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Nội dung được cung cấp bởi Meagan Heaton. Tất cả nội dung podcast bao gồm các tập, đồ họa và mô tả podcast đều được Meagan Heaton hoặc đối tác nền tảng podcast của họ tải lên và cung cấp trực tiếp. Nếu bạn cho rằng ai đó đang sử dụng tác phẩm có bản quyền của bạn mà không có sự cho phép của bạn, bạn có thể làm theo quy trình được nêu ở đây https://vi.player.fm/legal.
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Episode 278 Rebecca's CBAC + What To Do With a Swollen Cervix

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Nội dung được cung cấp bởi Meagan Heaton. Tất cả nội dung podcast bao gồm các tập, đồ họa và mô tả podcast đều được Meagan Heaton hoặc đối tác nền tảng podcast của họ tải lên và cung cấp trực tiếp. Nếu bạn cho rằng ai đó đang sử dụng tác phẩm có bản quyền của bạn mà không có sự cho phép của bạn, bạn có thể làm theo quy trình được nêu ở đây https://vi.player.fm/legal.

We love hearing stories of how our Women of Strength navigate birth in an empowered way, no matter the outcome. Rebecca’s story shows how she carefully selected the most supportive homebirth midwife, created a safe birth space in her home, labored hard and beautifully with her husband, took time to process information, assessed her situation, and consented to her second Cesarean when the time felt right to her.

Meagan also talks about the different types of positioning and some signs that your baby might be in a less-than-ideal position. Rebecca and Meagan discuss tips and tricks to help prevent a swollen cervix and what options you have if that happens to you!

Additional Links

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

Timestamp Topics

01:54 Review of the Week

04:31 Rebecca’s first pregnancy

07:25 Consenting to an unexpected C-section for breech presentation

8:53 Fertility Fridays

11:02 Sparked interest in VBAC and getting pregnant again

13:53 Planning for a HBAC

18:00 Tachycardia and GBS positive

21:27 Early labor

24:18 Calling the team

30:10 Laboring through the night

39:02 Making the decision to transfer

44:53 Consenting to a C-section

46:43 Tips for when things don’t go as planned

50:43 Signs of wonky positioning

53:31 What to do

57:00 Why you shouldn’t skip the repeat Cesarean stories

Meagan: Hello, hello. It is Meagan with another amazing story on The VBAC Link podcast. Thank you so much for listening to us, you guys. I love this community. I know I talk about it. I know it’s weird that I don’t even know you, but I love you. I love you so much and I’m so glad that you are here with us today.

We have our guest today from, let’s see, Virginia. I think it’s Virginia. That’s what my mind is saying.

Rebecca: Yep.

Meagan: This is Rebecca, so welcome, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m really excited.

Meagan: Absolutely. Me too. Her story, you guys, today is a repeat Cesarean story so if you didn’t know on The VBAC Link, we do share repeat Cesarean stories because they are important to share as well. I’m excited for you to share more about your story and we’re going to talk a little bit about swelling of the cervix at the end of this episode because this is something that we see and is a little bit of a part of your story.

01:54 Review of the Week

Before we dive into the story and all of the things, we of course want to share a Review of the Week. This review is from shotsie3 and it says, “Amazing is not a strong enough word.” That is really awesome. I love that.

It says, “I cannot say enough good things about The VBAC Link. Listening to this podcast not only saved my mental health but gave me the knowledge and confidence to take control of my second pregnancy. After my home birth turned into a hospital transfer and Cesarean with my first child, I felt broken. When I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant just 7 months postpartum, I felt scared and lost. I was afraid of failing again and doubted my body’s ability to birth naturally, but I knew I absolutely could not have another Cesarean so I started obsessively researching VBAC. That’s when I found The VBAC Link. I’ve been binging episodes ever since. Listening to these stories has been incredible. Each episode is like giving a shot of confidence into the arm.”

Oh, I love that. A shot of confidence into the arm. We’re giving you guys a little vaccine of confidence.

It says, “Both my midwives and doulas have commented on how far my mental prep has come and I know it’s all thanks to The VBAC Link. Julie and Meagan have given me lots of tools and resources to control my birth.”

I love that. Control your birth.

“I am now looking forward to welcoming my second child via HBAC in just five short weeks. I want to shout it from the rooftop, ‘EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO THE VBAC LINK!’”

This review was a little while ago, so shotsie3, if you are still listening with us, which we hope you are, email us. Let us know how your birth went.

04:31 Rebecca’s first pregnancy

Meagan: Okay, cute Rebecca, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Rebecca: Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m really excited to share.

Meagan: Absolutely. Well, I’d love to turn the time over to you.

Rebecca: All right, well I guess I’ll start with just a little recap of my daughter’s birth who is my first C-section. My daughter was born in January of 2021. We got pregnant with her during kind of the height of COVID. That pregnancy went really smoothly other than it was COVID times so of course, my husband couldn’t come to any of the appointments or anything like that.

I didn’t really do much prep with her because I wasn’t going to go to a birth class. There weren’t a lot of resources available. All I really did was watch some YouTube videos. I kind of knew I wanted to try to have a natural birth, but I didn’t prepare that much for it really. I read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and stuff, but I didn’t do too much preparation.

She went to 41 weeks with no complications. I didn’t want to be induced, so my OB was like, “We’ll go to 41 weeks and then we’ll bring you in for an NST and an ultrasound.” So we went in on January 10th for her NST. She passed that with flying colors and I had asked them if they would give me a membrane sweep before they would induce me. They said they could try that, so they were going to come in and give me the membrane sweep, but luckily, one of the doctors there was like, “Well, let’s do her ultrasound first just to make sure that everything’s fine because that just makes sense before going down there and doing the membrane sweeps.”

They did the ultrasound and she was like, “Did you know your baby’s breech?” I was like, “No, I did not.”

Meagan: News to me.

Rebecca: Yeah. Every time the OBs would very quickly, I will say, very quickly palpate me, they’d be like, “Yep. Feels like she’s head down. Everything’s good.” She was like, “Yeah. She’s breech so we’re going to go ahead and schedule a C-section for today at 4:00.” It was around 11:00 or something when this happened, so I just immediately started crying because I did not want a C-section. That wasn’t what I was planning for at all.

She was like, “Well, we don’t do the (ECV)s here.” Is that what it’s called? (ECV)? Am I saying it right?

Meagan: Mhmm, yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah. She was like, “We don’t do that here. Your amniotic fluid is kind of low, so yeah. This is your option.”

Meagan: I wonder why they don’t do it there.

Rebecca: I don’t know. She just said that they don’t offer that service. I guess I didn’t really know to ask for a second opinion or to see what other– I was just like, “Well, she’s telling me that this is my only option,” so we consented to the C-section which was really disappointing.

07:25 Consenting to an unexpected C-section for breech presentation

Rebecca: My husband had to go home and get a hospital bag ready because we didn’t bring it with us or anything. We were like, “Oh, we will have time to go back if they are going to induce me.” I don’t know. We just weren’t prepared. Anyways, around 4:00, she was born via C-section and it was uncomplicated. It was uncomplicated. She did well. She did have some hip dysplasia because she was frank breech and they think she was probably frank breech for a long time, so her hips and the bones weren’t in the socket at all. But other than that, she was completely healthy.

But yeah, I remember that night kind of laying in bed with her nursing, and my husband was asleep. I just was quietly sobbing because I felt like everything that I was looking forward to kind of got ripped away from me and I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

So I never got to experience one single contraction or any of that with her. I didn’t even really have Braxton Hicks with her. It almost felt like there was no closure to the pregnancy. It felt like I should still be pregnant. I definitely, yeah. That was a struggle. That was a struggle for a while afterward kind of trying to find closure of that whole experience because it was just like, “Okay, you’re pregnant and now you’re not pregnant.” There was no transition. That was her story.

8:53 Fertility Fridays

Actually, to be honest with you, shortly after her birth, I was kind of like, “Well, if we get pregnant again, I think I’m just going to do a C-section again because I know what to expect. My body’s already been through it. You know, I think I’m just going to do a C-section again.” That was kind of what I was thinking.

But as I went on throughout my postpartum time, when I got my period back, I noticed throughout the year that I had some weird issues. I was spotting a lot all throughout the month and just different things were happening that I was like, “This doesn’t seem quite right.” When I went to the OB about it, they were like, “Oh, it’s fine. Your body is probably just getting back into the swing of things.”

But it would be like, “Okay, well I’ve been postpartum for a while now.” This was two years down the line. I think that there’s probably something going on that needs investigating. They were kind of like, “No, it’s fine. It’s fine.”

I ended up finding a podcast actually called “Fertility Fridays”. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s really awesome.

Meagan: I haven’t.

Rebecca: It just teaches women about their bodies. How to track your cycle and what your cycle means, and how to know if you’re actually fertile at that time because that’s another thing. It took us a year to get pregnant with Emma Jean. I was also afraid, “Well, it took us a long time last time. Maybe something was wrong.”

I just got really into body awareness and women owning their bodies and the different choices that we make and that our bodies have all of these natural processes that we don’t even really know about all of the time because we are not educated about those things.

Meagan: Yeah.

Rebecca; So as I educated myself on how my body worked and all of its amazing processes, I also became really interested in physiological birth again. It re-sparked my interest in that and my passion for that.

I kind of was like, “Well, my body is set up to do all of these amazing things. Why don’t I let it do that? If I do get pregnant again, I do think I want to try to have a VBAC and let my body do what it’s supposed to do.”

11:02 Sparked interest in VBAC and getting pregnant again

Rebecca: That kind of sparked my interest back into the VBAC and the physiological birth. I got pregnant again in, I guess it was September of 2023. It’s 2023 now, right?

Meagan: Mhmm, yeah.

Rebecca: It was 2022 that I got pregnant again with the first time trying because I had used these methods that I had learned to actually know, “Hey, I’m fertile on these days.” Unfortunately, that pregnancy did end in a miscarriage so we miscarried that baby in November around this time of year. That was also crushing, but luckily, we started again in January, and again, right away, the first time we tried, we got pregnant again with my son, Arthur who luckily is here with us today.

We got pregnant with him in January of 2023 and that was a pretty scary first trimester because I was definitely worried about miscarriage and things of that nature. But as soon as we got pregnant with him, I started listening to The VBAC Link. I also just started to think about, because you guys talk about it all of the time, finding a provider that was friendly to VBAC, truly friendly.

Meagan: Yes.

Rebecca: Based on my experience with my OB that I was with, I felt like they were tolerant of VBAC but not necessarily supportive. I figured with her, I went to 41 weeks and I hadn’t experienced a single contraction. I think they would have been like, “Well, if you don’t go into labor by 39 weeks, it’s going to be a repeat Cesarean.”

