With a rise in cesarean births, it is only natural that there is a rise in mothers wanting a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Myself included. The stories for us are all different but the heart, determination, and needs are somewhat similar.
Us mothers go through mental and physical empowerment during this process and it is to be commended (no matter what the birth outcome).
For me, my cesarean birth story started because of a breech baby. What a helpless feeling being told that because of my baby's position, the experience I had so hoped for was snatched out of my hands. It was heartbreaking, to say the least. My husband and I tried to do everything in our power to move our son into a head-down position to no avail.
I remember approaching our son's due date and thinking to myself I was at peace with this because well...we had tried everything.
I had no clue what emotions were in store for me after it was all said and done. Maybe some of you have had these exact feelings, and I want to tell you that I completely understand.
I hear that voice of disappointment behind every conversation you have with others about your birth. Those words you speak stating it is okay. This was the best outcome for the baby. While inside you are screaming, “THIS WASNT THE BEST OUTCOME FOR ME!”
Those feelings of “I am not a true mother.” Physical pain. Wondering if you are bonding with your baby as well as a mom who gave birth vaginally is. Feelings of just being another birth statistic. And so many more.
Whatever you have walked through to get to the point of desiring a VBAC took time and a careful examination of how to go about having one.
I hear that voice of disappointment behind every conversation you have with others about your birth. Those words you speak stating it is okay. "This was the best outcome for the baby." While inside you are screaming, “THIS WASNT THE BEST OUTCOME FOR ME!”
So you got there. I got there. Now what? You took the time to heal your wounds both inward and outward and now you are pregnant again. Perhaps you have some wounds that aren’t fully healed. “Where do I go from here”, you may be asking yourself.
You know that to have this VBAC you will have to go about things differently than your other pregnancy and you are willing to do all the things, right?
Some may call you crazy- saying things like "Why would you want to go into labor, it is so painful and hard?” "Wouldn't another cesarean just be easier?” Wouldn't it be safer for you to have another cesarean?” But it's not about easy, and you know that after some research and analysis, this is a likely safe option for you. So now you want all the help you can get to have this VBAC!
So what does that help look like? Here are some tips for having a larger success rate for a VBAC mother.
1) Build Your Team
What does this look like? This starts off with making sure that everyone in your close circle during your pregnancy is on the same page as you. If they are not you have the right to kick them out of your circle in order to safeguard your VBAC mindset. I give you that permission. It is not anyone's choice but yours so they have the option to get in line, or “get out” as I would call it. Think about who is in that circle. Perhaps your partner or family members, your care provider, and potentially your Doula! These people will have a heavy impact on not just the outcome, but your mentality and feelings of support surrounding this birth. Just like the plethora of options you have during pregnancy and birth, you have them with your support group as well. And it is vital to have others that lift you up and believe in you.
Fill up on some knowledge! Knowledge is power and this will allow for a better vantage point when making decisions. I love this point so much because I, myself thrive off of information. But that aside, it has proven to help women feel more empowered during their pregnancy and birth. There are many avenues of how to gain this prior to your birth. One is to sign up for this Childbirth Education Class! These classes are designed to go in-depth about pregnancy and childbirth-expressing all the options you have, the physiology of birth, tools to navigate your appointments with your providers, and challenging you to discover the philosophy of birth you most align with.
Going through this course will equip you with information to then ask and bring to your care provider as well. Also, as I stated in the first point, hiring a Labor and Birth Doula will be invaluable to you. They come with an arsenal of knowledge and provide an unbiased stance to genuinely love you and your choices.
This point may seem obvious, but it is just as important as the others. I used the word protect because it is vital. How your mental state is during pregnancy and labor has been proven to have the ability to affect your birth. You see, if one area of your body is tense, surely there are more areas of the body experiencing the effect of stress- including your pelvis. So... protect yourself from anything negative or stressful (to the best of your ability). This isn't to say we aren't human and that there won't be times this may happen, but create spaces in which you can combat these negative thoughts. Can you see why a great support team is vital? So...stick affirmations on your mirrors, listen to successful VBAC stories, have your partner, your doula, and your care provider speak positivity over you and your baby! You got this! I believe in you, and know that all of this offers a higher probability for your successful VBAC.
"This starts off with making sure that everyone in your close circle during your pregnancy is on the same page as you. If they are not you have the right to kick them out of your circle in order to safeguard your VBAC mindset. I give you that permission."
Wahoo! You are there! You have prepared with thoughtful consideration (with help from the points above) and are set to have the VBAC you have longed for! What a journey it has been. If not, our team of Certified Labor and Birth Doulas would love to support you throughout your unique journey.
We all know birth is unpredictable. There will be unmatched experiences, and many decisions you'll need to make. My hopes for you are that after these steps, and intentional planning, you feel like a bomb- ass mother (no matter the outcome), that you have felt empowered and supported to change the trajectory of your birth experience.
I am here to tell you that it is possible! You are so very strong and your body is capable. Where there once has been hurt, the idea of your birth can now hopefully be a journey you delight in envisioning. I look forward to hearing your stories or walking alongside you as you continue to heal from past birth experiences. Furthermore, I would love the opportunity to support you during your birth! Becoming a parent is the hardest and yet the most rewarding job ever. Regardless of your desires, I hear you. I support you. And I understand you.
Love a VBAC mama,
Certified Birth and Postpartum + Infant Care Doula