• Sarah Nantel

BIRTH MATTERS - VBAC



I’m only 18 weeks pregnant in and I’m already mentally and emotionally preparing for baby and delivery. For me, birth matters. And pregnancy number three reveals tender parts of my heart as I prepare for this specific child birth.

Let me fill you in a bit of history.

  • With Baby #1 I had a great delivery in a home-based setting called a “Birthing Centre”. No medication. No rips or tears. No difficult recovery. No complications. I understood firsthand how a delivery could be beautiful: empowering, connecting, euphoric and rewarding.

  • With Baby #2 things started off the same way. Laboured at home, progressed quickly, headed to the birth centre. A place I was comfortable and at ease. But Baby#2 was face up and not descending through the birth canal. After hours of pushing, and recognizing distress in baby, it was time to be transferred to the hospital (a great place for complicated births). I was transferred to OB care. Epidural, C-section, lack of compassion and respect. Baby #2 was wisked away and so was I. We were separated, we didn’t get chest on chest, they bathed her without me, I felt like I wasn’t part of her birth. I felt like a task completed rather than walked along beside as an entry into motherhood.

When you compare my two experiences, they are polar opposites. But the common thread? They both were hard and I could do it.

However, I feel like the birth of Baby #3 feels like a lottery. Or a box of chocolates. I have no idea what I’m going to get. Yes – I will have a baby, but people often belittle how much the process matters. How much birth matters. Well-meaning doctor and friends will say “just be happy your baby is alive and healthy”. In North America, far too often we over medicalize and dehumanize the process of childbirth. Having a baby isn’t like going to the spa – you’re not getting pampered and coming out with a fresh set of nails and looking better coming out than you did when you went in. It’s work. It’ the best and hardest work ever. It’s overcoming something you never knew you had in you and a bond that forms so profoundly that you can never forget. You don’t want to forget.

I’ve heard people say “you will totally have a VBAC and it will be amazing”. Well … I totally anticipated a vaginal birth with my second and it didn’t go that way. So how do I, or others like me, prepare for the best and the worst? I’m not quite sure, but I’ll share with you what I’m learning along the way and some resources that I have found helpful.


My midwife-student gave me a great book called “Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel”. (I’m also having to accept that I will have this baby in an environment that I don’t love or feel at home in – a hospital. So this book has been a pot of gold!). They have a lot of information about birthing naturally in a hospital, but an empowering and encouraging section on VBACs. After reading this short section, I came away feeling like a I can “do” something about how I enter into this next delivery. I’ll share a few tid-bits:

“There are five areas in which women with a history of caesarians must do homework.

  1. Finding hope in others stories, some golden ring to hold onto in the midst of anxiety.

  2. Researching the cause of the past c-section. You may not be able to tell whether your c-section was absolutely necessary, but you should reach an educated opinion.

  3. You must explore your feelings about the decision to have a c-section.

  4. If the surgery was traumatic, you must make concrete plans to ensure that is a repeat c-section becomes necessary, the experience will be as positive as possible.

  5. Find a care giver who is willing to avoid using drugs that induce or speed up labour.”

Over the next weeks and months, I will be working through this list and working through my greatest inhibitor and road block – fear. Part of this will be through writing, talking and crying to release my feelings about “it all”. Sometimes, just saying things outloud makes it easier to live with.

(Another great resource is Motherrisingbirth.com!)

Other posts by Dallas you might enjoy:

How to Fly with a Baby and Toddler Across the World - Solo

Why I Quit the Gym

Motherhood: You're Allowed to Figure it Out

Five Months Later - Post C-Section Story



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