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VBAC Memories Part VI

Thank you, Amber, for sharing your heartfelt thoughts and emotions in this continuing series of VBAC memories!

 

What were/are your fears?

My main fear was that I would have another C-Section.  I can’t say that I was fearless- however, I was able to block that out of my mind until I had to have the 2nd C-section.


How are you/could you cope with your fears?

I coped with my fear by reading other birth stories, both good and bad.  It helped to give me perspective. 


As a doula, what can I do to help the woman who wants a VBAC?

I think that you are fabulous.  I say insist that she stays informed and knows the truth about labor/delivery/C-sections.  You did a great job making sure that I was an informed mom (ie. let’s try to avoid induction, keep moving- no matter what).  I think that’s a big deal.  There are so many women that think they should get induced instead of going into labor. 

I would also encourage the women to have a “happy plan” in the case of a successful VBAC or in the case of an attempted VBAC turned emergency C-Sections.  I think that a happy plan is important because you have to make peace with yourself, good or bad.  I think women should create their own happy plan.  Ideally, it will include having a healthy baby, but maybe it will be to just stay focused on making the best of the experience.  I’m not sure that anybody “enjoys” a C-section, but maybe I should have refocused my emotions and focused on the experience…  I’m not sure. 

What I know now is that 2 years postpartum, I realize that the goal was a “healthy baby” when I was getting the C-Section- I was disappointed and my feelings were hurt. Within an hour, my VBAC dreams were crushed.  I was absolutely happy that I did have a healthy baby, but I wish I had been happy with myself as well. 

I remember when Tanya told me that my chance was about 20% that I would successfully have a VBAC.  So, I would encourage them to not be terribly disappointed if it doesn’t happen.  So many things happened after the C-Section, I really try not to think about it.  I suppose that that’s why it has taken me 2 years to process my emotions:(. 

Amber

You are a beautiful woman, you had a beautiful labor, you had a beautiful birth, and you have two beautiful children. Please never doubt these things!!!

VBAC Memories Part V

Kelly has shared her beautiful story about the birth of her first child and her subsequent VBACs. I know that so many of you will be able to relate to the wide range of emotions.

“I was diagnosed with pre eclampsia and put on bed rest at 30 weeks with my first child. At 34 weeks my protein levels were dangerously high, and I started to have neurological symptoms (blurred vision, headaches).  I wanted to avoid a c section, so my OB induced.  I feel like I was set up for failure.  A c section from the beginning would have been easier than three days of labor and magnesium ending in a c section. Because I was given magnesium I could not get out of bed and had to use a bed pan because they wouldn’t put in a catheter yet. The charge nurse was condescending and rude, and the entire experience was humiliating.  I didn’t have experience and had not done adequate research and just trusted what my doctors told me to do.  Sofie was in the NICU for a week, and I didn’t see her for 24 hours after she was born.  I remember the doctors in the OR discussing their vacations.  It was insulting.  They were making the biggest event in my life something routine.  I didn’t feel a connection to her and had PPD and post-traumatic stress that lingered for at least a year.  After I came home from the hospital I remember not wanting to be left alone with her.  I also remember watching a baby show after I came home.  The mother had a similar experience and someone commented that she didn’t know how someone could not feel a connection with their child.  I heard SO many times “at least she is here and healthy”.  Those comments just made me feel worse, like I wasn’t entitled to feel like the experience of child birth was taken from me. I was embarrassed for having bad feelings related to her birth, so I didn’t talk about it for a long time with anyone other than my husband.  If something touched my scar or if I felt a twinge where it was healing I would feel sick because it would bring back memories of the birth.  I remember eventually reading an article about how many times when an animal is given a c section it would reject the baby, and everything started to make sense.  When we were ready for a second baby I went back to the same OB and asked about a VBAC.  She told me that we could try labor, but if I wasn’t dilated by 40 weeks, there was no reason to push it.  I never went back there.  I went on to have a VBAC with a 10 lb 2 oz baby at 40 weeks 5 days.  I had an epidural.  His birth was so healing.  I was not dilated at all at 40 weeks…I’m so glad I switched doctors. I felt validated in my earlier feelings and was finally able to talk about it openly.  My husband’s support and understanding was a huge factor in healing from my first birth.  My third was completely natural (8 pounds 12 ounces).  I had a doula with my second and third.  Support from a doula was invaluable for me and my husband.  Just having someone who believed I could do it and was on my side gave me the extra support that I needed to have my 2 hospital VBACs.”  ~ Kelly

Your story is every bit as beautiful as you and your family! Thank you for sharing, Kelly!

