Lydia's Birth Story

Posted by  | Wednesday, December 5, 2007  at 2:55 AM  
When I found out I was pregnant I began to read all I could about labor and birth. My heart's desire was for a totally natural birth experience. I was alarmed, however, at the incredibly high c-section rate in America (currently about 33%). I realized quickly that selecting the right doctor was very important. I wanted a doctor who was experienced with natural childbirth - not just a vaginal delivery. Many obgyn's have never truly experienced a natural birth. I wanted to make sure that if there was a problem and I needed intervention I wouldn't look back and wonder if that intervention was really necessary. The more research I did, the more I wanted to consider homebirth as an option; however, my husband was definitely not ready for this. We compromised with a midwife that would deliver in a hospital. We also took a Bradley Class and found a great doula that would come to the hospital and help assist me in labor. The doula made me feel more comfortable because I knew that hospitals have rules and regulations and can really pressure you if your birth isn't progressing as fast as they think it should. The Bradley class was good, but the best part was that my husband came to understand why I wanted a natural birth and how that was healthier for both mom and baby. (As a side note, there are two books I would strongly recommend for anyone considering a natural birth: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Natural Childbirth - The Bradley Method by Susan McCuthcheon.)
Well, let's fast forward to the birth. . . I was due on a Friday and started having mild contractions during the night on Sunday. Now Margaret had just given birth four weeks earlier and had been in labor for days so I didn't think much about this. I went for a three mile walk that morning as usual, and talked to Margaret on the phone later when my contractions were getting more regular (about every 12-15 minutes) but nothing to make me stop my day. She told me I was in labor but I didn't believe her! By Monday evening I was still thinking about having a baby on Friday. I took a meal to Leah (who had just had her baby one week earlier) and another teacher at our school who had just had twins. When I got home I read a book and Josh was playing a Play Station game. He had been working on beating that game for weeks and beat it that night; I finished my book that was over 500 pages. Shortly thereafter, I started having intense contractions that began to come very quickly (this was about 10 p.m.). We began to write them down and time really seemed to stand still. It's amazing how clearly you can think but I remember being unable to really communicate my thoughts. At some point Josh said he needed to get to bed because he had to work in the morning. He gave me the paper and pen (I was on floor so I could get to the bathroom easily), but he quickly realized I wasn't in any condition to be writing down my own contractions which were now about 3-5 minutes apart. I remember wanting ice chips and Josh said he didn't know how to do that, but would go ask the neighbor. He came back and said my friend was already asleep so her husband and mine put their heads together but still couldn't figure out how to make ice chips :). Inside I was laughing about all of this. We called our doula who was going to come out to our house and labor with us before heading to the hospital. However when she talked to me on the phone she said we needed to go straight to the hospital. I'll admit, I was scared to get to the hospital too earlier. My goal was to arrive when I was about 9 cm, push out the baby, and then head back home. So, when I arrived and they told me I was only dilated 2 cm, my heart just sank inside. It was about 1:30 a.m. The midwifery unit that we wanted to deliver with only delivered between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. so in my mind I was thinking that I just had to make it until 6 a.m. I had prayed about a natural birth so long and I thought the only way I would have it was with a midwife. I asked for a birth ball and labored on it for a little while. Then my water broke. I've heard of some women's water just leaking out but mine was a gush. Shortly thereafter I remember saying that I had pushed through a contraction. Our doula went to get the nurse to check me. Reluctantly she did and to her amazement I was at 10 cm. (Later she said she had never seen a first-time mom go from a 2 to a 10 in less than 1 hour.) The hospital was scrambling because they didn't even have me in a room and her head was about to crown. I had a total of 5 pushing contractions and Lydia was born. She was born at 3:10 a.m. so it was with a doctor and not a midwife. However, it all happened so fast they didn't have time to intervene and it was a totally natural birth. I really can't praise Duke Hospital enough either. I had a birth plan that really went against the grain of hospital tradition, and they followed it to a T. I even remember one nurse coming in and the head nurse asked if she had read my birth plan; she said she'd skimmed it and the other nurse told her to go read it and then she could come back in!
Having a natural birth was absolutely amazing. Yes, the contractions were painful (the Bible even says this) and I can attest it really was. However, it is not more than you can bear. In between contractions you feel totally fine. I could feel the urge to push and had the freedom to push as my body wanted to and in any position that I wanted. I tore only a little (2 stitches) and I was running again 10 days after she was born. This first picture was taken literally 60 seconds after Lydia was born. They took Lydia and weighed her in my room before handing her to me to nurse and this is when this picture was snapped. Lydia was born alert and awake. She nursed and then we played together for a couple hours. It is one of the most special memories of my life.
My advice if you are considering a natural childbirth is this: purpose that in your heart beforehand. If you take a "wait and see" approach, you'll more than likely end up with pain meds. Know why you want what you do and be prepared with a birth plan. Choose your doctor wisely; this cannot be emphasized enough. Finally, bathe it all in prayer. I realized later that although I didn't deliver with a midwife He had truly given me the deire of my heart. It wasn't that I wanted a midwife per se, I just wanted a totally natural birth experience and I feel so blessed to have been able to have it.


