Norah Brooke {A VBAC Success}

A little background– My first birth ended in a C-section. After my son, Liam, was born we found out that even though his head was down, his chin wasn’t tucked and he appeared to be peeking up a bit.It’s apparently known as Brow Presentation. They called it an “emergency”, but to me it wasn’t. His vitals were fine. I was fine. Some doctors just don’t like slow progression. I now feel like I should have fought it. I should have asked for help and tried different positions. However, as soon as you hear the statement “for the safety of the baby” you’re willing to do anything without questioning.

It consumed me for months. I was so upset that it happened the way it did. People kindly reassured me saying, “Hey, he’s here and healthy. That’s all the matters.” True, but birth was (and is) important to me. I wanted to birth naturally. I wanted to feel all the feels that women have felt in childbirth for centuries. I felt somewhat incomplete. When I found out I was pregnant with our daughter, Norah, I instantly knew the kind of birth I just HAD to have. VBAC or bust. Lucky for me, the Portland area encourages and welcomes them.

{Thursday, August 29th, 2013. 38 weeks, 4 days}
Having Braxton-Hicks’ early-on is normal for me. And being emotional is normal for me. But that week they were getting stronger at bedtime. I should have known something big was about to happen. That night I started crying while watching a Sonic commercial because I just had to have some mozzarella sticks with ranch dressing. Like, STAT. Never mind that it was 11pm… My husband is a saint.

{Friday, August 30th, 2013. 9 days ’til due date}
3:45am. I woke up with a painful contraction. I squeezed Brandon’s hand and said, “They’re hurting.” He acknowledged, fell back asleep but continued to hold my hand. Some minutes later another one hit. “OHHHHHKAYY, that hurt. I think something is definitely happening.” We had plans to attend the Oregon State football game on Saturday, so naturally, my darling husband’s next thought was “Should I give up the tickets?” Uh, yeahhh… Go Beavs.

I can’t remember what time it was, but it was starting getting light outside. I was hobbling around the house trying not to wake Liam while getting last minute things together. I texted my mom in between contractions to let her know what was up. I was keeping details to minimum so of course she had tons of questions. I couldn’t keep texting/talking anymore so finally I said, “Stop asking questions, woman! I’m dying!” Subtle, I know. She got the hint. My brother was living with us at the time and had just gotten back two days prior from being away for the summer. The plan was for him to watch Liam when we needed to go to the hospital. However, he stayed the night at a friend’s and wasn’t answering his phone. I kept calling while I sent Brandon to go get him. I told him to do whatever it took to wake that kid up. Ring the door bell, set off the car alarm, egg the windows… I was NOT taking two-year-old Liam with us.

The time Brandon was gone felt like an eternity. I was literally losing it. I was no longer feeling contractions in my belly but in my back! So so soooo uncomfortable. I had never had back labor before so I had no idea how to alleviate the pain. I was getting tired of walking around the house so I tried sitting. The moment I sat down I felt as though a fish the weight of a bowling ball wiggled down through my body. Pretty sure something inside had broken. A rib maybe? My hip bone? My lady parts?? I screamed, and could no longer sit because I felt like I was sitting on her. Such a weird feeling.

7:something am. Brandon came back with my brother in tow. I asked what took so long. He stopped to fill the car with gas… Oh but of course.. I gave instructions to my brother, gave kisses to Liam, and we were outta there! We stopped along the way to grab some breakfast. I’m not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Can’t have the birth partner starve! So there I was in the McDonald’s drive-thru wallowing in pain with my face in a pillow. Don’t stop for breakfast, ladies. Just don’t.

Our hospital was about 30min away. That ride was not fun.

The walk from the car to the elevator was even worse. Here I am with bags and pillows, hunched over, being dragged by my husband, and some lady had the nerve to stop us and ask for directions. REALLY??! One word, lady. “SIRI.”

8:30am. We got to the check-in counter. Finally. I thought I had already done all the paperwork. Oh but no, there’s more. I tried signing my name. I couldn’t even remember how to spell my name. Contractions were coming fast and super painful. There was a little girl with her mom next to us…watching. Poor girl. We went back to the little triage room where they check to make sure if you’re really in labor. I couldn’t even get my gown on, much less hoist myself onto the bed. The nurse came in. All smiley and annoying. She made small talk. Just check me, woman! She checked me and then I heard, “OH, yoou’rrrre about an 8!” WHAT! I told her to shut up. Not in the sense that I wanted her to stop talking, but in the disbelief sense. EIGHT freaking centimeters. She then hurried around telling people to get a room ready because things were happening. I couldn’t believe it. My first labor was 26ish hours, and this seemed like a big joke.

I got to my room. Hopped in the shower, stayed in the shower. The water felt so good on my back. My midwife came in and asked if I wanted to get out and try new positions. No way, Jose. I told her I tried the shower at home and that’s what worked. She said ok and let me do my thing. (Can I just take a moment to say how much I love midwives? La la la looove them.) I was realizing that I was doing this on my own. I felt kind of proud. Brandon was there to help but I didn’t really need him physically. Just needed him to be present. My body was doing it all. It gave me the encouragement I needed. That I was capable of doing all of this.

9:30am. I got checked again. 10cm. Time to push. Still in disbelief that things were happening so fast, I climbed onto the bed and started pushing. I hated it. I felt tons of pressure and then something release and a big whoosh. “Is she out??!” No, it was just my water breaking. Like a balloon. Since things were so rushed when we arrived I guess my chart wasn’t read because before I knew it the nurse was trying to shove a catheter in my wrist. It was hospital policy that VBAC patients have it just in case an IV was needed. And they didn’t realize I was that patient until I was backwards on the bed with my arm dangling upside down. Oops. I told the nurse she had a window of about 10 seconds to get that thing in. I opened my eyes to blood dripping on the floor. I guessed it wasn’t working. Before I knew it they were telling me it had to go in my arm. Whatever, I thought. Just do what you gotta do and suffer the consequences. ie. my grumpiness.

I tried about two pushing positions before we were getting somewhere with the third one. (Did I mention how much I hated pushing?) It was worse than the back labor. I kept all my vocabulary PG, surprisingly. I don’t curse normally, but studies show doing so in reference to pain can help subside it- I was prepared. I kept telling them to “just get her out”. I had heard stories and was warned about “the ring of fire”, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. It could have been my awesome midwife putting warm compresses on my nether regions (another reason I love midwives. No tearing for this girl!), or just that I was high on adrenaline. I’m not sure, but it didn’t bother me that much. All the pain began to blur together. I. just. wanted. her. out!

10:16am. 7lb 5oz 20.5in baby girl came out. She was so tiny compared to her 8lb 11oz brother. She had tons of hair and the prettiest, daintiest, longest fingers I’ve ever seen. She was beautiful.
And her delivery was everything that I had hoped.

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