fresh 48 in hospital newborn photo, photo at Overlake Hospital Bellevue, VBAC Birth Story

Cohen’s Birth: A VBAC Birth Story

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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fresh 48 in hospital newborn photo, photo at Overlake Hospital Bellevue, VBAC Birth Story

Cohen was our surprise Christmas due date baby. This is her VBAC birth story.

My fourth child ended in a Cesarean Section after learning he had flipped while I was in labor. (You can read Ezra’s birth story here.) My recovery had been more challenging and all I had hoped for with my fifth baby was a healthy baby and a successful VBAC birth.

A few things about my births. My husband and I never found out gender before birth and I had hoped to go natural but was open to seeing how things played out. I had also had four losses, including one in the second trimester. Meaning I was a bit anxious each birth, wanting nothing more than to hold a healthy baby in my arms.

As my due date approached, my doctor and I discussed having a VBAC birth.

She said I was a textbook candidate for a VBAC because I had three previous vaginal births. I was also a good candidate because my only C Section was due to breech baby not other complications.

Each evening my contractions would pick up only to stall out. Several nights in a row I thought maybe, just maybe, the contractions would pick up.

At the 39 week appointment my blood pressure was was a little higher than normal.

For a few weeks in a row now, my blood pressure had been trending up. My doctor sent me for bloodwork to rule out preeclampsia.

I felt like my chances of a VBAC birth were slipping away.

As I waited for a call from my doctor, I kept walking and hoping labor would start on its own.

The morning of Saturday, December 21st I woke up feeling calm. It did not feel like the day. I decided to take a nap and a long, warm bath to relax.

Then I received a call from my doctor asking if I had gotten my blood work done yet. When I confirmed I had she was confused why the results weren’t given to their office. She told me to hang tight that she was going to do some calling around.

It turns out there was some mixup and my results were sent to a different hospital. However, my platelets were very low.

My doctor and I discussed induction that afternoon.

I had been through a lot with my doctor. She never pressured me into anything I did not want, and she was supportive, caring and understanding. As we discussed my blood pressuring trending up and my platelets trending down (along with my age and history of loss) she felt it best to induce that day. I was 39 weeks 3 days and I was going to have a baby.

She made arrangements for us to arrive at the hospital at 3pm, just a few hours from then.

I finished packing my hospital bag, waited for my parents to arrive, put my youngest son down for a nap, and we headed to the hospital.

We checked into the hospital at 3pm, still with hopes of a successful VBAC birth.

When you are not in active labor checking into the hospital it feels a bit surreal. Will I really have a baby today? Will I be sent home?

Yet check-in continued. Blood work, an IV port, paper work. It took about an hour.

My induction would begin with breaking my water, Pitocin and then we would go from there. That was the plan anyways.

VBAC birth, hospital birth photos, Overlake Hospital

As my doctor was breaking my waters and checking my cervix, baby grabbed onto her hands with both hands.

It was a bit of a crazy moment as my doctor says that baby was holding her hands. She had never experienced that. Yet, that also meant, if after the water breaking baby did not engage headfirst, I would have to have a C Section.

I was 3cm dilated already when my waters were broken.

Arrangements were being made for Pitocin, yet my nurse delayed the process a bit.

My labor immediately picked up after my waters were broken. Baby moved her hands back, so I was set to continue with a VBAC birth attempt!

30 minutes later I was only 4cm and contractions were very intense and rapid. I opted for an epidural.

After the epidural was placed I felt a little relief, yet not completely. I had had epiruals before and this did not feel the same. The contractions were still intense. With each contraction I clung to my husband’s hand and the side of the bed trying to breathe through them.

The nurse offered to call the anesthesiologist back to adjust the epidural for more relief. However, my OB checked me one more time.

It had only been 1.5 hours since my waters were broken, but I was fully dilated! My VBAC birth was going to happen!

I had a decision to make. Push now without fixing the epidural, or get things adjusted to help with the pain. If I opted to have the anesthesiologist back I would likely be too numb to push and would prolong the birth process.

photo of husband holding laboring wife's hand

I decided to start pushing without the epidural. I wanted to meet my baby.

Honestly, pushing was a bit of a blur. I was focused on pushing properly and effectively and breathing through each contraction.

Baby was born, yet through it all I could not see much.

And then my husband announced, “It’s a girl! We have a daughter!”

I had done it.

vbac birth, birth photography

A successful VBAC birth, my baby girl was here!

I was in awe and disbelief that I had a VBAC, and that I had a baby girl (I thought I was having a boy).

My recovery was smooth and in less than 24 hours after birth I was home with my baby. Such a change from my previous birth with my son that was a C Section.

If you’re considering a VBAC and have questions, I’m happy to answer them. Hearing other success stories helped me feel more confident in trying.

Of course, I am not a doctor. Please talk with your OBGYN if a VBAC is right for you.

Expecting? Check out my postpartum checklist of what you really need for YOU after having a baby.

***Photos in this article were taken by Megann Robinson.