I wanted to look for other options and one of my friends had a wonderful home birth for her second child and she recommended Kelly Jenkins who is Blue Ridge Birth.

Meagan: What city are you in?

Rebecca: I’m in Winchester, Virginia and she works all throughout the surrounding area so the Northern Virginia area.

I called her around 7 weeks. I was like, “I know it’s kind of early.” She was like, “No. This is perfect timing because I’m already almost full for October,” which was when I was due. She was just really great about going through all of the fears and concerns we have as VBAC parents going into a home birth. She just made me feel so comfortable. She was just really thoughtful with all of our questions, had a lot of stats and evidence, and just really practical which was what I was looking for. Somebody who really was practical and knew their stuff, but also wasn’t necessarily a traditional OB.

13:53 Planning for an HBAC

Rebecca: We ended up signing on with her for our care. She would come to our house at the normal time and an OB would come and spend a whole hour with us and just answer all of our questions which was awesome.

Meagan: Wow.

Rebecca: I never felt like, “Oh, well you’re a VBAC so you are a huge risk.” Everything was just supportive and always gave us all of the evidence for all of the choices we had to make all along the way.

I also did yoga throughout this pregnancy. I immediately downloaded the Spinning Babies yoga thing. We watched the Spinning Babies parent class because I was trying to do everything not to have a breech baby.

Meagan: Yes.

Rebecca: I went to the chiropractor a lot and yeah. I just tried to do everything with my posture and all of these things to make sure this baby was not going to be breech. That was my biggest fear. He never was breech, so that wasn’t the problem.

We also took a Bradley class. I have mixed feelings about Bradley, especially as a repeat Cesarean parent.

Meagan: Yep.

Rebecca: I think Bradley is really great, but I will stand on a soapbox just for a minute and say I also think Bradley is pretty dated and somewhat unfair to parents because it really does villainize any kind of drug or anything. Sometimes you have to do things for the safety of your child and I feel like it really villianizes using a lot of medical tools that sometimes you truly need.

Meagan: That are necessary. Interesting, yeah.

Rebecca: Luckily, we had a great doula who taught our Bradley class. It was Bethany Bagnell. She definitely gave it her own spin and kind of, I feel like, was more open-minded whereas if you read the Bradley book, I feel like he’s very stringent and I just feel like some of the things he promotes are a little bit outdated in my opinion. But I really liked her so it was a very informative class. We felt really prepared going into the birth.

18:00 Tachycardia and GBS positive

We really didn’t have any complications until week– I guess it was 34 or 35. Kelly came to our house to do our normal check-up and the baby’s heartbeat was really fast. She called it tachy. She was really concerned about that and so we actually did go to the hospital to get an NST. They were pretty rude to us at the hospital. They were kind of like, “Why are you guys here? I don’t understand why you are here.”

We were like, “Our midwife–”

Meagan: Just checking up.

Rebecca: You know, the heartbeat was really high. I don’t know. They just weren’t very kind to us while we were there. But anyway, they ended up not giving us the test that she asked them for. She wanted them to do an ultrasound and an NST and they refused to do the ultrasound. We ended up having to drive up to Laden to get the ultrasound. Everything was fine. His heart rate had settled back down and he looked fine. He was head down so we were happy about that. But that was the only little scare that we had.

The other thing that was a little bit of a complication but not a complication, just something that happened is we did test positive for GBS. That was not a big deal. We could get the antibiotics at home so it did not preclude us from having a home birth or anything. We did research a lot about that because we kind of wanted to avoid antibiotics so we did a lot of research to decide what the best decision was for us whether we wanted to do those antibiotics.

We decided we were just going to play it by ear based on how soon my water broke and different things.

Meagan: Signs. Yeah, all of those things are really good things to take into consideration.

Rebecca: Yeah, exactly. My urine was clear for GBS. It was just the swab so that was another good indicator that it might be okay. Then yeah, we were just going to kind of wait and see. I also went on a really stringent diet. I cut out white foods and a lot of the things that are shown to feed GBS then I added a lot of fermented foods and probiotics and stuff like that.

Meagan: Awesome.

Rebecca: So those were really the only two little bumps in the road. The whole pregnancy, every time, she would palpate which would be a full belly map by the way. When the OB would touch my belly, it would be for 10 seconds. Kelly would actually go in and she would completely map out my belly and be like, “I can feel his neck here and his butt.” Every time she did that, she would be like, “He’s in a great position. He’s in a perfect position.”

We were really hopeful going into things. Of course, he did go over the due date but I kind of expected that because Emma Jean did the same thing. The difference with him was I had a lot of Braxton Hicks and I did actually have a few days where I had some prodromal labor or some episodes that I was like, “Maybe this is labor,” and then it kind of just fizzled out.

21:27 Early labor

He went to 41 weeks and I was starting to get a little nervous that we might have to induce. I really didn’t want to do that, so the day that he was 41 weeks, I started feeling contractions every 10 minutes throughout the day. I was at work and I was just kind of breathing through them. They weren’t painful, but I was definitely like, “Okay. These are kind of timable, every 10 minutes or so.”

Right after work, I got together with some of my work friends and we went for a really nice, hilly, 3-mile walk and sure enough, by the time I got home from that, I was feeling contractions become stronger and closer together. They weren’t painful yet, but around the time that I was cooking dinner, I went upstairs and I went to the bathroom and I had blood all over my toilet paper. I was like, “Okay. That’s a good sign. Maybe I am in labor. Maybe this is finally it,” because we had a few episodes and we had been trying all of the things to get things going.

I told my husband, “Maybe things are really happening.” I texted my midwife and she just told me, “Go to bed early tonight. After you put your daughter down, go to bed and see if you can get some rest because it sounds like this might be it so try to get some rest.”

I got my daughter down and tried to lay down probably around– she went to be around 8:00 and I tried to lay down around 8:30. As I was laying in bed, I just couldn’t get comfortable. What it felt like to me was gas pains. I had always heard period cramps, but I was feeling very strong gas pains. I told my husband, “Maybe I just have gas.” He was like, “Your gas doesn’t come in waves like that. I think you’re having contractions.”

I was like, “I don’t know.”

Meagan: It doesn’t come in waves.

Rebecca: He was like, “You’re having contractions. I think you’re really having contractions.” So he started to time those and they were coming every 5-7 minutes and it was too uncomfortable for me to stay in bed, so I was like, “Well, let’s go ahead and go into the basement.” We have a nice finished basement and we were going to birth down there. That’s where we were going to set up the pool. I was like, “You can get the tub set up and I can kind of pace around and we will make sure we won’t wake up Emma Jean,” who is my daughter.

We came into the basement probably around 10:00 and pretty much as soon as we got into the basement, my contractions became strong enough that I wasn’t really feeling like I could talk through them anymore. I was leaning over the ball and breathing. My dog, Maggie, was right beside me. Her face is right next to mine the whole time. She was kind of starting to distract me so I was like, “Let’s call my dad to come get the dog.” I was like, “I think this is really happening.”

24:18 Calling the team

Rebecca: We called everyone. We called Kelly and we called my mom and my sister who were going to help and attend the birth. Everybody just started rolling in. My dad came and got the dog. My mom and sister came and then Kelly was coming around midnight. By the time Kelly got there, I was definitely like, Rick was already helping me out with counterpressure because my contractions were so strong in my back. Everything was in my back, not in my abdomen at all. I remember in the back of my head, I was like, “Man, I remember that means position.”

Meagan: Usually.

Rebecca: It’s probably not what it should be. Kelly, on the phone, had told me to try to do some of the Miles circuit. I had been working through that a little bit when she showed up. When she showed up, I was on the bed in the head down position with the butt up which is part of the Miles circuit and my water broke.

My water broke right around midnight when she arrived and that was really cool for me because I had not gotten to experience that with Emma Jean so that feeling is still something that I think of fondly because I never got any of that with my first daughter.

Kelly was like, “Just so you know, your contractions might pick up now because your water is broken.” I was like, “Okay,” and they definitely, definitely did pick up. I feel like I almost didn’t even go through that early labor stage. I feel like I kind of went straight into that active, you’ve got to focus. You’ve got to breathe. My husband had to be right there with me with the counterpressure. Things were pretty strong.

They were tolerable and I was excited, so I wasn’t like, “Oh, this is really painful.” I was like, “Oh my gosh. It’s happening. This is all happening.” That really, I think, helped with the pain tolerance. I was excited for it. But for most of that part of labor, I was leaning over the bed or the couch, and my sister, I would hold her hands and look at her. My husband would be behind me with the counterpressure. They were getting the tub all going and everything.

Then Kelly was like, “Do you want me to check you?” I let her check me, but I told her not to tell me how dilated I was. She checked me and she was like, “Well, he’s really, really, really low. I can already feel his head. You’re almost completely effaced so that’s good.”

She didn’t tell me how dilated I was, but I was like, “Okay. He’s low. I’m effaced. Things are sounding good.” Then the nurse got there and we had to decide if we wanted to start the antibiotics for the GBS. My water had broken so I was kind of like, “Um, I don’t know. Let’s see.” Then I asked Kelly, “Can you just tell me how dilated I was so I can kind of get a sense of how much time we have?”

She said I was only at a 1. I was kind of disappointed by that, but I was like, “I haven’t been laboring that long. I know that dilation can come really quickly. It’s not the only thing. I’m effaced and he’s low,” so I didn’t let it get me down, but we did decide to go ahead and run the antibiotics.

She hooked me up with those and I was able to still be in the tub and everything. She just covered it with a dressing and a plastic so I could be in the tub. I did get in the tub at that point.

I got in the tub probably a little after midnight. I don’t know the exact timeframe.

The tub was nice, but my husband hates baths so at first, he was like, “I’m not going to get in the tub with you.” I was like, “Okay, well I need your counterpressure so buddy, you’re going to have to.”

Meagan: Get in.

Rebecca: Yeah. I went through a few contractions in the tub without him in there with me and to do the counterpressure, I would press my butt as hard as I could against the bottom of the tub. I was like, “This is not cutting it. You’re going to swim with me now. Get in.” He did. He got in. He’s kind of a germaphobe which is part of him not liking tubs thing.

Meagan: Okay, fair.

Rebecca: He got in with me and he did what he needed to do. He was awesome. Basically, I would just press against– I was lined up against his pelvis and I would press my butt into him as hard as I could because every contraction felt like my butt would fly apart if I didn’t have somebody holding it together.

