Ep. 139: Laura’s Surprise VBAC Birth Story

March 1, 2021

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Laura had her baby! In this episode, she talks about how it all went down, including whether she ended up having a VBAC or repeat C-section. Also, Shanna discusses her surprising decision about her toddler’s potty training. Finally, they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s toddler is 2 years old, and Laura’s toddler is 2 years old. Laura is 0 weeks pregnant and has a newborn!

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Episode Transcript

Shanna:
Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. On this week’s episode, we have our weekly check-ins. We have our special segment, Big Topic, where we hear from Laura on a very exciting new development in her life. We wrap things up with our BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get to it.

Laura:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the show. This is episode 139. Hello, Shanna.

Shanna:
Hi.

Laura:
Hi. I want to hear your check-in for this week. What have you guys been up to?

Shanna:
Well, we’ve had an interesting week-

Laura:
Oh, yeah?

Shanna:
… over here. Yeah. First I’ll start with it was Elle’s birthday this week. Yay!

Laura:
Oh, yeah! Yay!

Shanna:
She turned five on Thursday. That was very exciting. I did the whole Shanna Micko routine with the decorating just extravagantly at night. Her grandma got her one of those climbing domes. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Laura:
Whoa! Yeah.

Shanna:
Yeah. It’s a bunch of metal bars and it makes a dome. Just one more attempt on our part to get these kids more exercise, right, and more physically active. That was in the living room when she woke up and everything. It was a fun day. She decorated her own cake this year.

Laura:
Ooh.

Shanna:
I was very proud that I stepped back and allowed her to do it however she wanted, which she knows is hard for me because I love decorating cakes and making them for the kids, and stuff. She was like, “I had this vision for weeks.” She talked about her vision for this cake and she executed it.

Laura:
What was it?

Shanna:
Well, she wanted the theme of Blaze and the Monster Machines, which is one of her favorite TV shows from Nick Jr. It’s a bunch of monster machine trucks, right? She decided she wanted a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and Maraschino cherries all over it.

Laura:
Oh, wow!

Shanna:
I just sent her to town with a jar of cherries and she’s putting them everywhere, and little figurines from the show. It was so fun and sweet to be with her while she was doing that and see the joy on her face. It was awesome.

Laura:
She obviously takes after you.

Shanna:
Aw.

Laura:
She picked up the cake decorating gene.

Shanna:
Yeah, she did. The funny thing I was going to mention, though, about how I decorate everything at night. For the morning, I expected this big overwhelming reaction and excitement, and stuff. I can never predict correctly how she’s actually going to react to things. I expect her to be like, “Oh, my God! The climbing dome. Ah!” She just walked out and looked around, and took it all in, and was so subdued.

Laura:
Oh, my gosh.

Shanna:
But yet here, we get Chili a new water bowl and she loses her mind when he uses it for the first time. She’s like, “Oh, my God! He used his bowl. He used his bowl. Huh! Huh!” Just loses her mind over that.

Laura:
Chili, the Chihuahua mix?

Shanna:
Yes.

Laura:
As you say.

Shanna:
Our little dog. Yes. That was an exciting event in our house.

Laura:
That is really funny. You never know what they’re going to be interested in.

Shanna:
Yeah. Yeah. I think she was internally excited. Maybe just too overwhelmed to react. But CeCe loves the climbing dome, too. It’s a big hit with everybody.

Laura:
Where does that live now? Outside or inside?

Shanna:
Outside. Oh, man. It took up a good portion of our living room. We moved it outside. Much, much better out there.

Laura:
I feel like your backyard is turning into Disneyland at this point for kids.

Shanna:
It is. These kids. Oh, my God. I was telling my brother about some of the things we bought the girls. He was like, “Oh, my God! If we would’ve had that stuff when we were kids. Oh, that would’ve been amazing.” We were playing slip and slide on cardboard boxes in our dirt backyard. That was our idea of a good time. They’ve got the sandbox and the climbing dome, and everything. I can’t wait for your little guy to come over and play, and have so much fun, and everything.

Laura:
Oh, my God. He would love it.

Shanna:
He would.

Laura:
He’s missing climbing because we’re not going to the playgrounds again because of the-

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
… COVID. Ah. Yeah. He really misses climbing. I’ve thought about those climbing domes. There’s nowhere to put it in our house, but yeah.

Shanna:
Yeah. That’s hard.

Laura:
That’s awesome.

Shanna:
But yeah. Speaking of CeCe, a little update about her. You know I’ve been struggling a lot with potty training.

Laura:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shanna:
It’s been really hard, I think, because I’m distracted constantly. I can’t really completely focus on her and prompting her, and everything. Everyone in the household is just distracted. It goes well some days, but overall it’s not really been going well. A couple times I’ve been tempted to go back to pull-ups and I’ve been like, “No, no, no. I’ve got to stay the course. That’s the right thing to do, et cetera, et cetera.” This week I just felt like it was too stressful for everybody, for me especially, and for her especially. She didn’t want to be prompted. She was fighting every single prompt and having accidents. I was just like, “You know what? Forget it. We’re going back to pull-ups and diapers, and we’re taking a break.” I don’t know for how long, but that’s what we’re doing. I felt like such a failure.

Laura:
No.

Shanna:
But I did it. Then the next day, you know what I did? I looked at the Oh Crap! Potty Training Book because I wanted to see if there was any tidbits of advice or anything about what I was going through. I found a whole chapter on what she calls the reset.

Laura:
The reset. Yeah. I was going to say you’re doing a reset.

Shanna:
I had no idea. I thought that this woman’s point of view was there was no turning back. Because I read this book a couple years ago, right? I don’t remember everything.

Laura:
Sure. Yeah.

