A few months ago, I wrote an article about finding a supportive VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) provider. Well, I GOT MY VBAC, and I am here to tell you how I could get one despite not having the most supportive provider at my birth.
Yes, you read that correctly. After weeks of attempting to find a supportive VBAC provider, I ended up laboring and delivering with a provider, not from the practice I saw on the day of my birth. In fact, of all the providers I had seen throughout this pregnancy, she was horrible, lacking any bedside manner, and an anxiety-provoking personality. She also either did not read my birth plan or completely disregarded it.
Despite what would appear to be a huge setback, I was able to focus, remain calm, and utilize the tools I had to succeed. The one factor that I believe contributed to my success was knowing what I could control. While I could not control which provider showed up for my birth, here are the things that I could and believe contributed to my success.
I cannot stress the importance of how educating myself helped me have a successful VBAC. This includes knowing the potential success rate of a VBAC for me (my first child was breech, so I had a pretty good shot at success) vs. the risk of uterine rupture, which is less than 1% (but does happen).
How did I educate myself? I read through several ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) articles and learned about their clinical recommendations for those women who wanted to VBAC. I was able to use the information that I learned in discussions with providers. I also read ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) articles, joined Facebook groups devoted to moms seeking a VBAC, and listened to VBAC and evidence-based birthing podcasts for successful birthing stories.
This all helped me tremendously as I questioned my birthing provider when she wanted to consider doing things that deviated from my birthing plan and were not medically necessary, such as breaking my water without my consent early on, giving me an epidural, and giving me an episiotomy.
2. No Medication
I wanted to attempt to go fully unmedicated, or at the very least, I wanted to get the epidural once I was in active labor. I knew this would give me the greatest chance of success as it would allow for fewer interventions, and my body would be in full control. It also helped during the pushing phase since I could actually feel myself pushing. Being able to go unmedicated was something I was not sure I wanted, but I was happy that I could do it.
3. Minimal Intervention
I believed in myself and my body. The female body is meant to birth babies, and I gave myself the time and remained patient with myself, knowing it would do what it was meant to do. Sometimes providers try to rush women into making decisions and get inpatient. I knew that I could ask questions and say NO.
I also knew that I was in control of my body. If not medically necessary, I knew I could wait to decide or decline. Oftentimes, more time is exactly what mamas need. By not agreeing to break my water early on in my labor, I knew that I would not be placed on a clock, which would have allowed for more interventions.
4. Labor and Delivery Nurses
While this is not something I could control, the labor and delivery nurses at my hospital had a reputation for being amazing, and they really, in fact, were. During the pushing part of my labor, my main nurse took charge and helped me stay focused despite being so tired and beaten down by the provider.
5. A Supportive Partner
I kept my partner in the loop about my desires for a VBAC, and he was 100% supportive. He believed in me and my body and never once questioned my abilities or the fact that I wanted to change providers and build my own support team. By educating myself, I also educated him, and on the day of my birth, he was my cheerleader.
6. Hire a Doula
I cannot stress how important my doula was to me. I would have gone to the hospital much earlier had it not been for her, which would have meant the possibility of more interventions. She remained calm throughout, helped me move around and breathe through contractions, and helped me stay focused. She helped me believe in myself, my body, and my baby. She also tremendously helped my husband remain calm and focused.