Joining us today from Canada is our friend, Jessica. Determined to avoid another brutal Cesarean recovery, Jessica researched extensively and fought for her VBAC rights. When she experienced PROM for the second time, Jessica didn’t allow different opinions from different providers dictate what she knew she deserved. She refused a scheduled Cesarean, reminded providers that their hospital did in fact support VBAC induction, knew when her body needed an epidural, and got the VBAC of her dreams.
Jessica’s preparation made all the difference in her outcome. We want that to be the case for you too!
Topics discussed today include:
- How to know if all providers at a practice have the same views
- Why you should ask open-ended questions
- PROM: what it is and what to do if it happens to you
This episode is sponsored by our signature course, How to VBAC: The Ultimate Preparation Course for Parents. It is the most comprehensive VBAC preparation course in the world, perfectly packaged in an online, self-paced, video course. Together, Meagan and Julie have helped over 800 parents get the birth that they wanted, and we are ready to help you too. Head over to thevbaclink.com to find out more and sign up today.
Note: All transcripts are edited to correct grammar and to eliminate false starts and filler words.
Meagan: Hello, hello, and welcome everyone. This is The VBAC Link with Julie and Meagan. We have a guest with you today from Canada. Her name is Jessica. She has an awesome story for you today. We were chitchatting a little bit before the episode began. We found out that she found us in the very beginning. It was right after her Cesarean, which is exciting to us because we want people to be able to find us during their journey of healing before they start preparing as well. So, that was really fun and exciting to hear. She has a fun story today.
A cool highlight of her story is PROM. If you don’t know what PROM means, it means Premature Rupture of Membranes. That’s something that I actually had personally as well. But she was ruptured for quite a while. In fact, I think it was 40-- was it 48 hours? 40 hours?
Jessica: I think 72. Yeah. (Inaudible)
Meagan: 72! 72. But when-- (inaudible) before you started getting things going. Yeah. So, really cool because a lot of times people think that if their waters are broken for longer than 12 or 18 hours, even 24 hours, that it is need for an immediate Cesarean and it is not. I am excited to hear you share that part of your story.
Review of the Week
Meagan: As always, we have a Review of the Week, so we are going to dive into that review from Julie really quick before we get into this juicy story.
Julie: Yeah, I love reviews. I think we say it every episode. I can’t speak enough about the reviews because I want to get a little vulnerable here for a minute. Running a podcast is not always sunshine and butterflies. We absolutely love doing it. We love talking to the people that share their stories with us and we love being able to share their stories with you. But these reviews really, really are the things that keep us going when it gets to be a little bit difficult for us.
This review is from Apple Podcasts and it’s from futureballad. It’s called “VBAC Support at its Finest.” Just the title makes me smile. She says, “I absolutely love listening to these birth stories and I love how positive Julie and Meagan are! They give facts to go along with each story. They also include birth stories where the VBAC didn’t end up happening. It’s so important to acknowledge it doesn’t always work out. But, a woman of strength is someone who has become empowered by knowledge and uses that knowledge to advocate for herself no matter what the outcome is. I am going to VBAC like a boss in November when I birth our second son. I will be doing it knowing I have the support of The VBAC Link community.”
That makes me so happy. Okay, “VBAC like a boss”-- that is a shirt. It’s in our shop at thevbaclink.com/bombfire. That shirt came from our friend, Emily, who shared her story with us a while back. She said-- there is a “TOLAC like a boss” or a “VBAC like a boss”. I love our little bonfire shirts. We have some new designs coming out from some of our most recent previous episodes.
Also, I want to tell you about an episode that is coming out in the next two or three weeks. We are actually interviewing a few CBAC moms, so parents who tried for a VBAC but ended up in a repeat Cesarean. We are going to talk to five or six of them. They’re going to share with us their stories about what it is like coming out of a birth that didn’t end up like they wanted to, what it’s like to not to get your VBAC, and what they wish people would know about parents who tried so hard for a VBAC but didn’t get the birth that they wanted.
It’s such a powerful episode and we are really excited to put it out to you. That review just reminded me of that. It’s important to us to share that things don’t always go the way you want. While a lot of birth is preparation and education and confidence, some of it is just dang luck.
Julie: I mean, some of it is just the cards you are dealt and knowing how to deal with those things is important to us to share with you, so that’s why we do it.
Meagan: Yeah, and I love how she said we even-- like you were just highlighting, we even share those stories. We have gotten a lot of messages and actually, I am trying to think of the word.
