I am the mother of two boys born through a cesarean birth. I have a seriously soft spot for moms seeking a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean). I am a doula, I have experience with childbirth, I have steadily attended births for the past 4 years, I passionately research and obsess over childbirth. I did not pursue a vbac. I think so much from my first birth carried over to my second birth, and I was scared.
I wasn’t with a terribly supportive care giver – she really didn’t seem to care which type of birth I wanted. And I just defaulted to the birth I knew. I made the decision that was best for me. I scheduled a cesarean. I loved it, and I had a beautiful boy with rolls on his arms and who loved to cuddle. He started nursing right away and my recovery was amazing. I have no complaints!
But I will say there is something almost magical about a vbac. Maybe it is the mom stepping out of her comfort zone, leaving the birth she knows, and trying something that may have failed her the first time around. Maybe she is overcoming a distrust of her body. Maybe she is showing everyone how strong she knows she is. Maybe she is facing a fear head on. Maybe this is the final step on a long journey of recovery and education.
But every mom who succeeds with her vbac experiences a joy unique to her. On top of the overwhelming joy of the birth of a child, of welcoming your child to the world, of holding him for the first time, is the joy of a fear that has been overcome, a body that has worked how she always hoped it would, and the final stop on a long road.
As a doula, my eyes are never dry at a birth. But I hold myself together, because it is hard for me to support a mom while I am blowing my nose and sobbing and mumbling. The support definitely goes on past the birth, through recovery, through skin to skin, through breastfeeding, through baby care, and through taking any pictures I can of those first few moments.
To all of your cesarean birth mamas out there who want to pursue a vbac – you can do it! Make sure you have a very supportive care provider. Ask lots of questions. Hire a doula. Talk to your partner and make sure you’re on the same page. And finally…the hardest part…practice trusting your body. All birth is beautiful and powerful but vbacs will always hold a special place in my heart.