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feeling discouraged (no more) - thanks ladies!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

let me start by saying that i'm fine.  i'm healthy and baby is doing well.  i'm fortunate to have a wonderful family and i'm committed to starting the new year with a positive frame of mind.


that said, i learned something a few days ago that has me a bit stressed.


for those who don't know, i'm planning a vbac.  i had a c-section with dd (in april 2007) due to fetal distress after 28 hours of labor and several attempts at pushing.  i've been told i'm a good candidate for vbac (whatever that means) and that there's no reason i won't be able to have the natural, drug-free and intervention-free birth i so desired with dd.


i first got pregnant in august of 2009 and decided to have a homebirth with a midwife because i thought a midwife would be the most supportive of my choice to vbac.  i lost that baby in november of 2009.  when i got pregnant again this past august, of course, i decided to go with a midwife again.  however, my lay off in october made it impossible to go the homebirth route with the $4500 midwife cost.


so, i had to find a hospital and an OB.  there are two nearby hospitals.  one that "bans" vbacs and one that "allows" them.  obviously, i went with the one that "allows" them (assuming that was enough).  next, i chose an OB (who came highly recommended) who has privileges at that hospital.  he says that he supports my choice to vbac (although i've never felt 100% certain of that) -- obviously we'll be having a serious heart to heart at my next appointment.


honestly, i've come to terms with the fact that i'll be birthing in a hospital and that i'm not getting the birth i originally had wanted.  i was confident in the fact that i will get the birth i want if i'm at the right place in my mind and if i'm surrounded by supportive people.


here comes the discouraging part...i decided to research the c-section and vbac rates at my chosen hospital.  turns out the overall (for ALL women delivering) c-section rate is 34% (YIKES -- that's 1 in 3 women).  the primary (for women who have not had a previous c-section) c-section rate is 18%.  the vbac rate is 4%.


needless to say, i'm not feeling as confident as i was.  no matter how prepared i am, how am i to birth naturally in an environment where that just isn't the norm. 


dh told me to stop reading things online.  i insisted i'm merely educating myself.  dh has been so supportive and positive and is trying to keep me positive as well, insisting that i focus on what i do have control over and not the things i don't (the numbers).  he's been helping me a lot to focus and stay relaxed.  he says that if i prepare my body and my mind (and have supportive people around me -- mainly, him) that i CAN DO THIS -- that i can be one of the 4%. 


honestly, it was dh's support and techniques that helped me the most during labor with dd.  dh is a coach and sport psychologist (his focus is on pain management in distance runners) and he has shared lots of useful techniques for focusing and coping with pain (he even recently said i could "borrow" his mantra which he's been using since he was a kid).  we took a lamaze class with dd (at that time, i didn't really know what else was available).  i found it completely useless to me during labor and used what dh had taught me instead.


which brings me to another issue.  i'm trying to decide how to prepare for this baby.  i spent the first half of my pregnancy worrying about the baby (and nervous about losing another) and very little time preparing.  i've got about 17 weeks to go and really need to get going.  i've found a local bradley class which i'm considering (starts next friday).  the instructor seems good (we've been chatting over e-mail).  also thought about the hypnobabies home study.  can't do too much because funds are limited right now.  does anyone recommend one of these over the other?  would both be overkill?


after learning the c-section/vbac rates of my hospital, i thought a doula might be a good idea as well (someone else in my corner).  although, like i said, money is an issue.  although, she wouldn't help me prepare for the birth, just be there with me through it, right?


any ideas, suggestions, insights, past experiences to share? 


i'm currently reading natural childbirth the bradley way and birthing from within.  am enjoying and getting lots out of both.


i did consider switching hospitals.  found the hospital with the best vbac rate (16%) that's in our general vicinity, but none of the doctors there accept the insurance we have.


