Smither’s Birth Plan-ish

Because. You know. All the cool blogging moms have birth plans.

Here was my official Birth Plan as of 35 weeks, and by “official” I mean that I made my doctor type it into my chart this way.

1. Healthy Baby
2. No Magnesium Sulfate
3. Get Baby Out

Not what you expected? Let me explain. There are lots of moms out there that really, really, really want a vaginal birth after c-section (called a VBAC). Their backgrounds and reasoning vary quite a bit. After everything we have been through with Sprocket, I am all about a healthy baby. I do *think* I want a VBAC, but I am not willing to go on Magnesium Sulfate  to have it. So, at 35 weeks, I meant that if my blood pressure started going up or I showed any other signs pre-eclampsia, then I was okay getting baby out by any means necessary.

VBAC’s are desirable to many women for many different reasons. For me, it is a symbol of everything being different than Sprocket’s birth. Don’t get me wrong…I think Sprocket’s story is part of our story, and that the adversity made me a better mom. BUT…it was miserable. I didn’t get to see or touch my baby for a full day. A VBAC would mean that I would see and touch baby within seconds. I had to pump, pump, pump to establish a supply for Sprocket. A VBAC allows skin-to-skin right away which promotes good supply and a great nursing relationship. These are possible with a c-section — in fact, 33% of births in the US are done by c-section. But they just seem more doable with a VBAC.

Now that I have reached 37 + weeks, I find myself more and more in favor of giving it a go. The docs call it a “TOLAC” or Trial of Labor After C-Section and it only qualifies as a VBAC if it is successful. It carries some risk of uterine rupture (you know, since there is a scar on my uterus that makes it weaker in that spot) and having to be induced would increase this risk, since synthetically produced contractions are stronger and tax the uterus more than ones started by your body on your own. The risks are actually pretty small and my c-section history (small baby and quick recovery) make me a great candidate. Add in that I am already dilating on my own, and things look relatively favorable.

So, while B was gone on RAGBRAI, I started reading a bit about VBACs and it is pretty crazy how much information and misinformation there is on the internet. One conclusion can be made based on things I have read and seen: American maternity care is pretty messed up. Generally speaking, we tend to induce labor earlier and for reasons that are a bit of a stretch. We tend to expect labor to follow an ideal curve. No, literally, doctors expect labor to follow the Friedman Birth Curve that has been proven to be more an ideal for labor than an average labor. We tend to rush things. All of the interventions that we have tend to lead to more interventions which tend to lead down the road to c-sections. Whether right or wrong…needed or not…it seems to happen. Our c-section rates are pretty high.

The whole thing has quite the “conspiracy theory” feel to it, and I haven’t done enough research to feel comfortable making any claims. However, I do know that I am in the minority for even considering a VBAC approach. Of the women that had a first c-section, only EIGHT percent try for a vaginal birth. Of those 8 percent, about 75% are successful.

What does that mean for me?

First off, it means this is an amazing problem to have! I have made it far enough into this pregnancy to get to think about things like birth plans. Awesome.

My only expectation going into this birth is that I get a healthy baby. I will give it a go if I can, but I am not married to any method of baby extraction. I have already had one traumatic birth in my life, and I refuse to let a certain “plan” and its details make me feel like I didn’t get what I wanted this time around. So, in the words of my dear friend, Normie, “sometimes it is more about expectation management.”

My birth plan stands. I will lean towards a VBAC, but not be disappointed if I don’t get one.

Smither’s Birth Plan-ish.

Leave a Reply