Noah’s Birth Story: VBAC with Induction at AdventHealth for Women Orlando
Today’s post is sponsored by AdventHealth for Women. As always, all stated opinions are my honest thoughts. I value your trust and only recommend companies that I truly love. We paid for all medical treatments ourselves and will continue to choose AdventHealth for our healthcare needs. Keep reading to learn about my positive VBAC birth experience and take a peek into my AdventHealth for Women Orlando labor and delivery hospital stay.
When I found out I was pregnant with Noah, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Ryan and I were already blessed with two amazing girls, Summer and Luna, and the idea of a third addition to our family brought us so much joy. We’d unfortunately experienced a miscarriage followed by a suspected chemical pregnancy a few months prior to my pregnancy with Noah, and while those losses made this pregnancy bittersweet, we were truly grateful for each and every moment of this pregnancy.
While I was over the moon with excitement, I also knew that this pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum experience would need to be a little different than my previous pregnancies now that I had two toddlers by my side. I wanted to be prepared and fully-informed for this journey, and thankfully, I already had an incredible medical team by my side. I had such an awesome experience at AdventHealth for Women throughout my pregnancy with Luna that I knew I wanted the same experience with Noah.
The remarkable doctors, midwives, nurses, and administrative staff at AdventHealth for Women helped me every step of the way during this pregnancy. My Birth Experience Coordinator helped me find the right medical care for my family, schedule a virtual hospital tour of AdventHealth for Women Orlando, take the best online classes to take during pregnancy, and get ready for my labor and delivery stay. The AdventHealth medical staff helped me navigate my prenatal care, manage my gestational diabetes, prepare for breastfeeding, and of course, helped me deliver little Noah last month!
Today I’m sharing my honest VBAC birth experience at AdventHealth for Women Orlando as a third-time mom with gestational diabetes. While everyone’s birth story will be different, I hope that sharing mine will help you feel more prepared and confident for your special day!
Noah’s Birth Story: VBAC with Induction at AdventHealth for Women Orlando
Today I’m sharing every detail I can remember of Noah’s birth story with you. Warning: it’s a really, really long post haha! I get quite a few messages asking details on my VBACs, being induced, etc, so I wanted to make sure I documented every detail for you in hopes that it will make your journey a little easier! Whether you’re expecting your first child or are already a mom to a few children, I truly hope this post gives you hope and useful information that will help you prepare for your labor and delivery. If you’re a fellow Orlando mom, I’ll also share a glimpse into my experience at AdventHealth for Women Orlando, so that you can choose the best hospital for your delivery.
My Birth Plan
As I mentioned in Luna’s birth story, I didn’t have a plan at all when I was pregnant with Summer, and I ended up regretting it. I felt unprepared and overwhelmed. I went into Luna’s birth with a clearly-defined idea of what I hoped for as well as a plan for all of the other possibilities, and it made a huge difference in my experience! With Noah, I knew I’d need to prepare for several different birth plan possibilities due to my gestational diabetes diagnosis.
My main goal was the same as always: healthy baby and healthy mom. I also hoped for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) when my baby was full-term and an epidural, but I knew that I’d need to see how things went with my gestational diabetes. Thankfully, I was able to keep my blood sugar in a normal range through diet modification, I didn’t have other health concerns, and Noah stayed within a normal weight/size range. All of those factors combined led my doctors to feel comfortable with my birth plan, but I checked in with them at every single appointment as well as throughout my labor to see if the plan was still a safe possibility.
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten SO many messages from expecting moms or friends/relatives of expecting moms who are worried that their birth (especially those hoping for a VBAC) won’t go according to plan. Here is my #1 recommendation for you if you’re feeling that way. As early as you can in your pregnancy, find a medical team that you trust. I feel extremely comfortable with all of the doctors and midwives at AdventHealth Medical Group OB-GYN Orlando, and I know that they have my best interest as well as the baby’s best interest in mind. I know that they’re all highly-qualified and up-to-date on current research and techniques, so I have great trust in their professional opinions.
In addition to choosing great providers, you’ll want to deliver at a hospital that aligns with your goals. I love knowing that so many parts of my birth plan are just standard policy at AdventHealth for Women. For example, I know that as long as my health and my baby’s health is good, I’m able to stay with the baby every minute of our hospital stay. I know that I’ll have ample breastfeeding support from their lactation consultants, and I also get immediate skin-to-skin time with the baby when it’s possible. Knowing these little details ahead of time really helps to relieve a lot of anxiety for me during my labor and delivery.
While your plans may not always match up with your doctor’s plan, if something doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion and ask questions. It’s so important to have a medical team that you can communicate with throughout your pregnancy.
Next, it’s so, so important to educate yourself on your options for labor and delivery. You can see a comprehensive list of my favorite online childbirth classes here as well as my experience with the classes that I took during this pregnancy. If you’re having a baby at AdventHealth for Women, you can always speak with your Birth Experience Coordinator to find the best classes and to get help in creating a birth plan.
And my final recommendation is to clearly communicate your hopes your birth with your providers every step of the way. Check in with them during your prenatal appointments and throughout the day during your labor and delivery.
What Actually Happened During My Labor
Before I share the details of my birth story, we need to take a few steps back to help you understand how the delivery day came to be. While I was healthy and felt great throughout my entire pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes early in my third trimester. In addition to my normal visits with my OB-GYN and midwife team at AdventHealth Medical Group OB-GYN Orlando, I also met with gestational diabetes educators and nutritionists and high-risk OB-GYNs at AdventHealth. Thankfully, I was able to maintain a healthy blood sugar level with diet modification alone, but I did get a few additional ultrasounds at the high-risk OB-GYN practice to monitor for any potential complications from gestational diabetes.
During my first high-risk ultrasound, my amniotic fluid level was on the lower end of the normal range, so my doctors wanted to follow-up with a second ultrasound when I was 37 weeks pregnant. When I went in for my second ultrasound, they observed that my fluid level had moved into the low range and said it was best for me deliver that day. Thankfully, I’d already packed my hospital bag in my car, made childcare arrangements with my husband, and only had to drive across one stop light to park at my hospital, AdventHealth for Women Orlando.
Despite being as prepared as I possibly could be, I was a bundle of nerves. I was worried about being induced, the health of my baby due to the low fluid level, and on top of everything, about going into my delivery alone. A week prior to my delivery day, my husband had tested positive for COVID after developing very mild symptoms, so I knew he wouldn’t be allowed to come with me since his quarantine time wasn’t complete. Thankfully, my husband and I were both vaccinated. He only had two days of mild symptoms, and my children and I never got sick. I was so grateful for my family’s health but disappointed that the day would have to go a bit differently than I’d hoped.
I got on my knees in the parking lot of AdventHealth for Women Orlando and prayed for Noah’s health and reminded myself of all of my blessings. My baby’s stats looked stable on the ultrasound. I was in good health. Despite being positive for COVID, my husband was in good health and was able to watch our children while I was in the hospital. I was already familiar with the hospital and trusted my medical team to keep my baby and I as safe as can be. I took a deep breath and walked into the hospital.
I was on the verge of nervous tears when I walked into AdventHealth for Women Orlando, and the first things I saw were these two Bible verses. These comforting words instantly relieved so much of my anxiety and helped me know I was exactly where I needed to be.
Let’s face it. Hospitals can be an intimidating place, but I’ve always felt so peaceful at AdventHealth for Women Orlando. The serene environment, quiet floors, and kind staff always help me feel great during my time at the hospital. I feel heard and respected by the medical professionals and trust their judgment, and little touches of comfort, like these Bible verses on the walls, instantly help me recenter during stressful times. All of these little things add up to make a big impact, and that’s why I chose to deliver at this hospital with Luna and again with Noah.
I deliver at the Orlando location of AdventHealth for Women Orlando because it’s convenient to my home, close to my doctors’ offices, and has a level 3 NICU; however, AdventHealth for Women has 8 amazing locations throughout Central Florida for your convenience. You can learn about how to schedule a virtual tour of the facilities here, and I also shared a picture and video tour in this post.
Once I was checked into triage, my amazing mother-in-law was able to join me in the room. I couldn’t have gone through my stay without her help and support, and I’m so grateful that I was able to have her there with me!
Even though I was there for an induction, my body actually started having mild contractions when I got to the triage unit. So even though I was two weeks away from my due date, I guess my body thought the baby needed to come early. After they’d monitored the baby and I for a little over an hour, I was able to be moved to the labor and delivery floor for my induction.
I’d gone into labor on my own with both of my girls, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with an induction. After I got to my labor room, Dr. Boone, one of the amazing OB-GYNs from AdventHealth Medical Group Orlando, came to check in with me. He was so kind, incredibly funny, and extremely skilled at his job. His demeanor instantly made me feel better about the induction, and he explained what would happen every step of the way.
Based on how the baby and I were doing (both had stable stats, and I was dilated to a 2-3) and my previous VBAC, he suggested an induction with pitocin and let me know I had a great chance of having another successful VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). My main goal is always to have a healthy baby and safe delivery, but it was comforting to know that my ideal birth plan was still possible.
NOTE ABOUT VBACs: The most asked about topic in my DMs by far is VBACs. I’m planning on doing an entire post about my experiences with my two VBACs, but I wanted to let you know that one of my top tips is to choose a provider and hospital that’s informed and experienced with VBACs. Many of the AdventHealth for Women physicians offer VBAC options for patients, but you should always have an ongoing conversation with your providers to see if a VBAC is a good fit for your particular medical situation. There are so many factors that can change things, so I can only speak to my personal experience. Your doctors will be able to advise you on what is safest for you and your baby!
I also wanted to note that if you’re a mom with gestational diabetes, they will check your blood sugar with a finger prick when you’re admitted to the labor and delivery floor. My blood sugar was normal, so that was the last blood sugar monitoring done during my stay. I’d recommend checking with your doctors if you have gestational diabetes to ask about what happens if your blood sugar is low or high after being admitted.
My nurses slowly started a IV pitocin drip and let me rest in the room with my mother-in-law. After a few hours, they increased the pitocin, and my midwife, Lauren Gover, CNM, came in to check on me. I’d previously met Lauren during a Facebook Live on Q&A with a Midwife (check it out here if you’re interested), so I was thrilled to see a familiar face.
She checked me again, and I think I was at about a five at that point. I asked her when I should get an epidural, and she said it was fine to get one at any time because the pitocin would keep my contractions strong. I decided to wait a bit longer, and she told me that I probably wouldn’t want to wait longer than a few strong contractions because the pitocin (and the fact I was delivering a baby for the third time) would make things go much quicker.
Let’s just say she was right! After about three strong contractions things escalated quickly, and I asked for an epidural. If you’re being induced and are wondering about how it feels compared to normal active labor, I’d say the pain is the same. What’s different is the escalation. When I started labor on my own with Summer and Luna, the contractions and pressure gradually increased over hours and hours. When I was induced, I went from feeling zero pain, contractions, or pressure to delivering a baby within a few hours. So the escalation of the intensity of the contractions was just much quicker than I’d previously experienced, but not any more painful.
After receiving my epidural, I laid in the bed with a peanut ball to help with dilation. While the contractions in my uterus were completely numbed, I could still feel the contractions a bit in my cervix. I felt what I can only describe as a small blip, and my water broke. My midwife came in to check on me, and I think I was around a 7 or 8 at that point. She told me to let her know when I felt pressure to push, and she’d come back in to check on my progress shortly.
As the labor went on, I could feel more and more of the contractions and asked the anesthesiologist to come back in to check on things. It seemed like it was only a few minutes and few contractions later that I was letting the nurses know I felt like I needed to push. The nurse checked me even though they thought it was too early, and sure enough, she told me that the baby was right there! We scratched the idea of having the anesthesiologist come in because I felt fine, and they rushed my midwife into the room.
