For months I’d been planning a home birth. I mean, I was ready. Had my midwife on speed dial, birth kit, everything was in place. But there was one thing I didn’t count on…
Before you read this post, you may want to read these first: Why I’m Trusting My Gut and Pursuing a Home Birth and 13 Reasons I’m Choosing a Home Birth.
I did just about everything to naturally induce labor. But honestly, I just had to wait it out – which was grueling.
The last days of pregnancy are the hardest. You’re uncomfortable; sleeping and just getting around is increasingly difficult. Carrying the weight of the baby & lack of sleep are exhausting.
The last couple of weeks of my pregnancy I also had a sinus infection that wasn’t making it any easier for me. I had pregnancy/worry induced insomnia and upper respiratory congestion that made sleeping impossible. Saying I was tired was an understatement. My voice was gone, I was congested and my nearly 200 lbs frame was experiencing sleep apnea for the first time in my life. I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy.
Finally, on the day I turned 42 weeks, labor kicked on its own. I was so relieved. I didn’t think my body could go into labor, naturally, but it did! You can’t imagine how happy I was to feel those contractions or conversely, how disappointed I was each day after 39 weeks without them.
This was the same day, my midwife scheduled a stress test. I went into the perinatal office for a late term ultrasound to check the baby’s fluid, monitor contractions and the baby’s heart rate response. Fluid was fine but “not great” said the tech. This didn’t phase me because I knew my son was coming that day, if not early the next day.
Then hubby/baby daddy and I sat down for fetal heart monitoring and within the first hour there was a deceleration. No need for alarm. The nurse and doctor just wanted to do additional monitoring. Decels could be caused by the baby compressing his umbilical cord. I assumed the decel was a combination of my coughing and contractions in addition to the baby’s movement. But the nurse assured me it wasn’t. With continued monitoring, the baby’s heart rate remained stable.
But with the decel, the perinatal doctor contacted my midwife and suggested that I transfer care to her GYN/OB backup which so happened to be the leading provider of VBAC (Vaginal Birth after C-Section) in the Las Vegas area.
My husband overheard the conversation between the perinatal doctor and nurse. The doctor was more concerned that ‘my midwife had let me go 42 weeks’ as a VBAC patient. (Let me be clear, I was literally 42 weeks on that day.)
My midwife called ahead to my backup hospital to see if there were any open labor and delivery rooms.
The perinatal doctor that did the fetal heart monitoring strongly urged “you need to deliver today; you don’t want a dead baby”. Okay…really?!
I was 42 weeks, already in labor. Did he really think my pregnancy was going to continue much longer? I hate when doctors insinuate that you’re putting your baby at risk by not inducing beforehand. This felt like a bullying tactic to me. Healthy babies can be delivered post-term.
Even though I wanted a home birth, I was never going put my baby at risk to do so. Anyway, as told, we headed to the hospital. I didn’t even have a hospital bag packed.
As we drove, I spoke with my midwife about my backup or alternative birth plan for a hospital VBAC. The closer we got, the more nervous and anxious I felt. I knew if I was in a hospital my chances of a natural VBAC were almost impossible.
As I walked into the Women’s Center of the hospital, fear overtook me and I began to cry. The nursing staff were very considerate and comforting. I knew they felt sorry for me. We told them how my first labor experience ended in an emergency c-section with my son’s 6-day stay in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for observations. They reassured me that a VBAC and natural birth were possible.
Although her shift was over, one of the nurses stayed with me until the doctor and the new nursing staff got there. She wanted to make sure my new nurse was ‘good with natural childbirth’. She said “Some nurses are better than others.” She also explained what I already knew, that I could get out the bed and move but with limited mobility.
I met my upbeat and charismatic doctor. He began to explain his plan to induce labor using a balloon to open my cervix. He and the nurses were, I guess, optimistic is the best word because at 2cm or 3 cm if stretched, and 60% effaced it was easier to ramp up an existing labor than to induce without any signs of labor.
“Are you ready to have this baby?” the doctor asked. He also recommended that I get an epidural (the same as my previous doctor) because there could be a chance that the anesthesiologist was unavailable. I told him I would think about it.
Anesthesiologist are contractors and don’t work full-time at the hospitals. If they are called in it’s the patient’s responsiblity to pay $100 per on-call hour.
I was starting to feel somewhat at ease when my nurse delivered some bad news. Since I was post-term or 42 weeks, the director of the Women’s Center informed her that I had until midnight to attempt a VBAC. After that, it was a repeat c-section. My doctor was a little surprised by this. He said “we aren’t going to stop her labor at 11:59pm.”
I texted my midwife with the news. I was starting to feel apprehensive again as I looked at the clock. It was nearly 8:00 pm. There was no way I could go from 2 cm to 10 cm and push this baby out in a 4-hour period.
I couldn’t understand why my midwife would let my pregnancy go this long with a rule like this in place. I was expecting her to respond with some type of objection. She didn’t. Blindsided is the best way to describe how I felt at that moment.
I was disappointed in her and the situation. It felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. My doctor explained my options which now included an elective c-section given the new information from my nurse.
My baby had already shown a variable heart rate with what the perinatal doctor called a “bad strip” during fetal monitoring. His heart rate seemed to stabilize but I knew that could easily change with medical interventions, my emotional stress and contractions. Not to mention the perinatal doctor left me with a strong recommendation to deliver ASAP. I didn’t want to take a chance. If my baby went into distress that meant another emergency c-section and a NICU stay. I was so torn. Again, I was in tears.
Did I even want to attempt a vaginal birth with that type of time constraint? Did I want to risk my baby going into distress? My chances of a vaginal birth virtually disappeared as soon as I entered the hospital.