VBAC part IV

This has been a continuing series of women sharing their thoughts and fears when approaching a VBAC.VBAC_2

Here are Jen’s comments…

That’s awesome! I’m so glad women are feeling empowered to try vbac. 

As you know I had a successful vbac. Woohoo!

 My fears were:

My body wouldn’t work “again”

That I was a failure as a mom bc I couldn’t give my baby the unmediated birth I wished to have

That I would have an awful recovery again

I coped with my fears with positive birth affirmations: specifically vbac affirmations

“My body was made to birth my baby”

“My body knows exactly how to birth my baby”

“My body will open to welcome my baby to the world”

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

Etc etc

Not listening to other women give me negative birth stories/feedback

Reading any story I could find of a positive vbac on “birth without fear blog”

 

As a doula I think you did a great job of helping me remember to let the contraction work with my body and not fight it. You kept me calm and made me feel like my body could do what it was supposed to. Shelley did this too. Remember me telling her I couldn’t do it anymore and that I was going to die? And she said “you’re doing it”. I remember that being a moment of “ok everyone believes I can do this…I can really believe in that too”

I am ready to do it all over again whenever God wants to give me another go at it.

Jen

Thank you, Jen!

Please feel free to share your own thoughts and fears with us! You can email me at:  KennyShulman@aol.com

VBAC Part III

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I have asked my cesarean/VBAC clients to share with me some of their thoughts and memories, so that I might share with you, as a series.

My hope is that then you, too, will share with others.

 

Thank you, Marisa, for your carefully considered thoughts about your VBAC experience…

What were/are your fears? -My fears were mainly not being able to to deliver naturally due to medical complications with myself or the baby…delivery brings many other anxieties but this was my main fear.


How are you/could you cope with your fears? -I am a very spiritual being. I did a lot of praying, a lot of trusting in God, and tried to do a lot of quiet time in my prayer to be aware of messages that I should go through with this or if I shouldn’t. From the beginning, I felt very led that his was God’s plan and that through Him I was capable and that I had to have faith. Literally, I remember verbally quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” What comfort that brought during that delivery!!! I believe you have to (A) have confidence that you can do it, that you are capable and (B) you have to have your mind made up that this is what you want to do, this is the route you want to take…no hesitations!!! and (C) find whatever your place of strength is and take hold of it…you are going to need it!!!


As a doula, what can I do to help the woman who wants a VBAC?- As a doula, I think it would be very helpful to remind your client (is that the right term??) of what the overall goal is. What is the big picture? Are you wanting a vbac for bragging rights, or are you wanting a vbac for the experience of childbirth as God had intended? Help them to assess why they are wanting the vbac. If they can assess this in a big picture kind of way, it will help help them to realize if they think this is the route they really want to be going. Is there hesitation or are you “all in!” They don’t have to answer to you, per say, but they do need time before baby comes to assess this for themselves. I think it helps with feeling capable. Of course, address the question in the most indirect and graceful way possible…I know hormones are a blessed curse for a preggo mama!!!!


And why am I asking for your thoughts?
Fear is not good for anyone, especially for a pregnant woman and her baby.
You have heard me talk on more than one occasion about how fear produces adrenalin and is counter productive to the secretion of oxytocin.
One of the components to a beautiful birth experience is relaxation. You can not relax, let go, etc. if you are fearful.
Because you are the experts.-

I couldn’t agree with this more, well said! I relate this back to, “how bad do you want this?” I strongly believe that if you want it bad enough, that you will feel your are capable and you will give it your all. There can’t be an attitude of, “sure lets give this a try.” There can’t be any hesitation. If you set your mind on it, and you really want it…I believe it WILL happen (if its in God’s will, of course…but if it isn’t, there will be a prominent sign to the medical professionals that prohibit it from happening).  If there’s a will there’s a way!!! Another important thing I believe is that you have to have complete faith in your midwife and/or doctor! Maybe its because my doctor had already delivered one healthy baby for me and that I literally saw tears from Daniella as she talked about fighting hosptial policy for me to have the water birth I dreamed of…I don’t know…But I trusted my life to them, I had not hesitation in their medical judgement!

