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August 15, 2016 12:01 pm

PTSD

The biggest thing I haven’t yet mentioned here is that I was diagnosed with PTSD stemming from events surrounding my births.

After struggling with symptoms by myself for over five years, I finally chose to seek help because I felt like I couldn’t turn my brain off. If I woke up at night, or if I was sitting quietly by myself, or trying to fall asleep, or anything that involved some downtime for my brain, I couldn’t stop replaying and obsessing over details of my births. This symptom is called intrusive thoughts (or persistent re-experiencing) and I was tired of it. I wanted my brain back.

I was treated using EMDR therapy and I found it really, really effective. We mostly did “tones” (listening to beep-boop sounds that alternate left and right) instead of the eye movements and she also tapped my knees left and right.

After working through a bunch of situations, I began to notice a pattern of behavior from my care providers that directly contributed to my issues. I wrote about several incidents here as they happened, but I minimized my feelings or explained their actions away even though some of them really hurt me. When I was gaining weight like mad and they simply told me to “lay off the fast food and soda” without even asking me what I ate in a typical day? HUGE, STARK CONTRAST to my midwife with Thora’s birth, who preemptively had me keep a food journal for a week so we could identify things to work on and we had a discussion about nutrition and based on my journal, I was advised to up my protein intake and then continue my food journal for another week to see how I felt.

Or telling me I was supposed to do the glucose test at 16 weeks (normally it’s not until 28ish weeks) without explaining why they were having me complete it twice or revealing that I had the right to refuse the extra test.

Or calling me a month before I was due to tell me I could “have a baby tonight if I wanted” and then laughing, as though they didn’t care I may have a premature baby and it was all a big joke.

Or brushing off my concerns that I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction and merely telling me it would only get worse. They didn’t recommend a specific support belt, or physiotherapy, or suggest chiropractic care, or exercises I could do to lessen the pain. They didn’t offer ANYTHING except to tell me that it would only get worse and made it seem like a support belt might not help.

Good care providers recognize that you are a human capable of rational thought with the capacity to consent to or deny various procedures, and they inform you of the risks and benefits of those procedures ahead of time. Bad care providers take everything as a given and don’t bother with your input – they inform you they will be performing a vaginal exam instead of asking if you would like one performed. They shove consent forms in your face while you sob and people are streaming into the room to start the procedure you are “consenting” to. You are coerced; you feel like you can’t say no. Or maybe you do say no, and they ignore it and continue anyway – like the time during my labor with Wesley when someone roughly checked my cervix during a vaginal exam while I cried and protested. They didn’t stop. Then they said my cervix was “high and difficult to find” and made it seem as though the rough exam was my fault.

It wasn’t.

It’s hard to not beat yourself up over choosing sub-par care, or not recognizing red flags for what they are, but I just have to keep reminding myself that I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 and all.

After several months of treatment, those intrusive thoughts? They almost never happen anymore and I am so thankful. I can sleep! I can talk about Wesley’s birth without feeling “triggered” – I can just do my little elevator speech and not feel panicked or like I need to explain all my life choices that led to the circumstances I found myself in. I can talk about how much more empowered I felt with Thora’s birth while recognizing I was grieving the loss of my homebirth at the same time.

I still get sad about things sometimes; just today I was marveling over the fact that I am the only person I know who has attempted a VBAC but didn’t achieve one. Everyone else I know who has attempted a VBAC has been successful, which is AWESOME for them but still gives me pangs of jealousy when I think about it.

On the whole though, I am feeling so much better. I even wrote to the clinic I went to in Portland describing my care and how it resulted in a mental health diagnosis for me, and they called me to apologize and tell me that they took my story very seriously and would be referencing it in an upcoming patient care meeting to improve patient outcomes. They also assured me that they’ve put several policies in place (in the intervening six years) to prevent the sort of “care” I received. For instance, they now give moms a moment alone with their support person after handing them the cesarean consent forms. It doesn’t change anything for the hospital, but it could really influence how a mom feels about her birth ending in surgery. I know I would have felt much more involved in the decision with that process vs the surgery being treated as a fait accompli. I’m also considering posting the text of that letter here, since I felt I articulated my issues well.

Mental health is a complicated topic and I’ve told only a few people in person that I received treatment, but I am truly, deeply grateful for the lovely lady helping me work through my trauma and I wish I had done it sooner. In that vein, I’m happy to answer any questions about my treatment, as I think helping demystify the therapeutic process is important and might have encouraged me to seek help sooner.

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September 24, 2014 11:16 pm

Four Months Postpartum – CBAC Feelings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Thora’s birth, and how I feel about it now that several months have gone by.

I think the biggest thing that gets to me is feeling like a bad statistic. This is mostly in relation to the VBAC support group on Facebook that I’m still a member of. Instead of getting to be a part of the “I can do anything!” rah-rah VBAC group and feeling like I can share my experience freely, I’m inclined to not say much about my c-section in order to not provide “negativity.” I haven’t shared my birth story there yet because of this. I hate being the opposite of a success story.

And I know, “every birth is a success,” blah blah blah, but I’m still sad that I feel like I can’t participate or I’ll make people upset.

When preparing for a VBAC, everybody tells you to read all the positive stories you can and really get into the “I can do this” mindset. I hate that by posting my birth story, people will avoid reading it because it didn’t actually end in a vaginal birth and is therefore “negative.”

I’m sad that this was my only chance and it didn’t happen for me.

I’m sad that I still missed out on the first hour of my baby’s life because of some stupid hospital policy. Had I gotten my homebirth, I wouldn’t have been separated from her. To make matters worse, a few weeks ago the hospital updated its policy so babies can now stay with their moms in recovery post-surgery. I’m happy about that, but extremely disappointed they wouldn’t do it for me even though I asked.

I believe this c-section was probably necessary. I can’t really say that about my first. This makes me feel a little better because I don’t feel that I was lied to or misled, but it also angers me because I wouldn’t have been in the position of being a VBAC candidate in the first place if I wasn’t coerced into a c-section the first time.

If you labor in the hospital and end up with a c-section, nobody calls it a “failed hospital birth,” but because I labored at home, I’ve already been labeled a “failed homebirth” by a medical professional. That sucks, and it makes me feel bad.

The VBAC Facebook group terms what happened to me as a CBAC – a cesarean birth after cesarean – to indicate that the woman in question had attempted a VBAC versus going straight to a repeat c-section. I like that it acknowledges my effort, but I still hate that it ended that way.

I’m sad that my baby was weighed on a hard scale instead of inside the soft fabric baby hammock the midwives use. I’m sad that other midwifery clients get a “my midwife helped me out” onesie and I got a stupid blue and pink hat with the hospital logo – a constant reminder of what went wrong.

I’m sad nobody thought to take a photo of us as a family of four. Thora is almost five months old and I still don’t have one. Why didn’t anybody take a photo of us? (Why don’t they now?)

I still have the insomnia I came down with when I was pregnant, and these are all the things I think about at 3am when I’m not sleeping.

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May 20, 2014 10:02 am

Thora’s Birth Story

I woke up at 8am on Saturday the 3rd having infrequent contractions. They didn’t seem worth timing, but they also didn’t go away after several hours. Right at about 1pm, I decided to time them to see if there was any kind of pattern.

Timing revealed they were about five minutes apart and were lasting for roughly a minute. Since that’s more or less the rule of thumb for calling your providers saying you’re in labor, I decided to make sure things were actually happening so I waited it out — for the next SEVEN HOURS.

The contractions seemed to start spacing out a bit around 8pm, so I called my midwife, Denise, to let her know what had happened that day. The waves never got closer together or any more intense, so I correctly assumed they were prodromal labor and not actual labor and Denise basically confirmed this. Still! It felt like progress.

The next morning, I barely had any contractions at all; certainly nothing worth timing. However, I did start losing my mucus plug (gross, sorry) which continued throughout the day.

Monday was pretty similar. I knew things were barely getting going and I was okay just letting events unfold – I wasn’t getting my hopes up that this was “real labor” or anything.

That said, I was super uncomfortable and cranky all day long. I went to my chiropractic appointment at 10am and couldn’t get comfortable on the table. I was coming down with yet another cold (I think the grand total over the pregnancy was seven) and I just wanted to lay down and relax but I couldn’t figure out how because no positions felt relaxing in the slightest.

I went to my prenatal appointment at 2pm and declined a cervical check. I just hate them so much and I also didn’t want to know a number and have it discourage me. It would only be a measurement of where I was right then, not where I might be once labor kicked in or even a guess as to when labor would kick in.

Much later that evening (Monday the 5th), I noticed I was having a pattern of contractions. They weren’t severe, but they were definitely much more difficult to get through than the ones from Saturday. Daniel was tired and I told him it was fine to go to bed – I was watching TV and working through the waves.

After several hours of working through the waves by relaxing, I noticed that I wanted to vocalize to get through contractions. I felt like an idiot doing it, but I made a little noise with each and that seemed to help get through them. They were still about ten minutes apart, but they felt really intense.

Finally, around 2:30am, I tried to get comfortable enough to rest just in case labor actually kicked in and I was in it for the long haul. I propped some pillows up on the couch and reclined a bit. It wasn’t the greatest, but it did allow me to fall asleep.

At 4am, I woke up because of a weird sensation in my nether regions and I thought, “that felt like it could have been my water breaking.” But I was so outrageously tired that I drifted back to sleep for a split second and then momentarily became convinced I dreamed the whole thing. Then I came to my senses and realized that if I thought my water had broken, even if I was wrong, I should get off the couch and into the bathroom.

The second I stood up, I knew it was my water. I soaked my underpants and leggings just with the few steps to the bathroom, and I stood there for a minute trying to decide what to do. I wasn’t having contractions right then, but maybe I should call somebody? Or not? Aaah! This was turning into the real thing!

I decided to put on some Depends underwear so I didn’t sog any furniture and I laid back down and tried to get some rest. I managed to wait until 6:30am to wake up Daniel and tell him my water broke.

At about 7am, I requested to switch him spots so I could have the bedroom and he could use the living room to entertain Wesley for a bit. I called Denise to tell her my water broke at 4am but contractions were still about 10 minutes apart.

However, at about 7:30am, contractions really started to kick in and they quickly became more difficult to work through. I received a text from my friend Meagan saying she saw my tweet about my water breaking and if I needed her to take Wesley for the day, she’d be happy to do so. I let Daniel know that she offered and that things were picking up to the point where I felt like I needed him, so could he please go drop Wesley off? He got everything together and left to walk Wesley to her house.

Once he left, contractions were about 3.5 minutes apart and I had a really weird crying jag. The contractions weren’t unbearable by any means, but I just felt like I needed to cry, I guess? It happened a couple more times over the course of the day and I found myself saying “I’m okay, I don’t even know why I’m crying.” Once Daniel got back, I let him know he should probably call the midwives to tell them that things were really kicking in.

(more…)

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May 7, 2014 1:06 pm

Thora Pauline

Thora Pauline was born at 7:49pm on May 6th, weighing 8lbs 2oz and measuring 20 inches long. She’s lovely.

Baby Thora

I didn’t get my VBAC, but it sure wasn’t for lack of trying! I labored at home for nearly twelve hours and made it all the way to the pushing stage, but baby’s heart rate reacted really badly to pushing, so we transferred to the hospital right at the end and I ended up with a repeat c-section. Birth story coming soon! (It’s a bit of a novel.)

She’s a dream and Wesley just loves her.

Wesley and Thora.

