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Processing a difficult VBAC

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My primary c/s was a classic cascade of interventions/failure to progress and my VBAC was another difficult labor ending in fetal distress and a vacuum extraction at the hands of a talented OB.

I'm invited to a VBAC group that was started locally and while I really would like to support and promote VBAC in our community, I don't think my story is what people want to hear. While I could focus on a few empowering elements, the key points of my birth story were not gentle, natural, or healing. The meeting will include pregnant women who are about to attempt VBAC as well as successful and unsuccessful VBAC'ers.

Do I go to the VBAC meeting and share if asked? Or just not go and miss the chance to volunteer for something like outreach to the community? I think that if I do go it would be really hard not to share.
post #2 of 26
This was your experience -- it is as real and valid as anyone's experience. As a mother who had a traumatic c-section and who hopes for a VBAC, I would appreciate hearing about your experience at such a meeting.
Nobody ever said that VBACs don't count if they are not all rainbows and butterflies! What happened to you is the kind of thing I'd want to know about so that I could be mentally prepared. I went into the birth of my son NOT mentally prepared for a c-section, and it was very hard.
If anything, I think your experience is a good reminder to the group that VBACs will span the same kinds of experiences as all vaginal births -- some orgasmic gorgeous life-altering births, some tricky births, some really hard painful births, some repeat c-sections, all of it.
post #3 of 26
I think you should definitely talk about it and be proud that you attempted and had a vbac. Yours is a birth story and they are all important to share.
post #4 of 26
If you're comfortable sharing, I would go. Like previously mentioned, not all VBAC's are rainbows and butterflies, but still VBAC's. If I were to choose another c/s or the VBAC that I had...I'd choose my exact same VBAC again....

I intended on going completely natural and pushing my baby out with ease! However, after an hour and a half of pushing, I started to fear the clock, so I agreed to the epidural, so the OB could turn my baby, do the episiotomy and use forceps. As I planned, NO. VBAC, YES! Proud, YES! Successful, YES! Did I feel amazing that "I" pushed a baby out (okay, with some forceps) the way my body was designed, YES! It wasn't what I expected in my dreams, but I still did it and it was one of the most empowering things to do after having a baby cut out of me the time before. So...I still feel like sharing my story shows women that it CAN happen even when doctors tell you it can't!

Like I said....I'd take my story over a repeat c/s...so, knowing that there were at least other options than a rcs is also helpful!

But of course, all of this, only if you would feel comfortable sharing your story!
post #5 of 26
My first VBAC ended with a true shoulder dystocia (that did not resolve with the gaskin maneuver) and a 4th degree tear. My dd2's first few moments involved oxygen and masssage to help her get going, my first hour or two as a sucessful vbac mama involved 200+ sutures and the worst pain of my life (I birthed without meds and the local used for repairing the 4th degree didn't "take". I also had pph. They had to hook up an iv for fluids and narcotics to control the pain of suturing). This was NOT the vbac birth I imagined, but it WAS a vbac birth.

I've shared this birth with many, many women in person, at ICAN meetings, at LLL meetings, here on mdc, etc. I think it's important to remind people that just because a birth is vaginal it doesn't follow that it will be easy, or smooth, or complication free. I wouldn't trade my complicated vbac for an easy c/s, and I think that women need to hear that perspective too... by being honest about my experiences I have the chance to answer questions that others may not. (like "so would you have another vbac?"... answer, "yes, and I have, with almost no trauma").

So I guess I'd say, if you're comfortable sharing, go ahead and share.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the support ladies! Yes I am comfortable with my story but I just don't want to intrude on anyone's birthing vibes. I know people want to think positive but it probably doesn't help to have an overly idealized VBAC in your head either. So awkward :-P
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wombatclay, we must have posted at the same time. OUCH! I can relate to your post-VBAC situation. I only had a 3rd degree tear but I had plenty-o-sutures and wasn't frozen for some of them but YES - compared to c/s recovery it was a walk in the park.

Probably the best part was being pretty much left alone in the hospital while I was recovering...my roommate had a c/s and I was reminded of all the annoying monitoring, breastfeeding problems, and lack of mobility that had followed my c/s. I also enjoyed all the docs and nurses who looked at my chart and said "Oh, a VBAC! Nice!" The hospital I went to was really supportive.
post #8 of 26
Birth is truth; share it.

Some women have a peaceful, joyous birth; others have difficulty.

It is called labor because it is work, hard work, but well worth it.
post #9 of 26
I agree -- share your story.

You said the meeting will include unsuccessful VBACers, so I don't see why you shouldn't share your successful story, even though it may not be all rainbows and butterflies, as Spiralshell said.
post #10 of 26

It was an adventure all right! And my second vbac went much more smoothly. Intense in it's own way, but within an hour of the birth I felt completely, 100%, fine. The staff kept asking "are you really the mom?" because the hospital I used for that birth is supportive (I used a tub, birth ball, brought my own food and birthing outfit, used a doula with herbs/homeopathics, attended by a really hands off midwife, etc)... but they almost never see a mama who "goes natural". It turned into a great opportunity to educate by example!

I hope you have the chance to inspire with your story and resolve.
post #11 of 26
Can I just say that as a mom who is going to try for a VBAC in May that this thread has kind of brought me out of the "butterflies and rainbows" stage. Thank You, Really!!

I think sometimes as moms who are VBACing we want to glamorize labor and think its all great but we forget its hard work. It may not go completly as planned but at least it will be a VABC right?

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and bringing me back to reality. Reality that I will do anything to have my VBAC even if its not what I had intentionally had my heart set on.
post #12 of 26
I think you should. Personally, I find the idea that we can only share our births if they meet some kind of standard offensive, you know? I personally don't think it's helpful to give moms the impression that vaginal birth is always walk in the park, I think it just sets them up for disappointment and confusion. My vba2c went great, but the very end was really intense and painful, and I was kind of unprepared for that, honestly.
post #13 of 26
Yes, tell your story. My first VBAC was difficult - days of labor, all sorts of interventions, huge tears... BUT still a triumph and still way better than my C/s. My second VBAC was three weeks ago - it WAS rainbows and butterflies! 3 1/2 hours of labor, no drugs, no stitches, totally empowering. I'm glad to have had all three experiences - knowing I could handle my difficult VBAC made me that much more confident about giving birth, naturally. Speak your truth so others can learn from your experience. Good luck!
post #14 of 26
I don't think you do women looking into VBAC any justice by keeping stories of difficult or even unsuccessful VBAC's from them. Sometimes VBAC doesn't work out, sometimes it is traumatic and sometimes it is even a worse experience than their previous C-section. Women who REALLY want to be educated and make a truly informed decision want the truth, not something sugar coated.

And add me to the ranks of: "First VBAC was less than ideal (bladder trauma leading to catheterization for 2 weeks and subsequent raging bladder infection) but followed on by at least one rainbows and butterflies VBAC"
and in my case a couple rainbows and butterflies and then a couple more less than ideal ones, hopefully followed by another rainbows and butterflies in June
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
So interesting...I did not realize that difficult VBACs were common. There must be some self-selection going where birth stories are posted. I know I only posted mine in my DDC.

I know I was expecting rainbows and butterflies in spite of having turned a transverse baby the week before and knowing he was still a little out of position. The reality is I am just not a person who has easy labors, and there are a lot of variables in managing prenatal care and birth. I know I made the best decisions I could both times and if I ever give birth again I will make more changes. I asked my DH if he'd ever consider home birth and he said "Yes!...Wait, did you just talk me into a third kid?"

ginnybee Congratulations on your new baby!
post #16 of 26
Originally Posted by nina_yyc View Post
I know I made the best decisions I could both times and if I ever give birth again I will make more changes.

Yes! THIS!!!! I learned a lot from my c/s! Wish I didn't have one, but I learned that I needed to take control and educate myself, so I had the vaginal birth I desired.

I also learned a lot from my VBAC. Now I know exactly what I want..and I hope to make some chances for my next birth.

Maybe next time won't be my "dream birth"...I'm sure there will be some things here or there...but, I've learned along the way and will make chances that I see appropriate!
post #17 of 26
So interesting...I did not realize that difficult VBACs were common. There must be some self-selection going where birth stories are posted.
Yes. I think so many women just don't want to give any ammunition to the "vbac is a bad idea" people, so they edit out anything that might lead someone to say "gee, I bet a c/s would have been better" or something like that. You fight so hard for the right to vbac, and you want other women to have the option to vbac, that you just don't mention the less than rainbow/butterfly moments.

As this thread has shown, that is a mixed blessing since on the one hand the happy vbac stories may encourage people to give it a try, but it also creates a false image of "vbac as easy/happy/gentle" which may not be the reality for many women.
post #18 of 26
nina_yyc - I think many people are going to find joy and clarity in your story because birth is truth like another poster said.

My doula runs a c/s support group, and many of them have had VBACs. I thought I was going to be one of those ladies, but I was not. Even with that "failure" my doula urged me to come and speak about my birth experience despite it ending in another c/s. I am proud of my birth experience with this 2nd one and reminded everyone that I didn't fail, sh#$ happens and we don't always get want we want because birth is tricky like that.

I think you will be able to offer that group a wonderful perspective - that yeah VBACs are not all sunshine & rainbows with babies sliding out of birth canals in just a couple of hours. Personally I can't wait to try for #3 - because its going to blow my MD's mind
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
Yes. I think so many women just don't want to give any ammunition to the "vbac is a bad idea" people, so they edit out anything that might lead someone to say "gee, I bet a c/s would have been better" or something like that.
It didn't cross my mind that anyone would choose an elective c/s, but I thought that pregnant women would want to think positive and if it doesn't sound like something out of Spiritual Midwifery then it wouldn't help. Live and learn I guess I could get behind 'birth is truth.'
post #20 of 26
After all a VBAC is just like any other birth...just with a scar in your uterus. Why would a VBAC have to be easy peasy, it's still childbirth after all and not everybody is choosing the 'spiritual midwifery' way like you said.

My VBAC was fairly easy (compaired to 32h labor and 6hrs of pushing before my c/s). I was induced with a bit of pitocin, my membranes were ruptured and within less than an hour my babygirl was born, without pain meds but with a nice cut because her heartrate was suddenly down to only 60bpm. Still it was the most amazing thing I have felt. Just the feeling of the baby leaving your body was awesome. It healed me, definetely even though it was not as calm, intimate and celebrationals as some other VBACs you read about here.

I'd definetely say, go for it. Share your story. I'm sure that other VBAC attempting mamas will thank you for it...just seeing that it's not always easy.
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