Wednesday, September 5, 2018

6 Ways to Prepare for a Thriving VBAC

I am very open and honest about my first birth experience and how it was NOT at all what I wanted, prepared or planned for. While I knew that "special circumstances" could arise (especially with twins) and had said the affirmation over and over, I still hoped I wouldn't have go through a C-section, but I did.

Thankfully, with Dude, I was dedicated to making all my birth dreams come true. Starting with of course, him coming out of my lady parts. And that is exactly what he did. He was my birth dream come true (in terms of goals. Trust, it was no walk on the beach...unless your version of the beach is a lot of vomit). I successfully had the unmedicated VBAC I had set out to achieve.

What is a VBAC you ask?

VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. While I thought this was no big thang, I was in fact quite wrong. Maybe this was because whenever I talked about my next birth being totally different people "seemed" supportive. Maybe it was because I had laser-beam focus and was so committed to a natural, vaginal birth that I didn't realize that people weren't all that supportive. Whatever it was, it was not an easy task to find a doctor to take me on the first time around.

I had reached out to a number of local doctors and was denied by all of them, apparently having a VBAC was not an option in my "rural" community.

I was incredibly upset and thankfully had a locked and loaded birth guru in my corner 24/7, my doula and TW Nic. She hooked me up with some resources to check out (first on the list, ICAN, International Cesarean Awareness Network.) and I eventually found the doctor of my dreams, only a short drive away in San Diego. 

After successfully having Dude, I figured I would be like any other pregnant chick and no one would look at me twice when I said I was GOING to have my baby vaginally. Nooooot so much.

I again found myself fighting for the right to birth the baby inside MY body how I wanted. I gave a local doctor a good run in an effort to make it easier on myself and my boys (the appointments in San Diego can be tricky with so many kids not to mention my husband's panic about the hospital being nearly an hour away), but halfway through my pregnancy I realized that it was far more important to be supported unconditionally and went back with my AMAZING Dr. Cap.

So while I am ready for this guy to make his smooth, easy exit from my body in a few short weeks, I also know that not everyone is as lucky as I am when it comes to finding a match to support you and your wishes for birth.

With that said...

Here are my suggestions on how to best prepare for a VBAC - 
  • Educate Yourself. Apparently there are some safety concerns surrounding VBACs (this was news to me of course), like uterine rupture. Well, the research indicates that the possibility of that is less than 1%. A risk I am more than willing to take. However, not all women feel the same which is of course understandable. But, take the time to educate yourself with evidence based research and make sure you are confident moving forward in whatever path you choose for you and your baby. 
  • Take Classes. As a second time around mommy, I assumed I didn't need any classes besides a little HypnoBirthing refresher. Well, I was wrong. Not only did I freshen up on my Hypno skills but I also took an amazing class designed for VBAC moms. Not only was the class incredibly therapeutic as we connected and shared our stories, but it provided more information to boost my confidence levels even higher. I also took a Labor Comfort Measures class which allowed my TH and I to re-create what we saw for our next experience. The Birth Education Center of San Diego was an excellent resource and Care is an absolute dream!! Now that I am going in again, I didn't take the classes and more centered my mind around what was going to happen and refreshed some of my Hypno skills. 
  • Release. I still have some negative memories with the twins birth (back labor nightmare) that sometimes haunts me, but I have to let it go. I try and focus on all the positive things that happened during Dude's labor and imagine that it will be the same...but faster! And he was FAST!
  • Create A New Experience. I am now sending energy to my new experience. I see myself starting to feel surges and welcome them calmly. I let my family know it is time to go, kiss the boys and slowly walk to the car. We make an easy drive to the hospital, I get checked in, relax into my body and my baby...and two minutes later I am engaging in my favorite part of the whole experience...breathing him out and feeling him leave my body along with my purple leg syndrome...
  • Find Support. Every pregnancy is different and every mother requires a different level of support. Since I had found a doctor who I trusted completely I knew the only other birth support person I needed besides my TH was a doula. My doula, Nic. I cannot recommend a doula enough. Granted, I am lucky enough to have a doula wrapped in a bestie, but this service is truly one I wouldn't want to be without. Having someone there to help not only you, but also your partner is huge. Whatever support you feel you need, you should get. It is well worth the investment.
  • Get excited. Every birth is different and should be treated as such. For those of us who desperately want a VBAC (or a second one), this is the time to get super excited. I know I can do this, I've done it before. I know things may arise, but I am choosing to send energy to a smooth/easy birth...did I mention fast too?

Whether or not you want to be a repeat cesarean mommy, have a VBAC or pretend the baby will never come out and do nothing to prepare, just make sure the choice is yours. There is no wrong way to bring a baby from a loving womb into a loving mommy's arms. From my experience, I never want anyone to feel the self-doubt, despair and confusion I did before having Dude. I refused to accept someone telling me what was best for me and my baby.  Remember to trust your body, your instincts and follow your gut. We are strong, powerful Thriving Women who have been given the gift of co-creating, sustaining and delivering HUMAN LIFE. I mean, is there anything more freaking cool than that?! I think not. 

I look forward to sharing my birth story in the upcoming weeks as I welcome my last sweet baby boy. I am hoping to help other Thriving Mommies take another look at their birth choices and find the strength I momentarily lost...then got back ten fold when I made that VBAC my b*%@#.

*Here are some additional resources that I found helpful and empowering**

Strive to thrive, 

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