Anonymous said...

That was great advice. I am a testament to too many c-sections here in America. I was also planning an all natural birth but I did not get a midwife. I had the birth plan that stated my wishes and prayed it would be followed. I was two weeks overdue with my first, and they decided to induce me. I went in a 6 min the morning. They broke my water first thing and then started pitocin (if only I had read more I would have realized I shouldn't have let them break my water). About 12 in the afternoon, I hadn't made much progress and the doctor came in and said we HAD to have a c-section. He gave me no reason but that I wasn't progressing. Thinking back on it, I think he had a golf tournament or something. I had only been allowed to labor 6 hours. I know he didn't give my body any time. In the end I had a c-section and delivered a healthy baby girl. I tried to have a VBAC for my second child. Again I wanted a natural birth, but I knew I had to go into labor naturally because down here they won't aid in natural birth (like giving pitocin or anything to thin your cervix) if you have had a previous c-section. I let my self go two weeks overdue again, and one day my water broke. I was so excited I thought I would actually get to deliver the baby. I got to the hospital at 9am and I was only 2 cm. They let me go only an hour this time and said I hadn't made a change and they were going to take the baby c-section. I was so upset. I had gotten a midwife this time but two months before I had this baby my husband got a great job offer and the move happened so quickly I barely had time to find a doctor again. So once again, I delivered another girl by c-section. To make maters worse, the new doctor didn't like where the old doctor cut me, so I got a whole new cut. That makes it to risky to ever have a natural child birth. So needless to say, the third child came, and once again I had another c-section. It was just a matter of picking which scar I would like to be cut into again!
I just want everyone to know you need to find someone who will stand up to your doctors and who know how to help you stick with your plan. I really wished I did!!!

Hollie said...

Krista, Awesome post!

#1 Commenter: Thanks for sharing your experience. I would love to know more about VBACS.

Shannon said...

Oh what a wonderful birth story. I truly wish I had not had 2 c-sections to deliver my girls. I wanted to try a VBAC, but my doc was concerned about it.

About five years ago, at a local hospital, a woman was in the middle of a VBAC delivery when her uterus ruptured and the baby was lost. When I delivered my 2nd baby, my Doctor was shocked to find what they call a "window" in my uterus. Basically, the uterus wall had thinned so much in one spot that the doctors could actually SEE the baby through the uterus wall before they even cut through the uterus. I was told that this is not uncommon, but what WAS uncommon was how LARGE my "window" was. (Not surprising if you'd seen how huge my belly was on my tiny 5ft. frame. I was completely stretched out.) My doctor said he truly believed that if I'd had a vaginal birth, my uterus would have ruptured. And he strongly feels that not only should I have just ONE more pregnancy, but he will certainly want to take that baby a few weeks early, so my uterus doesn't stretch too much, and of course, by c-section. I really do like, and trust my doctor, who is a Christian, and really does care about our family.

I wish there was more access to reliable information on these matters, so young moms can make informed decisions. In the end, although I wish I could have a natural birth experience, I am very grateful for my two little blessings, no matter how they got here!

mrm said...

