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Here we go again, I thought as I was being prepped for surgery. My body had failed. I was exhausted and cold, yet somehow relieved that my baby was finally about to be born.
As I lay there, my body half open, I was straining as hard as I could to hear every word spoken during the surgery. There was mumbling and the mood felt tense. I heard someone say the word "rupture" and I looked at my husband. I said, who ruptured? What's going on? He hadn't heard it, but I knew something had happened. I glanced at the anesthesiology nurse who shot a panicked look over the curtain. I knew it.
Before I could investigate further, we heard the wonderful cry of our beautiful baby boy, Calvin. A perfect and healthy 10-pound baby. They brought him to us and we took a few pictures. Then, as was our plan in case of a cesarean, my husband left with the baby to go to the nursery.
I was told that during my 45 minutes of pushing, my uterus had ruptured. Not only that, but the scar tissue from my prior cesarean had fused to my bladder, thus obliterating it when the rupture occurred.
Uterine rupture. Are you kidding me? The words echoed in my mind. Thoughts of all the possible outcomes were flashing through my brain like a news ticker. I was scared. I was numb. I wanted to hold my baby.
Just as I hadn't planned for my first c-section, I hadn't planned for a complicated labor this time around. I hadn't planned for a three-hour surgery and a blood transfusion. All I wanted was a VBAC. What had I done wrong?
The odds of uterine rupture are less than 2 percent for VBAC hopefuls. In fact, a VBAC is statistically the safer option for women in most cases. I was deemed an "excellent candidate" by my doctors. So the truth is, I didn't do anything wrong. I was simply one of the women that make up that tiny 2 percent.
Once my surgery was finally over, my husband was led into the recovery room. We immediately dissolved into a puddle of tears. Sobs of fear, of relief, and of exhaustion filled the air. There was a knowing in the way we touched and held each other. We were parents now to two amazing sons. And we had gone to hell and back to get them here.
A seemingly eternal 3 hours after he was born, Calvin was brought to me. I held him to my skin and nursed him. I sang to him and he immediately calmed in my arms. Just by looking into my eyes, my beautiful boy who doesn't know anything about vaginal births or cesarean sections or VBACs taught me more in a moment than I could have learned in a hundred pregnancies.
I'm your Mama, I said, and we're going to make a great team.
While I am still pro-VBAC, I think it is incredibly important to understand all the risks for whichever birth you decide to plan for. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, but educating yourself on your options is an excellent way to put your mind at ease when you face difficult situations.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.