VBAC Attempt and Uterine
A personal story of an attempted vaginal birth after cesarean that resulted in Uterine Rupture.
VBAC and uterine rupture - by Lorie in June of 2000
I am publishing this story on the web, in an attempt to disseminate information about the downside of a VBAC. I had two previous C-sections because of failure to progress, and once again attempted VBAC with my third baby. It ended up being the most traumatic experience of our lives.
When the doctor told us the chance of a rupture was less than one percent, I didn't realize that I would end up being in that small percentage, nor (more importantly) what happened to that small percentage. One rupture in 100 is a very great risk.
VBAC with Uterine Rupture can cause
- Death to the Mother
- Death to the Baby
- Permanent Disabilities for the Baby
The RISK of uterine rupture increases dramatically with other factors such as more than one previous C-section, or the use of induction or cervical ripening drugs. I knew nothing about the increased risks. Please do your research and determine your risk factors.
VBAC with Uterine Rupture - Our Story
We had a wonderful doctor who respected our wishes to attempt a VBAC. He wanted to schedule a C-section, but believed things would go okay with a VBAC. He also suggested inducing labor 2 weeks early so the baby would be smaller and chances for a successful delivery would be greater. We felt the baby would be born when it was ready.
Ten days past my due date we reluctantly agreed to an induction with pitocin. I was on pitocin for 13 hours and absolutely nothing happened. The Doctor said we could go ahead and take her by C-section, or come back in two days and try again, placing Prepidil (a cervical ripener) on the Cervix on the day in between. Of course we were against the C-section, so I returned to the hospital the next afternoon where the doctor inserted the gel.
I immediately went into intense labor. I could barely make the call to my husband to get to the hospital! I requested an epidural after about two hours because the contractions were very intense. My water broke, and five hours later I went from 0 dilation to 10. (between checks!) We were so thrilled! I had never progressed with my two previous labors.
I pushed for 2 and 1/2 hours. At two hours the doc said he would give me another 30 minutes and if the baby didn't come out we would do a C-section. I was ready to push all night. They could see the baby's head. By the way, my OBGYN stayed nearby the entire time. It was 1:00 in the morning at this point. I know he didn't have to do that.
Then things went terribly wrong. I felt an intense pain on the upper left side of my abdomen and the epidural did nothing for this pain. I told the nurse and she wasn't sure what was wrong. I said "Something is NOT right, please get the doctor NOW". Thank goodness she listened to me. The doctor was by my side within a few minutes. He carefully explained that we should go ahead and do a C-section. I said "OKAY LET'S GO NOW!!!" I knew something was wrong and they couldn't move fast enough in my opinion.
Things get fuzzy for me after that. I remember the intense pain and throwing up on the way into the operating room and barely being able to move. My abdomen had become hard as a rock, and my husband says you could clearly see the baby's shape. We believe it was about 20 minutes from the time I felt the rupture until they got her out.
I could feel them pulling the baby out and it seemed like forever before I heard her cry. My husband says that they were trying to resuscitate her for about 10 minutes. He says she came out gray and lifeless and stayed gray for a long time. A team of people were working to get her to breathe! My husband witnessed the birth of our other two children and says they did not look like this. Finally I heard her cry. They brought her to me for a moment and then whisked her off to NICU. (I didn't know anything was wrong at that point)
In recovery I find out that I have had a complete hysterectomy and that the baby is in Intensive Care. My uterus ruptured down the left side and destroyed one ovary, the cervix, and ripped down into the vagina. It was completely devastating for us. The doctors basically said that they weren't sure if the baby was going to make it. When the uterus ruptured her oxygen was cut off and she aspirated on some fluids. Apparently some of her organs had begun to shut down due to lack of oxygen, and she was not able to breathe right on her own.
The NICU doctors seemed very grim but I refused to believe it possible for us to lose her. I finally made it to NICU the next evening.....and there was my angel......tubes coming out of her everywhere. It broke my heart.
Finally after 4 days she came off the respirator and I got to see her face. She was beautiful. Her first feeding was with my milk through a tube that went through her nose and down into her stomach. Soon after that I was able to hold her in my arms and nurse her. Finally after 10 long days we were able to take her home.
She is perfectly healthy and brilliant and has rarely ever been sick. We are truly blessed. It is really a miracle that she survived. She is such a strong and fortunate spirit.
Make an Informed Decision about VBAC
So please be aware of the Risk Uterine Rupture with VBAC and what Uterine Rupture means. Your life and your baby's life and well being hang in the balance. Please do your research. If I knew then what I know now, I would have scheduled a C-section. I did not know that a rupture meant the likelihood that the baby would die.
Most hospital staff and doctors do not recognize a uterine rupture until it is too late. Please understand that, before you attempt a VBAC.
Thanks for listening,
VBAC and Uterine Rupture Information
Uterine Rupture - Wikipedia
Uterine Rupture in Pregnancy
Academy of Family Physicians
New England Journal
of Medicine-Risk of Uterine Rupture
TODAY-Vaginal births after C-section risk uterine damage
National Institutes of
Health-Risk of Uterine Rupture Higher
of Washington-Risk of uterine rupture during labor
Daily-Risk Of Uterine Rupture During Labor Higher
Research on Signs of Uterine
Case for VBAC
Baby Center Medical Advisory Board - Uterine Rupture
What About Uterine Scar Ruptures
Uterine Rupture Labor Complication and Risk Factors
American Pregnancy Association - VBAC and the Risk of Uterine Rupture
Vaginal Birth after cesarean delivery (VBAC)
Justice News Flash - Uterine Rupture
and Uterine Rupture Personal Stories
Uterine Rupture and VBAC, Why take the Risk?
Uterine Rupture During VBAC
The Birth and Life of Catherine Grace
Uterine Rupture - My Uterine Rupture
Sal's Story - Emily Grace
Emily's Story - Update
The Loss of Daniella
Uterine Rupture Survival
and Uterine Rupture Support Groups
Wish - For those struggling to make a decision and Uterine
Uterine Rupture Support Group - For those that have Experienced Uterine Rupture