Thursday, June 23, 2011

VBAC - A Totes Unscientific Post

In keeping with my mantra..."I'm a teacher through and through. If I know something I want to share it." and "If you know better you do better."...the topic of this post is VBACs. For those who are uninitiated VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Startling topic, I know, considering my other posts have been very teacher-y, but the deal is I feel strongly about this and I'm gonna share it with you!

I was well-prepared for the birth of my first born. I had a doula. I read the granola-girl books on birthing and natural childbirth. I had a birth plan that did NOT include a C-section. But like so many things in life I wasn't really prepared....I just thought I was. (Sort of like your first year in teaching - you think you're ready, but you totally are NOT.)

My water broke at the doctor's office. Embarrassing considering I was sitting in one of those nice La-Z-Boy recliners with a fetal heartrate monitor on. I'm sure I ruined the chair. Like so many first time parents, my husband and I rushed to the hospital only to play the waiting game. Hours passed, progress was not made, the doctor got impatient, I was given pitocin. Not much of a surprise that I ended up (12 hours later and with NO pain meds - my choice) getting a c-section. Come to find out my little boy was face up. Such a common situation that can be remedied by a change of the mother's positioning and some walking - if only we'd known that was the case!

Pregnancy number 2 and I was determined to have a natural childbirth. After all millions of women have done this, right?? Seriously, women have had babies in fields and caves and rivers and all over the place WITHOUT even having a doctor nearby. I should be able to go to the hospital and let my body do what it knows how to do. My original doctors were unsupportive of this plan (surprise!). I changed doctors. I changed doulas also. I decided that I needed a more maternal influence instead of the young, hip one I had previously.

The new practice gave me the required, doctor-delivered 'VBACs are very risky' speech, but then the midwives took over my care and everything proceeded naturally. I had an amazing birth experience with my little girl. As in completely amazing. Like over the moon AMAZING. I went into labor at six in the morning, arrived at the hospital (a 50 minute drive, btw), had a baby by noon and a cheeseburger by one. (I'm so not kidding. My husband drove to Sonic and grabbed burgers for us. I had just completed a major athletic event after all - I needed to be replenished! The Sprite he brought me was the best-tasting Sprite EVER.)

Did I mention that I caught her myself??

I totally did. I delivered my own baby girl in the hospital bed on my knees. I felt her head crowning and helped her little body into the world. I wiped the blood from her scrunched up face and held her for her first cries. In fact, I was the FIRST person to know that she was a girl because we'd decided to let this one be a surprise.

Woman are amazing. Our bodies do astounding things! Sure there are risks involved in ANY birth and there have been risks for millions of years, but somehow the human race has multiplied. I just read an excellent and informative post today - it's loaded with real scientific-y numbers and in the end VBACs come out looking easy-peasy compared to having MAJOR surgery, er I mean to say a c-section.

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