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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 280 Arianna's VBA2C + Far Travel, PPROM, Short Interval & Gestational Diabetes

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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.

“Birth is birth and we just want our babies here safe, but I also think that we all deserve to be empowered to have the birth that feels right.”

One night, a few months after her second C-section, Arianna had a dream that she was giving birth vaginally to a sweet baby boy and pulled him right up to her chest. The next morning, she took a pregnancy test and it was surprisingly positive. Coming from a small town in Wyoming, she already knew from her second pregnancy that VBAC was not allowed locally. But at that moment, Arianna knew she was going to do whatever it took to have her VBA2C.

Arianna traveled 2.5 hours each way for routine midwife and OB appointments in Montana to have VBAC-supportive providers. She faced many roadblocks including a short pregnancy interval, gestational diabetes, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), a medical induction, other interventions she wasn’t planning for, and slow progress. But her team was patient and encouraging, Arianna felt divinely watched over, and her VBA2C dream literally came true!

The VBAC Link Blog: What to do When Your Water Breaks

The VBAC Link Blog: VBAC With Gestational Diabetes

The VBAC Link Facebook Community

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

01:44 Review of the Week

03:52 Arianna’s first birth story

07:04 Requesting a C-section

08:34 Arianna’s second birth

11:36 VBAC preparation

15:37 Signs of preterm labor

20:34 Going to the hospital

24:04 First cervical check

27:10 Slow effacement

31:05 Catching her baby

33:59 Importance of support

36:35 Dual care tips

44:56 Traveling tips

Meagan: Hello, Women of Strength. We are on episode two of the week and I am just so excited that we are doing this. It is so fun to bring double doses of VBAC, CBAC, and educational stories to inspire and encourage you during your journey.

Today, we have our friend, Arianna, and she is from Wyoming. Is that correct?

Arianna: Yep.

Meagan: Yes, Wyoming. Where in Wyoming?

Arianna: Buffalo. It sits under the Big Horn mountains.

Meagan: Awesome. You guys, she actually traveled quite a distance to find her provider and that is something I think we get often in our community where it’s like, “I don’t know how far is appropriate to travel.” I think the answer literally depends on what’s appropriate for your family and your living situation and your needs and everything like that.

But Arianna– I just started butchering your name. Did you travel 2.5 hours?

Arianna: About 2.5 up to Montana.

Meagan: Okay, so we are definitely going to want to talk about that because I know this is going to be something that people are going to be interested in. Also, you had gestational diabetes.

Arianna: Yes.

Meagan: Yes. So okay, you guys, any story right? But if you are looking for knowing how to travel or gestational diabetes or anything like that, this is definitely the episode to listen to.

01:44 Review of the Week

Meagan: But of course, we have a Review of the Week and this is a fresh review, well fresher review. It’s in 2023 so just last year which is crazy still to me to say that this is last year, but it was in 2023 by sayerbaercooks. The review title is “Educating and Empowering.” It says, “Just had my VBAC. My pregnancy and birth changed all for the better thanks to this podcast and the women who shared their stories. This tool gave me the information I needed to advocate for me and my baby. I learned about the medical system and about myself and I had a fantastic birth which was the icing on the cake. I cannot thank you all enough.”

I love that so much. I love that this podcast is doing exactly what we created it to do. So Women of Strength, one, if you have shared your story on our podcast, thank you. Thank you so much for creating such an amazing space for all of the Women of Strength listening. And if you are interested in sharing your story, definitely email us. Reach out or you can go online at thevbaclink.com/share and submit your podcast story. We’re sharing both on social media and we’re sharing on the podcast. We are hoping to get to some more of our submissions.

03:52 Arianna’s first birth story

Meagan: Okay, darling. I am excited to hear your story. I feel like as I was reading your blurb about your story, I feel like there is so much that you did, truly, that you did between hiring a doula, driving 2.5 hours, going to a chiropractor, reading all of the books, listening to the podcast, eating really well, finding the true support that you deserved– you did a lot and that is hard to do.

Sometimes we do all of that and our birth still doesn’t end up the way that we wanted, but sometimes I feel like when we look back, we at least know that we did all that we could, but I’m so excited for you to share your VBAC after two C-section story with us right now.

Arianna: Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited.

I’ll just start with my first. I feel like that’s where we go. I was a single mom with my first pregnancy and I was young. I was only 22, or almost 22, and I think really the only thing I did was the 2-hour hospital birth class. I think I just had this expectation of, “Well, women push out babies and that’s just what I’ll do.” I didn’t feel prepared. I felt very alone.

I was induced at 41 weeks and 6 days because my body was just not having it. I did everything I could think of and acupuncture and he just didn’t want to come out. I had a pretty easy induction. We started with Cytotec and Pitocin. After I got my first dose of Cytotec, my water broke two hours later. I was 2 centimeters.

Meagan: Darn it.

Arianna: That was rough and the contractions were just insane. Pitocin contractions are the devil’s work, I think. There were super painful. I had my mom with me, but I just didn’t feel like I was in a supportive environment looking back especially.

I got the epidural right away because I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s not supposed to be this painful.”

Meagan: Yeah. Well, Cytotec, Pitocin, water breaking– all of those things packed together, that’s tough.

Arianna: It was intense. I labored in bed all day. All day long. I progressed really well. I got to 10 centimeters. I started pushing and I was like, “La, la, la. I’m going to have a baby. This is great. I’ve got my drugs. I can’t really feel anything.” But I think within the first hour of pushing, I was like, “Well, I’m doing something wrong because nothing is happening.”

The doctor kept saying, “He’s so high up. He’s not coming down.” So I think what broke me though is the older nurse. I will never forget her face, but she just made a snide comment of, “Girls these days just don’t know how to have babies.”

Meagan: Oh.

07:04 Requesting a C-section

Arianna: I was like, “Oh, okay.” I pushed for three total hours and then I started to just really feel like something was wrong. I asked for a C-section.

Meagan: Okay, yeah.

Arianna: Looking back, I’m like, “There are so many things that could have gone differently.” We ended up with a C-section and he was OP, so he was face up and he was slanted.

Meagan: I was just going to ask that.

Arianna: Mhmm. He was a little slanted and OP. You know, later I found out he was kind of having some developmental things and he was struggling with the right side of his body so I ended up finding out that he had actually gone without oxygen and had a blood clot and had a stroke during delivery. I’m grateful for that C-section and trusting my body that things didn’t feel right, but it came with a lot of trauma over all of it.

Arianna: Around that time, my son was about 2, I met my now husband and we went down the road of diagnosis and specialists finding out he has mild cerebral palsy.

Meagan: I was just going to ask if he has cerebral palsy.

Arianna: He is a rockstar, truly. He has saved my life in so many ways. I am so proud of him. He works so hard with PT and OT and all of the things.

08:34 Arianna’s second birth

So moving on, I got married to the most amazing man ever. He loved every part of me. I struggled pretty intensely throughout my teenage years with mental health stuff, suicidal ideation, depression, and all of those things. At the time, I was pretty heavily involved in suicide prevention. That is always a huge part of my life.

We got married and we got pregnant right away. I had a miscarriage pretty early on and then we got pregnant again. I had heard of this little fairytale thing called a VBAC. I was like, “Ooh, yeah that’s cool.” I brought it up to my doctor at our little small hospital. Immediately, he was like, “It’s not really safe, but if that’s what you want to do, we don’t do them in the state of Wyoming.” So I was like, “Okay. Well, we’ll just have a C-section,” because I really didn’t know and I was still dealing with the trauma of my first birth. Five years had gone by and I wasn’t aware I was so traumatized until I was having another baby.

Meagan: That’s often the case. We don’t really recognize it until we are in that new situation and all of the flooding memories come in and we’re like, “Oh crap. Wow, I have trauma.”

