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Episode 284 Kara's VBA2C With Unexpected Twists

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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.

Kara joins us today from the Los Angeles area sharing her VBA2C story! Kara’s first birth was a scary and chaotic emergency Cesarean. Though her second planned Cesarean went smoothly, Kara did not love how her birth felt like such a medical procedure.

After experiencing a miscarriage during her third pregnancy, Kara experienced heartache and grief, but also shares how she gained a deep reverence for her body throughout the process. She just knew that her body was capable of having a vaginal birth.

Kara pulled out all of the stops with her VBA2C prep. She built a birth team she felt great about. She prepared physically. She processed past fears and trauma.

Though her birth had some intense twists, Kara was able to achieve the VBA2C she fought so hard for. She took the leap of faith, trusted her body, and saw what it could do.

Kara’s Website

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

02:45 Review of the Week

05:09 Kara’s first pregnancy

08:17 Kara’s second pregnancy and planned Cesarean

10:57 Miscarriage

16:45 Fourth pregnancy and VBA2C prep

22:30 Beginning of labor

25:08 Thoughts about the hospital system

28:49 Breaking waters

32:28 Pushing, hemorrhaging, and the NICU

Megan: Hello, hello Women of Strength. It is Meagan and we have got a VBAC after two C-sections story. Of course, I love VBA2C stories because I’m a VBAC after two C-sections mama. Her name is Kara and she is amazing. I’m just going to read your bio because you are just amazing.

It says, “She is an award-winning creative marketer and mother of three. She is in LA.” If you have been listening for a little bit, she actually was on the show quite a few months ago at this point of being aired with her OB.

Kara: Oh yes, with Dr. Brock. Oh my gosh, when I was pregnant. I don’t know why I forgot about that, but we interviewed my practitioner, Dr. Barry Brock, together who is a very VBAC-supportive provider. That was a really fun conversation. I think I was 4 or 5 months pregnant at that point.

Meagan: Yeah. We really wanted to ask him some questions about VBAC. He was with you along your journey and he was so gracious to come on and talk with us. So yeah.

She has worked on so many amazing things, some of your favorite things I’m sure like Netflix, Stranger Things, which is definitely one of my favorites, Patrone Tequila, and some of your favorite women’s apparel brands at Target which is also my favorite store.

She started her own brand consulting agency, Always Friday, in 2019, and after the birth of her first daughter, Hadley, she experienced an emergency C-section with her and then a planned C-section, and then a miscarriage, and then went on to have a VBAC after two C-section story. We are going to hear all of the stories today. Thank you, Kara, for being here.

Kara: Yes. I’m so excited to be here. I love this community and I don’t think that I could have gotten to a place where I was having a VBAC without your podcast, without finding The VBAC Link Facebook group and just hearing other women really give me the encouragement to not do a third C-section. I am really happy. I’m just about three months postpartum now, so forgive me if I make no sense. Yeah. I’m just grateful for your guidance, your expertise, and all of the things that you pour your heart into as an expert on all things VBAC.

Meagan: Aw.

Kara: Thank you for that.

Meagan: Well, thank you so much. I’m so excited to hear this story because I haven’t even heard the full story. I just have this little blurb right here on my form, so I’m really excited to dive into it.

02:45 Review of the Week

Meagan: We do have a review of the week and I put Kara on the spot you guys because she actually took Needed during her pregnancy and first, I’m obsessed with Needed and love and trust Needed. You took it throughout pregnancy and I would just love to hear your review on Needed today.

Kara: Yes. I have obviously looked at all of these different types of prenatals and I ended up going with Needed and loved it. I did their prenatal multi and at first, I was like, “This is a little wild.” It’s eight capsules which felt aggressive, but it actually was so much of the nutrients that I needed. I broke it up to four in the morning and four towards the evening.

I felt the most energized during this pregnancy. I felt the strongest. I obviously did all of the things, drank all of the tea, had the protein, the dates, and all of that, and my baby was much– I mean, I don’t know if this is correlated or not, but my baby was almost a pound and a half bigger than my previous biggest baby and I felt the strongest, the healthiest that I’ve ever felt during any of my pregnancies.

I wish I would have taken it with the other two, but you live and you learn, so yeah. I highly recommend that to all of my friends and I always send people the link for the Needed vitamins whenever I can.