Meagan: I can totally relate. I was in labor. I was like, “He’s going to come out my butt.” Everyone was like, “No, he’s not.” I’m like, “Yes, he is.” Those posterior babies.

Rebecca: Yep. It just felt like my butt would fly apart if no one held it together. That was how I was getting through each contraction.

I labored in the tub for a while then I had to use the bathroom so they were like, “You should labor on the toilet for a while. People love laboring on the toilet.” So I was like, “All right.” I did not like laboring on the toilet.

Meagan: Dilation station.

Rebecca: I think I just really needed my husband’s body. I don’t know why. I needed to be pressed against him in some form or another. He was definitely my rock through that whole thing. He was really good. He read The Birth Partner book and everything. He really was with me 100% of the way which is another reason I’m so thankful that I got to labor this time because the bonding between the two of us going through that together was just something that I could never replace. It was just amazing.

30:10 Laboring through the night

Rebecca: We kind of went back and forth between the tub and the bed and doing different things. Everything was going well. I remember asking people what time it was a few times and I was like, “Man, the night’s really going by quickly. I feel like I’m laboring really hard, but I’m managing and everything was going well.”

We labored all through the night until my daughter woke up at 7:00 in the morning. I wanted to say goodbye to her before she went off to school to daycare. I waited for a contraction to end because I was like, “I don’t want her to come down here while I’m acting crazy.” When the contraction ended, I called up to my mom. I was like, “Bring down Emma Jean.” She was so cute. She was like, “You’re swimming? You’re in the pool? What’s happening?” I was like, “Yeah. Your brother is coming. Kelly is here,” and she was really excited that Kelly was here because she got to know her throughout the pregnancy. She was really excited. She gave us a kiss and we told her, “Probably when we pick you up from daycare, your brother will be here,” so it was really cute. Then my mom took her. She took her to breakfast and was going to take her to daycare.

Basically, as soon as she left, that was my permission to make as much noise as possible.

Meagan: Let it go, yep.

Rebecca: Yeah. My contractions were starting to be really, really strong. I was starting to feel pushy and I was having to basically roar through them. I was really fighting it. I was sounding angry. I was kind of roaring through them with sort of gritted teeth which I know is the opposite. You’re not supposed to grit your teeth. You’re supposed to let your jaw be loose and all of that. I was definitely roaring through those contractions.

At that point, Kelly was like, “Look, it seems like you might be getting kind of close. Let’s check you again and see what’s going on.”

The intensity of where I was and what I was doing to get through the contractions, I was really expecting and hoping that she was going to say I was maybe a 9 or a 10. She told me later she was fully expecting to tell me, “You’re a 9 or a 10.” But when she checked me, I was only a 4.

That was kind of crushing to me, but I was like, “Okay.” Actually, I told her not to tell me at first. I was like, “Don’t tell me. Again, don’t tell me unless it’s time to push.”

Meagan: Do not tell me, yeah.

Rebecca: She said, “Okay, it’s not time to push.” The way she said it, I was like, “Something’s weird. Something’s wrong.” She was like, “I really need you to relax. We’re not going to get back in the tub. I want you to lay in the bed. I want you to be in a side-lying position.” She put me in very specific positions and she was like, “I really need you to rest and relax.”

33:09 First signs of swelling

I was kind of like, “Okay, something is weird,” so I just asked her. I was like, “Well, what am I at?” She was like, “You’re only at a 4.” I was like, “What? I’ve been laboring all night intensely.” She was like, “And the baby’s head is already trying to come through and his head at the top is starting to swell a little bit,” which they called a caput.

She was like, “So you know, he’s good. His heart rate’s good. Your heart rate’s good. I’m not worried, but we do have to keep an eye on that.” So she was like, “I’m going to have you go through some different phases of the Miles circuit to see if we can change his position a little bit, get him off your cervix a little bit,” and things like that.

I was not able to get those really strong counterpressure that I needed from Rick in that side-lying position, so I was like, “Let’s get some music going. I need some kind of distraction.” I’m a singer. I love to sing and I play music and stuff so we put on our wedding playlist. We were just both lying on the bed. I had him get my comb for me so I could squeeze it and I was just singing through our wedding songs. That was actually a really beautiful part of the labor for me. I was sitting there and singing through our songs. It was kind of a chance to just be quiet and think about things.

I just kept saying in my head, “Okay. Dilate. Dilate. You’re going to dilate,” and thinking that over and over again.

She had me do 30 minutes in each of these different positions. The one with the head down and the butt up was super uncomfortable I think because my neck was hurting. I was so ready for that to be over.

After we went through those, she was like, “Okay, let’s get you up and get you moving again.” This was probably at least an hour later that she was like, “Let’s get you up off the bed and we’ll just move around.”

Rick and I danced around. Every time a contraction hit, I would just squat down really low and he would squat down and hold me in a chair almost and just hold onto me, then we would sway and dance.

Meagan: How cute.

Rebecca: Yeah. It was really special. We did that for probably another half hour, then it was time for me to get another round of the IV which I guess I had been getting every 4 hours is what that generally is. Kelly was like, “How about we do another round of the antibiotics and then I’ll check you again because it will have been about two hours more or so. We will see if you have progressed and what is going on.”

At this point, I was starting to feel a little discouraged. I remember I was sitting on the birth ball and Bethany, the nurse, was giving me the antibiotics. I just remember looking at Rick and I was like, “I’m trying so hard.” I was tearful. I was like, “I am trying so hard. I know that I’m a good mom.” He was like, “You’re the best mom.” He was crying and I was crying. He was like, “We’re going to get through this and we’re going to do what we need to do.”

Throughout my whole pregnancy, I had told him, “If I don’t get a VBAC, it’s going to be so hard for me. It’s going to be really crushing for me.” His perspective on it the whole time was always like, “Look. We’re going to make the best decisions possible with the information we have.” He was like, “Hopefully, that is you getting your VBAC, but if it’s not, it’s because we had to move to the next plan because it was the best decision.”

He was kind of like, “Look. That’s the same thing. We’re going to make the best decisions with the information we have. You’re a great mom and you’re doing a great job. I’m so proud of you.” That was just really special. We were just going through the emotions.

After we got the antibiotics, she checked me again. I want to say this was around 10:00 in the morning and she was like, “Becca, you’re still a 4.” And she said, “Now, your cervix is swelling.” She said, “Look. You know, you’re not in danger at this point. The baby’s not in danger. This is not an emergency. But, I can’t tell you that if you keep going for a few more hours, you’re going to have your baby here. I don’t know.” She was like, “Chances are your cervix will continue to swell. You’ve also been in labor for a long time. You’re getting tired.” She just kind of started to talk to us about hospital transfer.

She was like, “Maybe if we go to the hospital and you get an epidural and you can relax and maybe we can try some different positions with the epidural and get the baby to come off the cervix some.”

We started talking about it and I remember I was going through a contraction on the edge of the bed. I had my arms up on the bed and I was just sobbing. I was like, “I tried so hard. I’m trying so hard.” But I remember as soon as I found out I was still just at a 4 and that my cervix was swelling, it is very mental because my tolerance of the contractions, my pain tolerance, just went down.

Meagan: Yeah.

Rebecca: All of a sudden, they just felt so much more painful because I was going from being like, “Well, maybe I’ll meet my baby any second,” to “Who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen?”

Meagan: Starting to feel the defeat and doubt.

Rebecca: Exactly. We talked about it and we were like, “Well, we could labor here for who knows how long and still need to transfer, or we could go ahead and transfer and try something new.”

39:02 Making the decision to transfer

We made the decision to transfer. Luckily, I only live 5 minutes away from the hospital, so it wasn’t a super long process to do that. We already had our hospital bag packed this time. I was ready with that. I had my hospital bag packed. I had my C-section plan just in case. I had my hospital plan just in case. I at least felt ready to go.

Nobody said, “You have to transfer.” It was our decision. We felt like we had the information and we made the decision together.

That part of going to the hospital, I remember just wishing I could turn these contractions off now because now, getting in the car, not having the counterpressure, all that, and the funny thing was we walked out onto our patio. I had a contraction on the side of my patio and of course, my neighbors drive by and roll down their windows and are like, “How’s it going?”

Meagan: “Are you okay? How’s it going?”

Rebecca: Yeah. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I love these neighbors. They are amazing, but I was like, “This is not what I want to be doing.” But we made it to the hospital. We got to triage. They strapped me all up. I was lying flat on my back in the most uncomfortable position, but basically, we got through triage and everything. From the time I got to the hospital to the time I got the epidural was probably still another hour and a half of labor at least. That was really tough.

We made it there. We got there. We finally got the epidural placed. I would say it was around noon when I finally got the epidural placed. I will tell you. I am all about natural labor and if somebody had told me, “You’ll have to labor 10 more hours, but you’re going to push your baby out and everything is going to be fine,” I would have found it in myself to do that.

Meagan: Yeah? Yeah?

Rebecca: I will still say that epidural felt so freaking good.

Meagan: I bet.

Rebecca: It was just a warm wave of a warm tingling hug. As soon as I got the epidural, all of the pain just kind of melted away. I was like, “This is where we are so I might as well enjoy this for what it is and take this relief.” Yeah. The other thing was that the doctor was, I would say, VBAC tolerant for sure, the doctor on call.

He kind of came in and gave us a big spiel about TOLAC and did we know the risks. He was like, “Look, you can try for a VBAC, but if anything goes wrong, we’re not going to try to fix it. It’s just going to be a C-section because we’re going to play it safe.” I was like, “Okay.” I didn’t have any problems with him. He was a nice guy and everything, but as soon as he said that, I was like, “I have a feeling this is going to be a C-section. I think it’s just going to be a C-section.”

The nurse was very great. She put me on the peanut ball. She moved me around some different positions to try to get him to back off my cervix. When they checked me again, I was still a 4 even after that time. I labored with the epidural for about two more hours to the point where I was like, “I’m getting kind of bored and antsy. I sort of want to know what’s going to happen. What’s the plan at this point?”

At about two hours in, the doctor came back in and he checked me again. He said, “I could push you to a 5, but you’re still basically a 4.” He said, “Your cervix is very swollen.” He said, “I could give you Benadryl or something like that for the cervix to come down.” He was like, “But I really don’t like to do that because at this point, whatever is happening to your cervix is a position thing. It’s a mechanical, positional thing.”

Also, the epidural slowed my contractions way down. They went from being 3 minutes apart to being 10-12 minutes apart. He was like, “I’d probably have to give you Pitocin to get this going again.” He was like, “I’m not comfortable doing that.” He basically said, “I recommend a C-section and that’s basically your option.”

