Thursday, October 21, 2010

my vba3c after inverted T

i am so thankful to my Lord Jesus, my incredible husband, my amazing doula and dear friend, another absolutely dear friend, and the wonderful doctor who said yes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Does It Take-- My Personal List

What does it take to have a successful VBAC, or a successful NCB for that matter? There are a lot of things I did to prepare for my last shot at natural birth, all of which I think have great value. I realize you can't control every detail of birth, and I concede there are times when factors out of our control dictate an undesirable outcome. We can only stack the cards in our favor so high, but I'm a firm believer in doing the possible, and leaving the rest in God's hands.
When preparing for my VBAC, I knew there was a huge road with lots of obstacles and mountains ahead. I began with research, reading everything I could, wanting to know what people did who had successful VBACs. This leads to my personal list of recommendations.

#1. Choose a *truly* supportive provider. There is a nifty guide under my links (bottom right) to help you gauge if your provider is really supportive, or maybe not as much as you thought. It’s such a shame when you think your doctor is on your side, and you get to the end of your pregnancy and are harassed and coerced into something you said for months you wouldn't do, because you might have a "big baby" or you are "overdue".
Or even worse, showing up in labor and being badgered by unreasonable hospital protocols like constant monitoring, restrictions on food and fluids, or mandated epidurals. No mama wants to or should have to fight during labor! It’s so much better to switch earlier than later.
I'm a huge advocate of out-of-hospital births, I believe low-risk moms should seriously consider birthing at home or in free standing birth centers, but whatever type of provider you choose, make sure it's a good fit, and someone who truly supports you!

#2. Take a childbirth education class. Labor is such a mental thing and being prepared makes such a huge difference. Couples who take childbirth education classes learn valuable tools to cope during labor, know the in's and out's of natural labor, can make informed choices on suggested interventions and know how to smell out and avoid the unnecessary ones.

#3. Hire a doula! I should have made this one my #1, haha! I could not have made it without my fantastic doula. Study after study affirms that having a doula reduces the chances the birth ends in cesarean, the need for drugs during labor, increases the involvement of dads during labor, and increases the chances of breastfeeding success, just to name a few! The support is invaluable, and if finances are tight, find one still in the certification process who offers a discounted rate. You won't regret it!

#4. Get chiropractic care. During my research and reading I kept coming across stories of malpositioned babies being the culprit of cesareans. A misaligned pelvis *greatly* increases the chance of a malpositioned baby. Baby just can't seem to get into that ideal birthing position!
I read so many stories of this sabotaging VBAC and NCB attempts. There was no way I was going to do all this work to prepare for my VBAC and have it blown because baby was malpositioned and labor took so long I exhausted myself, or baby got stuck, or the pain from back labor was so bad I caved and got the epidural which started the cycle of interventions that lead to repeat cesarean, etc.
Its amazing how much easier and faster labor can be if baby is aligned correctly in the pelvis! The labor for my first vaginal birth was only 5 hours and 25 minutes. I attribute this to the chiropractic care I received my last trimester! I love my chiropractors!

#5. Diet and exercise. This is not to be downplayed! Keeping yourself as low-risk as possible does so much for getting you to that finish line! I personally followed the Brewer pregnancy diet. I'm a huge believer in high protein for pregnant mamas, at least 80-100 grams a day, and a LOT of water! My doctor had me drinking a gallon of water a day, and it helped my irritable uterus SO much! These 2 things I greatly credit for getting me my first full-term baby (along with chiropractic). And our babies are made up of what? protein and water. So get your protein, drink up that water, and eat a healthy diet of lots of organic fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains, grass fed and free range meats, healthy dairy, with as little processed foods as possible.
And for the exercise. Keep moving! A walk, a swim, a little time in the gym, do something active every day that raises your heart rate and gets your blood circulating! It will keep you feeling good, help with energy, and has so many other benefits. My VBAC baby was due in early September and we live in Texas. It was crazy hot and the pool was oh so wonderful, so I swam a few laps a few times a week. The extra cardio helped a ton on birth day too!

#6. Deal with emotional and psychological barriers. Especially if you had a traumatic experience the first time around, felt like a failure from your cesarean, or were told you "couldn't" for whatever reason birth naturally. This is unfortunately so many of us. We need to cast off these lies, face these fears, and conquer these mountains! Our bodies were created to grow and birth babies! Sure, things can go wrong in the process, but that doesn't mean it’s going to happen that way again! WE AREN'T BROKEN.
For me this meant joining ICAN and the Special Scars support groups. Hearing the stories of other women who had been through what I had, who understood where I was and what I was facing, brought so much comfort. And hearing success stories gave such a boost of strength and encouragement that I could do the same!
The road to healing was a long one for me, and most of the hard work took place during the pregnancy of my VBAC baby, because I never properly processed the hurt I experienced the 7-10 years earlier with my other births. As a strong Christian, I wrote out scriptures and read them to myself almost daily for a long time, to renew my mind, cast out the fear I was feeling, and afraid of feeling during my labor, to throw off the lies I had been told that I would "certainly rupture, bleed out, and die" if I ever attempted a VBAC (like other doctors had told me), and really addressed the anger I had at my prior providers for the way my care was handled (honestly I'm still working on this part.) On birth day I had one fast-fleeting thought of rupture when I first started pushing, but dismissed it easily, and it was all peace and joy and wonder and awe.

#7. Read Read Read. I don't put this last because it's least important. The more knowledge you have, the more ammunition you carry into the battle. Join forums and read others' stories. Read blogs. Read research and the latest studies. Read books, there are a ton of good ones out there, email me if you want some suggestions!

All these things really help to set us up for the greatest chance of success in our quest for a triumphant birth. Yes, they sometimes do challenge our commitment and our determination. I did them all because I did not want to have any regrets. If my VBAC attempt ended in another cesarean, I wanted to be sure it was not because I should have done so-and-so or such-and-such. I wanted to be able to rest in the fact that I had done what I could, so it just wasn't meant to be. I'm glad it was successful and I don't have to deal with any other outcome, but I try to convince myself that even if my VBAC attempt was unsuccessful, I would not have felt defeat, but empowered that I had given my baby and my body the very best shot at a vaginal birth, and I think there is peace to be found in that. Blessings to all the mamas out there!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


a client of mine who delivered last week went for a vba3c with a breech baby. she rocks, that's all i can say. she is brave, strong, determined, feisty, and this mama kicked a**. she got to 10cm, but little footling breech baby girl was laying diagonal across mom's abdomen and wasn't budging. the amazing doctor was willing to do a breech extraction, but when he reached up there to asses the situation decided baby's legs were a little bit too "chubby" for his comfort and he was afraid she'd be too big to avoid injury. so after a hard-fought fight, it was off to the OR for another c-section.
seriously, i'm bummed for this mom. she did everything right. she stacked her deck of cards as much in her favor as she could. but it apparently just wasn't meant to be.
and then i came across an incredible term that fits her birth to the T.
EBAC- Empowered Birth After Cesarean.
i LOVE this! and even though the outcome wasn't what we were hoping for, mom's labor was great, and baby got great benefits from all those labor hormones, all that time getting good squeezes from big, powerful contractions, dilating to a full 10cm and showing mom her body does work after all-- all that effort was not in vain, it was productive, and it was good. and mom should feel so empowered for that. i think she does, and i believe she should. she is a rock star in my book!