My VBAC: A Guest Post
This guest post is written by a former client who wanted to share her VBAC success story! She delivered at St. Luke’s Hospital in The Woodlands and had a very healing birth experience after her first unplanned cesarean. I hope it encourages other VBAC moms!
——————————- I have 2 sons, ages 2 and 1 month. During my first pregnancy, the thought of having a natural, non-medicated birth never crossed my mind. Honestly, I chose to get an epidural because, like most pregnant women, I wanted to avoid the pain of labor.
Ultimately, I was induced at 41 weeks and had an emergency c-section because the baby’s heart rate kept dropping as I pushed. It was a traumatic experience that left me with both emotional and physical scars. I felt extremely sad that I did not get to hold my son right away after he was born. I was also disappointed that I missed out on many of the precious moments the first few hours after delivery due to the nature of having a c-section. The recovery was extremely painful and I often experienced a sense of helplessness because I was not able to fully participate in caring for my son the way I had hoped the first few weeks of his life.
Shortly after my son’s first birthday, I was overjoyed when I found out that I was pregnant again. From the beginning of my pregnancy I knew that I wanted this birth experience to be different and felt a strong sense of determination to avoid a repeat c-section at all costs. After thorough research and consideration, I made the decision to find a new doctor and set the goal to have a non-medicated VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I also began to look for a doula that would support my vision of having a natural birth.
Thankfully, I found a great doula and my new doctor was supportive of my plan to have a VBAC. My husband and I also took a class to learn techniques based on the Bradley Method to further prepare for a natural labor/delivery. The class helped me to gain a new-found appreciation of my husband’s role as my labor coach and a better understanding of the birthing process. I felt empowered, supported and confident that I would be able to have the type of birth that I whole heartedly desired.
The remainder of my pregnancy went great. During the last month, I received good reports from my OB at my weekly appointments and felt encouraged by the progress I made week to week. At that point, my doula and I spoke on a regular basis. She provided just the support I needed as we collaborated to finalize my birth plan. It was very helpful and reassuring to have someone besides my doctor to discuss my questions, fears and concerns with.
On the morning of my due date I woke up having contractions/back pain and thought for sure my labor was starting. My doula came over and we did some exercises to address the pain. Afterwards, I went to my scheduled OB appointment for an ultra sound and NST (Non-Stress Test). The ultra sound showed that the baby was facing forward. This explained the back pain as the back of his head was pressing on my spine. The results from the NST were great but confirmed that I was not having regular contractions. However, my doctor reassured me that everything still looked favorable for me to have a successful VBAC. We discussed my options and she thought it would be best to induce me the following week if I did not go into labor on my own. Needless to say, I was not happy about the possibility of being induced because I wanted labor to start when my body was ready opposed to having a timeline imposed by my doctor. I left the appointment in tears, feeling very discouraged.
As difficult as it was, I slowly began to accept that I would likely be induced and over the course of the next week began making final preparations. I prayed a lot during that time and tried to focus on trusting God rather than the induction looming over my head. Although I was anxious, I knew in my heart that God was in control even though things were not going according to plan.
Little did I know that God had a plan alright! The morning before my scheduled induction I started to have irregular contractions. When they did not subside like they normally had in the past, I woke my husband up and together we began to monitor things more closely. It was special to be able to spend the early portion of my labor with just my husband before things became more intense. I had some nice breaks between contractions which gave me the opportunity to rest and get ready to go to the hospital. Within a few hours a regular pattern of contractions emerged which confirmed that my labor had in fact started.
I notified my doula that I was in labor and she agreed to come over. Once she arrived, things began to progress rather quickly. I was very thankful to have her support as I experienced very intense back pain during almost every contraction. Although the pain was intense it was very comforting and peaceful to labor at home with my husband and doula by my side. A few hours later, my water broke and we immediately left for the hospital.
When I arrived at labor and delivery they promptly took me to triage and much to my surprise, upon checking me, announced that I was 10 centimeters. Thankfully, I made it to a birthing suite (had I arrived much later I probably would have delivered in triage) and was greeted by my sweet doctor. After a few minutes of preparations I was ready to start pushing. It truly was one of the most amazing, beautiful experiences of my life. I was in complete control of my body and my doctor let me push when I felt the urge. With each push the room fell silent and an unexplainable sense of peace and respect blanketed the sacred space where I would eventually greet my son for the first time. After about 45 minutes of intense work I held my sweet, beautiful son in my arms. It was such a joyful moment and represented more than I ever could have imagined that it would. . I was in complete awe that the vision I had for the birth of my son had manifested into reality. My heart overflowed with abundant love and gratitude.
The next several hours were pure bliss. The nurses were respectful of my wish to just “be” with my baby and even stepped into the background while my husband and I gave him his first bath. What an incredible gift and it was to be able to experience those sweet, tender moments with my son. Another huge blessing was that my recovery was far less painful compared to the pain I experienced after my c-section. I felt great considering everything my body had endured and it was refreshing to be able to walk around within a few hours after delivery.
As I reflect back on my experience, I can see God’s handprint throughout my entire pregnancy, labor and delivery. Every moment from beginning to end was perfectly orchestrated and I could not have written a better birth story if I had tried. God provided exactly what I needed every step of the way and gave me profound grace and strength
My VBAC was a beautiful event that will be forever etched in my heart. It resulted in healing of the emotional scars that lingered from my unplanned c-section and deepened my gratitude for my family as well as team of amazing professionals who supported me in achieving my ideal birth experience.