Julie: How to say it nicely--
Meagan: Really angry. I’m going to say really angry that we do share CBAC stories and it makes me sad when we receive these messages. Although we respect everyone’s opinions and feelings, we want to remind everybody that, just like Julie said, it doesn’t always turn out exactly how we wanted to. But guess what? Even sometimes those experiences-- like my second C-section was not what I wanted. I didn’t want to be on that table again, but it was a healing experience for me and a much more positive experience. I felt so much better walking out of that situation.
These are learning experiences. They are growing experiences. They are healing experiences and even though-- yes, we do. We promote VBAC and we want you guys to know your options for VBAC. It is not fair for us to forget CBAC. It’s just not and it’s important. So, if you are angry, I want to say we are sorry, but we are not sorry at the same time. We respect your decision not to listen to those episodes, but it’s just so important to learn and hear.
A lot of times when we are struggling, I know for me personally when I was struggling, I realized there was still a lot of processing that I needed to do and that’s why I was struggling. So, know that we are here for you and we are sorry if you are one of those angries, but we love you.
Julie: One of those angries.
Meagan: But we love you.
Julie: We love you, no matter if you are angry, or happy, or sad, or excited. We love all of you. If you are looking for stories that are VBAC stories only, you simply have to look at the title. If it says, “So-and-so‘s VBAC”, it’s a VBAC story. If it says “So-and-so‘s CBAC” or “So-and-so’s Uterine Rupture”, then it is a CBAC or a uterine rupture story.
And so, that’s an easy way to sift through them if you’re looking for certain advice.
Meagan: We respect your decision not to listen to whatever ones.
Julie: But we wish you would because it will really help you better prepare.
Julie: Do you want a VBAC but don’t know where to start? It’s easy to feel like we need to figure it all out on our own. That’s what we used to do, and it was the loneliest and most ineffective thing we have ever done. That’s why Meagan and I created our signature course, How to VBAC: The Ultimate Preparation Course for Parents, that you can find at thevbaclink.com. It is the most comprehensive VBAC preparation course in the world, perfectly packaged in an online, self-paced, video course.
Together, Meagan and I have helped over 800 parents get the birth that they wanted, and we are ready to help you too. Head on over to thevbaclink.com to find out more and sign up today. That’s thevbaclink.com. See you there.
Julie: We should probably stop talking about this. You can tell it’s been a while since we have recorded because we are really super chatty right now.
Meagan: We are going to turn the time over to Jessica. Alright, let’s dive in. Ms. Jessica, would you like to start sharing your story and stop listening to us gab?
Jessica: I mean, I am enjoying the conversation, but I only have so much time, so I will get started. I got pregnant with my C-section baby when I was 19. I really thought that I was invincible. I know a lot of teenagers have that mindset. You don’t really think that bad things can happen to you. I thought that I was going to have an all-natural, medication-free birth, and was preparing for that, and would tell my friends how excited I was to be planning this med-free birth.
My aunt recommended that I went with midwives, so I found local midwives that I went with. Here in Canada, they are covered by a provincial health insurance, so that’s definitely a perk when you are a young mom being able to plan a home birth. So, that’s what we talked about. I wasn’t opposed to a hospital birth, but they were pushing home birth on me, so that was the plan if everything was going well. We would have a home birth with a baby and then if not, we would go to the hospital. But I didn’t think we would end up at the hospital because I thought everything would go as planned, being young and not understanding how births can be complicated.
I was 39 weeks and four days pregnant when my water broke. My first thought was, “Oh, the baby is going to be here in 12 hours now. Everybody goes into labor when their water breaks.” But it didn’t happen. The midwives confirmed the water broke and they said, “Oh, just rest. Sleep it off.”
Labor usually starts anywhere between 48 to 72 hours. Most people within 24 hours, but they said we could wait until Friday. And then, the next day we woke up. I had a new midwife on-call and she said, “Oh well, we should just go in and induce.” I was eager to meet my baby. I was tired of being pregnant and I didn’t know what an induction was or that there were risks with an induction. I just thought, “Okay, I will get some medication, and get it going, and the baby will be here in a couple of hours.” But, that wasn’t the case.
I was 4 centimeters dilated when I showed up to the hospital, which they said was great, and that labor would probably be quick, and the baby would be here soon. But 12 hours after starting Pitocin, I was still only 4 centimeters. They suggested that we throw the natural birth plan out the window and get an epidural, but that vaginal birth was still possible. After getting the epidural, my baby started having non-reassuring heart rates and because of the lack of progression, they suggested a cesarean.