Arianna: Yeah. My doctor was amazing. He really validated where my anxiety and my fears were coming from. I didn’t want a C-section, but in my mind, we are told, “If you’ve had one, everyone says you have to have another. It’s the safest option,” so I trusted that.

At 38 weeks, my water broke.

Meagan: Okay.

Arianna: I was like, “Oh, my body could do it.” I still had my C-section, but that for me, was redemptive because I was like, “See? My body could do it,” and that was okay.

That was an adventure. When my daughter was 6 weeks old, I got mastitis and was septic and in the hospital for a week and a half.

Meagan: Yikes.

Arianna: That was insane and I was on heavy-duty antibiotics for three or four months but I was also on the pill so those two things counteract each other if people don’t know that, so when she was 7 months, we found out we were pregnant in a wild way. I had a dream one night that I had a baby boy vaginally and I caught him and brought him to my chest.

The next morning, I took a pregnancy test. I told my husband, “I will not have another C-section. I will not.” That just started this, “I’m going to have a VBAC and I don’t even know if this is real or if people after multiple C-sections do this,” because living in such a small area, I didn’t know anyone who had ever had a VBAC.

11:36 VBAC preparation

So I was like, “Okay. We are doing it.” I got all of the books. I joined all of the Facebook groups. I started listening to The VBAC Link and I hired a doula. I was probably only 8 weeks pregnant when I hired a doula. I found the midwife clinic that was within the hospital in Montana 2.5 hours away. I knew I needed a doula there.

I had a pretty good pregnancy. It was scary bringing it up to my provider here. I did see him a couple of times throughout my pregnancy just in case something happened.

Meagan: Yeah, that’s called dual care and I think that’s actually a really great option when you are traveling or sometimes if you are going out of the hospital and you just want to be established in the hospital as a backup plan, doing that dual care is actually really good.

Arianna: That was the hardest fight of the whole pregnancy because I was so set on getting my VBAC and it wasn’t safe. There were just all of these things and eventually, he got on board, I think, because he knew how serious I was.

I had such an amazing experience driving 2.5 hours away. Looking at it now, it wasn’t a big deal at all because I was so set. It didn’t matter. I would have gone anywhere because I was so set. “This is what I am doing.”

The midwife clinic was within the hospital so they worked alongside OBs and everything. Sorry, I’m getting emotional.

Meagan: That’s okay.

Arianna: The midwife clinic was amazing. They never once, every time I would go to an appointment, I’m like, “Okay. This is the time they are going to tell me that I can’t. I can’t have a TOLAC. I can’t even try.” That’s all I wanted. I wanted the chance to try. They were always so encouraging and amazing like, “No, you can do this.”

It was a clinic so there were several different midwives that you saw on rotation. There were a couple of times I would catch one that was like, “You’ve had two C-sections. We don’t really do this,” then there would be somewhere it was like, “Yeah. You’re going to do great. This is going to be awesome.” I just tried to hold onto that.

Really, the whole experience was just a testament to how loving God is in my life. I really had to find peace towards the middle end of my pregnancy and I just had to give it to God because I was starting to really become anxious.

Arianna: Then I failed my glucose test and I was just like, “Well, here we go. I’m going to have a C-section now.” Then I really started to dive deep. The thing that got me through the 2.5-hour” drives there and back was The VBAC Link because I didn’t have an army of women who got it in any way really. I needed that. It gave me a sense of community and this distant village of women I’m never going to meet. They’re there. They’re out there and it’s definitely possible. So listening to stories of women who had similar experiences got me through.

I had gestational diabetes. It was diet-controlled. I’m a little thicker than I would want to have been through a pregnancy, so the gestational diabetes in a way was kind of a blessing in disguise because it really held me accountable to exercise and eating healthy. It kind of helped in a way. I’m really grateful I didn’t have to be on medication.

Meagan: Yeah.

15:37 Signs of preterm labor

Arianna: So at about 30 weeks, I started losing parts of my mucus plug. I was like, “I don’t think this is normal.

Meagan: A little early, yeah.

Arianna: But it grows back, so I was like, “I’ll be fine.” At about 34 weeks, I went and had a big appointment with my MFM and my midwife. I got to tour the hospital and for a small-town girl, I was like, “Wow. This is insane. This is where you have a baby.” The NICU was right there. There were operating rooms right there on the floor in case of anything.

We got to see delivery rooms. The lady who gave us our tour thought that I was genuinely insane because I had two C-sections. She was like, “Oh.”

Meagan: I don’t understand. When I went to go get my records, they looked at me like, “What? What are you thinking? You are scary,” like I was some plague or something. What?

Arianna: Yeah, and I think the biggest thing I faced was, “Why? You had two C-sections. You recovered just fine. Why does it even matter?”

Meagan: I know. Mhmm.

Arianna: I could never really give them an answer because it wasn’t– I think a lot of people made it sound like I had to prove myself and my ability as a woman and as a mother to have a vaginal birth. I think that’s very valid for a lot of women because there’s trauma in this “I’m not good enough” feeling still surrounded by C-sections which is not true. Birth is birth and we just want our babies here safe, but I also think that we all deserve to be empowered to have the birth that feels right.

Meagan: Absolutely.

Arianna: And that feels like we are worthy of that, that we could do it or just an opportunity to try. She was the first person that it didn’t bother me. I’m like, “I’m 34 weeks. I am doing all the things and I’m going to have this perfect, totally chill VBAC experience and it’s going to be amazing.”

Well, the next week, I really started to have inconsistent contractions. I was really losing my mucus plug. I woke up at 35+4 and definitely had some bloody show. I just felt kind of leaky. Every time someone was like, “What do you mean leaky?” I’m like, “I just feel leaky. I don’t know.”

Meagan: You’re like, “Something’s going on down there.”

Arianna: Something is going on, but it’s too early, so I was like, “I’m just going to act like everything’s fine.”

My daughter had a doctor’s appointment at the clinic that day, a wellness checkup. The doctor was like, “Are you doing okay?” I’m like, “Yep.” In my mind, I’m like, “If I say anything, they’re going to check me and for all I know, I could be dilating. My water probably broke.” I was pretty sure my water broke.

Meagan: Were you still inconsistent with your contractions at this point?

Arianna: Yeah, mhmm so it was like, “No, I’m good.” I don’t want to get stuck here. I don’t want to have a C-section.

20:34 Going to the hospital

Arianna: So we finished up her appointment. I called my husband. I called the midwives and the midwife nurse I spoke to just told me, “If you want a chance for your VBAC and there is any chance you are in labor, pack up your stuff.” We are 2.5 hours away and those potty breaks at that fully pregnant, I’m going to have to stop and use the bathroom. It was going to take us a minute to get there.

We got the kids situated and it was a beautiful day. It was so beautiful. My contractions were super chill and super inconsistent. We drove. We danced and laughed. I cried. I was nervous. I was excited. We got there and I really wanted KFC because I had just eaten super healthy my whole pregnancy and what were they going to do? So we got some food.

We got to the hospital at about 2:30 in the afternoon and it was nice because the midwives had their own nursing staff. It felt so different than my first birth, tenfold and then even my C-section with my second.

We got there and the whole time, I was mostly angry because we just drove 2.5 hours and there’s no way I’m in labor. There’s no way. We just wasted all of this time to come up here.

The first thing they did was check to see if my water had broken. They did that swab. They sent it off and we just sat in the room for an hour. I was texting my doula and I was like, “Oh my gosh. They’re going to make me have a C-section.” She’s like, “No, just calm down.” She was so amazing.

Yeah, they came back and they were standing there. We had the OG midwife and then we had a new midwife to that clinic so she was kind of just taking charge of things, but the nurse came in and she started writing on the board. Then I let out some potty words and I was like, “Oh my gosh.”

Meagan: What the heck?

Arianna: No. Quit writing on the board. I asked, “Is it negative?” She was like, “Yeah, your water broke.” I was like, “Okay, so I have to have a C-section. You’re going to put me on a clock.” I just started downward spiraling. The stress. I was like, “It’s too early. I’m only 35.5 weeks. It’s too early.”