My midwife Lauren rushed into the room, and her fun personality made laboring so much easier. My epidural ended up being totally fine. I definitely felt much more sensation and pressure than my previous deliveries, but I was able to feel the contractions and labor efficiently without being in too much pain. Lauren calmly coached me through pushing, and a few rounds of pushing later, Noah was here!
I actually cut the umbilical cord myself (such a wild thing to experience), and I was able to hold Noah immediately after he was born. While Noah was being assessed, I did another push to remove the placenta, and Lauren added one stitch. I basically didn’t tear (she said it was more minor than even a first-degree tear, and she said the stitch would mainly just be for comfort. Thankfully my epidural was still in place, and I didn’t feel anything at all.
Lauren Gover, CNM, is such an amazing midwife, and she truly helped me have such a wonderful birth experience. She is a joy to be around and her skills, expertise, and quiet confidence made me feel so safe and secure in her care. I am SO grateful she was there to deliver Noah!
Immediately after Noah’s health was cleared, I was able to have an hour of skin-to-skin time with him that was absolutely priceless. He latched on to breastfeed right away, and we were both able to have time to recover and relax after the delivery. The first hour after birth is always so magical, and skin to skin is SO good for your health and the baby’s health! While every birth story is different, I highly encourage you to seek out a hospital that emphasizes immediate skin to skin as long as baby and mom are safe and healthy after delivery. It truly makes a big difference.
After My Delivery: Hospital Stay at AdventHealth for Women Orlando
After my skin-to-skin time, my mother-in-law held Noah while the nurse helped me clean myself, and she gave me all of my postpartum supplies and instructions. I was moved to my hospital stay room, and Noah and I settled in for an evening filled with nurse visits, stat checks, and blood sugar testing.
Since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, Noah needed to have his blood sugar tested six times during the first 24 hours of his life. If you’re in this position, they’ll make a small cut on your baby’s foot and take a small amount of blood during each test. It honestly affected me emotionally much more than it bothered the baby, so please don’t be worried about it. Noah only cried for a few seconds each time and then immediately went back to sleep. Thankfully his blood sugar was in the normal range for all six tests, so he didn’t require any further testing.
The next two days were filled with more stat checks and visits from pediatricians, OB-GYNs, midwives, and nurses. Despite the busy parade of medical check-ups, our stay was pretty peaceful! My mother-in-law was extremely kind to come visit me during the day, and our nurses and doctors couldn’t have been kinder or more helpful. We were able to visit with a lactation consultant to ensure breastfeeding was going well, and our nurses gave us amazing care and patiently answered all of my questions.
The actual hospital rooms themselves are also quite beautiful and serene. My mother-in-law and I were both saying that the showers in both the labor room and hospital room were nicer than many hotels we’ve stayed at! There are beautiful views of downtown Orlando, and the rooms have plenty of room and seating for you and your guests. Plus, our floor was so quiet. In fact, I don’t think I saw or heard another patient throughout my entire hospital stay – from triage to delivery to our hospital room. It felt like we were in our own little bubble of newborn bliss.
Another thing that I love about AdventHealth for Women Orlando is that as long as mom and baby are healthy, your baby stays with you from the moment they’re born until the moment you leave the hospital. This time together promotes extra bonding, improved health for mom and baby with ample skin-to-skin time, and helps establish a strong start to breastfeeding if you choose to do so.
Plus, you get the chance to learn baby’s cues and learn how to take care of them with the help of your nurses. I’m so, so grateful for this time, and all of the amazing advice our nurses gave us throughout our stay! It’s a great way to ease into caring for a newborn.
Best Hospital Gift Ideas for New Moms After Delivery
During my stay, I received a quiet knock on the door. I thought it was a nurse or doctor, but it turned out to be a surprise delivery from the AdventHealth for Women team! It was such a fun surprise, and honestly, I cried for a long time after they were delivered.
