It is with great joy that we announce the arrival of Shelby Morgan Westdyk, born on 2/9/12 at 2:59 pm, by a completely natural VBA3C!! When I say, "We did it," I want to be clear that it took a whole army to make this a success! I didn't do this on my own, although I am very proud that I was able to do it (despite wanting to give up several times!) My army included the strength that could only come from God, an amazing and supportive husband who encouraged me every step of the way, a wonderful doula who knew exactly what to do in every situation and helped me through so much, an amazing care provider who was not afraid to let me do what he knew all along I could do (and gave me every opportunity to get it accomplished!) and an amazing staff of nurses that supported my desire to birth naturally every step of the way. Yes, we did it! Here is Shelby's birth story (be warned, it is long!)
On Wednesday, 2/8/12, I went to see my Doctor in the morning for my regular exam. I was 40 wks and 2 days. He checked my cervix for the first time and said I was about 1-2 cm. I had been having some pretty frequent contractions, so I was happy to hear they were doing something. He stripped my membranes and sent me on my way. Said that he assumed I would go into labor in the next few days, but to come back on Monday if I hadn’t. Went to my chiropractor later that morning for an adjustment, and she mentioned that my belly looked very different. Contractions hadn’t really started yet, so I went to church that night. All night, I kept feeling like maybe I was leaking some fluid. I was also having some blood when I wiped and had lost some of my mucous plus. When I got home from church, I texted my doula to see what she thought. She said it was possible, but I should just decide what I am comfortable with doing… being GBS positive, if I am leaking, we wouldn’t want to wait too long. Since I wasn’t having contractions, and the leaking had slowed down, I waited it out and went to bed.
At 4 am I woke up to intense cramping. I wasn’t sure if they were contractions, but felt like I had the worst period of my life. I got up because I couldn’t sleep anymore and went to the bathroom. More blood, and more mucous plug. Started timing my contractions. Sure enough they were contractions, and already 3-5 mins apart! I timed them for an hr and then woke up Steve. I told him I was pretty sure I was in labor and was going to call Katie to let her know. Called Katie and described the contractions and pain level. She told me some things we should be doing and to keep her posted, since I wasn’t in a lot of pain yet from the contractions.
I called Katie back around 7 am and told her that I was definitely having more intense contractions and more bloody show. This was becoming more and more real! She suggested I take a shower while she got everything situated with her sitter at home and prepared to head out my way. While I was in the shower for only 10 mins I had 4-5 contractions that were pretty intense! I called Katie back and said I was ready for her to head over. Contractions were about 3-4 mins apart and lasting a minute each. At 9:25 am, just before Katie walked in the door, my water broke! I was sitting on the floor and just felt a gush. Katie arrived just in time for the real intense contractions to start!
Katie was still concerned with the position of the baby (still posterior) so we did quite a few different positions and exercises to try to get the baby move into place. I joked that I couldn’t believe I was paying her to torture me!! All kidding aside, some of the positions were not fun, but it was worth it if it was going to move my baby into a better position. I was really surprised though, that I wasn’t experiencing the intense back pain that I was expecting with a posterior baby. I credit that to having chiropractic care the last month of my pregnancy!
By 11 am, I was pretty certain it was time to talk about going to the hospital. Contractions were really getting intense, and my water had been broken for an hour and a half. I had to be there within 4 hrs of it breaking to get my first dose of antibiotics for testing positive for GBS, and I had a 30 + minute car ride to the hospital. By 11:30 am, we got in the car to leave. The car ride was pretty torturous. I thought I was going to throw up several times and the contractions were intense. When I stepped out of the car, my water gushed straight down my leg! Pretty gross! Katie joked, “Hope those shoes weren’t new!”
Got checked into the hospital pretty quickly… arrived at 12:15 pm. Dr. C. came in pretty quickly to check my cervix, and gasp, I was ONLY 3-4 cm!! I thought at this point, surely I was over 5 cm. I felt pretty defeated that I couldn’t handle contractions at 3-4 cm dilated. Thoughts started swirling in my mind, “Can I really do this without medication or an epidural? Am I really in for a long hard back labor ahead now? If I’m on a time clock now that I’m in the hospital… will I just end up with a c/s anyway?” Katie and Steve never gave up on me! They kept telling me how great I was doing, and that everything was going to be fine. They prayed with me and encouraged me to press on. That really helped!
The nurses were trying to get an IV in one of my arms but were having a hard time finding a good vein. I think they spent a good hour trying to get that IV in me! It seemed like forever… especially since my contractions were about 2 mins apart at this point, and so intense… they had to wait every time I had a contraction to continue trying to stick me! Once they finally found a good vein (it took 3 nurses to try!) they gave me the antibiotics. The nurse checked me, and I was only about 5-6 cm at this point.
