MY JOURNEY TO A VBA2C

It’s almost been 2 years since I have last given birth. Up until now I just accepted the way things went. I was exhausted and hungry and the baby’s heart rate started to decelerate so my doctor suggested a c-section in order to avoid another emergency c-section.

The only picture of me and baby just after the c-section.

Now here I am just a couple of months away from giving birth again and I’m thinking about the way I am hopeful that birth will go. I have been educating myself for over 7 months because I want to try to deliver vaginally after having had 2 c-sections. Because of all the reading and researching I have done, I now realize that a c-section most likely could’ve been avoided the last time, had I educated myself more then. Almost 2 years later and I sit here fuming over my last birth experience. No, I didn’t need a c-section! I needed food! And I needed to move off of that hospital bed. I didn’t even think about it then, but looking back I remember that I didn’t move from that bed once I was I was admitted, except to go to the restroom. I’m also upset because for my last two births, I missed my baby’s first bath. While everyone else was oohing and aahing at my little boys and taking pictures, I was in the recovery room. I’m grateful for those pictures, but so sad that I missed that special moment. Now that I’m writing about this, I’m even more upset because I can’t find a picture of my baby’s first bath. Apparently they are on someone else’s camera.

Things WILL be different this time. I am doing everything I can to have a natural childbirth experience. And even if something happened and I needed another c-section, I will NOT miss my baby’s first bath! I will make sure they are clear on that. Of course if there is a medical reason that the baby needs cleaned up right away, I will understand that.

Here are some of the things I am doing to have a better birth experience this time around:

PRAYER ~ The most important thing I have done is praying specific prayers for this pregnancy and birth. My prayers started before conception and it is amazing to watch what all God has already done for me. I recommend writing your prayers down so you can go back over them later and see the work God has done.

EDUCATION ~ I have been reading and researching for over 7 months. I have joined several VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean) groups, cesarean groups, ICAN, and other pregnancy groups on social media. A couple of great books I have read are “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”, and “Supernatural Childbirth”. I am currently watching “The Business of Being Born” series.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE ~ This week I will begin working with a chiropractor. I’ve heard a lot of women’s stories about how going to the chiropractor relieved certain prenatal symptoms like leg and hip pain. I am particularly interested because I have read about how they can help align everything properly, which in turn can help speed up delivery by helping the baby pass through the birth canal easier than if you hadn’t been adjusted.

EXERCISE ~ I am SO happy that the weather is finally warming up where I live! I now get out and walk every chance I get. It sure wears me out, but I know I’m doing a great thing for my body and for this baby. I believe that staying active will help me achieve a better birth experience.

HYDRATION ~ I have a history of preterm labor. I also have a history of major leg cramps during pregnancy. I suddenly realize now with my 4th pregnancy that both of these things were most likely linked to dehydration. I try to drink water throughout my day and I do my best to avoid pop. My new rule with pop is that I will only drink it when I go out to eat. No pop in the house! This has really helped me drink more water. So far I’ve had no leg cramps and no signs of preterm labor. Praise God!

HIRE A DOULA ~ I feel blessed that I have met a doula who seems very compatible for me. My favorite thing about her so far is that we are like-minded spiritually. She is a Christian just like me and she’s not afraid to profess it. I am looking forward to her reminding me of God’s love for me during labor. This is my 1st experience with a doula, but from all of my research and reading people’s stories, not once have I heard anyone say that they regret paying for a doula.

LABOR AT HOME LONGER ~ Here’s where I feel that I really missed the mark with the birth of my last son. I know that I went to the hospital too early. Even though I had been contracting all through the night, they weren’t really painful. I probably could’ve just drank more water and tried to relax more. Then maybe I could’ve walked and moved around more at home before going in. I guess I was just so exhausted and ready for it to be over with, that I thought going to the hospital would speed things along and I could find relief. I’m sure it sped things along, but not in the way I was thinking. I don’t know what I was thinking actually. But once we were admitted to the hospital, I was put on their time clock and before I knew it, one intervention led to another, which eventually ended with my 2nd c-section.

EAT, DRINK, AND RELAX ~ Another huge mistake I made before going to the hospital the last time, was going in completely exhausted and on an empty stomach. Now, I’m not suggesting a huge meal before going in, but I definitely will put something healthy in my belly before arriving at the hospital. I’m also sneaking in a small protein snack of some sort. I refuse to try to labor while feeling completely starved. I know there are risks of aspiration if a c-section becomes necessary, but I’m going with my gut on this one and I choose to eat! I will also try to relax as much as possible while I’m still at home. I was just way too anxious for the baby to be here the last time.

THIS IS MY BIRTH EXPERIENCE ~ Above everything else, I have learned that I have a right to say NO. I hired my doctors. They work for me! I can’t believe it has taken me this long to realize that I have a voice and I need to use it. I feel so much more educated this time around and it’s not just because this is my 4th pregnancy. I have learned so much because I so desperately desire a better birth experience this time around. Even if things do end up with another c-section, I will know in my heart that I did everything that I possibly could do to prevent it, and I think that is what will finally give me the peace that I need.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t tell the doctors no to everything. I have agreed to be monitored, but I will not labor in bed for hours upon hours like I did with the last child. I will move around beside the bed and bounce on a ball if I feel like it. I have also agreed to have an IV in place, but nothing will be running through it unless a c-section becomes necessary.

The only picture of have of me in labor. That’s the bed I stayed in until I was
taken down the hallway for the c-section.

Some examples of what I have said NO to this time around:

Pap Smear ~ I don’t know exactly why I turned this down because I have had a pap smear with all 3 of my previous pregnancies and all of my babies were fine. For some reason, I just didn’t have peace about it this time. When I don’t have peace, I feel like that is God’s way of telling me to be careful. My doctor agreed to wait until my 6 week postpartum check up to do the pap smear.

Screening Tests for Genetic Abnormalities ~ Because of my age, this is something that some doctors would try to push. The risks for diseases such as Down’s syndrome and other chromosome abnormalities increases as the mother ages. I turned down the screening because I knew in my heart that even if my baby had any kind of defect, I would love it just the same. There is no way I would abort my child, even if my own life were at risk. Although knowing ahead of time that something were wrong could help me better prepare, I still thought it would be best to just turn down those tests and put it all in God’s hands.

3 hour glucose test ~ I failed the 1 hour test, but knew in my heart that I would pass the 3 hour test, however, I wasn’t willing to put myself (and the baby) through the hours of fasting and blood work because the 1 hour test made me so ill. As a compromise, I agreed to monitor my sugar at home for 2 weeks. It turned out that my numbers were so great that I didn’t need to continue monitoring after the first week. See, I knew it!

I have yet to write my birth plan, so I’m sure there will be other things I will be saying NO to. I plan to have the baby room in with me as much as possible. We will be delaying cord clamping and eye drops. I’m not really sure what else I will include yet. Just taking one day at a time. I will be writing that out in the next week or so and I will share it with you. Until then…

Be blessed my friends!
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