I usually post informative articles but today I am going to give some opinions. Hold on tight! Here are my thoughts on supporting vaginal birth, especially VBAC!
How many times have I heard
"It doesn't matter how the baby got here."
"A healthy baby is all that matters."
"I don't care if I ever experience a vaginal birth."
Gianna was my 3rd pregnancy. My first 2 pregnancies resulted in a surgical ending. When I was 12 weeks pregnant I found out that my first baby was going to miscarry. I was quickly send to the hospital for a d&c. What a devastating experience that was. My second pregnancy ended in a c-section for failture to progress. I really wanted one pregnancy to come to a natural end. I never realized just how important that would be emotionally!
After the birth of my first daughter I often joked that I would do it all again just to experience that Stadol (the narcotic they gave me to "take the edge off.") Really, all it did was make me high. I was so loopy and out of it after the stadol. It was an interesting feeling but my memory of my first birth became pretty foggy after that.
I don't remember leaving the operating room after my c-section. I just remember being in recovery all alone and staring at the ceiling. I felt so strange. I expected to feel so elated after the arrival of my dd but I felt so jittery and abandoned.
During the birth of my second daughter, I declined all drugs. Well, they weren't actually offered to me so it was a moot point. Thanks Pam and Heather! Anyway, labor was long and intense but I will never in a million years forget the rush of hormones and endorphins right after Gianna was born. I remember feeling like I could fly right out the door! Seriously - it was better than any high that stadol could have brought. Somehow, I had all the energy I needed after that even without sleeping for 2 days!
I was talking to a female Staff Sergeant at my husband's armory. She mentioned that the idea of labor scared her. I was floored. I told her that I would go through it 10 more times before I would consider going through basic training. She said basic training was fun and she'd much rather go throught that. So I guess it's a matter of perspective.
So what helped me?
First of all, I am no superwoman! My husband once told me that I could never get a tatoo because I wouldn't be able to take the pain. That's not the reason but whatever (but I could never get a tongue ring because I'd be too scared of that pain).
1. I never considered the epidural an option. Luckily, the wonderful nurses at Capital Health - Mercer never bugged me about getting one (and obviously my midwives didn't either!!). I just knew that I had to get through labor without drugs for pain relief.
2. I hired a doula. She came with her bag of trick to help ease the contractions
3. I did hypnosis. I took a Hypnobirthing class (the Mongan Method ) at Hunterdon Medical Center . This class was awesome! Not only did I get great hypnosis techniques but it was truly an inspirational birthing class. I learned so much more than I learned at the Lamaze class I had taken years before (at a different hospital). I was fascinated with Hypnosis. The biggest limitation (for me) with Hynobirthing was that is very encouraging of partner involvement. My husband was taking classes at night in addition to working full time with the National Guard). So I researched more hypnosis and found Hypnobabies
I ordered the Hypnobabies home study course which came with 6 CDs of hypnosis scripts. This gave me ample opportunity to practice more on my own. The Hynobirthing and Hypnobabies courses work to "reprogram" your thoughts and expectations of birth. Rather than fearing childbirth or believing that it's going to be a terrible ordeal, the Hypno-courses teach you that labor and childbirth doesn't have to be painful. Using the various relaxation techniques allows you more easily surrender and allow your body to do what it needs to. The crazy thing was that during my labor, my contractions would space out if I got too relaxed so I couldn't stay in a hypnotic state for too long (or I would probably still be in labor) but I never got overwhelmed to the point where I couldn't cope. I knew it would and I just needed to take each contraction at is came. I think that was so important! Hypnosis also got me through 6 days of prodromal labor and allowed me to rest and conserve energy as much as possible.
Vaginal birth is so important for the natural release of hormones. Is there a connection between cesareans and post partum depression? It wouldn't surprise me. I know not all women are concerned about the chance to experience vaginal birth or a drug free birth but all woman deserve the chance to!
"We have a secret in our culture...
and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong." - Laura Stavoe Harm
Don't I look lovely??? But I am smiling! :- )