Shelby’s Birth Story

Today Shelby is 12 days old. She is precious, sweet, and beautiful.  Tucker is a wonderful big brother to her and I love both of my babies so much! God has blessed our family beyond measure.

If you know me or have been following my previous posts then you know that I was desperately desiring to have a VBAC with my second child. After my failed induction and consequential c-section with my son, I vowed that I would never go through an unnecessary c-section again! With my October 13th due date quickly approaching I began to worry that my body would not go into labor on its own. I never got the privilege of going into natural labor with  my son because I was induced (with no medical indication and with an unfavorable cervix) at only 4 days overdue (see my post “Tucker’s Birth Story” for the full details). All during this pregnancy my 4 doctor’s told me that I would be allowed to “attempt” a VBAC but that my deadline was 41 weeks. If I hadn’t gone into labor by 41 weeks (Oct. 20) then we would have to go in for an automatic c-section. My OB practice does NOT allow a woman who has had a previous c-section to be induced. They don’t want to introduce Pitocin to a uterus which has already been cut open. That was fine with me. I hate Pit.

On Wednesday, October 6 I had my 39 week OB appointment with the only female doctor in our practice. She is not my favorite doctor by any means because she told me at one appointment, “You’re welcome to try for a VBAC, but I wouldn’t do it if I were you.” Keep in mind that this statement is coming from a young female OBGYN doctor who has NO kids and has never experienced childbirth. hmmm. Anyways, we (my husband, son, and I) went to our appointment that afternoon HOPING to hear some good news. I had been having a lot of lower abdominal pain and pelvic pain over the past week. I also had been having a good number of contractions. I was really really hoping that my cervix was doing something….ANYTHING. The doctor said she would check me and I got all excited. However, to my disappointment, she informed me that NOTHING was happening whatsoever. I had not thinned or dilated at ALL. My cervix was tightly shut and not about to open up shop. I was sooo disappointed. I left the office that day in tears and cried for quite a while at home. My husband and I decided that we would do more walking to see if that would help. We walked around Target a LOT during this pregnancy. It’s our favorite store. 😉 We also walked around the mall quite a bit too. I began taking other people’s advice on “how to get labor started.”  I ate spicy food, pineapple, drank 2 gallons of green tea, walked a lot, and other things that I won’t mention on here. I never did try the castor oil though. I’ve heard too many bad things about that. Nothing I tried worked. Finally I had to just put it in God’s hands. I have to admit that the last week of pregnancy is the hardest week I’ve ever had because I struggled soooo incredibly hard to have faith and trust in God. I was so worried that God would not answer my prayer and that I would have a c-section. I began to worry a lot. I was stressed as well. I just imagined how much more awful my postpartum depression would be after having a second c-section. My husband admitted to me that he was worried that I would be suicidal if I had another c-section.

Wednesday, October 13 rolled around. DUE DATE DAY! Nothing really was happening. I’d had a few contractions that week and a little bit of pelvic pain, but not much. My mucus plug did fall out in the middle of the night that week. It was either Monday or Tuesday. That was a slight encouragement. Our 40 week OB appointment was at 3:15 on Oct. 13 with my favorite (and most VBAC friendly) doctor. I prayed and BEGGED God that I would have made some progress. I didn’t care if it was 1 cm, I just wanted SOMETHING! The doctor checked me and God answered my prayer. I was dilated to 1 cm AND the doctor felt Shelby’s head!! My cervix was also beginning to thin out! My doctor asked if it was ok if he stripped my membranes and when he told me that it could induce labor I told him, “Sure!” It wasn’t too painful and was over quickly. Now, we just had to sit back and wait. We went ahead and scheduled my next visit for the following week. My doctor was kind and encouraging and said that he didn’t think I would make it to my next appointment. I asked if I could see him again the next week if I still hadn’t had the baby. He said that was fine but we would have to have a serious talk about a c-section. I started crying and told him that I didn’t want another c-section. He then assured me that there were other ways of inducing labor without using Pitocin. He mentioned that they can thread a foley bulb catheter up into the cervix and open up the bulb and help dilate (manually open) the cervix. That was an encouragement! Not ONE other doctor EVER even told me that there was a possibility of inducing me any other way than with Pitocin (which I can’t have). I left the doctor’s office that day a lot more hopeful than the previous week. I began praying even harder that Shelby would arrive soon! Little did I know that God would quickly answer that prayer. 🙂

