I didn't have much knowledge about VBAC's when I was pregnant with my second. I knew one person who actually had one. When I brought the subject up to my OB he sort of shrugged it off saying something to about its so much safer to keep on c sectioning when you have already been cut. Because I was naive and spineless when it came to doctors I just went along with what he said. I however do NOT regret scheduling a c section my second pregnancy. I was still quite traumatized about the whole prospect of having a natural birth from my first experience.
My second c section, in a way, was healing. I was able to have the baby quickly and this time I got to see her for a few seconds before they sewed me up. I was able to walk around after a few hours and I could do so without help. I felt great and still in the end something felt so strange.
To me its a really strange feeling to be pregnant, at times what seems for eternity, and then walk into the hospital and have them just pull out your baby. Again I had difficulty feeling a connection to just having a baby handed to me after no work or pain or surprise. Of course getting gowned up, oxygen mask on, arms strapped to a table, and completely numbed can make you feel sort of like a science experiment than a woman about to give birth to a precious little baby.
This third pregnancy I was all ready to have a scheduled c section. I didn't want one but I didn't know I had any other option.
One night I was sifting through those really dumb discussion boards you get on when you put a pregnancy app on to your phone. I somehow stumbled across someone asking about having a VBAC after 2 cesareans. I was so excited as I read on and on the comments of multiple women who have had one. I felt instantly that this was what I was supposed to do. I really wanted to learn as much as I could.
Here are my suggestions when wanting to go about having a VBAC or better yet, a VBAMC (Vaginal Birth After Multiple Cesareans):
- Find your local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and find their Facebook page. I was able to find mine and start talking to women who have had successful VBAMC's and the best part is getting to talk to ladies who feel the same way as you and ladies who have been there.
- join this Facebook group on VBAC's. If you need any inspirational real life stories or talk to those in your situation this is THE GROUP to join.
- Find a VBAC supportive Obstetrician. Believe it or not this can be the absolute hardest part of the whole process. A lot of them will even say they support VBAC's but then put a lot of unnecessary restrictions on the whole thing causing you to "fail" at your attempt.
- Hire a Doula. If your husband isn't the "hands on" sort- this is a great option. A great doula will help you feel confident and help you find wisdom in your own abilities. I loved having one. She helped relieve a lot of my pain during my labor and encouraged me to keep going.
- Find courage, confidence, and faith. This is a hard decision to make and sometimes it will feel like there are so many things against you. Especially when you have family and friends who are not supportive. You'll run into people like that. They might even get really passionate about it being a "crazy decision". They are just uneducated.
- DO your research. There are a few books that are great to read on the topic. My ICAN group gave me a list of some to read. Every state also has different rules on VBAC's.
So, if you're interested in having a VBAC let me know. I'd love to be a source of support for you.
Back to my story. You might be wondering why I wasn't successful in my VBA2C attempt.
On June 9th, at 41 weeks exactly, I went into labor. It was the day of my scheduled inducement so it was a real blessing to be able to go into labor or my own. My plan was to go into labor on my own and to labor without any pain medication (both increasing my likelihood for a VBA2C). I studied Hypnobabies and used the techniques learned to help me through the pain. I didn't use it though how it was necessarily intended because I sort of gave up on the practicing at the end of pregnancy. I labored from about 3 AM to about 10 AM and then they broke my water and I started pushing shortly after. I mentally gave myself a "stopping" point. I didn't want to push myself if my body couldn't do it. I just wanted to give myself the chance. I also wasn't about to push for hours and hours (like last time) or use a vacuum (again). After 2 hours of pushing and no change in the baby's position I asked for a cesarean. I just didn't want to put me or that baby in danger. I also told myself that if I pushed for a long time without any change in the baby's position then it just wasn't meant to be. I also had to tell myself that I was going to be "okay" if things didn't go exactly how I wanted.
Obviously things didn't go how I was hoping they would. I am actually one of the few people whose pelvis couldn't allow a baby to pass through. Many times doctors will tell women this and its rarely true. But this time- for me- its true. I have been coming to terms with it. Doing so has been difficult but its given me a great sense of gratitude for modern medicine. However, if I could do it over, knowing what I know now, I would do it again. Natural (drug free) labor, I believe, really helped me connect to my birth experience. I loved it. I sort of wish I could be allowed to labor with every baby even if I had a c section (pushing not included though- since I cant really do that successfully :D).
My whole purpose of writing this post was to help those women who want to have another option than a c section. No matter your prior situation with birth, I am sure there are ladies in the Facebook group with the exact same situation. You can find hope.