Meagan: Yes. I believe it so much too. It’s interesting that you said you have felt the most energy during this pregnancy because I feel like once you have one, two, and three– once we have more kids, during those pregnancies, they are more exhausting because we are not just able to rest and relax.

Kara: They are.

Meagan: We are being mom, right? So I love hearing that.

05:09 Kara’s first pregnancy

Meagan: Okay, let’s get into your stories.

Kara: Let’s do it. Cool. I’m excited.

Meagan: Perfect. Let’s talk about Hadley’s birth.

Kara: Yes. I got pregnant pretty easily and had a healthy pregnancy. I think maybe had this false sense of confidence that my delivery would match my pregnancy. I did not do a lot of prep work. I went into maybe how everyone does to some degree, what you don’t know you don’t know kind of thing.

I went into labor naturally. I was a little bit overdue and ended up sort of with the classic cascade of interventions. That was challenging. They broke my water and just set off a bunch of other things that then her heart rate went up, sort of the classic stories you hear, and they rushed me into an emergency C-section which was really scary. It felt like a true emergency like Grey’s anatomy style just being rushed down the halls, with no time for really conversation. I finally asked for my operating notes and it was a class 2 which I guess if it’s a class 1, you guys talk about it. If it’s a class 3, you or the baby didn’t make it.

It was really scary and honestly, I was terrified after. I think it took three weeks for my shoulders to come down from that C-section. I’ve said this before, but the only way I could describe it was it felt like a car crash and I wasn’t sure if my passenger made it. It was quiet in the room. I didn’t hear a baby crying. Nobody was really talking. I just remember tears streaming down my face while I was on the operating table completely unsure if my baby had made it.

Luckily, she’s healthy and fine, but I don’t think that took away from the birth trauma that I experienced with that first baby.

Meagan: Yeah. That just gave me the chills when you described it like that. How scary.

Kara: It was so scary. I’ve never seen my husband look so afraid before. I’ve never seen him pray out loud before. So yeah. It was just one of those things where I wasn’t mentally prepared for that. I was not up to date on how many women have C-sections and what you can do to prevent it. I guess in this Instagram world that we live in, you see your friends pregnant and they are cradling their bump and then the next square you see in their feed is a baby announcing its name and weight. You never get to hear unless you ask people how you got from point A to point B, right?

That was very just this naivety that you go into the hospital and you come out with a baby and you’re fine. I don’t know why I didn’t maybe do a better job researching all of the options.

That was baby number one.

08:17 Kara’s second pregnancy and planned Cesarean

Kara: Baby number two– I got pregnant about a year later. Again, quickly and easily thank God and all of that. It was the middle of COVID. It was 2020. I found out I was pregnant in March 2020 so it was sort of the peak of absolute fear and scare tactics to a degree.

I kept trying to wrap my head around going into labor again naturally and I just couldn’t get there. I would have borderline panic attacks every time I would think about it. The word birth trauma wasn’t a word or a phrase in my vocabulary so I just thought you kind of toughen up and figure it out. I just really couldn’t get there.

COVID every day, a new study came out basically saying that pregnant women are going to die.

Meagan: Yeah. Lots of scary stuff was coming out.

Kara: I opted for a planned C-section. That just seemed like the logical thing to do at that point. My husband couldn’t come to any of the appointments. I couldn’t have anyone else in the room. I was delivering with a mask on. It was all of these things that just took away from what is a natural birth experience so to speak and all of the things that you need. It eliminated a lot of that and made it this very sterile process that resulted in a great, planned C-section.

I can’t describe it any other way than it just felt like surgery. I hate to say that because you get a beautiful baby at the end of it and you created this beautiful baby. I’m not trying to take away anyone’s experience with a planned C-section. But for me, it felt like I scrubbed in for surgery and went into this sterile environment. I was put on a lot of different drugs, laid on the table, cut open, and a baby was handed to me.

I have a beautiful three-year-old named Hazel from that experience, but it ultimately left me feeling– I don’t know how to describe it, but not fulfilled in the way I wanted to feel.

Meagan: Yeah. I can understand that. I can understand that. Like you said, not everyone is going to experience this, but there is often this disconnect. You went in. You scrubbed in and had a baby. Everyone is sterile and quiet. It’s bright. There is beeping here and there. It just doesn’t feel sometimes like birth.