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April 22, 2014 5:21 pm

37 Weeks

Aaaah! This is the most pregnant I have ever been! I’m 37w3d and Wesley was born at 37w0d so this is all uncharted territory for me.

I had a prenatal today and things are still looking good: BP was 126/78, baby’s position is LOT, and I was given some “Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep” capsules to take. They also recommended Evening Primrose Oil capsules, but I’m still doing some research on whether or not I want to try those. They did my GBS test today too.

Denise did a cervical check (SO UNPLEASANT, UGH) and said I was about 1cm dilated and the tissues were soft, which is a good sign my body is getting ready. I know cervical checks really do not mean very much in terms of predicting when labor will happen, but in some respects it’s nice to know that I’m not totally unfavorable at this point like I was with Wesley. Denise also said I have a “nice big pelvis” and then later described it as “roomy” so that’s funny, but it’s a good sign too. She said the baby is really easy to engage in my pelvis if she applies pressure to the top of my belly, so it looks like there shouldn’t be any engagement problems.

I finally purchased the last few things for my birth kit, so that’s basically ready to go. I still need to pick up some towels from my mother-in-law who has a bunch of extras that she doesn’t mind me using (ours are all white and we have, like, four. I’m supposed to have around ten) and she also has some bendy straws, which I think is the last thing I’m missing.

Then I get to go grocery shopping for labor food! I wasn’t allowed to eat during labor with Wesley so I have no idea what I might like this time. I’m thinking popsicles, Gatorade, and maybe fruit snacks? We always have stuff like Greek yogurt and fruit on hand but I could see something like fruit popsicles being helpful and we never have that kind of stuff on hand normally.

I’m down to four more days of work left – this Thursday and Friday, and then next Tuesday and Wednesday. My job is not strenuous by any means but gosh, I am kind of ready to be done.

Next Monday is our home visit, where the midwives come do my prenatal appointment at our apartment and determine where they’ll set up their stuff and highlight any cleanliness or safety issues they see. This means I have to, like, really REALLY clean up and make it presentable in here. We should probably shampoo the carpets but I can’t even think about moving all our living room furniture to do it so it may not happen. Ack.

Mostly I don’t know what to do with stuff like our wooden drying rack for clothes, which we use but not consistently, so it lives awkwardly in our kitchen because there’s really nowhere else to put it. Or Wesley’s outside toys – we don’t have a porch or a backyard and I don’t feel comfortable just leaving them outside all the time, so they live in the kitchen and the living room and generally take up a lot of space. Hmm. Renting a less-than-optimal living space kind of sucks in this regard.

In terms of labor and baby updates, my plan is to keep my Twitter updated as long as I can manage. I might assign somebody to post updates if I become unable to do so, but that’ll probably be the best place to get baby notifications if you’re interested.

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April 3, 2014 12:04 pm

34 Weeks – Relief

THE BABY TURNED!!!

Well, more accurately, I went in for a baby positioning check on Monday and we tried to turn the baby again. This time instead of pushing her head to my right, Denise pushed it to my left, and I guess once we got the baby sideways/transverse, she slipped right into vertex position.

We confirmed it with a quick ultrasound and I was sent home with their extra doppler to check heart tones periodically. They got up to the 160s when we were pushing her around but they dropped back down to the 140s before I left the appointment, so that was a great sign. Basically, you don’t want to see “decels” – decelerations – in the heart rate and we didn’t see any at all. Baby seemed to tolerate the ECV really well.

That description makes it sound a lot less uncomfortable than it actually was – parts of it were definitely painful and it kind of felt like all my internal organs were being rearranged, but it truly was a small price to pay for a vertex baby. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Baby movement feels really different now – before there was just a big round head up top, and now it’s all knees and feet and buns and the baby kind of feels like a squid.

I’m a little nervous that she’ll get a wild hair and decide to turn again before she’s born, but I’m doing what I can to get her head engaged in my pelvis and I think now that she’s head-down she’ll probably stay that way. (I hope.)

