Amputee/surprise gender/natural birth VBAC story **graphic pictures**
We were blessed with a fantastic and healthy pregnancy. I’m a relatively new amputee and was still able to walk over 1,200 miles during the pregnancy! I had energy, I was able to eat normally, and this baby even graced me with 8-10 hours of pregnancy sleep each night.
The thing hanging over our heads during each day of pregnancy was whether or not we would have to undergo a dangerous surgery during the birth. My twins were born via csection at 35+5 due to my decline in health. It was seven years ago and my scarring is very minimal. My current OB agreed a VBAC was very accessible to me, but where I live the two major rules for a VBAC are: you have to go into labor on your own by your due date and you cannot have medication to induce labor. We carried on in pregnancy as though I would certainly go into labor before 40 weeks. My midwife guessed 37! Because of a history of spine surgery, spinal infection, spinal fluid leaks, and adverse effects of pain medications a surgery would be very dangerous. I would have to be under general anesthesia, the baby would need to be born in under 90 seconds, it would take 2 senior surgeons scheduled to be in the OR, and baby would need it’s own team of doctors ready on standby. My OB considered the health of the pregnancy and baby, and this procedure was scheduled for 41+4 at 8:30am. I sat down with her the day prior at 10:30am and she said she understood how disappointed we were that we would be going in for surgery the next morning, but said “who knows?! maybe you’ll go into labor today!” She performed a second sweep before we left and said I was 1.5cm and 50% effaced. We agreed to see her at 6am at the hospital for pre op. I decided to throw everything I had into encouraging labor. The sweep had left me bleeding and crampy, but my husband and I came straight home and had sex (ouch). I had discussed the midwives brew with my OB and midwife earlier in the week and they’d okayed that and parsley tea at this point, so after sex I drank a whole midwives brew and a whole pot of an entire bunch of parsley boiled for 20 minutes. With all of that in my otherwise empty stomach we walked over to the hospital parking garage and started doing the stairs. We climbed up the 6 floors skipping a step each time and ran down to repeat. We did 40 minutes worth and then it was time to head to the chiropractor for a Webster technique adjustment. It’s meant to help a breech baby flip, but we figured it might also help this baby come down a bit further. During the adjustment I began feeling intense menstrual cramping, but I’d never been in labor before so I brushed it off as a reaction to all the nasty drinks I’d consumed earlier 🤢 I left the office at 4pm starving and drove 20 minutes north for spicy nachos I love and figured adding spicy food could only help at this point (my poor stomach). I parked at the restaurant and got another “menstrual cramp”. This time so intense I couldn’t get out of the car. I managed to crawl inside and order. I left with the food and started the 20 minute drive home. The weather took a turn and it started pouring rain. I’d been trying to time my “cramps” on my phone, but during the drive they got so close it was too dangerous to continue. I barely pulled in my driveway during one. I got inside with help and ate the entire box of nachos in between contractions. I was STARVING. The weather got worse and worse outside, but when I was done eating all I wanted was to be out in the rain. I started slowly walking our cul de sac back and forth with my husband and our twins under a golf umbrella at 6pm. We put the boys to bed at 8pm and started walking through contractions again. They had started at 5 minutes apart at the restaurant and by 9pm they were down to 2 minutes apart. I refused to go to the hospital too early though, we live so close and I didn’t want to give the doctors a chance to intervene too early if it was unnecessary. I alternated walking in the rain and soaking in the bathtub the whole night.
At 1am my legs were so tired I came in out of the rain and tried to sleep. It was futile. At 3am I was back out getting wet laboring on the street🤣🤷♀️ At 4am my husband called the doula and told her to meet us at the hospital, he said he was too worried about me to let me stay home any longer. We got everything in the car and woke up the twins and got to the hospital. They got us all in an OB triage room and our doula arrived. The nurse came in at 5and checked me. I was 3cm and 80% effaced. I felt discouraged because it had been 12 hours and I had only made a little progress, but then she came back and said she spoke to my OB and that they agreed it was enough progress to allow me to labor on my own!!! They admitted me right away and brought me up to L&D. I got in my room and was told I was not allowed to have any water or ice because I still could have to go to the OR. I was confused, and SO thirsty, but I began walking the halls and contracting holding onto my husband or doula. Those cramps had become full on WAVES. At 7:30am my nurse came and said I was going to have a vascular ultrasound for an IV (I have flat and blown veins from past hospitalizations so it takes a lot to get an IV started). I was happy because at least I could get some fluids, but then she also brought me a big cup of water. I must have looked confused so she told me “they’re going to start pitocin to augment your labor and then your midwife plans to break your water! You’re going to VBAC!” ONE HOUR before my scheduled csection we’d made enough progress to get our birth 💛🙏 Pitocin started slow at 2 and was increased every 30 minutes. When we got to 10 I had to ask for them to stop increasing it, the pain was too intense and I am not a candidate for epidurals or any IV pain medications. They agreed and I was able to get out to do one more lap in the halls. My doula has asked about an hour prior to allow me an hour before my water was broken, so I knew that was coming soon, but all of a sudden a contraction came on and my water broke on it’s own....all over my feet in the hallway 😬🤷♀️ It was a feeling of relief at first, but then the contractions got very INTENSE. Within what felt like minutes I started feeling like I was involuntary pushing at the end of my contractions. It was nearly impossible to fight the urge. I managed to vocalize it and my doula called for the midwife to check me. She told me if I was over 6cm I could have nitrous oxide to help me manage my pain, but it was the only thing for pain I was allowed so we really wanted to save it for pushing.
I got in bed into a side lying position and a big contraction started. I yelled that I needed to push and they said it was okay but try to wait. When it was over my midwife checked and said “No wonder you want to push! I can see baby’s head! It’s time!” They got me a nitrous tube and with the next contraction I began to allow my body to push. It was an intense feeling, but a relief as well. I took a 10 minute break after the first push and then put everything I had into the next contraction. 3 total pushes in 37 minutes and baby was born! Only 4 hours after being admitted 😱 SHE was born 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. My first words when she was born were “It’s a sister!!!!!” to my twins (who had been present for the whole experience!).
After she was born she was placed
right on my chest and my midwife delivered the placenta while my twins watched. She showed them the sac and they were amazed at the whole thing. They were absolutely entranced at the entire experience.
Our only snag was a laceration that nicked an artery on the vaginal wall deep into my body. Two surgeons rushed in after a failed attempt by my midwife to correct it, and it took over an hour of surgery in the room with nothing but nitrous gas. The surgeons worked to close it while my midwife held pressure on the artery. I wished I would pass out a few times, but apparently my pain threshold is something for the books because I remained conscious through it all as my doula held my baby girl to my breast to feed so I had something to focus my attention on while I got through it.
I’m excited to introduce Minerva “Minnie” Frank Kelley to the world. We were home yesterday, under 27 hours of arriving at the hospital!