Family,  Little Brother,  Pregnancy & Birth

Little Brother is here! {and short-ish version of the birth story}

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Little Brother arrived Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 5:58PM. He weighed in at 10 lb 1 oz, 22 inches long.

Little Brother 1

I plan to share his birth story in a lot more detail with pictures and video (we have over 240 pictures of labor and birth alone!) in the month of October, when I’ll be sharing 31 Days of Preparing for VBAC as part of the Write 31 Days linkup. {Click here to receive all 31 posts by email}

But for now, here’s the short version of the birth story:

I went past my “due date.” This was not all that concerning to me, although my husband and son were quite ansy.

{Read my 40 week update here.}

I continued having prodromal labor, soft bowels, mucus, and a lot of other signs that labor was imminent. I remained active by walking Ezra to school every morning (1.5 mile round trip), doing pelvis opening exercises and belly floating in the pool, and attending prenatal yoga once a week. I also started seeing my chiropractor three times a week.

I saw one of my midwives at 40 weeks 5 days for a repeat NST, blood sugar test, and AFI (amniotic fluid measurement). My fluid had come down some, I had lost a pound, (both signs labor was imminent) and the NST and sugar tests were beautiful.

I agreed to my first cervical check, (but declined a membrane strip), mostly because I was really struggling with discouragement throughout the weekend and felt that some information would help. I was 3cm, 50% effaced, and baby was at -3 station. My midwife recommended an induction to be scheduled for 41 weeks. I did not feel ready to take such drastic measures and asked her for a compromise:

I would come back on Wednesday at 41 weeks for a repeat NST and a visit with an obstetrician (as the midwives only work in clinic Mondays and Fridays). She was favorable to this.

I spoke with my chiropractor, my doula, and my husband in great length that day. I reviewed the evidence on induction for going passed your due date and looked carefully at the risks that increase at 41 weeks, especially in regard to stillbirth and uterine rupture. I asked myself how much risk I was willing to assume as a parent. We talked over what a -3 station position meant, especially in regard to my previous cesarean of a big baby partially credited with “failure to descend.”

We also talked over factors such as the anxiety levels in our home, my husband’s work schedule, the Labor Day holiday weekend impending and Ezra’s birthday, which would fall on Labor Day.

Lastly, we looked at the relationship we had with our care provider, knowing that the road to VBAC would most likely be a long one for me. We wanted to start things off as non-combative as possible to have more leverage later on in the process for the overall experience that I needed.

Putting it all together, we agreed as a couple that at my 41 week appointment, I would consent to a strip of my membranes and ask to be scheduled for a Friday morning induction at 41 weeks, 2 days. I upped my chiropractic adjustments to daily, started doing more walking – including curb walking (during which I would chant “push push, move down”), and focused much on relaxation and positive thinking. All of this in hopes of encouraging my baby to descend and trigger spontaneous labor.

On Wednesday, I woke up at 4:30 AM feeling panicky about the coming appointment and the decision to induce. I saw my chiropractor at 9 AM and then went to the clinic at 10AM. My NST was beautiful and I was incredibly surprised at the hands-off attitude of the obstetrician. She was jovial and made me feel even LESS pressure to induce than had the midwife, saying, “It’s America, you can do whatever you want!” I was so taken aback by this that I started second-guessing the decision we had made toward induction, but my phone didn’t have signal so I couldn’t really text my husband to talk to him about it. I went ahead with our plan and asked her to see if they had a Friday morning opening, who was on the schedule, and to book it. She came back and told me the midwife on call for that day and it was a midwife who I really liked and who my doula had worked with before.

Then we moved to another room for the cervical exam and strip where I was hoping to receive good news about baby’s progress. The OB said she was going to give me “a really good strip” to which I replied, “Good. Just don’t break my water!” She joked back that amniotic fluid on her all-white clothes was NOT in her plan for the day.

The check revealed that I was 4 1/2 cm and the baby had moved down from -3 station to -1 (deeper into the pelvis). She stripped my membranes. Then I heard, “Wait, is that? No…please tell me that’s not…”

And sure enough, my water had broken during the strip! The OB said that this had only happened to her twice in 25 years of practice, so I took this as proof that God’s plans are bigger than ours. I started crying happy tears and told the nurse, “I’m having a baby!”

It was a little chaotic because I started gushing fluid like Niagara falls (even the diapers they gave me wouldn’t hold it), but I had no cell service to get ahold of my husband and mother-in-law (I could contact my doula and chiropractor via iMessage via wifi). I finally waddled and dribbled out to my car where I sat on a towel in the front seat and arranged details with my husband.

The nurse and receptionist at the clinic were already headed to the hospital for a meeting, so they agreed that one of them would drive my car. My husband was already on his way.

We stopped at McDonalds where the nurse ran in and grabbed me lunch because I was NOT going into labor without eating. The timing worked out perfectly that Russ was able to catch up to our vehicle on our way to the hospital and follow us the rest of the way there, arriving with me.