Shanna:
Yeah. I read this chapter and that’s what it was all about. If you’ve been trying diligently for a while, which we have, and it’s not working, everyone is stressed, just take the pressure off. Put the potty away, go back to diapers, explain it to the kiddo, and come back a few weeks, maybe a month or two later. That’s what we’re doing.

Laura:
You’re on a reset. I think that’s good. That’s fine.

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
Also, she’s still only what? Twenty five months old at this point?

Shanna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura:
Yeah.

Shanna:
Yeah. I feel so relieved. It is-

Laura:
Oh, good.

Shanna:
… such a gift to not have to constantly be in the back of my mind, multitasking whether or not she’s been going to the bathroom recently or what her status is, and hoping everyone else in the family is paying attention, too. Are they on top of it? Oh, my God. It’s just wonderful. That’s where we are with that.

Laura:
I’m in full support of this because I feel like you have enough stress in your life right now that anything you can do to relieve that is good in my book.

Shanna:
Thank you.

Laura:
It’s not like she’s going to go to college wearing diapers.

Shanna:
No, no. She’s not even going to go to kindergarten wearing diapers. I have faith. I have faith.

Laura:
Yeah. You know she’s capable. She’s got a really strong-willed personality. I think maybe she’s just one of those kids who really needs to come at it on her own more than being suggested.

Shanna:
Yes.

Laura:
She doesn’t seem to be a kid who really takes suggestion well. CeCe needs to do it herself.

Shanna:
Oh, yes. That’s how it is. If she’s getting dressed for the day, she has to go in there by herself and pick her clothes, and put them on. Yeah. It’s the same with the potty. She gets so mad when I ask her to do it. Yeah. It just wasn’t working and she was rebelling, I think.

Laura:
My guy who’s actually pretty good with the potty, he has some accidents here and there, but not much. He has never put on his own clothing, not a single piece of clothing. He’s taken off clothes occasionally, but he has no interest or I don’t even know if he has the skill to actually put a shirt on over his own head. I feel like kids are just so different.

Shanna:
Yeah. The things that motivate them is very funny, but yeah. That’s our week in a nutshell. Laura, what’s going on with you?

Laura:
Well, I was 38 weeks pregnant this week.

Shanna:
You were?

Laura:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Shanna:
Were, past tense. What does that mean?

Laura:
Well, it’s a long story. I was thinking maybe we could take a break. Then come back and that’ll be our special segment for this week.

Shanna:
I’m so excited. Let’s do it.

Laura:
Okay.

Shanna:
We are back and this week’s special segment is… Laura, I think you have something to tell us.

Laura:
I had a baby.

Shanna:
Ah! Okay. Tell us more.

Laura:
That’s it. [crosstalk 00:08:58]

Shanna:
No. That’s not the end of the story.

Laura:
Okay. Buckle up. I was 38 weeks pregnant, all week. As most people knew, I had a C-section scheduled for the day. I turned 39 weeks pregnant, which is Monday. I was starting to get to the point where I was really at peace with the fact that I was going to have my repeat C-section because I wasn’t really showing any signs of labor. On Thursday, I had a doctor’s appointment and he didn’t even bother checking my cervix because he was like, “I can tell this baby is not down in your pelvis yet. It’s not engaged-”

Shanna:
Whoa! Okay.

Laura:
“There’s no point in checking your cervix.” I was like, “Okay.” I had been having some, what felt like, menstrual cramps. I’d been googling what do contractions feel like because every once in a while I would wake up at night during this past week with what felt like period cramps with a little bit of a Braxton Hicks feeling to it. But they weren’t painful and they didn’t happen regularly. I had told my doctor about this and he was like, “Yeah. I don’t think that’s anything. That’s not prodromal labor or anything.” I was like, “All right. I guess I’m going to have this repeat C-section.” That’s fine, right? That was always one of the options.

Shanna:
Right.

Laura:
On Saturday night, Corey and I, we’re going to bed. We’re like, “Oh, how crazy? How in two days we’re going to have a baby. I’m going to go back for the C-section.” We were talking about how, well, it’s nice to know exactly when it’s going to happen. We’ll know how to plan for childcare for the toddler and stuff. Meanwhile, by the way, I should mention that my mom had just arrived from Portland.

Shanna:
Oh, okay.

Laura:
She rolled into town at 4:00 PM on Saturday.

Shanna:
4:00 PM. Okay.

Laura:
Yes. Because she had waited to get her second COVID shot. She had just gotten into town. We were all like, “Okay. Cool. Everything’s falling into place. We’ll have a day to organize.” I had a plan for Sunday, which was to organize this drawer that had become a catch-all for toddler and baby stuff. I wanted to use it for baby bottles and pacifiers, and stuff. I was like, “Okay. We’ll do that tomorrow. We’ll just have a chill day.” Then this happened.

Shanna:
What?

Laura:
I have voice memos for you.

Shanna:
Oh, awesome. Okay.

Laura:
It is currently 4:49 AM. I woke up at 4:17 with one of those weird feelings like I was having a contraction. I wasn’t sure. Oh, wait. Here comes another one. I should probably start it. I’m starting the timer. You guys get to hear me have, what hopefully is, a mild contraction. Those things that I thought were contractions for the last week or so turned out to be a contraction because I felt that. Then I felt some water. Then gush, my water broke. I’m scheduled to have my C-section. It’s Sunday morning. I was supposed to have it Monday morning. I’m 24 hours out, but I just called my doctor and he said that I can stay at home if I want to try to do this VBAC. I can stay at home until my contractions get painful.

Laura:
We’re going to try to do that. Yeah. Super weird, but I think it’s hilarious that my water breaks just over 24 hours before my planned C-section. But I guess that is a thing that happens. I will try to take voice memos throughout this, assuming everyone doesn’t think I’m a total weirdo for documenting it, and we’ll see what happens.