That was the scariest moment because I felt so out of control. I really just had to start praying and listening to some music. So I was too scared to get a cervical check because I remembered not dilating with my first then even with my second, my water broke and I was 2 centimeters before I had my second via C-section.

Meagan: Right. And you’re not contracting a ton right now.

Arianna: Not even. I mean, maybe one every 30 minutes and it was like mild, period cramps. I’d get an intense one every once in a while, but it wasn’t consistent so I was really worried that I wasn’t dilating. My water broke too early and I was like, “Even if they let me try, it’s just going to be this cascade of interventions and everything is just going to go out the window. I’ve worked too hard.” It was awful. My mindset was not great.

24:04 First cervical check

Arianna: I did end up letting her check me. I was 1 centimeter and I was only 20% effaced so there was a whole lot of nothing going on. After a few hours, they had to talk to my MFM because I was early. I had gestational diabetes. They had to talk to the on-call OB. We had to have this checklist of people and what we were going to do.

She came back in and she was like, “Okay. I’m going to check you and if we’re still good, we’re going to do a Cook catheter,” which is the double Foley, “and we’re going to do Pitocin.” Immediately, my husband stood up and was like, “She doesn’t want Pitocin. Pitocin is not good. That is her last resort.”

I felt really supported. I thought, “Oh my gosh. He’s listened to me this whole pregnancy. These are things we don’t want.” I talked with my doula. I talked with my husband and this was kind of my only shot if I wanted to try, we needed to get things going. But they were very good about never putting me on that clock.

Meagan: Good.

Arianna: Which was great. Yeah, so at about 7:00 at night, we had been there a few hours. I was 1 centimeter, but I was 50% effaced. She was like, “See? You are doing it.” We did the Cook catheter and they let me wait a couple of hours before starting Pitocin and they started very, very low.

Meagan: Good.

Arianna: Which was awesome. My doula came and we just walked. As soon as I got that Cook catheter, I was like, “All right. Come on, hubby. We are walking these halls because I’m not sitting down. I cannot.” I couldn’t let my mind get the best of me. We walked for 5 hours. We were just moving.

Meagan: Wow.

Arianna: We didn’t sit down. There were a couple of times with that Cook catheter where I was like, “Dear Lord, help me. This is the most uncomfortable thing ever.” We were on the opposite side of where my room was on the hall and my water gushed. I mean, it was the movies. I was like, “Uh, what do we do?” It’s 12:30 in the morning and this cute little housekeeper came and she helped me get a little cleaned up. I waddled back up to our room. At that point, my contractions were coming. They were coming. They had upped the Pitocin a little bit and I still did not want to get checked or anything. I still had the Cook catheter, but I would say at about 1:30 in the morning, I was on my dilation station backward on the toilet and that thing just popped out. I was like, “Oh my gosh. It’s happening.”

That was a moment where I was like, “Okay. I’m going to get to have my baby.” I waited about another hour before I would let her check me because I was scared. I was scared for the discouragement of, “Oh, well you’re only 4 centimeters or something.” She checked me at about 2:30 and I was 8.5 centimeters.

Meagan: What?

27:10 Slow effacement

Arianna: I was only 50% effaced. So I had not effaced in that whole time.

Meagan: Dilated but still thick.

Arianna: Oh my lord. We don’t talk about that I feel like. We hear, “8.5 centimeters” and I was like, “I don’t need an epidural. I’m going to push this baby out in an hour. This is going to be great.” Yeah, no. I stalled. Nothing happened. They kept upping my Pitocin and I let her check me again at about 5:00 and at that point, I was having major back labor which then me and my doula were like, “Oh no. He’s OP. He’s definitely face up.”

Meagan: We’ve got to work on this.

Arianna: I was trying to walk and move in the bathtub and I was just miserable. I probably let those contractions that were on top of each other, no breaks, for another hour and a half and by 6:30 in the morning, I yelled, “Pineapple!” That was my safety word. My husband was like, “Don’t tap out. You’re doing great.” I instantly was like, “I’m not tapping out. Why would you say that?”

He was like, “No, no. I just meant you are doing so good.” Because I had gone all that time without asking for drugs, my night nurse thought I did not want the epidural at all. She was very encouraging and amazing. She was like, “No, you’re doing great.” My doula was pulling out the peppermint essential oils and all of the things and all of the counterpressure. I mean, I just was like, “If I don’t get the epidural, I’m not going to make it. I won’t be able to keep going. I’m exhausted. I’m in so much pain.”

So lord bless that anesthesiologist because he was there within 15 minutes and I was struggling. I was like, “I can’t breathe. I can’t do this.” The whole energy of that room was so healing. It was so positive because no one was yelling. It was so stress-free.

I got the epidural at about 7:30 in the morning and I slowly, very slowly kept going. Very slowly. I think at about 9:00 or 10:00, I was only about 9 centimeters and 70% effaced. That was a moment where I was like, “I’m going to end up having a C-section.”

Meagan: That moment of doubt.

Arianna: That doubt just came in and my doula and my husband were like, “No, you’re not.” Once I got my epidural, my doula and my nurses were changing me every 30 minutes. I had the peanut ball. We were flipping positions. We were doing all of the things and my nurse came in at about 11:00. I called her and I was like, “I need you to check me because I need to get up and go number two.” It’s not the baby, I swear. I have to go to the bathroom.

She kind of giggled and she checked me. I was like, “Don’t tell me.” It was those magical words that I had waited for my whole pregnancy, “You’re complete and it’s time.”

Because I was early, we had to have this whole team of people. We had NICU staff and several nurses. We did a couple of practice pushes and his head was down there and ready. I ended up having to push for probably 45 minutes and my midwife had to just do a little snip because we really started to have some decels. I started to get a little panicked. My husband was just there and I just had to close my eyes and start praying, “God, you know my heart. I can do this.”

31:05 Catching her baby

Arianna: One more push and he was out. I helped bring him to my chest. He did come out with the cord wrapped around his neck so then I knew why he was starting to have some decels. I got to hold onto him for a little bit and then he had to go to the NICU because he was having some breathing issues.

I just remember my husband saying, “You did it.” I think any woman listening to it who has had the VBAC, that moment, there’s no moment like it really. It’s not like, “Oh, I just had a baby vaginally,” it’s “I just did something that so many people told me I couldn’t do or that my body wasn’t capable of” or whatever. It was so healing and so amazing.

He was only in the NICU for a few days which was a huge blessing.

Meagan: That’s awesome.

Arianna: I feel like just stuttered through all of that. I don’t even remember half of the stuff I said or that I wanted to say, but I think overall, the experience was just a testament to how strong our bodies and our minds can be. I know that in the moments, I really believe I stalled because I got in my head. I was just like, “Okay, I can’t do this. This is hard. I’m not progressing. My body’s not working right.” I just really believe in the power of the mind.

I think personally, my only goal in medication was to make it to 6 centimeters. I was like, “I just want to get to 6 centimeters without the epidural” and I made it past that.

Meagan: Yes, you did.

Arianna: I was very happy to get the epidural because I knew that I needed that break physically and mentally.

Yeah, that’s a rundown I guess. It was beautiful. I’m blessed that I have all of my babies here and that they were here safely. My second C-section was redemptive. It was healing. I had a doctor who listened to me and made me feel safe and cared for. In my VBAC experience, I had to fight for a support system that was almost 3 hours away, but what was so beautiful was what came after just this, “Wow,” or having people I don’t know super well messaging me and be like, “Hey, what did you do? How did you go about this?” I’m like, “You know what? This is why it mattered?”

33:59 Importance of support

Arianna: It doesn’t matter how your baby gets earthside, in my opinion.

Meagan: It doesn’t. It doesn’t.

