Episode 201 Lucy's Big Babies


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Big babies can come out of vaginas!

During her first pregnancy, Lucy was told that she had a macrosomic baby. She was pressured into an induction which ultimately led to a C-section. Her baby was just over 8 pounds. Lucy later learned she was closed up with internal staples and only glue on the outside. Her incision popped open not long after surgery, she developed an infection, and she spent her first few weeks of motherhood traveling to the hospital to get her incision packed.

The second time around, Lucy refused to take no for an answer. Though she stayed with the same hospital practice, Lucy equipped herself with an amazing VBAC doula and lots of VBAC Link education. She trusted the birth process and her team, safely delivering a 10-pound, 2-ounce baby!

Additional links

Aussie Doula

5 Tips to Deliver a Large Baby Vaginally Blog

Baby Weight Prediction and Third Trimester Ultrasound Blog

5 Steps to Get Your Partner on Board with VBAC Blog

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full transcript

Note: All transcripts are edited to correct grammar, false starts, and filler words.

Meagan: Hello, everybody. Guess what? We are doing an impromptu episode today. This is our friend, Lucy. You’re listening to The VBAC Link and we can’t wait to hear her story. We are going to talk about big babies. We hear it all the time. Big babies. “I can’t have a vaginal birth because I have big babies” or “My pelvis is too small.” But she is here to share her story with you today and let you know that big babies can come out of vaginas. That is the big statement today. Big babies can come out of vaginas.

Review of the Week

Meagan: I’m going to hurry and read a review, and then we will jump into her story. This is from bjmg104 on Apple Podcasts. It says, “This podcast is empowering and positive. As a home birth transfer turned Cesarean, this podcast has been so instrumental in helping me shed the shame and sense of failure I have been feeling since my son’s birth. Armed with the knowledge gained in this podcast, I now feel more confident than ever in my next pregnancy. VBAC is possible for me. Thank you for this podcast.”

Well, thank you, bjmg104 for sharing your review.

Lucy’s Story

Meagan: Okay, Lucy. We are jumping right in. I am going to turn the time over so you can have all of the time to share your story about big babies. Tell us about it. Tell us about your experience.

Lucy: Oh my goodness. You know, I see all the time “big babies, big babies” and from 18 weeks pregnant, the second pregnancy now, I was told all the time. They would measure my belly and they would say, “You know, he’s measuring two weeks ahead. He’s measuring two weeks ahead.” Part of me was like, “Well hopefully, he’s big like one of his Uncle Nicks,” because I have an Uncle Nick, my brother-in-law, and an Uncle Nick, my brother, and I was like, “Maybe he’ll just be a big dude.” It’s okay.

My mom had 10-pound babies so I was like, “I think we’ll be okay.” But obviously, I was really, really hopeful for my VBAC and I left my previous practice after my first birth because my first birth was something that was just really, really traumatic to me. It didn’t go at all the way that I had planned. It really came down to me just even talking to myself and my husband and us looking at ourselves and saying, “Being educated is just such a big thing.”

I remember from the day that I found out I got pregnant, I would go on walks every day with my daughter and I would listen to The VBAC Link. I would say, “These women know what the deal is.” They are educated. They understand what’s going on. They’re empowering themselves. I was like, “You know? I’ve heard so much about doulas.” I didn’t really know if a doula would be for me. I talked to a couple of different companies and I found Aussie Doula here in Charlotte.

I spoke to Helen and she said, “You have to meet Raquel. She’s my VBAC queen.” I was totally swept away after meeting Raquel. My husband and I joke because Raquel has that spiritual vibe to it where she really centered me, but then she also had a voice for me. From the beginning, Raquel helped me make that decision and stand up for myself from those appointments where maybe you don’t want a cervical check right in the beginning because anything can happen.

That’s kind of what I’m going to share. I don’t know if I need to touch at all on my first experience with my firstborn.

Meagan: Yeah, feel free. Feel free.

Lucy: So with my first, I was pregnant. I had a really healthy pregnancy, with not one issue whatsoever. I was the girl that people didn’t really want to talk to when they asked me how my pregnancy was. I was like, “It’s really rainbows and butterflies. That’s how it is. It’s great.” People were like, “Ugh. Not even morning sickness?” I was like, “Literally nothing.”

So I was told that I had a macrosomia baby. I really trusted my doctor. I had been with that practice for five years. He was like, “Listen, if you don’t do an induction, you’re basically asking for a C-section.” I didn’t know who to ask. I wasn’t part of the different groups online, so I just trusted.

At 39 weeks and 2 days, I went in on a Thursday and I got induced with Cervadil and Cytotec for two days. I was completely zero dilated. Nothing was happening. On Saturday, they hit me with Pitocin, then about 30 minutes later, my water exploded. I still wasn’t dilated.

Then, I got an epidural at 6 centimeters and I just plateaued. During that time, I got a fever and an amniotic fluid infection. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong. I remember from the first night on Thursday, a doctor walked in and said, “You know, we don’t have to do this.” He goes, “You could just have a C-section and you don’t have to go through this pain.”

At the time, I laughed it off, but in hindsight, I was like, “He was so not supportive and that should have been my red flag from that moment.”

Meagan: Yeah.

Lucy: But I really trusted the process. He was someone at the practice I didn’t know and I had never met. Turned out that he was the guy who did my C-section on Sunday. So that Sunday when I had my C-section, I started to feel a lot of things and a lot of pressure down there. I don’t really do great medically when it comes to– everything grosses me out. Towards the end of my C-section, I was hollering. Josephine came out, my daughter, and she wasn’t really crying or doing anything. That’s another sign to me that she wasn’t ready, you know? She didn’t have her full time to be ready and do what she needed to do and my body needed to do for her to have the birth that also she deserved.

I was closed up in a way that really wasn’t grand to me. I had internal staples and outside, I had only glue. I say this because I’ve empowered so many of my friends already to just know, “How are you closed up in the case that maybe you do have a C-section?” It’s something that many of us don’t talk about or think about because we are like, “Well, a C-section won’t happen to me.”

Well, after a three-day filled induction, you can only imagine how swollen I was. By the time we got home on Tuesday, I popped my incision open. My top layer. I ended up back in the ER.

Meagan: Oh man.

Lucy: It was awful. We got home Tuesday. Thursday, that happened. So in the hospital, they swabbed me for COVID. I’m positive for COVID, so now I’m like, “Well, the world’s ending, surely.” So then I have an infection in my uterus. I need antibiotics. They want to admit me for three days and I’m just like, “I can’t.” If you want to put a woman into postpartum depression who is surviving it and getting through it, take her away from her baby for three days and put her in the hospital. I was like, “I can’t physically do that. Not mentally.” I just had this sweet little girl that I want to be next to. I want to have my moments with her and my husband so I was like, “There’s just no way.”

Thankfully enough, I was given antibiotics, but I did have to drive all the way to uptown which is 30 minutes from where I live in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and have my incision packed every two days by the doctors because it needed to close up. It was just such a nightmare.

For five good weeks, I looked at my husband and I was like, “Maybe we’re only child kind of people.” We come from big, Greek and Italian background families and I always thought I wanted four kids. I was like, “I just don’t think I could ever go through that again.”

The time passed and like all women, we forget our trauma. So then the time came when we were like, “Let’s add to the mix.” I’m more educated. I’ve been reading a lot on this. Things are possible. Just because I had a C-section doesn’t mean that I am now married to that. I had family that still lives in Greece and even my aunt was like, “Well, now that you had that, that’s all you can ever have.” I was like, “No, that’s not true. I’m going to show the world that that’s not true.”

So when I got pregnant, I looked for a practice that was supportive. I went on The VBAC Link and I just got on Facebook and I read about different doctors. I went to this one practice in Charlotte at around my 18-week appointment. I was told that at 40 weeks to the day that I would have a C-section. I asked, “Why?” He said, “That’s what we do with all women.”

I said, “Well, I’m not all women. My name’s Lucy and I have a unique medical history. I’m me and my own pregnancy.” He said, “That’s just not the risk that this practice takes.” I said, “Well, I’ve heard that Pitocin is safe. Foley bulb if necessary. There are other mechanisms and other things that we can do.” He said, “That’s just not something that we are willing to do.” I said, “Well, going back to our first visit and our other conversations, you’re not VBAC supportive then. You’re barely VBAC tolerant.” He said to me, “Well, I’ll give you my suggestion, and then worst case scenario, you just don’t come to the hospital.”

I said, “Well, I’m not here for that worst-case scenario. I’m here to fully trust in my doctors and my provider.” I said, “So that’s just not the option that I’m looking for.” He responded with, “Well, we’re going to part ways. Better sooner than later.” So that was my hint. I came home, looked at my husband, and said, “The one appointment you didn’t come to.” I was like, “Everything hit the fan.” I was like, “No way.”

So I reached out to my old doctor, Dr. Graham, who had left the OB part of the practice and stuff. She had gone on her own to a different practice and I said, “Who do you recommend?” She said to me, “There’s a great doctor at Midview OB/GYN. His name is Dr. Gibbons.”

So my husband and I made an appointment. We went out there and we spoke with him. From the first second that I sat there, he said, “Macrosomia baby? Why is this on your chart? She was 8 pounds, 4 ounces.” He said, “This is irrelevant.”

Meagan: Ahh!

Lucy: He said, “There is no practical reason that you had a C-section.” I said to him, “Thank you. That’s exactly what I’m saying.” I said, “I’m just here for a fair chance.” He talked to me and he said, “If it does end up in a C-section, I don’t want you to think that you failed.” I said to him, “By no means if that’s how the ending happens and I have a healthy baby and a healthy mama, that’s not how I’m going to feel.” I said, “However, I do want the full experience, the full opportunity to be able to have a trial of labor and achieve my VBAC.”

From there on, every time we met, he would talk about the size but he never told me that the size meant that I needed to get that baby out. So as things progressed in my pregnancy, I would hear a lot that he was large. Around 40 weeks, I had an ultrasound. I also had one at 36 and they said that he was big. And then I had one right at 40 weeks to the day which was two Thursdays ago. The ultrasound tech was the sweetest. I loved seeing her at this one location. She measured him and he measured in the 97th percentile.

Then she did one whole measure again, everything, and she goes, “I’m getting the same exact number.” She’s like, “I just feel so confident that he’s 97%.” I said, “Okay, great. Thank you.” She said, “He looks healthy. The amniotic fluid is healthy.” I was like, “Great.” So then, Friday, I went in to the doctor– so I guess earlier in the week on Monday, I just decided that I would have a membrane sweep, but I was only 1 centimeter dilated. I was 50% effaced.

I didn’t really know if doing that was for me. I hadn’t had one check my entire pregnancy and every time I said, “No,” it was a question when I went to the doctor. It was, “Would you like to be checked?” I said, “No, thank you.” And then that was the end of the conversation which was perfect to me.

I will stop and just say one day I was having some pain. I want to say that I was early 30 weeks pregnant. I went to an urgent care OB here in Charlotte and it just so happened that my doula was in the area so she went with me. When I got there, I was having some pain. That’s why I went. The nurse practitioner opened the door and she said, “Go ahead and undress from the waist down. You’re in labor.”

As she closed the door, my doula went, “Is that what you would like?” The lady opened the door and just looked at me. I said, “No, that’s not what I would like and frankly, you don’t even know the color of my hair. How would you even know that I’m in labor?” I said, “What I would love is for you to come in and have a conversation with me and if we feel the need to do something, we will be on the same page.” She goes, “Well, I am going to have to mark your chart that you declined it.”

I said to her, “Do what you’ve got to do.” At this point, I said, “But I would appreciate it if you could come in and you could feel my belly. We could just talk through it.” She just had the worst attitude the whole time and then when the ultrasound tech came in, she did a scan and she was so sweet. She was showing me the baby and she was like, “Look, everything looks great here,” and blah blah blah. I was just so thankful that she brought me back down. I’m not one to leave a review, but I made sure.

I was like, “I want the world to know that if you are going to come here, you’re going to have to have a voice,” and then I realized there was a theme at that urgent care that you really didn’t have a voice when you went in. I was so thankful that Raquel was with me, my doula, to help me have that first experience of standing up for what I wanted in my birth plan and in my pregnancy.

That’s why I thought it was such a big deal when I would go to a Midview OB/GYN that it was just a question of, “Would you like this?” So around 39 weeks when I had my first sweep, 39 and a few days, I had that ultrasound and I saw Dr. Gibbons on Friday prior to going into labor. At that point, I was 1.5 centimeters and he did a sweep. I had actually lost a lot of my mucus plug during that sweep.

