Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts on a VBAC

     This last week I attended my first VBAC. It stands for Vaginal Birth after Cesarean. Unfortunately, many people don't know what they are because many hospitals won't let them happen, including the hospital here. About a month ago I received an email from a past client of mine. I will never forget her birth. It ended in a c-section which she was so determined to avoid. It happens though... c-sections, for many reasons. But, things look differently when you have a 2 year old at home. She was even more determined to have a vaginal birth this time around so that she could spend a day or two at the hospital versus three to five days. She emailed to tell me that she was going to attempt a VBAC at a hospital about an hour away and she would like my help. I was honored, and afraid. I had never been at a VBAC before. I believe in them. I think that women should be able to choose how to give birth and that they should be educated about their choices.
     The call came. Labor had begun and mama was working hard. When we arrived at the hospital she was dilated to 2 cm. She had been in labor for over 24 hours and she was exhausted. She opted for an epidural. Within 3 hours she was at 7 cm. In the next hour she was at 8 and by the time the doctor arrived shortly thereafter, she was ready to push! She had never made it to this point with her daughter. She had never made it past 8. We were all so excited! Exhausted but excited!
     Having never been at a birth like this, I had fears that I couldn't shake. What if she doesn't get the chance to have the birth that she wants? Will I be able to support her? Will I have what it takes to help her through it? Was the doctor going to start calling for interventions that weren't necessary? Would I have to fight for her?
      After about 2 hours of pushing I started to get nervous. I held on to my hope and faith as much as I could. I needed to be positive. I needed to be strong. It is a difficult place to be. My job requires me to be the rock, a pillar. I took a break and took some deep breaths. On my walk down the hall I saw this wall-hanging quilt. I just looked at it for a minute. It is true that a quilt would catch my attention more so than a painting. I am a quilter. It was colorful and beautiful. It rejuvenated me and it filled me with hope.
I walked back in and after another one and a half hours of pushing, she delivered a healthy baby boy. It was amazing as it always is, but it seemed even sweeter this time... a triumph.
Quilt at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA