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After having 3 c-sections, I decided I don’t want to get cut anymore, so with this pregnancy, I hired a doula, which is basically a birth coach.
Did you know that a doula can cut your risk for another cesarean in half? A growing body of literature reveals that the presence of a female helper reduces requests for epidurals by more than 50%? Best of all, having a doula can shorten your labor by 25%.
Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery; American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, March 2014)
“Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula. Given that there are no associated measurable harms, this resource is probably underutilized.”
This past January, I had a procedure done to remove a keloid off my c-section scar. After my last baby, my doctor cut it off after his delivery, but it came back. It grew in size and got in the way, so my doctor referred me to a plastic surgeon. It was a quick procedure.
Then for 3 days in a row, I went to a cancer center and received radiation on-site to lessen the chance of it returning.
I was so pleased with the result and was sure that our little family was complete.
BOY WAS I WRONG.
I spent much of the first trimester worrying about little things. Like wow, I’ve got to buy baby stuff all over again (we have been selling or giving everything away).
Where will this baby go? We have 3 kids and a room for each of them.
What will people think when my belly grows? I’m not ready to share yet, but I’m already showing.
Our kids fit in our car, do I now need a van again?
What if I miscarry again?
My school has already had so many changes this past year, now I’m going on maternity leave and adding to the changes…..
My mind raced with all the thoughts and fears.
And the end of the first trimester (with lots of support from my mom and hubby), I was able to put many of those fears to rest.
I purchased a few VBAC books from Amazon and started the search for a midwife and doula.
**Check out my Amazon storefront for book suggestions**
I was heartbroken to find that not one doula in my area was willing to take me on after 3 c-sections. Then I started feeling regret about not advocating for a VBAC sooner.
When I realized that a midwife was not an option, I settled on my regular OBGYN. After all, I’ve been going to the same office for the past 10 years, and I felt comfortable with the office.
When I brought up the conversation about a VBAC, my doctor said that he would have to consult with some semi-local high-risk doctors. He told me a story about 2 women he saw deliver babies via VBAC–one lady whose baby died and another whose baby suffered permanent neurological damage. He proceeded to tell me about uterine rupture and said that we could discuss it at our next visit.
The next visit came a month later and he was not prepared for our conversation. As he hit me with the same stories of the two women, I also countered with research that I had done on my own through medical journals. He promised me that at the next visit, he would be prepared with an answer after consulting with the high-risk doctors.
My next visit was an anatomy scan, and because of COVID, my husband could not accompany me to the ultrasound. I had a little apprehension about talking to my doctor again about my needs but felt confident in my research and my body.
You see, I had my first c-section at 39 weeks because my daughter was breech. She was 6 lbs 5 oz and I hadn’t experienced any contractions.
My second daughter was born via c-section as well. I really wanted a VBAC, but I went into labor on my own. The hospital lied and said my doctor wasn’t available, but he was actually a phone call away. I was only 2cm, but because uterine rupture was drilled into me, I was so afraid of trying a VBAC without my doctor, so I opted for a 2nd c-section.
4 years later when I was pregnant with my son, I had no idea that a VBAC was even an option. After having him, I had Bells Palsy that left half of my face paralyzed and no doctors could tell me when I would have feeling in my face again. It was scary, and I suddenly had issues with self-esteem.
So you see, the beginning of this pregnancy was filled with regret. I had to deal with the intense feelings of not giving my body, nor my children the birth I thought they deserved.
In the midst of being turned down by a midwife, I sought out a doula. I started with some recommendations. There was one doula that I instantly felt a connection with. I poured out my regret to her and she encouraged me that birthing healthy babies were most important, not how they got here.
I was ready to hire her, but she was 2 states away and very pricey. I was afraid that something may arise and she wouldn’t be able to make my birth.
I ultimately opted for a local doula. One who had also experienced a VBAC after 3-sections.
She has been a great source of emotional support and I look forward to moving through the rest of my pregnancy with her.
I have also done a great amount of reading and research on my own. Here are a few of the books I’ve been reading:
After my anatomy scan, I talked with my doctor and he said that everything looked great and asked if I had any concerns. He didn’t address the elephant in the room, so I asked him again his thoughts on the VBAC what the high-risk doctors suggested.
He said that the doctors told him that my baby and I would probably die if I attempted a VBAC.
I wasn’t expecting that response at all. I was either expecting that he’d tell me he wasn’t comfortable and I probably needed to go elsewhere, or that he was on board. NOT THAT I WOULD DIE.
He then said that he couldn’t force me to have a c-section and would do whatever I wish, but he highly disagreed with my decision.
I asked for the referral anyway and left the office in a daze. I was stunned that he would say that so bluntly. Then I felt some mistrust. Did the high-risk doctors actually say that? Or was he trying to bully me into a decision?
I went to my car and tried to process the conversation. Honestly, I’m still taken aback by what he said. I called my mom, my husband, and my doula…my support system.
My doula was in utter shock too with my doctor’s response. Obviously, she isn’t dead and she had a vaginal birth after 3 c-sections.
The referral went through and I go later this month to see the new doctor and I have high hopes.