Kara: Right. Yeah. It felt like a surgery.

10:57 Miscarriage

Kara: So then we were going back and forth with if we wanted to have a third and ultimately decided we love being parents. I love being a mom so much. I love my work. I love the branding things I do but nothing compares to the purpose, fulfillment, and joy that I feel raising children and being a mom.

I got pregnant again and it felt exciting but it also felt like it was coming at a time during my career that was potentially the busiest. Long story longer, I had a miscarriage with that baby and that pregnancy at almost 12 weeks. That was so surprising to me because once again, so similar to C-sections and all of that, it just was not on my radar.

I maybe took a lot of things for granted with my very healthy and easy pregnancies. No issues, truly with the first two. That miscarriage was scary in that I was alone at home with the girls. I put down my children for sleep and then I got in the bathtub and basically delivered the placenta. I saw. It was my first experience and the closest thing I had to delivery so far because I normally have C-sections. I’m seeing a lot of blood. I’m seeing the placenta and I’m seeing what was my unborn child. Sorry to be so graphic.

Meagan: It’s hard.

Kara: Yeah. Yeah. I felt like– and you have contractions and all of that for anybody who hasn’t ever experienced a miscarriage. It’s not anywhere near the same amount of pain as labor, but it is way above a period cramp or however else anyone might want to describe it at least for me.

Weirdly though, I have to say that you would think that experience would make me really sad and it did. The number one thing I took out of it is that I felt incredibly empowered. I felt like my body knew what it was doing. I felt a deep sense of trust in that, “Wow. This was not the right thing to happen and my body was smart enough to get rid of what wasn’t a viable fetus and pregnancy. It knew something was wrong and it got rid of it for me.” It’s like, wow. All of that while I made chicken nuggets. That’s so exciting.

I really walked away from it feeling like, “Gosh. The female body is so incredible. It is so strong. It knows what it is doing. It is so powerful. Why wouldn’t I go for having the birth that I want to have which was a vaginal delivery?”

So yeah. It was sad but also strengthening in a way.

Meagan: Yeah. A really sad situation and unfortunate circumstances, but in the end, it was that healing, empowering thing that happened to get you to this next step.

Kara: Yes. There is something about listening to yourself and your own gut and your own body in a way that you really just start to know that you know what’s best.

My husband wasn’t there and something took over in me that was like, “Get in the bathtub.” I have no experience. I visualized this pain leaving my body. When I did that and breathed through it, I was able to deliver the unborn baby. It was 12 weeks.

Yeah. So for me, it was really incredible. It gave me just the strength to know that I can do it and that our bodies are so, like I said, powerful and women are just so strong.

Meagan: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that.

Kara: Yeah. Yeah.

16:45 Fourth pregnancy and VBA2C prep

Kara: So then I got pregnant again and was confident I wanted a VBAC. I took your course and it gave me a sense of confidence and was so intelligently designed to make me think about visualizing fear, letting go of fear, and things that I really wish I would have done almost before I had a baby to be honest with you of just all of the things you don’t realize you are holding inside of you of the unknown, of what could go wrong, what you don’t know, what you want to ask, what you hope for, what you are going to let go of, and just filled with great information. That course was really helpful for me and my husband so for anyone who is looking to achieve a VBAC or do a VBAC, I highly recommend educating yourself with a course like The VBAC Link’s course or just one that can get you to a place where you guys are both really–

Meagan: Feeling confident too in the decisions you are making.

Kara: Yeah. So I did that and honestly, with this pregnancy, I was like, “I’m going to do all of the things.” I think women, if you can, if you have the means to do that, I think you should take care of yourself in a way that is– I wish I could take care of myself when I wasn’t pregnant at the level I took care of myself during this last and final pregnancy.

I took the Needed prenatal vitamins pretty religiously. I hired an incredible doula, Lia Berquist at Your Natural Birth who teaches The Bradley Method and is also just such an advocate for VBACs. She actually is a VBAC-certified doula with The VBAC Link.

Meagan: Yay.

