Without a doubt c-sections are sometimes necessary and save lives. Yet, would you believe me if I told you the c-section rate for plus size women is nearly 50%? We have to pause and ask why this number is so astronomical. Many moms feel as if their bodies have failed them but more often than not it’s their care provider who failed them. For women who desire a vaginal birth, it’s critical to find a size friendly care provider. This is especially true for those who want a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). This is Autumn’s VBAC birth story…
My husband and I had been trying to conceive for about 6 months or so and I was really starting to think it would never happen again. We were blessed with my chunky 10lb baby boy 4 years ago, but my c-section birth I had with him was not what I had planned and I yearned for a VBAC. I can’t even tell you why, it is just something I wanted so badly to prove to myself that my plus sized body is capable and not broken. I blamed my bigger body and my weight for years.
When I finally got my positive home pregnancy test in April of 2013 I was elated and scared and just so happy that it finally happened. We soon found out our baby was due on New Year’s, January 1st 2014. We decided early on to be surprised on delivery day as to whether we had a son or a daughter. It was a choice that so many people just couldn’t comprehend. They said things like “how in the world can you wait that long.” Or “I’d go crazy”. But it was the perfect decision for us. We wanted to know so badly, but I wanted that moment of true surprise and elation to happen when I first saw my baby and I wanted my husband to be the one to tell me “We have a boy or girl”.
The months flew by and it all felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe I was going to be a mommy of two. Being pregnant during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season helped to make things move along at a good pace. I decided that I would be perfectly happy with having this baby on Christmas. After all, my son was born a week before my birthday so I’ve always called him my birthday present, and this baby could be my Christmas present.
Well Christmas came and went and I was READY!! On Friday December 27th I had an appointment with my wonderful size friendly, VBAC supporting (advocating actually) OB Dr. H. He told me that he could check my to see if I was dilating any yet. I agreed because I didn’t feel like I had been having many braxton hicks yet. I was SHOCKED to find out I was already 6cm, just not in labor yet. So my doc discussed with me and my hubby, the idea of going on the hospital that day to have my water broken and to go ahead and have the baby.
One reason behind this thought was that I was group B strep positive so I would need IV antibiotics several hours before delivery, and my doc was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get them in time if I went into labor on my own. But because I didn’t want any unnecessary medical interventions, I was weary of this decision. I thought hard about it and told him my fear was that I would go in and have my water broken and then be administered pitocin if my contractions didn’t pick up right away, and we all know the slippery slope that those types of interventions can cause. So I said I’d wait until Monday.
Well later that day I realized I was having a lot more contractions and I even considered going to the hospital a couple of times. That night at about 4 I had to get up to go the bathroom and realized I was having contractions that were starting to form a pattern. I got back up at about 5:30 a.m. and decided to wake my husband up and tell him to help me time them. They were coming on stronger and stronger at about 6 minutes apart. So we called my mom to come over and stay with my son.
By the time my mom got to my house at about 6:45 a.m., I was sitting on my yoga ball and having to breath through each contraction and they were very strong and about 4 minutes apart. We jumped in the car to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Once we were at the hospital I was taken to triage and I was told I was about 7cm dilated. They quickly took me to a room and I couldn’t believe how fast things progressed from there. My contractions were so intense and close together. The nurses had a really hard time finding a vein to start my iv antibiotics, so after about 5 sticks they finally got it started. By then, they decided to check me again and I was almost ready to start pushing.
It was about 8 am and I started pushing. It was like time was standing still, and with each push I was in my own world and it felt like I was the only one in the room. I was so internalized at this point. I remember asking if my mom could come in the room. Well it had gone so quickly and she was the only one there with my son, so he got to come in and experience the birth with us. After one long pause between my back to back contractions, I felt this huge contraction and I gave one last big push and my baby was born.
I felt exhaustion and bliss all at once as I heard my baby cry for the first time and I heard my husband say, “Honey, it’s a GIRL”!! I opened my gown immediately and they laid my chubby 8lb 10oz beautiful girl on my chest and I felt relief and pure elation.
My son came over to check out his baby sister, Adelyn Elizabeth, for the first time. It was by far the best birth experience I could have ever asked for and I got to have the all natural VBAC I had been longing for.
It was hard but it proved to me that my size 24 body is capable of birthing and that’s just a beautiful thing.
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