I'm 9 weeks pregnant with my second child. I am currently looking for a vbac friendly provider and am feeling extremely stressed out and worried about going post-dates again and having another c-section. I know that I need to get past my fears and deal with the emotions involving my first birth so that I can set myself up for the best possible outcome this time, but I'm having trouble staying positive.
My first pregnancy was super easy, I felt great, baby was healthy. I had chosen to give birth at a birth center with midwives, educated myself about natural birth, hired a doula, did everything I could to have a healthy natural birth. Then I went past 42 weeks and I could no longer legally deliver with midwives anymore. Natural induction methods had failed, so the day before my deadline the MW's broke my water as a last resort. 24 hours later I had no sign of labor and with my membranes ruptured I had little choice but to check into the hospital for induction.
I really wanted to labor naturally despite the induction, but baby was posterior and I had really intense back labor and I was puking my guts out the entire labor (even while pushing.) After 12 hours with little progress I got an epidural so I could rest. I pushed for four hours but the baby was stuck tight in my pelvis so we had a c-section. He ended up being almost 9 pounds and was a healthy and alert little guy, so I decided to be positive about it and enjoy my baby. I told myself I tried my best and even though it didn't go as planned, I had this beautiful healthy baby boy.
2 years later I still think about it all the time, and as time has passed the positive feelings that I had have faded and all the "what-ifs" seem to creep in my head. In hindsight I know that he was posterior for the last couple of months based on where my kicks were being felt, but the MW's either never noticed or didn't think it was a big deal, so I didn't realize it. What if we could have encouraged him into a more ideal position? Would I have gone into labor earlier? Did breaking my water when he was in a posterior position essentially get him stuck that way so it wasn't even possible for him to turn around when he needed to? If I hadn't gotten the epidural would I have been able to push in a more optimal position to move him down? What would have happened if I had just waited and let him come when he was ready?
I desperately want a vbac but worry about history repeating itself this time. I feel like I'm one of those mom's who's pregnancy just lasts longer than others (my mother was the same way and I myself was 2.5 weeks late and a c-section.) I feel like I'm destined to go past 42 weeks again and even though I would love to experience a natural birth in the birth center with midwives, I can't put myself through that burden of having a hard deadline and then having to switch providers at the end. And yet, all of the VBAC friendly OB's I talk to seem to indicate that they would not be comfortable with my pregnancy even going past 41 weeks and would want to induce with small amounts of pitocin at that point. I do not want to be induced again, and I understand that it increases the chance of rupture with vbac so all the more reason not to. I know that no one can force me into anything, but I also don't know if I can deal with the pressure.
Anyways, I guess what I'm looking for is encouragement and advice on getting my head in the right place. I want to get rid of the negativity and really believe that I can do it. I want to be positive about this pregnancy. I want to believe that I will go into labor on my own. If I believe I can do it, than it's more likely that I will do it, right? So how do I make myself believe in myself when I feel like the cards are stacked against me?
You did a great job with your first and I know just what you mean about thinking about all the "what-ifs" that led to the CS.
You are totally correct about likely just being someone who gestates longer. Most providers won't help at all in that situation. There are a few who understand. I have a friend who always go to 44 weeks and has had all of her 4 babies at home (many 11 or 12 pounds!) Perfectly healthy! She's fortunate to have a great midwife.
I have posted a link to a GREAT facebook VBAC group in several of the threads below. I don't want to do it on every single thread, but I can't help but mention it to you. You would fit right in and find the support you are looking for. You might even find out about other providers or resources that can help you get your VBAC.
Mom to 5 amazing kids! (DS10, DS8, DD5, DD3 and DS1)
Your story sounds so similar to mine... I went 42 weeks and 4 days (went into labor naturally) I was trying for a birth center birth . My baby was also posterior and he never moved anterior ( I wonder the same thing the midwives broke my water when I was 9 cm if he would have turned eventually if they hadn't done this) I pushed for a little over an hour and I just couldn't do it anymore (I had a cervical lip the midwife was holding back) if I would have had more support I would have kept trying I think. Now I am planning a homebirth because the same midwives would have to induce me this time and I do not want to be induced ( if I made it to 42)
Really similar to my story, also - induced at 42 weeks last time due to "hospital policy," which I fought for several days. I've got great hospital-based midwives that don't have me "on the clock" this time...but my due date is tomorrow and I'm feeling increasingly pessimistic. Seeing a great chiro and accupunturist, and baby is perfectly positioned. But maybe a little too comfortable in there! Sending really positive thoughts your way - we can do it!
I had a difficult labor with DS1 (bad position as well, also 12 lb baby) and ended up having a wonderful VBAC with DS2. In your sitch, I might be tempted to lie about dates, although I'm not sure if I'd actually go through with it or would recommend it. I don't tend to have long gestations (mine were 41 and 38 weeks) but I know mamas who do and it's a shame that most providers, even naturally-leaning ones, will not let you go past 42 even if everything is healthy. My mom was born at 43.5 weeks in the 40s! That would never happen nowadays. Anyway, my OBs for my VBAC told me they didn't want me to go beyond 41 weeks, and I was just lucky that I went into labor at 38 and didn't have to deal! I was convinced if I was induced that I would end up having another c-section, so I count myself very blessed.
I still have what-ifs about my first labor, but I've healed now for 6.5 years, and I can tell you that time helps. Also, in my case, my second labor was SO unlike my first, it's incredible. Every baby is different. And every labor is different. What helped me during my second pregnancy was simply being adamant in my own head that my body COULD do this. That I WOULD VBAC, end of story. My labor mantra was even "this is MY labor" because I was so confident that I could vaginally birth and I wasn't going to let interventions get in the way. Power of positive thinking, right? I also felt that some of the things I did during my second pregnancy helped-- prenatal yoga, lots of squatting, and lots of walks every day.
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
I think it's also important that you consider not trying... How would you feel years from now? I personally felt like I needed to try my hardest, even if the outcome was the same, that this time - I wasn't going to be pushed into anything. If I ended up with a cs, it would be because it was medically indicated. Oh, and I said to hell with postdates.
I put positive notes all over my mirror in my bathroom, and I wouldn't allow myself to what if because you can't possibly think of everything that could happen. Try to stay in the moment. As for the doctors post dates last time, you know you had to be within days of your body deciding it is time. Ovulation and dates can be off weeks - everyone is different. I would probably just adjust the dates by a week. You might not even need them, but it might give you a little breathing room to relax.
You've got this! I think you might just be realizing how much work you are in for. The whole vbac thing is a total mind game, at one point I remember thinking "if only the baby would be breech so that I wouldn't feel bad getting a repeat cs...." Guess what- that baby ended up being babies, and I had to reevaluate my choice again with even worse odds. I had my twin vbac in October. You can do this.
Did you have a first trimester ultrasound? I don't recommend it to everyone, but if you're concerned about being labeled post-dates, it's important to have the most accurate due "date" possible.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
I did have an early ultrasound and it confirmed my suspected ovulation date based on my chart and ovulation tests. If they would have gone by my LMP it would be several weeks off. Last time I did not have an early ultrasound and I was not charting, but I was keeping track of my long cycles and we set my due date based on my average cycle length so it could have been off. I really wish my midwives would have even offered a suggestion of an early ultrasound last time. I didn't even realize it was an option!
I finally found an OB who seems more relaxed about going post dates so I'm feeling much better about everything. I'll just hire a doula and try to make my hospital birth as much like a birth center birth as I can. I like knowing that I'll be in a safe place in the unlikely event of a rupture.
Wow, your first birth sounds a lot like mine! I labored for a long time (3 days) at a birth center before I transferred to the hospital. I was 42 weeks 3 days at that point. I believe now that DD was posterior, and also being 9 lbs compounded the posterior position. She couldn't get out, and my labor wasn't in a strong or good enough pattern. For a long time after I thought about all the "what-ifs" and went round and round and chastised myself for decisions I'd made, wondering why I couldn't give birth even though I had "done everything right". At some point, I think you just have to let go of those things. You learn what you can learn from them, and then you forgive yourself for what you didn't know then, and you love yourself for making the best decisions you could with the information you had at that time. That is a difficult thing to do. Attending ICAN meetings helped tremendously with the emotional recovery. I highly recommend finding an ICAN group you can join.
Fast forward to my second birth - it was nothing like the first one! I gave birth at home with midwives! My son was born a day BEFORE his due date!! And my labor was 8 hours from start to finish. It was amazing. I guess I'm telling you about his birth so that you know that you are not doomed to repeat what already happened the first time. I guess my advice to you would be to change things that you felt, in hindsight, didn't go well last time (the ones you can change, of course!) and let go of the rest.
Are you seeing a chiropractor? Proper positioning makes a WORLD of difference, I've learned, in getting babies out vaginally. I saw a chiropractor the second time around and I could totally tell that he (the baby) was differently positioned than was my daughter was. Also, I saw an acupuncturist near the end to prepare/induce labor as I didn't want to go to 42 weeks like I did the first time. And he came one day before he was due!
Good luck to you and keep us posted on your thoughts & progress.