When Your VBAC Goes Wrong

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My uterus ruptured. Yep I’m one of the .2 to 1.5 percent that it happened too. The rupture that makes doctors scare you into more c-sections and you know what I’d attempt a VBAC all over again, but you see I was lucky.  When your VBAC goes wrong here is my story…

I was 5 days over due with my second baby. April 27th, 2010 I was feeling contractions, but nothing major. I went in to see my doctor, she said

“Here’s the thing you don’t want to hear…I’m going out of town and I want to be there for your birth. Go home, see your chiropractor, see the acupuncturist, start the breast pump do what you can to get this labor started.”

So I did called my mom, my sister for them to come down and watch my daughter and we checked into the hospital later that evening. I had my doula, my packed snacks, drinks I was ready to conquer the VBAC.

Then a pregnant doctor came in…

”I know you are a maternal and infant health educator and you realize your chances of a uterine rupture.”

“Yes, less than 2 percent, but I am ready and have been preparing for this and signed the consent”

Nurses were telling me how much they enjoyed doing VBACs with my doctor and she was fantastic at them. It made me feel real confident about it.

I felt like that doctor jinxed me…

10pm the Pitocin started and the antibiotics

3am I asked for the epidural, the Pitocin was much too strong for me…(it was 3am for crying out loud, I wanted to rest!) Then my water broke, but was not progressing.

7AM still at 3cm, my husband and I began to talk. Each time I moved onto my right to shift a little the baby’s heart rate would drop, but to the left, the baby was fine. It was odd to me and got scared each time they put a mask on me for oxygen.  I had doubts, he had doubts…We consented to another c-section. I cried signing those papers. I felt defeated.

10AM my doctor came in and what would be a routine c-section turned into something more.  C-sections suck big time, I mean the curtain is up, the lower half of your body is numb and you feel like your legs have ballooned into elephant trunks, your arms are spread open and strapped down like you are in a looney bin from the 1920’s…and if you are like me who gets sick from anesthesia…imagine feeling like you are going to suffocate when you know you are going to sick (and do get sick..) and have literally no where to turn….the procedure begins, you smell skin burning, you hear the doctor mumbling for her tools, your body is being tugged from left to right trying to get the baby out…then you hear your doctor call out:

  1. Pea Soup
  2. Cord around neck 3 times
  3. Hole in the uterus

Huh?? Ok I get the first two but the last one threw me off, but I was waiting to hear my baby cry and when I didn’t, I got nervous. I didn’t notice the doctors rushing around, she didn’t even announce what we had, but when I turned to my right I saw our baby, he began to wimper and my husband said, “It’s a boy! We have a boy!” I was so happy for us and I knew deep in his heart a son is what he prayed for.  They wheeled our son away and asked my husband to leave with him.

I didn’t realize I was going to be on the OR for three hours. I kept falling in and out of sleep to have doctors, students and nurses come look at me. The pregnant anesthesiologist kept looking over the curtain and I finally asked what was going on?

She said, “You have an abnormal shaped uterus.” and that was all…I’m glad I was becoming something you don’t see in a medical textbook.

Everyone left and my doctor came to me and said:

 “Jasmine you are lucky. Your uterus ruptured and you lost 1.5L of blood…. I took extra care of you and even removed your keloid scar from your last c-section so that one is on me”… (as she winked) and continued to say, “you can have more beautiful babies, but they have to be c-sections from here on out. You will be on a morphine drip for the next 24 hours to help manage the pain. They are going to take you so you can finally hold and nurse your baby.”

My right arm was so numbed from being strapped down that I could barely hold my son. I remember feeling so incredibly sad holding him, crying, not having the birth I wanted to have so bad, not having that skin-to-skin contact with him after birth that I missed out on when my daughter was born…yet grateful for modern medicine. My birth yet again has humbled me into being thankful for modern medicine.

You see the next day my doctor came in and explained I have a really odd shaped uterus and a band that is formed at the stem of my mushroom like-shaped uterus. If the band was wrapped around it would allow for my babies to go down the birth canal, however they are diagonal shaped and therefor my son tried coming out the same way his sister did….and if it was notice by the last doctor who did it, we would have scheduled it, but nothing an ultrasound would have caught. This is why I failed to progress both times.

I said, “And if this was done 100 years ago??”….”Yes” she said, “you would have died in childbirth.”  She knows me and I know her well enough to have a candid conversation like that.

VBACs are safe and I am still an advocate for them and firmly believe all women should have a trial of labor if they are able too and studies show they are still safer than doing more c-sections. We don’t realize the possible long term effects of c-sections have on our internal organs or the stress it creates in our bodies, we don’t see the scar tissue build up. And the more c-sections you have, the more women increase their own risk of death due to complications of each surgery (blood clotting, placenta previa to name a couple).

You don’t hear stories about women who suffers long-term effects of a c-section from years ago. I had a friend tell me her friend went in for a routine partial hysterectomy and when they went in, the scar tissue had grown around her colon and other organs, they ended up doing a full hysterectomy and removing part of her colon.

I went in for physical therapy to help soften the scar tissue and it was VERY painful and still is, but it must be done. My uterus ruptured on my right side and why my son was in distress each time we moved to the right during labor.

C-sections should not be taken lightly, it is the not the easy way out, it takes a skilled doctor to do a VBAC and a patient doctor to let your body do what it was naturally intended to do during childbirth. Not all doctors are skilled at doing them, my doctor has an excellent reputation for having a high VBAC success rate and why I chose to go with her, I did my research, but truly feel the angels were watching over us that day when my son was born. He had a very traumatic birth and issues we are still working through till this day.

Whatever you decide is best for you and your body, do your research and have an open discussion with your doctor and their success rate and knowing when to go in. For me, I trusted my inner wisdom to proceed, something many women don’t trust often enough from the moment we become mothers.

