Over the years, I’ve had dozens of clients who hired me as part of their preparation for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and it’s some of the most rewarding work I do. These women usually arrive in my office with a complex combination of determined commitment and anxious uncertainty.
They are determined to birth differently this time and committed to doing everything in their power to deliver vaginally, but they are simultaneously anxious about the possibility of a repeat cesarean and uncertain of their body’s ability to birth vaginally.These emotions are normal and simply reflect the multifaceted experience of women who have had a cesarean birth.
As a doula, I support VBAC families in all the same ways I support other clients, but I also attend to some of the unique concerns and considerations faced by those striving for VBAC. For example, we spend time talking about evidence based research on VBAC, we discuss care providers and their VBAC success rates, we go over the importance of optimal fetal positioning, we explore alternatives to medical induction, and we dig up the seeds of doubt planted by extra prenatal testing and blow them into the wind.
In addition to these kinds of preparations, we also spend a good deal of time on emotional preparations. Each woman and family approaching VBAC has a unique and often difficult previous birth story that has brought them to this crossroads. Some women are at peace with this story, while others are still tender and feeling varying degrees of sadness, disappointment, fear, confusion, guilt, and anger. Either way, I make plenty of space to hear the details of your birth story, to help you process it at your own comfort level, and to identify parts that were particularly difficult or frightening so that I can offer extra support and advocacy in those sensitive or vulnerable areas.
And, even though I will bend myself into a pretzel to help you realize your hope of having a vaginal birth, in my heart of hearts I want all women to feel empowered by their birth experience regardless of how it happens. I love that line in Roanna Rosewood’s popular book on VBAC: “Birth isn’t a battle to win or lose. It’s the result of delving into your vulnerability and finding your power.” My goal is to help you find your power in whatever way, shape, or form that happens.