When I first met Diana she was in her second trimester of her second pregnancy and was hoping to have a vaginal birth after her cesarean with her daughter.

Diana has had many surgeries in her life and was hoping for a chance to experience a vaginal birth. Her previous birth experience was a long, slow progressing labor that ended in a c-section after a couple of hours of pushing and no progress.

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During our prenatal visits Diana and I talked about her past experience and how that was shaping her ideas of the upcoming birth. We talked over her birth plan- both for herself and baby, we did some fear release exercises, massage, talked about the postpartum period and prepared for the possibility that a VBAC may not happen. Birth is an unpredictable thing and all the preparation in the world does not mean your birth will follow “the plan”.

One thing that I tried to find for Diana were positive and encouraging stories of vaginal birth from women who have Spina Bifida. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any, if you too, are looking for an encouraging birth story then you have come to the right place.

Diana’s biggest fear during her pregnancy was that her back was not shaped correctly and that was why she had needed the previous cesarean section. Because of how her back and how sensitive to pressure certain spots are she decided that her best game plan was to stay active and upright. Diana also planned on using Stadol as a pain relief option in the event that she felt she couldn’t handle the pain.

Diana’s birth team also include her husband Nate, her mother Joann and her friend Lisa besides having myself as her doula. A birth party had helped her cope with her long labor before and she was hoping for the same results but with the ending of a vaginal birth instead of a cesarean section.

When Diana reached 38 weeks in her pregnancy I was on call 24/7. I checked in with her every couple of days- encouraging her to stay positive, active and relaxed. On July 27 around 4:30 AM I finally got the call I had been waiting for.

Diana’s contractions started in the middle of the night. Many women experience this because at night and while sleeping because it is then they are most relaxed and their body can work unhindered.
They were rather frequent but not long, hard or consistent. Diana and I spoke and decided that she would call me later with an update.

Around 8:00AM Diana and I spoke and her contractions were getting harder but she didn’t feel that she needed me there yet. She decided to get into the bath and see if that would help her to relax and allow the contractions to work better.

At 9:30 Diana decided that I could come to their house so I dropped off my boys with their babysitter and headed fo Diana’s house. When I arrived her contractions were frequent and getting harder but not consistent. So we packed her car, finished some things around the house and got ready to head to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital.

We arrived around 11:30AM and Diana was definitely having to breathe through her contractions. When checked into triage she was dilated to 3 and 70% effaced. While on the initial monitoring strip Nate and I tried to distract Diana with conversation and using alternatives to movement like cold wash cloths. Eventually she was allowed to get out of bed while on the monitor.

Once we got to her room Diana had to wait for an IV to be inserted so that she could get the pain relief medication she wanted and move around like she was hoping. {Because Diana was attempting a VBAC the hospital required constant fetal monitoring, a contraction monitor and a Heplock.} While she was waiting for the IV to be inserted Diana labored in the bed. Lisa and I applied pressure to her back during contractions and tried to keep Diana’s spirits up with the encouragement that she could do this. Her body was doing it. She was dilating. She was coping with contractions well.

By the time her IV was inserted {it took a while because Diana has veins that like to move around} Diana was checked and found out that she was at 8 centimeters and almost completely effaced. Unfortunately for her it was too late to get the Stadol that she was hoping to use to take the edge off the pain. Since the IV was in we suggested that she get out of bed and start moving around as her contractions got more intense. Diana labored leaning over the bed, on the toilet and on the birth ball. We were all excited to see her progressing so quickly.

Not too much longer Diana was almost complete but had a little bit of a lip left. At this point she was in the midst of transition and was questioning her ability to push her baby out. I looked her in the eye and told her she was doing it and that she needed to start telling herself that she was doing it and she could do it. {The connection between our thoughts and our body is critical during labor. If a mom starts to question her abilities than many times her body will stop progressing or labor can stop completely.} Her doctor decided to help Diana a little and held back the cervical lip while Diana pushed through it. One and a half hours later Landon made his appearance. He was born at 9:18PM weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

Diana’s labor was 18-20 hours long. She got the VBAC she was hoping and praying for. It wasn’t quite according to her plan since she needed to labor in the bed much longer than she wanted while waiting for her IV Heplock and since she didn’t get the pain relief she was hoping for from the Stadol but Diana late told me that she is now recommending unmedicated labors to all her pregnant friends.

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I loved working with Diana and getting to know her and her family. I am always so blessed that the women of Newaygo County and beyond allow me to be with them at such a sacred time.

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