This post is part of the The Blossom Method’s You Never Know campaign. The Blossom Method is a therapy practice offering support, community, comfort, and hope to women and couples experiencing issues related to infertility, pregnancy loss, genetic complications, complicated medical diagnoses, pelvic disorders, NICU preemies, and postpartum depression.

Phone: 312.854.0061, email: info@blossommethod.com, website: www.blossommethod.com.

The You Never Know campaign is voluntary and I have not received any financial compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own..

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. I had an emergency c-section with my first and a scheduled with my second. It’s great for people to talk about their experiences, so people really know what’s going on.

    xoxo

  2. Wow, Jasmine! I didn’t realize you had gone through this! I’m so glad you and your son are okay. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. What incredible wisdom you are sharing here. We don’t think about the after affects of cesarean outside of the physical pain of healing. I’ve always heard that VBAC’s are considered challenging, but I hadn’t understood why. On the other hand, I do feel as though too many doctors are quick to order C-sections when they aren’t needed so that they can “go on vacation” and still be available for the birth. I’m so glad that you survived this challenge (with beautiful baby boy in tow) and that the cesarean was actually done appropriately in this situation. Thank you for sharing your story! So incredible!

    • Thank you Amina. I researched to find the best doctor possible for us and given her success rate, I was pleased with her numbers and her many successful stories. The fact she inspires her nurses is encouraging too. Her and I talked a lot about what it would look like, how she would assist me, we had a birth wish list which she honored, she was on my team and that is what we want our doctors to be on our team. However, we forget how intuitive us women really are and we don’t let our inner wisdom guide us. A uterus can rupture at any time when given pitocin, even during a routine vaginal birth, that is the unfortunate side-effect of using pitocin. Even though my uterus ruptured, I am still an advocate for C-Births!

  4. Thank you for sharing this story, Jasmine. We have this myth in the U.S. that childbirth is always going to be safe, that very little ever goes wrong and it’s just not true. I’m so happy it all worked out, but your story is terrifying. It makes my frightening 10 minutes of my baby’s heart rate going down when I passed out due to being manipulated while dehydrated almost comical. I’m so blessed that while they did prep the OR, the very SMART anesthesiologist figured out how to get a hydration line into my tiny veins and said, “Sit her up!” All was fine within half a minute after that, and Zoe was born vaginally.

  5. wow Jasmine – I only knew part of your story! you are amazing – thank you for sharing!

  6. Wow. My first child came dramatically and painfully, as well. My horror were forceps, an in experienced resident, and a baby coming out “sunny side up.” But, it is nothing compared to your story. I’ve often said I wish they had just given me a c-section. Now I take that back 100%.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story Jasmine. I know someone who needs to read this!

  8. WOW Jasmine, amazing story, thanks to modern medicine you and I are both very lucky to be here as are our children! Your delivery sounds LOTS like mine from 2002. I was told as a result of my rupture I lost 40% of my blood, I became ver anemic! They told me, post op, the uterus was twisted, and I also had a low dense fibrous ring that they called in Bendl’s ring which developed in the 36 hours of labour that included 3 hours of pushing. Kind of like what would happen if you strangled a saloon, the part you squeeze gets thick and the top part can thin and explode. That’s what happened to me. Progress was immensely slow as well and so I too accepted an epidural in order to rest and pitocin to try and move things along. The body in its infinite wisdom knew through my whole pregnancy delivery was going to be near to impossible. My contractions, (in hindsight) were indicative of an obstructed birth canal. The were very intense and close together but didn’t finish properly so they were’t easily accomplishing their task at hand. In my pregnancy I had developed a serious case of pubis symphisis (sp?) which is a result of the body making too much relaxin my body knew the birth canal was not wide enough. I am a holistic practitioner as well, I had my doula and birth plan (that requested no intervention) as well as my birthing ball at the hospital with me. BUT alas a vaginal birth was never to be. Our sweet daughter Ayla was born via emergency c-section after nearly 3 hours of pushing (they didn’t like her heart-rate) and they decided to go in and finally get her. She had with 2 puncture wounds and a large abrasion on the side of her head, her head was turned and she was caught on the pelvic bone, TWICE, the abrasion was from scraping her head on the inside. BUT I do thank the heavens for the existence of modern medicine, even though much of what we went through probably could have been avoided, had all the pieces been put together (the pubis symphisis, the type of contractions, the fever I was spiking and the fact that I had a LOT of pain rawness type pain locally during the pushing staged. BUT my daughter and I are both here, we survived to tell the story. Of course we had other issues post delivery with feeding and my milk supply, (due to my blood loss causing Sheehan’s Syndrome) but we persisted, and even though we supplemented with some formula, and I was taking every herbal supplement under the sun to increase lactation, (and finally dom peridon) we did go EXCLUSIVE breast feeding just before she was 4 months old. She nursed for 2 years. She was a slow gainer and was barely 20 lbs at her 1st birthday BUT today she is 50th percentile in height and weight at nearly 11 years old. Top of her class even though she is the youngest! As for all the scar tissue due to my rupture etc… I am sure there is quite a bit internally, I feel pulling internally virtually every time I sneeze. I am grateful for the fact that the interventions I had saved our lives, a scheduled c-section is always better than an emergency c-section, BUT again, no regrets, at least I feel like I almost delivered her vaginally, and hey, I was told by numerous hospital staff, they had NEVER seen anyone work so hard at trying to push a child into this world. I kid you not, forgetting all the “other” pain of childbirth my abs were sore for a week! I hated feeling drugged up so after the first 24 hours of pain meds, I refused any other medication. Some people think I am pretty hard core! I just think I am a MOM! We are all pretty hard core!

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