Shanna:
Oh, my God. Twelve hours after your mom arrives and 24 hours before the scheduled C-section-

Laura:
Correct.

Shanna:
… your baby’s like, “I’m ready.” He knew.

Laura:
I guess. It’s so funny because later I talked to my brother about it. He was like, “Do you think there was a psychological aspect? Now that mom was there, you knew it was okay.” I was like, “No.” If that was the case, everyone could plan their deliveries.

Shanna:
Yeah. If only.

Laura:
But yeah, I was just lying in bed and then I was like, “That feels wet.” I was having one of those things; I still wasn’t sure it was a contraction. I was like, “That feels wet.” I was like, “I should get out of bed.” I jumped out of bed because I didn’t want to soak my brand new mattress.

Shanna:
The things that are important in that moment are hilarious.

Laura:
Yes. Actually, it’s so funny because I was so proud of myself that I didn’t leak anywhere on the bed. I was like, “Awesome!” Then gush, really it was like the movies. I think it must have been what yours was like, too. It was just sploosh all over the hardwood floor. I was like, “Well.”

Shanna:
Yup.

Laura:
I was like, “Corey, Corey.” He’s like, “What?” I was like, “I think my water just broke.”

Shanna:
Oh, my God!

Laura:
He’s like, “You think?” Then there was another gush. I was like, “No, my water definitely just broke. There’s no question.”

Shanna:
Yes. It is pretty obvious when it happens.

Laura:
Yeah. Yeah. What did you say? Only 10% of women get that, right?

Shanna:
I think that’s the statistic I read. Yeah.

Laura:
Yeah. Anyway, my doctor said to stay home until the contractions got painful and I was like, “What does that exactly mean?” I’m like, “Period cramps are painful.” I called my mom. I was like, “Oh, my water broke.” She was like, “Are you kidding me?” She was like, “Okay. I’m going to shower. I’m going to come over.” We were timing my contractions and they were really very irregular, but 15 minutes, 20 minutes apart and very mild. But then I realized that they were starting to get a little bit more frequent and I really didn’t want to have a baby in the car. My mom was like, “When I had you, it happened really, really fast. You better get going.” Then I took this voice memo.

Laura:
Okay. It’s 5:55 AM. I’m sitting in Corey’s car, waiting for him to run back in because I forgot my wallet. We decided to go in because the contractions, they weren’t getting too painful. My doctor said we didn’t have to come until they were painful. I did get some pink-tinged amniotic fluid. We think it might be time to go in. Here we go.

Laura:
We drove in and got admitted. When you’re in the admissions area, they were like, “We’ll check to make sure your amniotic fluid, your sac actually broke or whatever.” I was like, “It did.” They’re like, “Well, we’re going to test what’s leaking.” I’m like, “Great.”

Shanna:
I remember that exact experience. They’re like, “We need to double check.” I’m like, “I’m pretty sure it’s not pee. I can tell.” They’re like, “Nope, nope.” But they had to do the test.

Laura:
Yeah. She did the test and then she forgot about it. It was the shift change, right? The other nurse came in. He was like, “Well, what’s the result on the fluid?” They looked at it for a second. They looked at it and she was about to say, “Oh, no. It’s not ready yet.” Then she was like, “Oh, no. There it is. It’s positive.” I’m like, “I told you.” Anyway…

Shanna:
Told you. Told you.

Laura:
Told you. They checked my cervix for the first time to see how progressed I was. Because I thought, “Okay. Water broke. Having some irregular contractions, but contractions, nonetheless.” Let’s see where we’re at.

Laura:
All right. We’re in labor and delivery. I’m all hooked up to the baby monitors. You can hear the baby’s heart probably in the background. Corey’s here. We’re just sitting around. I got my amniotic fluid checked and it was positive. No surprise. I don’t know what else would’ve gushed out of me in the middle of the night. I’m definitely staying here no matter what; that’s what they say. Unfortunately, I’m only 0.5 centimeters dilated according to the nurse. That’s not super promising, but I will see what happens. I think they’re currently trying to get a plan together with my doctor. We’re just sitting around looking at our phones like a normal morning, except not a normal morning. That’s the update. Oh, it’s 7:09 AM.

Laura:
That was a little disappointing.

Shanna:
Yeah. That’s not dilated very much at all.

Laura:
No. It was 7:00 AM and we got checked in. The nurse was like, “Okay. I’ve talked to your doctor. He says he’s cool with you trying for this VBAC, but he wants you to progress naturally as long as possible before we do any interventions. He doesn’t want to give you an epidural until you’re at least three centimeters dilated.”

Shanna:
Oh, okay.

Laura:
He didn’t want to give me Pitocin either. I think because Pitocin can be a little aggressive for someone who’s had a C-section before.

Shanna:
Okay.

Laura:
All right. It is 9:55 AM. We just got moved to a much comfier room with a really pretty view over the mountains north of Los Angeles, covered in snow. I am going to try to take a nap because I’m not in active labor. My doctor says he wants me to attempt to go into active labor naturally without Pitocin. I’m being monitored. He said if I don’t go into active labor on my own by midnight, then he’s going to start it, the Pitocin. It being Pitocin. We might be in for a long haul.

Laura:
We’ve been spying on my toddler and his grandma in our living room using our Nest Cams. Don’t tell my mom. She has already resorted to showing him television. He’s probably really happy. We tried FaceTiming with him and he just said, “More trucks. More truck videos.” Yeah. I’m just going to try to take a nap and see if contractions start happening more frequently.

Shanna:
That is hilarious about your mom and your toddler.

Laura:
Yeah. He now knows what Paw Patrol is. I was trying-

Shanna:
Uh-oh.

Laura:
I know. It’s too late. Once you’ve introduced it, there’s no going back.

Shanna:
Oh, yeah.

