This is a post in a birth story series where our team shares their stories of how their kids made them moms. We are thrilled to bring you this series leading up to our event for new and expecting moms —Bloom, sponsored by Authentic Birth Center in Wauwatosa.
In April 2010, ten days after her due date, we welcomed our daughter Ingrid. After a long, two-day labor and three hours of pushing, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Ultimately, I had to be put under for a c-section. When I woke up, my husband was holding a little pink bundle and announced, “It’s a girl!” I was overcome with joy. She looked at me with her huge eyes, so alert and aware, and looked wise beyond her 10 minutes of life.
Our bonding experience was delayed, but we were connected from the start.
Somewhere between the birth of my first child and the arrival of my second, someone told me “If you think your birth (c-section, vaginal, natural, etc.) has anything to do with how you will parent. That’s like saying the flowers you choose at your wedding will have a direct impact on the success of your marriage.” Even though it’s tongue-and-cheek, it put birth into the larger context of parenting, which was helpful to resolve lingering feelings and fog of disappointment. Blip on the radar. An important blip but still, a blip.
During my second pregnancy, I got my hands on credible VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) resources. I white-knuckled my way through books and blogs, as if I could will myself into the labor experience of my choice.
The majority of the resources noted the importance of supportive medical professionals. I found out my doctor was not only known for his high VBAC success rate, he was almost cheerleader-esque in his enthusiasm for VBAC attempts.
The morning of my due date, I woke up to discover my water had broke. Since our daughter was 10 days late, August 1 never felt…real. I’m embarrassed to say that we even made plans. My husband is an artist and was scheduled to show at a local fair. The booth was set-up, car was packed and sitters were arranged. After my water broke, phone calls were made to grandparents and fair staff, cars were unpacked, but contractions had yet to kick-in.
When we arrived at the hospital and told nurses we were attempting a VBAC they literally cheered. Hours later, no progress, nothing. My two birth stories started to mirror each other. No contractions, Pitocin, epidural, pushing for two plus hours.
The feelings of disappointment came rushing back. After a few panicked sobs and questioning my decisions out-loud, my doctor gave me a tough love speech. He told me to dig deep and push because the clock was ticking and another c-section was on the horizon. After more tears, I gave it my last shot. Thanks to one nurse and a knotted-up sheet, I pushed and it worked.
The room exploded in applause and the verbal confirmation “You are going to have a VBAC.” It was the moment I had envisioned for months, years really. I was so thankful and filled with pride that I reached my goal. Then, my husband announced, “It’s a boy!” I met my son and everything else was a blissful blur.
For me, VBAC resources were helpful to focus on the success factors: supportive medical staff, a partner who was my advocate and steady rock. Through this process, I learned to believe in myself and gain the much-needed confidence that my baby was built for my body. And if things didn’t work out according to plan, at least I tried.