top of page
  • Jasmine Higgins (A Doula Client)

{Birth Story} VBAC Induction

After finding out I was pregnant, I began searching for successful VBAC birth stories for some much needed encouragement. That's when I found they were very scarce. After working with Natural Baby Doulas, I decided my story needed to be told, so mommas can know that a successful VBAC is possible.

July 2018 we found out we were pregnant with baby number 2. My first pregnancy had some complications. I had to take blood thinner shots throughout (will have to for each pregnancy) and although I planned for an unmediated vaginal birth the baby turned and remained breech from 20 weeks onward. So a cesarean was scheduled, which went really well with no complications or pain and a healthy baby at the end.

Now 3 years later I wanted to try for a VBAC. This second pregnancy was very uneventful, although I still had to take blood thinner shots. My husband, Paul, wanted me to have another c-section, since we knew what to expect, but I truly wanted a VBAC and a supportive Doula. Eventually he came onboard with a VBAC, but thought it was ridiculous to pay for a Doula since he would be with me the entire time. I continued to look for a Doula and decided I wanted to go with a group of Doulas working together, so there would be someone I was familiar with even if another mom was laboring at the same time.

December 2018 I contacted Natural Baby Doulas and scheduled our first meeting with Jessica. My husband wasn't thrilled, but I convinced him to keep an open mind and try to see the benefits for both of us. The meeting went great and while talking on the way home, he finally saw how a Doula could support him supporting me, since this was uncharted territory for both of us. We both liked Jessica and read about the other Doulas on their website and decided they would be a good fit!

Jessica taught a group VBAC class in February and it was nice to meet other moms that were hoping to have a vaginal birth after cesarean. This group class allowed us to get answers to questions we hadn't thought of and to learn positions for laboring and pain management during labor. Through the rest of my pregnancy I had the joy of meeting Kristian and Sarah, and would have been comfortable with having any of them attend our birth. After each appointment I would text them an update, which was really helpful, especially as we entered the home stretch.

At week 34 my cervix was 3-4cm, and I was hoping this was the beginning stages of easing into labor. I started regularly doing the miles circuit we learned about in class, to give us our best chance for success. Around this time I started feeling extremely exhausted, but figured it was normal since I was close to the end of this pregnancy and still working my regular 12 hour nursing shifts.

At the 36 week appointment, my iron was dropping and I was scheduled to have an iron infusion. The OB also recommended I cut my shifts from 12 to 8 hours. I didn't want to, but I did it so I could get some extra rest. He also agreed to a strip my membranes at each following appointment, but wanted me to start thinking about an induction if things hadn't picked up by 40 weeks. Thankfully the iron infusion gave my hemoglobin the boost it needed to be within a normal range.

40 weeks rolled around and I was a very stretchy 4cm and induction was scheduled for 41 weeks, if labor didn't start spontaneously. I had been walking every day trying to bring on regular contractions. Some days my 4 year old would walk with me and say "mommy my little legs are so tired of walking", so I would put her in the stroller and journey on. But each and every time when I stopped walking the contractions stopped too.

March 31st was week 41 and Paul and I went to the hospital for induction. I was afraid of getting pitocin, after reading horror stories about the intense contractions it caused, especially since I wanted a birth without pain medication; but I was in agreement with the OB that we would use pitocin. I came equipped with my OB approved birth plan and gave it to my nurse, who agreed it was reasonable and they would try to stick to it closely. Pitocin was started at 830a.m. and I settled in. I decided to let go of any expectations for what contractions would be like (I had never been in labor before), or how tough Pitocin might make it and try to relax through each contraction as it came, accepting it for what it was and knowing I was a little closer to meeting my sweet baby.

Jessica came to check on us and set up the diffuser, then continued to check on me via text, even suggesting positions to help baby turn from sunny-side up. I labored in bed, on the ball, on the toilet and walked around, contractions were still irregular and not intense. Jessica made the suggestion that if contractions didn't pick up, I could ask the Doctor to turn off the Pitocin for a few hours as a kind of a reset for my body. At 9pm Kristian was now the Doula on call. She called to check on us , I was still contracting, and comfortable. At 1030p.m. I was beginning to need to focus on my breathing to get through each contraction, but it wasn't unbearable. Around midnight, I was grateful for a break as my OB agreed to turn off the Pitocin for a few hours and let me get something to eat. Paul was a sweetie to go out and get us something good. Then I showered and napped.

