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Birthplan after VBAC stillbirth

1513 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  XM
I gave birth to our 2nd baby (full term) 11 days ago and he was stillborn. The docs had no explanation of why he died. Gestational age 40 wks 6 days. We were planning a homebirth VBAC but had to transport & he died during transport. It's all so fresh. Still, I can't wait to get pregnant again. Right now, my hubby & I are such that we "don't want to risk anything". So instead of the beautiful natural pregnancy I had this time, we'll probably take full advantage of the medical establishment up to a scheduled c/s, antibiotics during labor etc. with the next pregnancy. I'm not happy about it, but wonder if my natural choices affected the outcome? It ended up a VBAC after all, but look at what price.
How have other VBAC moms planned their next birth? I would love another VBAC, but if anything was to go wrong, our marriage wouldn't survive, and I don't know if I could.

How should I prepare for the next pregnancy in terms of getting my body in good shape?
My 2 yr old is nursing like a newborn now, which has been great. But I wonder what effect that has on my fertility? We weren't successful weaning before & I nursed all thru the pregnancy. Now there's an abundance of fabulous milk & I don't see him weaning any time soon.

Some folks had a feeling was "off" early on. Well, for me, this pregnancy went great. The test sprang "positive" right away. All went perfectly, the pregnancy, labor. There was no sign anything could be off. Then suddenly the heart tones dropped and we transported, then the horrible news. Throughout the entire pregnancy, I kept having the feeling that "no matter what, all will go well and our baby be in perfect health". It wasn't just wishful thinking, it was a very strong impression. Baby moved, my urine tests were great. It's all such a puzzle.

Have any of you found any great resources for stillbirth, and life after stillbirth? I'm not interested in support groups who keep holding on to their anger & grief. I will always live with this loss, but I don't want to bury myself in feelings of sadness or anger.

How do you choose an OB for the next time? Should I look for a maternal/fetal specialist? My regular doc doesn't do VBACs (which is why we went with homebirth midwifes). So if I go back to her, it's a planned cesarean, period. I could interview hospital-affiliated docs, and see if anyone would "let" me "try" a VBAC. We're just so afraid. Our first (unplanned c/s) son I tried pushing, and couldn't push out. He needed oxygen right after birth, then was fine. Our 2nd (stillbirth) also didn't seem to move down the birth canal fast enough. An episiotomy & vaccuum was needed to get him outand it was too late for oxygen.
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Mama.....I am so sorry about your son.
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Wow, mama- I don't know where to start. Please don't blame yourself.

We lost our daughter during a drug-free hospital birth. I was told not to push for 4 hours, as I had a 1/2cm of cervical lip left... of course, in their notes they said that my cervix would stretch 1+cm more when they'd check me, so why they wouldn't let me try to push through that lip is beyond me. It took me less then 15 minutes to push her out once I was 'allowed' to... and we lost her while I was pushing. We were devastated.

We also wanted so desperately to have another baby. I concieved 5 months later. At first I was terrified. I was sure that I wanted a c/s at 37w (Xiola was 41w10d) because I just did not want to take any chances with this new baby. I just could not withstand another loss. Gradually, from doing a lot of research and talking to some amazing mamas, I was able to move from a place of fear to a place of hope. We found an awesome midwife, and I had Ezra at home, at 42w to the day. He was even born in the caul. He and his birth brought us so much healing, I am so grateful every day.

My advice to you would to be to just be for a while. As hard as it will be, try to just let yourself experience your grief. The more you experience now, the less you will have to deal with later. Google 'The Compassionate Friends' and order their book 'Tear Soup'- its a children's book and may help your 2yo talk about the loss, but it will be a good read for you too. Eat good foods, drink red raspberry leaf tea, take walks with your partner and your sweet 2yo. Let yourself laugh. Know that your baby knows how very much you love him. Be good to each other. Buy some plates at Goodwill and smash them when you are angry... it's okay to be angry. Its part of the grief process. Its getting stuck there that's unhealthy.

When you are ready, request the records of your son's birth (from both the MW's and the hospital). This might not happen for quite some time, but you may find some answers- or at least be able to rule some things out so you have less to worry about. Even if you are being told there was no reason (as I was), you may find some useful information in those files. I certainly did. And as painful as it was, what I learned from the files enabled me to plan better for my next birth.