Meagan: I was like, “Okay. Can you give us a few minutes to talk it over?” He did. He left the room. My midwife, Kelly, was still there. She stayed on the whole time as my doula. She basically was like, “You know, I do understand what he is saying.” She was like, “I kind of wish he would have told you that earlier and not made you wait for two hours.” She was like, “I agree. It probably is positional and there’s probably not a ton we can do.”

Oh, another thing he had said was that the baby was having some decels after my contractions. He was like, “You know, that can show us the baby is in a little bit of distress.” She was kind of like, “You know, I understand what he is saying and I’m not sure that I would give you any other advice. I’m not sure I would tell you anything different.”

My husband and I talked it over and we were like, “Let’s just meet our baby. Let’s just meet our baby now.” We had them go over our C-section plan and of course, they weren’t willing to do most of the things that we had on that plan. They didn’t have the clear drapes. There were just a lot of things that they weren’t willing to do, but they did agree that the nurse could take pictures of the surgery for us which was something I didn’t have with my daughter.

Meagan: Which is nice.

Rebecca: Yeah. She took pictures for me and that’s pretty much the only thing, I think, that was really different. She took pictures of everything that happened.

44:53 Consenting to a C-section

Rebecca: Around 4:00, we consented to the C-section, and then yeah. They just prepped me. My sister took a picture of me giving a thumbs up getting ready to go. She took a picture of my husband and his whole suit and everything. I was like, “Okay. Let’s just do this thing and get our baby now.”

I did shed some tears while they were rolling me into the OR and I remember the anesthesiologist well-meaning was kind of like, “What? Are you afraid of a C-section? You’ve already done this!” I know she was trying to be like, “There’s nothing to be scared of,” but I was kind of like, I even said to her, “I’m not scared. That’s not why I’m crying.” She was like, “Well, what’s wrong?” I was like, “I’m disappointed.”

Meagan: This is not what I wanted, yeah. This is not what I planned for.

Rebecca: That was a little bit like, “Okay. Come on. Empathize a little bit here. There are lots of reasons why someone could be crying going into this.”

Long story short, the C-section all went to plan, but as soon as they did pull him out, they did say he was OP. He was sunny-side up and then they also said, “And he’s 9 pounds.” So he was pretty big. I mean, I could have pushed him out for sure but he–

Meagan: Yeah, on the bigger side.

Rebecca: But he was in sort of a poor position which could be why I had the swelling and everything of the cervix. He came out and he was really, really healthy. Once we got to the recovery room, he nursed right away. He was definitely a hungry little boy right from the beginning so that was awesome. He latched right on and nursed and everything.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the story.

46:43 Tips for when things don’t go as planned

Meagan: You know, it’s so interesting how we have these things. We go through all of these things and we end sometimes in the way we didn’t want, right?

Rebecca: Yeah.

Meagan: I’ve been there too, not nearly as intense as you. You went through a lot. I just had an unsupportive provider from the get-go. I ended up walking down to the OR in general, but we have these experiences, but we still grow from them.

Rebecca: Absolutely.

Meagan: I mean, I heard little nuggets within your story like bonding with your husband, having faith in your body, working through it, experiencing labor, having support, but are there any other things that you would tell our Women of Strength, our listeners, especially if something doesn’t happen exactly as planned?

Rebecca: Yeah. There are a couple of different things. The first one was all throughout when I was prepping for labor in particular, especially for dealing with pain, the word that kept coming up and coming up was surrender. I kept thinking, “Surrender to the contraction. Surrender to the sensation.” I always applied that very specifically to labor and labor pains, but I want people to take it a step further and just be like, surrender to your birth however it’s going to happen because even if you do everything right and you do all of the steps, there are no guarantees in birth that you are going to have the outcome that you wanted. Even if you have a good outcome, most likely, there’s going to be something about it that was unexpected or wasn’t perfect so just try to surrender to the whole experience.

Yeah, of course, surrender to the contractions. Surrender to the labor, but surrender to the whole experience and the fact that you can’t control it. That doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.

Meagan: Yeah.

Rebecca: That’s the other thing. I hear it a lot in VBAC and I understand why people use this word, but I feel a little bit, I guess I would say use some caution in using it. A lot of people label their VBAC as a redemption or redemptive. You own whatever experience you have. I’m sure it is redemptive, but I guess what I would say is that we don’t need to redeem ourselves. There is nothing we did wrong that we have to have redemption for. Can the experience feel redemptive? Absolutely, but I don’t want women to then apply that to themselves like, “I need redemption because I failed at something.”

You are making the best decision for yourself and your child with the information that you have at that moment. That is what parenting is all about. You can’t control anything when you become a parent either. There are always going to be these little decisions you have to make that are unexpected or huge decisions.

I think that was the difference between this C-section for me and the last one was the last one, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. With this one, every step of the way, I was given choices by my midwife with my husband. We had time to talk through things. We had time to think through things. We made the choices that we felt were the best choices at the moment.

So those are the two things I would really say. Surrender to your whole experience because you have no idea what it’s going to bring and you don’t need redemption because you are already being the best mom that you can possibly be or the best birthing parent that you can possibly be just by being in the moment and making those good decisions with the information that you have.

Meagan: I love that so much. I love that so much. Thank you for sharing that.

Rebeca: Yeah, absolutely.

50:43 Signs of wonky positioning

Meagan: I want to dial into that. The swelling of the cervix, the “stalling” of this labor and I’m putting it in quotes, but it does happen and sometimes despite all of our efforts, it doesn’t change and sometimes it does change, but I wanted to talk about the swelling of the cervix and what that really means and what kind of signs we can look out for to know that we’ve maybe got a baby in a wonky position that could cause a swollen cervix and then what we can do.

I mean, just like you were talking about, we were talking about how you just needed your husband to hold your butt together. That is a sign. If we are having all back or butt labor, that could mean a sign that a baby is in an OP or occiput posterior position. That doesn’t always cause a swollen cervix or a delay or a stall in labor or anything like that, but it can.

Another position is called asynclitic and that’s where the head is kind of tipped to the side a little bit and we’re not coming down with a nice chin-tucked position into the pelvis. Another one is where the chin is extended or we’re in that military position. I’ve also seen it sometimes in a transverse. It’s like a transverse asynclitic. I don’t know exactly what that one is where the head is back, the chin is up, and we’re in an asynclitic position. We’re not looking straight up.

Those are positions that may mean our babies are in a less-ideal position. Some of the things are prodromal labor beforehand. You had mentioned that. That means sometimes there is a baby that needs help getting in a different position or a back labor or a butt labor. A coupling pattern where there are two contractions and then there is a big break and then there’s a big strong one. Our body is trying to get that baby to rotate.

Rebecca: Yep. I did have really long contractions and I did have some double peaks so that makes sense to me.

Meagan: Yes. Yes. I call them coupling contractions where that’s what they can do. Our body is brilliant. It’s trying to rotate these babies and work with us, but sometimes, it’s more difficult and sometimes we have to help our body by rotating and moving and working with the pelvis in things like this.

53:31 What to do

Some of the things we can do, it sounds really weird and I saw this from a nurse years ago and I was like, “What is she doing?” Then I was like, “Oh my gosh, it worked.” We had an anterior lip where it was swelling on the one side. She said, “I want you to get in the biggest fetal position that you can, the tightest fetal position.” We’re holding her even around and imagine a 9-month belly. So it was a little difficult to wrap ourselves around it, but we brought knees all the way to her chest, had her wrap around her knees like this and she laid there. We had to do a lot of counterpressure.

Rebecca: Yeah, I can imagine.

Meagan: Because that was not a comfortable position. We did five contractions like that and it was hard, but she said, “I want to do it. I want to do it.” We got into it with lots of counterpressure then we did, I don’t know what you call it, but we did the throne where you sit up feet to feet, knees out, but after that contraction, she got a check and the lip was gone.

That was something that was kind of cool that I had never heard of. I had been a doula for years then I saw this and I was like, “Huh, okay.” I haven’t seen anyone do that.

Rebecca: Yeah. I read a lot of the books and I didn’t see that anywhere.

Meagan: Never saw it anywhere, but yeah. This nurse here in Utah was like, “I know just the trick.” She did it and I was like, “Whoa, okay.” Yeah. Some people will say that sometimes ice, there is a circulation issue and sometimes ice can actually stop circulation. Sometimes ice isn’t the best and then Arnica or Benadryl. You mentioned Benadryl that they wouldn’t give you but they mentioned it. I don’t even know how to say the word. It’s actually something that I just was talking to a labor and delivery nurse in our community who wants a VBAC. It’s Cemicifuga. I don’t even know actually, you guys. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but those, I’ve seen arnica, out-of-hospital midwives will use or getting into a tub. Sometimes that can or sometimes an epidural because it can offer relaxation.

But then that always and then yeah, just moving, moving, and working with position. But then sometimes, despite all of our efforts, just like cute Rebecca, for whatever reason it doesn’t change. That’s when we have to surrender on our whole experience and make the choice that is best for us at that point. If that’s a repeat Cesarean, that’s a repeat Cesarean.

Repeat Cesareans can also be healing.

Rebecca: Yeah. I would say this was because I definitely felt totally different about the experience afterward. I still mourned it of course and you will, but I felt much more empowered and I got so much out of just going through the labor process that I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It still was healing for me for sure.

57:00 Why you shouldn’t skip the repeat Cesarean stories

Meagan: I love that. Well, thank you so much for sharing your stories with us, being here with us today, and talking about swollen cervixes.

Rebecca: Yeah. I hope people actually click on this. I know when I was preparing for VBAC, I was kind of guilty of, “Oh, a repeat Cesarean, I don’t want to listen to this one.” So again, hopefully, people will be open because you never know what your story is, or maybe you’ll come back and find it after you’ve had a repeat Cesarean and feel proud of yourself for everything that you did because I think hearing these stories after you’ve had a repeat Cesarean could be really helpful.

Meagan: Absolutely. Just like they are helpful after having a Cesarean and preparing for a VBAC, after having a repeat Cesarean, these stories can be very healing and validating as well. These stories, I know that there are so many people out there who won’t click or will avoid them because they don’t want to even think or go there, but a lot of these stories with repeat Cesareans actually offer tools that can help heal if that does happen and ways that you can prepare for if that does happen because it’s any birth. I mean obviously, look at all of us. There are hundreds of us and thousands of us who have had an unexpected Cesarean. We weren’t planning on that

Rebecca: No.

Meagan: So preparing before for all outcomes is so powerful.

Rebecca: Definitely. Definitely. Have that backup plan because I didn’t even have one at all for my first and I was really glad I had it for my second.

Meagan: Yes. Oh, well thank you again so much for being here with us today, and congratulations on your baby.

