I don’t know when this started, this passion I have for natural childbirth. All I know is that when I was pregnant with my first baby, I was in love with the idea of talking about it with a group of women. Then I got C-section. I thought it was the end of my dream of becoming a natural childbirth teacher. I thought, “How can I be real to what I’m going to teach when I myself didn’t have a successful natural childbirth?” I want to be able to teach with integrity, you know, and be able to encourage the women I’m going to teach that “Hey, I did it, and it’s okay to feel the pain. You can do it.”
In spite of this concern, I signified my interest to learn the ropes to my then childbirth class teacher Rome Kanapi. She gave me the requirements, one of which is reading tons of books and writing a reaction paper for each book read. I did as I was told. I was close to finishing all the reading requirements, but somehow the demands of being a mother took hold of me. I got discouraged, and I stopped pursuing it. At the back of my mind, my C-section was my stumbling block for me not completing the course.
So when I was pregnant again, I had high hopes that having a successful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) will allow me to embrace my passion once again. But lo and behold, I had my second C-section. After waiting for five years to try having a natural childbirth, I had another surgery. It was a big blow to me, and I was really devastated.
But God makes things beautiful in his time. I became pregnant again a year and half after, and this time I was very determined to have a VBAC. With the help of a supportive doctor and conducive hospital setting, I gave birth to my third baby naturally. Now I know that’s it’s possible because I was able to experience it, so I thought, “There should be a way for me to start sharing this good news so that other women can also be empowered to do it.” Hence, the birth of this blog.
So after a few months of writing on this site, I have already received quite a few emails from women who would want to try VBAC, and to this I’m grateful—grateful that I’m able to help others through their journey by giving some tips based on my experience and grateful that I’m able to connect some of them to supportive VBAC doctors.
Last June, I met this woman named Grace from Davao who was pregnant with her third baby. She had two previous C-sections, and she’s thinking of having a VBAC. She shared this thought to two common friends, who right away told her to meet me. However, during those times they had a talk, we were still living in Cebu, so there was a slim chance that we would meet and discuss the possibilities of VBAC. When we finally transferred to Davao last May, we were invited to the same birthday party, and that was where we met. I had a long chat with her, and I was able to share to her my story. She was inspired to go for it, and so I linked her with my friend Alex Hao who was teaching childbirth preparation classes, and to my OB who assisted me in my VBAC last October 2011.
At that time, Grace already had an OB, but I encouraged her to see my OB as well, just to see what she can say about her case. But my OB told her to continue seeing her current OB and that she can be a backup doctor in case her current OB will go out of town during her childbirth. So she agreed, but in her heart, she was praying that my OB will assist her on her big day.
While waiting for her big day, she attended preparation classes with Alex, and she did her exercises at home, walking around the neighborhood. She also watched her food intake and consciously took her food supplements, especially spirulina.
A few days before her expected date, she already felt some contractions, but her eldest daughter said that since her birthday and her sister’s birthday already fall on the 8th and 9th, she said to her mom that her baby brother’s birthday should be on the 7th. And true enough, on the evening of October 6, Grace was having regular contractions. She texted me, asking me when should she go to the hospital. I asked her if the contractions are occurring closely together. Since it wasn’t yet, I advised her to take a rest first. I told her I went to the hospital when my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart. I also told her that I ate some toast and drank water and hot choco before proceeding to the hospital to give me energy during labor.
After texting back and forth a couple of times, I just silently prayed that all will be well with Grace and her baby. The following morning, October 7, I tried calling her phone, but it can’t be reached. So I texted her brother-in-law, and I found out that she gave birth through VBAC at 1:00 a.m. already! I was very much elated when I found out, and I promised to give her a visit.
So a few days ago, I was able to visit them already. I was so in awe at how God had orchestrated everything. I found out that Grace’s original OB went out of town two days ago her supposed expected date, making her transfer to my OB (the one who helped me with my VBAC). Grace said the creation found a way to orchestrate things for her to let my OB be the one to assist her with her childbirth. She said after knowing that, she was assured that all will be okay. My OB assisted her with her breathing and encouraged her all the way. After 3 pushes, her eight-pound baby boy—her biggest baby—came out. Her blood pressure fell down after she gave birth, so she had to be monitored closely. Also, her uterus wasn’t contracting really well, and she lost a lot of blood; hence, she was advised to have blood transfusion. Since she was a B+, her family had to look for the same blood type in another hospital. She stayed for another day to recuperate, but she was feeling great when she was sent home.
When I saw her, she was in great shape. Still had a small bump in front, but she was doing well and didn’t have any pain, unlike when she had her C-sections. She was also breast-feeding her baby full-time without any difficulty.
Again, I have to agree that having a supportive OB is one of the key factors of having a successful VBAC. Having a supportive system (family and friends) also helps encourage women who might be doubting themselves. In Grace’s case, her husband was behind her all the way. And, of course, the mother’s intention of having a VBAC is equally important so that she won’t easily give up in case there are challenges along the way.
This wonderful childbirth is another reason why women should really consider having a VBAC and not just easily say yes to C-section, which is a major abdominal surgery. I think if your OB tells you right away to schedule an elective CS without batting an eyelash, you should be afraid and run to the nearest exit. Recently, my friend’s officemate was advised to have an elective CS because her OB said she has a small pelvis. In my mind, I thought, “How did God allow the baby in her womb to grow and didn’t know how to bring the baby out naturally?” I told her to let her officemate have at least a trial of labor (TOL) and not easily agree to have a CS if there is no medical complication, but I guess her officemate trusted her OB so much to even say a word.
Grace’s childbirth just proves that a vaginal birth after two C-sections is possible, even if the odds are saying otherwise, even if many say it’s too risky.
Again, congratulations, Grace, for a successful VBA2C! You’re body is a miracle, and you’re baby is a miracle.