Planning for second baby

We are planning the birth of our second child.  I’m 24 weeks along, it’s a boy, and as of right now, super healthy, and I’m feeling great!  When I say we are planning the birth, I feel a little funny – we thought we had the birth of our first son planned, and it absolutely did not go the way we wanted it to – every intervention possible was used, and he was born via c-section.  It was a hard bit of emotions to deal with – I was so happy that my baby was here and he was healthy, but I was so upset that the birth had gone completely the way I didn’t want it to – It was frustrating and upsetting, but very few people would listen to the fact that I was upset about how he came out – he was healthy, after all.  In the end, that is the most important, and I understand that with this baby, we are at higher risk for a c-section and certain safety measures must be taken, but I want to make a greater effort this time – I really want to try my hardest to exhaust all possibilities, and not just give in to a c-section.

The first step has been to find a doctor that supports the decision to go VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  My doctor from my first child said I might as well just elect to do a c-section, even after I told her I didn’t want to.  Some fellow students who had been mothers talked me into finding a second opinion – and I thank God they were there.  I feel much more comfortable with our current doctor.  She isn’t promising that we won’t have a c-section, but she is supportive of us trying for a VBAC, and has given us options which help me feel more empowered.

The second step has been to find a doula we like who will help us on our journey.  We have done this – our first meeting with her was last night.  She is very understanding and supportive, and encouraging us to own this experience.  Margaret, the doula, has said I need to “know that my body can do this”.  This is something I feel incredibly lacking – it’s just so easy to think why try if I’m just going to have to do another cesarean?  Margaret makes it sound like it is very possible – and she’s seen multiple women have VBAC’s – plus I know how incredibly powerful the mind is when it comes to these scenarios, so for now, I need to find the confidence in my body to be able to do what it’s built for.

Confidence in my body is a laughable thing – When I was younger I was skinny and awkward.  Too long, no curves, and so clumsy I’m surprise I haven’t broken any bones even to this day!  Now that I’m older, joints are sore, and my middle is larger than my hips and chest – plus I’ve always been built a bit like a man with strong broad shoulders and sturdy rib cage and thick waist, narrow hips.  How can something that has always felt so un-womanly to me become something I trust to make the baby come out how he’s supposed to?  Not to mention with my first child, it all went wrong, and we weren’t able to get him to latch for breastfeeding.  I pumped instead – produced tons of milk but never had that bonding.

So my assignment from Margaret is to write the birth story for our first – with my husband – detailing the good, the bad and the ugly.  This shouldn’t be hard- no matter how upsetting I find something, I’m able to recount it well.  The next task is to write out the ideal birth plan as if we’d never had a child.  This could be harder – I’m a big fan of not trying to push what shouldn’t happen, even though I know how much I want this to go the way I have envisioned it.  I am interested to see what my husband’s input is, and I’m interested to see if I put this off like so many other things I should be doing!

Talking about it has helped, and supportive friends have helped too!  I’m struggling with people not being able to understand that I desperately want the baby born that way, but I know they want me to focus on the positive – a healthy baby – in case we don’t get our way.  For now, however, I plan to be positive and instead of saying we are trying for a VBAC, that we are going to do a VBAC.  After all, we were going to have the first one naturally – nobody plans for a c-section, it’s just something that happens.  This time, however, we are going to do things the way I planned to help improve the way he is born and how we feel after he’s here!Image

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13 thoughts on “Planning for second baby

  1. Beautiful story, Stefanie! I am really glad you are going for the VBAC. I support you! I know a few people who have had successful VBACs. I am so proud of you for writing so honestly about it. I am excited to be a witness to your journey of having a second child! Wahoo!

  2. HI Stephanie,
    I understand the desire to do the second birth different. While I never had to do a VBAC I definately wanted to be more in control of my labor.. or at least know what my body was telling me. I am glad you found a supportive doctor and a doula. If they haven’t already suggested there is a great book called ” Birthing within” by Pam England. I found that very helpful. It is the most complete book I have found that examines emotions and spiritual elements of pregnancy and birth. It also uses art! I am around until August if you need someone to listen!

  3. When I was working in food service this last semester I met a woman who competes in the special Olympics from Laramie. She went to DC to talk to the legislature and said the following:

    “I think the way I would approach any insecurities is to remember that there are other people who were successful in similar or worse situations. Every time you have doubts just remind yourself that it’s been done; it’s doable.”

    To that I would add for your application: Far less capable and determined people than you have walked ahead of you and succeeded with VBAC. Shoot right down the scope; put blinders on and block out negative thinking.

  4. Thank you for sharing! Writing was therapeutic for me too. It can feel like people don’t understand when their first comment is about how healthy the baby is. YES, we all want a healthy baby, this is actually part of that! I made myself a little journal that I intended to bring with me full of positive thoughts. It didn’t make it to the hospital, but helped me focus in those last weeks. It included song lyrics and Bible verses that reminded me how much God loves me and that He placed this desire in my heart, and he has overcome the world.

    Blessings and prayers!

    • Thanks, Brooke! In my studies it seems the Bible is so male focused, but this past semester has given me a perspective on women empowerment, even back then, so I’d better get some special verses to focus on towards the end!!:)

  5. I can partially understand your pain and disappointment. (I don’t say fully, because I ended up choosing the epidural after 12 hours of labor instead of your situation where you didn’t have the choice for a c-section.) I do remember being really bummed/greatly disappointed in not being told all of the side effects of interventions. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (the newest one) produced by La Leche League is an easy read as well having a really great section on how birthing interventions affect breastfeeding. (You can check out a copy from the St. Paul Library System, if you don’t want to buy it.) I do know that next time around, I will ask more questions on how to prevent many of the things that did happen, so we don’t go down the same path. I believe, as you probably do too, knowledge is power. I also believe that you are doing a great job getting a team of people together that truly and wholeheartedly support you.

  6. Stephanie, my first daughter was born by emergency c-section to save her life when I got pregnate the 2nd time I was afraid that I would have to have another c-section but my doctor down in Florida took a look at how the first doctor had done the first c-section and said having a vbac would be no problem. Tabitha and Emily were both born naturally and it took a little more work, but it can be done…… Just believe in yourself, your doula or doctor whichever you use and just sit back and enjoy your 2nd pregnacy. When you go into labor you will either be able to have this next son naturally or maybe you will have another c-section, what matters is not the process its the end result……. That beautiful litte being that God gave to you and Marty to love and cherise and raise to be a good man. You are a strong intellengent young woman, you are a great mom and however this little man arrives in the world is not important to the rest of the world…. We only care about getting to know your little one and watching him grow….. Steph, I don’t know if my words mean a hill of beans to you, but you are part of a huge loving family who support you whole heartly! Enjoy this time with your young family and let God worry about the big stuff, he will make sure that your labor and delivery will be just what you want. Hugs and Kisses to you and your Family Brenda Blair

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, Brenda:) They mean two hills of beans to me…I kid! I am so happy to hear successful VBACs are happening all around me, gives me hope:)

  7. Hey Stef… Paula and i went through the same situation as you and Martin are going through now and her VBAC was successful. I pray that your body will be prepared and all will go as God has planned. Lots of prayer and support is on your side.

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