Guest Post: Planning a VBAC

A fellow blogger recently posted her plans for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean . Ashley’s post is beautiful and encouraging. She writes over at Our Happily Ever Afters and already has two beautiful children. Check her out and enjoy this lovely post.

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Our Plans for a VBAC

As far as our birth plan goes, that’s also different from last time. To quickly recap, Kurt was in residency when Evy was born. We had to make the decision to induce labor or run the risk of Kurt not being present at her birth, were I to go into spontaneous labor. For us, this was not even a question. So I was induced at 39 (almost 40) weeks. When I went in for the induction, I was not even 1cm dilated, and my body had shown no signs of labor being imminent. After 9 hours of Pitocin, Stadol (otherwise known as the drug from you-know-where), and NO progression (I only got to a 3) at 4:00pm my doctor recommended a C-section. More background: my mom had 4 C-sections and so that was very familiar to me. I had no fear of them, and at that point it was the logical decision to make. At 4:12pm, in the operating room, Evy Kate made her beautiful appearance. Kurt and I were besides ourselves with joy and it was absolutely the most amazing moment of my life up to that point.

When I got pregnant this time around, a VBAC (v*g*nal birth after Caesarean) immediately came up for discussion. We decided that we would ask my doctor at the time what her policy was for this. She immediately said that she wouldn’t do that, and no doctor in town would. Baffled, I left the office and went home to talk with Kurt. He had also been doing more extensive research on this topic and had become insistent that I be given the opportunity to try a VBAC. He even went to his hospital of employment and after talking with MANY staff members, was appalled at the attitude of most physicians regarding this topic (it basically boils down to fear of malpractice suits, but mostly their general unwillingness to labor with their patients and do whatever it takes to see a VBAC through). Almost every nurse that Kurt talked with was so thankful he was bringing up the discussion because they all agreed it was ridiculous how hardly any doctors are willing to give that option. We felt like it was an uphill battle to even get the hospital to acknowledge that this was evidence-based medicine and if they keep denying this service to women, it will have very negative effects. We’re hoping that more physicians in our area get on board!

We both felt (and still feel) very strongly that medical evidence and research OBVIOUSLY support this option, as opposed to multiple C-sections. Thus the search began for an OB who would allow me to try. We found one in our whole city (praise the Lord!). I absolutely love her and her bedside manner is awesome (unlike my last OB in Mississippi). She definitely agreed that it’s worth a try, and she’s willing to monitor my labor for as long as it takes. I’ll pause here and give some facts/info about why I’m choosing to try a VBAC.

-If you allow yourself to go into spontaneous labor on your own and do not take labor-inducing drugs (like Pitocin), you have a 70%-75% chance of having a successful VBAC. It also helps if you hold off on getting your epidural until after you get to around 4cm or so.

-Most doctors refuse VBACs because they are afraid of malpractice suits. This stems from the fear of uterine rupture (your C-section scar rupturing because of the pressure of natural labor). However, this only happens in about 1% of VBAC situations. 1%!!!

-The more C-sections you have, the higher your risk grows for complications. Kurt and I do not want to have to limit our family size due to the fact that I’m looking at major surgery each time. Obviously, God is in control and He knows what’s best. We follow His leading at all times and this includes when we pray about the size of our family. But I would feel better knowing that I’m not significantly multiplying my risk if I get pregnant one more (or several more) times.

-There are so many more facts and research you can read that I’ve not included here. This is a great website if you want to learn more about a VBAC.

Now for my disclaimers and thoughts:

-I am NOT trying to “redeem” Evy’s birth or trying to “redo” my experience with her birth in any way. I am NOT anti-C-section, and I don’t view Evy’s birth as a failure IN ANY WAY. I was trying to think of the perfect way to say this, and this is what I came up with: Evy’s story is her story. I have NO REGRETS and I look back very fondly on the whole experience. There were certain elements that weren’t fun, but I know without a doubt that we made the best decisions for us at the time. I simply view this as Lynley’s story, which could potentially be different, or it could be similar to Evy’s, ending in a C-section. They both have unique birth stories (and Liam has his unique story). I view them all separately, and not like I have to redeem one because of another.

-I absolutely, 100% believe that there is no right or wrong way to give birth. I’ve never found an article that I feel articulates this exactly as I would, but I found this one! I’m very careful about articles I post or share, because personally, I want people to really understand my position on something. There are lots of good elements in the article, but I particularly like that it points out that “bullying” can come from both sides. Just like doctors can bully women into having unnecessary C-sections, people from the natural-birth camps can make women feel like complete failures who haven’t made it into their “club” if they choose to have an epidural or other interventions. Birth is a miracle. Period. Life is entering the world, and shame on anyone who tries to nullify that by demeaning any woman’s experience.

-I feel like I’m in the middle of things, in that our plan includes non-intervention (going into labor on my own, trying to labor at home at first, no epidural until regular contractions are established and I’ve progressed to at least 4cm), but it also includes intervention (I definitely plan to have an epidural, I don’t mind monitoring, I’m not opposed to an episiotomy if it’s necessary, etc.). IT IS OKAY to desire elements from both schools of thought! You’re not a sell-out if you don’t wholly subscribe to one philosophy.

Who knows how Lynley’s story will go? God does. I feel like we’re making the best choices for us this time around (just like we made the best choices for us last time around), but ultimately we trust the Lord with Lynley’s birth and we will ask Him for His wisdom in everything. Ultimately, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21) I am so thankful for that promise!

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