I never imagined that my first birth story would have landed me in a surgical room when I had my daughter, Anora Lynne. She had been breech for much of the 2nd half of the pregnancy, and for whatever reason I hadn’t really mentally prepared myself for the possibility of a c-section. Despite numerous attempts to get her to flip (that’s another blog post!), she wasn’t budging. My water broke at 36 weeks 3 days and I delivered a beautiful and healthy little girl via cesarean.
While the experience of the c-section and recovery was as good as I could have hoped for, a little piece of me felt robbed of knowing what my body was capable of during labor and delivery. There was no question when I learned that I was pregnant with #2 that I was going to explore having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
The first order of business was to discuss my intent with my midwife and learn about any additional risk factors. I was fortunate that the hospital where I would deliver was supportive of VBACs (as some are not) and I got the ‘all-clear’ from my midwife. I was so excited!
It was critical to me to build a supportive team to help me through the labor and delivery. In addition to my spouse, Fred, my midwife, and nurse, I decided to hire a doula. I loved the idea of having a doula to help me with laboring positions and keep me focused on my end goal. I also wanted to try to have an unmedicated birth. I was scared that an epidural could slow labor. As a VBAC candidate, I was told that I had to progress without Pitocin. If labor had slowed, I would have likely had a repeat c-section.
At 37 weeks, I got to test out my plan. My water broke at home and I got to the hospital in time to check in and rest for a couple of hours before labor hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a feeling that I hadn’t experienced with my 1st delivery. While it was intense, I tried to embrace it. At one point I distinctly remember questioning why I hadn’t opted for a repeat c-section. It was really hard and it really hurt! My support team reminded me that I was strong and was doing a great job. I also had a little girl at home that wanted me to pick her up (which the recovery of a c-section would have made difficult for weeks to come). I kept going, and after 6-hours of labor and 2-hours of pushing, delivered a healthy baby boy, Austin Fredrick.
Was it all I had hoped? Yes – one hundred times over. I felt like a super woman. I was so proud of myself and for my body for allowing me to experience it!
That said, I had promised myself that I was going to try my hardest, but be okay with doing whatever I needed to do to have a healthy baby and a healthy me. I am so thankful that I got my VBAC, but even more thankful that I got my son.
I am happy to report that I just had my 2nd successful, unmedicated VBAC on Feb. 8, 2014 and delivered another daughter, Anika Marie. All my birth stories are special to me and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Now that my family is complete, I feel like I can pass along a few words of wisdom.
- Envision your ideal birth, but be open to whatever comes and do not feel guilty if it doesn’t happen according to your plan. Your body did something amazing by growing this little person. Honor that.
- Surround yourself with positive people who know how to help you try to achieve your ideal birth plan. I am a huge supporter of doulas and Iowa City has many to choose from (www.icdoulas.com).
- Trust yourself and your body.
Whatever is or will be your birth story, congratulations! It’s the start of a wonderful journey – regardless of how your baby comes into the world!
**Special thanks to our Guest Blogger, Jana Klauke, for sharing her story with us today!
There are so many ways to become a mother. Read other stories in our series, “How I Became a Mother.”