This breech thing has felt like a huge anvil hanging over my head for weeks. Once I realized that turning the baby was successful, I was so relieved I can’t even tell you. I’m so much less stressed out, and I feel like I’m able to continue planning for and visualizing my ideal birth as opposed to being torn between futilely hoping for a VBAC but trying to plan for a c-section.

Also, I joined the VBAC Facts Community on Facebook, which is a private group full of supportive people, lots of knowledge, and great birth stories. It’s improved my FB experience exponentially – there’s always something great coming up about VBACs on my feed!

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March 20, 2014 5:33 pm

32 Weeks – Breech

I’ll just go ahead and start off this entry by saying I AM FREAKING OUT.

At my last appointment (31 weeks), the baby was out of transverse position and into a tidy up-and-down position, but the midwives weren’t quite sure if she was head up or head down. I was kind of guessing head up based on where I felt kicks, and in the days since then, I am becoming more and more convinced this baby is breech.

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

It’s my other big fear come true! Outside of getting preeclampsia again, my next big fear (which I touched on in my last entry) was being auto-c-sectioned for something and not even getting a trial of labor. Nobody around here does breech births. I don’t even know if I want to try to find somebody that will do a breech VBAC on someone without a previous vaginal birth.

It’s just so unbelievably stressful. If the baby doesn’t turn, there’s no chance I’ll get my homebirth, no chance I’ll have a VBAC, and just a slim chance I’ll even get a trial of labor. All of those things make me so, SO sad.

Typically, all but 5% of babies turn by 33 weeks. I’ve got four more days to turn this baby before I fall into that 5%, and I am spending every day doing breech tilts and hands-and-knees position and elephant walks and inversions and hypnotherapy and homeopathy and NONE OF IT SEEMS TO BE HELPING YET.

I’m looking into acupuncture. I’m following suggestions in this video. The closest chiropractors that do the Webster technique are an hour away but I’ve got their phone numbers just in case.

I feel like I am trying everything and I keep getting more and more freaked out as the days go by and I still feel (what seems like) that hard little head up at the top of my uterus instead of chubby buns.

I am just so jealous of people who have pregnancies without stupid complications. I was so excited about not getting preeclampsia so far that it didn’t even occur to me that I might have something else go wrong. This has totally taken all the wind out of my sails and I don’t know how to deal with it.

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November 30, 2013 6:05 am

16 Weeks

I’ve been kind of terrible at documenting this pregnancy. I just have so much other stuff going on!

I re-read a bunch of my posts from when I was pregnant with Wesley and I seem to be doing way better physically this time around. I don’t have nearly the ligament pain (though sometimes sneezing or coughing wrong does give me shooting pains for a few moments) or the achy-ness.

My insomnia got better for a little while and then the last few days have gotten worse again. Instead of being awake from 1-3 or 2-4am, I wake up at 4:30 or 5:30 on days where normally I wouldn’t have to be awake until after 7am. So irritating.

I also haven’t taken any belly photos this time around. Not on purpose; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think I’m quite a bit smaller looking though, despite starting this pregnancy about 12lbs heavier than with Wesley. I expected to look way bigger way faster, but that hasn’t been the case. Having not gained any weight probably contributes to it, too – I didn’t keep records of my gaining pattern then, but I’m reasonably certain I had gained close to 20lbs by this point last time.

I just FEEL a lot better this time, I guess? I’m hoping it continues throughout the pregnancy and labor and delivery.

Did I mention I got the Home Study Hupnobabies kit? It went on sale a while back so I went ahead and bought it. I don’t have any illusions about it, like, removing all pain and negative feelings from my experience, but I like the idea that it will give me a framework for relaxation and visualization. I know several people for whom Hypnobabies worked really well so that helps me feel more confident too.

