8ish cm, which made me so thankful! I decided to get the epidural at that point which THANK GOD for that drug, let me tell you lol. After it kicked in, I slept for a few hours to regain some energy for when it came time to push. I slept with the peanut ball in between my legs to keep encouraging baby girl to lower into my pelvis. We all woke up the next morning and they broke my water, checked my cervix, and said I was 10 cm!! I started throwing up again and knew it was almost go time.
The doctor came in and we did some practice pushes to get me ready and see how baby girl handled them. Her heart rate was dropping pretty significantly during pushes, so we took a break every other contraction so she could recover fully before pushing again. At this point, I started to worry, because I knew that if her heart rate kept dropping and she was in distress, I was possibly on track for another c section. After about 20 pushes, the doctor told me she knew I was wanting to avoid a c section at all costs but that we needed to get her out soon. Baby girl was thankfully pretty low and the doctor suggested forceps to help get her out faster. She said there was plenty of room in my pelvis & that she just needed to pull her past my pubic bone and then I could push her out the rest of the way. They rushed in all the nurses and set up everything for delivery. I started crying because this was the moment where I realized I WAS going to be able to have a vaginal delivery. I tried to contain the tears as I pushed with everything I had to get her here. After a few pushes, I heard baby girl’s first cries and they immediately put her on my chest.
THIS MOMENT was probably the most emotional one of my entire life. I can’t even think about it without tearing up. Birth in general is such an emotional experience but this one for me was also SO redemptive. My birth with Evelyn was traumatic and because of how long I labored and all the drugs, I fell asleep on the operating table during my c section. I didn’t even hold Evelyn until an hour or more after she was born. I didn’t get that special moment of meeting her right after she was born and even when I did, I was still so exhausted and loopy from the medicine that I barely remember it. So all that to say, this moment of meeting Quinn Louise for the first time was beyond special & redemptive & everything I had prayed it would be.
I wrote down many specific prayers that I was asking God for surrounding this whole experience. When I came back from the hospital & looked back on that list, He answered EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. No exaggeration. Even ones that seemed silly & unimportant (for example I prayed she’d be born on 8/10 and she was!). I feel like this entire pregnancy/birth was an experience that the Lord used to grow my faith, expand my awareness of His individual love for me, and remind me that He is a God who hears & desires to answer our prayers. Many experiences in life don’t play out exactly like this one did; I prayed a lot of the same prayers over Evelyn’s birth that did not come to pass. But ultimately I prayed for healthy baby girls, and He’s given that to me, regardless of the other things that I didn’t get the first time. I’m just thankful for how this experience really has grown and stretched my faith & made me bolder in asking God for things. He’s such a good Father.
I wanted to share my story with others because in the process of planning for a VBAC, other women’s stories were so encouraging and gave me confidence in my decision. God also kept reminding me that He MADE our bodies to give birth and that mine wasn’t broken or incapable. He could give me this redemptive birth I was asking for because He made me to do this.
A few things that I think that played a HUGE role in me having a successful VBAC were:
- Prayer. Believing God could do this for me and praying towards that during the months leading up to birth.
- Having a positive mindset. This sounds “new agey” but it really did impact my entire perspective this time around. I listened to positive birth stories, read scripture over my doubts, prayed for peace when worry started to creep in, learned more about birth and how to embrace the pain of labor and not to see it as harmful, but as purposeful, etc. There was truly a tangible difference between how I viewed birth with my first vs how I viewed it this time, but that took training and time, but it absolutely paid off!
- Having a birth team that supports your desires. My OB’s were in favor of me attempting a VBAC which helped solidify my decision.
- Hiring a doula. If you want to have a VBAC, I’d hands down tell you without hesitation to hire a doula. I don’t know if I would have been able to do it without mine. She supported me, gave me information & tips to prepare my body during pregnancy, helped me labor at the hospital for MUCH longer than I did last time before getting the epidural, and ultimately just encouraged me that this WAS possible!! Im so thankful for and truly couldn’t have done it without her
- Seeing a chiropractor. I started going regularly the last few weeks leading up to birth, sometimes 2x a week. It was not cheap, but I figured it would be worth it. I got adjusted the day I went into early labor and he adjusted my pubic bone, which if misaligned, can make it difficult for baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. I’m certain this played a huge part in me being able to have a VBAC, because I didn’t get this type of adjustment during my first pregnancy!
- Seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. I saw her postpartum with my first & let me tell you, she was a lifesaver. I feel like I was stronger than BEFORE getting pregnant after going through therapy with her. I also saw her during pregnancy this time and she was just another helpful tool in my tool belt to prepare my body for labor/delivery.
- Staying active during pregnancy. I worked out until 39 weeks both pregnancies and with both of my girls, I went into labor ON my due date. Pushing is obviously super important and also THE HARDEST workout I’ve ever experienced and if you’ve stayed active in pregnancy, it can make this part somewhat easier.
Labor and birth is hard no matter HOW it happens, but this experience has been so much more enjoyable. Birth was one of the most special moments of my life, the healing and recovery has been MUCH more manageable and I feel like I’m getting stronger every day. How God designed our bodies to do what they do & then heal the way it does is MINDBLOWING. What a hard yet rewarding experience!! If you’ve had a c section and desire a VBAC, just know it is possible! And so much better. If you have any questions, I’d love to help however I can because I want other mama’s to have the redemptive birth experience that I got to have!!!