Laura:
But he was in good hands. I loved having the Nest Cams because even though it was frustrating to be like, “He should be napping right now”, I knew I could check in and see how he was doing. I could tell he wasn’t just bawling or something, or screaming for mama.

Shanna:
That’s good. Yeah.

Laura:
All right. We just had to wait.

Shanna:
Okay. You were going to try for a nap, which is not easy-

Laura:
No.

Shanna:
… even if you’re not in active labor yet. But in that room, I just remember suffering through a nap. Were you able to rest? What happened next?

Laura:
A little bit. My contractions were coming 15 minutes apart, 10 minutes apart. The nurses were very skeptical about whether I was actually progressing. My doctor had asked for no cervical checks because he didn’t want to introduce bacteria, especially because my membranes have ruptured already.

Shanna:
Right.

Laura:
I had this nurse. She was very professional and knew what she was doing, but she was clearly like, “Look, you’re probably going to…” I think she thought I was going to end up on Pitocin at midnight and have this big, long drawn out thing. What happened was later in the afternoon, that was about 9:00 AM, right? Later in the afternoon, all of a sudden my contractions started picking up. I started telling her this and she was like, “Look, it’s way too soon. It’s way too soon.” But I was like, “This shit hurts.” Here’s my next check-in. Let’s see what I said. To be fair, I don’t even remember what all these voice memos say. Let’s see.

Laura:
Okay. It’s 3:33 PM or something like that. I’ve been having irregular contractions, but they’re fucking painful. Well, I asked the nurse about my pain options and they’re going to give me a IV dose of some narcotics, it sounds like. Hopefully, I’ll be able to sleep for a couple hours and let this labor progress without being totally wrecked with pain. That is what’s going on. But they’re 10 minutes apart; they’re irregular. But I would say about 10 minutes apart. I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s 11 hours since my water broke. Oh, hopefully I get some rest.

Shanna:
What was this narcotic like?

Laura:
I don’t remember exactly which one it was. It was two different narcotics. All I know is that it was just like, “Send me off into dreamland.”

Shanna:
Ah. Excellent.

Laura:
They put it into my IV and I just floated away. I’m a little sad. I didn’t have the wherewithal to try to do a voice memo under the effect of the narcotic.

Shanna:
Darn it.

Laura:
But I floated away for a half hour.

Shanna:
Oh, that’s it? Okay.

Laura:
It did not last long. I definitely had a little bit of relief for at least a half hour, but then I started to notice the pain through the narcotic. It was a weird feeling like I was floating above my body and yet could still feel my uterus in terrible pain.

Shanna:
Oh, weird.

Laura:
That was the point where I was like, “Okay. If this is my option and I’m not close enough to three centimeters, I might just ask for the C-section.” Because if they’re not going to give me an epidural and this is like, “What is going on”, I don’t know if I can handle this. After the narcotics started wearing off, I recorded this.

Laura:
We’ll see if you can even hear me over the baby heartbeat monitor. It’s 6:00 PM and my contractions are what? Two minutes apart. I want to say, Corey?

Corey:
Something like that. Yeah.

Laura:
They’re coming fast and furious. I have asked for an epidural. They’re working on it. The nurse checked me in a very unpleasant way. I’m at three centimeters, 80% effaced, and it’s station negative two. But she said she could feel the baby’s head, which is a good thing. It means I’m actually progressing, which is what I wanted to hear. I am getting the epidural, even though my doctor thought it might be good to wait a little longer. I do not think it’s a good idea. Here we are. That’s the update.

Shanna:
What did the contractions feel like?

Laura:
Oh, man. They were so all encompassing. They had allowed me to stand up at some point because they wanted me on continuous fetal monitoring because of the C-section. I couldn’t really get up and walk around much except for when I wanted to go pee. I would take those opportunities to stand up. There was one point where I got up to go pee and then that’s when the contractions kicked in. They were every two minutes. I got no break between them. It just felt like… It’s so hard to describe. It’s like your whole body is on fire.

Shanna:
That’s fun.

Laura:
Cramping, the worst charley horse in the world that just keeps coming. It’s so interesting because even now it’s hard for me to recall exactly what that pain felt like. I remember Corey being like, “Breathe, breathe.” I want to be like, “I am breathing, mother…” I didn’t do that. I was just like, “Breathing isn’t helping here.” Of course, it was helping. I had Corey aggressively massaging my sciatic nerve, essentially. I was like, “Just press really hard here on my sacrum.” That’s the only thing that was helping me. Yeah.

Laura:
But it’s funny because when that was going on, that nurse was just like, “I don’t think you’re dilated.” Then she checked me and I remember it was like to see if I got into college or not. It was like, “Please, please, please, please, please, let me be three centimeters, so I can get this damn epidural.” Then she was like, “Oh.” She was like, “Oh, oh.” Oh, my God. That was really painful, too. The other checks I had gotten weren’t that painful, but she routed around in there. I was just like, “Oh, my God.” Yeah. It’s not fun. But then she was like, “Oh, oh, oh, three centimeters.” I was like, “Thank the Lord! Get that epidural.”

Shanna:
It’s amazing how much it hurts at three centimeters and there’s still seven to go.

Laura:
Right?

Shanna:
The whole thing is just so painful.

Laura:
The whole thing. I always had respect for friends who did it without any pain medicine or epidurals, but now I honestly don’t think I could have. I really think I would’ve thrown in the towel for sure. But now I have a voice memo from after I got the epidural and let’s see how blissed out I am with this.

