I wanted to take the time to write about my experience and about the excellent are I received from a labor and delivery nurse while a patient during the delivery of my second child last year. The care I received from Sheryl was beyond outstanding and I would hope that you might somehow acknowledge her for it.
On Thanksgiving Day I went into labor with my son and was admitted to L&D at around 2:30 pm. While I cannot remember the exact time she came into work, I think Sheryl introduced herself to me around 5:00 pm or so. We talked about my labor pain and I explained to her that I was really trying for VBAC. In August of 2012, I was induced due to pre-existing diabetes with my now toddler and ended up in a semi-emergency C-section, from which I suffered PTSD. However, in the previous week with my current pregnancy, I had an NST scare and actually already scheduled my repeat CS for 12/3. I went into labor and that Thanksgiving Day, still hopeful for my VBAC, but with a very open mind as I just so sick of worrying about my baby. Sheryl wrote VBAC up on the board and had the same “let’s see how it goes” attitude as I did. I felt that she listened to me and that we were on the same page.
At this time, I was about 4 cm dilated and sill managing my labor pains quite well. Soon after my water broke, things became very intense. Sheryl and I had talked about the possibility of an epidural before my water broke to help keep pain manageable, but after it broke, I was crying for the epidural. I remember Sheryl paging anesthesia with the same urgency that I was exercising in pain and never felt like she was just “managing another pregnant lady” with me, she wanted me to be comfortable and even explained to anesthesia how urgently they need to be there. I appreciated this very much.
After the epidural, my contractions slowed down (which I knew to be expected) and around midnight, Sheryl sat down next to me and explained my options, one of which was to start low dose Pitocin to see if the contractions could become more regular and intense. Things had stalled a bit. I was very emotional at this point and started crying uncontrollably. With my first labor and failed induction, I looked to the Pitocin as the reason for my C-Section and was terrified of it. Sheryl calmly sat by my bed and listened to my first baby story, which is very hard for me to talk about. She explained that if the baby was showing signs of distress, they would be right there monitoring him the whole time and would respond accordingly. After about thirty minutes of her sitting by my bed and talking to me, I made the decision to start the Pitocin.
The Pitocin did what it was supposed to do and the contractions became stronger and more regular. After about two hours, around 2 a.m., Sheryl instructed me to start pushing. She had a lot of coaching with me as to how to properly push as I had never pushed with my first child. About 30-45 minutes into pushing, she excitedly said to me, “I think you’re going to have your VBAC!” I was hesitant to even get excited about the possibility that I would have my baby naturally as my OB team had warned me how big my baby was, scared me that he might get stuck and urged me just to schedule a repeat C-Section. I pushed for about an hour, with just Sheryl coaching me the entire time and at around 3:15 a.m., the doctor came in and I pushed out my beautiful baby boy. I was so surprised at myself and the fact that I had delivered him vaginally that I was kind of stunned for a while. He had passed some meconium so as soon as he was suctioned and we heard him first cry, my husband and I broke out in happy and emotional tears. I remember seeing how excited Sheryl was for me and she came over to my bedside and said, “You did it!” I reached up and hugged her while crying and managed to thank her repeatedly.
I credit Sheryl with delivering my baby. To the hospital, I may have just been another L&D patient, but Sheryl treated me like a close friend and really cared about me and is the biggest attribute that I pay homage to for my VBAC. After my first child’s birth and C-Section, I was disgusted with myself and questioned myself as a woman. The fact that I could not push out my first baby consistently popped into my mind and made me feel ashamed. The VBAC of my son restored the confidence in my body and to be honest, restored some faith in the medical system that I had lost. I write this all with tears in my eyes.
Please acknowledge Sheryl in some way. I will never forget her and the effect she had on me and how she helped me. I can now proudly say that I am a VBAC mama and share my story with other moms who may have had the same experience I have. And every time I share that story, I will acknowledge how instrumental Sheryl was in it.