So here's the story of my VBAC with Brandon! (Be forewarned: This post is super long and detailed- and I'm going to mention blood and mucus and all that awesome stuff...)
So on February 20th, I started having contractions. Real ones, not the Braxton Hicks ones. They were somewhat painful, but not close enough together to be worth timing or anything. But I lost my mucus plug so I had a feeling things were getting started! I had been dilated to 2cm at my appointment earlier in the week, which was already a change from my lack of dilation a few weeks prior. I knew that in order to have my VBAC, I needed to go into labor naturally, and it seemed that my progress was good so far. So I called my mom and let her know what was going on. She and my dad were getting ready to go visit my sister for the night in Richmond, plus there was a big snow storm coming... great timing, right?
So the next morning (Saturday) I talked to my mom and let her know that I had been able to sleep mostly through the night, but that contractions were still happening. She and my dad decided to leave a little early from Richmond and come directly to my house instead of going home. By the time they got here, the snow was already making lots of trouble on the roads and my contractions were getting stronger. We went over Andrew's usual routine and made plans for my dad to drive us to the hospital in their all-wheel drive in case we needed to go in the middle of the night (and in the middle of the awful storm).
Contractions woke me up at 2:15 am. We timed them for an hour and they were consistently 3-5 minutes apart. The doctor on-call told us to come in, so we woke up my dad and headed out. It was dangerous and slow but we eventually made it to the hospital. Of course, soon after we were taken to the triage room and I was hooked up to the monitors, my contractions started slowing down. (Dilated to 3 cm at this point, and fully effaced.) I was monitored for a while and then they had me walk the halls to try to see if labor picked up again. It didn't. So they released me and my dad came back to get us. I was so exhausted and frustrated! We totally thought it was the real thing!
For the rest of the day (Sunday), my contractions were irregular, but I was having bloody show so I decided to go to bed early in case I woke up in the middle of the night again. So I went up around 9 and the contractions start picking up again almost immediately after I lie down in bed. I tried to go to sleep anyway, but they were way too strong and way too close together. I texted Aaron around 9:30 and told him to come upstairs and help me through the contractions. After a while of that, we went back downstairs where my mom was still up, and she tried to convince us to leave for the hospital again. I really didn't want to go through everything like the night before, so we waited until the contractions had been going for over two hours before we called the doctor. He basically told me that if they were stronger than the night before, I should come in. So we headed out again, hoping that this was finally it!
Got to the hospital just after midnight. They didn't even bother hooking me up to the monitors in triage this time because when they checked me, I was dilated to 7cm and my sac was bulging. "This is the real deal, mama- you're at a 7!"
I had told them originally that I wanted to go as long as possible without an epidural (and possibly not get one at all) but it really didn't take too long before I was ready for it. Each contraction was bringing a lot of lower back pain with it and I was contracting every 2-4 minutes. Even so, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep sitting up between contractions a couple of times. Even after I got the epidural at 3:00am, it took several presses on the "extra boost" button (which I could only hit every 10 minutes) before I finally felt real relief around 4:00am. At this point the nurse turned off the lights and I fell asleep (off and on) for about an hour. I don't know if I would have had the energy to make it without that nap! Epidurals are amazing!
At 5:00 I was fully dilated and my sac was still intact and bulging. The doctor broke my water and then left so we could let the baby's head descend naturally. At 5:35 I'm feeling ready to push so we start, with just me, Aaron, and the nurse in the room. That was going super well until the baby crowned and she told me to stop pushing. So I stopped- the plan was that the doctor was supposed to come in then to finish the delivery. But less than a minute later, I felt the baby start sliding out, even though I wasn't actively pushing. The nurse had to literally hold his head in place with one hand while dialing and calling for the doctor and a tech with the other. As soon as the doctor got there and got his gown on, I gave one little push for the head, and one more for the body and our son was born! 31 minutes from first push to baby boy. He was covered in vernix and some blood but it was so great to finally see him and hold him!