I agreed, not knowing that there was anything else we could try to get me to dilate. I had been laying on my back for hours at this point. We didn’t try turning the epidural down. We didn’t even try a peanut ball. We just went straight for the OR. The surgery was three hours after they were concerned about the non-reassuring heart rate. So, looking back I am like, “Was it really that urgent?” They made it seem urgent, but I always question if maybe we could have tried more things. I didn’t know that there were things to try. I thought birth just happened and that you couldn’t really have any power to change that.
My recovery was horrible. My incision didn’t close properly and it took three months before I was healed enough to function normally. I found that recovery really traumatizing and never wanted another surgery like that again.
When I got pregnant 15 months later, my goal was VBAC all the way. I really didn’t want to end up on the table again, mostly because of the recovery and my fear of missing out on a summer with my toddler. I planned a home birth again. I was more adamant this time that it was going to be a home birth. I rented a pool this time. I made a whole binder filled with resources from The VBAC Link. I printed out stuff from ACOG and SOCG, which is a Canadian version of ACOG, and had all the documents I could about VBAC.
I would bring it to the midwives because they were more cautious and on the medical side. They said a hospital birth might be a better choice for VBAC, but I was adamant that I wanted to be at home. They supported me with that decision, but then I was 40 weeks and I had been doing everything. Walking every day, The Miles Circuit, bouncing on my ball, drinking all the red raspberry leaf tea, everything I could to get my labor going and then my water broke again.
I was in denial the first day. I didn’t even tell my husband. I kept it to myself. I was like, “This can’t be real.” My water can’t break before labor again because I knew that that wasn’t a good sign for me. Eventually, I did call my midwife and I let her know, but I told her my water had been broken significantly less time than it had because I didn’t want her to push induction. I didn’t want her to push a repeat Cesarean. So, she came. Confirmed that my waters had been broken and we agreed that the next day we would go to the hospital for a non-stress test.
When we went there, we had a consultation with the OB who looked at me and said, “We have to do a C-section. There is no other option. If we do another induction, you are going to fail. Your body couldn’t birth your first baby.” I guess I had an ultrasound at some point in my other trimester and they were estimating that the baby was going to be in the 97th percentile.
Meagan: Oh man.
Jessica: Yeah. They were like, “This baby is too big. She is not going to--” or, we didn’t know it was a girl. But they said, “The baby is not going to fit. You need a C-section.” I said, “Well, do I have any other options?” They were like, “Well, we can’t force you to have a C-section, so you can go home. And so, we went home.”
Meagan: Good for you. Good for you though.
Jessica: The OB and the midwife weren’t that happy, but I said, “I will come back for NSTs every day until I go into labor. I’m not opposed to that,” but I didn’t want to agree to a C-section. The next morning, I woke up with a green tinge on the pad that was collecting amniotic fluid and I knew that wasn’t a good sign. So, I called the midwife and let her know. I guess they had been scheduling C-sections for me every day in case I agreed to one, so she was like, “We have an OR ready.”
Meagan: Are you serious? They were just doing that behind your back?
Jessica: Yeah. They were just preparing.
Jessica: So they said, “You can show up at the hospital at 11:00 a.m. and the baby will be here by 2.” It was the day-- like, when I got pregnant, I was hoping that the baby would come that day. So, I was like, “Okay, I guess at least I got the birthday I wanted.” But in the car, I was crying to my husband saying, “I really don’t want to do surgery and I know that I can’t be pregnant longer with meconium or an infection. It’s not fair to the baby to put my birthing desires ahead of their safety.”
But I said, “I will take tomorrow as the baby’s birthday if that means I can birth this baby vaginally. What happened was, we showed up at the hospital and it was a different OB on-call. He was the one that had done the big baby ultrasound and predicted the size, so I was like, “Oh shoot. He is definitely going to want to do the C-section. There is no getting out of this now.”
We show up and everybody is telling him how my birth was “failure to progress” last time, that the induction didn’t go well, and all of the stuff and the reasons why I should have the C-section. He asked them, “Oh, well how long have the membranes been ruptured?”