I think you are neglecting to realize that our body's are all different. I got an epidurel because I had pain 100% of the time. The idea that "you feel fine between contractions" was not true for me. Also, contractions with pitocin are extremely painful and having as quick a labor as you did is rare. I think it's great that you had the experience you wanted but you have to realize that every woman's experience/body is unique. Pain medication did nothing but help my labor to progress and help me to have a birth experience that was pleasant. "Wait and see" attitudes prevent all hopes from being dashed when things don't go as planned.


Anonymous said...

There is a little bit of information on the web about VBACs, but honestly your doctor is the best source. I have found that doctors down south are much more "scared" (for lack of a better word" than northern doctors about VBACs. For example in NY, they will give you stuff to thin you cervix, they are much more pro VBAC up there. I find it interesting.
I was told VBAC's are generally safe as long as you have the horizontal incision. There is risk of your uterus rupturing, but my doctor at the time said it was an slight increase in risk (between 1% and 5%). I actually know personally 4 people who have had VBACs and have had wonderful experiences. One of the ladies, had 4 natural births after her first c-section. So read up on it and find a good doctor. I have found that doctors really differ on their opinion about them.
Unlike Shannon, my uterus is holding up well. I have been told I can have 10 more babies if I would like. (But 3 are enough for us) After each c-section they have inspected my uterus and declared that it looks healthy with little scarring.
So when deciding, pray hard and find a really good doctor.

Christina said...

We are in the process of praying for a VBAC! Our situation is a little different given the complications of my first pregnancy (preeclampsia and a 32 week delivery - stay tuned for birth story soon) SO, in reality our number one prayer is that we make it to full term. A VBAC would be a huge blessing on top of that though!

As anonymous mentioned, I agree that doctors vary in their opinions and I think it has everything to do with their experience with VBACs and their personal comfort level. There are four docs in my practice (Hollie - aren't we at the same practice??) and 3 of the 4 are VERY supportive while one is more cautious...that said, she has also witnessed two uterine ruptures that went very badly. The others have not as far as I know. So understandably, she is more cautious. (although at first I was disheartened by what I perceived as pessimism...but the Lord changed my attitude on that one. :)

I will also add, that from my research the reason that doctors won't induce labor for a VBAC is that it significantly increases the risk of uterine rupture. Those who have pitocin can attest to the much stronger contractions that come with it. My risks for uterine rupture are slightly higher than the 1% (like 7-8% I think...according to the "cautious" doc in my practice) because of the early delivery. Even still, we will proceed with one if I get the opportunity.

Shannon said...

One more note on VBACS.... as other posters have mentioned, opinions do vary from doctor to doctor, and there may in fact be a more "cautious" attitude with those in the south. My doctor DID inform me that he would feel totally comfortable with a VBAC if we were in a bigger city (i.e. Dallas or Houston), where there were tons of staff at the hospital all the time, ready to do an emergency procedure should something happen. My doctor trained at a huge hospital in big university town, and had plenty of experience with VBACS there. That just isn't the case here, in our smaller town. So keep that in mind as well.

And Krista, thank you again, for sharing. Though your experience was different from many of ours, it is a joy to read about - thank the Lord for your blessed experience, and I hope the next one goes just as smoothly.

Jen said...

I had my first two children vaginally and my third by scheduled c-section because of Owen's spina bifida (since a vaginal birth could cause more nerve damage to his open spine). The surgery was done by an excellent doc at IU Med Center and horizontal. Small incision. My OB says I am a perfect candidate for a VBAC, but unfortunately 2 of the hospitals in town have, across the board, will no longer allow VBACs to be performed. Luckily the other hospital is still allowing them, but I guess is considering changing to a "no vbac" policy as well. I am a little nervous about that fact. I don't see how a hospital can completely take the opportunity to choose away from all women. Give me something to sign that I won't sue you, but let my doctor and I decide if it is a good choice for me or not. It makes me want to have a home birth if no hospital will allow it. But in a vbac situation a hospital is exactly where I should be, just in case I fall in the 1% who rupture. Anyway, it is yet to be seen. But you know it is one of those things that the pendulum will swing the other way in 5-10 years. But by then I'll be done having kids! Obviously, I need not worry about it now, I am not even pregnant yet with #4, but it is hard not to.

A friend from church is due in January with #6. Her first was a c-section and she had 4 successful vbacs after that. But she will be delivering at the hospital with the policy (due to insurance etc.) and is being forced to have a c-section. I think it is absolutely ridiculous. She is okay with it, however, for her own reasons.

I just can't understand how they can make such a policy. I know there is a financial risk factor that is playing into that decision.

Hollie said...

Where do you live? I can't believe that!

Christina said...

Another thing I remembered that my cautious doc said is that I could NOT have a VBAC after 2 c-sections. I didn't push for reasons why or haven't researched I don't know if THAT is a hospital policy or something the practice sticks too. I have heard of a lot of hospitals moving away from allowing VBACs which is truly sad.

Jen - homebirth is totally doable for a VBAC. I have known at least two women that have done it successfully (and none who haven't been successful :). so depends on your comfort level. Me - couldn't do it. I would be too worried about the risks.

marymstraits said...


Did you stay in the hospital the standard two days or did you go home? The option of going home was mentioned in our birthing class, but we were told not many doctors were keen on the idea. Just wondering how that went . . .

Great story, by the way!


Krista said...

We had planned to stay 24 hours - the minimum amount of time we found any hospital would allow. However, since she was born at 3:00a.m. we couldn't leave until the morning. Then, the story gets really fun. We declined the eye drops and Hep B and, to cover themselves, the morning we were going home they asked if they could draw my blood to show my titer levels to Hep B. We figured there was no harm in this and was easier than arguing so we agreed. It took until late afternoon until they got the results. We didn't see a nurse all day (they were busy) and finally Josh just went out and told them, "I don't want to sound mean, but I just wanted to let you know we're leaving in 15minutes." He went and got a wheel chair and we got our things together and left. They did manage to miraculously get my titer results and release us during that 15 minutes.

Jen said...


I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lutheran and Dupont have a no vbac policy.


Mallory & Amy Gabriel said...

I'm a little late commenting- been out of town and doing some catching up on this blog.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG-the governing board for all OB/GYNs) requires the OB to be on the floor, scrubbed in and ready for emergency C-section at all times once a women is in active labor (greater than 3 cm) if a VBAC is occurring. The reason for this regulation is because of the risk of uterine rupture, as already discussed in previous comments. This is one of the main reasons that many practices are no longer preforming VBACs. It requires a great deal more work on the doctor's part, and a longer amount of time in the hospital. (That's not an excuse, just the facts.) If a hospital has decided not to preform VBACs, it is because the participating OBs refuse to do them and therefore they cannot comply with ACOG's standards. Just a little FYI.

Amy (Registered Nurse)

The Fladung's said...

I had a successful VBAC with my second delievery and loved every minute of the labor and delivery process. I was so thrilled to avoid a c-section this time around, as my first son was rushed into the world by a c-section happy doctor (i, too, have often wondered if she had a golf tourney or something on her agenda for the day!)! Anyway--in doing our research on VBAC prior to having our 2nd son, we discovered that unfortunately there are many insurance companies who are dictating whether or not a VBAC will be covered. This is ludicrous in my opinion, as I don't feel that any insurance company has any right in determining how my baby will exit my body and enter the world...
just a point to ponder, though, when searching for a doc who will support you in your pursuits of a'll need to first check with your health insurance company to see if they will pay for it. Always an option, though, is paying out of pocket for a home birth with a midwife...

The Eckerts said...


I'm curious since you had such a great first birth experience if you would consider a homebirth for any other births?

I had a very unfortunate c/s with our first son and vowed to never let that happen again. I started to research the VBAC policies and although the hospital would let me attempt a VBAC I knew my chances were super slim. After months of research, I decided that the best option for me was to birth at home with a midwife. It went extremely well. I would do it again in a heartbeat if that's where the LORD leads.

Just curious to know if your husband is more open to the idea now that you've experienced birth?

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