VBAC Guest Post: calling in the troops

**This is the fourth in a series of guest posts on VBACs (vaginal births after cesareans). In an attempt to plan for my own VBAC (hopefully next year) I’m hearing stories, I’m learning and I’m trying to overcome fear. This post is from Jill (Long Lean Mama). She also had a c-section in December of 2009 and is right on track with me on hopes for a future VBAC. Please read her story and check out her blog.**

Ever since LLB was born via c-section in December 2009, I have experienced all emotions: joyful to have had my beautiful baby girl, grateful that she was born healthy, but also had feelings of disappointment, failure, and frustration because I had a c-section.  First and foremost, let me be clear…I know I am blessed to have a beautiful baby girl who is healthy and thriving, but the delivery was not and is still not how I wanted it all to go down.   It’s possible that things could have been different even though I have done everything to convince myself otherwise.

Over the last 14 months, I have heard and read countless stories similar to mine…5, 10, 15 hours or more passed and not progressing enough, the baby was positioned the wrong way, the heart beat was slowing down, and so on.  I convinced myself that LLBs delivery was how it had to be.   Well, maybe not.  My husband and I truly believed we would be able to achieve a healthy, natural birth with the help of the doctors, nurses and each other.  But, my agonizing back labor combined with my incredibly slow dilation process was TOO hard to take.  It was near impossible for my husband to watch me be in any more pain beyond the 15 hours we spent at the hospital before the c-section.  He was scared, worried, and concerned for my and LLBs safety…as he should be.

I have the most wonderful, strong, supportive husband ever and we believed that his support and coaching would be all that I needed to guide me through the labor & delivery process; but the reality is, it’s a tough job and sometimes you need to call in some special troops.  Troops that have mama, baby and their natural birth plan in mind.  Troops like doulas and midwives.  We actually researched using doulas before LLB was born but decided not to have one, mostly due to finances, despite all of the statistics that say using a doula can decrease your chances of a c-section by up to 50%.  Perhaps having a doula there would have allowed us to have a natural birth, and maybe not.  We can’t change the past, but we can try to achieve a different outcome in the future.

So, as my husband and I begin to plan for our next baby, we have decided to do everything we can to have a natural, vaginal birth (referred to as a VBAC – Vaginal Birth after Cesarean).  Some of you might be wondering why this is so important?  Just schedule the c-section and be done with it.  Lets not forget that ac-section is a major surgery with serious risks.  Risks that, in my opinion, far exceed the risk of uterine rupture in a VBAC, which is .2 to 1.5% (approximately 1 in 500).  Bottom line, I do not want a drug induced surgery, followed by a doped up haze for days, and finally and long, painful recovery time where I can’t pick up my toddler for weeks.  I want to at least try for a beautiful, natural birth.

So the journey begins.  I have started by reaching out to local doulas, midwives, and birthing centers to understand all of our options.  This time, we are going to call in the troops.

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