Proving you can do it: a successful vaginal birth after c-section

November 22 | Guest post by Elizabeth Peters

I realize that birth is a universal accomplishment, one that is probably being conquered right now by thousands of women, but that thought adds to the pride and awe I now feel more than it puts a damper on it. In so many ways I feel as if I did in fact climb Mount Everest — in the unbelievable soreness of my body (though I am not totally sure how a vagina can be harmed in the climbing of a mountain) but also in the sense of accomplishment.

I did it. He came out the door and my window is closed forever.

Everything about the labour was perfect. If I had written this a short three days earlier I may have offered a less than perfect, less sugar-coated, more rainbows and bubbles kind of wording. It was hard, I think, and I am so amazed by how quickly we forget the labour part — the pain, the unbearable "I think I may actually die" part, and remember the important parts. These are the seconds after, when the baby is placed on your stomach for the first time and you feel as if nothing else exists in this world but this perfect moment with this beautiful perfect baby.

My labour started peacefully at about 3am. I wasn't sure if it was a false alarm, so I kept waiting for the next contraction, then the next contraction, then the next contraction, until it was about 5am and I woke up my partner, Colin. During this time I lay there, excitement and anticipation filling my entire being, and so much love for my two boys in which I was sandwiched in between. We were going to meet our new addition soon and I was swooning already!

I nudged Colin and said ever so casually "What are our plans today again?" to which he replied in the most confused and sleepy tone "what?" "Well, let's have a baby today instead!"

We decided to sleep a bit longer, groggily climbing out of bed around 6:30 am. We did some puttering, got the bag together, had breakfast (french toast — energy food) a cup of coffee. I called my brother to tell him the news, then headed over to visit and drop our two-year-old son off for the day.

I have now discovered that boys are pretty panicky. I was heading into a contraction every 3 minutes, and those guys were practically shoving me out the door towards the car to head to the birthing centre.

I have now discovered that boys are pretty panicky. I was heading into a contraction every 3 minutes, and those guys were practically shoving me out the door towards the car to head to the birthing centre. I was pretty content to hang out there a bit longer, but they were having none of it! I talked to the midwife en route and my contractions started to slow down. We got some bagels and hot chocolates and I had a nice contraction in the bathroom! Crazy! The off we headed for a park to walk in.

It was cold and rainy, but we walked and walked and walked around this little park behind an arena, me stopping at each tree to lean against for another contraction. This felt so nice. This felt so natural. It was good for Colin and I to have this extra bonding time, something we had been lacking for a while. Finally things started moving again and we headed to the Maison de Naissance for some serious labouring.

There was such a sense of calm and peace walking in there. Our room was a pale shade of purple and was called the "Hiver" (winter) room. There was a huge Queen sized bed on one end and a tub fit for several queens to the other. We were still in very high spirits as we turned on the radio (to CBC, god I am a geek). Modesty already thrown to the wind, I stripped down and hopped into the massive tub. At this point I am 5 or 6 cm dilated. I ate, I drank, and we discussed names, giggled together and after much searching, agreed on a classic rock station. Pink Floyd and labouring actually worked pretty well together!

Once I got out of the tub, I spent most of the rest of the labour on the toilet. This is obviously when things got a bit less glamorous! I started to sing a deep toned "AHHHHHH" through my contractions to keep my jaw open (it is connected to the cervix) and go with the flow. Lost my cool on many occasions, did some crying, did some vomiting (this also opens up the cervix) and started pushing while still on the toilet. There was a HUGE pop and an explosive gush of liquid, scared the bejeezes out of us! And so the fun began!

There he was, goopey and beautiful and on my naked belly, screaming and crying and warm and magical.

It was pure pushing after that. I felt the baby coming down — I felt the head hit and the ring of fire begin. Wow! Then the head slipped out, one more push and in a tidal wave of liquid and baby out came the body. There he was, goopy and beautiful and on my naked belly, screaming and crying and warm and magical. 'Oh my baby. oh my baby' was all I could say as the tears streamed down my face.

We did it, little man — we took the trek and we arrived.

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  1. Congratulations on your baby boy and thank you for sharing your story. I'm sitting at 37+ weeks pregnant at the moment and every beautiful birth story like yours makes me so excited (and a little teary at the same time). Thanks for starting my morning off on such a great tone!

    2 agree
  2. Thank you for sharing your birth story! I am about 27 weeks along with our 2nd baby and like the poster above I love reading birthing stories. Oh and have no shame about the ceeb (aka the cbc)I too am such a geek for The CBC 1,2 and my fav 3!

  3. What a wonderful low-drama birth story! Thank you! Exactly what I needed to hear after having four people screaming at me that I must have the epidural or basically I'll die. Congratulations!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I gave birth to my daughter in mid September via emergency c-section an I felt like I lost a big part of the experience. It make me feel so empowered to see other girls pushing themselves to have the best experience they can.

  5. Glorious! I'm 32 weeks and also hungry for positive birth stories… loved the tone and mood and calm acceptance of this one, you made it all sound so manageable, even the challenging parts! Thank you thank you!

  6. What a great birth story. It's inspirational to me as a woman who hopes to one day have another child and hopes for the natural birth that I wasn't able to have with my first child. Her birth was wonderful and perfect and I wouldn't change a thing but I would like to have the experience of a vaginal birth at least once in my life.

  7. I am reading into your post, but I think you deliever in quebec….in perhaps Gatineau. I have just gotten my midwife apointment there and would just love to know more about your experience. I am very terrified of not being at a hospital (not very offbeat of me I know) but i am extremely risk adverse, but hated the hospital birth of my daughter. I guess I am looking for a "use a midwife outside of a hospital" peptalk.
    Thanks!

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