That night (Oct. 13) my husband went to work and I went to bed. I woke up at 4:30 with EXTREME back pain! I texted my husband at work and told him I was in really bad pain. He (thankfully) was able to leave work and come home to be with me. I couldn’t sleep. I started having really painful contractions. We tried timing them but they were quite irregular. I was awake for a couple of hours and finally had to sit in our glider. I managed to fall asleep for a while in the chair. That morning we called my mom and had her come over to watch Tucker because my pain was getting worse and worse. Still, the contractions (which were quite painful) were not regular. I tried sitting in the bath tub with hot water for a while, but that didn’t help much. The back pain was constant and was almost unbearable!  I managed to deal with the pain and try to lay down and take a nap for a few more hours. Finally at 2pm I told my husband that we had to go the hospital. He called our OB and the OB nurse said to go ahead and go because sometimes back labor can cover up the contractions and make them hard to time or irregular. We arrived at labor and delivery at Greer Memorial around 2:25pm. I was taken to triage and checked. Still 1-2 cm. What???!!!! The nurse told us that we could go back home or walk around the hospital for an hour to see if that helped move things along. So, from about 3:40 to 4:40pm Glenn and I held hands and walked around the hospital. I had to periodically stop for some painful contractions but the back pain NEVER let up. When we got back to our room the nurse checked me again. Still no more progress. Our nurse (Mona) moved us to a new room so that I could sit in the jacuzzi tub and relax and see if that helped turn the baby and/or help with the constant back pain. We were moved to room 283- the same room we were in 16 months earlier when our son was born! How special! I sat in the tub for over an hour (from about 5:30-7pm, I think). It felt good to sit in the whirlpool tub with the jets on. However, it only felt good for a few minutes. The contractions were so painful that I yelled every time one hit. My husband sat by my side for a while and then he went to sit in the room (and ate a sandwich that the nurse brought him) and let me be alone so I could try to relax. Finally, I got out of the tub and moved to the bed. It was “shift change” time so I had a new nurse, Roberta, come in. She was a little rude to me and told me that she read my birth plan and would try to accommodate all my wishes. (She said it in a way which almost sounded like she was making fun of me). I wasn’t too thrilled with her (although over the next 2 days she ended up being pretty nice). I told her I was in a LOT of pain and her response was, “Well honey, natural labor hurts.” She sounded like she was making fun of me again. 😦 Roberta asked me what I wanted to do. At that point I was not “admitted” to the hospital yet so she said I could stay and be admitted or I could go home and come back when my contractions were more regular and things were moving along. I couldn’t make up my mind. I wanted to be in the hospital because my pain was through the roof ridiculous. However, I was worried that when I was admitted the clock would start ticking and immediately I would be put on a time schedule and if I wasn’t progressing fast enough I would be wheeled to the OR to be cut open. I voiced this to my nurse. I told her that I had decided that I would try to go home and come back later because I didn’t want to “use up all my time in the hospital only to be rushed to surgery.” Also, I was starving!!! They never let you eat when you’re in labor and I was told that I was in early labor so I couldn’t eat. My husband snuck me some food- Sprite, fig newtons, and a couple bites of his sandwich. He’s a sweetie. However, I needed to eat a little more. So, before we checked out I asked if they had any pain medicine. I was hoping that it would help with the pain and also make me sleepy so I could go home and get some rest. The standing orders were for Stadol and Phenergan. I like Demerol better so I requested that. My nurse had to call the doctor for approval and she approved. Roberta gave me a shot of Demerol and Phenergan and we left the hospital at 9pm (Thursday Oct. 14). We stopped at McDonalds on the way home and I ate a grilled honey mustard snack wrap. We called my mom and she said Tucker was over at their house doing well. The Demerol helped a LITTLE with the back pain but couldn’t even TOUCH the painful contractions.