He just said to me, “Well, the goal is to go into labor naturally. That’s what we’re going to keep saying.” That was really it. He didn’t tell me my baby was big or I needed to get him out. That night, I started having contractions all night every eight minutes for hours. The next day, they were gone. I was like, “Oh no, was that not real? What’s going to happen now?”

Of course, the later you get in your pregnancy, you’re like, “I really want to go into labor. Is this going to happen for me?” So on Sunday, I was 40 weeks and 3 days. Around 6:00, contractions started happening again every ten minutes. I hung out on my yoga ball. I walked around. We went for a walk in my neighborhood. Around 9:00 p.m., I was like, “Okay, it’s time to lay down and relax.” I lay in bed and they kept getting closer and closer and closer, but they were still more than five minutes apart, and then around 12:25 a.m., I felt a pop.

I was like, “That’s got to be my water.” So I stood up and sure enough, it was my water. I called Raquel and she said, “I’m going to come by the house first” because the goal was not to get to the hospital too early as well. Although I had trust in the process and the doctors, I was still really nervous that someone would try to force an epidural on me or even just a catheter in case I needed a C-section so we were trying to really get to the hospital at the right time.

I started to get ready though and Raquel was on her way to my house. My husband was packing the car. Something didn’t feel right. I felt a little bit of extra pain and I’m very high pain tolerant. I called Raquel and I said, “I just want to go to the hospital.” My contractions at that point were five minutes apart and she said, “Absolutely.” She had just pulled up to the house, so we left. We went to the hospital.

We got there. The nurse came into triage and she checked me. She didn’t say anything. I said, “Well, good news? How dilated am I?” She looked at me in a sad little voice and she said, “Have you ever been checked?” I said, “Yeah, I was checked on Friday. I’m 1.5.” She said, “You’re still 1.5.” I was like, “Oh no.”

She goes, “That was your water and your baby has meconium.” The monitors were reading a really high heart rate for him. All of a sudden, my world crashed down. I was like, “That’s it. This is it. I’m going to have a C-section.” Raquel looked at me. It makes me all sad and I just want to cry as we talk about it. Raquel looked at me and she said, “It’s a marathon. It takes time.” She goes, “You have to remember to release and allow your body to do what it needs to do and surrender.” She goes, “The beginning is going to be slow. It’s going to happen so fast once it gets going. You’re not going to expect it.”

I believed. I believed at that moment that Raquel was telling me exactly what I needed to hear and know for my body. We hung out in triage for maybe an hour and by the time we got to a room, I was 3.5. I was like, “Okay, progress.” Thirty minutes later, I was 6 centimeters. I was like, “Okay.” We got to the hospital at 1:45 at night. By 4:45 a.m., I was 8.5. I was 8 centimeters dilated.

Raquel had been constantly moving me. She would not let me stay in one position. I was just like, “Is this really happening? Everything is happening so fast. These contractions are so hardcore.” But she recommended nitrous for me because we were trying to stay away from the epidural at least in the beginning. At that point, I was begging for it.

She said, “If you make it to 5, we will get an epidural, but just try the nitrous for me.” I tried the nitrous and while it didn’t remove the pain, it took the edge off. I don’t know if you’ve heard of other women using it, but I will say that it definitely was a great tool to have in your belt in the delivery room.

Meagan: Yeah, I used it as well. It was great.

Lucy: Yeah, I had no clue. If you had told me, I would have had no idea. So by that point, when I got to 8 centimeters, Raquel was like, “Listen.” She goes, “We’ve got this.” She goes, “I’m going to have you get up. You’re going to sit on the yoga ball. We’re just going to keep moving.” I was still asking for the epidural. She said, “Can you try asking for the epidural when you’re not in the middle of a contraction so I can believe you?”

I was like, “That’s not fair.” The nurse comes over and she hangs a bag of liquids. She says to me, “When this bag is finished, I’ll get you an epidural.” I said, “Y’all are so setting me up right now.” There’s no way there is going to be time to get an epidural. Everybody is looking at each other and not looking at me like, “She ain’t not getting an epidural.” So by the time I got up and sat on the yoga ball, I was like, “Oh my god, I have to push.”