Kara: Yeah. Then I took her course. I read Ina May’s books even though my heart was not dead-set on having a natural delivery which, I think if I had a fourth, I would love to go for that but for me, just getting past the C-sections and being able to have a VBAC was really what I wanted. Like I said, I took your course. I listened to a couple of my friends. My friend, Olga, had a VBAC and she recommended her doctor who I already mentioned, Dr. Barry Brock, who is VBAC supportive, and also her chiropractor, Dr. Berlin who also has a great podcast, The Informed Pregnancy Podcast. It’s great and he is also a great resource and a great person.

I had all of these people around me. I assembled an all-star team.

Meagan: 100%. Holy cow.

Kara: I went deep. I read a lot. I took it seriously. I got my head in the game. I did not let fear creep in and I really tried to focus on what I could achieve. I think that you will notice if you are someone who has had two C-sections and you tell people confidently when you are pregnant that you want to have a VBAC, you will get a really, really mixed response even today in 2024. You will get people asking you, “Can you even do that? Is that possible? I thought you couldn’t do that.” It’s not your job to educate them and enlighten them on what you can or cannot do unless you feel like it.

Sometimes I was in the mood to tell them, “Yes!” and tell them all of the things I learned, and other times, I was like, “Yes, you can and I will,” and just left it at that and moved the conversation along. But yes. It is important to just not let other people’s fears creep in.

Meagan: Absolutely.

Kara: I think if you are pregnant in general, people tend to want to tell you their horror stories.

Meagan: Yes. Why? I don’t understand. I don’t understand why when you are pregnant, it’s like, “Well, let me tell you how horrible my birth was.” I’m like, “Ahh. Don’t share those things.”

Kara: I would actually stop people and be like, “I’m sorry you had that experience. I personally don’t want to hear it.”

Meagan: Good for you.

Kara: I know that is rude but I had to protect my own space and my own mental sanity. I needed to really do that.

Meagan: Protect that. Yeah.

Kara: Yeah. I mean, even when I would see people, there are things going on in the world. There are shootings and there are wars. People wanted to tell me that and I really tried to block all of that out, especially in the final months of getting ready to deliver.

Meagan: Yeah. Good for you.

Kara: Yeah. I was overdue and I went into labor naturally. Basically, contractions picked up. We wanted to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital– another mistake that I definitely made in my first pregnancy of getting to the hospital, getting checked in, and becoming a patient really just too early in the labor process.

Meagan: In the labor process, yeah.

Kara: What I didn’t know and what I learned through your course, through the Bradley Method course, and through all of the different things that I did to prepare is that your body is not a business and labor is a natural thing that could take as long as it needs to take. Sometimes your contractions stop when the sun comes up. It’s an incredible thing. Sometimes your contractions stop when you get afraid and you go into a space of needing to not– so I learned all of that because my contractions did slow down when the sun came up and my contractions did slow down when I finally did get to the hospital.

22:30 Beginning of labor

Kara: My husband and I went to a hotel actually that was near the hospital because if you have ever been to Los Angeles, the traffic is so scary. Yeah.

It gave me peace of mind to be able to labor, be close to the hospital, be in a bathtub, and know that I was going to be okay and that I could also be as loud and visceral as I wanted without my other two children being frightened by my primal-ness so to speak.

Meagan: Mhmm. Mhmm.

Kara: Yeah. That was a really nice experience. Incredibly painful, but I basically got to the hospital and was able to labor unmedicated until about 7.5 centimeters.

Meagan: Nice.

Kara: At that point, I started throwing up. I think that’s common. I mean, you would know.

Meagan: It is. It’s miserable.

Kara: It’s miserable. The other thing I didn’t anticipate is when you throw up as much as I did, you lose that– we’re talking bags and bags to the point where my doula, Lia, was like, “Wow. I didn’t even know you could have that much in you.” We were like, “Whoa.” I felt so weak and so dehydrated and just not ready to run a marathon of pushing and all the things I knew were in front of me.

At that point, I opted for the epidural. I’m glad I did because I needed to take a rest. I needed the contractions to stop a little bit, to slow down, to be lessened so I could just rest and get a little bit of my strength back before it was time to push.

