VBAC – One Mom’s Story

By Dori Sayson

This is my VBAC birth story of my son, Levi Andrew – this birth was memorable in so many ways! I had an unexpected c-section with my first son. When I was in the OR for the c-section I knew that I so desperately wanted to have a VBAC birth the next time. I kept telling myself when I was pregnant with baby#2 that I have been given another chance and that every birth experience is different.

I was due with our baby on September 22nd, 2010. On Monday the 20th, I went to see my chiropractor and told him I would like an adjustment that helps open up the hips/pelvic area and helps baby to move down. He worked on those areas and throughout the day I really think I did feel the baby lower in my pelvis so maybe the adjustment helped a bit. I went about my business during the day, took my son Zach to Walmart and to the library. Little did I know that would be our last outing together – just the two of us – before the baby got here.

I was feeling totally fine all day and evening. I was cleaning the bathrooms (nesting!) at around 11 PM and then I thought my water had broken! I heard a faint “pop” sound and then clear fluid starting coming out of me and went down my leg. It was not a huge gush or anything like that. I wasn’t sure if that was my water breaking or not but the fluid kept coming out here and there (and I know I was not purposely peeing my pants!) I went downstairs and told my husband, Dan about this, he was playing a computer game of course, haha. During the course of the hour nothing was really happening. Then around midnight is when my contractions started and they were very consistent and time-able and following the 511 pattern, every five minutes, lasting a minute for one hour. I felt OK and thought that well this is doable, every 5 minutes is not so bad! I labored at home the entire time. We called Joanna, our doula, to let her know what was going on. I think around 3AM my contractions started getting more intense, now they were about 3 minutes apart. We called Joanna back and said we think we should go to the hospital soon. We all left for the hospital at around 4:30 AM. I could barely stand it anymore, my contractions were about TWO minutes apart! I am glad that I labored at home the entire time, I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible.

It was nice be laboring in peace and quiet even though it was in the middle of the night.

The good thing about driving to the hospital at around 4 AM is NO TRAFFIC! So that was a plus! Dan was a great driver, he was not nervous or at least did not show it if he was, he didn’t drive like a crazy man, still obeyed the speed limits. I don’t even remember the ride. I think I had my eyes closed for most of the car ride. I did not want to know where exactly we were on the road (for fear that we were not close yet to the hospital). It hurt to sit down in the seat, I was sort of sitting sideways and clutching the door handle during contractions – especially when they peaked. We probably should have gone to the hospital at a sooner time during my labor.

We arrived at the hospital at around 5:00 AM and checked into Triage. Katherine, the midwife, was there to meet us. I somehow managed to walk in without them getting me wheelchair. I had to stop every few feet for a contraction to pass. I got signed in and then I went and got undressed into the lovely hospital gown attire. I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and my baby was looking great! Katherine checked my cervix and I was at 7-8 cms dilated and 100% effaced! I could not believe it, I was really hoping to be far along but I thought I’d be maybe 5 cms. I was relieved and excited to hear I was so far along! I’m not sure what on earth she did during that cervix exam but in less than 10 minutes I had this strong urgency to push and that is what I screamed at everyone! “I think I have to PUSH!!!” and then everything was like a whirlwind! I don’t even remember who all rushed into the room or how many staff members were there but they all flew in and started to get me out of the Triage room and we flew down the hallways to find an open Labor and Delivery room. Dan and Joanna were running beside the bed and everyone else was running ahead of us, it was like a race to the LDR room, something like you’d see on ER or one of those shows!

They found an open LDR room and I was transferred onto a regular bed. I’m not sure how I managed to scoot myself onto the other bed but I did somehow. Everything was just happening very fast, I don’t remember a lot of it. The rest of the labor/delivery almost felt like an out of mind/body experience. Katherine checked me again and WOW, I was at 10 cms, fully dilated and she said I was ready to push the baby out!


Wait a minute, you mean I have no time to get any pain medication or an epidural or anything? I had put in my birth plan to try for a natural childbirth but never did I think that is what I’d be doing! I was very afraid to push the baby out without any medication, I was afraid the pain would be unbearable. I was afraid to push because I had never done it before.

Joanna kept me in line, she made me look into her eyes when I was delirious and not focused and she made me focus on what I was doing-birthing this baby! At my not so great moments of “I can’t do this anymore” she would encourage me and hold my hand and say “but you ARE doing it!!” and “Your body was made and designed to birth this baby!”. I don’t think I could have had this VBAC without her support, she was just amazing! I’m so glad we had a doula to help us and to support us!

I tried pushing a few times – wow it was intense. I felt like I did not know what I was doing, every time I would push I thought I had made some progress but it wasn’t anything too major yet. They said they could see that the baby had hair though! After a few moments of attempted pushing, Katherine suggested that we use the squat bar along with a white sheet attached to the bar that I would hold and pull towards me while I was pushing, my feet were pressing up against the top of the bar for support.

Pushing and playing tug a war with that white sheet really did help me to push the baby out!

When I pushed out the head they told me to reach down and feel his head. I did and it was so cool to feel it, it felt like a slimy, squishy, soft little head! I slowly pushed out his head, it was amazing to feel each little part of his head and face come out of me. I really thought the pushing was going to be very painful but I think for me it was more of a pressure feeling than feeling pain. I pushed with all of my might and screamed a few times, I pushed for about 15-20 minutes and Levi Andrew was born at 6:05AM!! Dan is the person that told me “It’s a BOY honey!”, we did not find out the baby’s gender for this birth. What a wonderful surprise to wait until the very end! I could not believe that I had just had a successful VBAC and without any drugs or pain medication!!

I got to hold Levi right away, Dan got to cut his cord, I was able to start nursing him within 15-20 minutes after his birth while I was getting stitched up for a few minor tears. In recovery I got to eat right away and order anything off the menu. I was able to get out of bed slowly and walk to use the restroom, I did not have or need a catheter. We were able to go home the very next day. So many things about this birth that were night and day from my previous c-section.

I never expected my labor to be so fast. So many people and the midwives said that with a VBAC birth usually Mom’s take a long time to labor, like a first time Mom usually would. I am so amazed that my body knew what to do and that I went into labor on my own!

If we had to do anything over again, I think we would have gone to the hospital sooner! Funny, I had all of these visions and plans to labor at the hospital a bit and use my iPod and I had made a playlist of praise and worship songs on it for inspiration and I wrote out Bible scripture cards to read for strength. I was hoping to labor in the jacuzzi tub and maybe walk the halls a little if needed. I even packed Dan and Joanna lots of snacks in case my labor was super long. Funny but God had other plans! A lot of times a labor and delivery does not go exactly how you imagined it but overall I would not change a thing about my birth with Levi. It was beautiful and perfect!

Birthing my baby has given me the confidence to do just about anything now.

I will never ever forget Levi’s birth. It has been emotionally, mentally and physically healing for me. So many prayers were answered during my pregnancy and birth. I praise and thank God for hearing them and for answering them!

Dori Sayson is a stay-at-home Mom to her two wonderful little boys! Zach is 2.5 years old and Levi is 1 month old. Being a Mom is the toughest job she’s ever had but at the same time it has been the most fun and rewarding job as well!

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