for those who have gotten this far, thanks so much for listening.  i appreciate all of you. smile.gif



post #2 of 23

Ok a few things... 4% rate at your hospital, and say 75% rate at a birthing center, says something about the policies and providers, NOT about the women.  So you're husband is right, YOU can do this.  You don't have a 100% gaurantee it will happen, even homebirth VBAC's are sometimes transferred, but with the preparation and support that you are going to have, you are more in the 75% group, no matter where you go to birth.  I went to a hospital with an up to 50% c-section rate every month (YIKES!), probably 95% or more epi rate, and I had two natural un-complicated birth.  I chose the birth I wanted, and didn't let a provider tell me during my labor that I HAD to do this or that.  I bet your OB probably has a much higher than 4% success rate considering he comes the most highly recommeded for VBAC's, ask him what his % is.  But STILL, your success is mostly up to you.  I would hire a doula, your hubby may be a great emotional support, but a doula is going to know a lot more about positions during birth to speed things up and help your baby decend, and all different pushing positions to give you a better chance at an easier pushing phase.  I know this because I'm a doula :)  Call Dona and ask for their list of trainee's in your area, and I'm sure you'll find one that won't charge you anything.  Or just email the ones in your are who do charge, and ask for a reduced fee.  Doulas have hearts, some will charge very minimal fees to those that simply can't afford it.  I would also put Ina May's Guide to Childbirth on your list to read.  Mostly for the encouraging birth stories, it really helped me.  I would also go ahead and take the Bradley class, it will probably only help you. 


And in regards to stress- I know what it feels like.  Last year (I can say last year now!), I had two m/c's before this one stuck.  I never knew the meaning of the word anxiety until now.  It's really hard to be pregnant after loss, not to mention having difficulty with birth plans.  I had depression and anxiety over this until I decided on a homebirth.  So just don't give up hope, the birth may not be exactly what you want, but it could still be an experience that amazes you and leaves you feeling like your conquered the world.  All we can do is plan, and hope for the best, the rest is out of our control and isn't worth dwelling on. 

post #3 of 23



i did bradley with my first and it was a great course with TONS of info but it didn't teach how to relax during labor.  i'm doing the hypnobabies home course now and i LOVE it!  i can't say how well it will work for me yet but i'm feeling good about it.  in your situation i really recommend hypnobabies.  the course notes have lots of info taken from bradley method and the relaxation tools are soooo much better.  also, it's a lot cheaper!  you can find a used course for $85-120.... much less than the bradley courses.  


i didn't have a doula for dd and luckily her birth was simple but in your situation i think a doula would be well worth the money.  i know that you can get a doula in training at little to no cost but that would take some searching.  and they come without all the experience.




post #4 of 23


You CAN do it!  You are educated, prepared, and have the support you need!  I loved the combination of Hypnobabies and Bradley.  I self-studied both and practiced with my DH. Unfortunately I never got to put the self hypnosis into practice (long story.)  But I went into that VBAC attempt very confident that I would succeed!  (Okay, long story short--midwife dropped me when I was ten days late and I had to present to the hospital for a repeat C/S or go it alone.  Had my third C/S.)


Have you read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth


I can't wait to read your VBAC story in May!


post #5 of 23
hug.gif i don't really know anything about what you are going through but i do believe if you really want it you can be in that 4%
post #6 of 23

Yeah. I'd get a doula for sure. The doula should be able to come to your house before you go to the hospital and help you manage the pain of labor. Two things that will really help increase your chances despite the low VBAC rates are staying home as long as possible and having a doula present.

post #7 of 23

i'll second the doula recommendation. it really is great to have somebody in your corner because it really is the random nurses that you'll have to deal with for alot of your care. i had an epidural last time and might even do it again and still have my doula there. she's been around and nobody messes with her. just having her there i knew that things were going ok and would work out in the best possible way even when they didn't really appear that way (high BP, meconium, and lots of scary decels.) she would be the one person to be 100% honest about what was going on either for the good or the bad. my SIL has used her for all of her births and when she had to have a c-section with the 4th, she really knew it was necessary and had no regrets because this particular doula had been straight with her.