They said, “About 48 hours at least at this point.” He said, “Why haven’t we done a Cesarean yet?” They said, “She doesn’t want a C-section.” He was like, “Well, why haven’t they done an induction?” They said, “All of the other OB‘s refuse induction because she can’t give birth essentially.” And so, he asked for my operative report and looked it over. They didn’t list “failure to progress” as the reason for the C-section.
Jessica: They only listed the non-reassuring fetal heart tones, so he said, “Okay. Based on that, we will do an ultrasound and see how big this baby is.” But he was like, “I think an induction is a reasonable option here.”
Julie: That’s awesome.
Jessica: “And even though there is a low success rate, we will go ahead with it if that’s what she wants.” And so, they did an ultrasound. They were guessing that the baby would be around 8 pounds. We went ahead with Pitocin. They did a low dose. It was going really well until I hit transition. I made it to 8 centimeters unmedicated and then I was begging for the epidural. But this was during COVID. I was wearing a mask and it was just me and my husband. My husband wasn’t the greatest support. He was freaking out the whole time.
So, I got the epidural and then within two hours of the epidural, I had a really pain-free, easy pushing and birth. They did take her to the NICU for half an hour just because the membranes had been ruptured so long. They wanted the pediatrician to look her over, but she was totally healthy and only weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces. So, not 97th percentile at all.
Meagan: Go figure. You know what? Sometimes they are spot on. Sometimes they really are. They are really close, right? But it seems like nine times out of 10-- this is my own number, they are not.
Jessica: Yeah, they are way off.
No failing in birth
Meagan: Yeah. That is so awesome. I love how you’re like, “You know, I worked through this. I was working really hard and I found the spot. I needed something different and I got that.” Because I think a lot of people that want to go unmedicated but choose an epidural, in the end, they really can beat themselves up. I loved hearing that you were like, “Yeah. I had a mask on. I was hot. I was 8 centimeters. I have been doing this for a long time, and I need an epidural, and I want an epidural, and I feel good about that.” I love that you pointed that out because it’s not-- you used this word earlier when you were like, “Or if we induced you, you would ‘fail’,” which clearly you didn’t, but that “fail” word.
We let that “fail” word creep into the birth world way too often in my opinion. Because if we don’t go unmedicated, we “fail”. If we don’t have a vaginal birth, we “failed”. If we don’t go into spontaneous labor or get induced we “failed”, you know? If we don’t breastfeed our baby, we “failed”. There are so many “fails” out there. I just want to wipe them all the way. Get the biggest bottle of Windex and wipe it all down because there’s no failing in birth. There is no failing in birth.
If you step back and you look at what we as humans are doing, wow. It’s incredible, right? So, I love it. I love that you took charge and you’re like, “I’m going home and I will be back. I know when I need to be back and hey, these are the options,” and I’m glad that he was willing to induce and supported you in that. You deserve that completely.
Jessica: Yeah, but it definitely goes to show the luck of the draw because if it had been a different OB, it would have been a different story.
Finding supportive providers
Meagan: A totally different story. Yeah, no I agree. That is something when we talk about finding providers. I am just going to be talking about a whole bunch of random stuff, Julie.
Julie: I love it. Well, I have some stuff too. So when you are done, I will do my stuff.
Meagan: Yes, perfect. So, finding providers right? With VBAC specifically, and I encourage first-time parents to go out there and find a provider in the way that a lot of VBAC parents find a provider if that makes sense. Go out there and ask some of the questions and really from the very beginning, see what this provider’s thoughts are on Cesarean. So, when it comes down to it when you find out like Julie and I did that your provider has a 46% C-section rate--
Julie: After the fact--
Meagan: Yeah, after the fact that you could know these things before the fact and save yourself a lot of potential heartache in different ways, right? So anyway, I encourage everyone to go out there and find their provider. One of the questions that I feel is super important when you are looking for a provider is, “Will you be at my birth no matter what?” If the answer is, “No,” “Who will be at my birth? Do they have the same views as you?” Honestly, don’t hesitate to say, “I need their names. I want to meet them.” Don’t hesitate to interview them and say, “What are your thoughts on C-section?” Not, “Do you support C-section, yes or no?” “What are your thoughts?”
Or, I mean VBAC.
Julie: You mean VBAC.
Meagan: I mean VBAC. Even as I am saying, I’m like, “Wait. On VBAC. Do you support VBAC, yes or no?” Those are just easy questions to be like, “Of course I do, yeah. We do them all the time.”
Julie: “We can do whatever type of birth you want.”