In Triage, I had a chance to clean up a bit, and I was in a room just before 1PM. My doula and chiropractor both showed up as well. Knowing I had been awake since 4:30AM, they offered me a shot of something to give me a chance to sleep, and I happily agreed. I really wasn’t able to rest that well because of the contractions that were already coming, so somewhere around 2:30, I got up and started MOVING trying to get contractions going stronger. Lots of dancing, pelvic tilts, squats, and running to the bathroom after every contraction. I was being monitored intermittently so I had a lot of freedom of movement, and was snacking and drinking whenever I could. Around 4PM they placed an IV lock, but I didn’t have to be hooked up to an actual IV.

Contractions really started picking up around 5PM, and by 8PM I was having to vocalize and moan to get through them. I continued doing a lot of squats and lunges (putting 1 leg up on the stool in the shower), and also had two runs of laboring in the shower with water running over my lower back. They were coming very hard. Around 10 I started feeling like I was losing control over them. It was harder for me to keep my voice low, find my breath during contractions, and just cope in general.

Around 11PM I asked for a narcotic, which helped me relax for all of about 1 contraction and then I was back to some really hard labor. It was NOT back labor, and my chiropractor continued to check and make sure my body was in alignment. Baby appeared to remain in a good position. I did a lot of laboring on my knees leaning over the top of the bed.

I quickly realized that the narcotic really wasn’t helping, and at 12:30 AM I asked for the epidural. This was something that, going into labor, I was already MUCH more open to because I wished that I had at least tried it with Ezra. I knew that I still had a LONG way to go, and that I couldn’t go on for hours and hours in this state. The time between asking for the epidural and receiving it seemed to last a lifetime, and was, by far, the most emotionally and physically difficult part of the entire labor. I was in agony. The epidural was placed by 1:25 AM.

Once it set in, I felt amazing, but just wanted to sleep. I laid down on my side with the peanut ball between my legs to open everything up while I rested. I also sent my chiro home to get some rest.

I started shaking, partially due to the epidural, partially due to the fact that by 3 AM I was running a temperature – a sign of infection. I found that I could NOT sleep because of the shakes which was causing tension in my upper back. I turned on my baby lullaby station on Pandora and found that if I focused in on the music, fingering the baseline with my fingers, it helped with the shaking.

Getting the epidural was, by far, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. The epidural I received took away my pain and made me tingly. However, it did not interfere with my mobility. I had complete control over my lower body, even though I was “confined” to the bed. I could lift my legs up while side-lying, sit in tailor pose and seated squats, do seated pelvic rocks and hip circles, and sway back and forth, all completely unassisted. I kept moving like this through the wee hours of the morning because it helped with the shaking, and I knew it would help the baby move down.

The baby’s heartrate started going up around 3 AM, and my temperature continued to climb. I had an infection called chorioamnionitis. They started me on antibiotics around 4:15 AM. At some point they gave me Tylenol which helped to bring the temperature down, temper the shakes, and allowed me the chance to doze between contractions for an hour or two.

The midwives were very hands off in general, out of the room most of the time. My checks were limited. At 6:30 AM I was checked, and I was 9 1/2 cm, but the baby was still at a -1 station. Both of us had high heart rates.

The shift changed at 8am, we opened up the blinds, started a new day, and my chiropractor returned. The new midwife (who “just happened” to be the midwife I saw the most during my pregnancy) didn’t come in until 10AM. Another check revealed no change in baby’s station and she recommended augmenting labor to help move the baby down. While I was much more open to Pitocin because I had an epidural now, I asked to try breast pump stimulation first. She placed a pressure catheter to monitor contractions internally and agreed. I pumped for nearly an hour and the pressure went up from 50 to maybe 70 at the most, but they wanted to see pressure closer to 200. We started the Pitocin around noon.

Baby and I were both hanging out in what the midwife called “middle ground” as far as my fever and our heartrates. Definitely not beautiful, but not too risky, yet…

I went back to resting and at some point while side-lying I literally felt my pelvis open and the baby move down. My next check, around 2PM, revealed that I was right! Baby had moved from -1 to +1 station! They started setting up for delivery!!

I started having symptoms of transition, mainly speaking in monosyllables and sign language, feeling fuzzy-headed, asking people to stop talking, crying a lot, and being very emotional.

My midwife asked me if I was willing to try some practice pushing. I wasn’t feeling the urge, so was a little hesitant to start trying to push. But ultimately, I was glad for the practice because it took several contractions to get into a pushing groove. By that point, I was feeling the urge, and began pushing in earnest. I used the squat bar a lot and my support team helped me move my legs around into some great pushing positions.