You know what? Even after all of this, you may feel most comfortable with a repeat c/s. At the same time, you may end up with a HBAC yet, who knows? You need to do whatever you need to make you feel safe(r). You don't need to make these choices now. ICAN would be a good resource to find a midwife, if you feel moved to go in that direction. I have faith that when the time comes, you will know which path is the right one for you. I never would have beleived that after our loss I would have a baby at home. And now? We're considering going unassisted for #3. Its been an amazing journey, that's for sure.

Please don't think that your choices endangered your son. An unaugmented VBAC carries very little risk (its when you start messing with induction, etc. that things get hairy). So you did choose the safest birth for him... and I'm so, so sorry that you lost him. With our daughter's birth, we made all of our choices with her safety in mind, even to the point of ignoring my own instincts. I was at the hospital the whole time, doing what I was supposed to, and we lost her anyway.

The mamas here have been such awesome support for me. I think you have come to the right place. Reading other mothers' stories of their losses helped me a lot. It was good to see that other women- women who were good people and deserved their babies- had also been through what we were dealing with. I couldn't blame them for their babies' deaths... and gradually this helped me come to a place where I blamed myself less for Xiola's death.

I can't say that I don't ever 'what if', or that I am a nice person during the month of March, but 3 years later I feel like I have come to a kind of peace with her death. As much as I still feel grief, I know how strong I am and I value those I love fiercely. While I wish she could have stayed, she is still a much loved member of our family and we feel priveleged to have had the time with her that we had.
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This is one of my greatest fears, still birth is a known risk after having a c/s and its certainly not a risk I was informed about. Your the 2nd VBAC still birth I've heard about recently
I'm sorry mama, I wish I could make it all go away and turn out to just be some horrible dream
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Originally Posted by Satori
This is one of my greatest fears, still birth is a known risk after having a c/s and its certainly not a risk I was informed about. Your the 2nd VBAC still birth I've heard about recently
I'm sorry mama, I wish I could make it all go away and turn out to just be some horrible dream

I'm uncomfortable with the generalization of stillbirth being a huge risk of VBAC. Stillbirth is a risk for any birth, the majority of stillbirths are either for random reasons (cord accidents, for example) or the cause was never able to be determined. Most mamas I have 'met' who have had stillbirths gave birth vaginally, many of them did it drug-free as well.

I have several friends who have VBAC'd in the hospital and at home who had great outcomes. Anytime you are in a VBAC situation, your outcome is going to be greatly influenced by your care providers, and how they manage your labor (or over-manage, as the case may be). Studies have shown that VBAC with attendants who beleive in VBAC and are knowledgeable in the safest ways to deliver VBAC, is the safest option for both mama and baby.

Much love to you, Nammymom
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Originally Posted by XM
I'm uncomfortable with the generalization of stillbirth being a huge risk of VBAC.

Please show me where I said it was a HUGE risk? I simply said it was a KNOWN risk. Just like uterine rupture is a known risk even though chances are very small of it happening.
And stillbirth is a KNOWN risk for any birth.

To me, your comment suggested that Nammymom had put her child at (KNOWN) risk by having a VBAC, whereas VBAC truly carries the LEAST risk for mama and baby. Perhaps this was not your intent but I would hate for a mama to feel any more guilt about her loss then she already would.

I don't know your story Satori and I do not mean to attack you. But if I was that mama, your comment would have made me feel like crap.
There is a higher risk of still birth with vbac vs someone who is not a vbac. I was not blaming the mother at all, I was just expressing my anger at the medical community for not explaining this possible future risk to me when I had my 1st c/s. I still would have had my c/s at that point but I still feel I was not in any way fully informed of the risks, current or future.
Satori, I'm sorry that you felt like you didn't feel like your providers were honest with you. And how scary to hear of so many VBAC losses in such a short amount of time, especially if you had been weighing VBAC for yourself.

My issue with VBAC statistics is that most of them are compiled from births that were very managed. Pitocin and Cytotec are used far more often in VBAC situations then they should be, and both of these drugs are associated with a greater risk of stillbirth then when labor is not augmented- even for women who have never had uterine surgery. When you are looking at a VBAC that is not augmented with these drugs, the risks are very close to those faced by any mama having a vaginal birth.

Much love to you both
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