I was unsure about sharing my birthing experience on the blog. I’ve always felt it was too personal. It’s been almost five years since I started Georgie’s Mummy and among all these words and pictures not once have I mentioned my birth story. While I won’t go into details -perhaps another time- I have decided to share one big part of my story. This is mainly due to the fact that I am on my way to having the kind of birth I never thought I could have. A natural birth.
With Georgie I had an emergency c-section. Which means that this time I am going for a VBAC- Vaginal Birth After C-Section.
It’s something I never thought I could do and if I thought it wasn’t possible then that means there are women out there who think the same. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that once you’ve had one c-section there’s no way you can ever have a natural birth. I bet you’ve heard it too. Perhaps you heard it from your own doctor! There are of course cases where a VBAC is not advised but I’ve heard that situations such as these are rare and almost every woman can attempt a VBAC if she choses to do so.
The reason I am openly talking about my birth preparations is because I feel it is my duty as a woman and a mother who runs a public platform and speaks to a specific audience to shed light on the matter and tell you that if you want it, you CAN have a natural birth after a cesarean.
Since I was given the green light I have been researching everything and anything I can find on VBACs. Despite there being no guarantees during childbirth, as I am fully aware, on my preparation list are things that will bring me closer to my dream birth and hopefully up my chances of a successful VBAC.
1. Find a doctor who does VBACs: Although this isn’t technically on my list, it’s extremely important if you want a successful VBAC. I would not be able to even think about a natural birth let alone prepare a list if it weren’t for a wonderful doctor who does VBACs and suggested I go for one even before I had thought of it. Knowing that he actually WANTS me to deliver my baby naturally makes me feel completely at ease.
2. Hire a doula: Having someone to support me, coach me and be there for me is absolutely vital if I want a chance at having a VBAC. It’s one of the first things most VBAC women chose to do before anything else. While I know my husband will not leave my side, just like he didn’t during Georgie’s birth, I need someone with physical, emotional and informational support guiding me through this experience. And that’s what a doula is for. Thankfully I can tick this one off my list because I have found the perfect doula for me and there’s even an interview with her coming soon on the blog! Can you guess who she is??
3. Eat healthy and exercise: When I was pregnant with Georgie I stopped exercising at six months. I had gained too much weight too fast therefore felt uncomfortable and uninterested in squats or lunges. This time however I have managed to maintain a healthy appetite, stick to a healthy diet (on most days because cravings can be very real) and exercise three times a week. I am a Pilates fan and have been for many years and thankfully its the type of exercise highly recommended during pregnancy so I’ve kept to my routine albeit avoiding ab crunches. Exercising has made all the difference in the way I feel during this pregnancy.
4. Talk to other women who have had VBACs: This was hard to do because I didn’t know any mamas who had experienced a VBAC. Quite a strange thing seeing as we have a 52% c-section rate and its been proven that on average 60-80% of attempted VBACs are successful. So to begin with I read tons of birth stories online. I still do and can’t get enough because with each personal account I feel stronger about my decision. Knowledge is power, girls! A couple of weeks ago I finally found a VBAC mama via a friend. I interviewed her for the blog too. Her story, tips and advice are coming soon.
5. Music: I have started putting together a playlist of favourite songs. Some will bring serenity and calmness and evoke beautiful memories while others will do exactly what I love about music: uplift me and make me happy. My doula has promised there may even be some dancing so I have that in mind when adding tunes to my playlist. Once I have it ready I will share it.
6. Meditation: I look forward to the moment when I light a candle and sit down in utter quietness, focused and calm and am able to practice meditating which will ultimately help me during labour. Did you know that you can actually decrease the intensity of pain through visualisation? So meditation combined with mental imagery can be a very powerful tool to have when in labour. Mentally though, I’m not there yet, so this is the one thing on my list that I haven’t even attempted.
So there you have it. A list that brings me hope and determination.
Please keep in mind that opinions expressed are my own and that this post was inspired by the many people and professionals I have met who are making a change in the world of birthing on our island.
If you’re interested in having a VBAC, finding a doula or any other information regarding pregnancy and birth I can only recommend what I know so go to ISIS Clinic or check out Birth Forward. If anyone has any other recommendations to make please feel free to do so in the comment section.
I would love to hear about your VBAC experience and any tips and advice you may want to share.