After an hour of pushing, the baby still hadn’t descended and his heart rate continued to remain high. At this point, they called in the OB on call and asked him to check. He tried to feel the baby’s progress during multiple contractions. He and the midwife both said that I was doing an amazing job of pushing, but the baby simply wasn’t descending at all with the pushes. By this point, they were concerned about the baby’s health and told me that I needed a csection. I asked for more time, and started pushing quite angrily – vocalizing, yelling at my body to “OPEN” and the baby to “MOVE DOWN,” even occasionally cursing. This went on for maybe 2, 3, 4 contractions, and then I was done.

I had known what was needed, and my husband called it for me. He said, “It’s my decision, I’m making for my family,” after talking to the doctor personally. I had known he was right, just needed a little time to be angry about it, and work through acceptance of it.

The nice thing about having an epidural is that, once the decision was made, I was able to rest some more. I still had several contractions I had to vocalize through, but I was able to process what was happening in ways that I never got to with Ezra. I cried a lot, talked to the midwife about my fears, got lots of hugs from my support team, and my chiropractor prayed with me. I also was completely in control when signing the consent and even specifically asked for a picture to be taken of me signing it.

Little Brother 4

I was wheeled off to the OR. Little Brother was born at 5:58 PM, nearly 31 hours after my water breaking.

The surgery went so quickly, that I was shocked. I hadn’t felt any pulling and tugging and thought I was still being prepped when I literally felt him lifted out of me and heard him crying. They showed him to me then moved him into a little room off to the side, fully in my line of sight (although I wasn’t wearing my glasses). They cleaned him off and SIX minutes later, he was placed on my chest for skin-to-skin time, where he remained until they had to move me to recovery. He was placed back on my chest in recovery, and at 7:01, just an hour and 3 minutes after birth, he was latched on and we nursed for 45 minutes.

Little Brother 2

Okay, so this ended up being not nearly as short as I planned.

There is much still left for me to process, and so much more I plan to write about and share over the month of October.

The entire ordeal was excruciatingly beautiful. It was healing. It was freeing. It was empowering. It was exactly what I needed to go through.

Am I disappointed I did not have a VBAC? Yes, but only a little. This experience taught me so much about myself, about both of my children and their births, about my husband, and about God. I think having a repeat cesarean for “failure to descend” and CPD actually brought me much more closure to my first cesarean than had I had a VBAC.

I am so proud and privileged to have had this experience to have a TOLAC. I feel no shame. I feel no defeat. I feel no failure.

The hospital was amazing. They followed my birth plan as much as they possibly could, giving me a lot of time and space to make some very hard decisions, while still being honest with me and putting my health and my baby’s health above all. While I had nearly every intervention possible, I never felt that it was a “cascade of interventions.” I never felt like things were happening to me that were out of my control. My decisions were my decisions, and I made them carefully and with informed consent.

I’ve made two gorgeous big babies. I’ve worked my butt off to push them out. They both needed help. And I’m okay with that. I’m so proud to be their mother.

Little Brother 3



  • Colleen

    That was so beautiful. It sounds like everyone gave you the chance for a VBAC and it worked. Not that you were able to avoid a c-section but that you were able to remain in control the whole time! And it sound like the operation went a lot better too.

    • Aprille

      Yes! I was concerned that a 2nd cesarean would take longer because of scar tissue or whatever, but it actually was over quicker than the first! I was so shocked! Everyone gave me a very decent chance and I gave it my all, and that was all that matters.

  • Joanna

    SO happy for you! I am a long-time reader of your blog, and am just so excited both that your little son is here, and that your birth experience was so healing. I can imagine how vindicating it was to realize you didn’t “mess up” the first time around. I’m so glad you were able to feel in control of your birth this time, and amazed at how hard you tried to do a VBAC. You are a courageous woman, for sure!

    • Aprille

      Thank you, Joanna. Yes, it was very vindicating. So many “but what if I had…” questions I had about Ezra’s birth. This time, I did all of those things and the outcome was very much the same as far as these big babies unable to descend! But this time, I know I did just about everything I could have done, so there is much more peace!

  • Kathleen

    I have 2 boys, both by c-section. And I couldn’t love them any more than if their births had gone according to ‘plan’
    Best advice I got was from my doctor – Power Panties! Back when I had kids, they didn’t have all the compression workout gear, so it was those girdle panties. But they made a world of difference in feeling stable.
    Thanks for you blog. It’s helped me put some things in perspective.

  • Selina Wallis

    Congratulations, he’s lovely! I came across your first birth story and then looked to see if you had had another baby. I would like to share your stories on my fb page if that’s okay. I teach workshops about malposition. Thank you for sharing your stories

  • Enza

    Another beautiful birth! I am so glad you tried! My birth stories were exactly like yours. I tried VBAC with two of my sons after my first c-section but ended with c-sections with both but I felt like at least I tried, I ended up with beautiful healthy babies and that’s all I could ask for. Congratulations on your beautiful birth!

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