We did that. The contractions slowed down a little bit which was unfortunate because they were so strong for a while, but we did some Pitocin as well which I didn’t want to do because I was trying to have a somewhat unmedicated delivery or birth experience. My wanting of that really was because I felt so helpless during my first delivery where I got an epidural early and then I just couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move and when her heart rate dropped during my first delivery, it just felt like I was at the mercy of the hospital staff and the doctors, and it just, yeah. I didn’t want that.

25:08 Thoughts about the hospital system

Kara: This was a great experience though. It did feel a little bit like I was on someone else’s schedule. Another thing I learned is the hospital is a business.

Meagan: It is. Yeah. It’s not a bad place to give birth, right? But there is still a system. There are still policies. There are still things where you come in and you’re not always just looked as an individual coming to give birth and that’s it.

Kara: No.

Meagan: This is an individual coming in to have a baby and we need to have a baby.

Kara: In order to bill.

Meagan: Yeah, and move on so we can fill the room with the next person. Yeah. That is the thing. A lot of the time when an epidural comes into play, Pitocin is just in there right in the front saying, “That is the next step ‘naturally’” to them because it can slow labor down. It often does.

Kara: Yeah. I really do like my doctor. Dr. Brock is amazing and he is so supportive of VBAC. It’s not his fault. It’s actually just how the system works. He had surgeries planned and he had a schedule to keep so in a way, it felt like my labor was taking too long and it was time to get things rolling.

Yeah, that and he recommended pretty strongly breaking the bag so it was just another thing where I mentally, Meagan, was getting to a place where I was like, “Oh my god. I’m going to end up in another C-section.”

Meagan: Same situation. Well, and a lot of triggers I’m sure. Even processed births, when things happen, even if you have processed them, they can trigger you very easily.

Kara: That is such a good point because even though I feel I processed all of the birth trauma from my first situation, the second my husband and I walked back into that hospital, the last time we were there in labor was with our first one and we both almost started crying. It was so triggering. I did not expect it at all.

Meagan: Yeah. You know, I as a doula– I had two C-sections at this one hospital, the same hospital. I as a doula, became a doula and I walked in. I wasn’t even giving birth. I wasn’t even giving birth and I was like, “Whoa.” I just felt that. When you are walking in, you are in a lot of discomfort. You are laboring hard, then you walk in and you feel that overwhelming space like you were saying earlier and sometimes they stop when our bodies are responding.

Kara: Right.

Meagan: That can happen.

Kara: And that is what happened. I went to a place where my body didn’t feel safe and my contractions, even though they were so strong back at the hotel, so strong to the point where I had the classic couldn’t walk in, keeled over, grabbing– really just powerful. The second I got there, it was like I froze up and everything slowed down which is so incredible when you think about your body. If you don’t feel safe–

Meagan: It responds. It protects you.

Kara: It protects you, right? It’s like, “Oh, we are not ready to bring a life into this world if you are in a space of total fear.”

Meagan: Yeah.

Kara: Exactly. That was so crazy reflecting back on that.

28:49 Breaking waters

Meagan: So you kind of went into that triggering moment of, “Hey, let’s break your water.” We’ve already got epidural, Pitocin and now it’s like, “Hey, we need to break your water.”

Kara: I told him, “No.”

Meagan: I was going to say, what did you say?

Kara: I said, “No.” He said, “Well, it’s what I would recommend.” It was a little bit jarring. It was a do you want to have a baby or not kind of a thing. I was like, “Okay. You leave. I’ll think on it. I’ll get back to you.” You know what I mean? I talked with my husband. We were both pretty afraid and ultimately, I decided to have the water broken. I think that if you are making the decision yourself and you are really taking time to come to that decision, it’s not the wrong decision. It’s an informed, empowered decision and you made the decision.

Things could go right. Things could go wrong. The point is that you were not backed into a corner and then being forced to choose it. So I chose it because I knew I was getting to a place mentally where I was so tired and I don’t want to say I was giving up on my VBAC, but kind of.

Meagan: Yeah, starting to doubt it a little maybe.

Kara: Starting to doubt it. 30 hours of labor with exhaustion, vomiting, and contractions were really starting to mess with my mental strength and getting me to a place where I was like, “Maybe I can’t do this. Maybe this isn’t going to happen for me.”

Meagan: Yeah.

Kara: That sucked. That’s a scary place to be especially after I told you about all of my A student level prep.

