My baby boy is almost a year old. I can’t believe it! It is the perfect time to look back at my pregnancy and the planning that went into my Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC). If you are interested in the actual birth story, please let me know. I know very well how important it is to read about positive VBAC stories when planning for one.
Preparing for the arrival of a child comes with a world of hopes and fears. When you’ve already given birth and that birth ended in a c-section, you have a whole new set of questions and possibilities to look into. Should you go for an elective c-section or a VBAC? Both options come with different advantages, disadvantages and risks.
- Before you do anything else, you need to know why a c-section was required. This information is important, as it will tell you, in part, how high your chances of having a successful VBAC are. If the reason behind the c-section is something that is not likely to happen again, for instance, the positioning of the baby, then your chances of having a successful VBAC are higher. Try to meet with the OB who performed the c-section and get your operational report. Then, discuss your options with this OB or with another caregiver. Don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion. If your caregiver seems to be too pro-VBAC or too pro-caesarean, definitely consider talking to someone else. Your goal should not be a vaginal delivery at all costs, but the safest delivery possible.
- Read, read, read, read read. Know the risks associated with both types of deliveries. Remember: credible sources only! There is so much information out there, only read what is true. Once you’ve educated yourself, go ahead and read, read, read, read, read positive birth or VBAC stories.
- Get a doula. I cannot stress this enough. I think every birthing woman should have a doula. You need someone who is there for YOU and who does not have to tend to medical concerns. You need someone who knows what positions get labour going. You need someone there to keep you thinking positively. You need someone who is knowledgeable. My doula is also a prenatal educator and knows the differences between the hospitals in my city, down to the c-section rates and different hospital policies. She also had a library of books and videos for me to borrow. If you cannot afford a doula, try finding one who is working on getting her certification.
- Look into optimal foetal positioning. The position of the baby was the main reason for my c-section, so I did absolutely everything I could to ensure that it would not be a problem the second time around. This meant not leaning back (for instance, in a recliner) for weeks. I was on all fours as often as I could stand it. The exercise ball was my friend. Well, not really, I was ready to throw it out by the time I reached 39 weeks, but still, it definitely helped with positioning. Also, these positions are great during labour, so I got my body used to being in them.
- Change hospitals or caregivers, if you believe your chances will be better somewhere else or with someone else. My doula convinced me to change hospitals and it was a great decision in the end. Different hospitals have different policies. Some policies are not in your favour, so it may be wise to look elsewhere. Not to mention it could be difficult to go back to a place where you had a negative birth experience.
- If you’re given the okay to go for a VBAC, then believe in yourself! Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. I am 4’11” and 100 pounds. Both my babies were 8 pounds, so that’s a big baby for someone my size. So many people, including some caregivers, had their doubts, but I showed them.
- It is important to do everything you can to have the best possible chance of achieving a VBAC. So, I worked really hard to achieve that goal and to stay positive. At the same time, I knew there was some luck involved as well. It’s important not to forget that. If I had done all of the above and ended up with another c-section, I knew I would have done everything I possibly could. The rest was out of my hands.
- Never forget that your number one goal is health (of Baby and Mommy!)
Best of luck to anyone trying for a VBAC! Feel free to ask me any questions.