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!