The next 3 hours were some of the worst hours of my life. From 9:30-midnight we tried everything. I tried sitting in the bath tub with the lights off. I tried every position possible and the pain was only getting worse. I kept saying, “Honey, the pain can’t get any worse.” And lo and behold, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it got worse. At 12 midnight we made our way back to the hospital. The nurses were waiting for me because they knew I’d be back. They put me back in the same room again. Room 283. They told me that they even waited for a while before cleaning it because they thought I’d be back sooner. I was admitted around 12:30am and was given Stadol and Phenergan for pain. The doctor didn’t want me to have more Demerol because it has potential to cause respiratory problems in the baby. I definitely didn’t want that!  At around 12:50 am (Oct. 15) the nurse checked me. Finally some progress!!!!! I was about 2 to 3 cm at this point. Shelby had moved down to 0 or +1 station as well!!! That was good news!!! The nurses left us so we could TRY to get some sleep. Needless to say, I did NOT sleep much that night. I had to call the nurse in the middle of the night for more Stadol and Phenergan after my last dose wore off. I woke my husband up several times to come hold my hand because the contractions were so painful. My contractions were worse than the ones I had when on Pitocin with my son! I don’t know how or why. They were HORRIBLE. However, the contractions STILL weren’t regular. GRRRR! The next morning around 6:50am my contractions were about 3 to 5 minutes apart. They still weren’t completely regular but the nurses kept their eye on it. The nurse checked me at 7am and PRAISE THE LORD!!! She gave me the BEST news that I had heard in the past 27 hours!!!! I was at 5 cm!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it! I had never made it past 3 cm with my son so I was THRILLED (although in pain) to be told that I was at 5!!!!!! The nurse said she felt the bag of waters and that the doctor might break my water soon. My husband left and went to The Waffle House for breakfast…just as he did the morning that Tucker was born. I was in so much pain while he was gone. I texted him and told him to hurry. My new nurse for the day, Kristen, came in and asked if I needed anything. I told her I needed pain medicine. My options were the Stadol (AGAIN) which wasn’t helping much at all or the dreaded epidural. Finally, after talking with Kristen for a while, I admitted that I was going to HAVE to get an epidural. I had been in labor with excruciating pain for 27 hours at that point. I was proud of myself for waiting so long. I knew that I must be at least 4 cm to get the epidural and that was on our birth plan as well. (I got it way too early with my son and it slowed everything down). I texted my husband and told him to hurry hurry hurry. At 7:54am I got the epidural. My husband, who was holding me and watching the procedure, got sick and had to sit down. The nurses brought him a “pink bucket.” Thankfully, he didn’t throw up. The guy who placed my epidural did a TERRIFIC job. At first it was a little to the right and I told him so he moved it over and it was perfect! He was super. I finally felt some relief after about 20-30 minutes and for the first time in 27 hours I FINALLY felt pain-free and was able to rest!!!!! It felt soooooooooooooooo good and getting the epidural was the best decision I made! 😉

I rested for a bit and then the doctor came in to break my water. Thankfully I couldn’t really feel it. After he broke my water things started speeding up. However, my contractions STILL weren’t regular. Go figure. The doctor said I was making good progress and things were looking good for a VBAC. He did remind me that I was on a time limit because of the VBAC so if my progress didn’t happen in a specific amount of time then I would need a c-section. (How stupid is that?) The doctor said he wanted to see a good labor pattern (aka regular contractions). At 9:31 am I was checked and my husband posted this on Facebook, “We are now at 8 cm, 100% effaced and at 0 station!!!!! We are now at the 29 hour mark, folks. The light is at the end of the tunnel, guys! God is great. Please keep us in your prayers.” And finally at 8 cm is when my contractions magically became regular!!!! They were perfect and I was told I was in a great labor pattern! YAY!!! At 10:04am I posted this as my Facebook status, “Hi everyone this is Erin. I had to give in and get an epidural at 5 cm because I couldn’t take the back labor anymore. I had been having EXTREME pain and back labor for 28 hours straight. For the first time in 30 hours I have finally been able to get a little rest and I am progressing well! I’m so ready to get this over with. I’m scared. Please pray. Oct. 15 is a GREAT day for a birthday! ;)” 

