If you are hoping to some day have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) here are some tips from a mom who has been there and had two successful VBACs
1) Find Provider who really believes in VBAC
Do not just go to a doctor (or midwife) who “is nice” or already has your records or is closest to your home. Sometimes, having a VBAC is not convenient. Sometimes we have to go out of our way and research birth providers and hospitals and homebirth midwives. We have to schedule consult appointments and bring long lists of interview questions. We have to not just hear his answers to our VBAC questions but read the look in his eyes while he answers and read between the lines of what he is saying. Find someone who does not just allow VBAC or will permit you a “trial of labor” but who says “YES! We believe in VBAC! We love VBACs. We have excellent VBAC stats- here, let me show you just how great our VBAC success is…..”. Also, the hospital they deliver at, if it is a hospital delivery, should reflect that they have good VBAC stats too. If they have a high Cesarean Rate, question that. Is it because there’s a large high risk practice delivering there? ect..
2) Read Positive VBAC Stories
Read Read and Read some more about other moms who have had VBACs. Read positive hospital VBAC stories, birth center stories, and HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) stories. Wash your mind in positive experiences of others. Take mental notes on what helped each mom, what didn’t help them, what made her birth a success. Anytime fear or thoughts of failure come into your mind, pull out those awesome success stories and go over your positive birth affirmations. Believe in yourself. Believe in your body. Trust your body and your baby that as a team- you can healthily, and awesomely deliver vaginally.
3) Get a Doula
Times this by a thousand if planning a hospital birth. She is worth the price to have on your side. A doula is someone who will stand by you and remind you that you CAN do this. She knows how to set the mood, where to add pressure to relieve your pain, what words to speak to keep your motivation up and, though she cannot make any medical decisions for you, she can make sure you are hearing and understanding the situation before you agree to any changes in your birth plan. Though many of you will have your spouse with you, it is still a great benefit to have a doula. A spouse can often get overwhelmed by the experience (remember, they are going through this birth with you) and a doula can be there to support you both as you go through this together. Also, mom can know there is someone with her when her spouse goes to the restroom or runs for some coffee or dozes off during a resting period. She is never left alone, which, when we read stories from others, is often when a mom gets pressured by a nurse/OB/midwife into changing from her plan.
4) Stay Clear of Interventions & Restrictions
In most cases, interventions like inductions, epidurals, not being allowed mobility are huge factors keeping a mom from having a successful VBAC. Get in the mindset of having a natural birth from naturally start of labor to drug-free, to being permitted to move about, get in a tub or shower, ect. The less restrictive the labor process is, the better the chances are that a VBAC will be successful. There are always those stories and times where moms do have interference and still have a successful VBAC (my first VBAC, for instance, ended in an epidural and it was still a successful VBAC) but for the most part, any step up in medicalizing the birth is a step down in success rates for both non-VBAC and VBAC moms when striving for vaginal births.
5) Take a Class
Take a non-hospital birthing class. There are tons of great options from Lamaze, to The Bradley Method, to Hypnobabies. Research the different classes and see which one sounds like the best fit for you and take the course. Birthing Classes like these help give you methods for managing labor pain, give you the info on what to expect, and help instill confidence. These are invaluable for any mom, but especially for the VBAC hopeful mother.
6) Love Yourself
No matter what happens or how your last birth was or how your next birth ends, love yourself. You are not a failure. Your body is not broken. You are an amazing mother and had a beautiful baby. Whether that baby leaves your body vaginally or surgically, hold him or her to yourself and let yourself feel loved. Your baby adores you no matter how your birth was and you deserve to feel and know that. I know how heartbreaking it can be to not have *that* birth experience. That one you dream of. That birth you read about on other blogs and see in documentaries. You are a great mother, though and as long as your do everything you can, know that you have done the best with what you have been given and that is all you can ask for from yourself.
I believe in you. I believe in your body and I believe that you CAN and WILL get your VBAC if you want it. You’ve got this. Your body knows what to do. Your baby is fantastic. You’ve done your homework and you are ready. Trust yourself.