Reyna and Rance took Bradley classes with me a few years ago when pregnant with baby boy Riley. They are an awesome couple, and Reyna especially just radiates positivity and energy. I want to be Reyna! When Reyna was 41 weeks and 2 days she needed a cesarean with Riley and you can read her birth story here. [Search Reyna].
When pregnant with her second child she knew that she wanted to try for a vbac and she did the right things by having supportive care providers and taking good care of herself in pregnancy. Here is her vbac story! [Note: One thing I think that is important about this story is that people need to know that vbac moms still have options to use medical pain relief if that becomes needed.]
The Birth Story of Ryder Aaron Brown
Ever since my first son, Riley, was born by c-section I knew I wanted to attempt a vaginal delivery the second time around. The doctor (Dr. Sandra Crowder, M.D.) who was on call that day and delivered Riley fully supported my plans for the future. She double stitched my uterus following the c-section as well as said she would take me as a patient when the time came around again. The only potential problem would be that when I went into labor I would be at the mercy of the on-call doctor which may or may not be her. She reassured me that "most of" her colleagues felt the way she did about VBAC’S and I shouldn’t have any problems as long as I go into labor on my own. It was hospital protocol that no induction methods can be used on a previous c-section mothers. If they don’t go into spontaneous labor on their own by 41 ½ weeks, another c-section would then be scheduled.
My pregnancy was a great one. I was able to remain active and healthy the entire time and I loved every moment of it. It all seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. As the end grew closer and closer I was filled with doubt. I was haunted by the memory of the birth of my first son and how my body never went into spontaneous labor. A million questions ran through my mind. Would it happen again? Could my body birth my second son all on it’s own? Was a VBAC really possible and realistic? Then, finally at 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant, it happened.
Saturday, July 2nd, started like any other Saturday. We were getting ready to meet my parents and head up to the lake for the day to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. Had I known what was ahead of me later that day I would have stayed home and slept the day away. I didn’t know though so off we went. The temperatures reached triple digits early that day but the lake water was refreshing and spending time soaking up the sun with my family made for a great day. After lunch, the menstrual cramps started. I didn’t think much of it because I’d had them from time to time throughout my pregnancy. Still though, I was tired from the sun so we decided to head home early. The cramps began to worsen but I figured that I was dehydrated and had overdone it at the lake so I started downing water. Then, around 1pm I got my first contraction. I still denied it and proceeded to lay Riley down for his nap and took a nice relaxing shower. I started watching TV in the recliner when I realized that the contractions were coming about every 15 minutes. I still shrugged them off as nothing at this point. We wanted to head to bed early that night so we decided to have an early dinner around 3pm. Immediately following dinner is when the stomach upset started. I knew then that something was definitely going on but I was afraid to get too excited and I wanted it to get significantly worse before jumping to conclusions. My wish surely did come true. At 6pm the contractions started coming closer together, about 7-10 minutes apart and were becoming more uncomfortable. Rance began to officially time them using an app on my Android called, Daddy511. I text my parents letting them know what was going on and to be ready to potentially come over and stay with Riley if everything continued. 8pm is the time that I consider my "labor" starting. Really it probably started at 1pm but it was 8pm when the contractions were so painful I couldn’t talk through them and I had to concentrate and just breath. According to Daddy511 and of course Rance, it was time to go to the hospital. The contractions had been 5-7 minutes apart, lasting 45-60 seconds since 7pm. We kissed Riley goodnight and laid him down for bed. My parents came over and my dad stayed at my house with Riley while my mom accompanied Rance and I to the hospital. The drive from Hesperia to Fontana Kaiser Permanente felt like an eternity but I was still in good spirits between contractions and very excited. By the time I was checked into triage at Labor and Delivery, the contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and were extremely painful. I was relieved to hear that upon arrival I was dilated to 6cm, fully effaced and wasn’t going anywhere but to a labor room. Once we were admitted to a labor room my mom joined us. We had the nurse dim the lights. I turned on an app with relaxation music on my phone and plugged in the headphones so I could zone out. Rance massaged my arms with lavender scented lotion to aid me in my relaxation. I continued to breath the best I could through the contractions but I was quickly running out of steam. At midnight we decided to get a shot of Nubain in efforts to relax me enough to rest for what was still to come. I say "we" decided because Rance and I discussed every intervention as a couple. This was "our" baby and we are in this together. Unfortunately, I continued to labor through the night without any rest. At 7am a familiar face came to see us. It was the on-call doctor, who just so happened to be the OB who followed my first pregnancy (Dr. Karl Urban, M.D.). I had seen him a few times in the weeks prior because my primary OB was unavailable. He was the one who ordered the iron infusions for my severe anemia. We were so happy to see him but sad that the end of his shift was at 8am. He checked me and I was now completely dilated and effaced! So let’s start pushing right? Wrong. The problem was that Ryder was not engaged at all and my water was still intact. He then suggested one of two things to us. 1.) Rupturing the bag of waters in efforts to bring Ryder down. He told us that since the water was bulging the cervix outward, my dilation probably wasn’t accurate. The cervix dilation would be less after the rupturing but I should reach a true 10cm in not too much longer of a time frame. It’s