Wednesday, August 3, 2011

a friend's VBAC birth

A friend of mine recently had her second baby.  The birth of her firstborn son ended up being quite traumatic, and set a fire under her to make sure the birth of their next would be an enjoyable experience.  She took control of everything she could, and welcomed her second son into the world calmly and smoothly.

Because of her mindset and her preparation, she was able to have just the birth she wanted.  Here is an email she sent me with a few details about her VBAC:
"My first baby was an emergency c-section that I had to be put completely out for. I literally wasn't there for the birth of my first child and that event alone had a tremendous effect on how I bonded with my first baby. When I got pregnant the second time, I made up my mind then and there that I was going to try for a VBAC. Many O.B. docs won't even perform VBACs so I approached my doctor cautiously since I wasn't sure what his stance was on the matter. I told him what I wanted to do and he was on board from moment one. I was tremendously lucky getting a doctor who was behind my choice to try for a VBAC.
           I grilled him over and over again about exactly what I could do to increase my chances of having a successful VBAC. He said keeping the weight down and exercising were the only things that I could control. During my first pregnancy, I gained an extreme amount of weight and was fairly unhealthy to start out with. So for this pregnancy, I kept my weight gain down, only gaining about 30 pounds during the whole process. I walked at least 2 miles a day on top of that. At every appointment, I reminded him that I had my mind made up to do this VBAC.
My resolve faltered minutely when the nurse handed me the paperwork I had to sign that listed all of the repercussions that could come from my choice to deliver how I wanted to. It was two whole pages outlining the various and sundry ways I could die. I actually didn't even finish reading the forms. Childbirth is risky. It has been since childbirth started. I trusted my doctor. He said I was a good candidate because of my physical shape and mindset and I believed him. So I didn't even finish reading the forms.
           I started having labor pains on Sunday and spent Monday and Tuesday walking, walking, walking. I knew that the more I walked, the more the baby could drop into the right position for a natural birth. Even at the hospital, I put off getting the epidural so I could walk around more. Getting an epidural too soon ups the risk of needing a c-section. I walked until the pain was almost overwhelming and then got the epidural.
           The VBAC went great and I am so glad I did it. It was the birth experience that I wanted. Even now when I mention to anyone who knows a lot about childbirth - doctors, nurses, doulas, etc. - they always call me brave for trying it. It is risky and I truly wouldn't have put myself and my baby in danger if I hadn't been the absolute best candidate for a VBAC. My advice to anyone thinking about trying for a VBAC is to MAKE SURE your doctor is fully behind letting you try, be in good health, keep weight gain to a minimum, exercise as much as you can and wait for a good long time between pregnancies (I waited three years).
Good luck!!!"

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