10 Sep Planning for a VBAC
Recently I shared the inspiring story of a mother who reached out to me two years before her second pregnancy, asking for tips on how she could prepare herself for a VBAC. She had just recently given birth to her first child via a cesarean after an induction that resulted in her dilating and pushing for over two hours before a cesarean was called. She believed in herself and her body and wanted to do all she could to prepare herself for her next birth.
Two years later, she reached out to me again sharing the great news of her pregnancy and asking about my doula services. I was excited to hear her news and to work with her and support her on this journey. Throughout her pregnancy, we stayed in touch, met up for our prenatals and she shared with me some of the challenges that she experienced and was able to move on from. She did a great job of visiting her chiropractor for pregnancy adjustments (so helpful for the general aches and pains of pregnancy and for preparing her body for birth) and reading and researching all she wanted to do. She learned her Spinning Babies exercises and worked on them at home with her husband and worked on practicing her mindful approach and preparation for birth.
A few weeks before her estimated birth time, I got a message that pressure waves seemed to be coming regularly. An hour later, they were three minutes apart and I met them at the hospital. This baby was so ready to be born and within a few short hours, my client had her VBAC in a beautiful birth, with her VBAC-supportive midwife standing by her side.
What are some tips I share with my VBAC-seeking families?
- Hire a VBAC-Supportive Midwife or OB! I have mentioned this before, but THE most important step you can take for a positive VBAC journey is to hire a truly VBAC-supportive provider. That is a provider who will not use bait-and-switch techniques, who will not question your choices, who will not tell you you should just go for your repeat cesarean. It is a provider who will not put you on a 40/41 week timeline nor one who will tell you you shouldn’t attempt to birth your possibly 8 pound baby vaginally. It is a provider who will give you all the evidence both ways and let you make your decision. Hit up your local doulas for tips on the most VBAC-supportive providers in your area. We know your local birth scene intimately!
- Prepare Mentally! Work on your erasing any fears you may have of birth, any fears that may be holding you up. Build your confidence with positive affirmations and VBAC supportive messaging with resources like your GentleBirth app.
- Prepare Physically! Chiropractic work, personal cesarean scar massages, pelvic floor physical therapist visits, and your Spinning Babies daily exercises and move can be so helpful for preparing your body for an easier birth experience. Balancing your body’s ligaments and muscles will help bring relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy but will also give your baby optimal space to get into that perfect position for birth.
- Seek out Local Support. Check out your local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) for monthly gatherings at your local library where you can talk to other families who have gone through a VBAC journey and learn what helped them. Peer support and positive stories are always a great tool to add to your self-confidence! ICAN of Northern Virginia Support Group has a Facebook group you can check out here.
- Educate Yourself! Go to vbacfacts.com and Evidence Based Birth and learn all about the risks/benefits of a repeat cesarean vs the risks/benefits of a VBAC. Knowledge is truly power and in the end of the day, you should be the final decision maker in how you give birth.
- Do Your Best and Leave the Rest to God– We have a prophetic saying in Muslim tradition that goes, “Trust in God, but tie your (camel)”- you gotta do your best, and then trust that whatever the outcome is, it was for the best. As long as you did all you could do, take a deep breath in and let it go. If you need to, always feel free to debrief with your doula or a person who would understand. An ICAN meeting might be a great place to get that kind of community support which you may need in case your plans go in a different direction than you expected.