I’d gone into the hospital so afraid of what was to come, especially since Ryan wasn’t able to be there, and I’d gotten through labor, delivery, and my hospital stay without a single medical complication or negative experience thanks to my kind mother-in-law, the amazing AdventHealth staff, and the grace of God. Those things along were all that I’d wanted and needed, so receiving all sorts of fun surprise gifts on top of those blessings just completely put me over-the-top emotionally.
I was so, SO spoiled by the kind women I’ve gotten a chance to work with over the past few years (they’re INCREDIBLE women both personally and professionally), and I wanted to share photos of the incredible gifts with you because they are available at several of the AdventHealth for Women campuses from the hospital’s concierge department or the hospital gift shop. If you have a loved one delivering at AdventHealth for Women, any of these items would be an INCREDIBLE way to support a new mom and her partner!
Beautiful flowers are always a thoughtful choice, but I have to say that snacks and drinks are hands-down my #1 gift recommendation for new moms in the hospital. Oftentimes you aren’t allowed to eat before you have the baby, so moms (and their partners) are exhausted and hungry by the time they get to their room. Having a fun gift basket filled with delicious snacks in their room is such a great surprise to help them refuel throughout their stay.
Another fun gift option is something personalized. AdventHealth for Women gave us these thoughtful insulated mugs engraved with our names. They’re so beautiful, but they also come in handy since I need extra hydration while nursing (and Ryan needs extra caffeine while baby isn’t sleeping haha)!
A plush robe is another amazing choice. Hospitals can be quite chilly, so a robe is a great option for staying warm while still staying comfortable in the hospital bed. Plus, the tie closure is perfect for nursing a newborn.
Another thoughtful gift option is a toast for the new family! It’s such a fun way to celebrate the new baby and a meaningful moment in your life. Having a baby is kind of like running a marathon, so it’s incredibly nice to take a moment to slow down and reflect on what you just accomplished.
Make Your Little Ones Feel Special with Big Brother / Big Sister Gifts
Whether you’re expecting parents wanting to surprise your children or relatives/friends of someone having a baby who already has children, it’s SO fun to create a big sister or big brother gift basket from the hospital’s concierge department or the hospital gift shop. AdventHealth for Women absolutely spoiled Summer and Luna with fun surprises, and we told them the gifts were from their little brother. They were both so, SO excited and kept asking how Noah knew exactly what they wanted!
While these gifts could contain anything that would make your child smile, it’s great to have toys and activities that will keep them busy while the new baby needs your attention with feedings and diaper changes. The new “big kid” toys and activities are also a great way to begin transitioning your child into an older sibling role and make them feel special and important.
Even though I went into Noah’s birth nervous and afraid, I ended up having a wonderful experience. I am so, so grateful that Noah and I were both in good health throughout our entire stay, and I couldn’t have asked for better care throughout the entire experience. From my mother-in-law supporting me throughout the birth to Ryan and my family sending supportive texts and phone calls throughout my stay, I felt loved and supported each and every moment.
And as always, I felt incredibly blessed for the amazing medical care that Noah and I received. Every nurse, midwife, and doctor I encountered was so kind to me. They asked me what I hoped to do each and every step of the way and did their best to make that happen as long as it was safe for me and the baby.
While there are so many perks to AdventHealth for Women Orlando, I choose to deliver here because of how it makes me feel. My providers make me feel like a person instead of a number. I feel heard, seen, and respected, and most importantly, I feel safe. I trust my medical providers and know that my baby and I are in good hands.
Even though Noah has only been with us for a few weeks, he has already added so much joy and l love to our family! While I certainly don’t know what the future holds for our family, it’s so tempting to have another baby when you have one as sweet as Noah in your arms.
If you’re an expecting mom looking for a hospital in central Florida, I will always recommend AdventHealth for Women Orlando. I’ve had such an incredible experience with my prenatal care, deliveries, and postpartum care over the past three years!
I know this post was long, but I hope it gave you a little more insight into labor, delivery, gestational diabetes, induction, VBACs, and more. If you have any questions or just want to chat, always feel free to reach out to me on Instagram at @ashleybrookenicholas. We’re all in this together! And you can also read Luna’s birth story if you want to hear more about my first VBAC!
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