Arianna: C-section is okay. It’s totally fine. It’s okay if you want repeat C-sections because that works for you but I think it also needs to be okay for women to want the opportunity to try for a vaginal birth as long as it’s safe and healthy and everything, but I think for me, the biggest thing was feeling supported. It came in so many different ways but it’s how I made it through for sure.

Meagan: Yeah. Support is one of the biggest tools in our toolbag when it comes to achieving the birth we desire. Like you were saying, it doesn’t mean we have to have a VBAC. It doesn’t mean you have to have a C-section. It doesn’t mean you can’t be induced. We have to dial into what we desire and then find the support that surrounds that type of birth.

I think that if I’m going to be super honest, that’s where I get really angry in this community because I see time and time and time again people not being supported, people not being given the opportunity to even try to have it. You know what I mean? We just cut people off in this world and it’s just so frustrating to me. Providers, why can we not step up to the plate and offer people support? Why do we have areas that are absolutely not supportive? If they are capable of giving birth to a baby, they are capable of helping someone give birth to a baby in any way, right? It’s just so frustrating and it’s for sure the biggest tool that we can have.

That sometimes looks like driving almost 3 hours away or that sometimes looks like hiring a doula further away or whatever. It’s important. It’s so important and Women of Strength, I want you to know you are worth it. You are worth getting the support. You are worth finding the support and

36:35 Dual care tips

Meagan: Let’s talk a little bit about traveling. You talked a little bit about how you did a little dual care. I think it’s a really great option to have if you are traveling, but there was something that you mentioned and I wanted to talk about this as well. It can actually sometimes be a little difficult because you’ve got one side that’s not supportive and one side that is supportive. Sometimes, they are saying different things. It’s pulling you in all of these directions, making you question, and that can be really, really, really difficult.

I had a client years ago who did dual care at the same hospital for a little bit and then transferred out of the hospital. The midwives and OBs were like, “No, your placenta is going to die. Your uterus is going to rupture.” They were saying all of these really, really big and scary things. She would call me and she was like, “What do you think about this? Maybe I’m making a bad choice,” even though in the end she was like, “I knew better, but they got to me.” That can be something that can be hard to battle within your own mind and doubt that intuition.

Know that if you are doing dual care, that can come up. Did you notice that?

Arianna: Yeah, hearing you speak, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that was how I was with my doula.” I would go here and see my provider. I think honestly, it’s not that they wouldn’t support VBACs, I just think the information they have is dated and realistically, it’s not safe because “we don’t have 24-hour anesthesia.” If something happened, they wouldn’t be able to provide the care needed.

But also, there were so many times where I felt like the information I was being told or the data was not anything I had found and then I talked with my MFM who was 100% on board and he was like, “Yeah. You’re going to do great.” Then I was like, “Wait, what?”

A big thing especially was, I don’t think I would ever do that again if I had another.

Meagan: Dual care.

Arianna: Yeah, I wouldn’t. It implants so much doubt. It’s not that they weren’t supportive, it’s just that they weren’t the support I needed. I think a big thing was I needed to feel supported because a VBAC is this hypothetical creature that lives somewhere far-off that no one has heard of, so that was the hard part was living in this tiny area where it was not safe, super dangerous, no one does it, especially after two C-sections.

Meagan: Right, yeah. I mean, my dual care experience lasted very short-lived because I did end up transferring officially to my midwife, but I went in every time knowing that they were going to have an opinion, but I knew where my heart stood. It was nice to have those options if transfer needed to happen and things like that, but I knew what they were going to say, I was going to hear it but let it bounce off. It was really hard to have to go in there every time and be like, “Okay. You’re going to get doubt and that’s okay. People are going to doubt you and that’s okay. You’re not doubting yourself. Know it.”

Arianna: Yeah. It was a mental workout every time. I knew they cared about me and my well-being of myself and my baby 100%, but I knew that in their minds, what I wanted to do was not a good idea and it wasn’t safe. I think my biggest encouragement to people who maybe do dual care is the best option is not to go to their appointments alone. That’s huge.

I think I survived it because I had such a huge support system. I had friends who were like, “Nope. Do you want me to come with you? Don’t get discouraged. You can do this.” Really, I had to get to a place in my pregnancy where I think with VBACs, we get really stuck with research and all of the information and the podcast and the forums on Facebook and all of these things, where it’s like, “If you want to have a VBAC, it has to look like this.” Everything I thought was going to happen went out the window. I got gestational diabetes. I had preterm labor. I had to get induced. My baby ended up in the NICU. All of the beautiful aspects that everyone talks about around VBAC were not realistic because every birth is different for everyone.

I think a big thing for the VBAC community that I didn’t feel supported in is, “What if I have to get induced? What if I fail my glucose test? What if I have these barriers or preterm labor? What if I have all of these roadblocks?”

Meagan: Well, you actually had a shorter interval too, but no one ever really said anything. There are so many things that something could come up.

Arianna: Yeah, my babies were only 15 months apart.

Meagan: There are all of these things and I’m like, “There are so many roadblocks that could have come up along the way.”

Arianna: Oh yeah, when I unpack my VBAC suitcase and I look at things, I’m like, “Wow, this is heavy,” because I had also just had this near-death experience with my second child with this mastitis. It was just a God thing. I mean, it was for me. I mean, it was 100%. I know that God knew my heart in the whole experience and He was so faithful to all of it.

For me, I like to think that I give things to God but then I slowly take them back and this was the one experience in my life where it was like, “God has to have this 100%” because I look at all of the little roadblocks and they weren’t roadblocks at all. They were just little bumps and we made it through.

Meagan: I love that so much.

I am so proud of you. I’m proud of you for getting the education, doing the research, and joining the community so like you said in the beginning, you had that community of women all over the world that were in very similar spaces and that you could connect with. That’s something I love so much about our VBAC community on Facebook is you get on there and you’re like, “Whoa. I’m not alone. I feel alone right here, but I’m not alone.” You can turn to that space. You can turn to these podcasts and you really truly become friends with some of these people, right?

I’m just so proud of you and so glad that you had your VBAC. I’m so thankful that you were on the show. I wanted to let everyone know that we do have blogs on gestational diabetes. We have blogs on laboring at home, what to know and when it’s not safe, and things like that for people who may be traveling a little distance who are not in preterm labor. We have tons of blogs.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this, but it’s called Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by Lily.

Arianna: Yeah.

Meagan: You know it?

Arianna: I read it.

Meagan: That is such an amazing book and we’ve had Lily on the podcast. I just think that one is a really great go-to. She also has Real Food for Pregnancy so that’s a really good one. But yeah, just getting all of the education you can.

44:56 Traveling tips

Arianna: I want to touch really quickly on what it was like traveling in preparation for birth. Obviously, mine didn’t go to plan, but I think the biggest thing that I see people asking is, “Well, when do I leave? How do I know?” My plan was for my midwife to have vouchers for the hotel that was right next to the hospital so there were options available or trying to find a family or friend that you could stay with. My plan was actually to go up there and stay at 38 weeks until baby came.

I was intending to labor as much as I could at the hotel or whatever. Obviously, things worked out great, but having a plan like that in place between 37 and 38 weeks is really comforting because like my midwife told me, she was like, “If you want that chance for a VBAC, pack your bags and get up here.” That’s my biggest piece of advice. If you are traveling, try to have a plan set up towards the end. Where can you stay? Do you have a support system up there? That was huge.

Meagan: Yeah. I agree so much. Yeah. Having that and having the plan in between like, okay. if labor shifts really fast, know the hospitals in between or know where you can go in between. Be prepared. Have the things in your bag. Have a little bit of a plan. Get the support at home and when you’re there. All of those things are going to add up and create a better experience for you. It is possible to travel. It’s worth it in my opinion. I only had to travel a really short distance, but I’ve had clients that travel literally from Russia to Utah to have these VBACs. I think she would vouch every single day that it was worth it. You just have to figure out what’s best for you and your family. Find the resources, get the support, and rock your birth.