Meagan: Yeah. But like, really. “What are your thoughts on VBAC? What is your experience with VBAC?” Asking them these open-ended questions, but do not hesitate if your provider says, “You know what? It could be me, John, Jack, or Jill.”
Meagan: Really, it could be any of these people. Don’t hesitate to interview them because like she said, it was the luck of the draw, and luckily she got the good one that was willing to work with her and support her. So, that is my little snippet on--
Julie: Meagan was painting condos all day yesterday, so she is a little tired.
Meagan: I know. I am so tired. I couldn’t even get my butt up this morning on time to get to the gym. I went to the gym, but not on time.
Julie: Oh, right. Wait, can I add something to that really fast?
Meagan: Yeah, of course.
Julie: And then I will let you go back on your snippets.
Meagan: My snip bit?
Julie: Snip bit. I had a client yesterday text me. She is going to her 36-week appointment today and at my first prenatal appointment with my clients, I always give them a list of questions to take to their provider. I actually stole Meagan‘s idea. I stole it from Meagan.
Meagan: You did? What idea?
Julie: Meagan does this too. The one where you’re just like, “Oh, ask your provider about IV access, eating and drinking during labor, induction, due dates, what to do after your water breaks, all of those questions.” I use them too now. So, she texted me and she was like, “Okay. I have my 36-week appointment tomorrow.” We are having our second prenatal tonight actually which is really fun.
But she said, “I am having my 36-week prenatal. Are there any specific questions I should ask my provider?” I’m like, “Okay. Well, if you already asked the questions that I gave you at our last visit and you have a different provider today, then ask them the same questions,” because she’s in a practice with three different providers that rotate, three different OBGYNs, which is actually really a small number, which is great because you have less chance of getting some random person you’ve never met.
But every provider differs a little bit in how they approach birth or sometimes a lot. Sometimes they differ drastically. Like clearly with Jessica‘s providers, the one was just so anti-VBAC. We’ve got a scheduled Cesarean. The other provider came in and was like, “Well, why haven’t we started inducing her yet?” Those views and opinions are so important.
As many providers’ views you can know ahead of time going into your birth, will help you be able to navigate through those views and opinions as you navigate through your labor. You’ll be able to anticipate, “Oh, so-and-so isn’t really a fan of induction,” or “So-and-so would rather me have a VBAC,” or “So-and-so wishes I would go into labor before 41 weeks,” or whatever it ends up being. But the more providers to talk to and ask questions to, ask the same questions to all of the different providers. Just because one provider answered your question in a way that is satisfactory to you doesn’t mean another provider in the practice will.
Then I also told her, and this is something I started telling all of my clients. Question everything. Everything they suggest or recommend, ask, “Why? Why are we doing this?” Or you can use the BRAIN acronym. “What are the benefits? What are the risks? Are there any alternative options?” And then really I only say, “What happens if we do nothing?”
Just question everything even if you don’t think it’s a bad idea. Question, “Why are we doing it?” because that creates a really positive dialogue between you and your provider and lets your provider know that you are an educated and informed decision maker and participant in your birth. It creates trust between you and your provider. Your provider is going to learn to trust you and your ability to think critically and make decisions surrounding your circumstances. You are going to create more trust in your provider or maybe you’ll find out that you don’t trust your provider and then you’ll have to make a change there.
And so, that was on my mind from my conversation last night with my client. She was like, “What questions do I ask?” Well, ask the same exact questions to a different provider who may be at your birth.
What’s your next snippet, Meagan?
Meagan: No, I love everything that you said. I wanted to also talk about PROM like I talked about at the beginning of the episode. Because, yeah. 48 hours before labor had started and before anyone was willing to do anything, right? So, PROM. This is something that when it happened to me, I was told it happens to 10% of people. It happened to me three times. I was like, “What? How is that even possible?”
Julie: It happened to two out of three of my spontaneous labors as well.
Meagan: Yeah, it’s so crazy. We have a study here. It says that it actually only happens in 8% of term pregnancies. It does typically start within 24 to 46 hours of water breaking. But if it doesn’t, what can we do? What are some things that we can do to maybe try and get things going while we are waiting?
Rest. One is rest. As Jessica did, she went home. Where is the best place to rest? At home where are you are comfortable. You are in your space and you can have your bed and everything right there. So rest, rest, rest. It is so important to just rest because when labor does begin, as I am sure Jessica will contest, it is hard work.
Julie: You are going to need that energy.