A lot of what I’ll have to work through is fear-based; primarily feeling scared of a vaginal birth because I’m currently way more familiar with the alternative. Kind of a “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t” situation. I never want another c-section but that doesn’t mean I’m not kind of terrified of a VBAC, you know? It’s hard to articulate. I’m afraid I won’t know what to do, I guess.

Anyway, I have the Hypnobabies VBAC CD as well which is really helpful. I’ve listened to it several times and it has a really good visualization track that I think will help me a lot.

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November 1, 2013 7:08 pm

Take Two

I have an announcement to make: I’m pregnant!

I’m a little over twelve weeks along, we’re thrilled, and Wesley is super excited to be a big brother.

This largely explains my absence here late this summer. I don’t seem to throw up with my pregnancies (apparently, although I did throw up at work yesterday which was about as much fun as it sounds. Not sure what happened there) but I have been SO MUCH MORE SICK this time around. Weeks 6 and 7 were kind of rough – if I was not at work, I was curled up on the couch with a blanket and Sea Bands and ginger candy and Preggie Pop Drops and who knows what else.

I’m going with the local midwifery clinic for my prenatal care, and I’m very happy about it – I just love them. I would really like to have a VBAC, and the midwife is super supportive of this decision and has lots of advice for me to help achieve that outcome. We’re also really hoping I don’t end up with preeclampsia again – that’s probably going to be the biggest deciding factor in terms of whether or not I can go ahead with a VBAC. She put my risk of getting it again at about 20%.

My main goal is to gain no weight for this pregnancy, which absolutely will not happen, BUT: If I say I’m going to gain 20-30lbs, I will gain the 60lbs I did last time. HOWEVER, if I say I’m going to gain nothing, I’ll probably end up gaining the recommended (for someone with my BMI) 11-20lbs. With my nausea, food aversions, and recent stomach flu, I appear to be down about two pounds, so that’s a promising start.

I had a quick consultation appointment with the midwives a couple of weeks ago and got to have an early ultrasound, so we got to see the little bub waving its arms and legs and wiggling around. I didn’t get an early ultrasound last time so it was kind of nice to have one and make sure the bub had all its limbs and stuff. My first actual prenatal appointment is next Friday.

Whee! A baby!

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August 20, 2012 6:37 am

VBAC Inspiration

Lately, I’ve been collecting VBAC birth stories and anecdotes that speak to me on some level, and I’d like to share some of them here.

My new celebrity VBAC hero: Kate Winslet

I’ve always really liked Kate Winslet; she seems very down-to-earth and funny and normal. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she had a very healing VBAC for her second child!

There’s this thing amongst women in the world that if you can handle childbirth, you can handle anything. I had never handled childbirth, and I felt like, in some way that I couldn’t join that “powerful women’s club.” So it was an amazing feeling having Joe naturally, vaginally. […] It was an incredible birth. It laid all the ghosts to rest. It was really triumphant.
-Kate Winslet

Birth Story: Accidental UHBAC (Unassisted Homebirth After Cesarean)

This birth story is great. (Plus, the picture of that baby’s chubby little face up top is great too.) This lady birthed her baby into her husband’s arms, in her kitchen, after her labor went much quicker than she expected and her midwife and doula weren’t able to make it in time. She used hypnobirthing techniques during her labor, which is something I’m interested in checking out, and her description of her postpartum experience is so sweet – she felt great, and her family got to come over to meet the baby!

At that point I really wasn’t in too much pain. I didn’t really feel anything other than a baby’s head just hanging out. It was obvious my body was in control and I was just along for the ride. I attribute being a birth story junkie to knowing what to do, since it’s not like I had previous practice.

Her tone is really conversational, and I’d say her story is probably my favorite of the ones I’ve found.

Empowering Hospital VBAC

I like that this birth story shows it’s possible to have a really great hospital experience. I kind of feel like positive hospital VBACs are few and far between, so it’s nice to read of one that went really well for both mom and baby.

I couldn’t believe it: I pushed her out. Not only was I in awe of my newest daughter but I was in awe of myself. I was so happy and I kept saying “I can’t believe I pushed her out!”