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.

“Birth is birth and we just want our babies here safe, but I also think that we all deserve to be empowered to have the birth that feels right.”

One night, a few months after her second C-section, Arianna had a dream that she was giving birth vaginally to a sweet baby boy and pulled him right up to her chest. The next morning, she took a pregnancy test and it was surprisingly positive. Coming from a small town in Wyoming, she already knew from her second pregnancy that VBAC was not allowed locally. But at that moment, Arianna knew she was going to do whatever it took to have her VBA2C.

Arianna traveled 2.5 hours each way for routine midwife and OB appointments in Montana to have VBAC-supportive providers. She faced many roadblocks including a short pregnancy interval, gestational diabetes, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), a medical induction, other interventions she wasn’t planning for, and slow progress. But her team was patient and encouraging, Arianna felt divinely watched over, and her VBA2C dream literally came true!

The VBAC Link Blog: What to do When Your Water Breaks

The VBAC Link Blog: VBAC With Gestational Diabetes

The VBAC Link Facebook Community

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

01:44 Review of the Week

03:52 Arianna’s first birth story

07:04 Requesting a C-section

08:34 Arianna’s second birth

11:36 VBAC preparation

15:37 Signs of preterm labor

20:34 Going to the hospital

24:04 First cervical check

27:10 Slow effacement

31:05 Catching her baby

33:59 Importance of support

36:35 Dual care tips

44:56 Traveling tips

Meagan: Hello, Women of Strength. We are on episode two of the week and I am just so excited that we are doing this. It is so fun to bring double doses of VBAC, CBAC, and educational stories to inspire and encourage you during your journey.

Today, we have our friend, Arianna, and she is from Wyoming. Is that correct?

Arianna: Yep.

Meagan: Yes, Wyoming. Where in Wyoming?

Arianna: Buffalo. It sits under the Big Horn mountains.

Meagan: Awesome. You guys, she actually traveled quite a distance to find her provider and that is something I think we get often in our community where it’s like, “I don’t know how far is appropriate to travel.” I think the answer literally depends on what’s appropriate for your family and your living situation and your needs and everything like that.

But Arianna– I just started butchering your name. Did you travel 2.5 hours?

Arianna: About 2.5 up to Montana.

Meagan: Okay, so we are definitely going to want to talk about that because I know this is going to be something that people are going to be interested in. Also, you had gestational diabetes.

Arianna: Yes.

Meagan: Yes. So okay, you guys, any story right? But if you are looking for knowing how to travel or gestational diabetes or anything like that, this is definitely the episode to listen to.

01:44 Review of the Week

Meagan: But of course, we have a Review of the Week and this is a fresh review, well fresher review. It’s in 2023 so just last year which is crazy still to me to say that this is last year, but it was in 2023 by sayerbaercooks. The review title is “Educating and Empowering.” It says, “Just had my VBAC. My pregnancy and birth changed all for the better thanks to this podcast and the women who shared their stories. This tool gave me the information I needed to advocate for me and my baby. I learned about the medical system and about myself and I had a fantastic birth which was the icing on the cake. I cannot thank you all enough.”

I love that so much. I love that this podcast is doing exactly what we created it to do. So Women of Strength, one, if you have shared your story on our podcast, thank you. Thank you so much for creating such an amazing space for all of the Women of Strength listening. And if you are interested in sharing your story, definitely email us. Reach out or you can go online at thevbaclink.com/share and submit your podcast story. We’re sharing both on social media and we’re sharing on the podcast. We are hoping to get to some more of our submissions.

03:52 Arianna’s first birth story

Meagan: Okay, darling. I am excited to hear your story. I feel like as I was reading your blurb about your story, I feel like there is so much that you did, truly, that you did between hiring a doula, driving 2.5 hours, going to a chiropractor, reading all of the books, listening to the podcast, eating really well, finding the true support that you deserved– you did a lot and that is hard to do.

Sometimes we do all of that and our birth still doesn’t end up the way that we wanted, but sometimes I feel like when we look back, we at least know that we did all that we could, but I’m so excited for you to share your VBAC after two C-section story with us right now.

Arianna: Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited.

I’ll just start with my first. I feel like that’s where we go. I was a single mom with my first pregnancy and I was young. I was only 22, or almost 22, and I think really the only thing I did was the 2-hour hospital birth class. I think I just had this expectation of, “Well, women push out babies and that’s just what I’ll do.” I didn’t feel prepared. I felt very alone.

I was induced at 41 weeks and 6 days because my body was just not having it. I did everything I could think of and acupuncture and he just didn’t want to come out. I had a pretty easy induction. We started with Cytotec and Pitocin. After I got my first dose of Cytotec, my water broke two hours later. I was 2 centimeters.

Meagan: Darn it.

Arianna: That was rough and the contractions were just insane. Pitocin contractions are the devil’s work, I think. There were super painful. I had my mom with me, but I just didn’t feel like I was in a supportive environment looking back especially.

I got the epidural right away because I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s not supposed to be this painful.”

Meagan: Yeah. Well, Cytotec, Pitocin, water breaking– all of those things packed together, that’s tough.

Arianna: It was intense. I labored in bed all day. All day long. I progressed really well. I got to 10 centimeters. I started pushing and I was like, “La, la, la. I’m going to have a baby. This is great. I’ve got my drugs. I can’t really feel anything.” But I think within the first hour of pushing, I was like, “Well, I’m doing something wrong because nothing is happening.”

The doctor kept saying, “He’s so high up. He’s not coming down.” So I think what broke me though is the older nurse. I will never forget her face, but she just made a snide comment of, “Girls these days just don’t know how to have babies.”

Meagan: Oh.

07:04 Requesting a C-section

Arianna: I was like, “Oh, okay.” I pushed for three total hours and then I started to just really feel like something was wrong. I asked for a C-section.

Meagan: Okay, yeah.

Arianna: Looking back, I’m like, “There are so many things that could have gone differently.” We ended up with a C-section and he was OP, so he was face up and he was slanted.

Meagan: I was just going to ask that.

Arianna: Mhmm. He was a little slanted and OP. You know, later I found out he was kind of having some developmental things and he was struggling with the right side of his body so I ended up finding out that he had actually gone without oxygen and had a blood clot and had a stroke during delivery. I’m grateful for that C-section and trusting my body that things didn’t feel right, but it came with a lot of trauma over all of it.

Arianna: Around that time, my son was about 2, I met my now husband and we went down the road of diagnosis and specialists finding out he has mild cerebral palsy.

Meagan: I was just going to ask if he has cerebral palsy.

Arianna: He is a rockstar, truly. He has saved my life in so many ways. I am so proud of him. He works so hard with PT and OT and all of the things.

08:34 Arianna’s second birth

So moving on, I got married to the most amazing man ever. He loved every part of me. I struggled pretty intensely throughout my teenage years with mental health stuff, suicidal ideation, depression, and all of those things. At the time, I was pretty heavily involved in suicide prevention. That is always a huge part of my life.

We got married and we got pregnant right away. I had a miscarriage pretty early on and then we got pregnant again. I had heard of this little fairytale thing called a VBAC. I was like, “Ooh, yeah that’s cool.” I brought it up to my doctor at our little small hospital. Immediately, he was like, “It’s not really safe, but if that’s what you want to do, we don’t do them in the state of Wyoming.” So I was like, “Okay. Well, we’ll just have a C-section,” because I really didn’t know and I was still dealing with the trauma of my first birth. Five years had gone by and I wasn’t aware I was so traumatized until I was having another baby.

Meagan: That’s often the case. We don’t really recognize it until we are in that new situation and all of the flooding memories come in and we’re like, “Oh crap. Wow, I have trauma.”

Arianna: Yeah. My doctor was amazing. He really validated where my anxiety and my fears were coming from. I didn’t want a C-section, but in my mind, we are told, “If you’ve had one, everyone says you have to have another. It’s the safest option,” so I trusted that.

At 38 weeks, my water broke.

Meagan: Okay.

Arianna: I was like, “Oh, my body could do it.” I still had my C-section, but that for me, was redemptive because I was like, “See? My body could do it,” and that was okay.

That was an adventure. When my daughter was 6 weeks old, I got mastitis and was septic and in the hospital for a week and a half.

Meagan: Yikes.

Arianna: That was insane and I was on heavy-duty antibiotics for three or four months but I was also on the pill so those two things counteract each other if people don’t know that, so when she was 7 months, we found out we were pregnant in a wild way. I had a dream one night that I had a baby boy vaginally and I caught him and brought him to my chest.

The next morning, I took a pregnancy test. I told my husband, “I will not have another C-section. I will not.” That just started this, “I’m going to have a VBAC and I don’t even know if this is real or if people after multiple C-sections do this,” because living in such a small area, I didn’t know anyone who had ever had a VBAC.

11:36 VBAC preparation

So I was like, “Okay. We are doing it.” I got all of the books. I joined all of the Facebook groups. I started listening to The VBAC Link and I hired a doula. I was probably only 8 weeks pregnant when I hired a doula. I found the midwife clinic that was within the hospital in Montana 2.5 hours away. I knew I needed a doula there.

I had a pretty good pregnancy. It was scary bringing it up to my provider here. I did see him a couple of times throughout my pregnancy just in case something happened.

Meagan: Yeah, that’s called dual care and I think that’s actually a really great option when you are traveling or sometimes if you are going out of the hospital and you just want to be established in the hospital as a backup plan, doing that dual care is actually really good.

Arianna: That was the hardest fight of the whole pregnancy because I was so set on getting my VBAC and it wasn’t safe. There were just all of these things and eventually, he got on board, I think, because he knew how serious I was.

I had such an amazing experience driving 2.5 hours away. Looking at it now, it wasn’t a big deal at all because I was so set. It didn’t matter. I would have gone anywhere because I was so set. “This is what I am doing.”

The midwife clinic was within the hospital so they worked alongside OBs and everything. Sorry, I’m getting emotional.

Meagan: That’s okay.

Arianna: The midwife clinic was amazing. They never once, every time I would go to an appointment, I’m like, “Okay. This is the time they are going to tell me that I can’t. I can’t have a TOLAC. I can’t even try.” That’s all I wanted. I wanted the chance to try. They were always so encouraging and amazing like, “No, you can do this.”

It was a clinic so there were several different midwives that you saw on rotation. There were a couple of times I would catch one that was like, “You’ve had two C-sections. We don’t really do this,” then there would be somewhere it was like, “Yeah. You’re going to do great. This is going to be awesome.” I just tried to hold onto that.

Really, the whole experience was just a testament to how loving God is in my life. I really had to find peace towards the middle end of my pregnancy and I just had to give it to God because I was starting to really become anxious.

Arianna: Then I failed my glucose test and I was just like, “Well, here we go. I’m going to have a C-section now.” Then I really started to dive deep. The thing that got me through the 2.5-hour” drives there and back was The VBAC Link because I didn’t have an army of women who got it in any way really. I needed that. It gave me a sense of community and this distant village of women I’m never going to meet. They’re there. They’re out there and it’s definitely possible. So listening to stories of women who had similar experiences got me through.

I had gestational diabetes. It was diet-controlled. I’m a little thicker than I would want to have been through a pregnancy, so the gestational diabetes in a way was kind of a blessing in disguise because it really held me accountable to exercise and eating healthy. It kind of helped in a way. I’m really grateful I didn’t have to be on medication.

Meagan: Yeah.

15:37 Signs of preterm labor

Arianna: So at about 30 weeks, I started losing parts of my mucus plug. I was like, “I don’t think this is normal.

Meagan: A little early, yeah.

Arianna: But it grows back, so I was like, “I’ll be fine.” At about 34 weeks, I went and had a big appointment with my MFM and my midwife. I got to tour the hospital and for a small-town girl, I was like, “Wow. This is insane. This is where you have a baby.” The NICU was right there. There were operating rooms right there on the floor in case of anything.

We got to see delivery rooms. The lady who gave us our tour thought that I was genuinely insane because I had two C-sections. She was like, “Oh.”

Meagan: I don’t understand. When I went to go get my records, they looked at me like, “What? What are you thinking? You are scary,” like I was some plague or something. What?

Arianna: Yeah, and I think the biggest thing I faced was, “Why? You had two C-sections. You recovered just fine. Why does it even matter?”

Meagan: I know. Mhmm.

Arianna: I could never really give them an answer because it wasn’t– I think a lot of people made it sound like I had to prove myself and my ability as a woman and as a mother to have a vaginal birth. I think that’s very valid for a lot of women because there’s trauma in this “I’m not good enough” feeling still surrounded by C-sections which is not true. Birth is birth and we just want our babies here safe, but I also think that we all deserve to be empowered to have the birth that feels right.

Meagan: Absolutely.

Arianna: And that feels like we are worthy of that, that we could do it or just an opportunity to try. She was the first person that it didn’t bother me. I’m like, “I’m 34 weeks. I am doing all the things and I’m going to have this perfect, totally chill VBAC experience and it’s going to be amazing.”

Well, the next week, I really started to have inconsistent contractions. I was really losing my mucus plug. I woke up at 35+4 and definitely had some bloody show. I just felt kind of leaky. Every time someone was like, “What do you mean leaky?” I’m like, “I just feel leaky. I don’t know.”

Meagan: You’re like, “Something’s going on down there.”

Arianna: Something is going on, but it’s too early, so I was like, “I’m just going to act like everything’s fine.”

My daughter had a doctor’s appointment at the clinic that day, a wellness checkup. The doctor was like, “Are you doing okay?” I’m like, “Yep.” In my mind, I’m like, “If I say anything, they’re going to check me and for all I know, I could be dilating. My water probably broke.” I was pretty sure my water broke.

Meagan: Were you still inconsistent with your contractions at this point?

Arianna: Yeah, mhmm so it was like, “No, I’m good.” I don’t want to get stuck here. I don’t want to have a C-section.

20:34 Going to the hospital

Arianna: So we finished up her appointment. I called my husband. I called the midwives and the midwife nurse I spoke to just told me, “If you want a chance for your VBAC and there is any chance you are in labor, pack up your stuff.” We are 2.5 hours away and those potty breaks at that fully pregnant, I’m going to have to stop and use the bathroom. It was going to take us a minute to get there.

We got the kids situated and it was a beautiful day. It was so beautiful. My contractions were super chill and super inconsistent. We drove. We danced and laughed. I cried. I was nervous. I was excited. We got there and I really wanted KFC because I had just eaten super healthy my whole pregnancy and what were they going to do? So we got some food.

We got to the hospital at about 2:30 in the afternoon and it was nice because the midwives had their own nursing staff. It felt so different than my first birth, tenfold and then even my C-section with my second.

We got there and the whole time, I was mostly angry because we just drove 2.5 hours and there’s no way I’m in labor. There’s no way. We just wasted all of this time to come up here.

The first thing they did was check to see if my water had broken. They did that swab. They sent it off and we just sat in the room for an hour. I was texting my doula and I was like, “Oh my gosh. They’re going to make me have a C-section.” She’s like, “No, just calm down.” She was so amazing.

Yeah, they came back and they were standing there. We had the OG midwife and then we had a new midwife to that clinic so she was kind of just taking charge of things, but the nurse came in and she started writing on the board. Then I let out some potty words and I was like, “Oh my gosh.”

Meagan: What the heck?

Arianna: No. Quit writing on the board. I asked, “Is it negative?” She was like, “Yeah, your water broke.” I was like, “Okay, so I have to have a C-section. You’re going to put me on a clock.” I just started downward spiraling. The stress. I was like, “It’s too early. I’m only 35.5 weeks. It’s too early.”

That was the scariest moment because I felt so out of control. I really just had to start praying and listening to some music. So I was too scared to get a cervical check because I remembered not dilating with my first then even with my second, my water broke and I was 2 centimeters before I had my second via C-section.

Meagan: Right. And you’re not contracting a ton right now.

Arianna: Not even. I mean, maybe one every 30 minutes and it was like mild, period cramps. I’d get an intense one every once in a while, but it wasn’t consistent so I was really worried that I wasn’t dilating. My water broke too early and I was like, “Even if they let me try, it’s just going to be this cascade of interventions and everything is just going to go out the window. I’ve worked too hard.” It was awful. My mindset was not great.

24:04 First cervical check

Arianna: I did end up letting her check me. I was 1 centimeter and I was only 20% effaced so there was a whole lot of nothing going on. After a few hours, they had to talk to my MFM because I was early. I had gestational diabetes. They had to talk to the on-call OB. We had to have this checklist of people and what we were going to do.

She came back in and she was like, “Okay. I’m going to check you and if we’re still good, we’re going to do a Cook catheter,” which is the double Foley, “and we’re going to do Pitocin.” Immediately, my husband stood up and was like, “She doesn’t want Pitocin. Pitocin is not good. That is her last resort.”

I felt really supported. I thought, “Oh my gosh. He’s listened to me this whole pregnancy. These are things we don’t want.” I talked with my doula. I talked with my husband and this was kind of my only shot if I wanted to try, we needed to get things going. But they were very good about never putting me on that clock.

Meagan: Good.

Arianna: Which was great. Yeah, so at about 7:00 at night, we had been there a few hours. I was 1 centimeter, but I was 50% effaced. She was like, “See? You are doing it.” We did the Cook catheter and they let me wait a couple of hours before starting Pitocin and they started very, very low.

Meagan: Good.

Arianna: Which was awesome. My doula came and we just walked. As soon as I got that Cook catheter, I was like, “All right. Come on, hubby. We are walking these halls because I’m not sitting down. I cannot.” I couldn’t let my mind get the best of me. We walked for 5 hours. We were just moving.

Meagan: Wow.

Arianna: We didn’t sit down. There were a couple of times with that Cook catheter where I was like, “Dear Lord, help me. This is the most uncomfortable thing ever.” We were on the opposite side of where my room was on the hall and my water gushed. I mean, it was the movies. I was like, “Uh, what do we do?” It’s 12:30 in the morning and this cute little housekeeper came and she helped me get a little cleaned up. I waddled back up to our room. At that point, my contractions were coming. They were coming. They had upped the Pitocin a little bit and I still did not want to get checked or anything. I still had the Cook catheter, but I would say at about 1:30 in the morning, I was on my dilation station backward on the toilet and that thing just popped out. I was like, “Oh my gosh. It’s happening.”

That was a moment where I was like, “Okay. I’m going to get to have my baby.” I waited about another hour before I would let her check me because I was scared. I was scared for the discouragement of, “Oh, well you’re only 4 centimeters or something.” She checked me at about 2:30 and I was 8.5 centimeters.

Meagan: What?

27:10 Slow effacement

Arianna: I was only 50% effaced. So I had not effaced in that whole time.

Meagan: Dilated but still thick.

Arianna: Oh my lord. We don’t talk about that I feel like. We hear, “8.5 centimeters” and I was like, “I don’t need an epidural. I’m going to push this baby out in an hour. This is going to be great.” Yeah, no. I stalled. Nothing happened. They kept upping my Pitocin and I let her check me again at about 5:00 and at that point, I was having major back labor which then me and my doula were like, “Oh no. He’s OP. He’s definitely face up.”

Meagan: We’ve got to work on this.

Arianna: I was trying to walk and move in the bathtub and I was just miserable. I probably let those contractions that were on top of each other, no breaks, for another hour and a half and by 6:30 in the morning, I yelled, “Pineapple!” That was my safety word. My husband was like, “Don’t tap out. You’re doing great.” I instantly was like, “I’m not tapping out. Why would you say that?”

He was like, “No, no. I just meant you are doing so good.” Because I had gone all that time without asking for drugs, my night nurse thought I did not want the epidural at all. She was very encouraging and amazing. She was like, “No, you’re doing great.” My doula was pulling out the peppermint essential oils and all of the things and all of the counterpressure. I mean, I just was like, “If I don’t get the epidural, I’m not going to make it. I won’t be able to keep going. I’m exhausted. I’m in so much pain.”

So lord bless that anesthesiologist because he was there within 15 minutes and I was struggling. I was like, “I can’t breathe. I can’t do this.” The whole energy of that room was so healing. It was so positive because no one was yelling. It was so stress-free.

I got the epidural at about 7:30 in the morning and I slowly, very slowly kept going. Very slowly. I think at about 9:00 or 10:00, I was only about 9 centimeters and 70% effaced. That was a moment where I was like, “I’m going to end up having a C-section.”

Meagan: That moment of doubt.

Arianna: That doubt just came in and my doula and my husband were like, “No, you’re not.” Once I got my epidural, my doula and my nurses were changing me every 30 minutes. I had the peanut ball. We were flipping positions. We were doing all of the things and my nurse came in at about 11:00. I called her and I was like, “I need you to check me because I need to get up and go number two.” It’s not the baby, I swear. I have to go to the bathroom.

She kind of giggled and she checked me. I was like, “Don’t tell me.” It was those magical words that I had waited for my whole pregnancy, “You’re complete and it’s time.”

Because I was early, we had to have this whole team of people. We had NICU staff and several nurses. We did a couple of practice pushes and his head was down there and ready. I ended up having to push for probably 45 minutes and my midwife had to just do a little snip because we really started to have some decels. I started to get a little panicked. My husband was just there and I just had to close my eyes and start praying, “God, you know my heart. I can do this.”

31:05 Catching her baby

Arianna: One more push and he was out. I helped bring him to my chest. He did come out with the cord wrapped around his neck so then I knew why he was starting to have some decels. I got to hold onto him for a little bit and then he had to go to the NICU because he was having some breathing issues.

I just remember my husband saying, “You did it.” I think any woman listening to it who has had the VBAC, that moment, there’s no moment like it really. It’s not like, “Oh, I just had a baby vaginally,” it’s “I just did something that so many people told me I couldn’t do or that my body wasn’t capable of” or whatever. It was so healing and so amazing.

He was only in the NICU for a few days which was a huge blessing.

Meagan: That’s awesome.

Arianna: I feel like just stuttered through all of that. I don’t even remember half of the stuff I said or that I wanted to say, but I think overall, the experience was just a testament to how strong our bodies and our minds can be. I know that in the moments, I really believe I stalled because I got in my head. I was just like, “Okay, I can’t do this. This is hard. I’m not progressing. My body’s not working right.” I just really believe in the power of the mind.

I think personally, my only goal in medication was to make it to 6 centimeters. I was like, “I just want to get to 6 centimeters without the epidural” and I made it past that.

Meagan: Yes, you did.

Arianna: I was very happy to get the epidural because I knew that I needed that break physically and mentally.

Yeah, that’s a rundown I guess. It was beautiful. I’m blessed that I have all of my babies here and that they were here safely. My second C-section was redemptive. It was healing. I had a doctor who listened to me and made me feel safe and cared for. In my VBAC experience, I had to fight for a support system that was almost 3 hours away, but what was so beautiful was what came after just this, “Wow,” or having people I don’t know super well messaging me and be like, “Hey, what did you do? How did you go about this?” I’m like, “You know what? This is why it mattered?”

33:59 Importance of support

Arianna: It doesn’t matter how your baby gets earthside, in my opinion.

Meagan: It doesn’t. It doesn’t.

