“Because of you I decided to attempt my VBAC in a hospital and for that I am very grateful.”


People often ask me why I blog about the risks of homebirth and other birth choices. This email from a reader, along with her baby’s story, is one of the many reasons why.

The baby’s mother wrote:

This is the birth story of my sweet baby boy…

Thank you for steering women to make the right choices. Because of you I decided to attempt my VBAC in a hospital and for that I am very grateful.

Here is her story:

This story starts off with the reason I had my first cesarean. With our daughter I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. In order for me to receive the medication to prevent me from having a stroke the doctors decided to perform a cesarean section at 34 weeks. I was under general anesthesia and my brain was swelling so I do not remember meeting her until she was two weeks old.

Fast forward to just before I became pregnant with S, I had to be cleared not only by my obstetrician but also my neurosurgeon. All was clear and I was given the doctor’s blessing to try for another child.

With this current pregnancy I sought to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) because of the horrible experience I had with my daughter. I wanted to experience labor and be present for his birth. I narrowed it down to a hospital that performed VBAC and I had all of my prenatal care there.

I was considered the perfect candidate.

  1. I had waited 22 months in between pregnancies.
  2. I had double suturing on my old incision
  3. My cesarean was not due to a labor problem (stalling, not descending, etc)
  4. I was young, 25
  5. I was healthy, thin and active.

My pregnancy was uneventful. At my 40 week appointment I had the doctor strip my membranes and it sent me into labor. Overnight I kept cramping so I decided to go to the hospital. (I was told to go in early and I did). When I got there my contractions stopped. I thought to myself “Let’s just have this baby!”

I was checked and was dilated 2 cm, and then an hour later I was 3. They decided to admit me because I was attempting a VBAC. When I got to my room, I asked that the doctor break my water and after that I got the epidural. (I had pitocin at a level 4, then a 2 and the doctor decided to turn it off because I was progressing beautifully. I don’t know if this affected my rupture or not). An hour later I was checked at a 5, and an hour after that I was complete. A lot of people rushed into my room to prepare for delivery.

The doctors told me to push but I couldn’t. I was in such pain in my upper abdomen but no one seemed to notice. The anesthesiologist told me that not all epidurals get rid of the pain.
Meanwhile my baby was having rapid heart decels. They tried turning me on my side and placing an internal monitor. Immediately after placing the internal monitor, the attending physician checked me (residents did deliveries) and called a cesarean. I was also experiencing reverse dilation. My babies heart rate was in the 30s.

They wheeled my immediately into the operating room. The doctor started to cut me open before the sheet was even up and I was not anesthetized properly. Decision to incision was less than 5 minutes. All I remember was the doctor saying “uterine rupture”. My old incision opened up and my baby was in my abdomen.

I screamed as they pulled my baby out, it was very painful. My baby was not crying.

Baby S was born at 8lbs 7.7oz and 22 inches long.

By then the anesthesiologist gave me so much medicine that I couldn’t move or talk. I just lay there. I was in surgery for over an hour and a half, and the doctors were working to save my uterus. I had suffered a placental abruption as well as the uterine rupture. The doctors believe that because my uterus ruptured I had the placental abruption.

My baby was not breathing. Because he needed a complicated procedure that the hospital was not prepared for they took him to Texas Children’s Hospital.

I was in recovery experiencing shock from blood loss and I got transfusions. I was shaking for hours after the surgery. The worst was yet to come, and I had to go to postpartum alone while I heard other babies crying and I did not have mine. My husband was at Texas Children’s Hospital.

In the middle of the night the doctors at Texas Children’s called me for permission to do a blood transfusion for S. I agreed and just wanted to see my son. At the time I did not fully understand what was wrong with him. The hospital released me after just 2 days so I could go see him.

When I got to the S’s hospital the doctors there were asking for consent to perform surgery. They already had him “cooling” on a pad that dropped his temperature very low. My baby felt dead. He was not conscious. The surgery was for an ECMO machine, a last resort machine that is used for life support. They told me our son would die without it so we agreed.

He ended up on life support for 10 days until they felt he would survive on his own. Another week passed and we finally heard his first cry. We stayed at the Ronald McDonald house for most of the time but we also had another child to take care of so we didn’t get to see him every day. That was very hard on our family and week later he came home with us.

While at the hospital he had an MRI done and told us that he had brain damage but they don’t know how extensive it will be until he gets older. That is the hardest part, not knowing. Right now he is a healthy growing boy and we love him. He seems to not have any effects from his birth and is meeting his milestones on time.

I’m writing this to let all women know of the risks of VBAC, because uterine rupture does happen. It’s not talked about very much and it should. Women should be totally aware of the risks before they attempt a VBAC. Please attempt your VBAC in a hospital equipped to do immediate surgery like mine was. While I was aware of the risks, I didn’t think it could happen to me. I was wrong.

I’m so thankful to both hospitals and the doctors that provided me with such great care. I’m just lucky my baby survived.