My contractions were getting more and more intense, and I began to beg and plead for pain medication. I told Katie and Steve over and over again, “I can’t do this… no really, I can’t do this anymore.” They kept telling me I could do it, because I WAS doing it. I didn’t want an epidural, just something to take the edge off, because the pain was just so horrible. Katie put rice socks on my back and belly to ease the pain, and that really started to help a bit. I began to think that maybe I could do it… every time I began to say I couldn’t do it, Katie would quietly pray in my ear, thanking the Lord for every contraction that was bringing me closer to my baby! Honestly, every time she prayed, the pain was more tolerable! It was truly amazing to have the support of a Christian like Katie, who understood my pain too, since she had also had a natural VBAC after 3 c-sections!
I began to feel the need to have a BM. First Dr. C. checked me again, and I was 8 cm, 100% effaced, +1 station. I was getting closer, but not quite there! I was definitely in transition, and feeling the need more and more to have a BM. Katie took me to the bathroom and said we could also try getting in the warm shower to see if that would help. As I sat on the toilet, I began to push, and I screamed so hard that Katie knew I wasn’t just pushing out a BM, I was pushing a baby!! She told me to stop and screamed for the nurse to get things ready immediately and get Dr. C. back in right away. They quickly whisked me back to the bed and Dr. C. came immediately to check me again… sure enough, I was complete! Just 5 mins after he said I was 8 cm, and only 2 hrs since arriving at the hospital! I seriously went from 3 cm to 10 cm in just 2 hrs!
At 2:25 pm, I began to actively push. It was, quite honestly, the most painful experience of my life… but honestly, the pushing part was easier than dealing with the constant painful contractions. With the contractions, you don’t know how long they are going to last… you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. With the pushing, you know the result will be a baby! There were several times during the pushing, that I had doubts that I could continue. I even said a few times, “I can’t do this!” Dr. C. just looked at me and said, “You can do this. You ARE doing this!” He was truly amazing… calm, and amazing. I even saw him praying several times while waiting between pushes. From start to finish, I pushed for 34 minutes!! I felt the dreaded “ring of fire” as the baby’s head came out, and suddenly, she was here! I couldn’t believe it! She was really here, and she came out of me, just like that! I seriously felt like there were trumpets playing and the angels were rejoicing with me! She never quite turned completely to an anterior position. She wasn’t completely posterior, but came out a little bit sideways. Only had a small tear that didn’t even need stitches.
Steve was truly amazing the entire time. Katie stepped back quite a bit for the pushing to take pictures and let Steve be a support to me. He kept encouraging me, telling me I was doing great, that I could push just one more time, and she would be here. I did it, I really did it! I had a natural VBAC after 3 c-sections. When most Doctors in this country wouldn’t dare let me try it… my Doctor did, and he never doubted once that I could do it!
She was beautiful, and perfect. Steve got to cut the cord and they immediately put her on my chest! I got to hold my baby immediately!! I had never experienced that… tears were flowing from both Steve and I. The nurses were all amazing. They encouraged me the entire time I was pushing. Just an hour before I had begged and pleaded to have pain medication… somehow that just never happened, and they never pushed me to take anything. They completely honored my birth plan and stood by my side the whole time, telling me that I could keep going, and that I was going to do this!
Shelby Morgan was 8 lbs 10 oz and 21 ¾ inches long! Big baby girl, that I birthed myself!! Lots of dark hair, and just adorable in every way. I couldn’t be more in love!
I am just giving God all the glory for this VBAC. I am proud of what I accomplished… but so thankful that God gave me this opportunity. I don’t regret how my previous births went. It happened that way for a reason. Now I have this amazing opportunity to share with women that it can be done. Maybe, just maybe, some Doctors out there will start being a little more supportive of women trying for a VBAC after multiple c-sections. Truly, looking back, not once did I even think of the possibility of uterine rupture during delivery. It never even crossed my mind. I did not have fear. I doubted that I could do it without medication several times… but I even forgot about that once it came time to push. Total labor and delivery was 11 hrs from start to finish. Only 30 mins of pushing. 1 hour after giving birth, my baby girl was latching on and nursing right away! It was an immediate bond. So incredibly blessed and thankful for the amazing support system: The right care provider (Dr. C.) the right doula (Katie), an amazing husband who encouraged me the entire time and amazing nurses who cheered me on. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation!
That evening, our friends the Murrays came by to visit with the rest of my children (since they were taking care of them while we were in the hospital.) It was such a joy to have all 4 of my children in one place!
48 hours later, we were headed home! And this time, I was not in unbelievable pain from major surgery. I actually got to walk out of the hospital with all four of my children and husband! So incredibly thankful and blessed!
If you would like to read the blog post from my doula Katie, here is the link to her blog: