Morgan Wardle wanted things to be different with the birth of her second baby.
With her firstborn, she had hoped and planned for a natural birthing experience and received all of her prenatal care at a free-standing birthing center.
“When I went into labor, they checked me and they felt a foot,” said Wardle. “It turned out he was breech.”
Wardle was taken to Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, where she had an emergency cesarean section, bringing her first son Huxley into the world. Even though the birth did not go as expected, she was impressed with the care she received.
“They were amazing,” she said. “They treated me like a queen.”
When she became pregnant with her second child, she knew she wanted to stick with Samaritan. She also wanted to try again for a more natural birthing experience. She found out that in order to try for a vaginal delivery after a prior C-section in our region that she would need to have her baby at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. She made an appointment to begin prenatal care at Samaritan Obstetrics & Gynecology, which is located on the Corvallis hospital campus.
“My first appointment was with one of the midwives,” Wardle said. “It was very clear that the care was very patient centered and about what you want to do with your pregnancy and your baby.”
Wardle also learned about the Centering group prenatal visits available at the clinic, which offers parents-to-be a chance to learn about pregnancy and birth not only from the health care team, but also each other.
“I loved Centering,” she said. “I looked forward to it. It was really fun, especially since I was the only one who already had a kid. I felt like the wise momma of the room.”
Wardle was encouraged by how well her pregnancy progressed. With a vaginal delivery after cesarean section — often referred to as VBAC — it is very important that the baby is positioned head down prior to labor and delivery.
Wardle did prenatal yoga to encourage the baby to get into the right position. An ultrasound showed the baby was head down by 32 weeks.
“Everything was just set up to go really well for me,” she said.
She went into labor a week later than expected, which surprised her because Huxley had come a week early. She’d already experienced “false labor” — contractions that come and go with no pattern or consistency — a few times, so when she finally did go into labor at 8 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2019, she decided to just go to bed.
“Before I knew it my contractions were very strong,” she said. “I had to be in the bathtub. I was in a lot of pain.”
Her husband Tate took her to Good Samaritan, where she ended up laboring for 12 hours. Wardle’s mother and three sisters arrived and, along with Tate, were there for encouragement and to help her in any way they could.
To help relieve the pain of contractions, Wardle was happy that she was able to get into a bathtub of warm water. Each labor and delivery room at Good Sam includes a bathtub.
“The bathtub was immediate relief,” she said.
When it was time to push, she got out of the tub and onto the bed.
“With every contraction, I would think: ‘I can do one more, I can maybe do one more,’” she said. “I wanted to give up so bad, but I didn’t. I kept going.”
Her contractions slowed for a while, which she appreciated because she was so exhausted. Finally, after many contractions and a lot of pushing Bastian was born.
“I made it through without any drugs, no complications,” she said. “It was really amazing. I was really thankful that I was able to do the VBAC like that. I call Bastian my hulk baby because I felt like a warrior woman.”
With her first baby Huxley, after the C-section Wardle was barely able to open her eyes for a minute at a time to see the baby. When Bastian was born the midwife immediately placed him on her chest, and mother and baby rested and bonded.
“I was fully aware of what was going on,” she said. “It was really nice.”
Wardle and her husband are not planning on having more children, but if she were to do it again, she would choose the same path without hesitation.
“I felt very supported in my decision,” she said. “I felt very safe. I always felt all of the midwives and OBs were all on the same team and the center goal of that team is to help you as the mother have the experience that you want to have. That is so valuable.”
Wardle’s advice to others considering vaginal delivery after C‑section:
“Make sure it is the right decision for you. Do the research on your own. Make sure you are at a place like Samaritan where you feel safe and supported and I would say ‘You can do it, Momma!’”