Rebecca: Thank you. Thanks for hearing my story. I love what you do and I think it’s really, really important, so thank you.

Meagan: Thank you.

Closing

Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Tell us about your experience at thevbaclink.com/share. For more information on all things VBAC including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Meagan’s bio, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.


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Nội dung được cung cấp bởi Meagan Heaton. Tất cả nội dung podcast bao gồm các tập, đồ họa và mô tả podcast đều được Meagan Heaton hoặc đối tác nền tảng podcast của họ tải lên và cung cấp trực tiếp. Nếu bạn cho rằng ai đó đang sử dụng tác phẩm có bản quyền của bạn mà không có sự cho phép của bạn, bạn có thể làm theo quy trình được nêu ở đây https://vi.player.fm/legal.

We love hearing stories of how our Women of Strength navigate birth in an empowered way, no matter the outcome. Rebecca’s story shows how she carefully selected the most supportive homebirth midwife, created a safe birth space in her home, labored hard and beautifully with her husband, took time to process information, assessed her situation, and consented to her second Cesarean when the time felt right to her.

Meagan also talks about the different types of positioning and some signs that your baby might be in a less-than-ideal position. Rebecca and Meagan discuss tips and tricks to help prevent a swollen cervix and what options you have if that happens to you!

Additional Links

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

Timestamp Topics

01:54 Review of the Week

04:31 Rebecca’s first pregnancy

07:25 Consenting to an unexpected C-section for breech presentation

8:53 Fertility Fridays

11:02 Sparked interest in VBAC and getting pregnant again

13:53 Planning for a HBAC

18:00 Tachycardia and GBS positive

21:27 Early labor

24:18 Calling the team

30:10 Laboring through the night

39:02 Making the decision to transfer

44:53 Consenting to a C-section

46:43 Tips for when things don’t go as planned

50:43 Signs of wonky positioning

53:31 What to do

57:00 Why you shouldn’t skip the repeat Cesarean stories

Meagan: Hello, hello. It is Meagan with another amazing story on The VBAC Link podcast. Thank you so much for listening to us, you guys. I love this community. I know I talk about it. I know it’s weird that I don’t even know you, but I love you. I love you so much and I’m so glad that you are here with us today.

We have our guest today from, let’s see, Virginia. I think it’s Virginia. That’s what my mind is saying.

Rebecca: Yep.

Meagan: This is Rebecca, so welcome, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m really excited.

Meagan: Absolutely. Me too. Her story, you guys, today is a repeat Cesarean story so if you didn’t know on The VBAC Link, we do share repeat Cesarean stories because they are important to share as well. I’m excited for you to share more about your story and we’re going to talk a little bit about swelling of the cervix at the end of this episode because this is something that we see and is a little bit of a part of your story.

01:54 Review of the Week

Before we dive into the story and all of the things, we of course want to share a Review of the Week. This review is from shotsie3 and it says, “Amazing is not a strong enough word.” That is really awesome. I love that.

It says, “I cannot say enough good things about The VBAC Link. Listening to this podcast not only saved my mental health but gave me the knowledge and confidence to take control of my second pregnancy. After my home birth turned into a hospital transfer and Cesarean with my first child, I felt broken. When I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant just 7 months postpartum, I felt scared and lost. I was afraid of failing again and doubted my body’s ability to birth naturally, but I knew I absolutely could not have another Cesarean so I started obsessively researching VBAC. That’s when I found The VBAC Link. I’ve been binging episodes ever since. Listening to these stories has been incredible. Each episode is like giving a shot of confidence into the arm.”

Oh, I love that. A shot of confidence into the arm. We’re giving you guys a little vaccine of confidence.

It says, “Both my midwives and doulas have commented on how far my mental prep has come and I know it’s all thanks to The VBAC Link. Julie and Meagan have given me lots of tools and resources to control my birth.”

I love that. Control your birth.

“I am now looking forward to welcoming my second child via HBAC in just five short weeks. I want to shout it from the rooftop, ‘EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO THE VBAC LINK!’”

This review was a little while ago, so shotsie3, if you are still listening with us, which we hope you are, email us. Let us know how your birth went.

04:31 Rebecca’s first pregnancy

Meagan: Okay, cute Rebecca, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Rebecca: Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m really excited to share.

Meagan: Absolutely. Well, I’d love to turn the time over to you.

Rebecca: All right, well I guess I’ll start with just a little recap of my daughter’s birth who is my first C-section. My daughter was born in January of 2021. We got pregnant with her during kind of the height of COVID. That pregnancy went really smoothly other than it was COVID times so of course, my husband couldn’t come to any of the appointments or anything like that.

I didn’t really do much prep with her because I wasn’t going to go to a birth class. There weren’t a lot of resources available. All I really did was watch some YouTube videos. I kind of knew I wanted to try to have a natural birth, but I didn’t prepare that much for it really. I read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and stuff, but I didn’t do too much preparation.

She went to 41 weeks with no complications. I didn’t want to be induced, so my OB was like, “We’ll go to 41 weeks and then we’ll bring you in for an NST and an ultrasound.” So we went in on January 10th for her NST. She passed that with flying colors and I had asked them if they would give me a membrane sweep before they would induce me. They said they could try that, so they were going to come in and give me the membrane sweep, but luckily, one of the doctors there was like, “Well, let’s do her ultrasound first just to make sure that everything’s fine because that just makes sense before going down there and doing the membrane sweeps.”

They did the ultrasound and she was like, “Did you know your baby’s breech?” I was like, “No, I did not.”

Meagan: News to me.

Rebecca: Yeah. Every time the OBs would very quickly, I will say, very quickly palpate me, they’d be like, “Yep. Feels like she’s head down. Everything’s good.” She was like, “Yeah. She’s breech so we’re going to go ahead and schedule a C-section for today at 4:00.” It was around 11:00 or something when this happened, so I just immediately started crying because I did not want a C-section. That wasn’t what I was planning for at all.

She was like, “Well, we don’t do the (ECV)s here.” Is that what it’s called? (ECV)? Am I saying it right?

Meagan: Mhmm, yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah. She was like, “We don’t do that here. Your amniotic fluid is kind of low, so yeah. This is your option.”

Meagan: I wonder why they don’t do it there.

Rebecca: I don’t know. She just said that they don’t offer that service. I guess I didn’t really know to ask for a second opinion or to see what other– I was just like, “Well, she’s telling me that this is my only option,” so we consented to the C-section which was really disappointing.

07:25 Consenting to an unexpected C-section for breech presentation

Rebecca: My husband had to go home and get a hospital bag ready because we didn’t bring it with us or anything. We were like, “Oh, we will have time to go back if they are going to induce me.” I don’t know. We just weren’t prepared. Anyways, around 4:00, she was born via C-section and it was uncomplicated. It was uncomplicated. She did well. She did have some hip dysplasia because she was frank breech and they think she was probably frank breech for a long time, so her hips and the bones weren’t in the socket at all. But other than that, she was completely healthy.

But yeah, I remember that night kind of laying in bed with her nursing, and my husband was asleep. I just was quietly sobbing because I felt like everything that I was looking forward to kind of got ripped away from me and I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

So I never got to experience one single contraction or any of that with her. I didn’t even really have Braxton Hicks with her. It almost felt like there was no closure to the pregnancy. It felt like I should still be pregnant. I definitely, yeah. That was a struggle. That was a struggle for a while afterward kind of trying to find closure of that whole experience because it was just like, “Okay, you’re pregnant and now you’re not pregnant.” There was no transition. That was her story.

8:53 Fertility Fridays

Actually, to be honest with you, shortly after her birth, I was kind of like, “Well, if we get pregnant again, I think I’m just going to do a C-section again because I know what to expect. My body’s already been through it. You know, I think I’m just going to do a C-section again.” That was kind of what I was thinking.

But as I went on throughout my postpartum time, when I got my period back, I noticed throughout the year that I had some weird issues. I was spotting a lot all throughout the month and just different things were happening that I was like, “This doesn’t seem quite right.” When I went to the OB about it, they were like, “Oh, it’s fine. Your body is probably just getting back into the swing of things.”

But it would be like, “Okay, well I’ve been postpartum for a while now.” This was two years down the line. I think that there’s probably something going on that needs investigating. They were kind of like, “No, it’s fine. It’s fine.”

I ended up finding a podcast actually called “Fertility Fridays”. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s really awesome.

Meagan: I haven’t.

Rebecca: It just teaches women about their bodies. How to track your cycle and what your cycle means, and how to know if you’re actually fertile at that time because that’s another thing. It took us a year to get pregnant with Emma Jean. I was also afraid, “Well, it took us a long time last time. Maybe something was wrong.”

I just got really into body awareness and women owning their bodies and the different choices that we make and that our bodies have all of these natural processes that we don’t even really know about all of the time because we are not educated about those things.

Meagan: Yeah.

Rebecca; So as I educated myself on how my body worked and all of its amazing processes, I also became really interested in physiological birth again. It re-sparked my interest in that and my passion for that.

I kind of was like, “Well, my body is set up to do all of these amazing things. Why don’t I let it do that? If I do get pregnant again, I do think I want to try to have a VBAC and let my body do what it’s supposed to do.”

11:02 Sparked interest in VBAC and getting pregnant again

Rebecca: That kind of sparked my interest back into the VBAC and the physiological birth. I got pregnant again in, I guess it was September of 2023. It’s 2023 now, right?

Meagan: Mhmm, yeah.

Rebecca: It was 2022 that I got pregnant again with the first time trying because I had used these methods that I had learned to actually know, “Hey, I’m fertile on these days.” Unfortunately, that pregnancy did end in a miscarriage so we miscarried that baby in November around this time of year. That was also crushing, but luckily, we started again in January, and again, right away, the first time we tried, we got pregnant again with my son, Arthur who luckily is here with us today.

We got pregnant with him in January of 2023 and that was a pretty scary first trimester because I was definitely worried about miscarriage and things of that nature. But as soon as we got pregnant with him, I started listening to The VBAC Link. I also just started to think about, because you guys talk about it all of the time, finding a provider that was friendly to VBAC, truly friendly.

Meagan: Yes.

Rebecca: Based on my experience with my OB that I was with, I felt like they were tolerant of VBAC but not necessarily supportive. I figured with her, I went to 41 weeks and I hadn’t experienced a single contraction. I think they would have been like, “Well, if you don’t go into labor by 39 weeks, it’s going to be a repeat Cesarean.”

I wanted to look for other options and one of my friends had a wonderful home birth for her second child and she recommended Kelly Jenkins who is Blue Ridge Birth.

Meagan: What city are you in?

Rebecca: I’m in Winchester, Virginia and she works all throughout the surrounding area so the Northern Virginia area.

I called her around 7 weeks. I was like, “I know it’s kind of early.” She was like, “No. This is perfect timing because I’m already almost full for October,” which was when I was due. She was just really great about going through all of the fears and concerns we have as VBAC parents going into a home birth. She just made me feel so comfortable. She was just really thoughtful with all of our questions, had a lot of stats and evidence, and just really practical which was what I was looking for. Somebody who really was practical and knew their stuff, but also wasn’t necessarily a traditional OB.

13:53 Planning for an HBAC

Rebecca: We ended up signing on with her for our care. She would come to our house at the normal time and an OB would come and spend a whole hour with us and just answer all of our questions which was awesome.

Meagan: Wow.

Rebecca: I never felt like, “Oh, well you’re a VBAC so you are a huge risk.” Everything was just supportive and always gave us all of the evidence for all of the choices we had to make all along the way.

I also did yoga throughout this pregnancy. I immediately downloaded the Spinning Babies yoga thing. We watched the Spinning Babies parent class because I was trying to do everything not to have a breech baby.

Meagan: Yes.

Rebecca: I went to the chiropractor a lot and yeah. I just tried to do everything with my posture and all of these things to make sure this baby was not going to be breech. That was my biggest fear. He never was breech, so that wasn’t the problem.

We also took a Bradley class. I have mixed feelings about Bradley, especially as a repeat Cesarean parent.

Meagan: Yep.

Rebecca: I think Bradley is really great, but I will stand on a soapbox just for a minute and say I also think Bradley is pretty dated and somewhat unfair to parents because it really does villainize any kind of drug or anything. Sometimes you have to do things for the safety of your child and I feel like it really villianizes using a lot of medical tools that sometimes you truly need.

Meagan: That are necessary. Interesting, yeah.

Rebecca: Luckily, we had a great doula who taught our Bradley class. It was Bethany Bagnell. She definitely gave it her own spin and kind of, I feel like, was more open-minded whereas if you read the Bradley book, I feel like he’s very stringent and I just feel like some of the things he promotes are a little bit outdated in my opinion. But I really liked her so it was a very informative class. We felt really prepared going into the birth.

18:00 Tachycardia and GBS positive

We really didn’t have any complications until week– I guess it was 34 or 35. Kelly came to our house to do our normal check-up and the baby’s heartbeat was really fast. She called it tachy. She was really concerned about that and so we actually did go to the hospital to get an NST. They were pretty rude to us at the hospital. They were kind of like, “Why are you guys here? I don’t understand why you are here.”

We were like, “Our midwife–”

Meagan: Just checking up.

Rebecca: You know, the heartbeat was really high. I don’t know. They just weren’t very kind to us while we were there. But anyway, they ended up not giving us the test that she asked them for. She wanted them to do an ultrasound and an NST and they refused to do the ultrasound. We ended up having to drive up to Laden to get the ultrasound. Everything was fine. His heart rate had settled back down and he looked fine. He was head down so we were happy about that. But that was the only little scare that we had.

The other thing that was a little bit of a complication but not a complication, just something that happened is we did test positive for GBS. That was not a big deal. We could get the antibiotics at home so it did not preclude us from having a home birth or anything. We did research a lot about that because we kind of wanted to avoid antibiotics so we did a lot of research to decide what the best decision was for us whether we wanted to do those antibiotics.

We decided we were just going to play it by ear based on how soon my water broke and different things.

Meagan: Signs. Yeah, all of those things are really good things to take into consideration.

Rebecca: Yeah, exactly. My urine was clear for GBS. It was just the swab so that was another good indicator that it might be okay. Then yeah, we were just going to kind of wait and see. I also went on a really stringent diet. I cut out white foods and a lot of the things that are shown to feed GBS then I added a lot of fermented foods and probiotics and stuff like that.

Meagan: Awesome.

Rebecca: So those were really the only two little bumps in the road. The whole pregnancy, every time, she would palpate which would be a full belly map by the way. When the OB would touch my belly, it would be for 10 seconds. Kelly would actually go in and she would completely map out my belly and be like, “I can feel his neck here and his butt.” Every time she did that, she would be like, “He’s in a great position. He’s in a perfect position.”

We were really hopeful going into things. Of course, he did go over the due date but I kind of expected that because Emma Jean did the same thing. The difference with him was I had a lot of Braxton Hicks and I did actually have a few days where I had some prodromal labor or some episodes that I was like, “Maybe this is labor,” and then it kind of just fizzled out.

21:27 Early labor

He went to 41 weeks and I was starting to get a little nervous that we might have to induce. I really didn’t want to do that, so the day that he was 41 weeks, I started feeling contractions every 10 minutes throughout the day. I was at work and I was just kind of breathing through them. They weren’t painful, but I was definitely like, “Okay. These are kind of timable, every 10 minutes or so.”

Right after work, I got together with some of my work friends and we went for a really nice, hilly, 3-mile walk and sure enough, by the time I got home from that, I was feeling contractions become stronger and closer together. They weren’t painful yet, but around the time that I was cooking dinner, I went upstairs and I went to the bathroom and I had blood all over my toilet paper. I was like, “Okay. That’s a good sign. Maybe I am in labor. Maybe this is finally it,” because we had a few episodes and we had been trying all of the things to get things going.

I told my husband, “Maybe things are really happening.” I texted my midwife and she just told me, “Go to bed early tonight. After you put your daughter down, go to bed and see if you can get some rest because it sounds like this might be it so try to get some rest.”

I got my daughter down and tried to lay down probably around– she went to be around 8:00 and I tried to lay down around 8:30. As I was laying in bed, I just couldn’t get comfortable. What it felt like to me was gas pains. I had always heard period cramps, but I was feeling very strong gas pains. I told my husband, “Maybe I just have gas.” He was like, “Your gas doesn’t come in waves like that. I think you’re having contractions.”

I was like, “I don’t know.”

Meagan: It doesn’t come in waves.

Rebecca: He was like, “You’re having contractions. I think you’re really having contractions.” So he started to time those and they were coming every 5-7 minutes and it was too uncomfortable for me to stay in bed, so I was like, “Well, let’s go ahead and go into the basement.” We have a nice finished basement and we were going to birth down there. That’s where we were going to set up the pool. I was like, “You can get the tub set up and I can kind of pace around and we will make sure we won’t wake up Emma Jean,” who is my daughter.

We came into the basement probably around 10:00 and pretty much as soon as we got into the basement, my contractions became strong enough that I wasn’t really feeling like I could talk through them anymore. I was leaning over the ball and breathing. My dog, Maggie, was right beside me. Her face is right next to mine the whole time. She was kind of starting to distract me so I was like, “Let’s call my dad to come get the dog.” I was like, “I think this is really happening.”

24:18 Calling the team

Rebecca: We called everyone. We called Kelly and we called my mom and my sister who were going to help and attend the birth. Everybody just started rolling in. My dad came and got the dog. My mom and sister came and then Kelly was coming around midnight. By the time Kelly got there, I was definitely like, Rick was already helping me out with counterpressure because my contractions were so strong in my back. Everything was in my back, not in my abdomen at all. I remember in the back of my head, I was like, “Man, I remember that means position.”

Meagan: Usually.

Rebecca: It’s probably not what it should be. Kelly, on the phone, had told me to try to do some of the Miles circuit. I had been working through that a little bit when she showed up. When she showed up, I was on the bed in the head down position with the butt up which is part of the Miles circuit and my water broke.

My water broke right around midnight when she arrived and that was really cool for me because I had not gotten to experience that with Emma Jean so that feeling is still something that I think of fondly because I never got any of that with my first daughter.

Kelly was like, “Just so you know, your contractions might pick up now because your water is broken.” I was like, “Okay,” and they definitely, definitely did pick up. I feel like I almost didn’t even go through that early labor stage. I feel like I kind of went straight into that active, you’ve got to focus. You’ve got to breathe. My husband had to be right there with me with the counterpressure. Things were pretty strong.

They were tolerable and I was excited, so I wasn’t like, “Oh, this is really painful.” I was like, “Oh my gosh. It’s happening. This is all happening.” That really, I think, helped with the pain tolerance. I was excited for it. But for most of that part of labor, I was leaning over the bed or the couch, and my sister, I would hold her hands and look at her. My husband would be behind me with the counterpressure. They were getting the tub all going and everything.

Then Kelly was like, “Do you want me to check you?” I let her check me, but I told her not to tell me how dilated I was. She checked me and she was like, “Well, he’s really, really, really low. I can already feel his head. You’re almost completely effaced so that’s good.”

She didn’t tell me how dilated I was, but I was like, “Okay. He’s low. I’m effaced. Things are sounding good.” Then the nurse got there and we had to decide if we wanted to start the antibiotics for the GBS. My water had broken so I was kind of like, “Um, I don’t know. Let’s see.” Then I asked Kelly, “Can you just tell me how dilated I was so I can kind of get a sense of how much time we have?”

She said I was only at a 1. I was kind of disappointed by that, but I was like, “I haven’t been laboring that long. I know that dilation can come really quickly. It’s not the only thing. I’m effaced and he’s low,” so I didn’t let it get me down, but we did decide to go ahead and run the antibiotics.

She hooked me up with those and I was able to still be in the tub and everything. She just covered it with a dressing and a plastic so I could be in the tub. I did get in the tub at that point.

I got in the tub probably a little after midnight. I don’t know the exact timeframe.

The tub was nice, but my husband hates baths so at first, he was like, “I’m not going to get in the tub with you.” I was like, “Okay, well I need your counterpressure so buddy, you’re going to have to.”

Meagan: Get in.

Rebecca: Yeah. I went through a few contractions in the tub without him in there with me and to do the counterpressure, I would press my butt as hard as I could against the bottom of the tub. I was like, “This is not cutting it. You’re going to swim with me now. Get in.” He did. He got in. He’s kind of a germaphobe which is part of him not liking tubs thing.

Meagan: Okay, fair.

Rebecca: He got in with me and he did what he needed to do. He was awesome. Basically, I would just press against– I was lined up against his pelvis and I would press my butt into him as hard as I could because every contraction felt like my butt would fly apart if I didn’t have somebody holding it together.

Meagan: I can totally relate. I was in labor. I was like, “He’s going to come out my butt.” Everyone was like, “No, he’s not.” I’m like, “Yes, he is.” Those posterior babies.

Rebecca: Yep. It just felt like my butt would fly apart if no one held it together. That was how I was getting through each contraction.