i took the bradley class and while it taught me alot of useful info about interventions and such...not so much about getting through labor and relaxation.

when you talk to your OB, ask him about HIS vbac rate....the 4% rate of the hospital really shouldn't matter as much as your provider's, i would think. 

post #8 of 23

Im gonna diverge and say as a hypnotherapist (who went through years of schooling, not a weekend certificate ;) and works exclusively with women in their childbearing year-) who is very familiar with HypnoBabies, Bradley and Hypnobabies are two divergent approaches that fight in the subconscious if you try to do both at once.  If you had done bradley previously and were looking at hypnobabies Id say that sounded good.. but I wouldnt use my time, energy and money doing both.  Infact, Im pretty sure they hypnobabies literature tells you not to do another childbirth ed class. 


Do you feel that you didnt get the birth you wanted because of pain?  It sounds like you and your husband were a great team and you were able to create pain management techniques.  Hypnobabies main focus is preventing the sensation of pain and promoting relaxation. 


Personally, since you made it through 28 hours of labor to pushing and are looking at a VBAC, I couldnt recommend any program more highly then the pink kit.  It will teach you techniques that neither bradley or hypnobabies does.  Hypnobabies biggest thing besides very basic childbirth ed and key hypnoanesthesia aspect is to direct you to the principles of back labor no more(a book written by another author- you can often find it in your local library system).. which you can get that and more from spinningbabies.com  The pink kit teaches you about your pelvis and your pelvic floor.  It will help you map your pelvis, figure out where a baby might get hung up and teach you how to increase the dimensions of your unique pelvic areas during labor with techniques no other class teaches.  It also teaches you about the muscles of your pelvic floor and helps you to really tune into them so that you can make your pushing as productive as possible as well as relax the muscles you need to to let the baby come down.


The pro of hypnobabies for you would be because you are birthing in a setting that is not your ideal, it can help you tune out what is happening around you.  You might want to try hypnobirthing for that technique.  It comes with a CD and you can usually get a used copy on amazon with the cd for under 15 bucks.  If you have alot of trauma around your last birth that you havent worked through, hypnosis may help in that way too, but Im just dont think a recorded script like they have in hypnobabies is the best avenue for that kind of thing.  We all have such unique trauma, and such unique ways that our conscious/subconscious works, I think it must be more targetted if you are really experiencing residual birth trauma.  This book has been invaluable for myself and alot of my doula clients.  http://www.amazon.com/Transformation-Through-Birth-Womans-Guide/dp/0897890388/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293938300&sr=8-1  you can pick up a used copy for under 10 including shipping.  I would spend my money on another support person over a childbirth ed program outside of the pink kit.  YMMV


You will have a challenge in a hospital setting making your birth into the same experience as a homebirth.. but that just means you have to embrace your unique birth.  You have such a sweet personality that is such a card in your favor.  So many women go into hospital births with this really strict, "I want THIS and nothing else.  I know more then you do, stay away from my birth", attitude and if you can just approach your birth with an open heart and attitude you'd be amazed how the nurses will help you to achieve your goals.  You can have a satisfying birth where you feel empowered and completely in the lead making informed decisions that are best for you and your baby!  Its so wonderful that you have such a supportive partner.


PS.  4% is probably the number because most women dont decide to even attempt a VBAC, not to stereotype but geographically the farther south you go + the more body conscious of an area the less women want to VBAC.  So that number is indicative of nothing other then that.  The fact that only 18% of women at this hospital have a primary section is AWESOME.   Can you get your specific provider's stats?  That is what matters most.  Have you contacted your local ICAN and asked about your provider and hospital?  Usually they have a yahoo group or bulletin board.

post #9 of 23

believe in YOUrself and let yourself relax during labor. i am also working with limited funds, but have a midwife who is willing to barter. perhaps that could be a possibility for you? with either a midwife or doula? it will all be good, you sound informed and on top of things. have you read any books by ina may?

post #10 of 23

I would not look at the hospital's rates. I would look at the provider's rates and talk to him about it. I know that my hospital has horrible c-section rates because there are only 2 docs and myself delivering there (tiny hospital). One of the docs pretty much sections all of his patients. The nurses just told me that he did not have a single vaginal delivery in December!! Whereas, I know I have a less than 10% c-section rate... somewhere around 5%, but if fluctuates. So you really need to talk to the doc. He might be the only one actually doing VBACS there... just because they "allow" them does not mean they are being done all the time. 