The doctor checked me at 11am and I was at 9.5cm. I was getting so excited yet scared at the same time! Finally the best news ever came at 12 noon. 10 cm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The doctor decided to go home and eat a sandwich for lunch and said he would come back in an hour or so. He wanted to give Shelby time to move down a little bit more. He told me I could start pushing at 12:30. So that’s what we did. I started pushing at 12:30pm. (My husband insists that I started pushing at 12:45pm. So we’ll just say it was some time between 12:30 and 12:45). 😉


From 12:30 to 1:30 was one of the best hours of my life. It was so awesome. The setting was quiet and very intimate. It was just me, my husband, and Kristen- the sweetest nurse in the entire world. Kristen was about my age and was very calm and encouraging. My husband and Kristen each held a leg while I pushed with each contraction. Finally they said they could start to see Shelby’s head. Kristen assured me that Shelby did NOT have bright red hair (which I was worried about haha). I asked for a mirror so she brought one in. Kristen had to leave a couple of times and Glenn held both of my legs while I pushed. It was awesome to be able to work toward bringing a baby into the world as opposed to being strapped to a cold table and cut open and feeling helpless. I was soooo worried that I wasn’t going to feel the urge to push because of the epidural. But, when it came time to push I could feel the pressure and I had NO problem pushing. I couldn’t really feel the contractions so Glenn and/or Kirsten watched the monitor and told me when I was about to have one and I would push 3 (sometimes 4) times with each contraction. We asked our nurse if both of our moms could be in the room for delivery. She said only 2 people total were allowed and Glenn counted as 1. We didn’t think it would be fair to only have 1 mom and not the other. We knew that both had wanted to be present. Glenn went out into the hall and asked our doctor if he could make an exception and allow both moms in the room. He said that would be fine!

At around 1:30 Glenn went to the waiting room to get each of our moms so they could be in the room for delivery. They were sooooo excited! They didn’t think we were going to let them be in the room but we surprised them. Around 1:40 or so, the doctor finally arrived and a TON of nurses came in as well. So much for the quiet and intimate setting. lol. I felt like I was the main attraction and yeah, I was literally in the spot light. lol. But I knew that this was my moment to shine. My moment to PROVE to myself that my body was NOT broken, that my pelvis was NOT too small (like one doctor told me) and that I am able to push my own child into this world. I could feel (and see in the mirror) that Shelby’s head was stuck. I kept saying, “I don’t think she is going to fit.” The doctor told me that I was either going to rip or he could do a 2nd degree cut. My mom and mom-in-law both said I should get the cut. Finally I told him to make the cut and he did. (Thankfully it just felt like a little pinch). No joke, on the next contraction I pushed as hard as I could and our little Peyton Shelby arrived at 2:18pm. She was placed on my tummy and I was overwhelmed. I started crying and didn’t know what to do or say. I touched Shelby and said, “Hi, Shelby.” Glenn’s first words were, “Hi, little one!” She wasn’t crying and was blue so Glenn cut the cord (which was so super sweet to watch) and Shelby was taken to the baby warmer. She was suctioned and then started crying. Her Apgar was 7/9 and she weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 21 inches long. My son was 8 pounds, 11 ounces, and 21 inches long. Shelby was 2 oz. bigger than Tucker and I was able to have a successful VBAC. I was and am so thankful that I was able to have a VBAC. The doctor sewed up my cut and my epidural was removed. I was able to get up and walk around about an hour later.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I (with God’s help) was able to have a successful VBAC. It was the most incredible experience in my whole life. I feel like I helped bring my child into the world. I feel like I redeemed myself. I feel like I could totally do it again (hopefully minus the 34 hour labor). The epidural was a HUGE blessing and I don’t think I could have pushed for 2 hours without having those few hours of (virtually pain-free) rest before I started pushing. I was also able to relax and enjoy the pushing stage instead of screaming in pain and wanting to get it over with. I was able to enjoy every minute of it and I wish I could do it all over again. The emotional feeling is indescribable!

I also want to mention that I am so blessed and thankful to have such a loving, caring, and supportive husband. He was there with me every step of the way and it would not have been the same without him. He is my hero. I love him so much. He was the best labor coach ever.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margery
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 12:11:00

    Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
    difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!


  2. happymommy85
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 20:59:34

    I honestly have no idea. :/ Sorry. 😦


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