It was now 230a.m. and the nurse restarted my Pitocin. The contractions were slow to restart, but when they did get going, standing and swaying or leaning over the ball on the bed and lightly moaning got me through each one. I was still taking one contraction at time, not thinking about the one before it or the next one coming. The nurses had been having a hard time keeping the baby's heart rate on the monitor with all the moving around I was doing, so the OB placed a fetal scalp monitor and wanted to also place a contraction monitor so my contractions could be monitored more accurately. Up until this point I felt I was dealing with each contraction beautifully. After the contraction monitor was placed I felt like I was being stabbed inside with each contraction. Swaying and leaning over the bed wasn't helping me to cope well anymore.

So at 530a.m. I woke up Paul and at 6a.m. I needed him to call Kristian, she would be there in 30 minutes. Having her there was such a reassuring presence. By this point I was in too much pain with each contraction and needed to lie down switching sides frequently, holding to the side rail and moaning loudly with each contraction. Kristian helped guide me so those moans didn't turn into screams which were unproductive and made me tense up. She watched the monitor and encouraged me that I was doing a great job and would let me know as the contractions passed their peak. Now I know Paul was also glad she was there, as she was able to guide him and keep him calm too. Sometimes I would get up and hug around his neck while he supported my weight through each contraction.

By 745am contractions were becoming unbearable and I was tired, I asked my nurse for an epidural. The nurse checked and I had progressed to 6cm. I didn't think I could physically make it to 10cm. While continuing to labor with Kristian and Paul at my side, I told Kristian I can't help it I'm pushing with each contraction. She encouraged me to just follow my body's lead and not try to fight it. I went to use the bathroom but couldn't. However fluids were leaking out when I would bear down with each contraction. Kristian checked with Paul to be sure I really wanted an epidural since the birth plan stated no pain interventions. He said if she's asking for it she can have it. I had to have blood drawn first to be sure I could get an epidural since it had been a long time since my last dose of blood thinner. In the meantime I took a dose of IV Fentanyl which only made me drowsy, but did nothing for the pain. A little before 9a.m. the nurse can back with the anestesiologist ready to place my epidural. I asked her to check me first and threw my leg up in the air. She didn't even check, stating," let me go get us some help!"

In what seemed like an instant, the room was full of people, they were taking off parts off the bed and I wasn't sure what was happening. A midwife came in and asked me some questions. I looked at Kristian and asked, " what is she talking about I can't understand anything she is saying?" The midwife was speaking perfectly clear English but Kristian repeated that she wanted to know if a student midwife could be in the room since my birth plan stated I didn't want students. At this point I didn't care anymore! As they prepared the bed for me to push on my back, in a moment of clarity I shouted out I can't push like this. They helped me raise the head of the bed, get on my knees and drape my upper body over the head of the bed. As stated in my birth plan, I was allowed to push without coaching as long as they were effective and baby wasn't in distress. Pushing felt like such a relief, I could finally do something with each contraction and they took out that god-forsaken, painful contraction monitor which decreased my pain somewhat immediately.

After pushing for a while the baby was starting to crown, but it hurt and I couldn't push through it. Then the monitor started beeping and the midwifes voice changed, sounding more urgent, she was telling me with the next contraction I needed to continue to push after it stopped. I said I couldn't, but Kristian and Paul encouraged me to keep pushing, we were so close to meeting the baby. I continued to push and for the first time since contractions started over 24 hours ago I screamed, "it burns!". Then the pain stopped and I heard sighs of relief and laughing as the baby was born! The nurse helped pass the baby through my legs as I turned over to sit down. They put my sweet baby on my chest and covered us up as they let the umbilical cord stop pulsing, cut it and delivered the placenta. I had lost my IV while pushing and chose to get an injection versus restarting the IV to get a dose of pitocin to help my uterus shrink. It was so nice to be able to get up and walk immediately after delivery, an option I didn't have after my c-section.

After the nurse assessed the baby and weighed her we were able to start breastfeeding right away. My parents and daughter arrived just after she was born! Our 4 year old was so excited to be a big sister and get the gifts our families had gotten her from the baby to congratulate her! We were moved to a regular room and after spending 24 hours with our new bundle decided on a name, Bellame Simon'e.

I was so greatful for the support of the Doulas through my pregnancy, suggesting things I could ask the OB and preparing us for a VBAC. Jessica and Kristian were invaluable throughout labor and I know I wouldn't have made it to the end without an epidural if it hadn't been for the preparation and having Kristian there encouraging me. My experience with them was amazing and made the delivery of Bellame a pleasant, unstressful event and a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

It was so nice to see Kristian when she came to the house for my postpartum visit and to do placenta art. She was even kind enough to answer questions via text later on about breastfeeding issues.

I can't sing their praises enough and can't wait to use Natural Baby Doulas for my next baby!

bottom of page