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Pursuing Natural Birth After C-Section

by UPMC

Six years ago, Megan Pryor of Williamsport delivered her twins, Wyatt and Wesley, at UPMC Williamsport’s Birthplace. The boys were her first pregnancy, so she and her husband Wade read as much as they could to learn about pregnancy and delivery for twins.

“I believe the more educated you are, the more prepared you can be,” says Megan. “Once I knew I was having twins, I just started reading everything I could to be ready for what could come.” Megan, a teacher, read that many twin births ended in a Cesarean section (C-section), so she knew there was a chance it could happen to her.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 31.9% of all deliveries are by C-section, and twins account for 33 of every 1,000 births. “I prepared mentally for a regular delivery if we had gone that route,” says Megan.

“My husband and I both attended the birthing class and I was actually pretty scared to have a regular delivery. With twins, I wondered if I'd ever have that kind of birth experience.” Things took an unexpected turn when she fell on New Year’s Day, just 22 weeks into her pregnancy and she learned the babies weren’t in the proper position for a vaginal birth

Farag Salama, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist, made the quick decision after Megan's water broke at work to deliver the babies quickly by C-section. "I was ready to have my babies,” remembers Megan.

“I was at peace with having a C-section—I just wanted my babies safe.” After delivering Wyatt and Wesley at 29 weeks and three days gestation via C-section, Megan stayed at The Birthplace while her husband went with the babies to a regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to get a little bigger.

After delivery, Megan learned she had an infected placenta that may have contributed to the premature birth.

Help with Breastfeeding

Although her sons were at another hospital, the lactation consultant came to Megan’s room just hours after the babies were born.

“They got me pumping milk right away so the babies could have my milk in the NICU at a different hospital,” says Megan. “Thank God they were there for me because I was a new mom and I was exhausted from everything that had happened between the end of my long day teaching and the unexpected emergency delivery.”

So, it’s no surprise that a few years later, when Wade and Megan were pregnant with their son Jensen, they chose The Birthplace for the delivery.

Pryor

Vaginal Birth After C-section

This time Megan was hoping for a natural birth plan, vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) and no pain medications. The CDC reports only 13.3% of women have a vaginal birth with a previous Csection delivery. “Dr. Stutzman was on board with my birth plan,” says Megan. “I was glad the doctor was supportive of what I wanted for Jensen’s birth.”

Joshua Stutzman, DO, is a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology surgeon who has a special interest in high-risk pregnancy. Megan went into labor at home. She only lives a few miles from the hospital, so she planned to stay at home as long as she could and experience labor in her own house. She arrived at UPMC Williamsport at 9 a.m., and Jensen was born at 11:37 a.m.

“It was a very beautiful experience and I chose to not use medication,” remembers Megan. “I’m thankful that it was a good birth experience even though it is not easy to go through labor and delivery. I feel stronger for having faced something that I always feared.”

Megan had another visit from the lactation consultant not long after Jensen’s birth. Although she had experience breastfeeding her twins, the support from the lactation consultant was important to Megan. 

In December 2019, Megan made another trip to The Birthplace at UPMC Williamsport to deliver her second set of twins—Nina and Seth. Megan says, “I wasn’t that surprised I was having another set of twins. I wanted to grow our family.”

With a second set of twins on the way, Megan wanted to be as healthy as possible to carry the babies close to 40 weeks. “I didn’t gain as much weight and I was more careful,” recalls Megan. “Having three kids at home, I was more active and in much better shape. I felt the strongest I had ever been during this third pregnancy.”

Fortunately, Megan carried the twins to 36 weeks (37 weeks is considered full-term for twins) and she was able to have a vaginal birth again.

Birth Planning

“The doctors and midwives trusted my commitment to having our babies vaginally,” says Megan.

Megan and Wade feel lucky to have The Birthplace at UPMC Williamsport near her home. “The Birthplace doesn’t feel like a hospital,” says Megan.

“It’s a very special place to welcome babies, and I'm thankful for the experience and care my babies and I received. The nurses took such good care of me. They are amazing and so hard working—they don't miss a beat.”