I labored in the tub for a while then I had to use the bathroom so they were like, “You should labor on the toilet for a while. People love laboring on the toilet.” So I was like, “All right.” I did not like laboring on the toilet.

Meagan: Dilation station.

Rebecca: I think I just really needed my husband’s body. I don’t know why. I needed to be pressed against him in some form or another. He was definitely my rock through that whole thing. He was really good. He read The Birth Partner book and everything. He really was with me 100% of the way which is another reason I’m so thankful that I got to labor this time because the bonding between the two of us going through that together was just something that I could never replace. It was just amazing.

30:10 Laboring through the night

Rebecca: We kind of went back and forth between the tub and the bed and doing different things. Everything was going well. I remember asking people what time it was a few times and I was like, “Man, the night’s really going by quickly. I feel like I’m laboring really hard, but I’m managing and everything was going well.”

We labored all through the night until my daughter woke up at 7:00 in the morning. I wanted to say goodbye to her before she went off to school to daycare. I waited for a contraction to end because I was like, “I don’t want her to come down here while I’m acting crazy.” When the contraction ended, I called up to my mom. I was like, “Bring down Emma Jean.” She was so cute. She was like, “You’re swimming? You’re in the pool? What’s happening?” I was like, “Yeah. Your brother is coming. Kelly is here,” and she was really excited that Kelly was here because she got to know her throughout the pregnancy. She was really excited. She gave us a kiss and we told her, “Probably when we pick you up from daycare, your brother will be here,” so it was really cute. Then my mom took her. She took her to breakfast and was going to take her to daycare.

Basically, as soon as she left, that was my permission to make as much noise as possible.

Meagan: Let it go, yep.

Rebecca: Yeah. My contractions were starting to be really, really strong. I was starting to feel pushy and I was having to basically roar through them. I was really fighting it. I was sounding angry. I was kind of roaring through them with sort of gritted teeth which I know is the opposite. You’re not supposed to grit your teeth. You’re supposed to let your jaw be loose and all of that. I was definitely roaring through those contractions.

At that point, Kelly was like, “Look, it seems like you might be getting kind of close. Let’s check you again and see what’s going on.”

The intensity of where I was and what I was doing to get through the contractions, I was really expecting and hoping that she was going to say I was maybe a 9 or a 10. She told me later she was fully expecting to tell me, “You’re a 9 or a 10.” But when she checked me, I was only a 4.

That was kind of crushing to me, but I was like, “Okay.” Actually, I told her not to tell me at first. I was like, “Don’t tell me. Again, don’t tell me unless it’s time to push.”

Meagan: Do not tell me, yeah.

Rebecca: She said, “Okay, it’s not time to push.” The way she said it, I was like, “Something’s weird. Something’s wrong.” She was like, “I really need you to relax. We’re not going to get back in the tub. I want you to lay in the bed. I want you to be in a side-lying position.” She put me in very specific positions and she was like, “I really need you to rest and relax.”

33:09 First signs of swelling

I was kind of like, “Okay, something is weird,” so I just asked her. I was like, “Well, what am I at?” She was like, “You’re only at a 4.” I was like, “What? I’ve been laboring all night intensely.” She was like, “And the baby’s head is already trying to come through and his head at the top is starting to swell a little bit,” which they called a caput.

She was like, “So you know, he’s good. His heart rate’s good. Your heart rate’s good. I’m not worried, but we do have to keep an eye on that.” So she was like, “I’m going to have you go through some different phases of the Miles circuit to see if we can change his position a little bit, get him off your cervix a little bit,” and things like that.

I was not able to get those really strong counterpressure that I needed from Rick in that side-lying position, so I was like, “Let’s get some music going. I need some kind of distraction.” I’m a singer. I love to sing and I play music and stuff so we put on our wedding playlist. We were just both lying on the bed. I had him get my comb for me so I could squeeze it and I was just singing through our wedding songs. That was actually a really beautiful part of the labor for me. I was sitting there and singing through our songs. It was kind of a chance to just be quiet and think about things.

I just kept saying in my head, “Okay. Dilate. Dilate. You’re going to dilate,” and thinking that over and over again.

She had me do 30 minutes in each of these different positions. The one with the head down and the butt up was super uncomfortable I think because my neck was hurting. I was so ready for that to be over.

After we went through those, she was like, “Okay, let’s get you up and get you moving again.” This was probably at least an hour later that she was like, “Let’s get you up off the bed and we’ll just move around.”

Rick and I danced around. Every time a contraction hit, I would just squat down really low and he would squat down and hold me in a chair almost and just hold onto me, then we would sway and dance.

Meagan: How cute.

Rebecca: Yeah. It was really special. We did that for probably another half hour, then it was time for me to get another round of the IV which I guess I had been getting every 4 hours is what that generally is. Kelly was like, “How about we do another round of the antibiotics and then I’ll check you again because it will have been about two hours more or so. We will see if you have progressed and what is going on.”

At this point, I was starting to feel a little discouraged. I remember I was sitting on the birth ball and Bethany, the nurse, was giving me the antibiotics. I just remember looking at Rick and I was like, “I’m trying so hard.” I was tearful. I was like, “I am trying so hard. I know that I’m a good mom.” He was like, “You’re the best mom.” He was crying and I was crying. He was like, “We’re going to get through this and we’re going to do what we need to do.”

Throughout my whole pregnancy, I had told him, “If I don’t get a VBAC, it’s going to be so hard for me. It’s going to be really crushing for me.” His perspective on it the whole time was always like, “Look. We’re going to make the best decisions possible with the information we have.” He was like, “Hopefully, that is you getting your VBAC, but if it’s not, it’s because we had to move to the next plan because it was the best decision.”

He was kind of like, “Look. That’s the same thing. We’re going to make the best decisions with the information we have. You’re a great mom and you’re doing a great job. I’m so proud of you.” That was just really special. We were just going through the emotions.

After we got the antibiotics, she checked me again. I want to say this was around 10:00 in the morning and she was like, “Becca, you’re still a 4.” And she said, “Now, your cervix is swelling.” She said, “Look. You know, you’re not in danger at this point. The baby’s not in danger. This is not an emergency. But, I can’t tell you that if you keep going for a few more hours, you’re going to have your baby here. I don’t know.” She was like, “Chances are your cervix will continue to swell. You’ve also been in labor for a long time. You’re getting tired.” She just kind of started to talk to us about hospital transfer.

She was like, “Maybe if we go to the hospital and you get an epidural and you can relax and maybe we can try some different positions with the epidural and get the baby to come off the cervix some.”

We started talking about it and I remember I was going through a contraction on the edge of the bed. I had my arms up on the bed and I was just sobbing. I was like, “I tried so hard. I’m trying so hard.” But I remember as soon as I found out I was still just at a 4 and that my cervix was swelling, it is very mental because my tolerance of the contractions, my pain tolerance, just went down.

Meagan: Yeah.

Rebecca: All of a sudden, they just felt so much more painful because I was going from being like, “Well, maybe I’ll meet my baby any second,” to “Who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen?”

Meagan: Starting to feel the defeat and doubt.

Rebecca: Exactly. We talked about it and we were like, “Well, we could labor here for who knows how long and still need to transfer, or we could go ahead and transfer and try something new.”

39:02 Making the decision to transfer

We made the decision to transfer. Luckily, I only live 5 minutes away from the hospital, so it wasn’t a super long process to do that. We already had our hospital bag packed this time. I was ready with that. I had my hospital bag packed. I had my C-section plan just in case. I had my hospital plan just in case. I at least felt ready to go.

Nobody said, “You have to transfer.” It was our decision. We felt like we had the information and we made the decision together.

That part of going to the hospital, I remember just wishing I could turn these contractions off now because now, getting in the car, not having the counterpressure, all that, and the funny thing was we walked out onto our patio. I had a contraction on the side of my patio and of course, my neighbors drive by and roll down their windows and are like, “How’s it going?”

Meagan: “Are you okay? How’s it going?”

Rebecca: Yeah. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I love these neighbors. They are amazing, but I was like, “This is not what I want to be doing.” But we made it to the hospital. We got to triage. They strapped me all up. I was lying flat on my back in the most uncomfortable position, but basically, we got through triage and everything. From the time I got to the hospital to the time I got the epidural was probably still another hour and a half of labor at least. That was really tough.

We made it there. We got there. We finally got the epidural placed. I would say it was around noon when I finally got the epidural placed. I will tell you. I am all about natural labor and if somebody had told me, “You’ll have to labor 10 more hours, but you’re going to push your baby out and everything is going to be fine,” I would have found it in myself to do that.

Meagan: Yeah? Yeah?

Rebecca: I will still say that epidural felt so freaking good.

Meagan: I bet.

Rebecca: It was just a warm wave of a warm tingling hug. As soon as I got the epidural, all of the pain just kind of melted away. I was like, “This is where we are so I might as well enjoy this for what it is and take this relief.” Yeah. The other thing was that the doctor was, I would say, VBAC tolerant for sure, the doctor on call.

He kind of came in and gave us a big spiel about TOLAC and did we know the risks. He was like, “Look, you can try for a VBAC, but if anything goes wrong, we’re not going to try to fix it. It’s just going to be a C-section because we’re going to play it safe.” I was like, “Okay.” I didn’t have any problems with him. He was a nice guy and everything, but as soon as he said that, I was like, “I have a feeling this is going to be a C-section. I think it’s just going to be a C-section.”

The nurse was very great. She put me on the peanut ball. She moved me around some different positions to try to get him to back off my cervix. When they checked me again, I was still a 4 even after that time. I labored with the epidural for about two more hours to the point where I was like, “I’m getting kind of bored and antsy. I sort of want to know what’s going to happen. What’s the plan at this point?”

At about two hours in, the doctor came back in and he checked me again. He said, “I could push you to a 5, but you’re still basically a 4.” He said, “Your cervix is very swollen.” He said, “I could give you Benadryl or something like that for the cervix to come down.” He was like, “But I really don’t like to do that because at this point, whatever is happening to your cervix is a position thing. It’s a mechanical, positional thing.”

Also, the epidural slowed my contractions way down. They went from being 3 minutes apart to being 10-12 minutes apart. He was like, “I’d probably have to give you Pitocin to get this going again.” He was like, “I’m not comfortable doing that.” He basically said, “I recommend a C-section and that’s basically your option.”

Meagan: I was like, “Okay. Can you give us a few minutes to talk it over?” He did. He left the room. My midwife, Kelly, was still there. She stayed on the whole time as my doula. She basically was like, “You know, I do understand what he is saying.” She was like, “I kind of wish he would have told you that earlier and not made you wait for two hours.” She was like, “I agree. It probably is positional and there’s probably not a ton we can do.”

