Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Friday, January 21, 2011

9 lb 8 oz hospital VBAC 1 yr after C-sec when 4 lb baby was "too big"

Remember January 6, my sister-in-law Candi DeGroff posted on our Well Rounded Birth Prep Wall asking for prayers and words of encouragement for her friend Christina who was in early/pre-labor with her VBAC. (You may remember Candi from her home waterbirth photos and firsthand birth story here on my blog.)

Here was Candi's message: "I didn't want to post this as my status, but I thought maybe this might be a good forum to ask for prayers and positive thoughts for a friend doing a VBAC soon! She's having irregular contractions and is at 2cm! The hospital sent her home (yay!) and she is laboring at home. Her C-sec was actually less than a year ago.... I've told her labor support that she is going to need LOTS of support and encouragement and to keep reminding her of her goal to have a un-medicated, natural birth with minimal medical intervention!"

From time to time over the next few days, I texted Candi to ask how Christina was doing. Every time she would say that Christina was about the same; her OB said to stay home and keep walking. She was just having a long pre-labor (which is sometimes called prodromal labor, or stop/start irregular contractions that can tire a momma out).

Jan. 18 (after 12 days of exhausting pre-labor), active labor began for Christina around 9:30 p.m. She labored at home until she, her hubby, and her doula went to the hospital at 4:30 a.m. By 9 a.m., Christina was exhausted got an epidural in hopes of getting a little bit of sleep so she could gather enough energy to make it through the end. By 2 p.m., she was getting discouraged and wasn't sure whether she would be able to progress. By 9 p.m., she was fully dilated and laboring down. She gave birth VAGINALLY to her ***9 pound 8 oz***, 20" daughter at 10:35 p.m. She did tear, but overall she was thrilled, and she and baby were both doing great. Baby was nursing like a champ. She was born exactly on her due date.

This VBAC is particularly incredible when you consider it in the context of her C-section birth. Christina was naive and trusting as a first time mom, and when her OB told her that she was measuring "too big" by the ultrasound estimate and that--I kid you not, he really said this-- her uterus would not stretch to accommodate the size of this "too big" baby, Christina believed him. He recommended a C-section at 37 weeks since there's no way that baby could have been born vaginally. Her firstborn baby was only ***4 pounds*** at birth, and while he did have some symptoms of a late preterm baby, including difficulty breastfeeding, it was a miracle that he was healthy overall and didn't have to stay in NICU.

I could write an entire post about what was wrong with her first OB's diagnosis and recommendation. I don't even know where to start. Can I begin by saying that "Your uterus won't stretch enough to accommodate a big baby" is just about the most ludicrous statement I've ever heard? That's not even the same thing as CPD, which is misdiagnosed and overdiagnosed widely. Any OB who would say that is either 1) lying through his teeth and needs his license pulled for willingly violating his vow to "First, do no harm," or 2) so inept and ignorant about birth that he needs his license pulled for having such a misunderstanding of women's bodies and of birth. Let alone the fact that ultrasound estimates at or near full term have a plus-or-minus 2 pound margin of error (giving a guess range of 4 pounds). Augh, I have to stop there or else this birth story will morph into a rant about what Christina was told by her first OB.

What would the odds  have been for Christina to have a successful VBAC when her first baby was not even a year old when his baby brother was born? Thanks to determination, getting a second opinion, finding a VBAC-supportive OB, having a doula, and the love and support of her husband and family, Christina achieved her goal she has worked so hard for over her months of pregnancy. I'm so happy for Christina. What an amazing inspiration.


  1. What a wonderful story! I've learned so much from reading your blog, and I linked to it from mine today.


  2. I am SO happy for her!

    Also outraged at her first OB, utter lies. So sad. It would be so great to write him a letter and send a picture of her 9 pound 8 ounce baby born vaginally and show him how absurd he was.

    But this is a great story for me to link to on my Big Baby Bull Page.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Courtney, thank you for your kind words. I look forward to connecting with you in the future.

    Enjoy Birth, great post! Thanks for sharing your link. I love your collection of research, links and stories. I bookmarked it for future "macrosomia/CPD" questions. That ICAN video "Question CPD" is one of my all-time favorites.

    And I agree, I hope she does write a letter to her first OB.


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