On Sunday, November 22 we welcomed our second precious boy into the world, William Sport Starkie. I was fortunate to have him by a successful Vaginal Birth After C-section (VBAC). Sport turned three weeks old on Sunday and all I can say is it has been a crazy adjustment going from one child to two, but we would not change a thing. The only true way to describe how we feel is blessed. I feel like my husband and I have been walking around in a tired daze filled with happiness. Even when we wake up at 5:30 am and our two year old has somehow wondered into our bed and I have been nursing a baby for what feels like hours, all we can do is look at each other and smile. Our bed and hearts are fuller these days.
Like I said earlier, we welcomed Sport through a successful VBAC. After we announced his birth and that I had a successful VBAC, I was surprised at the private messages and text messages I received from friends who were curious about my experience. So, I decided to share my experiences with a c-section and a regular delivery. Let me start by sharing my birth experience with my first son, George.
We decided to go to the hospital one evening with George because I had begun to experience decreased movement. We checked into the hospital and after an ultrasound, I was induced because my amniotic fluid was low. Although we were a little hesitant to get induced our philosophy all along had been we wanted a healthy baby, so whatever steps that meant we would do. After laboring for several hours, I reached 10 cm and began to push. After starting to push the nurse checked me and could not tell which way he was facing. My doctor, knowing I was determined to have a vaginal delivery, allowed me to push for a little longer. After pushing for another 30-45 minutes, George’s heart rate began to drop as I had contractions and pushed. That is when my doctor told us she thought the best plan of action was to have a c-section. Our hearts dropped. Like I am sure many of you have felt, I was pretty sad that I would not be able to have my son by normal means. As we were wheeled back to the operating room I remember thinking, “we need to pull it together, today is an exciting day no matter how he gets here.” I glanced up at my husband and said, “we are going to be happy.” I am sure many of you have felt this feeling when learning you would have a c-section. And let me say after experiencing both, having a c-section gives you no less of a birth experience as having a vaginal delivery. As women we are lucky if we get to experience childbirth but nothing can take away from your birth experience or make it less special. You have carried a life for nine months and that is a miracle within itself. Thank the good Lord that because of modern medicine we have low infant and mother mortality in childbirth because of interventions like c-sections. I feel fortunate that my doctor called a c-section. It turned out the cord was wrapped twice around his neck and he was also positioned transverse.
With all of that said, when we learned we were pregnant with Sport I did some research and decided I wanted to attempt a vaginal delivery, even if that meant at the end of the day I ended up with another c-section. After speaking with my OBGYN, I was a good candidate and happy to learn she was very supportive of VBACs.
Early in the morning hours of November 22 I work up having light contractions. After walking around and doing a few things around the house the contractions kept getting stronger and closer together. I phoned my doctors office and was told to proceed to the hospital to get checked out. After being checked out, our nurse informed me I was in the early stages of labor. We were both happy and relieved that I had began labor on my own. Everything we had read said you have a better chance for a successful VBAC if you go into labor naturally. After an hour or so my doctor came in and broke my water to speed along the process. After my progress had slowed down I received an epidural and low dose pitocin. I have to be honest, I was a little hesitant to receive pitocin after reading mixed things online about pitocin with VBACs. I am so glad I have a wonderful doctor and that I put my trust in her. The pitocin was just what my body needed to speed things along and the epidural helped my body relax to progress. After napping and resting for a few hours the nurse came in to check me and I had dilated from 6cm to 9.5cm. She said it was time to notify my doctor so I could begin pushing. I have to say I have a wonderful doctor. She stayed near the hospital all day to monitor my progress and was also present the whole time I pushed. The nurse told me to notify them if I felt pain on my c-section scar while pushing, as that could be a sign of hemorrhage. Luckily I never felt any pain on my scar. I am happy to say I experienced a very low drama delivery! The most dramatic moment was when my husband nearly passed out. I have to say I found it pretty humorous to look over and see my mother and a nurse putting cool rags on him as I am pushing out our child, haha. My sister and I lost it laughing as the doctor told him to breath.
William Sport Starkie arrived perfectly. After being asked by several people how to have a successful VBAC, I give all of the credit to my wonderful healthcare providers. After expressing to the nurse that I wanted to give this my best try she replied, “we are going to do this girl!” This biggest key was having a supportive doctor. From the very beginning of my pregnancy she acted so calm and confident about me attempting a VBAC. I also think I was more calm this time as well. I had made up my mind that even if this ended with another c-section, nothing would steal my joy. I have some friends who have been a little bitter when they ended up with a c-section. We have all asked the same questions, “did I end up with a c-section because I was induced?” or “what if I had not gotten an epidural?” Those are all valid questions and believe me after my c-section I asked them too. Then I think about my great grandmother died in the 1040’s during. It’s crazy to think if modern medicine existed then her life could have been saved by a c-section. So, I want to say that me having a VBAC is no slight to c-sections. Having a VBAC was a personal decision for me. Its hard to explain but i wanted to give it a try. I do have to say my recovery from a regular delivery has been so much easier then that of a c-section.
We have our own birth experiences. Wheather you are the woman giving birth naturally at home, getting induced, or having a c-section nothing about your experience makes you more or less of a mother. At the end of the day giving life is a miracle and we have to stop and celebrate that fact. I have to say I am grateful for my VBAC experience. It is something I wanted to experience and I feel fortunate to have been able to have it happen. It was truly amazing to experience my body do exactly what God designed it to do. We feel so fortunate to have a healthy baby boy and I hope that me sharing my experience can help empower women to share their experience and find joy no matter the circumstances.