Meagan: We need that energy and so, really, really rest. Now, it doesn’t mean you need to be out cold snoring, okay? Although that is great. If you can actually sleep, that is great because as you are sleeping, the oxytocin hormone is kicking in and producing. It is just so great.
But, rest. Just rest your body. Don’t go out and feel like you have to run up the hills trying to get labor going.
The number two suggestion would be, get that baby in a good position. Now, as we have been learning over the 2020 year and even 2019 year, we don’t have to have these babies in any specific spot. It is called balance. We need to find balance for this baby to find the right spot for them. We really always suggest to our own clients and people out there, Miles Circuit, Spinning Babies®, The Three Sisters, going in, resting on each side, doing side-lying, and things like that to really encourage baby is getting in that good position.
Number three is, avoiding routine cervical checks and watch your temperature. As Jessica mentioned in her story when she was going to the hospital, she didn’t want to-- I’m trying to remember, Jessica, the exact words, but you didn’t want to risk the health of your baby based on infection, and meconium, and things like that for the birth that you desired. Something that we can do to watch and make sure that things are going okay and we are not getting into a risky situation is avoiding cervical exams. Now, with Jessica being at home, she was avoiding those cervical exams.
A lot of the time, now this is here in Utah, I am not sure what is very standard in other states and countries. But every two hours or so, providers or nurses will suggest a cervical exam because they want to see what progress is being made in those two hours. Sometimes it is a, “I will just listen to your body and see what is going on, and then we will check and see if anything dramatic changes,” but a lot of the times, especially when we are waiting to see what is going on, if labor is going to really be going, and what we are wanting to do, they will encourage it every couple of hours. Avoiding that is the best we can do because we don’t need unnecessary bacteria going into our vaginas, right?
Jessica: That is the one thing they did well. They didn’t do a cervical check until we went for the scheduled C-section. So, even at the NST the day before, it was completely hands-off. Yeah, they really waited until we knew that the baby was going to be coming within a reasonable timeframe before anybody did anything to increase the risk of infection.
Meagan: So great.
Julie: That’s really awesome.
Meagan: Yeah. That’s really, really great. It’s okay to say, “I don’t want my cervix checked right now. I’m not feeling anything different or nothing has really changed to the point where I feel that it warrants a cervical exam.”
Also, watching your temperature. So, especially if you’re going to labor at home, it’s a good idea if your water breaks to just check your temperature and be mindful of how you’re feeling. We say this because if bacteria starts growing and an infection begins, it is common to get a fever. That is our body‘s natural reaction to fight against infection. Sometimes we can get fevers even in labor because we are laboring really, really hard so our body temperature can go up, but a lot of the times we can get a fever with an infection or the baby’s heart rate can get really high.
Julie: A fever can also be a side effect of an epidural. It can be a side effect of an epidural and not be a sign of an infection at all if you do have an epidural. So, that is something to remember.
Meagan: Yes, it is. Exactly. Yeah, something to remember. Another sign that infection could be present is the baby’s heart rate is actually high. So, anyway. Taking your temperature and being mindful of how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling great and then all of a sudden you’re feeling really awful like you’re getting the flu, and you have a fever, and you are at home, it may be a good idea to go into wherever you are going. Unless you’re at home, then you would discuss this with your provider. But, go to the hospital or your birthing location and further assess and see what next steps need to be taken.
Those are three ideas that you can do when your water breaks to try and help things get going. And obviously, activity and things like that, will all help as well. Pumping, but those are some of our three tops.
Julie: I mean, I think I wrote that blog.
Meagan: You did write that blog.
Julie: I think it might be due for a rewrite because I think it needs to be updated. I was reading through it earlier and I was like, “Well, I write a little differently now.” Did you notice that, Meagan?
Meagan: Yes. You guys, we have so many blogs. If you haven’t checked out our blogs, check it out. It’s at vbaclink.com/blog. We have tons of blogs. Yes, we are rewriting blogs. We are writing new blogs. So, give it a look. I mean, seriously. We have them on almost all of the main topics and even then some.
Same start, different outcomes
Julie: I want to make note that Jessica’s Cesarean birth and her VBAC birth were both induced births. They both started out in a similar way and she still had very different outcomes. A lot of times we, when we are preparing for VBAC, are hung up on mental hurdles, and whenever we get past the point of where a Cesarean happened, we can finally mentally release that, right?
