Birth Story: Ayla

Please welcome our guest writer Tracie!  This week’s birth story brought a smile to my face as Tracie described how she stuck to her guns during her long labor, and how her OB stuck up for her to those who were on call when she went into labor.  Tracie also said, “I found my OB through recommendations of my local ICAN chapter. So many moms seem to be unaware ICAN exists, and it was an invaluable resource for me.” Enjoy her story!

Ayla’s Birth Story

I’ll start from the beginning so there is an idea of how long everything was from start to finish.

A little back story… Ayla’s big brother, Cooper, had a stomach virus Friday, July 20. The rest of the family got it on Saturday evening just before bed. It was one for the record books. Lots of yuckiness mostly out of the top end, but occasionally both ends. 39 weeks pregnant and having a virus like that is NOT fun. Sunday afternoon, we had all stopped being sick but were incredibly wiped out. We did as little as possible for a few days.

Now for the baby related stuff. I had a routine checkup on Tuesday where the amniotic fluid level was the highest it’s been – 24. I was spilling ketones into my urine so while Ayla had too much fluid, I didn’t have enough. :). I spent the rest of that day and evening trying to rehydrate myself. About 2am Wednesday morning I woke up with excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. I attempted to go back to sleep but couldn’t. I suffered until about 9am when the constant pain lessened, and I started having mild contractions. They weren’t regular, but pretty frequent. We were meeting our potential doula at 11, so I managed to get out of the house and do that. When we got home around 12:30, the excruciating pain was back. I laid down and tried to rest but around 2pm decided to call my OBs office just to be sure I didn’t need to come in. They of course told me to come in. I went in and they found that my fluid levels had increased from 24 to 34. They said the pain was at the bottom of my uterus and likely due to the excess fluid. They kept me overnight just to be sure nothing was wrong and the next morning fluid was back down to 22 and everything looked so I got to go home around 9:30 am.

We went through the day with mild contractions and went to bed Thursday evening. Around 9:30pm I wanted to roll over and couldn’t because of the abdominal pain. (a different pain from the previous day.). Then I needed to pee. I got my husband to help me up, but even with his help, I still couldn’t get up. My husband picked me up so that I could go to the bathroom. I decided that even if it wasn’t real labor that my entire abdomen shouldn’t hurt like that so I decided to head back to labor and delivery. I was greeted by a physician who told me that I should go ahead and get a section because with a previous section, my unproductive labor, the pains I had been having, and too much amniotic fluid that is where I would end up anyway. I tried to ignore those negative thoughts. I refused pain meds at first but then decided I would take some anyway because I wanted to be able to sleep as I was anticipating a big day Friday. I had regular (every 2 mins contractions, but was not dilating.). The doctor on call didn’t feel comfortable sending me home even though the excruciating pain had become bearable because of all of my minor issues that were stacked together. I was okay with that since I seemed to feel better when I was in the hospital anyway.

Around 5:15, my amniotic sac ruptured. The doctor on call (a different one from Thursday evening) said I needed to deliver within twelve hours because of my GBS status. I knew that was unreasonable and asked her to call my doctor. She called him and I guess he calmed her down because it became “let’s see how you are doing by 5am instead of you must deliver by 5am. My contractions had gotten more intense but were still ineffective as by 11pm (6hrs later) I hadonly progressed .5cm from Tuesday. I made the decision to ask for an epidural because I was in pain, and at the rate I was going, I was headed for a section anyway. In my mind, I had nothing to lose, and maybe with the pain gone, I would relax enough to allow my body to do its thing. They kept trying to start a very low dose of pitocin, but baby was not tolerating it very well. That shift decided to leave it alone. My OB came in Saturday morning (on his day off) to check on me. He had them start pitocin and she was tolerating it fine until it got to 4mL/hour. Baby’s heart rate dropped, but I didn’t realize it. All I saw was three nurses and my OB rush in and start doing stuff trying to aggravate her and raise her heart rate. They left pitocin off for a bit and started it again. They got it to 4 and her heart rate dropped again, but they were on top of it that time. They cut off the pitocin again. Got her heart rate up again and started pitocin a little bit again. They got it to three and decided to leave it there.

Around 2:30, my OB had to leave for a prior engagement. He checked me and I was at 8cm. He said maybe I’d have a baby before he got back. I had been fighting the urge to push since shortly after my OB left. The nurse checked again and said I was around a 9. I continued to get the urge to push, and a bit later the nurse checked again and said I had a tiny bit left on the top. Around 4:30-5 the urge to push became unbearable. The nurse checked me again and said I was complete. I started pushing with the nurse attempting to coach me, but the epidural had worn off and I was telling her when I wanted to push. :). A little after 5, my dr came in and said he was going to get in scrubs. Before he got back the nurse coaching me told me to stop pushing. I told her I didn’t care if she caught the baby – I was NOT going to stop pushing. :).

My OB came in and said he wanted to check to see which way her head was coming out. It felt like he pushed her back in a little. I told him I’d worked hard to get her there not to push her back in. Then we started pushing again. Shortly after that, he told me he needed to give me some more room (an episiotomy) and asked if I knew what he was talking about and if it was okay. We had talked about how i would prefer to not have one. At that point, I’d have consented to anything. I told him it was fine. He started cutting and I could feel it. Then, I started feeling what I thought was cutting at the top. I said you are hurting me! Please stop! Everyone told me she was almost here – just one more push. I pushed and there she was. Such a surreal moment, but why in the world was he cutting me at the top??? He didn’t. LOL. In addition to the 2nd degree episiotomy, I had a tear on the top left side. I apologized at him for yelling at him. He told me it was not the worst he had heard. It was okay.

Baby Ayla Ivy Rowe was born at 5:47pm on July 28, 2012 (her guess date.) She weighed in at 8lb7oz and was 21″ long. The only thing that happened the way I had planned was that I did have a VBAC and healthy baby girl. Everything else was completely different than I had imagined, but the end result was a beautiful, healthy baby girl, and that’s all I really wanted anyway. :)”


portrait by Jen Cowsar Photography

Story and pictures are courtesy of Tracie Rowe.  Distribution and reproduction is not authorized without the written consent of the original author. If you would like to share your VBAC birth story, please email it to

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