Today I’m talking about my VBAC story.
So – in case you’re asking – “what the heck is a VBAC??”, let me tell you. (Don’t worry, I didn’t know much before I was a candidate, either.)
VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. It is when a woman who has had a c-section in the past opts to try for a vaginal birth instead.
There are many reasons why a woman may choose to have a VBAC. For some, it’s simply a preference for vaginal birth. For others, it may be due to the risks associated with having another cesarean section.
Whatever the reason, VBAC can be a great option for many women – but it’s not without its challenges.
In order to tell you my reason for a VBAC, I have to tell you about my first birth. At about 28 weeks pregnant with my first birth, I decided that I would like to try for an unmedicated, natural birth.
On June 1st, 2008 I woke up at 2 am with my water breaking. It was slow, but I still knew it wouldn’t be long until she was here!
Although my water had broken, I still had not started contractions. I called my midwife and she told me to go back to bed and head to the hospital in the morning. So, that’s what I did.
The next morning as we got to the hospital, my contractions were still not pumping up, so, due to the fact that my water had broken, I was put on Pitocin. Holy moly, the contractions! They were rough and hard. By evening, I had dilated but not yet to a 10 and it was obvious that things were not progressing as they should.
I got dilated to a 9 and my providers decided I could go ahead and try pushing. But every time I tried, no progress was made. After about two hours of pushing, we all decided that it was time to stop pushing and get into the operating room. (And let me tell you about the pain that is trying not to push when all your body wants to do is push! Whew. One of the hardest hours of my life.)
So, here I was epidural-free, rolling into the OR with the intense contractions from Pitocin and NOT being able to push. Then, having to have a spinal block put in between those contractions.
Finally, my body relaxed, we got set for a c-section and my baby girl was born completely healthy.
Just a note – my providers were so incredible during this birth and I have never blamed them for this outcome, they were in my corner and we agreed on every decision leading to my c-section.
WHEW. Are you as worn out so far as I am?? Let’s all take a moment to just breeeeath…
So, obviously not an experience that I would ever want to repeat, right? (Well, of course not, but I must be a glutton for punishment…)
Fast forward 3 years when I’m pregnant with my second child. One of the first things I discussed with my midwives was having a VBAC and if they could give me any indication as to why my first birth did not progress well. Their only clue was that my daughter had not been in a good position for delivery. (FYI – if you are ever in a similar situation, talk to your provider as soon as you can after this happens instead of waiting three years like I did. I think I could have gotten a clearer vision of what the issues were right after it happened.)
As my only piece of information, I decided to do everything I could to get my second baby into the right position.
Throughout my pregnancy, I sought the help of my chiropractor and the oh-so-wonderful site called Spinning Babies to keep my body moving and aligned to create space and spin that baby into the correct position.
By the end of my pregnancy, it was a miracle! My baby regularly was in a good, correct position at all of my appointments!
So, the final moment was ahead. Could I really have that natural, vaginal birth that I had hoped for before my first?
THE ANSWER IS YES!
On October 16th, 2011, my son, Harvey was born after me laboring at home for about 12 hours, a quick (and almost police ticketed) drive to the hospital, where I was already dilated to a 9, then gave birth to him an hour later.
And let me tell you, laboring naturally versus laboring with Pitocin? NIGHT AND DAY. I honestly did not realize how far along I was with my second because of my labor with my first. Crazy.
There were definitely some nerves involved – I wasn’t sure my body would be ready for a VBAC after my first experience and of course, there are always risks with a VBAC (as there are with any birth).
But I decided to trust my body and go for it.
And, it was the most empowered I had ever felt. I’m so thankful for the providers and the wealth of information that helped me get to that day.
Are you looking to have a VBAC? Let’s chat! I love encouraging mamas who are considering a VBAC and answering any questions I can.