They get me right back on the bed. They check me and I’m 10 centimeters dilated, but he’s not perfectly face down. He’s not all the way sunny-side up, but he’s not all the way down either. Raquel manhandled me. She totally flipped me on my side. It was Spinning Babies to the max in the middle of contractions that are happening every couple of seconds. I just relaxed into what she was doing. It was the flying cowgirl and he just flipped right back to where he needed to be, the perfect position.

I pushed for an hour. So at 5:00 a.m., I started pushing. By 6:06, he was here. I just can’t say enough for a hospital that I went to and didn’t have a great experience with my first, I had the most phenomenal redemption birth that I could have dreamed of. The nurses, even the NICU team that was in there just in case. The doctor from the practice that I had never met, Dr. Rogers was at the end of my bed for the entire hour that I pushed stretching me, helping me to the point where I only have a midline of a vaginal tear. I didn’t tear any other way with a 10-pound, 2-ounce baby.

It’s just so unreal to me that you’re told all the time, “Big babies. You can’t get them out.” I’ve been reading these posts online for days since I had my little one on the 18th of the month and I feel the need every single time a woman posts in distress to respond and be like, “You have this. You’ve got this.”

Meagan: The 18th of this month?!

Lucy: I just had him!

Meagan: Like not even 10 days ago?

Lucy: Not at all.

Meagan: Oh my gosh.

Lucy: Yeah, he’s so fresh. That’s why I’m so in all my feels about it. But I did. I looked at Raquel and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say bad words here, but I looked at her and I said, “I got my f-in VBAC.” And we high-fived in the room.

I was like, “Yeah.” We high-fived. I was like, “This happened.” I was like, “I need the world to know.”

Meagan: Yes! And here you are. You’re sharing it with the world. You’re sharing it.

Lucy: Yeah, absolutely.

Meagan: And it is. It is possible. We’ve seen big babies come out of vaginas. We have seen it. We really, really have.

Lucy: Yes. I think that we just need the opportunity to allow our bodies to do what they need to do. I mean, he was born at what? 40 weeks and 4 days?

Meagan: Yeah.

Lucy: A healthy, happy boy.

Meagan: Yes. Well, you know what? In the show notes, we are going to include a couple of blogs about getting big babies out. So five tips to avoid a C-section and delivering a large baby. We are going to post that in the show notes. So if you want to read more about big babies and how possible it actually is, check out the show notes. If you don’t believe this story alone because a 10-pound baby, that’s a good size baby. It’s possible.

You’re not a big person.

Lucy: I’m 5’5”.

Meagan: Yes. You’re 5’5”. It’s not like you’re 6 feet, super, super tall because a lot of the time, taller people, when I say big, I mean tall torso and stuff like that, but 5’5” is still pretty small.

Lucy: He was 23 inches long too. So he’s a long, tall boy.

Meagan: Way long, yes.

Lucy: Yeah.

Meagan: Oh my goodness. Well, congratulations. I cannot believe it was seriously less than 10 days ago, but we are so happy that you shared your story with us. I know that you are going to inspire so many out there. You know, also too, there’s a lot of times where providers will say, “Oh, you’ve got a big baby in there,” and then the baby’s not that big. Seriously, we’ve had clients that were told that their babies were 12 pounds and they had to have a C-section and then they had a C-section and their baby was 7 pounds.

Lucy: That’s why I feel like I’m here on The VBAC Link because I was told that with my first.

Meagan: Yep, exactly.

Lucy: That’s my story.

Meagan: And it was. And your baby was 8 pounds. It’s so hard. You’ve got to follow your intuition. Good for you for sticking with it and fighting through everybody even when there was some tension. You were fighting through, so congratulations and thank you so much.

Lucy: Thank you. Thanks, Meagan. This VBAC Link just has empowered me through this whole process.

Meagan: Oh, that makes my heart so happy.

Lucy: Mine too. My husband, too. He was so on board with everything. I can’t ask for a more supportive partner.

Meagan: We are going to drop that one too, talking about supportive partners and how to get yours on board because that truly makes a big difference when you have that support, especially if there’s not a ton of support coming from the provider or they’re not as gung-ho if you can have that support from your partner, oh my gosh. It makes a world of difference.

Lucy: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Thanks for all that you do and all of our voices that are heard.

Meagan: Absolutely, thank you.


Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Tell us about your experience at thevbaclink.com/share. For more information on all things VBAC including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Julie and Meagan’s bios, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.

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