*This is a sensitive topic for me just because of how incredibly personal it is.  However, I feel the desire to document each step of this pregnancy journey.  So, I proceed to describe my feelings on this subject as tenderly and honestly as possible.*

As some of you know, who have been long time readers of this blog, I really struggled with the way things progressed with my birthing process with Evaleigh.  I had always desired a natural birthing experience and when I was faced with a c-section, due to her breech presentation, I was devastated.  A big part of me felt like I was missing out on an earthly physical experience that I knew my body was capable of.  I felt confused and frustrated with the pressure of making the decision about what to do with Evie's birth but ultimately decided to have the c-section after countless attempts to turn her.

Looking back on my c-section experience I have very little complaint.  It was truly a sweet experience, my recovery was really a breeze, and after all Evaleigh Joy was born healthy.  Its hard to have regrets about how the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you came about. So for that, I will confidently say that I would change nothing about how Evaleigh came in to this world.

But that didn't mean that I haven't been incredibly desirous to change this birthing experience with Avett.  I recently had a friend tell me this, "I think every woman needs something different to make her birth experience special, I feel every mother deserves to look back on the birth of her child and say the entire experience was a blessing and a miracle, not just "at least my baby was healthy."  It is for this reason that the idea of trying for a VBAC has not left my mind for a single day since I found out I was pregnant on February 8th.  

For the most part of this pregnancy John and I planned on a repeat c-section.  I did this reluctantly but mostly ill-informed.  First let me say that I adore my OB.  I mean, I want to have her over to my house and cook her dinner and talk for hours and be her best friend.  But I knew something wasn't right when she first began telling me that she would not do a VBAC and described the risks involved.  They seemed dramatic and somewhat like a scare tactic.  I trusted her and have for over 2 years.  But there was a little voice in my head telling me to look further and do some research on my own.  At the end of one of my first appointments with this pregnancy she gave me the number for a doctor in Atlanta who does VBAC's and said that I would have her blessing if in my heart I did feel like a VBAC was something I needed to do.

It took me 5 months to summon the courage to contact that doctor.  When I finally did she informed me that she no longer practiced privately in ATL but gave me 3 other referrals.  After that it took another 2 weeks to get the courage to contact them.  I set up one appointment for this past Monday and with a blessing from my husband combined with many prayers I hoped I would know what to do.

When Monday arrived I felt like it was the first day of school and I was the new kid.  Part of me felt like I was cheating on my OB but the stronger part of me knew that if I didn't do this I would really be cheating myself. 

When I walked in to that doctors office a feeling of peace immediately washed over my body.  I looked through a book on the table full of pictures patients had sent of their newborn babies and notes they had written to the doctor about how amazing he was and how much he inspired them and changed their lives.  Tears filled my eyes.  When I finally met with the doctor it was an instant click.  He treated me like I was the only pregnant woman in the world and spent time answering every single one of my questions.  There were so many things he told me that were reassuring.  He said that with VBACS he does not induce, he will not use pitocin, he wants me to labor moving around and standing or walking for as long as I can.  He wants me to try to get to a 6 or 7 with no drug intervention.  He suggested Bradley and Hypnobirthing.  Then he had me stand up and he put his hands on my hips and said, "Well from where I'm sitting, these are just about the most perfect birthing hips I've ever seen."  I was in love.

He owns a practice with a staff of 24 midwives that deliver for uninsured immigrant woman as well as his private practice.  And to top it all off it turns out that my other OB had delivered all of his grandchildren.  I felt such a kinship to him and by the time I left he popped up to shake my hand and said, "Alright kiddo, peace."  I just about bear hugged him right there.  I knew immediately that doing a VBAC and delivering with him was the right decision for me.

This new decision has put a fire back in me about this birthing experience.  I went to the library yesterday and checked out two books on VBACS and Ina May's guide to childbirth.  I am already soaking it all in and trying to learn as much as I can.  I have started some online training with Hypnobrthing.  My goal is to go natural and to be open to what this experience has to offer.  I couldn't be more excited about this and I can't wait to bring our Avett in to this world.

