My phone rang at 5:46am, and a fellow doula called me in to assist in the support of Amy's attempt at a VBAC. (Make sure your doula has a backup doula! These things happen and you don't want to go it alone, when you were expecting support!)
I arrived, and met Amy and Mike for the first time at 7am. They were both pleasant and excited that labor had started spontaneously. Amy was already 6cm along, which was farther into dilation than she had gotten with her first child.
Amy's journey, was longer than expected. From a medical perspective she had her cards stacked against her. She was attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), she is advanced maternal age (😜 who cares) and she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
One of the major things that would effect her outcome, would be time. She would need her providers to honor her process and allow for this second time mom, to be given the same allotments as a first time mom. It sounds simple, but unfortunately, it isn't always the case. She had chosen to switch providers during her pregnancy, and deliver at Vidone Birth Center. This choice as well as having someone advocate for her, would improve her chances substantially.
At noon, she had dilated 1 more centimeter. There was so much more change though! Her cervix previously was posterior, baby wasn't in the right position, and the bag of water had started to apply pressure to the cervix, by bulging through. These things had all changed and that was HUGE! However, most people only know about dilation and so we kept a positive attitude by explaining all of the changes her body had made.
Over the next few hours, exhaustion would set in. Amy would fall in and out of sleep, and her contractions would space out. Once she gained a bit of energy she was willing to do anything to get herself back into a pattern that would encourage change. A nurse at one point made a joke that if directed, Amy would stand on her head for 13 minute intervals if it meant, getting her VBAC.
We did this pattern on and off for hours, and eventually chatter started about interventions. Amy is polite, follows directions, but this time she said no. She asked for the conversations to stop. She knew what she would and would not agree to, and we used all of the techniques to get her to a point that the Midwife felt comfortable doing what Amy wanted.
After just a short period of time and Amy "laboring down" in the shower for 90 minutes, we could all hear those low moans that means baby is coming.
Amy got out of the shower, and after being awake and laboring for 21 hours, her first push EVER, allowed for me to see that her little girl had a head of dark hair. She asked for the mirror for encouragement and eventually asked to switch positions. These things are instinctual! After just a few moments of pushing on her hands and knees, her little girl was laying upon her chest.
She did it! She did it well! And she was impressive to watch! I was so proud of her and Midwife did a little VBAC dance. This team was so excited for her. High fives were exchanged, people cheered, and her husband just kept saying "I can't believe how strong you are!"
That is what a supportive VBAC environment should look like. (VBAC tolerant providers are not enough. If you are choosing a VBAC it's important to find out the difference)
Thank you to Amy and Mike for trusting me in such a short time and allowing me to witness such a joy! It was such a honor.