To VBAC or Not to VBAC?
Are you planning on a TOLAC? Get the scoop on my personal experience of finding a doctor who would support me, and how it’s been going so far. Baby N #2 is due July 16.
We are expecting our second baby in July. While I am over the moon, I am also considering all of our options for birth. There is a level of anxiety there too. I work for a physician who said something to me the other day that really hit me. He said “It’s sort of sad, the way we have medicalized every part of pregnancy. Rather than letting the mothers enjoy and relish in the miracle of it, they’re anxious about this test or that reading.” I realized that is so true. I’m trying to see this pregnancy through rose colored glasses right now, but labor is looming and our first labor was just not what we anticipated.
When I went into labor with Tess, it was my plan to go as natural as possible *said every millennial mama ever*. But as our labor [slowly] progressed our nurses and doctor recommended that I receive Pitocin which kicked my contractions into extreme overdrive. I chose to get an epidural and do not regret that. Several hours later we found Tess was in occiput posterior, then later in mentum posterior. They allowed me to push for just under four hours while receiving oxygen, but Tess never came out of her “category 2” decels which resulted in an urgent unplanned cesarean. You can read the full birth story here.
So, we went from natural to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and ended up with a c-section. Mamas are mamas, no matter if they have a scar on their tummy or their vagina, in my opinion. However, since we want a big(ish) family, we are weighing the options of trying for a VBAC. Risk for both Mama and baby DOES increase with each c-section, and if you want more than 2-3 children it is recommended that you consider VBAC — if you are a good candidate. This is something that I had heard mentioned maybe once or twice during my pregnancy with Tess, but after her delivery I grew more concerned with how the rest of our children would enter into this world.
I’ve been to three different OB practices and seen three different doctors. I didn’t dislike any of them, I didn’t feel as though I needed to plead my case or advocate for myself, each were open and understanding. Circumstances regarding location, hospital liability issues, and insurance caused the hopping around. Insurance has been a huge factor because my husband works for a private company that does not offer insurance, I work part time for a private practice that also does not offer insurance. So, we looked into Medishare and we were pretty sold except then we found the clause which disqualifies coverage of pregnancy if you have not held the insurance 280 days or longer prior to the delivery. So, we basically had one option which was a Marketplace plan. We don’t qualify for pregnancy Medicaid, and our estimated cost of coverage for myself, my husband and Tess was $650-$700 a month. Long story short, make sure you have all your ducks in a row, especially if you have private insurance.
After speaking with one of the OBs who works with the practice I’m currently at, I finally felt confident. I felt like we could do this. We reviewed my post-op note from Tess’s cesarean and discussed how her position of occipital posterior and mentum posterior impacted my delivery more than anything else. He did a pelvic exam and assessed the size of my pelvis, which he concluded is “not the largest he has ever seen, but he has delivered babies vaginally from smaller,” which set off the alarm bells at first. But he went on to tell me that he thought it was definitely worth me trying a VBAC, and he is the first doctor to say that to me. Between my age, my health and my past birth history he thinks I’m a great candidate. Which was a HUGE relief. It sounds silly but I felt like I missed out on something when I had my cesarean with Tess. I’m praying that with this birth I won’t feel that missing piece, I pray that this baby comes into the world without the assistance of a scalpel. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who got Tess here safely and kept me healthy as well. I am thankful for and respect modern medicine, but I pray that I am able to experience the joy, pride and satisfaction a vaginal delivery holds. And if not, God is still good.
We’re currently sitting at 25 weeks and this pregnancy has gone pretty smooth. Which I praise the Lord for, I don’t know how I would chase after my toddler if I had the nausea I experienced with her! The fatigue is tough, but I think that is a combination of a busy 14 month old and growing a human. Moms are champs, for real.
In preparation for this labor i have been doing things that I neglected the first time around. Sure, I read the articles and the statistics but I figured my deliveries would be like my moms, 2-3 hours of labor and 4 pushes later a baby would be born. Oh, how different reality was. How blissful ignorance is! Anyway, this time I’ve incorporated the red raspberry leaf tea into my daily fluid intake since 18 weeks, and I’ve recently upped it to two cups. Although I’m not a huge fan, I can swallow it down knowing it’s strengthening those uterine muscles and can help to increase the effectiveness of each contraction. We’ll start on 6 dates a day around 8 weeks out, in the hope that we can shave a week or two off this pregnancy and deliver a full-term babe who weighs in a little smaller than Tess did for this “virgin pelvis” as my OB calls it. So far this pregnancy I’ve been cycling 30-40 minutes 3-4x a week to try to stay in some cardio shape, but living in the Midwest makes it tough to do much else. Recently I’ve also incorporated squats into my daily routine, it’s easiest to do sets of 25. I sneak them in whenever I get a chance and just keep a tally on my phone to track. My goal is to get in at least 200 every day, with the maximum being 300. After reading several articles on the benefits and how squats can decrease your time in labor, increase your chances of successful vaginal delivery, and decrease urinary incontinence, I figured they are worth the effort!!