Laura:
All right. It’s 7:38 PM. I got my epidural about an hour ago. Good Lord, that shit is good stuff, man. I feel so much better already. I have a lot of respect for moms who go the no-epidural route because, yeah, those contractions hurt. I’m not going to lie. Now we are just going to hunker down for the night and try to get some sleep. Right now, my toddler is still awake with grandma, getting completely spoiled by television, and been trying not to care too much about checking in with that. But yeah, the epidural just really made my day. Yeah. They said that by morning, hopefully I’ll be ready to push and the nurse is bringing me a peanut ball to help keep my hips in a good position. Yeah. It seems like I’m doing this labor thing for real. Here we are. I’ll check in later if I can.

Shanna:
Did you say that they told you you would be ready to push by the morning?

Laura:
Yeah.

Shanna:
Okay.

Laura:
What the nurse had said was they didn’t want to start Pitocin yet. They wanted to try to get me a little bit more dilated first because my doctor was trying to be really conservative with that, right? They say that it’s one centimeter every one to two hours, is what they’re aiming for, right? She said, “Yeah. By 6:00 AM, you should probably should be ready.” But I didn’t care at that point because I couldn’t feel it anymore and I was just so happy to get that relief. The whole body relief that came from not having to feel that pain was fantastic.

Laura:
I also had this great nurse. There was a shift change and I got this fantastic nurse who was so positive, and so on top of things. She was like, “Oh, girl. I got you. I have this peanut ball technique that we do. We’re going to flip you every two hours. We’re going to get your leg up on it. I know how to get this baby engaged. I know how to get it going. You’re in good hands.” I was just like-

Shanna:
It is awesome.

Laura:
It felt so nice to have that kind of attitude around me. Yeah. We rested. I actually took some audio of what it just sounded like to be in the middle of the night in the labor room. You want to hear?

Shanna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shanna:
What’s all that buzzing and warring, and everything?

Laura:
Oh, man. It was the baby on the monitor. There’s the print outs every so often of my contraction chart. There’s the leg compression things they put you in.

Shanna:
Oh, right.

Laura:
That was the buzzing and the deflating you hear. Every once in a while there’s beeping. It’s actually like a lot of white noise, which is nice. I’m used to white noise now that I sleep with my baby monitor next to my bedside. I just hear white noise all the time. We just did that. Starting around 7:00, we just sat in the quiet. Every once in a while, my nurse would come in, help me change positions. But I wasn’t feeling a thing and it was pretty awesome.

Shanna:
Oh, good. What kind of positions were you in? On your back, on your side? Were there positions you weren’t allowed to be in?

Laura:
Yeah. I was on my side because at first, when I was first contracting way, way earlier in the day, when I was lying on my back, my baby’s heartbeat would decelerate a little bit when I was on my back. They wanted me on my side. The way that they had me positioned was I was on my side slightly tilted forward, so my hips are forward, and my upper leg was up on this peanut ball. You know what those things are? They’re like-

Shanna:
I can picture it.

Laura:
They’re like two-lobed yoga balls, basically. They look like a big old peanut. She propped my leg up, trying to get the knee as close to my head as possible. She said, “This is the way to get your cervix open.” This is she being the nurse. The nurse was like, “This always works. This is my tried-and-true method. We’re going to get you positioned properly with the peanut ball.” Yeah. I was on my side with my leg up on the peanut ball.

Shanna:
Okay. Sounds good. Calm. Settled in for the night. What happened next?

Laura:
Let’s see.

Laura:
It’s 10:48 PM. I got checked at about 10:00 and I was 100% effaced, nine centimeters-

Shanna:
Oh, my God.

Laura:
… and at station negative one. He’s moved up. Now I’m in the process of laboring down as my amazing nurse, Jenna, has explained it to me. We’re trying to get some rest, but I’m starting to feel a lot of pressure down below. It’s a little hard to sleep. I thought I would quickly check in, mostly so I don’t forget about all the details. They’re guessing probably between midnight and 1:00 AM, I’ll start pushing. Hopefully, this epidural stays good. I’m feeling a little bit of pain on my left side, but it’s maybe a two. It’s absolutely nothing compared to the other pain I was feeling earlier before the epidural.

Laura:
The nurse said I could get an extra dose of pain medicine from the anesthesiologist, but the problem would be that I might be so dead that I won’t be able to… Dead down below, that is, push really well. I don’t want to do that. I’m just hoping that this doesn’t mean that the pain is going to be too bad while I’m pushing. She even lowered my Pitocin; I was at 01 whatever milli unit or whatever they would call it. She lowered it to 0.5. She said that it’s really mostly me, my body, doing the contractions. That’s good. My body’s actually doing what it’s supposed to. Amazing. Anyway, I’m probably keeping Corey up with my voice memos. I will sign off.

Shanna:
Wow! That happened fast.

Laura:
Yeah!

Shanna:
Oh, my God.

Laura:
It’s crazy, too, because I did not feel it at all. I had to ask the nurse. I was like, “Am I still contracting?” She’s like, “Oh, yeah.” She’s pointing at the monitor. She’s like, “Every two minutes. Look.” I was like-

Shanna:
Wow!

Laura:
… “Not a clue. Had not a clue that was going on all this time.”

Shanna:
Oh, epidurals. Oh, praise you. But wait, did you get Pitocin? I missed that.

Laura:
Yeah. I forgot to mention that. I think it was 9:00 PM or something. They started me on a-

Shanna:
Oh, okay.

Laura:
… really light Pitocin drip. What the nurse said was most people start at two units per whatever. I don’t know what the actual unit. She was just saying one, two, three, right? She was like, “Most people start at two and then you up it to four. But with the previous C-section, your doctor wants to start with one.” She’s like, “It was a really, really low dose.” I guess I never got above one. She actually said that they lowered it down to 0.5 because I progressed so fast. She said it was really-

Shanna:
Wow!

Laura:
… mostly me. It wasn’t really the Pitocin speaking.

Shanna:
Yeah. You and that peanut ball between your legs and your knee by your face. I think that nurse’s tricks worked.

Laura:
Oh, I 100% believe that nurse’s trick worked. She really was very confident and knew what she was doing, and I was so grateful for that.

Shanna:
Wow!

Laura:
Yeah. I had no idea that I went from what? Three centimeters at 6:00 PM to nine centimeters at 10:00 PM.

Shanna:
Oh, my gosh.

Laura:
That’s much faster than their estimate, which is great. Great. Plus my water had broken. There’s a clock going on there. My doctor didn’t say, “We have to get this baby out by 24 hours or anything”, but he said we would have to start on antibiotics if it had gone a certain amount of time. I don’t remember exactly what that was.

Shanna:
Oh. Interesting.

Laura:
I’m pretty sure I got antibiotics at some point. I did. I definitely got them at some point. When? I don’t know. The nurse was coming in and out. She just probably stuck it in my IV and I was like, “Sure. Whatever. Let me sleep.”

Shanna:
Okay. Oh, wow! Okay. How did you feel about this information?

Laura:
I was excited. I was encouraged and also a little terrified because I was like, “Okay.” This whole time I’ve been saying I’m open to the idea of a VBAC, but as discussed on the show, it was never my life’s dream to have the VBAC, right? I know that there’s a lot of outcomes that can be really scary with a vaginal birth: lots of tearing, or birth injuries, all kinds of stuff. It’s a little more unpredictable, I guess, than your just calm, scheduled C-section can be. I was definitely a little nervous because the epidural had been wearing off on my left side. Something I had never known because apparently epidurals work a little bit by gravity. Since I was on my right side for a while-

Shanna:
What?

Laura:
… the medicine was on my right side and my left side was starting to get sensation more.

Shanna:
Whoa! That’s crazy.

Laura:
Isn’t it?

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
I was really worried that when I push, that would mean it would be super painful on my left side. But the nurse reassured me that the pain I was feeling with my contractions or with the pressure was the worst it was going to get. It wasn’t going to get worse than it was. I was like, “Oh, okay. That’s a two-”

Shanna:
Oh, good.

Laura:
“That’s nothing.”

Shanna:
Okay. Oh, my gosh. Laura, I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Laura:
I feel like we’re on American Idol and I should be like, “We’ll find out after this break.”

Shanna:
All right. Let’s do it.

Shanna:
We’re back. Laura, I’m dying to hear the rest of this story. Tell me what happened next.

Laura:
Okay. Here’s the next update.

Laura:
Well, it’s 11:37 and my pressure down below has really increased. The nurse just came in and she said I’m 10 centimeters, and I’m at a plus one. She had me do a little trial push with the contraction and she said that it was time. She’s calling my doctor and he’s coming in. It’s probably unlikely that I’ll make it in before midnight. Whoever had the 1st of February in the pool is probably right. But yeah, I think this is really happening. I’m feeling excited and nervous. Still feeling a little pain on my left side even with the epidural, but hopefully it stays manageable like this and it’ll be done soon. I’ll have a little baby to take care of. Corey and I both got a little bit of sleep. That’s good. Oh, boy! Here we go.

Shanna:
Oh, my God. That’s so exciting. Ah! So close.

Laura:
So close. Okay. My nurse had called my doctor. It’s funny. He actually lives in my neighborhood. It was going to take him 15 minutes to get here, to get to the hospital.

Shanna:
Oh, really? Okay.

Laura:
Yeah. He had been on standby, though. It actually didn’t take him that long, but the nurse came in. The doctor was five minutes out. She was like, “Let’s try. Let’s do a push before he gets here.” I did one push with her with the contraction. Then my doctor comes strolling in. He puts on his scrubs and his gloves, looks at me, and he’s like, “Oh, crap!” He’s like, “I got to fully gown up.” He barely had time to get his galoshes on. I don’t know what you call them. They get in this big splash gear essentially. They cover up their shoes and they cover up their other scrubs.

Shanna:
It’s messy business.

Laura:
Yeah. He had me push with my next contraction and then he had me push with my next contraction. That was it.

Shanna:
Oh, my God! That’s it?

Laura:
I had Corey video it. From very far away, you actually can’t see anything, which is perfect. You can’t see what’s going on. You can just hear it. I went back and timed it from the time I did my trial or my push with my nurse to when the baby was out; it was five and a half minutes.

Shanna:
Oh, my God. That’s amazing.

Laura:
It’s crazy. Actually, do you want to hear the very last push and the baby coming out?

Shanna:
Yes. Yes!

Laura:
Okay.

Speaker 4:
… fine. [crosstalk 00:40:47] go.

Speaker 5:
Go.

Speaker 4:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Speaker 5:
Yes.

Speaker 4:
Come on. One more. Great job. [crosstalk 00:41:02].

Speaker 5:
Heads up.

Speaker 4:
Good job. [crosstalk 00:41:06]

Laura:
Oh, my goodness.

Speaker 4:
There you go! Great job! [crosstalk 00:41:10] And just like that.

Shanna:
Aw.

Speaker 4:
Congratulations!

Helen:
You did a lot in there. I’m Helen. I’m going to be taking care of the baby. Okay?

Laura:
Hi, sweet boy.

Helen:
Yeah.

Laura:
[inaudible 00:41:31] real fast.

Helen:
There you go.

Laura:
Hi, sweetie. Hi.

Helen:
Let me just dry him off a little bit there.

Speaker 7:
You’re amazing.

Speaker 8:
Thank you.

Laura:
That was that.

Shanna:
I’m going to cry. I’m getting all choked up.

Laura:
Aw.

Shanna:
That’s so sweet. Aw.

Laura:
Yeah. Gosh, this little baby really made it convenient for me and-

Shanna:
Great.

Laura:
… for my doctor, by the way. Cleared up his morning schedule. Oh, I should say the baby was born at 12:02 AM.

