If you are hoping to achieve a VBAC it’s vital to have a solid plan. This article will show you exactly how I’m planning to achieve my vaginal birth after cesarean.
Update: I managed to accomplish my goal of having a VBAC!!! And guess what? I didn’t have any medications to do it, it was 100% natural! I wrote my whole story and all the tips of exactly how I achieved my VBAC here.
Well I’ve officially hit the 36 week mark of pregnancy which means we are in the final month, woohoo!! I haven’t been shy about my intent to have a VBAC (read more about that here), but I wanted to take a minute to share exactly what I’ve been doing to help prepare myself (and my husband) for a VBAC!
I knew from the second that second line showed up on the pregnancy test I wanted a VBAC. In fact, at our first appointment I told the doctor “I’ll be having a VBAC!” I think she was shocked I had already thought of it. Her response was something along the lines of “Let’s get more pregnant and then we’ll talk!”
But I knew I couldn’t wait until the last few weeks to start preparing. So I started preparing months ago!! Now as we approach baby’s dude date I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to achieve my VBAC goal!
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
Research, Research, Research
I have been researching like a mad woman! I’ve been reading everything from official medical advice to anecdotes from women who have had successful VBAC’s. I spend a decent amount of time every day reading anything and everything I can find about VBAC’s.
I firmly believe that knowledge is power and I want to be a powerhouse going into labor!!
Taking Advice from Successful Women
If you do your research right, you can find TONS of stories from women who have completed a successful VBAC. And every time they share exactly what they believe helped them achieve that. And I’ve been doing just about anything they recommend!
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Out of everything I have read, here is what made sense for me and what I’m doing (most of this started in the third trimester):
- Drinking red raspberry leaf tea every day (this is said to strengthen the uterus)
- Taking a good prenatal vitamin (these are my favorite and the ones I’ve taken during this pregnancy and my previous one as well)
- Weekly appointments with a chiropractor starting at around 34 weeks pregnant
- I stretch every day, several times a day (at the suggestion of my chiropractor) including many stretches to open my hips
- Squat every day (I’ve read that you’re supposed to be doing 300 a day!!! That’s a bit steep for me, but I do what I can)
- Repeat positive affirmations about my labor and my body every day (things like “I know I can have a vaginal delivery” and “I trust my body to deliver this baby”)
- Spend a little time every day visualizing my labor and birth of my baby, reminding myself what it will feel like to push him out rather than experience major surgery
- I talk with my husband (almost) every day about my fears, hopes, expectations, and needs
- Eat as many dates every day as a I can every day (it’s said that eating up to 6 dates each day in the last weeks of pregnancy can help to shorten labor–I like the sound of that!)
- Drink plenty of water
- Take naps and get plenty of rest
- Walk as often as I can (and just move as much as I can, rather than sit on the couch all day, which is what I’d really like to be doing)
- My husband and I have started to use the rebozo technique every night to encourage baby into the ideal birthing position
Things that I have read can be helpful that I have not done:
- Hire a doula– My husband and I debated about this for a while and even went as far as interviewing a doula. She was fantastic and I have no doubt she would have been helpful. But ultimately we decided we prefer privacy so we are preparing to labor with just the two of us.
- Switch doctors– I wanted to switch doctors desperately but I have a large network insurance (it rhymes with shmaiser…hint hint) and I kind of get the feeling that all of their doctors follow the same play book. Also, when I do deliver I will deliver with whatever doctor is on call at the hospital, which might not necessarily be my doctor. So I could go to all this trouble and find an uber supportive VBAC doc, only to deliver my baby with someone else! I did have an appointment with one doc who was very much on board, but he is a high risk OB so I don’t seem him all the time. He said if I come into the hospital in labor and start to feel pushed toward a c-section I can always call him for a second opinion!!
- Watch my diet as much as I should- I have been more cautious about what I’m eating, but the truth is between two kids running around, a very tired mommy, and my nausea (yes, that’s right folks, I still have morning sickness just about every day!!) it’s been hard to find foods that are appealing, let alone nourishing. So I eat what I can when I can, I try to take it easy on the processed sugar, and I take a good prenatal vitamin. I haven’t gained an excessive amount of weight, so I think that will help.
Creating a Birth Plan
I never thought I would create a birth plan because how in the world can you plan a birth?! Those babies just do what they want!! My plan is not really a plan so much as some ideas.
I’m working on putting together a resource that has tips and tricks for us along the way. I’m doing all of this so that when I’m in labor and emotions are running high (read: I’m crying and my husband is tired) we don’t have to think as much. We will be prepared and just in case we forget I have it all typed up on a sheet!
This could be one of those things that is completely forgotten once that first intense contraction hits, but for now it feels good to think through some of these details.
Preparing My Husband
My husband is no stranger to birth, this is our third baby after all. And I did labor with our first baby before I eventually needed an emergency c-section. But this labor is different.
There’s more emotion involved because of my expectations. And from all the research I’ve done everyone (even the VBAC supportive doctors) say to stay at home as long as you can and come to the hospital pushing!! Even the one VBAC supportive doc I’ve seen told me to labor at home as long as I can! He said my best chance at having a successful VBAC is if all the doctors have to do is catch the baby!!
So this labor is different because there is much more at stake. He has to be the one to help me breathe through the pain, change positions, and remind me of my goals. He will be right in the thick of labor with me! . That’s a lot of responsibility to put on someone who is also going to be watching his wife go through an immense amount of pain (probably not gracefully) AND is also anxiously awaiting the birth of his child.
I’m preparing him by just talking to him. I’ve sent him a few articles to read, but mostly we just talk. And it helps.
I trust my husband completely, and I know he’ll be calm, cool, and collected the whole time. But preparing together and getting on the same page will make a world of difference for us.
Keeping a Positive Attitude
I have encountered many nay-sayers on my journey. Some of them were the doctors I met with during my pregnancy! And if I’m honest I’m pretty scared. I’m scared about laboring, laboring at home, and I’m afraid I’ll fail. But I also believe that I am capable of a VBAC.
I believe in my body’s ability to deliver my baby I remind myself of that every day. It hasn’t been easy to believe it. In fact, at the beginning of the pregnancy there was a lot of “fake it ’till you make it” kind of talk. I would tell myself I could do a vaginal birth even though the idea seemed so foreign to me because all I’ve ever known is a c-section.
But I kept telling myself I could and eventually the doubt faded away. And now when I tell myself “I can do this” I really mean it. I feel incredibly confident and prepared, and it all started with a positive attitude!!
This is the quote that has kept me going:
“She believed she could, so she did.”
Man do I love that quote!! I think that’s so applicable to so many areas of our life. What we believe about ourselves will come true. And I believe that I can have a VBAC!!
Every Journey is Different
My path to a VBAC certainly looks different than other women’s and that’s ok! My goal is to safely bring a happy, healthy baby into this world. Ideally that will happen through a vaginal delivery. I hope what I am doing to prepare for my (hopeful) VBAC will help you to prepare for yours!
Do you have any VBAC tips?? Share them below!