I dilated to a 4 before my Cesarean and so, once I was in active labor, I was riding high. I’m like, “This is great. I am totally going to do this.” I see that with a lot of my clients. Sometimes they get to 10 and pushing before they have their Cesarean, but sometimes they weren’t even given a fair chance at all.
When labor starts all the same-- like Meagan, I remember with your third birth, your VBAC after two C-sections baby, your water broke before labor started again, for the third time. I remember you saying how frustrated you were that you felt like it was all happening again.
Meagan: Yeah. I was throwing a fit in the driveway, like throwing my arms up in the air, stomping. My neighbor was out and just looking at me. My husband was just like, “Just let her. Just let her.”
But, yeah. Well, it was just hard and that’s fine. I had a couple of contractions before, but really nothing. My water broke. I was just like, “Why does it have to happen like this again? Why can’t I just go into labor before this happens?” And just throwing a fit. But, you know, it was great.
Julie: It ended up great and you got your vaginal birth. And Jessica, you got your VBAC after your Cesarean. I just want to say that just because your birth starts out similarly to your Cesarean birth does not mean it is going to end the same way. Sometimes we get hung up on that and mental blocks can hang up labor.
So, do your best as you prepare, going into your birth and your VBAC journey, that you are ready to accept all different ways for labor to start whether it’s induced, whether it’s natural, whether you plan on going unmedicated but end up deciding to get the epidural because that’s the best choice for you and your baby. Be prepared for your birth to take a number of different journeys because the more journeys you can imagine and prepare for, the less likely you are to be caught off guard if those things happen during your birth.
Jessica: I had the same meltdown when my water broke. I was crying holding my toddler, complaining about how this could happen twice.
Meagan: Yes. It was so frustrating. I think that is something that maybe we needed to get out. Maybe we needed to just get all of that emotion out for us to take the next step and the next direction. Even though that wasn’t contractions really going right away, it was a release that needed to happen so when they did start, they could start.
Julie: I think you make a really good point too. I am remembering something that I read a while ago. I used to have all my clients do a fear release or something like that if I felt like they were hung up on emotions. But now, I am finding myself more telling them to just do something that makes them cry. Just anything.
Watch The Notebook at the end. My husband laughs at the end of The Notebook, but I am crying every time. Watch your wedding video or birth video. Read a letter that your partner wrote you years ago or something. Anything else to cry, because once those tears start flowing, your body releases whatever emotions it is holding onto through your tears.
And so, who knows? Maybe you guys throwing fits and screaming and getting angry and upset and frustrated about that let your body release what it needed to in order for your labors and your birth to turn out the way they did. Who knows?
Meagan: Yeah, exactly.
Julie: Okay, but Jessica. I’m going to ask you these questions now. I want to read the answer that you read for the first one, but you can say whatever you want for the second one.
The first one is, what is a secret lesson or something no one really talks about that you wish you would have known ahead of time when preparing for birth?
I absolutely loved how you worded this, so I’m just going to read it word for word.
You said, “This is a hard one. I wish I would have known the statistics about complications that arise in birth as a first-time mom and what a doula was. Now that I am in the birth world, everything feels like common sense. But as a young mom, I didn’t even know what Pitocin induction was or that an emergency C-section could happen to anyone.”
I love that because I feel like all of us first-time moms can echo that sentiment of your message. Now that you are in the birth world and you are starting to become a doula and all those things, it feels like common sense, because it really does. Even sometimes when I’m working with clients or especially first-time moms, I have to remind myself that they don’t know what they don’t know. Going into birth as a first-time mom is just a whole different ball game. But, I really loved how you worded that. So, thank you for that.
Now the second question is, what is your best tip for someone preparing for a VBAC?
Jessica: I think finding the information to be able to make informed decisions or finding a doula or knowledgeable person who can help you make those informed decisions because you would hope that providers act in your best interest, but I know in my birth cases they were telling me-- I had to pull up the documents and show them themselves when they said, “Oh, we don’t induce VBACs,” and I was like, “This is supported right in your policy here.”
So, it would be helpful if I didn’t do all that work myself to have somebody who was knowledgeable, like a doula, to be there to provide the information and the knowledge needed to make empowered and informed decisions.
Meagan: Oh, so many good messages in this. Thank you so much Jessica again for sharing your story and for being with us today.
Jessica: Thank you for having me.
Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Head over to thevbaclink.com/share and submit your story. For all things VBAC, including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Julie and Meagan’s bios, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.