There are many factors that contributed to my successful Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC). I had multiple “ah-ha” moments in preparing for it. My mindset was incredibly different between my two deliveries because of the research I did and the women I connected with through VBAC Casper, ImprovingBirth.org, Birth Monopoly, and ICAN. This journey of enlightenment helped me approach my second birth with a totally different idea of:
- what type of birth my baby and I deserved
- who was in control
- who should be making decisions about my body
- what was safe for me and my baby
- my body’s ability to deliver
One contributing factor to my unnecessary c-section was a doctor who made decisions for his own benefit while convincing me that I would be selfish and irresponsible not to agree. My own frame of mind made my first birth more dangerous than it should have been because I blindly trusted a healthcare professional without researching the right things. I detrimentally believed:
- his personal opinion of me mattered
- I wasn’t empowered to take charge over my own body
- he was the only one who could make decisions about my experience
- that birth was a medical emergency
- that my body was incapable and broken
I found the evidence based research and facts that VBAC is safe. I learned that hospital policies and a doctor’s personal opinion don’t override my legal rights. I realized that I am the one in control of decision making over my body, even in labor. I decided to dig into my innate intuition and trust birth. I conjured the confidence to believe in the abilities of my own body. Here are the four powerful ways I accomplished these things:
1. I Made A Birth Affirmation Banner: I found the phrases and ideas that were most powerful to me. I printed them in color and made a beautiful banner that hung at my bedside. I read every phrase every single day. When I became worried or stressed, I sat on my bed and let my eyes and mind pore over the words, sincerely believing each affirmation.
2. I Read Success Stories: Almost every single day I made it a point to seek out a VBAC success story. Sometimes I read them online and other times I was fortunate enough to hear them in person. This helped to reinforce the things I already believed about the power of birthing women and the beauty of my own body. It reenforced the research stating the safety of VBAC and helped to humanize birth, reminding me that birth is not a medical emergency.
3. I Practiced Hypnobabies: This tool opened my eyes to the ways I could actually implement the evidence based research I had read. I was empowered with tips and tricks to successfully navigate labor. I wasn’t as faithful in practicing as I should have been, but I listened or read Hypnobabies each week the entire second half of my pregnancy.
4. I Surrounded Myself With The Right People: I hired two healthcare professionals who supported and believed in VBAC. My midwife provided care that my OB was not trained in and vice-a-versa. These two women talked me through fears and doubts. I placed boundaries on conversations with anyone in my life who wanted to discuss birth. If I identified negative trends, I addressed them or avoided the people producing them. I limited the people present at my delivery to ensure support in overt or subliminal messages. I kept positive reinforcement all around me so that I could mentally stay the VBAC path.
The result of this mental preparation was a proud VBAC mama holding a precious baby girl. What other tools can women use to mentally prepare for birth, in general, or VBAC? What worked for you and what didn’t?
For more about VBAC, check out these other Jelly Bean Journals posts: