My attempted VBA2C (Vaginal Birth After 2 C-Sections) journey started in February 2017 when I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. It was completely unexpected as we weren’t planning to have a third for a while. I had just joined a coaching mastermind program, started my blog and was just getting adjusted to having 2 toddlers (3 and 1 & half year old).
I also had a trip planned to see my family in UK in July which was going to be impossible, heavily pregnant with 2 toddlers. So I started the pregnancy pretty depressed and demotivated. I was completely petrified as I had so many plans to work on my business once I started to feel better health wise and take my blog to the next level. Last but not least, the thought of going through preparing for a VBA2C was stressful. I went through a very traumatic pregnancy, labor and delivery with my attempted VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) in 2015 and didn’t want to go through it again.
The Pregnancy & Finding a Supportive Provider
Nausea, severe fatigue and awful Pelvic Pains took over my first trimester. With caring for 2 little toddlers, I had little to no energy to blog or do anything else. I took about 4 months break from blogging and by my 2nd trimester, I felt a lot better.
I visited a midwife who came highly recommended and sadly I left her office hearing the “I can’t care for you due to our policies for VBA2C”. She recommended an OB in her practice but I was gutted, no birth centers accepted my insurance and if they did it would only cover 30-40% of the costs which left me with around $4,000 to cover which was impossible. I met with several midwives, doulas, natural birth supporters and joined several VBAC groups and ICAN groups because I needed all the support I could get. Additionally, I counseled with a Virtual Birth Coach to help me overcome previous birth trauma. I made sure to do pelvic rocks, kegel and other exercises from the Spinning Babies website.
There is so much preparation that a VBAC entails so I have created a FREE VBAC Preparation Checklist printable which will take you through all the steps I took! Keep reading to find out how you can get your hands on one!
My Emotional Experience Preparing for VBA2C
My OB (who I won’t name), was “tolerant” of VBA2C and kept saying “we will see how it goes”. Even though she seemed like a great doctor, because she wasn’t 101% for my VBA2C, I found myself constantly having to re-evaluate my options. I was constantly trying to find a better OB, second-guessing the choices I made and my ability to achieve my VBA2C. Sadly I was upset at myself for not being able to afford a Midwife, and then I would see my doctor and feel like I was over-reacting, then I would hate the American medical/insurance system for making birth so hard women.
It was traumatic in itself I would say. I was emotionally and mentally drained. Trying to manage my pelvic & back pains, be a good mother, wife, prepare to move apartments with 2 kids 3 and under (our first move in 4 years) and trying to successfully blog & work.
By the end of my second trimester, everything looked great and I was still having a healthy pregnancy and baby appeared to be head down. My doctor was still tolerant and was eagerly “looking forward” to checking me around 35 weeks to see how my “cervix and pelvis” were doing. That’s when I noticed my anxiety increasing as memories of my previous birth (Read Story here). I started to become stressed a few days prior to my appointments.
Importance of Support when Attempting a VBA2C
We got to 35 weeks and I had started taking my Red Raspberry Leaf Tea & Nettle Tea. I had my cervical check scheduled but I refused it. I explained to my doctor how traumatic those checks were in my previous pregnancy and that I would like to wait to get checked as it was still early. She agreed to wait until 37 weeks. I was relieved and felt empowered as I advocated for myself and felt like I got 2 more weeks to dilate. It felt like a horrid race I needed to win against the doctor.
Again this wasn’t healthy for me. The anxiety, stress and overwhelm wasn’t in favor of a natural birth. Around the same time, I started going to a chiropractor who also coached me on preparing my mind for birth. I felt so much support everywhere except with my doctor. I was able to ignore the random comments by some friends/family who were shocked to know I was not scheduling a cesarean but I just needed my doctor to be cheering me on!
The Last Month of Pregnancy
At my 36 week appointment, my doctor said my baby was not head down and appeared to be transverse/breech. However, she told me I had enough time for baby to move and if needed they could do an EVC.
I decided to miss my 37-week appointment since I was too anxious. I did not want a cervical check because if my baby was still not head down it would be the cascade of interventions from then on. The consequences of missing that appointment was getting a call from my doctor’s office that a “c-section was scheduled” for me at 41+2 days. I was furious and left a long email for my doctor asking her what was going on. She responded saying that she needed to schedule me into the system, and according to ACOG and hospital policy she couldn’t induce me, etc.
Frantic, I got advice from several VBAC groups, my Doula, ICAN and some ICAN management to advocate for myself as the information I was getting was inaccurate.
I eventually went to see my doctor at 38.5 weeks and she was so excited to do my cervical check. To my surprise, I was 1 cm dilated and about 60% effaced and my baby was head down and at -3 station. I asked her how we would know if my baby was anterior or posterior and she said we couldn’t know without an ultrasound. I had fears that the baby was posterior due to the positioning of the kicks but since she didn’t seem concerned. We just continued to pray that the baby would get into the right position with time. I discussed the email she sent me about the c-section and she assured me that it was only to get me into the system.
My 39-week appointment went well, and surprisingly she didn’t want to do a cervical check which made me happy as I wanted minimal checks anyway.
I decided to do a gentle acupuncture session at 40 & 40+2 days to relax my body and prepare it for labor. At 40+4 days I still hadn’t gone into labor. I discussed the c-section/induction date with her and we agreed to do a foley bulb insertion at 41+2. I was really happy about this as I hoped that by then with acupuncture & chiropractic adjustments I would already be in labor and wouldn’t need the foley.
In my next post, I will reveal what happened after 40+4 weeks and how my labor & birth played out. Please subscribe below to be able to get an update when that’s published!
Because advocating for ourselves and preparing for a VBAC/Natural Birth is so important l I created a Visual Birth Plan Printable & Template which you can download and use for FREE for your birth. Please enter your details below to subscribe to our mailing list to get the printable emailed to you.
And…….Because I want every woman to achieve their VBAC, I have another FREE VBAC Checklist Printable which will take you through the details of all the steps I mentioned in this post! I am also happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below!