Vaginal birth after cesarean
My personal experience
What VBAC is?
The word VBAC was unknown to me.
My first child was born in 2014 through c-section because he was breached. I still remember having my birth plan in place and handing it over to my obstetrician, but eventually none of my requests were followed and I had little or no influence on the decisions about my son´s birth.
Back then I didn’t know that I had options: not having done any prior research, I trusted blindly the doctors… but I was wrong! Somehow, I became an observer, as if I had been outside the room, watching someone else give birth. The whole time I kept asking my husband to help me understand what was going on, because I couldn’t see anything. I only wanted to be sure that my son was ok. I heard him cry, but still couldn’t see him. My husband was the first one who saw Mateo. He was describing to me how he looked like…. My heart exploded with a new form of love that I had never experienced before… From then on, I forgot about me and it was all about him…
In the hospital room, when the nurses said that it was time for me to stand up, I thought the pain would kill me. I couldn’t even move my legs; the intensity of what I felt was indescribable. It was as if I was burning inside the skin. So, 2 nurses pulled me up and helped me to walk. I thought to myself: “I’m very strong, I can do it” … but no, I kept crying and could not put my feet on the floor.
In 2017 I became pregnant again and I knew I didn’t want to have another c-section, so I did some research. It was then when I found out the word VBAC (Vaginal birth after c-section), and I kept reading about it. The more I read the more hope I had… and fear too!!
I chose a renowned obstetrician, with a robust experience, and everything seemed to be going well. Nevertheless, on week 36 of my pregnancy when I went for the usual check-up, he said that the baby was too small and that since the last scan she hadn´t grown as much as expected. We waited for one more week: during the scan he said the baby was ok but small and he mentioned again all the risks of having a VBAC. His explanation was right!! I was afraid as I really trusted him, so I decided to have again a caesarean section.
During my daughter´s birth I couldn’t have skin to skin contact, despite having requested it, so again I was laying down, couldn´t move, not being part of my own delivery, and just listening what was going on.
I must admit that I recovered super-fast from this second c-section (I prepared physically and mentally for this). But I had this feeling of “what if…” Deep inside me a voice was telling me that I could try it. At least a TOLAC (Trial of labour after caesarean section).
In 2019 I was pregnant again and I repeated to myself “this time I want to have a vaginal birth”, “the third time´s a charm”.
So, I thought of all the things I could do different from my previous experiences, and I made a list: First on the list: I wanted a pro-natural obgyn, but not someone that says he is pro-vbac. So, I search obstetricians in my area who had the lowest c-section rates.
I found two, and only one was doing VBA2C (Vaginal birth after 2 c-sections). I would never forget Dr Lai Fon-Min. During the first consultation I told him straight away that I chose him because I wanted a vaginal birth, and he said that he could help me to have a VBA2C. He explained to me all the pros and cons of having a repeated c-section and pros and cons of having a vaginal delivery.
I talked to my family and friends, and some of them told me that I was crazy, that I had two kids through c-section: After c-section its always c-section they said. I was thinking that maybe I was insane!! My sister-in-law (who is a doctor, so apart from loving her I really respect her point of view) was one of the few persons who support my decision from the beginning. And she even encouraged me to go for a vaginal birth.
I discuss it with my husband and at the beginning he was not very convinced. I gave him reading material and he came to the consultations with DR Lai. Both of us realized that a VBAC was a good option and possible for us.
I had an amazing pregnancy. At week 40 and 5 days I started labour with the help of the balloon catheter or “foley balloon” (I couldn’t be induced with medication because of my previous c-sections). I started to have contractions for the first time in my life. My body was responding!!
Sofia, my third child, was born after 2 days of TOLAC through my vagina, yes!!! And without medications, at 10.30am. I felt absolutely everything, every contraction, and the pushing part was something out of this world. I suffered a lot, but with a purpose!! I knew I would meet my daughter. I was present at every single moment, making decisions all the time, I was there, moving all the time, keeping myself active with my husband, together. I even chose the position to give birth!! I was amazed by the whole new situation.
In the room there was someone else who helped me achieved the delivery I wanted and the delivery it was meant to be: My doula Keanna. I would never forget her.
The magic part: When Sofia was instantly on me, I finally did “skin to skin”; we delayed cutting the umbilical chord as skin to skin was key to me.
During the delivery Dr Lai helped me as I pushed for very long and I was exhausted, so he assisted me with the kiwi and I did my part by pushing. What we did with Sofia included a very good teamwork.
After the delivery I felt like nothing happened!! My body was perfect!! No pain, at all, I stand up and went to the bathroom, I eat a big hamburger (when you have c-section you are only allowed to eat porridge for 4-5 days). I could even go home on the same day! But I prefer to stay at the hospital so I had the help of the nurses (they were great by the way).
When I reached home I kneel and hugged my kids, I carried them, made my bed, showered my children…just simple and natural things that you can’t even think about if you have a c-section. I recovered so fast that I couldn’t believe it. It was a life changer for me and my family. Not every person wants or is able to have a VBAC and this is not something wrong or a failure. I recommend you to trust your gut, listen to your inner voice and prepare yourself mentally, physically and do your homework. And after all this make the best decision with the elements and resources that you have, healing the past and looking forward to the future with hope. If you do this, you will not regrets.
The way we deliver doesn´t state who we are. At the end of the journey what really matters is to meet your child. But…. what if you have different options, what if suddenly there are possibilities that you haven’t think of… and what if you can take them?
I can be with you, walk with you side by side in this process of making the best decision for you, your child and your family.
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