Oh, another thing he had said was that the baby was having some decels after my contractions. He was like, “You know, that can show us the baby is in a little bit of distress.” She was kind of like, “You know, I understand what he is saying and I’m not sure that I would give you any other advice. I’m not sure I would tell you anything different.”

My husband and I talked it over and we were like, “Let’s just meet our baby. Let’s just meet our baby now.” We had them go over our C-section plan and of course, they weren’t willing to do most of the things that we had on that plan. They didn’t have the clear drapes. There were just a lot of things that they weren’t willing to do, but they did agree that the nurse could take pictures of the surgery for us which was something I didn’t have with my daughter.

Meagan: Which is nice.

Rebecca: Yeah. She took pictures for me and that’s pretty much the only thing, I think, that was really different. She took pictures of everything that happened.

44:53 Consenting to a C-section

Rebecca: Around 4:00, we consented to the C-section, and then yeah. They just prepped me. My sister took a picture of me giving a thumbs up getting ready to go. She took a picture of my husband and his whole suit and everything. I was like, “Okay. Let’s just do this thing and get our baby now.”

I did shed some tears while they were rolling me into the OR and I remember the anesthesiologist well-meaning was kind of like, “What? Are you afraid of a C-section? You’ve already done this!” I know she was trying to be like, “There’s nothing to be scared of,” but I was kind of like, I even said to her, “I’m not scared. That’s not why I’m crying.” She was like, “Well, what’s wrong?” I was like, “I’m disappointed.”

Meagan: This is not what I wanted, yeah. This is not what I planned for.

Rebecca: That was a little bit like, “Okay. Come on. Empathize a little bit here. There are lots of reasons why someone could be crying going into this.”

Long story short, the C-section all went to plan, but as soon as they did pull him out, they did say he was OP. He was sunny-side up and then they also said, “And he’s 9 pounds.” So he was pretty big. I mean, I could have pushed him out for sure but he–

Meagan: Yeah, on the bigger side.

Rebecca: But he was in sort of a poor position which could be why I had the swelling and everything of the cervix. He came out and he was really, really healthy. Once we got to the recovery room, he nursed right away. He was definitely a hungry little boy right from the beginning so that was awesome. He latched right on and nursed and everything.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the story.

46:43 Tips for when things don’t go as planned

Meagan: You know, it’s so interesting how we have these things. We go through all of these things and we end sometimes in the way we didn’t want, right?

Rebecca: Yeah.

Meagan: I’ve been there too, not nearly as intense as you. You went through a lot. I just had an unsupportive provider from the get-go. I ended up walking down to the OR in general, but we have these experiences, but we still grow from them.

Rebecca: Absolutely.

Meagan: I mean, I heard little nuggets within your story like bonding with your husband, having faith in your body, working through it, experiencing labor, having support, but are there any other things that you would tell our Women of Strength, our listeners, especially if something doesn’t happen exactly as planned?

Rebecca: Yeah. There are a couple of different things. The first one was all throughout when I was prepping for labor in particular, especially for dealing with pain, the word that kept coming up and coming up was surrender. I kept thinking, “Surrender to the contraction. Surrender to the sensation.” I always applied that very specifically to labor and labor pains, but I want people to take it a step further and just be like, surrender to your birth however it’s going to happen because even if you do everything right and you do all of the steps, there are no guarantees in birth that you are going to have the outcome that you wanted. Even if you have a good outcome, most likely, there’s going to be something about it that was unexpected or wasn’t perfect so just try to surrender to the whole experience.

Yeah, of course, surrender to the contractions. Surrender to the labor, but surrender to the whole experience and the fact that you can’t control it. That doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.

Meagan: Yeah.

Rebecca: That’s the other thing. I hear it a lot in VBAC and I understand why people use this word, but I feel a little bit, I guess I would say use some caution in using it. A lot of people label their VBAC as a redemption or redemptive. You own whatever experience you have. I’m sure it is redemptive, but I guess what I would say is that we don’t need to redeem ourselves. There is nothing we did wrong that we have to have redemption for. Can the experience feel redemptive? Absolutely, but I don’t want women to then apply that to themselves like, “I need redemption because I failed at something.”

You are making the best decision for yourself and your child with the information that you have at that moment. That is what parenting is all about. You can’t control anything when you become a parent either. There are always going to be these little decisions you have to make that are unexpected or huge decisions.

I think that was the difference between this C-section for me and the last one was the last one, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. With this one, every step of the way, I was given choices by my midwife with my husband. We had time to talk through things. We had time to think through things. We made the choices that we felt were the best choices at the moment.

So those are the two things I would really say. Surrender to your whole experience because you have no idea what it’s going to bring and you don’t need redemption because you are already being the best mom that you can possibly be or the best birthing parent that you can possibly be just by being in the moment and making those good decisions with the information that you have.

Meagan: I love that so much. I love that so much. Thank you for sharing that.

Rebeca: Yeah, absolutely.

50:43 Signs of wonky positioning

Meagan: I want to dial into that. The swelling of the cervix, the “stalling” of this labor and I’m putting it in quotes, but it does happen and sometimes despite all of our efforts, it doesn’t change and sometimes it does change, but I wanted to talk about the swelling of the cervix and what that really means and what kind of signs we can look out for to know that we’ve maybe got a baby in a wonky position that could cause a swollen cervix and then what we can do.

I mean, just like you were talking about, we were talking about how you just needed your husband to hold your butt together. That is a sign. If we are having all back or butt labor, that could mean a sign that a baby is in an OP or occiput posterior position. That doesn’t always cause a swollen cervix or a delay or a stall in labor or anything like that, but it can.

Another position is called asynclitic and that’s where the head is kind of tipped to the side a little bit and we’re not coming down with a nice chin-tucked position into the pelvis. Another one is where the chin is extended or we’re in that military position. I’ve also seen it sometimes in a transverse. It’s like a transverse asynclitic. I don’t know exactly what that one is where the head is back, the chin is up, and we’re in an asynclitic position. We’re not looking straight up.

Those are positions that may mean our babies are in a less-ideal position. Some of the things are prodromal labor beforehand. You had mentioned that. That means sometimes there is a baby that needs help getting in a different position or a back labor or a butt labor. A coupling pattern where there are two contractions and then there is a big break and then there’s a big strong one. Our body is trying to get that baby to rotate.

Rebecca: Yep. I did have really long contractions and I did have some double peaks so that makes sense to me.

Meagan: Yes. Yes. I call them coupling contractions where that’s what they can do. Our body is brilliant. It’s trying to rotate these babies and work with us, but sometimes, it’s more difficult and sometimes we have to help our body by rotating and moving and working with the pelvis in things like this.

53:31 What to do

Some of the things we can do, it sounds really weird and I saw this from a nurse years ago and I was like, “What is she doing?” Then I was like, “Oh my gosh, it worked.” We had an anterior lip where it was swelling on the one side. She said, “I want you to get in the biggest fetal position that you can, the tightest fetal position.” We’re holding her even around and imagine a 9-month belly. So it was a little difficult to wrap ourselves around it, but we brought knees all the way to her chest, had her wrap around her knees like this and she laid there. We had to do a lot of counterpressure.

Rebecca: Yeah, I can imagine.

Meagan: Because that was not a comfortable position. We did five contractions like that and it was hard, but she said, “I want to do it. I want to do it.” We got into it with lots of counterpressure then we did, I don’t know what you call it, but we did the throne where you sit up feet to feet, knees out, but after that contraction, she got a check and the lip was gone.

That was something that was kind of cool that I had never heard of. I had been a doula for years then I saw this and I was like, “Huh, okay.” I haven’t seen anyone do that.

Rebecca: Yeah. I read a lot of the books and I didn’t see that anywhere.

Meagan: Never saw it anywhere, but yeah. This nurse here in Utah was like, “I know just the trick.” She did it and I was like, “Whoa, okay.” Yeah. Some people will say that sometimes ice, there is a circulation issue and sometimes ice can actually stop circulation. Sometimes ice isn’t the best and then Arnica or Benadryl. You mentioned Benadryl that they wouldn’t give you but they mentioned it. I don’t even know how to say the word. It’s actually something that I just was talking to a labor and delivery nurse in our community who wants a VBAC. It’s Cemicifuga. I don’t even know actually, you guys. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but those, I’ve seen arnica, out-of-hospital midwives will use or getting into a tub. Sometimes that can or sometimes an epidural because it can offer relaxation.

But then that always and then yeah, just moving, moving, and working with position. But then sometimes, despite all of our efforts, just like cute Rebecca, for whatever reason it doesn’t change. That’s when we have to surrender on our whole experience and make the choice that is best for us at that point. If that’s a repeat Cesarean, that’s a repeat Cesarean.

Repeat Cesareans can also be healing.

Rebecca: Yeah. I would say this was because I definitely felt totally different about the experience afterward. I still mourned it of course and you will, but I felt much more empowered and I got so much out of just going through the labor process that I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It still was healing for me for sure.

57:00 Why you shouldn’t skip the repeat Cesarean stories

Meagan: I love that. Well, thank you so much for sharing your stories with us, being here with us today, and talking about swollen cervixes.

Rebecca: Yeah. I hope people actually click on this. I know when I was preparing for VBAC, I was kind of guilty of, “Oh, a repeat Cesarean, I don’t want to listen to this one.” So again, hopefully, people will be open because you never know what your story is, or maybe you’ll come back and find it after you’ve had a repeat Cesarean and feel proud of yourself for everything that you did because I think hearing these stories after you’ve had a repeat Cesarean could be really helpful.

Meagan: Absolutely. Just like they are helpful after having a Cesarean and preparing for a VBAC, after having a repeat Cesarean, these stories can be very healing and validating as well. These stories, I know that there are so many people out there who won’t click or will avoid them because they don’t want to even think or go there, but a lot of these stories with repeat Cesareans actually offer tools that can help heal if that does happen and ways that you can prepare for if that does happen because it’s any birth. I mean obviously, look at all of us. There are hundreds of us and thousands of us who have had an unexpected Cesarean. We weren’t planning on that

Rebecca: No.

Meagan: So preparing before for all outcomes is so powerful.

Rebecca: Definitely. Definitely. Have that backup plan because I didn’t even have one at all for my first and I was really glad I had it for my second.

Meagan: Yes. Oh, well thank you again so much for being here with us today, and congratulations on your baby.

Rebecca: Thank you. Thanks for hearing my story. I love what you do and I think it’s really, really important, so thank you.

Meagan: Thank you.

Closing

Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Tell us about your experience at thevbaclink.com/share. For more information on all things VBAC including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Meagan’s bio, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.


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