Six years ago, Val and I were first-time parents who aspired so much to have a natural childbirth. We attended a childbirth class when I was on my seventh month. We were so excited, especially after knowing that soon we were going to be parents of a baby boy. However, on December 3, 2004, when my water bag broke, the water was color green. We rushed to the hospital amid the pouring rain. At that time, there was typhoon in Metro Manila.
When we arrived the hospital, I was checked, and we found out I was at 4 cm. The doctor said I was still far from the real thing and advised us to have an emergency C-section for the sake of the baby. The doctor was in authority so we believed her. Little did we know that that decision will affect us in the years to come.
After four years, I was pregnant again. This time I was determined to have it naturally. We already transferred to my hometown Cebu then, so I searched for a doctor who was pro-VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) city and found one who was teaching Lamaze, or so I thought. We discussed our birth preferences with her. I wanted to have a trial of labor, and I want my husband Val to be there during the birth. She said yes to all my requests. We even took a refresher of the Lamaze class with her. However, when the birth date was near, she began to give “conditions” that we should follow or else I will have to undergo C-section, i.e. I should give birth before a certain date.
Four days before my due date, I went into labor (May 8, 2009). I went to the hospital when the contractions were five minutes apart, thinking it won’t be long before the baby arrives.
When I was checked at the hospital, I was already 5 cm. I progressed up to 8-9 cm, but to cut the long story short, unfortunately, I still ended up with another C-section. I felt I was manipulated into doing it. I was totally devastated with what happened. I couldn’t fully rejoice the birth of my daughter because I knew I was healthy and yet I ended up with a very medicalized childbirth.
However, that didn’t stop me from desiring to have a natural childbirth even after two C-sections. Many told me it was impossible and risky. My auntie who was also a doctor told me that there is no chance to have another natural childbirth; it will be a scheduled C-section for the third childbirth.
I still went ahead and began my research for successful VBA2C stories and found many. I even began to connect with these courageous mothers all over the world who believed it was possible. Through ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network), I became aware of my choices as a woman and a mother. I was all the more empowered, and I felt I wasn’t alone in this quest for natural childbirth.
When I became pregnant earlier than planned, I was a bit scared. I was confronted with the fact that I was in for the real thing, that I have to face my fears and the reality of finding the best care provider who will support us.
I interviewed two high-risk doctors, both of which didn’t satisfy my qualifications. Either they were outright hostile or they were just saying things to please me. One told me she supports VBAC but wanted me to have a Cinderella VBAC, meaning “follow my rules or else…” After the long search, who would have thought that we will find our supportive OB in Davao (an hour away by plane). Of course, the journey to our successful VBAC didn’t end there. In fact, it was just the beginning.
On my 36th weeks, I had to fly to Davao with my husband and my second child and settle there as I waited for my childbirth. I had to leave my son who still had a few weeks before the school break. It was a tough decision to make, but I had to do it.
The birth of my son didn’t happen until after four weeks. It was the longest four weeks in my entire life, during which I had to gather all the strength I can for the biggest challenge I have to face.
When the day finally arrived, there was no turning back. It was the moment I have been waiting for, and I was so grateful for all the wonderful things it brought into my life.