Arianna: C-section is okay. It’s totally fine. It’s okay if you want repeat C-sections because that works for you but I think it also needs to be okay for women to want the opportunity to try for a vaginal birth as long as it’s safe and healthy and everything, but I think for me, the biggest thing was feeling supported. It came in so many different ways but it’s how I made it through for sure.

Meagan: Yeah. Support is one of the biggest tools in our toolbag when it comes to achieving the birth we desire. Like you were saying, it doesn’t mean we have to have a VBAC. It doesn’t mean you have to have a C-section. It doesn’t mean you can’t be induced. We have to dial into what we desire and then find the support that surrounds that type of birth.

I think that if I’m going to be super honest, that’s where I get really angry in this community because I see time and time and time again people not being supported, people not being given the opportunity to even try to have it. You know what I mean? We just cut people off in this world and it’s just so frustrating to me. Providers, why can we not step up to the plate and offer people support? Why do we have areas that are absolutely not supportive? If they are capable of giving birth to a baby, they are capable of helping someone give birth to a baby in any way, right? It’s just so frustrating and it’s for sure the biggest tool that we can have.

That sometimes looks like driving almost 3 hours away or that sometimes looks like hiring a doula further away or whatever. It’s important. It’s so important and Women of Strength, I want you to know you are worth it. You are worth getting the support. You are worth finding the support and

36:35 Dual care tips

Meagan: Let’s talk a little bit about traveling. You talked a little bit about how you did a little dual care. I think it’s a really great option to have if you are traveling, but there was something that you mentioned and I wanted to talk about this as well. It can actually sometimes be a little difficult because you’ve got one side that’s not supportive and one side that is supportive. Sometimes, they are saying different things. It’s pulling you in all of these directions, making you question, and that can be really, really, really difficult.

I had a client years ago who did dual care at the same hospital for a little bit and then transferred out of the hospital. The midwives and OBs were like, “No, your placenta is going to die. Your uterus is going to rupture.” They were saying all of these really, really big and scary things. She would call me and she was like, “What do you think about this? Maybe I’m making a bad choice,” even though in the end she was like, “I knew better, but they got to me.” That can be something that can be hard to battle within your own mind and doubt that intuition.

Know that if you are doing dual care, that can come up. Did you notice that?

Arianna: Yeah, hearing you speak, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that was how I was with my doula.” I would go here and see my provider. I think honestly, it’s not that they wouldn’t support VBACs, I just think the information they have is dated and realistically, it’s not safe because “we don’t have 24-hour anesthesia.” If something happened, they wouldn’t be able to provide the care needed.

But also, there were so many times where I felt like the information I was being told or the data was not anything I had found and then I talked with my MFM who was 100% on board and he was like, “Yeah. You’re going to do great.” Then I was like, “Wait, what?”

A big thing especially was, I don’t think I would ever do that again if I had another.

Meagan: Dual care.

Arianna: Yeah, I wouldn’t. It implants so much doubt. It’s not that they weren’t supportive, it’s just that they weren’t the support I needed. I think a big thing was I needed to feel supported because a VBAC is this hypothetical creature that lives somewhere far-off that no one has heard of, so that was the hard part was living in this tiny area where it was not safe, super dangerous, no one does it, especially after two C-sections.

Meagan: Right, yeah. I mean, my dual care experience lasted very short-lived because I did end up transferring officially to my midwife, but I went in every time knowing that they were going to have an opinion, but I knew where my heart stood. It was nice to have those options if transfer needed to happen and things like that, but I knew what they were going to say, I was going to hear it but let it bounce off. It was really hard to have to go in there every time and be like, “Okay. You’re going to get doubt and that’s okay. People are going to doubt you and that’s okay. You’re not doubting yourself. Know it.”

Arianna: Yeah. It was a mental workout every time. I knew they cared about me and my well-being of myself and my baby 100%, but I knew that in their minds, what I wanted to do was not a good idea and it wasn’t safe. I think my biggest encouragement to people who maybe do dual care is the best option is not to go to their appointments alone. That’s huge.

I think I survived it because I had such a huge support system. I had friends who were like, “Nope. Do you want me to come with you? Don’t get discouraged. You can do this.” Really, I had to get to a place in my pregnancy where I think with VBACs, we get really stuck with research and all of the information and the podcast and the forums on Facebook and all of these things, where it’s like, “If you want to have a VBAC, it has to look like this.” Everything I thought was going to happen went out the window. I got gestational diabetes. I had preterm labor. I had to get induced. My baby ended up in the NICU. All of the beautiful aspects that everyone talks about around VBAC were not realistic because every birth is different for everyone.

I think a big thing for the VBAC community that I didn’t feel supported in is, “What if I have to get induced? What if I fail my glucose test? What if I have these barriers or preterm labor? What if I have all of these roadblocks?”

Meagan: Well, you actually had a shorter interval too, but no one ever really said anything. There are so many things that something could come up.

Arianna: Yeah, my babies were only 15 months apart.

Meagan: There are all of these things and I’m like, “There are so many roadblocks that could have come up along the way.”

Arianna: Oh yeah, when I unpack my VBAC suitcase and I look at things, I’m like, “Wow, this is heavy,” because I had also just had this near-death experience with my second child with this mastitis. It was just a God thing. I mean, it was for me. I mean, it was 100%. I know that God knew my heart in the whole experience and He was so faithful to all of it.

For me, I like to think that I give things to God but then I slowly take them back and this was the one experience in my life where it was like, “God has to have this 100%” because I look at all of the little roadblocks and they weren’t roadblocks at all. They were just little bumps and we made it through.

Meagan: I love that so much.

I am so proud of you. I’m proud of you for getting the education, doing the research, and joining the community so like you said in the beginning, you had that community of women all over the world that were in very similar spaces and that you could connect with. That’s something I love so much about our VBAC community on Facebook is you get on there and you’re like, “Whoa. I’m not alone. I feel alone right here, but I’m not alone.” You can turn to that space. You can turn to these podcasts and you really truly become friends with some of these people, right?

I’m just so proud of you and so glad that you had your VBAC. I’m so thankful that you were on the show. I wanted to let everyone know that we do have blogs on gestational diabetes. We have blogs on laboring at home, what to know and when it’s not safe, and things like that for people who may be traveling a little distance who are not in preterm labor. We have tons of blogs.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this, but it’s called Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by Lily.

Arianna: Yeah.

Meagan: You know it?

Arianna: I read it.

Meagan: That is such an amazing book and we’ve had Lily on the podcast. I just think that one is a really great go-to. She also has Real Food for Pregnancy so that’s a really good one. But yeah, just getting all of the education you can.

44:56 Traveling tips

Arianna: I want to touch really quickly on what it was like traveling in preparation for birth. Obviously, mine didn’t go to plan, but I think the biggest thing that I see people asking is, “Well, when do I leave? How do I know?” My plan was for my midwife to have vouchers for the hotel that was right next to the hospital so there were options available or trying to find a family or friend that you could stay with. My plan was actually to go up there and stay at 38 weeks until baby came.

I was intending to labor as much as I could at the hotel or whatever. Obviously, things worked out great, but having a plan like that in place between 37 and 38 weeks is really comforting because like my midwife told me, she was like, “If you want that chance for a VBAC, pack your bags and get up here.” That’s my biggest piece of advice. If you are traveling, try to have a plan set up towards the end. Where can you stay? Do you have a support system up there? That was huge.

Meagan: Yeah. I agree so much. Yeah. Having that and having the plan in between like, okay. if labor shifts really fast, know the hospitals in between or know where you can go in between. Be prepared. Have the things in your bag. Have a little bit of a plan. Get the support at home and when you’re there. All of those things are going to add up and create a better experience for you. It is possible to travel. It’s worth it in my opinion. I only had to travel a really short distance, but I’ve had clients that travel literally from Russia to Utah to have these VBACs. I think she would vouch every single day that it was worth it. You just have to figure out what’s best for you and your family. Find the resources, get the support, and rock your birth.

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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