VBAC after an inverted T

Hazel's birth story was captured by Makayla Avalos with Forevermore films. 

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29 July, 2020

Being pregnant again after being told I could never have a vaginal birth was traumatizing. And to add to the challenges, I was working full time as a nurse during the pandemic, my husband in medical school, and I was managing new fear and anxiety around my next birth experience. For those with a 'Special uterine Scar', you know exactly what it's like to be labeled as high risk. You don't get to choose from many providers - if you're lucky if you can find one that would even consider tolerating your VBAC. You know how it feels to be told, "you can't." You know what it feels like to have a provider repeatedly remind you of all the risks, rather than encourage you. You know the fear they try to instill - the dark place of discouragement.  

"I am strengthened and supported by everyone around me." This was the affirmation I could never quite commit to my heart. I just didn't feel everyone around me was supportive in the ways I needed. 

My original plan was to give birth in a hospital birth with midwives and a high risk OB. By 36 weeks, I finally followed my gut intuition and changed to a homebirth midwife - the only one who would take me. I am absolutely convinced she was the provider I needed to avoid another c section. In our first meeting, she instilled confidence that no other provider tried to do. She didn't question my preferences and helped me turn around my negative thoughts.

I did not expect to go over my estimated due date by a week. I felt anxious and wondered if labor was going to start on its own. Almost every night I had prodromal labor, getting my hopes up that Hazel was coming soon. A few days before the birth, I had all the early signs of labor. Late afternoon, July 28th I tried to take a nap and started having mild contractions about 7-11 minutes apart. I timed them for one hour and then decided to ignore them. Sure enough they went away. 

Later that day we went out for ice cream and the drive was very uncomfortable! I went to be early and about 45 mins into my nap Hazel woke me up with a hard kick. From then I just couldn't get comfortable, the best position I found was being on my hands and knees. I felt so annoyed I couldn't go back to sleep.

Within the hour, contractions seemed to pick up and I had to focus and breath through them to cope. They were about 4-5 minutes apart and I felt an urge to have a bowel movement. I told Blake it was a sign of transition and he needs to contact our doula Meagan - "I'll be right over!" 

My whole team arrived and it was definitely transition, "Please help me! Oh my God, please help me! Is there something you can give me to help?! I don't know if I can do this!" I felt so desperate, I couldn't believe the intensity. My whole team was very encouraging. None of them ever doubted me. They reminded me of my affirmations and were so encouraging. Meagan, Chris (midwife) and Blake were great about helping me change my higher pitch pain cries into lower tone coping moans. They also helped me relieve tension from my face, hands and shoulders. And although I didn't feel like I was in very much control, Blake was amazed with how I handled it. 

Transition lasted a little over two hours. After pushing in the tub, Chris had me move to the toilet. I pushed for a little bit there (which I felt was easier because I wasn't floating away) Holding onto something helped. After a few contractions I could hear Chris discussing something, but I wasn't sure what. They wanted me to move to the bed next. I got a little worried that Hazel was going to get stuck like Jane did. And HOLY COW, walking with all that pressure was impossible! I can’t believe I was even able to make it from the pool to the toilet, and then to the bed. 

"Please don't make me lay on my back!"  They did, but I trusted them. Chris knew what we needed to do to get Hazel passed my pubic bone. My bum was on a couple towels being raised in the air while the others supported my legs. Blake was at my head comforting me. A few times during pushing I would ask, "Is she going to come out? How much longer? Like an hour?" 

Chris: "Yes, she's going to come out. She's so close, Feel her head!

Me: “It is going to take an hour?”

Chris: “No. She's coming very soon, less than an hour."

Watching the uncut footage of this portion of birth I thought I would be yelling, but I was actually very quiet and focused. I remember holding my breath to push harder and it was much more efficient than when I was trying to breath through them. Chris had her midwife forceps (her hands) helping to open my pelvis a little more to let Hazel pass the pubic bone. Hazel was a little asynclitic which is why I had some back labor. 

Occasionally during the last few pushes I would yell out of exhaustion. I didn't even notice what was going on down there between Chris pulling and baby coming. The intensity was all the same. And finally, Hazel. Blake 'caught' her. I got the experience I dreamed of; My baby put right onto my chest, my whole family together and in my own home. It almost seems like a dream. “I did it! I can’t believe I did it!” 

My take-away from Jane and Hazel's births is how much more I value the power of CHOICE and trusting my intuition.