Birth Story Shared by Jenelle Kerr Antczak
I had a successful, unmedicated 2VBAC at 41 yrs old with my 11th IVF embryo! I've had quite the baby making/delivering history!
We moved from NY to NC when I was 37 wks. I got to the chiropractor up until we left NY and tried to eat my dates and hang on my exercise ball and do all the things, but there was so much going on. I happened to find a VBAC FRIENDLY practice in Raleigh. What a difference this made! Wow! I also delivered at a hospital with an L&D nurse that was incredible! She met me at 5cm with an acynclitic babe (membranes in tact), exhausted and discouraged. She encouraged me to push through the pain and get into all sorts of positions to get baby properly positioned for birth. Doc came in and checked me a few hrs later and I was at 7cm with a bulging bag. He asked to break it and I told him he needed to be certain babe was in a good position first. He wasn't certain, but was pretty sure and both he and the L&D nurse were confident this was the best decision to get her out fastest. I was so tired and agreed to it. Baby was in my arms 4 contractions later. Much like my 2nd delivery, I blasted her out faster than they could keep up. Once I get any urge to push, I just can't handle the pain and somehow push like hell in the right ways to get it over with. I tore again, of course, but thats better than dragging out that agony for me!
My previous history: I have/had severe endometriosis and was told I needed IVF to have kids. During my first egg retrieval, they unknowingly tore my ovary. We drove 3 hours home and I passed out on our kitchen floor. I lost my good ovary and nearly my life in the hospital. I needed 7 units of blood and was in critical condition in the ICU for 3 nights. I was out of work recovering for 3 months. The good news was that we had 9 embryos!!
Our 4th and 5th embryos resulted in a twin pregnancy! Unfortunately, I lost my daughter's twin at 9 wks. We had our first baby girl in August of 2016! Hearing that cry and seeing that face was the most relieving, love filled moment of my life! I was hoping for an unmedicated, vaginal birth. I had a doula and was so ready! My water partially broke at home at 6am. I went to the hospital 12 hrs later. Contractions picked up about 3 hrs after that. They were intense and I wasn't making progress. After 24 hrs I asked for an epidural in hopes of it relaxing me. I felt like I was clenching and that maybe that was due to my pelvic joint issues. I progressed to 7 inches. Epidurals make you feel no pain at all. COMPLETELY different experience! They broke my water the rest of the way and then told me baby was asynclitic and there was nothing they could do. After 36 hours of labor, I needed a C-Section. I asked to have OB examine me first. He never did. He came during my discharge and asked how I was. I said I was upset about the C-Section. After all I'd been through my body failed me again. He said baby was in distress and needed to come out. I said she wasn't. She was asynclitic. He said he'd never perform a C-Section for positioning issues, as they generally resolve themselves. I said, well you just did. Traumatized. Recovery was hell. I couldn't function for my 4 days in the hospital and I struggled for weeks after getting home.
I thought getting pregnant the 2nd time would be easy. I had 4 embryos left and we knew what protocol works to get me pregnant. 4 frozen embryo transfers and 2 miscarriages later, I was out of embryos. I then had another surgery to try to remove my endo in hopes of trying again naturally. I'd changed my diet and environment drastically in that year to try to get pregnant and I'd learned via that surgery that I'd inadvertently healed myself. I fixed the unfixable. Doc told me I must've had a surgery I forgot about. Apparently that's a more likely scenario than dietary and environmental changes healing me. My endo was gone, but the doc found a mass on my small intestine. He sewed me up and told me I'd need another surgery to have it biopsied. So a month later I did that. Thankfully, it was benign scar tissue from previous pelvic surgeries.
In January 2019, I contacted a new clinic to get started on another egg retrieval. They had a 6 month wait for a consultation! My husband and I tried to conceive naturally Jan and Feb, we tried IUI in March, naturally in April and May and got an early appt at the end of May. I had my 2nd egg retrieval in June, yielding 2 genetic tested, perfect embryos. I got pregnant with the 1st of those in September 2019!