You may use my first name 🙂
Sincerely,
Marissa 🙂

VBAC Memories

I have asked my cesarean/VBAC clients to share with me some of their thoughts and memories, so that I might share with you, as a series.1278065_10151958489891204_1292875655_o

My hope is that then you, too, will share with others.

Here are the thoughts of Lisa…

I think there are rising numbers of moms who want a VBAC and even a higher number debating over attempting one vs having another Csection.  I think there isn’t enough awareness period.   Please feel free to share any of my comments…


What were/are your fears?  One would think that the most common fear would be that my uterus would rupture since that is why so many women and physicians are against VBACs, yet that never played a part in my decision to attempt one.  I knew my body was able to do it, and I knew that having my baby vaginally was best.  I was so much more open minded the 2nd time around and trusted my body way more than I did the first time.  I think my biggest fear was letting myself down and that’s unfortunate.  I had so many expectations of what I thought should/would happen during my labor, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t live up to those expectations.  A fear I will probably have next time I have a baby (if there is a next time) would be how supportive the hospital/nursing staff is of my decision.  

 

How did you cope with your fears?  First I surrounded myself with people who would support me (Rob and a phenomenal doula named Kenny:))  They reminded me that I would not disappoint them no matter what the outcome (Csection, VBAC, epidural, waterbirth, no pain meds – it didn’t matter).  I also educated myself about VBACs, and I knew what the risks involved were but I also knew the benefits.  I talked very closely with my midwives and knew that my chances of success were high.  Once I made my decision, I felt very confident with what I had decided – I felt completely at peace about it.  The important thing for moms to remember is that it is their decision and that at the end of the day (or labor or birth) they need to feel good about it.  I have people ask me all the time – what should I do – should I have another Csection or attempt a VBAC?  And that is a question each person has to answer based on the knowledge they have.


As a doula, what can I do to help the woman who wants a VBAC?  Support her, encourage her, provide her with resources about VBACs ( I think you do a great job of this already).  You can also be a sounding board for her and just listen – sometimes a woman isn’t sure what she really wants and allowing her to talk about it, weigh the positives and negatives, etc.  Just help her find her own answer to the question.  You are a great listener and encourager – I think doing what you are already doing :))

Please feel free to email your experiences so I might share here: KennyShulman@aol.com

I just think that you are all wonderful, brave women!!!

 

VBAC

A VBAC is a vaginal birth after caesarean.natural-cesarean-video

For whatever reason, She had a cesarean with her first birth. Any subsequent births will now be considered a VBAC, if she chooses to try to have a vaginal birth.

Very often, that first experience of a cesarean is disappointing, sometimes traumatic. And this is a memory that She will carry with her for her entire life.

There are some doctors, and some hospitals, that will not “allow” a VBAC. Fortunately for the Triad of North Carolina, this is not the case. In fact, it is possible to have a VBAC in a birth pool.

I have been privileged in my practice to be able to attend many VBACs and a common thread with the women I am working with is the memories of her first experience.

When She starts to revisit these memories, which is a natural thing to do, she is actually being counter productive in her current pregnancy/labor/birth. But what can be done about these very strong memories?

Talk! Write! Share! Process!

I have asked my cesarean/VBAC clients to share with me some of their thoughts and memories, so that I might share with you, as a series.

My hope is that then you, too, will share with others. Please feel free to email your experiences so I might share here: KennyShulman@aol.com

I’m beginning this VBAC series with comments from Sachi…

I’ m glad to hear from you! I’d love to share my thoughts with you.

My fear were if I could overcome the pain during labor and in case uterine rupture occur…

How I could coped with fear was practicing breathing technic and keeping in touch with ICAN members on FB.

What I think you could help the woman who wants a VBAC as a Doula is sharing the stories of your other VBAC clients, succeed or not. 

We should absolutely start ICAN chapter in Greensboro since we have very supportive practice, hospital and you.

Sachi

Thank you, Sachi! You are a very brave woman! Hugs!!!

 

VBAC in the Water…Oh My!!!

Not only did this beautiful couple have the vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) that they so wanted…but they had the birth in a warm pool of water…all at Women’s Hospital of Greensboro, NC. Congratulations to everyone!!!

(Click through the pictures)