VBAC = Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
Like just about everyone, my journey to a VBAC really started with my first birth. I won’t do the whole big saga here but suffice to say, it was a long, drawn out event that involved the whole “cascade of intervention”. It also involved a failed epidural after they talked me into having one as I was so slow to progress, an infection, an awful midwife and a c-section under a general anaesthetic which means I was sleeping for the birth of my very first child.
Emotionally it took me a long time to recover from that. I had a mild to medium case of PND while learning how to be a mum to my new baby and then once I’d finally settled into that I started to really think about what it must have been like for my poor baby to arrive in the world with the only person he knew nowhere to be found. It got to the point where I couldn’t even talk about his birth without tearing up.
Fast forward a few years and I am pregnant with number 2 baby, our much longed for rainbow and infertility success baby, and all I really know is that I don’t want to abandon her on the day she is born by being asleep for the first few hours of her life. But having a VBAC is easier said than done for some women. Some doctors seem really afraid of them and push women into a RCS (repeat c-section) at every opportunity and I find that really sad.
Ingredients for success
Fortunately for me I had an amazing OB which is actually a bit of an aberration in Australia. Statistics tell us that you are more likely to have a successful VBAC in a midwife led program but I did my research around town and happened to get lucky and pick a good one. I was packing a pretty big baby on board too – she was 4.5kg at birth – and many OBs will balk at a VBAC delivery with a baby that size but my OB never did, he never told me I couldn’t, so I am lucky in that I never had to fight the way some women do.
This was just one ingredient towards my success though. I had to build the perfect environment both within me and external to me to get me over the line, and even on the day during my labour I wanted to quit. But that’s where having a wonderful support team saved me. So build that support. I had my partner and a doula and both were truly instrumental to getting me through.
Throughout the pregnancy I watched YouTube clip after YouTube clip of VBAC labours and births, I read countless birth stories, I read active labouring birth books, hippy birth books, I imagined my birth over and over and over, I made a birthing board full of positive quotes that I stared at daily and took to the hospital with me when it was time, I joined an amazing VBAC Facebook group and I researched and researched to know my position on every possible variable that could occur.
It came as such a surprise to me that there are a large number of doctors out there advocating for the “easy option” of a RCS for no reason at all and without giving their patients the risks of a CS. They present it as if it is risk free and we know that is not true. How can it be? It is major surgery.
Anyway, here in this space I am going to share the research that helped me. And if any of the wonderful women of the web will allow it I will share their birth stories here too complete with their experience with medical staff throughout the pregnancies.
It is such a tough line. No-one wants to put themselves of their baby at risk but sometimes a great risk is presented when perhaps there isn’t one simply because of doctor preference and that really isn’t fair. The only way we can combat this is with the education of women everywhere.
Your body, your birth. Be informed.
PS Here is the Facebook group: VBAC Australia Support Group <- if you are preparing for a VBAC this is a great place to go for links to research and amazing support.