Obviously not all VBACs are sunshine and butterflies, but I really enjoy reading positive accounts of women’s experiences, as they help me envision all the different ways a birth can go and still be a positive experience.

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October 18, 2011 8:06 am

Operation: VBAC

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not pregnant. I’ve just been pondering my birthing options should we eventually decide to have another baby.

There are no words to explain how disappointed I am that my first pregnancy ended in a c-section, primarily because it closes so many doors. My local hospital formally bans VBACs. My mom, who is a Labor & Delivery nurse, says that it’s because of liability with regard to anesthesia – in order for the hospital (and their insurance company) to endorse VBACs, they need to have an anesthesiologist on staff at all times to cope with an emergency c-section if the VBAC is not successful.

I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this, because wouldn’t not having an anesthesiologist on staff be a problem for any emergency complications? Let’s say it’s 2am and a mom having a textbook pregnancy has been laboring for a few hours. Her water breaks! Whoosh! And… she has a (NSFW illustration) cord prolapse. Emergency! C-section! Go! But wait – it’s 2am and the anesthesiologist is on call at home.

HOW IS THIS ANY LESS BAD? It’s a liability regardless of the emergency happening. I am not allowed to try for a normal birth because the hospital is ill-prepared to cope with an adverse outcome to any pregnancy.

My best chance for having a hospital VBAC is if I make sure to plan my labor so that the anesthetist will be physically in the hospital while I am laboring, and to make sure I deliver before he or she leaves.

Right.

My best chance for having a VBAC would be a homebirth or delivering in a birth center, attended by midwives.

Earlier this summer, my aunt (who is also a L&D nurse) told me I am going to have a “gorked baby” (her words) because I stated the above. She and my mom conceded that I would have a hard time being allowed to deliver in a hospital setting and may have to labor in the operating room (can you IMAGINE anything more uncomfortable? Steel table and bright surgical lights? No thank you.) but would not agree that it would be a better choice for me.

If you have a healthy pregnancy, have a low horizontal scar on the uterus and go into labor on your own at term you have about a 70% to 75% chance that you and your baby will have a safe normal birth. – VBAC.com

The problem I start running into is the “healthy pregnancy” part. I had preeclampsia. That is most emphatically not healthy. If I do come down with preeclampsia, my chances for a VBAC drop dramatically, since I will likely have to be induced and that carries a much greater risk of uterine rupture.

Out of the eleven most significant risk factors for developing preeclampsia, I have two:

  • Previous history of preeclampsia
  • Obesity, particularly with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

Clearly, I can’t control the fact that I have a previous history of preeclampsia, but the obesity is something I can control.

I haven’t mentioned it here for fear of being embarrassed should I have failed, but I have lost twenty pounds since February. This is an amazing accomplishment, especially for me given my history of weight-loss struggles, and one that I am incredibly proud of. However, I need to lose another 10lbs before I am merely “overweight” and not “obese.” This leads me to my new plan:

Operation: VBAC

I would like to get my body and mind ready to be a good candidate for a subsequent pregnancy and VBAC. This does not mean I am going to become an Olympic athlete or compete in CrossFit or something, but it does mean I am going to lose those ten pounds. Hopefully more. (I’m taking a bit of inspiration from Theresa’s Get Body Ready For VBAC series, since I think it’s a great idea to prep your body for the outcome you want.) The further away I can get from being obese, the better.

I’m going to look into HypnoBabies, because I’ve read so many great birth stories in which HypnoBabies seemed to help tremendously. I have a Hypnobirthing book, but didn’t bother getting any kind of CDs – I’m now going to consider doing so.

I will make sure my healthcare providers are on board with my plan.

——

Since nobody knows what causes preeclampsia for sure, it’s hard to find things to do to “prevent” it. But if I can lower my chances, even a little bit, and up my chances for having a successful VBAC in the future, I’m willing to do it.

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