I am open to learning as much as I can in these last few weeks and would love to hear what worked for you mothers who delivered naturally.  Thank you so much already for those who have been supportive and encouraging to me through this journey.  I am excited to experience the, "empowering beauty of childbirth that is woman's amazing gift for people-ing the earth." -Alice Walker


Long Stories said...

I'm so happy for you! I really hope the experience is everything you want it to be and more.
I've always said I want to try my first child naturally, because my mother had all four of us naturally.
It scares me when my friends are having babies that are induced. I know sometimes it IS necessary, but more often than not I think Doctor and parents just get impatient. (personal opinion that I'm sure is largely disputed but whatever)

I haven't had any babies yet, but my mom says the BEST parts of natural birth was that she was walking around during labor. She said she could feel gravity doing it's job with every contraction. Also, afterwards she could feed the baby, get them to sleep, and then take a shower.

Good luck with this second birth! I know Avett will be adorable just like his sister.

Kieren said...

I am sending lots of courage, positivity, and good luck your way. Having a supportive doctor and husband are huge steps toward achieving a VBAC! I haven't had a VBAC, but I am a natural birth girl and would tell you that it is so worth it! I would suggest lots of research (birth process and interventions), prayer, soul searching, positive birth stories, and trust in nature. You can do this!

There is a book called Birthing From Within. It is full of exercises and art projects to help you explore your beliefs and fears about childbirth. Maybe it would help you process your feelings and prepare.aside from that, keep up the Ina May! There's also The Business of Being Born and More Business of Bring Botn, which I think has an entire episode on VBACs.

Good luck to you!

Hilary Lemon said...

We delivered with a midwife group that ran in conjunction with an OB group and it was a dream. Ironically, even with my super hippie midwife, it was necessary to use pitocin because my water broke but I didn't go into labor. So, because the risk of infection was extremely high, 12 hours later, they hooked me up. And it was terrible. But, Charlie is here and I'm grateful. Like you, I look forward to a delivery with less intervention and more of me just being a woman and working with my body. Love you! Can't wait to see your little guy and hear all about it. Not much longer. :D

amy D said...

Ooooh, this is so exciting! I got chills reading this!

This might sound silly, but something that helped me with #2 was literally opening my hands palms-up during contractions. It made it easier to keep my body relaxed and concentrate through them. I also had maybe 5-6 Scripture verses that I meditated on through the end of my pregnancy and then through labor.

You can totally do this, girl. And you will rock it! My two natural births were easily the best experiences of my life. ;)

Jeans and a Teacup said...

Good for you! I don't have any children but I feel like I have the same feelings about c-sections and natural childbirth as you do. I didn't even know VBAC's were possible until I went with a friend to a VBAC presentation so I understand more about it now. It sounds like your new doctor is amazing!
Jeans and a Teacup

Court said...

Birthin from within is a great reference! go to prenatal yoga if you can. that is what helped me get through the contractions. you learn poses and breathing exercises to help assist in a natural birth. because of that i feel like i was able to stay calm and collected and focus on my body and baby. once it was time to push i just listened to my body and did what it needed to do. most beautiful wonderful feeling and experience is pushing out a baby with no drugs.

Susie said...

Good for you! I am due 10/7 with #1 and am planning to try natural childbirth myself. Luckily, my very large practice seems to be all for it, which kind of surprised me a little. Good luck and I hope you are able to do your VBAC!

Pioneer Mom said...

When I was going to have my 4th baby, I came here for encouragement. your birth story touched me. I had 4 c-sections, but labored every time, and tried so hard for a natural birth, which I finally found out the fourth time around that it will never be possible for me. But your cesarean story encouraged me. Now I am going to have my fifth and am not going to try anymore, but I am very happy for you and encourage all one or two time cesarean moms to go for it! I believe you can do it. And I am gong to check back and see how you did; I love birth stories, no matter how they end, because there is a beautiful baby at the end, and that is what its all about.

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