Introducing Donny | My Positive VBAC Birth Story

Welcome to the world, little one!  Introducing our newest member of the family, Donny (named after his Daddy), born on January 30, 2018.  He’s a little love bug and we’re totally smitten!  Today I thought I’d share details from his birth as well as a few of the amazing photos we had taken of him at just two weeks old.

Donny made his grand entrance into the world 14 hours after my water broke and I went into active labor.  I had experienced on and off Braxton Hicks for the previous five days that left me feeling pretty miserable but I knew it meant Donny was getting ready and I couldn’t wait to meet him.

I had a particularly rough day the previous day, but still no regular contractions so I carried on with business as usual.  My water broke right when I was getting our two year old, CC, out of the bath around 6:45 PM.  Game on!  I managed to remain calm, finish her bedtime routine, and throw a load in the laundry before going downstairs to tell my husband, Don, and call the doctor.  I was advised to wait at home for a couple of hours since I still was not experiencing regular contractions.  I took the opportunity to take a shower, do more laundry, and tidy up the house.

We checked into the Labor & Delivery ward at the hospital at around 9:30 PM.  I was still experiencing mostly irregular contractions at this point, but they were getting closer together and intensifying by the hour.  After I felt sick to my stomach and threw up twice (a rarity for me!) around 11:30 PM I knew it was time for the epidural.  I had been encouraged to have one given my previous c-section history, but honestly, I probably would have elected for one anyway, because boy, was it getting intense!

By 12:30 AM I was dilated 4 cm and settled in bed with the epidural and IV fluids.  The nurses said they would monitor us from the station so we could get some rest.  Don somehow managed to sleep in the most uncomfortable looking chair, but I couldn’t manage to catch more than a few winks.  I was just too excited (and also there was a lot of moaning coming from the room next to us!).

Activity picked up again at 6 AM with nurses and doctors coming in and out for various tests and checks.  We were ecstatic to learn that I was 10 cm dilated (we weren’t sure how long it would take, because even though it was my second delivery, my body never had a chance to labor with my first so they treated me as a first timer).  The OB on call came in at 6:30 and suggested I start “practice pushing.”  I had not felt the urge to push by this point and was hoping to wait a bit longer to see if I did, but I went along with the doctor despite my instinct to wait.  This is the only part of my delivery that I was not 100% happy with, but I was able to delivery vaginally without medical interventions aside from the epidural, so it worked out in the end.

I pushed in the “traditional” hospital bed way on my back with a nurse holding each leg (Don was cheerleading up by my head) for 2 hours without breaks, every 3 minutes or so with each contraction.  In that time the doctor on call left and the nurses took over for awhile.  My OB came in at 8:30 and I was so happy to see her!  She could tell right away that my efforts weren’t making much progress.  Yes, my cervix was fully dilated, but Donny’s head hadn’t moved all the way down even after all of that hard work. She had me try “tug of war” pushing where she knotted a bedsheet on each end.  I held one end and she held the other a few feet away from the bed while I pushed during contractions.  Talk about a workout!

I pushed this way with much better success for about 15 minutes and then Donny started getting stressed, with his heart rate dropping a little with each push.  This concerned my OB and she started talking to me about possibly needing to use the vacuum if he didn’t improve.  I really didn’t want to have to use the vacuum to pull him out and Donny must not have either, because he stabilized for our next 3 pushes and then popped right out.  Huzzah!

They immediately placed him on my chest and I was able to hold him like this for 30 minutes while I delivered the placenta and the doctor stitched me up (I experienced second degree tearing).  Luckily, I didn’t feel any of that thanks to the very effective epidural, which they then turned off.  It was such a different experience being able to hold Donny skin-to-skin right away as compared to my experience of a c-section with CC.

Eventually, one of the nurses took Donny to the baby station within the room to run initial checks and weigh/measure Donny – 6 pounds 14 ounces, 20.5″ long.  Don got to hold him for a little bit before we tried breastfeeding, which didn’t work so well the first go (Donny was too sleepy), but we had great success after that and he continues to eat well.  We moved up to the Mother & Baby ward around lunchtime and they took Donny to the nursery for his bath and hearing test.

After that we settled into a nice routine where Don went home in the evening to be with our daughter CC overnight and wake up with her in the morning and then his parents would take over at our house and he’d spend the day at the hospital with me and Donny.  We went home on Thursday (February 1 – Don’s birthday!).  Our hospital stay was easy, although I missed CC desperately and couldn’t wait to get home.  Everyone at the hospital was so kind and supportive.  I had no complications post-delivery, but unfortunately I did have to go back to the hospital with Donny a few days later to treat for jaundice, which I’ll talk about in his month one update.

If you’d like to hear more, I go into much more detail about my delivery experience in this video:

I thought I’d share a few of my favorites from Donny’s newborn photoshoot with our absolute favorite local photographer duo, Sri and Jana.  If you live in the Chicagoland area and want amazing maternity, newborn, and family style photos, you should definitely check them out!  Not only are they super talented, but they are such warm, kind people and a pleasure to work with.

Love that little man!

Sri & Jana chose a very similar pose to one from Charlotte’s newborn photoshoot for a fun comparison.

Donny opened his eyes for the last few photos.  I just love his “blue steel” look!

We are so in love with our little Donny.  He completes our family and we are beyond excited for our lives together now as as a family of four (five with our pup, Winnie!).  I feel so blessed to have had such a positive birth experience with him.  I’ll be back soon with a one month update, so stay tuned if you’d like to know how we’re getting on!


30 thoughts on “Introducing Donny | My Positive VBAC Birth Story”

  1. Hi Jen!
    Congratulations he is so cute!! His eyes look really blue in that last picture! Do you think they will stay blue? Those photographers do an awesome job! Very precious pictures!❤️

    1. I think most babies are born with blue eyes. It can take several months for the true color to come through. I doubt Donny’s will stay blue, they’re already shifting. They’ll likely be brown or hazel, I think.

  2. I adore the newborn pictures. Babies are such a wonderful blessing. I am happy for your lovely family. I have kept you and your family in my prayers for years now. Thank you for all your kindness and sharing photos of your darling children.

  3. This comparison photo is priceless! They are both adorable and already so early it is clearly seen which one of them is girl. Some babies look genderless but Donny for sure looks like a boy and CC is has very feminine face. Congrats to You and Donald and many happy moments with little ones!

  4. Thanks for sharing. What a handsome baby.
    In the video what brand is that sleeper that Donny is wearing. It’s so cute.

  5. Oh Jen! How incredibly beautiful! “Yeh, you can’t get that back!” I’m a mom of a 26 y. o. Daughter and a 19 yo son. Those precious baby days go by so quickly! You had me crying right along with you while watching your video! Bless you Jen, bless you and your precious, beautiful family!! 💕

  6. Congratulations on your baby boy and so happy you could experience a VBAC. My first was a natural vaginal delivery and the second was a C section. I recovered so much faster with the first and loved how great I felt, although I also did well with my c section. Most important both babies were born healthy which is the most important thing. Little Donny is absolutely adorable! Enjoy being a family of four! You are blessed!✝

  7. He looks so much like you, congratulations! I’m so happy you had the birth experience you were hoping for 🙂

  8. Congratulations! Lovely video. Children are so precious.

    I’ve been watching your old Easter videos for inspiration. I found it and I’ve been baking up a storm! Even if you never upload another video, you have made a fantastic library for viewers to dip into for “inspiration, imitation and innovation” – the stages of creativity. Thanks. They are great.

    All the best for this new season of life.

  9. What a beautiful little boy! He seems like a blend of both of you. I’m glad you were able to have a positive VBAC. I had one too, at 40 years old, and I was cheering for you to have everything align to make it happen. All the best to you!

  10. Donny’s random little smiles while you’re talking are absolutely adorable! Thank you for sharing your story. Always love the updates 🙂

  11. Congratulations!! Your family is beautiful!
    Would you consider doing a DVC blog and video of your experiences so far staying at the resorts through DVC?
    I look forward to and really enjoy all of your content!

  12. ThankU for sharing your beautiful family. Your babies are gorgeous, so happy for yall. I love how he’s smiling almost laughing while U talk as if he’s saying yep I broke Mom’s water. And then he looks like he’s trying to cover his ears like Mom shhh 😀 I love how open & honest you are. You’re a gorgeous mommy & so inspiring!

  13. Hi Jen! Thank-you so much for sharing your precious new child with us, what adorable pictures & give a big hug for me to CC, your other cutey-pie! I’ve had 4 children, family is so important to me too, mine are all adults now. Yes, it is hard when they leave, I felt your sadness. Happy though that my children are happy & enjoying our 7 grandchildren too! Congratulations to you & Don. Many Blessings to you all. This is the 1st time I’ve commented to you, been watching you now & then & love your videos. Thank-you for all you share & time. I used to live in the Chicago land area too – I was born there. We’ve lived in Michigan now for 27 years. Take Care!

  14. Hi Jen,
    I am a married mother of 3, Preschool Teacher and Preschool Director. I have enjoyed your posts for years. You are absolutely the sweetest and kindest person. I would like to suggest that you take a full 3 months postpartum before posting a daily vlog in the life of a mother of a newborn. Mothers employed outside of the home take this time before returning to work. This time can allow one to gain some emotional and hormonal balance. In today’s world we all feel hurried to communicate but there is no reason that you should have to rush. You could film now and post or not post the footage later. I wanted to offer my view as a mature mother in my 50’s. I suggest that you take a little more time for yourself. Thank you for all that you share. I wish you love and peace.

  15. Hi Jen, Congratulations on your new little addition to your family, he’s so adorable. My husband and I are trying and I’m just want you to know how much I appreciate your tips and advice through out the last few years on your vlogs/ videos. Wish us luck! We love you.

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