As hubs and I were left to weigh our options, I knew I really didn’t have a choice. I didn’t want to say it out loud.
My spouse/ baby daddy handled the news a little worse than I did. He was pissed and made it known. He realized it too. Really, what choice did we have? Before I said it aloud in a room with just the two of us, I asked, “Will this make me a failure?” “No” he replied. A small bit of reassurance crept back into the room.
My doctor already reassured me I’d be discharged in two days. This was very important to me. My big baby, 3 y.o. Prince was at home with my parents. But he confirmed the two postpartum restrictions that I wanted to avoid; no lifting anything over 20 lbs which included my 3 year old son and no driving for two weeks.
But I would at least have skin to skin contact even if I couldn’t hold him in my arms after the delivery (your arms are strapped down during c-sections). And he would stay in the room with me (no NICU) and hubs would finally get to cut the umbilical cord. It seems like small things but at least…
There were so many reasons I wanted a home birth and to avoid a repeat c-section, but not at the expense of putting my baby at risk. My doctor accepted my teary and hesitant agreement to another c-section.
My second son, Harrison Carter was born at 8:32 pm, March 27, 2015 at 7lbs 2oz and 20 in.
This quote from the Cord Mama really resonate with me…
“She [a mom] knows that in this moment, this is what is best for her child, even though “what’s best” means a major surgery with real wounds and scars. Even though “what’s best” means letting go of a dream or a vision of birth that she’s been building up for the last nine months.”
I wish I was one of those women that could go into labor before 40 weeks. But that hasn’t been my experience with either of my pregnancies. And I try not to get down on myself but, honestly, it hurts… not only physically but emotionally. I have been told I made the right decision, but still I’m not so sure. I try not to think of it as a shortcoming and maybe one day I won’t…
I’m here if you have any questions about home births, hiring a midwive, or c-sections. You can leave your questions in the comments section.
Michellette "MimiCuteLips" Green says
Sorry things didn’t go the way you planned. You carried another life for 42 weeks and you did what was best for the health of baby Harrison. That is what we do as Mom’s, you’ve failed by no means. You put your child before your own desires. That is big honey, that is to be celebrated. Congrats on your new party of 4.
Tamera, I am a OB/Gyn who supports VBACs. This is despite my experience, as a resident, and attending, of seeing some HORRIBLE uterine ruptures and bad out comes in mom and baby. Why do I support them then, because the majority of VBAC Candidates do well, as long as they are good candidates and understand the risks from the beginning. I did not see your strip, but a person who typically goes past 40 weeks with all of their pregnancies with two previous c/sec is not the best candidate without the help of some sort of cervical ripening near term. This is due to the placenta aging and the stretch of the uterus on that scar.
Some of your facts are wrong. Epidurals actually decrease c/sec rates. We did a study on this in my residency. Pitocin, when managed correctly, does not have an effect either, after all, your brain is releasing it to make you contract.
The doc you had had his hands tied by the hospital. This is mostly because of liability, as well as experiences with catastrophic rupture.
I am sorry you felt bullied. I know how we can get when, through our lens of experience, and flat out PTSD, we see women at risk of rupture and react aggressively.
You are not a failure. Your birth experience is not what you planned, but you have a healthy baby and you are healthy. I wish you had someone along the way to explain why the NICU does not always accompany c/sec birth,or to just allay your fears. Your body is not broken. It did what it was supposed to to keep you healthy and grow a healthy baby. But PTSD after a birth experience is real and you may want to look into counseling to help.
This was only my second pregnancy. I made the best decision giving the information I was provided. Regardless, it was just a suck-y situation. Knowing the info now I would’ve made some changes. The biggest obstacle is navigating the healthcare system because few doctors support VBAC which was my initial experience. As far as the facts about pitocin and epidurals I can only go off of what the providers have told me.
Sherry Gullatte says
Tamera you and Ben did the right thing. My God I didnt know you went through all of this. I was a mother who if you didnt get me to the hospital I would havr them quick fast and in a hurry. I delivered vaginal natural birth no epidurals in 1980 and 1984. That was way to much for you to go through. I cant imagine my daughter gping through that. She had 4 Csections with all four of her children. My twin sis all 3 of her boys were delivered by csection. So was lil Robo. You did nothing wrong these things go this way and being going on since before you were born. I remember stories I wad told way before my time when mothers delivered as you were planning. Time is of essence when you are about to deliver and going 42 weeks was well over time. Just way to much. I know you are a natural chick and thats ok. But im happy baby Harrison was ok and you ad well. Each pregnacy is different anything can happen and this is just the way its been for you. All i know is you a better woman than me. Im struggling at 52 yr with can still have children no menopause yet. My GYN ask Ms Gullatte what are you doing for birth control, my answer abstaining, i am not trying to be 52 and preggo. My heart goes out to you. My being a nurse the whole idea of what you endured I cant even fathom. My prayer is that you had a healthy baby and you are ok. You were a super mom you did that Tamara! Im enjoying your blogging! You Rock Tamara Floyd. You and Ben are showing young couples how its done! I miss you guys and I understand now you both are destined for greatness! Now yall bout to show the ATL how its done. So proud of you two!!!!
Anjuan Simmons (@anjuan) says
Tamara, for what it’s worth, I think you and your husband did the right thing. Having been present with my wife during the birth of our three children, I can tell you that having a baby is, despite advances in technology, still ordered chaos. There are no perfect deliveries. But, we can still marvel at the miracle of life. Congratulations on another healthy baby!
First, I would like to thank you for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it. I like what you said about ‘ordered chaos’. Thank you for the congrats.