Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to have a VBAC

First off I have to say that I did NOT get my "successful VBA2C" but I personally feel like I did get my whole VBAC experience and in my opinion it was a success. I got a sense of closure and the real satisfaction you can only get from hard work.

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. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

my first

I have been on quite the hiatus. Between being pregnant and having my little boy and getting used to having three kids I have been very busy. I just wanted to blog a bit on my experience with a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) or more accurately a VBA2C (Vaginal Birth After 2 Cesareans).  I know there are many women out there who have experienced what I have and I wanted to share my feelings and thoughts on the whole process. These VBAC posts will probably take me a bit to get sorted out before I share. I wanted to first: share my first birth experience (C section) and then share experience and thought process with my VBA2C. I Do understand that these posts might offend or bother some people. If you're one of those people then feel free not to read. I don't mind. But If you are curious please read these posts and maybe open your eyes to a different way of thinking. Maybe take something away from my experiences.

At the end of July 2009 I was 38 weeks pregnant. I was so uncomfortable I thought I was gonna die. I was having sporadic and slightly painful contractions almost every day for about a month. I was getting restless and suffering from insomnia. I wanted to be done so badly. No one can tell you how awful the end of pregnancy is. You just have to live through it yourself. I was 21 years old getting close to my 22nd birthday. I was young and was not prepared for child birth. No one really taught me anything or gave me any advice about what I should do. I don't blame anyone for this. I don't even blame myself. This is common in the USA- I believe- we learn everything we can on how the baby develops inside the womb but how to birth a baby and how to feel about labor are not things we know much about. In reality we are not prepared. I am not saying that this is true for everyone but I do feel like this is the case for many.

My doctor saw me. He asked how I was feeling and I told him. I said I was very uncomfortable. He gave me an exam and found that I was 4 cm dilated. He then told me that I could get induced in a week if I wanted. I asked if this was okay for the baby and he said it was fine. I decided to go for it. Only one more week of pain- I could see the end in sight. I was ecstatic. At this point this "awfulness" had an end. A note to those of you haven't been pregnant: By this point of pregnancy you feel like you will live with this baby in you forever and many women tend to start getting desperate. I was. With the news of a definite end I felt so much love for my doctor. He was amazing. I was so grateful for him. He was my redeemer from this miserable state.

At 39 weeks and one day I went to the hospital to be induced. I was led to a room where they wanted me to get completely naked and put on a skimpy stupid hospital gown (I had never worn one before and this was very uncomfortable to me). They hooked me up to the monitors and the monitor showed I was having contractions like I had been for the past month. They hooked me up to an IV and started me on Pitocin. It didn't take long for my contractions to start getting stronger. I'm not sure when but I think they broke my waters right away. It was sort of weird experience. They use a long crochet hook type object and insert and pop. I didn't feel a thing except large amounts of warm fluid gushing out of me filling a dam that a nurse had made me with rolled up towels. There was so much fluid. I had that dam made twice more after that (so much fluid).

A few hours later I was dilated to a six. Getting a cervical exam is uncomfortable but getting one while in labor is pure torture. Its so painful to have to lay on your back while they stick their fingers far up in to your body. They ended up doing this a few more times throughout the labor. They asked if I wanted an epidural and that now would be the best time for me to get one before the pain got much more intense. I had planned on not getting one unless I felt like I was dying but my husband begged me to get one (he says he hates to see me in pain). I consented and a little while later the anesthesiologist had me sitting on the edge of a hospital bed bare backed. He was sort of a jerk and I remember him yelling at me that I wasn't trying hard enough to bend over so he could get the epidural in.  I remember being so uncomfortable and having contractions all while trying to sit and bend over. I was in tears by the time he was done (from the pain and from him being mean to a laboring scared woman). The epidural brought me a lot of relief though and after I was laid back down I started feeling really relaxed.

A few mores hours went and around 7 pm I was checked at 10 cm and was told that I would start pushing shortly. They sat me up a little bit and had Brandon grab one leg and a nurse grab another. They told me when to push and I remember just feeling a lot of pressure. The rest of this time is pretty much a blur. Between pain medication, exhaustion and down right trauma I have blocked a lot out. I know I pushed for a little over 3 1/2 hours. I know they used a vacuum and I remember that. I remember the vacuum coming off with a loud crack and seeing my doctors face splattered with blood. It was gross and someone similar to a scene from a horror movie. Then I remember them turning me on to my side (hurt so bad) and slide me to a gurney and wheeling me to the OR. I remember feeling them cut me and the pressure of them tugging at my insides. It was painful. I remember being loopy and saying weird things to people. I remember them saying that the baby was out. I got really scared because I didn't hear her cry. One thing I new from the movies is that babies were supposed to cry when they were born. They knocked me out and I didn't even get to see my baby till an hour or so later. The most traumatic thing for me though was waking up in a dimly lit- almost dark- room all by myself (recovery). No one was with me. No nurse, no husband, and definitely no baby. I was emotional and scared. I thought my baby must have been dead and was wondering why I was all alone. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity. Groggy, exhausted, and scared, I could barely move my arms as some of the drugs slowly wore off.

I remember my someone (my sister in law or my mom) walk by my room and saw me sobbing. I was a wreck and they didn't know I was awake. They must have gotten Brandon because I remember him coming in with the baby. I remember I was so happy to see that my baby was alive. I was sort of afraid though when I looked at her. She was in rough shape too. Her head was cut open in two places and her face was so swollen. They handed her to me and holding her was the weirdest thing I have ever felt. I couldn't really connect that she had been inside of me for the past 39 weeks. It was surreal. This was my first experience "giving birth".

I spent 4 days in that hospital and it took about 3 of those days to be a able to walk without help. I was in so much pain (both physical and emotional). I had a very hard time connecting to the whole experience. I never felt that "surge of emotion" or that "pure happiness" you often hear about after giving birth. I just felt pain, exhaustion, and weepy. I was really happy to have my daughter. I loved holding her and looking at her but this is not how I wanted this experience to go.