My VBAC delivery in 2020:
I met my doc at 7 wks. She comes very highly recommended in this area, but there are no strong VBAC options here. I didn't even know for sure that I wanted a VBAC until she said the words, "you COULD have a VBAC...". I ignored what followed, "but for you I don't think it's a good idea due to your age, extensive gynecological history and that your 1st baby was OP. Let's schedule a RCS for 39 wks". As soon as I knew it was an option, I was ready for redemption.
As my due date (and the scheduled c section date for 41 wks that I'd reluctantly agreed to) was approaching, my OB was doing all she could to motivate me to get comfy with a C-Section and I was getting more set on pushing it to 42 wks. I'd been having progressively stronger Braxton hicks all day every day since 38 wks and felt strongly that my body would do this if we just gave it time. At 39 wks I'd opened up to her fully about my traumatic history. At 40 wks, 5 days she did a membrane sweep. I was 1 cm and 80% effaced at the time. She proposed cancelling my C-Section (thankfully, since I was DREADING the conversation I was planning to have about pushing it to 42 wks) and suggested that she rupture my membranes a wk later (at 41 wks 5 days) if I didn't have baby by then. I had contractions the rest of that day and through the night. Around 1 am they started waking me every 30 mins or so. By 6 am I was up for the day, wondering if it was happening. By 7, they were 2-4 mins apart and getting stronger. I told my husband we needed to get the last of our things together for the hospital. I suddenly felt I didn't even have time for a shower. We arrived at the hospital at 10 am. I was checked and learned I was still 1 cm and 90% effaced. The laborist told me he'd like to monitor baby for a little bit and if she looked good, I could go home and come back in 24-36 hrs when labor was likely to actually begin. I was thinking, if these strong contractions that are 2-4 mins apart aren't when I should be here, I don't know if I will know when it is time. Everything looked good with baby, but I asked if I was allowed to stay at 12 o'clock. They said I could. I asked about when i could have an epidural (thinking 5-6 cm) and she said 4-5 cm. I wanted it immediately, but knew that wouldn't be a good idea. I sat on the peanut ball, leaned up on the back of the bed on my knees, and slow danced with my husband. The nurse came back at 2, just as I'd finished a contraction that I felt like I was maybe involuntarily pushing during. I told the nurse this and she checked me and found I was at 8cm!! I was floored. Both my husband and I started crying as I was telling him how happy I was that I was going to do this! Then I remembered I didn't have an epidural! I confirmed with the nurse that it was too late and she said they'd try, but I knew I wasn't going to be getting one. The covering OB was called. With the next contraction I REALLY felt like I was pushing. The OB arrived and checked me, confirmed 8cm and said I had a bulging bag and he was going to rupture it. I told him he needed to be POSITIVE baby was in a good position first. He said she was ROA, head in perfect location and -1-0 station. He tried to rupture and struggled. He commented on how hard it was, went in there further, tried again and couldn't get it. Back at it again and tried twisting at which point the pain became excruciating and I was screaming at him to stop, but he wouldn't and eventually got it. I immediately contracted with more involuntarily pushing. He said he'd be right back because he had another patient to check on. With the next pushing contraction, nurse got him back. He told me if I felt I needed to push, to do so. I pushed 1 time and was crowning, 2 times and her head was almost out, 3 times and it was out, 4 and he told me to reach down for her and I pulled her out and to my chest. My DREAM feeling!! I DID it!! In spite of everything being against me, I made a baby, I carried her for 40 wks, 6 days and I pushed her out for my redemption VBAC!!
I had three 2nd degree tears that took far longer to sew up than the amount of time I'd pushed. It was really uncomfortable to say the least. I could barely look at my baby, let alone really enjoy that golden hour, but it was well worth it. I've never felt so accomplished and proud as I did at 2:48 on May 27th when I met my 2nd beautiful little girl.
Birth Story Shared by Jenelle Kerr Antczak
To prepare for your Mindful Birth, check out the Birth Made Mindful Course