When we found out we were pregnant with our little girl we knew we wanted to attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I looked high and low to find an OB who would look at my case. We found Dr. Paul Crane who was encouraging from the very first meeting. I felt peace when he spoke and had this unshakeable trust that he would make the right calls regarding my care every step of the way. After all, he had done hundreds of successful VBACS in his 40+ years as an OB. So I knew that he was the right fit for us.
On 3/31/18 after my first membrane sweep, I began having irregular contractions at 37w6d. I was hoping, praying, wishing it was the real thing. I ended up being in prodromal labor for a whole week after that. My son, Ren, was born 9 days early at 8.3lbs and I ended up with a cesarean after laboring for 27+ hours and failed epidurals. So I was definitely desiring an early baby this time around.
On Friday, 4/6/18 I went to see my OB, Dr. Paul Crane who was so hopeful and encouraging about me achieving a VBAC. He told me it was his birthday and that if the contractions picked up then we may be seeing each other over the weekend. He checked me and said I was 3cm, which I had been for a week. I had another membrane sweep, but the contractions remained 8+ minutes apart so I assumed we would probably be meeting her within the next week or so... little did I know.
At 11 pm that evening I woke up out of a dead sleep to a very painful contraction. OUCH! I sat up and realized that I had "peed" myself so I went to the restroom. Come to find out it was my water that had broken and since my water was broken artificially in the hospital with my son's birth I really had no idea what to expect. The contractions grew stronger and closer together over the next hour or so. I sat in a very shallow bath just trying to focus and breathe. After being in prodromal labor for a full week prior I was unsure of whether or not this was really it. About an hour into the contractions I decided to wake my husband up because I was becoming more and more sure that this was the real thing. I was so amazed at how the pain completely left my body in between contractions. I was able to breathe, think and even laugh and then I would have to focus so much when they would kick in again. Around 1 am Aaron called my OB and told him what was happening and his advice was to come on to the hospital as we would be meeting our little girl soon. I was so excited, nervous and ready to meet her.
Nothing has ever quite brought me to my knees like those contractions on our way out to the car. And I've never seen Aaron drive so fast or the 405 be so empty. We made it to the hospital at 2:30 am in 15 minutes. Somehow we made it in FIFTEEN MINUTES. We checked in, signed our lives away with all the paperwork and got settled into a room. Dr. Crane called my cell phone and said that he was going to get some rest and that he would be by in a few hours to check on me. The midwife on call came by and checked me and said I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced. I was so excited. My amazing doula, Sarah, was by my side helping me breathe, focus and get through each and every contraction. I really don't know what I would have done without her.
Aaron, Sarah and I labored from 2:30am-7am breathing and focusing, laughing and working with my body and baby to help her come into the world. At 7 am Dr. Crane came to see me and said that I was now 5cm dilated. We had discussed getting an epidural and at this point, I was feeling very ready to get one. I was so nervous because I had TWO failed epidurals during my son's 27+ hour birth. So I was prepared for anything. I still cannot believe that the epidural worked, 100% 15 minutes after the anesthesiologist did the procedure. The pain relief was SO nice. Dr. Crane asked me to rest, maybe even take a nap so that I would have the strength for delivery later.
My incredibly attentive doula told me that she would help reposition my body every 30 minutes to help baby descend and to help labor not stall. So we did just that. By this time my sister arrived and gave the best massages helping me relax. I rested, slept and repositioned myself with my doulas help until 10 am. Dr. Crane came back from walking his dog and checked me again. This time he said, "Ok, you're a 10 Jamie and ready to push!" I WAS SHOCKED. Literally, I had a mild panic attack and everyone in the room was like "just breathe." I think up until that point there was always a part of me that thought I would need another cesarean. So the fact that we were here, at 10cm, ready to go was overwhelming in the best way.
I started pushing at 11am and the whole time Dr. Crane said, "You can do this in 3 pushes." Always encouraging me. Always believing in me. About 3 pushes in Dr. Crane requested one of the nurses to get the mirror so that I could see what was happening and what to do to help my body push her out. It was amazing. I was able to watch the entire delivery. I could not have done it without my husband whispering in my ear at every single push, "You've got this babe, last one. Give it all you've got." His gentle presence and encouragement was everything I needed in those moments. At 11:44am, just 12 short hours after the first real contraction I grabbed our little Fynn and brought her to my chest. She was perfect. She was screaming, I was crying, Aaron was crying. We did it. Somehow in the most relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, we did it. I held her on my chest and we waited for the umbilical cord's pulsing to slow down. Aaron cut her cord and we soaked in all that she was. At 38w6d at 7.5lbs and 17.5inches of pure sweetness, she changed our lives forever. Everything about her birth was beautiful and redemptive.
We soaked her in until 1pm when we were transferred to the mother-baby unit. At this point, a nurse came in to assess Fynn and before we knew it she was rushed off to the NICU for tachypnea or rapid breathing. When she got to the NICU her O2 saturation was 92% and it needed to be around 100%. The neonatologists began running so many tests while the nurses started oxygen and an IV. I think that this is the most helpless I have ever been in my life. Here we had just done it. We had had a VBAC after so many told me it wasn't possible and that I was foolish for even trying. Here we had had a beautiful and healthy baby girl who now was being poked and prodded while answers were being searched for.
48hrs. For 48hrs we were told everything from she's totally fine and just had some fluid on her lungs to her having a dangerous blood infection where she would need IV antibiotics for at least a week. There is no worse feeling for a parent than to feel completely out of control regarding their child's care. Although it was the most difficult 48hrs of my life all the tests finally came back negative as we always knew they would and she was able to be discharged at 3 days old.
Her birth story will always be one that brings me so much joy and shares the story of redemption. She and I defied the odds. When I had my son my midwife told me that I had a 30% chance of ever delivering vaginally. There are always chances in life, some that are really stacked against us, but how will we ever know that we can do it unless we try?
I'll be forever grateful for my man, for coaching me and encouraging me to find our team, for my doula, Sarah, for always believing in me and being incredibly knowledgeable, and for my OB, the sweetest Dr. Crane who really is an advocate for women, babies and birth. His expertise and belief in me and my ability to give birth the way I wanted to will be something that I will tear up over for years and decades to come. It was perfect. Every single detail... perfect.