The Story of Karen’s Repeat C-Section Turned VBAC Arrival!

Mama: Karen

Stats: 8 lbs., 7 oz.

Type of Birth: Vaginal

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

We always dreamed of having 2 children. So when we found out that we were pregnant with our second baby, I was over the moon! It was right before my daughter turned two.

I got J to change to a “Big Sister” t-shirt at the end of her 2nd birthday party to share this exciting news with our friends and family.

Fast forward a few months later, and after several ultrasound appointments with my doctor, we discovered that we are having a little baby boy – due on February 20th.

My sister threw a gender reveal cake party for me, and I was in full nesting mode.

My Pregnancy and Birth With My First

I had a good pregnancy with J, but as it was my first time, I was anxious and struggled to sleep through the night. During my 4th trimester, I developed heartburn at night too.

I had a c-section with my first due to various complications. I was just glad it was safe for both of us, and the recovery was smooth.


The second time around, I was given the option to either opt for a repeat cesarean (RCS) because I already had one or to try the vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

For months, I couldn’t decide which option was best for the baby and me. J was a big baby (9 lbs 6oz). As much as I want to try giving try VBAC, if my son is as big as J, that would make vaginal birth challenging.

At the end, I decided to do VBAC as my first choice but scheduled an RCS just in case.

The Birth

39-39½ Weeks

One week before my scheduled RCS date, my nurse practitioner confirmed that I was already 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Things are starting to move!

I went back to the doctor’s the day before my RCS date and found out I’ve only progressed to 1 cm dilated and 90% effaced.

At 39½ weeks, I figured there was still time for my body to go into labor. Despite the news, I decided to cancel my RCS with the hospital.

40 Weeks

A week later (at 40 weeks), I had another follow-up appointment – still no progress.

My doctor suggested I reconsider VBAC as my blood pressure is going up, which will put the baby at risk. As disappointing as it was, I knew it was the right thing to re-schedule the RCS.

My body, on the other hand, had a different idea!

Wednesday, February 23rd

The following morning, on Wednesday, February 23rd, I woke up with mild contractions.

They were about 10 minutes apart, and I wasn’t sure if it was a false contraction. I discussed this with my husband and agreed that it made sense for him to go to work and would call him if things were getting worse.

As usual, I went about my day, got myself and J ready, and drove him to daycare.

When I got home, my contraction was about 7 minutes apart and starting to get more painful. I got myself a nice cup of decaf tea, put my feet up and started monitoring the contractions.

11:00 am

By 10 am, the contractions were four to five minutes apart. One contraction hit me, and I nearly screamed. I can’t believe today might be the day the baby is coming!

I phoned my doctor for her to come in so they could monitor me, and I stupidly drove myself to the doctor’s office IN SNOW.

12:45 am

I was hooked up to the non-stress test at my doctor’s office, and sure enough, I went into labor. The nurse examined me, and I was 3 centimeters dilated!

With the news, she asked me to go straight to the hospital to prepare for birth. I rang my mom to pick me up, and my husband met us at the hospital at 12:45.

At that point, I was still going to drive myself, but thanks to the nurse who talked some sense out of me.

What a change in 24 hours! She sent me straight to the hospital. Even though I thought I could drive myself, she strongly encouraged having someone come and pick me up.

My mom left work to get me and we met my husband at the hospital by 11:45 am.


In the hospital, I labored on my own for a couple of hours. Around 3 pm, my water broke. The nurse Molly who looked after me was so amazing. She was so calm and collected and kept calling me a star. It gave me a lot of confidence that I could do this.

3:30 pm

By this point, I was struggling with my pain. Molly gave me some pain meds through IV. She described it as knocking back two shots of vodka. It certainly dulled the pain, but I could still feel the contractions. 30 minutes later, the pain got worse again.

I asked for more “shots of vodka,” but Molly said I couldn’t have it anymore. Instead, she could get the doctor to check if I was at least 4 centimeters dilated, then I could have an epidural.

And sure enough, I was 9 centimeters dilated. I literally burst into tears. This is the day we are going to meet my baby!!!


I knew I had a small window of time to get the epidural, so I asked for one immediately. 15 minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and got me all setup.

As he was sticking the needle to my spine, it made my knee reflex, which I couldn’t control.

I heard this quiet “shit” come behind me from my anesthesiologist. “what happened?” I instantly responded.

As it turned out, my slight reflex jerk motion made him mistakenly stick the needle in the wrong place. Now I have leaking spinal fluid, and I may be at risk of developing debilitating spinal headaches within 24 hours.

Fortunately, the second time he tried, we were in business. My pain was starting to subside.


An hour later, my doctor confirmed that I was at 10 centimeters, which meant we were ready to push!

My husband was holding my hand on one side, and mom was on the other. I was told to give three strong pushes when I felt pressure and take deep breaths in between contractions. Everyone had their game face on.

I could feel the pressure with the epidural, but the pain was dull. I had a smile on the entire time.

I even joked, “this is not as dramatic as what they show on TV!”

5:53 pm

A few more strong pushes later, Baby K arrived, crying, pink and beautiful! It was 5:53 pm.

After he was swiftly cleaned, the respiratory team assessed him (we had meconium in my amniotic fluid so they wanted to make sure he didn’t breathe any of it in). The doctor stitched me up, and K was placed on my chest.

He was 8 lbs., 7 oz. A smaller baby compared to my daughter but still a big one.

I was so grateful that I had the opportunity to have VBAC. I can honestly say that I really enjoy the whole birth experience. Nothing like what I’ve seen on TV.

If you are on the fence, I would definitely recommend giving VBAC a try.

The VBAC was so much easier than I had envisioned, and the recovery was 1,000 times easier than my first c-section.

If any of you mamas are on the fence, I would recommend giving a VBAC a try. I am so happy that I had the opportunity!

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