Shanna:
Oh, my God. February 1st, just by a hair.

Laura:
Just by a hair. Everyone who had the first in the baby pool just barely made it.

Shanna:
Yes.

Laura:
Yeah. But he was seven pounds on the dot, 19 inches, and his head was in the 35th percentile or something like that. I think-

Shanna:
Well, that’s helpful.

Laura:
That really helped.

Shanna:
Yeah. Yeah.

Laura:
But yeah, I guess I had a VBAC.

Shanna:
You did! Oh, my God. What happens next after that? What went on?

Laura:
I had to deliver the placenta, which I don’t even know what happened. I remember my doctor saying, “You got to deliver the placenta.” I was like, “Okay.” I’m like, “Did you just pull it out?” I don’t know what happened. I didn’t push or anything. Then Corey cut the cord, which was cute, I guess. I don’t know.

Shanna:
That’s cool.

Laura:
Cute might be the wrong word for it. He was like, “It’s tough. It’s hard to get through.”

Shanna:
Oh.

Laura:
I should say, because this show is all about honesty, I did get a first degree tear, which-

Shanna:
Okay. Is that terrible? [crosstalk 00:43:29]

Laura:
No. It’s just a superficial tear. If you look it up, I don’t know all the details, but first degree is the least kind of tear you can get other than nothing. My doctor said it just required one suture and that was it.

Shanna:
That’s good.

Laura:
Hopefully, that’ll be an easy enough recovery. I don’t know.

Shanna:
Yeah. I hope so.

Laura:
We’ll see. Yeah. But already I have to say that I feel much better than I did after my C-section. I could get up and walk around almost. The epidural had to wear off. But I remember after that C-section, the first time you get up out of that bed is terrifying.

Shanna:
Excruciating.

Laura:
Yeah. It wasn’t like that for me. It was sore and uncomfortable, but all my muscles were still in place.

Shanna:
Yes. That helps.

Laura:
Yeah. But I’ll definitely be talking more about my postpartum recovery and stuff when we’re postpartum. But right now, we are-

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
Yeah. We had a baby.

Shanna:
It’s so exciting.

Laura:
A little baby.

Shanna:
What was the naming process like? Did you guys have something right off the bat or what?

Laura:
No. We had the Google doc. It was similar with my other baby; we had a couple front runners. I guess I can now say what one of the front runners was that we didn’t use.

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
I was pretty certain we were going to end up naming him Sebastian.

Shanna:
Ooh, that’s a great name.

Laura:
I still love the name. Corey and I were both really into it. I had just started thinking about him as Sebastian in the last couple days. But then we looked at him and we’re like, “He’s not a Sebastian.”

Shanna:
Oh, that’s interesting.

Laura:
We consulted our short list on the Google doc, which wasn’t that short. It was 25 names.

Shanna:
That’s a lot. Oh, my gosh.

Laura:
Corey said a couple of them were jumping out at him and I said a couple were jumping out at me. Neither of us wanted to be the first one to say which ones were jumping out and I forced him to say it. I was like, “Just tell me which one you like.” It turned out to be the one I like.

Shanna:
Oh, cool.

Laura:
Yeah. It starts with the letter D.

Shanna:
Ah, for those in the pool who chose.

Laura:
Yeah.

Shanna:
Okay.

Laura:
Yes. I have to still figure out how I’m going to differentiate between my toddler and my newborn. That’s what’s coming.

Shanna:
On the show. Not in life.

Laura:
On the show. Yeah. In real life, I just call them by their names. Yeah.

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
Yeah. But I’m going to figure out my equivalent of CeCe and Elle so that I don’t have to keep calling them my toddler and my newborn.

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
Yeah.

Shanna:
Aw. Well, congratulations. You did it.

Laura:
Thank you.

Shanna:
So exciting.

Laura:
I feel like this also needs a disclaimer because I feel so much shit around this pregnancy. I feel so lucky and also mildly embarrassed with how easy certain things have come with it. To be fair, not everything has been easy with this pregnancy. I had excruciating SPD pain for the majority of it.

Shanna:
Right.

Laura:
Terrible heartburn. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy, but I got pregnant super easy. Then I had this accidental VBAC. I feel a little embarrassed by it because I know so many people work so hard to have this outcome and it means so much to them. I feel like some people are going to listen and be like, “Fuck this lady.”

Shanna:
Oh.

Laura:
I apologize if it’s triggering for anyone. I really truly was on team just-get-a-healthy-baby-out-of-me-however-it-works-out. This is how it has happened to work out.

Shanna:
Well, maybe it’s giving people encouragement to be like, “You know what? Maybe it can be great for me. Maybe it can be easy enough.” I don’t think it’s all negative.

Laura:
Okay. Good. Good, good, good. Yeah. I hope that’s the takeaway. I guess we hear all these super dramatic birth stories all the time, right?

Shanna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura:
You don’t hear the like, “Yeah. It wasn’t so bad. We went in, had it done. It was a little painful. Got that epidural. It was fine.”

Shanna:
Yeah. Exactly.

Laura:
That’s my contribution to the birth story world. It was fine.

Shanna:
It was fine.

Laura:
It was fine.

Shanna:
It was A okay.

Laura:
It was A okay. I had a baby! But I think we’ve gone on a long time with this check-in and special segment. I think we should move on to our BFPs and BFNs. What do you think?

Shanna:
Let’s do it.

Laura:
Okay. We close every show with our big fat positives or big fat negatives of the week. Shanna, do you have a BFP or a BFN for us?

Shanna:
I have a BFP.

Laura:
Oh, good.

