Baby N was born on June 6 th weighing 8lb. 9oz and 22.5in long. We are so grateful that he was
delivered safely and naturally through an unmedicated vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
The story of our second son’s birth really starts with some decisions we made during
pregnancy, because of the circumstances of our first child’s birth through unplanned c-section.
Our first child was born 12 days after his due date, very large (99%tile in every category), and
presented in occiput posterior (OP) position. Those factors combined led us to an unplanned,
though thankfully not an emergency, c-section after we had labored for over 12 hours,
including at least 4 hours of pushing.
This time, our main goal was to avoid a c-section. We decided that in order to have the best
chances, this little guy would need to be born before his due date in order to keep his size
down. Another decision we made was for me to really focus on optimal baby positioning to
hopefully avoid another OP baby, through seeing a chiropractor regularly in pregnancy and
doing some of the Spinning Babies exercises on my own (specifically focusing on the Three
Sisters, spinningbabies.com). I truly believe these two things played an important role in my
ability to have a successful VBAC, and I highly recommend Spinning Babies to all pregnant
mothers, especially first-time moms.
Also, since we were attempting a VBAC, we wanted to avoid a medical induction, since that
would increase the risk of a uterine rupture, which would then lead to an emergency c-section.
We opted to do a membrane sweep at my 38-week appointment, and then again at my 39-
week appointment (4 days before the due date). With the first membrane sweep, I lost my
mucous plug over the next two days, but didn’t have any other signs of labor. At the second
appointment, on June 5th, I remember leaving Jennifer’s (my midwife) office feeling confident
that we were going to have a baby within the next 48 hours. At both those appointments, the
baby was already very low and seemed to be in a good position along my left side.
I got home from that appointment around 10:30am and did normal daily activities with my
toddler before putting him down for a nap. I remember around noon or so starting to feel
cramp-like contractions, but they were very weak and irregular, so I mostly ignored them. They
started to build in intensity slowly and get closer together, but I still wasn’t tracking them, and I
could function normally when they were happening. While we were eating dinner, I had to
concentrate a little bit more during the contractions, but they were still manageable, and I
could carry on a conversation through them.
After dinner, I took a bath and my husband took over toddler duty (sometime around 7pm). In
the bath, I started having to lean on the side of the tub to manage the contractions and I
couldn’t concentrate on the book I was trying to read. The phone app I was using to time the
contractions showed that they were fairly close, usually 3-5 minutes apart, but they were only
lasting about 30-45 seconds so I was a little confused on where I could be in the labor process,
but I was pretty confident that it was the real thing. It was honestly hard to time the
contractions because I felt like a first-time mom all over again and wasn’t sure if I was timing
them right (also, I have a pretty high pain tolerance). With our first labor, we didn’t have any
warning or leading up to contractions, I just woke up with back pain and it never let up for the
whole labor. I just remember feeling thankful that I wasn’t experiencing heavy back labor this
After I got out of the bath, I spent most of my time leaning over the arm of the couch or
kneeling over the birth ball. In between contractions, my husband and I started making plans
for heading to the hospital. He called his mom and asked if they could start driving to our house
to watch our son when we went to the hospital; this was maybe around 9pm and we thought
we would still be home for another few hours. He also texted Rachel and we asked her to come
over to see how I was progressing. Shortly after sending that text, we changed our minds and
decided it was probably time to head to the hospital and asked Rachel to meet us there instead;
Rachel contacted Jennifer and told her to head to the hospital as well. We called a friend to
come watch our son until my in-laws got there.
We got into a labor room around 10pm, and they connected me to monitors for the fetal
heartbeat and for contractions. I had to be continuously monitored since we were attempting a
VBAC; if they noticed a drop in the baby’s heartbeat it could signify that a uterine rupture had
happened, and we would have to perform an emergency c-section. When the nurse checked
me, I was dilated to 6. I was relieved to hear this, as we were hoping to spend as little time
laboring in the hospital as possible, and it seems that my labor at home was really effective. I
mostly labored by leaning over the birth ball or on hands and knees on the bed. My husband
applied pressure to my back most of the time. I was having a little bit of back labor, but
thankfully still not as intense as the back labor that I felt with my 1st birth.
I apparently fell asleep in between contractions for part of the labor. I started feeling the need
to bear down around 1am, and really started pushing around 1:30 or so. I pushed in the classic
position, pulling my legs back, with my husband sitting behind me for support. Jennifer lowered
the bottom half of the bed to convert it into a makeshift birthing stool. The situation got a little
intense, because our nurse got called away to scrub in for another birth; while we were waiting
for more nurses, Jennifer couldn’t find our baby’s heartbeat with the monitor and wanted me
to stop pushing, but I couldn’t fight the urge. She was able to pick it up again using an internal
monitor, and everything was fine after that. I pushed for about 30-45 minutes total, and our
son was born shortly after 2am on June 6th!
He came out OP just like our first baby, which caused a 2nd degree tear on my perineum, but
we are just so grateful that I was able to push him out! He was only 1lb less than his brother at
birth, with a .5in smaller head circumference, which is probably the only reason he was able to
fit through my birth canal. (8lb. 9oz, 22.5in.)
We are thankful for our supportive midwife Jennifer, for our Bradley class knowledge from our
first birth, and for Rachel’s support as a doula!