the engaging of Ryder that would potentially be the long part. To our surprise, the second thing he recommended was the epidural. He could see how uncomfortable and tired I was. At this point I hadn’t eaten or drank for 16 hours and hadn’t slept for 24 hours. He said that I still had a way to go before pushing, I needed to conserve my energy and it would be giving me and the baby the best possible chance for a successful VBAC if I got one. We had two main concerns with the epidural. Our first concern was it stalling my labor. We didn’t want it to slow things down or stop my progression completely. We knew that the next on-call doctor would determine whether a little Pitocin (which could jumpstart things again if I stalled but is a form of induction which is not something all doctors are in favor of doing. Most will give it if a mom is already laboring on her own and just needs help but not all) was something favorable or not. Our second concern was the sensation to push. We didn’t want the epidural to numb all the feelings away so I could still feel to push. Dr. Urban reassured us that my body would continue to progress and I would definitely feel enough to push Ryder out. The epidural would be nothing like the spinal I had received with my c-section, which is what I had pictured in my mind. Needless to say, we agreed to both of his suggestions. Shortly thereafter, the nurse anesthetist came in to do the epidural. She commented on how calm I seemed for being 10 cm and how she had never done one on someone who was already complete. "Congratulations for coming so far!" she said. I told her, "Thank you. All I want is to have this baby naturally." I was very pleased by just how much feeling I still had in my extremities after it kicked it. Once the epidural was placed Dr. Urban returned to break my water. He has been practicing for 30+ years in the field of OB/GYN and he said that in all his years he had never seen a mother with so much amniotic fluid before! Upon breaking my water, the amniotic fluid flowed down the bed, soaking my socks and poured off the bed onto the floor. It continued to do this for a few moments as the nurse ran to get more towels. I immediately felt and saw my belly get smaller. Ryder looked great on the monitoring strip and had tolerated everything well. Once he re-checked me I was now at a true 6cm. At this point, the night shift was off making way for the day shift. I knew that the day shift staff would be with us for the delivery so we were praying for good staff. Next thing we know the day nurse walks in to our room and to our delight it was the same nurse we had when Riley was born! Torria. She would be the one to see us through to the end, again. The hours went by and my contractions slowed down a bit. Torria informed us that the on-call doctor (Dr. Inocencio-Diaz) wasn’t one of the doctors who favored giving Pitocin to a previous c-section mother. My heart sank and panic set in. What if I needed it and couldn’t get it? Would it all had been for nothing? The supportive words of my mother and husband kept me focused and renewed my faith in what my body was doing. It was doing exactly what it was made to do, on its terms, at it’s own pace. Torria commented on what a happy baby we had. His heart rate and activity were picture perfect on the monitoring strip which brought us all great comfort. By 11:30am I was completely dilated and thankfully still contracting on my own, about every 4 minutes. Ryder however was still at 0 station so we had some more waiting to do before we would be able to push. With every contraction I would close my eyes and visualize Ryder descending down to where he needed to be. I prayed that I would continue to progress and be able to give birth to him naturally. By 1:30pm I was starting to feel a lot more of the contractions as the epidural wore off. I was grateful for this. They checked me, Ryder had fully descended and we were finally able to start pushing! At 2pm, with my mom on my left side and Rance on my right we started to push. Pushing was much harder then I had anticipated because I was literally running on empty. 20 hours of labor, 31 hours without sleep and 23 hours without food, embarking on the hardest thing a woman will ever have to put her body through. With every push I could hear the gasps of my mom and Rance as they could see his head coming further and further out. "He’s got black hair, baby!" exclaimed my husband. It motivated me to keep giving it all I had. More medical people joined us in the room and I knew I was really getting close. One nurse commented to Torria, "Oh, she’s a VBAC! Good for her!". Torria responded, "And she got here all on her own! No Pitocin needed!" Finally, I heard someone say, "One more good push, Reyna and we’ll have a baby". So I pushed with everything I had left in my body! I felt Ryder’s head come through, out from under my pelvic bone and out into the world. After one hour and nineteen minutes of pushing, Ryder was finally born! Unlike Riley who had been entangled in his umbilical cord, Ryder was free to cry and did so immediately. Which then caused a chain reaction between all of us. "We did it! He‘s here!" I cried. It was an amazing moment. To quote my husband, "Seeing it on TV is nothing like being here and experiencing it in real life with the one you love. It was unbelievable to see someone I love so much give life to someone ELSE I love so much!" I spent the next hour skin to skin with our 7 pound 2 oz 19" son, Ryder and Rance was at our side. Ryder nursed right away and was fully alert and looking into our eyes the entire time. Another layer of my heart was revealed the moment Ryder was born. I fell in love with him instantly. An unexplainable love. Its incredible! I was and continue to be in awe of what my body did. I should have never doubted the process. The body isn’t going to start something it can’t finish and the design of giving birth is one of greatness. We are so proud of what we accomplished. We want to show others what’s possible. Just because you have a c-section once doesn’t mean you have to have one again. Every pregnancy and every baby is different. Hopefully other couples who want the same thing will be inspired by our story and persevere to get the outcome they desire and deserve. We had wonderful medical staff who supported us from beginning to end and it made all the difference in the world. This time around, we couldn’t be happier about our birth experience and the beautiful outcome.
Congratulations to the Brown Family!