Shanna:
Yeah. Just a sweet little outing that our family had this week that was really fun. We don’t go very many places because of the pandemic and we don’t even get out to parks all that much. But this weekend I was like, “I really want to just get out of the house with these kids and go see some nature.” There’s a really wonderful park with tons of hiking trails nearby. I was like, “That’s where we should go.” There’s a big open space in the middle with lots of trees and people like to bring their dogs, and fly kites. It’s big enough that we’ll all have our own space and be safe. We did that and it was so fun just to see other people. It sounds so crazy, but-

Laura:
I know.

Shanna:
Yeah. It was really fun to see everyone out there exercising and with their dogs, and their kids; that in itself was fun. CeCe going on her first hike. We didn’t hike very far up into the mountains, but on a dirt trail. Last time I went out there with her, she was in an infant carrier. Now she is a two-year-old actually walking along this little trail. That was really fun.

Shanna:
But the thing that just warmed my heart so much is that she has been in this quarantine for almost a year now. We’re going on 11 months. She doesn’t see other people really other than our family because we’re very home bound during this thing. We live with the more at-risk person in our households, so we are very conservative. Sometimes, we’re just like, “What is she going to think of other people? Is she going to be scared? What’s it going to be like when things open back up?” We’re out on this trail and there’s tons of people. It warmed my heart so much. She said hi or hello to almost every single person we passed.

Laura:
Aw.

Shanna:
She was so excited to see people. Nothing is cuter than a little two-year-old taking the initiative to say hi. Everyone was caught off guard because I’m not saying hi. She is.

Laura:
Right. Yeah.

Shanna:
I’m like, “Oh, hi.” She’s like, “Hello! Hi. Hewwo.”

Laura:
Aw. How cute.

Shanna:
So cute. I just loved seeing that so much and warmed my heart, and made me think, “Okay. Maybe she’s not going to turn out to be some weirdo like everyone’s worried their kids are going to turn out to be these weirdos after the quarantine.” They don’t see anyone-

Laura:
Right.

Shanna:
… or interact with anyone. It just felt normal. It felt just completely normal and giving me a little light at the end of the tunnel. I really, really loved that.

Laura:
Oh, that’s so nice to hear. Yeah. It breaks my heart because my toddler, Corey’s been taking him to this basketball court nearby that’s always pretty much empty. He can try to ride a scooter or just run around. I went and joined them the day before the baby was born. When we pull up, he goes, “People’s at the basketball court?” He knows that we were supposed to say, “No. There’s no people”, because that’s what we want, right? If there’s people on the basketball court, we have to go. Oh, man. He’s so conscious of whether there’s people. “People at the basketball court?” Oh.

Shanna:
Yeah. It’s those little things. It’s like, “Oh, yeah. That’s so odd.” Even just having to wear a mask. A little two-year-old having to keep her mask on the whole time, it’s off, but it is what it is. They’re so resilient.

Laura:
They are. It’s so nice that you got to have that big outing and get fresh air, and all that.

Shanna:
Oh, yeah. They were climbing this tree. This tree was growing out of the ground sideways and had a really big trunk. They were just climbing up this trunk and pretending they were kitty cats with claws. It was so wonderful. It was just a really great change of pace for us. It was awesome.

Laura:
That sounds great. I think you should make a habit of that.

Shanna:
I do, too. I will. I will. I will. All right. What about you? BFP or BFN this week?

Laura:
There’s a lot to choose from, I have to say. It’s definitely a BFP. I feel like the obvious answers are Corey, my new baby, the epidural, all that stuff.

Shanna:
Epidural. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Laura:
But I actually do have a BFP that I thought about this week. My BFP is my friend, Erica, who is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. I’ve talked about her on the show here and there. She’s one of my oldest friends; we’ve been friends since elementary school. She works at Stanford. She’s super smart, amazing person who knows everything there is to know about maternal-fetal medicine. When I got pregnant, I texted her and told her. We were talking about pregnancy stuff. I asked her at some point what she thought about VBACs. I thought she would just say, “Oh, it’s safer to do a C-section”, or whatever.

Laura:
She was the first person to say, “I love VBAC.” She’s very, very pro VBAC and she was really encouraging me to consider it. She’s my BFP this week because I realize I don’t think I would’ve considered it at all if it hadn’t been for her encouragement. I think I would’ve just been like, “It’s just easy, simple. Let’s just do the repeat C-section.” Without her explaining to me all the different benefits and the ways you can go about it, I don’t think it would’ve actually ended up happening.

Shanna:
Right.

Laura:
I just really have to credit her for planting that idea in my head and also being very supportive throughout pregnancy. Just giving me advice on it, but never pushing it. Never being like, “This is the one and only way there is. You have to do it this way.” She was just very practical and gave me the info I needed. Now I’m really happy that I did it because it is very cool that I’ve gotten to experience both types of birth and that my recovery is going much smoother.

Shanna:
Oh, that’s so wonderful.

Laura:
Erica, you’re probably not listening because you are way too busy. But I will text you and let you know that I appreciate you a lot.

Shanna:
Aw, that’s so great. Yay, Erica.

Laura:
Yay, Erica. But that’s it for me this week. I got some baby to take care of.

Shanna:
Yes, you do.

Laura:
I should probably get going.

Shanna:
Okay. All right. Listeners, if you have anything you want to chime in about this episode, Laura’s journey, your thoughts on VBACs, anything, reach out to us. We love hearing from you. Laura, where can they reach us?

Laura:
We are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, @bfppodcast. We have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com. If you want to email us, you can always include a voice memo in that email to [email protected]. Finally, you should join our Facebook community group; just search Big Fat Positive Community in Facebook. It’s a private group. You have to request to join. Answer the membership questions and we’ll get you right on through to the really great conversations we’re having in there.

Shanna:
If you love our show, please rate and review us wherever you listen to podcast and spread the word. Let everyone know about BFP. Thanks for listening everyone. Bye.

Laura:
Bye.