I also agree, get a doula. One you know will come to your house. That way you can labor at home for as long as possible.


You can do this!

post #11 of 23

Samstress-- I'm in the same boat, but my hospital's VBAC rate is 3%.  However, I'm positive... I think it's that low because so many women aren't educated and don't know that there is such thing as VBAC, or they do know and don't want to go through the hassle.  I also live in the Dallas area, where I think unfortunately, vanity and convenience of a scheduled c-section (on the part of the doc and mom-to-be) oftentimes outweighs health...


Stay strong, educate yourself as best you can, and pray!  We can do this!

post #12 of 23

I see you're in So Cal and so am I. Just curious which OB and hospital you are working with? I would think the VBAC rate for you may be tied more to the specific doctor than the overall rate of all doctors at that hospital, many of which probably don't support VBAC at all. I do know of one doctor in the area that seems really good at avoiding c-sections... just wondering if you are working with him already.

post #13 of 23

here is an awesome story, thought you may be interested in because this woman is birthing twins after cesarean...





2nd part: http://spunoutpost.blogspot.com/2010/12/story-continues.html

post #14 of 23

DH & I are doing Bradley now & I recommend it.  There's a lot of focus on learning how to advocate for the natural birth you want, which will go far in that hospital I'm sure.  You can do it, especially since your DH is such a great support.  He will be able to fight for you (hopefully it won't be a struggle, but who knows) while you focus on labor.  It's also stunning to me how uneducated some parents are going into childbirth.  They don't understand or even know their options & unfortunately many practitioners only give parents enough information to coerce them into doing things the OB's way.  There are just so many people who do whatever the doctor tells them to & I believe that's causing the high c/s rates you found.


On the other hand, many midwives & doulas are willing to work with you.  I've heard of midwives bartering (one DH was a farmhand to "pay off" some of the fee) and also heard of doulas giving their service for only the price of babysitting for their children.  Don't let lack of funds hold you back from getting what you need, it will all work out in the end!

post #15 of 23

for the 4%... is that 4% of all births are VBAC or 4% of all attempted vbac's result in vbac? or is it 4% of all prior csections result in 96% repeat csection?


Do you see how that stat could be a little disheartening, but might be skewed? The thing is, of course midwives and birth centers are going to have a higher vbac rate! That's usually where women who want a vbac go! But you are stuck with an insurance issue. You *want* a vbac and they *do* vbac's there. Find out which physician performs most of the vbac's there (call the LD department. They will let you know.) and go for the particular physician.

post #16 of 23
post #17 of 23

I don't know exactly where in SoCal you are, but there are women out here that I've heard of who are Doulas but can't legally work because they're from out of country and moved here to be with their American husbands. I know of one such woman in SF who volunteers her time, so hopefully you can find a doula for cheap to help you out. I have my sister in law coming down from Canada to help with my birth (she's a doula) for free, so it can happen. :)

post #18 of 23

So many people have said great things already. But I couldn't read your post and not put in a reply.


That VBAC rate @ the hospital does seem low. But think of that statistic- it doesn't actually tell you how many women went to that hospital wanting a VBAC. In other words, it does NOT mean that 100 went in wanting a VBAC and only 4 got them, you know? It just means that 4% of the women they see at that hospital do VBAC. Many women don't know VBAC is an option, and don't fight for their right to have one. That might be why that number is so low. Plus, I think many who desire a VBAC do homebirth, as was your original plan. The real telling number would be to find out how many women wanted a VBAC at the hospital and actually got one. You never know, that percent could be incredibly high. :)


You can completely and absolutely do this, mama. Obviously you are already knowledgeable and committed, which is the important part! I agree with the advice- get a doula, get a doula, get a doula! If at any point in your hospital stay, the staff starts pressuring you to abandon the birth you want, a doula is a wonderful advocate for you and can really do a lot to take the stress off.


I also second using Hypnobabies. I started the course a few weeks ago and absolutely LOVE it. I have become so much more confident about my birth, the worries and fears come into my head less and less. I have no doubts that I have all the tools I need to manage discomfort and to have an easy, comfortable birth. Hypnobabies also comes with materials for your birthing partner (DH and/or Doula), as well as practice relaxation scripts you can do together, in anticipation of your birthing time. I'll bet it would be right up your husband's alley!


I'm glad you posted here to get some encouragement and support. We believe in you!! And I am excited to read all about your fantastic VBAC in May. :) Keep us updated.

post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 

first of all let me say thanks for all your support.  i’ve said it before, but i’m so grateful for each and every one of you.  i only wish i’d found mdc when i was pregnant with dd (didn’t find mdc until she was nearly a year old).  i appreciate all your responses as well.  some made my cry, others gave me lots to think about, but all of them made me realize that I CAN DO THIS!  thanks for that.


Lovebeingamomma – thanks for putting the numbers in perspective for me.  i realize that there are no guarantees, but that the better i’m prepared, the better my chances and yes, my success is mostly up to ME.  i’m researching doulas right now and have gotten a few bites from some who are willing to work with me (and my lack of funds).  i actually read ina may’s guide to childbirth with dd and it helped so much.  i will probably read it again as my due date approaches.  i have  signed up for a bradley class.  i’ve been e-mailing with the instructor for a while now.  she’s been so helpful (i shared with her all that i shared here) and she’s given me some valuable information.  i look forward to starting the class (it starts this friday). 


i’m no longer stressing about the baby (even though i spent the first half of this pregnancy doing just that).  i’m quite confident that baby is healthy and s/he is going to be just fine.  i do realize that the birth may not be exactly what i want.  i made that mistake with my first.  setting these crazy expectations about a lot of things (not just the birth) and being disappointed when they didn’t go as planned.  i’m trying to go more with the flow this time around.


PAgreenmama – i really struggled with which course to choose, but I’m really happy with the bradley instructor i found and excited to start the course. 


like i said previously, i’ve found a few doulas willing to work with me and my situation.  so, hopefully that works out.  having one more support person there with me would surely boost my confidence.


jr’smom – thanks so much for your words of encouragement.  i just checked and my local library doesn’t carry the book you suggested, but i will try to get my hands on a copy. 


i look forward to sharing my vbac story in may. smile.gif


beckyand3littlemonsters – thanks!  i believe i can too.


Evergreen – i’m really hoping to be able to get a doula.  i’ve gotten so many responses (i posted my situation on a local homebirth and midwifery support group) and am currently weeding through them.  two women have offered their monitrice services.  they’ve both insisted that this will help me to stay at home longer and hopefully help to avoid unnecessary hospital interventions.


tzs – i have an appointment with my OB next week.  i have lots of questions for him.  i’m hoping our meeting will help to set my mind at ease.


MamaChef – well, you’ve convinced me that doing hypnobabies and bradley together is not a good idea.  hopefully bradley will offer me something i can use. 


i must say i’ve been reading up on the pink kit and am very intrigued.  i’ve noticed it’s been recommended highly by women who have (or are planning to have) a vbac.  would doing that in addition to bradley be a waste of time?  i just really feel like i want to be in a classroom setting with other women.  is that silly?


thanks for putting the 4% vbac rate in perspective for me.  i hadn’t even considered that many women choose not to try vbac (and i definitely live in a body conscious area).


i have contacted my local ican chapter and have been communicating with one of their leaders.  they have a meeting on monday that i’ll probably attend. 


i don’t feel that i didn’t get the birth i wanted because of pain, but i do feel that i could have been better prepared.  i also don’t feel that i’m suffering from any unresolved trauma from the experience.  the birth of my daughter wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t the dream birth i’d imagined.  my doctors were so supportive throughout and i never felt pressured or coerced.  they definitely wanted me to have a natural childbirth because i wanted it so badly. 


yosemiteroses – the only ina may book i’ve read is her guide to childbirth.  in fact, i was reading it the night before i went into labor with my daughter.  i was sitting in our rocking chair late one night reading it, gobbling up every page.  while reading it, i could actually feel the moment that i opened up (physically and emotionally) and became ready to have my baby.  i went to bed and at 5 am my water broke (i’m sure it was just a coincidence, but i love to think that book had something to do with it).  i will definitely be reading it again this time.  are there any others you recommend?


thanks so much for sharing that birth story (it certainly was awesome).  i liked how honest she was about her fears (even though she had had four natural births previously).  it made me realize that my fears/anxieties are normal, i just have to not let them get the best of me. 


northcountrymommy – turns out my OB is the only doctor doing vbacs at my hospital, so hopefully when i hear his numbers, i’ll feel encouraged.


Crystalyn – thanks so much.  YES WE CAN!


fujbeck – gee, i’d love to hear who that one doctor is.  perhaps you could PM me.  not sure if it’s ok to be sharing names here in a post.


lyndie – thanks for the bradley endorsement.  makes me feel better about choosing it.  i’m trying to not let the lack of funds hold me back from getting what i want.  when i posted on my local homebirth and midwifery support group it was just to look for doula and childbirth recommendations.  i casually mentioned that i could no longer afford the homebirth i wanted because of a lay off and since then have gotten so many e-mails from women who really seem to want to help me get the birth i was hoping for.  we’ll see how that pans out. 


geekgolightly – yes, when i first heard 4%, i must say i freaked, but you’ve all helped to put that number into perspective.  turns out my OB is the only one who will attend vbacs at my hospital.  i will find out his #s when next we meet.


reelgeek – yes, i’m really hoping the doula works out.  i think it would be a huge help to me.


Partaria – thanks so much for the encouragement.  silly me thought that the 4% of women getting vbacs was out of 100% wanting them.  i realize now that that’s ridiculous.  i’m guessing many were told they couldn’t have them, were scared into not trying them, don’t know they can have them or have decided they just don’t want to be bothered.



the bradley instructor i’ve been communicating with is the one who told me that my OB is the only one who attends vbacs at my hospital.  she’s also given me the names of some natural birth-friendly doctors who do vbacs (even some that recommend them).  not sure if they take our insurance (I’ve found our particular HMO to be quite unsatisfactory).  she urged me to talk with my doctor soon (apparently many HMOs won’t let you switch after 28 weeks – I’m 23 weeks today) and also to find out what will happen if he’s unavailable when i go into labor since he’s the only one who attends vbacs (hadn’t even thought about that).  changing doctors will mean changing hospitals and probably the HMO group we’re in which i think has to be done by the first of every month.  have lots to do this week.  am meeting with my OB on the 15th.  hoping that many of my fears will be assuaged. 


thanks again ladies! grouphug.gif

post #20 of 23

Late to reply, mama- but thought I'd share thoughts.  We had an amazing experience (and two fantastic births) with Bradley- and our instructor focused quite a bit on relaxation techniques.  We did follow the nutrition plan and practiced both the physical and deep relaxation exercises regularly...and they really worked for us.  As a doula, I'm obviously biased re: doula care...however I always say that my husband *was* my doula for our first two births:)  In addition to the Bradley required reading list, Penny Simkin's The BIrth Partner is a great read for your DH.  And obviously doulas can be a great resource at Bradley births- I've supported quite a few Bradley couples and although those births relied upon a different type of doula support, it seemed useful.  


Also- since you loved Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, I would definitely recommend Spiritual Midwifery- such an empowering read!

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