A high school acquaintance of mine recently wrote to me for advice on achieving a VBAC birth after a primary cesarean (that's what happens when one posts a continuous stream of birth articles on Facebook!), so I thought I'd post what I wrote to her!
And.... it looks today is this mama's birthing day, so I'm praying for her and sending VBAC vibes her way!
Unfortunately, my friend hasn't taken any birth classes or hired a doula, so her chances aren't that high in today's hospital environment. But she does have at least a marginally supportive care provider, so we will hope for the best. Regardless of birth outcome, we are looking forward to meeting her new bub! From "Gone With the Wind" - "The happiest days are when the babies come!"
So here's what I wrote..... what would you have added?
Congrats on your VBAC plans! Have a wonderful time, and don't stress if it doesn't work out. You have done an awesome job in preparing and planning.
My universal recommendation for all mamas, especially hospital birthers, is to consider a doula. There are lots of things that a person can do during labor, but usually one isn't in the state of mind to think of them and husbands usually don't. A doula can think of those things and help your hubbie to support you as well. If you're interested, I know you could easily find one even at this point.
Other things that come to mind randomly:
- Stay home as long as possible. You will be more comfortable and less confined.
- Stay hydrated. Eat when you want to, and drink at least hourly. Since some hospitals (or nurses) are still stinkers about this, make sure to take your own food. Some friends of mine recommend those portable yogurt tubes and/or honey sticks. And whoever is taking care of you (hubbie or doula) needs to offer you a drink constantly - usually juice or Gatorade with a straw, just offered maybe every 20 minutes.
- Stay mobile and upright as long as possible.
- Laboring in water (shower or tub) is SO incredibly helpful, both for comfort and mobility. I have spent both of my active labors entirely in water.
- Birthing positions are optimally something that you could discuss with your doc pre-birth. Most docs automatically do lithotomy with the bed broken down, but there are lots of other positions (hands and knees, for example) - though that depends on whether or not you decide on an epidural. Oftentimes your body will tell you very clearly what position you need to be in. During my labors, my body made it EXTREMELY clear that I should kneel leaning forward with my head resting on my arms on the side of the tub. Whenever I moved away, I was unbelievably uncomfortable and returned immediately. So a lot of it isn't planning ahead, but just following your body's lead.
You are going to be awesome, regardless of if this birth is VBAC or CBAC!!! Congrats in advance, and we can't wait to see pictures!! :)