Meagan: I was going to say, a lot of work and mental prep and physical prep to go into that. It’s hard to have that defeating feeling of, “I don’t know if this is going to happen. I want it to but I don’t know.” It’s hard because we doubt ourselves. I don’t know exactly why we doubt ourselves in labor. It’s so common. I’ve attended hundreds and hundreds of births and the amount of doubt that happens is almost 100%.

Kara: Right. Why do you think that is?

Meagan: I don’t know. I know it’s getting intense and it’s at the end. Okay, so you have an epidural because that’s a very common stage at 7-8 centimeters to do it when they are unmedicated but here you are even with an epidural internally dealing with that. I don’t know why we always doubt our bodies and our abilities, but for some reason, I’m not kidding you. It’s almost 100% of births that I attend. At some point, there is doubt that crept in. Me too. I doubted it. I was 6 centimeters and I was like, “This isn’t going to happen. This isn’t going to happen.”

Kara: I wonder if you are in so much pain at that point that you feel weak.

Meagan: And exhausted.

Kara: And exhausted. I didn’t realize that your mental strength is almost if not more important than your physical strength during labor.

Meagan: Oh yes.

Kara: That part of it is just really the trick.

Meagan: Well, the mental part can get us through the physical part. If we tell ourselves we are not doing well or we can’t keep going, we physically stop feeling like we can.

Kara: Right. Your body listens to everything your mind says and I carry that with me through everything now. It’s the way you talk to yourself and the pep talks you are giving yourself. They are very important.


32:28 Pushing, hemorrhaging, and the NICU

Kara: Anyway, I then ended up going to the pushing stage and the epidural was starting to wear off so I could feel it a little bit. I pushed and pushed and pushed and yeah. A bunch of other things happened in that sort of period but I will spare you and ultimately, I asked for a mirror. I could see her head starting to come and that to me was so encouraging. I was just like, “You can do this.” I really gave it my all and was able to have my daughter. It was really magical and amazing and they put her on my chest. I was so excited that I did it. I was crying and all of that.

I did end up hemorrhaging pretty badly and during that hemorrhaging, she had swallowed some of my blood on the way out.

Meagan: Oh. Wait, so you were hemorrhaging internally as you were pushing?

Kara: Correct.

Meagan: Wow. Did they notice like, “Oh, we’re having blood here?” Or bleeding?

Kara: I feel like they should have but no one said that. Then all of a sudden, after I delivered the placenta, I had a minor tear internally. He was stitching that up and then all of a sudden, I just felt this huge gush of blood and of warmth around my legs. I was like, “What is that?” Then it became an emergency situation again where all of these people came running in to stop the bleeding. We had one person starting a second IV. The other person was jabbing a needle into your thigh. Someone was holding down your uterus to try and stop the bleeding.

The baby at this point was taken and is being looked at because she is not breathing super well because she has my blood stuck in her lungs and stomach. As quickly as that beautiful moment happened, it went away.

Meagan: Ugh. Which is so hard.

Kara: Oh my gosh. It was so hard. It was so hard. Then the room was quiet essentially. The bleeding they were able to stop. My baby went to the NICU and my husband went with her and I was just there with my doula. I remember looking at her and being like, “Why did I ever want to do this? This was awful. This was terrible.” I just started crying and crying.

Meagan: Yeah.

Kara: By the way, I don’t feel this way, but in that moment, I was like, “I just wish I would have done another C-section.” I felt this super high and then I felt this huge low. Any mom who has ever given birth, however you do it, when your baby gets put on your chest and you have your baby, you forget all of the pain and you are just like, “Yay!” Then when the baby is taken away from you, you are left with the most depressing feeling.

Meagan: Yeah. I can’t imagine. Yeah. Yeah. Like you said, the super high to super low. I mean, I think that’s very normal for you to doubt your decision in that moment.

Kara: Right, yeah. Anyway, so she went to the NICU and she was totally healthy and fine. They had to pump some blood out of her lungs and belly. I call her my vampire baby because she was sucking my blood.

Meagan: Literally. Oh my gosh.

Kara: I ended up doing two blood transfusions to build back my blood supply. My face was white. My lips were drained of all color. It was sort of like looking at a corpse, just absolutely iron-deficient.

There was talk of sending me home and keeping my baby there which I just lobbied against.

Meagan: To not happen.

Kara: To not happen. Then finally I was able to leave and I achieved my VBAC so I took my celebratory VBAC photo in the parking lot of the hospital while I was leaving because I didn’t have her in the hospital bed with me while I was there.

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I am so sorry that that happened. That’s a lot. That is a lot. I don’t know if you’ve heard our radical acceptance episode, but you should go listen to it not just to radically accept your situation. I think that in turn, it will be very powerful as you are healing through this. I can see right now you are still healing. You still are feeling this. I can see it in your face.

Kara: Yeah. Right.

Meagan: I can see it and I can hear it in your voice. It’s okay to take time in healing that and also, be really, really happy while being really pissed off. That’s okay. You can have those two feelings together. You can be so happy that you had your VBAC but you can be so ticked that it happened and appreciate the experience while also being angry about the experience.

But yeah, through processing, I send you love and I wish you luck through your processing journey. I am so happy for you that you were able to get your VBAC.

Kara: I am so, so happy. I really am. I know I just highlighted a lot of crazy things that happened, but ultimately, the way I feel about it when I think about it and when I talk about it is that I really just am so proud and so happy that I was able to have that experience, to trust my body again, and just to deliver my baby the way I wanted to do it.

Meagan: Right.

Kara: I really hate when people say, “All that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”

Meagan: I know, met too. It drives me nuts.

Kara: It really bothers me because it’s like, “Well, duh I want a healthy baby and I don’t want to be injured. That is so baseline. I don’t even know why we are saying it.”

Meagan: I know.

Kara: But it’s also taking away the fact of how you’re getting there and the journey.

Meagan: Yeah. Yes.

Kara: You know. I think it’s just something we say to make ourselves feel better kind of a thing.

Meagan: Yeah. I do too. I feel like it’s the same thing with CPD. Providers are quick to just be like, “Oh, we’ve got a too-small pelvis. That’s why there was a C-section,” just because it makes them feel better. I swear it makes a lot of providers better just to say “CPD” because it justifies the– I’m trying to think of the right word– reason why it happened.

Kara: Yeah. It makes it so that it’s clearly a cause and effect. It’s a simple black-and-white thing on paper. It simplifies it for everyone.

Meagan: It makes it okay.

Kara: It makes it okay. But to me, that’s like saying to someone, “You got in a really, really bad car accident and you guys both survived the car accident. Yay!” But all that matters is that you survived. But you’re like, “Yeah, but what about the fact that every time I get in the car now, I can’t drive or I’m terrified?” Or the effects that it had on you?

I don’t know why we are so quick with every other trauma, if you are in a shooting or something horrific that you would be given the space to talk about it, process it, and be given that grace but when it comes to birth trauma, it just feels sort of like–

Meagan: Dismissive.

Kara: Very dismissive. Oh, but look at the healthy baby you have now.

Meagan: Aren’t you happy?

Kara: It’s like, they can exist in the same space. You can be happy to have a baby and be healthy and alive while also still being traumatized, disappointed, and saddened of how it all went down.

Meagan: Yes. Absolutely.

Kara: Anywho, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Meagan: Amen. Mic drop. I believe that wholeheartedly. Julie and I in the past have talked about that. I’ve talked about that. They can co-exist together and you don’t have to dismiss your feelings. Please, Women of Strength, do not dismiss your feelings because the world says you should. These feelings exist. They are in you and–

Kara: They’re valid.

Meagan: They’re very valid. They’re very valid. Even if to someone else, Jane down the street, it seems irrational or ridiculous because you have that healthy baby, no. She can think that way or someone else can think that way, but you are not wrong for feeling the feelings that you failed.

Kara: Right. Yeah.

Meagan: Well thank you so much for sharing with us today.

Kara: Yeah. I loved chatting with you and am so thankful to this community and you and your podcast and the space that you have created for everyone to talk about it and benefit from it. So yeah.

Meagan: Well, good. This space is for everyone here.

Kara: Thank you for having me.

Meagan: Thank you, thank you and we’ll talk to you later.

Kara: Okay, bye.

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.

Kara joins us today from the Los Angeles area sharing her VBA2C story! Kara’s first birth was a scary and chaotic emergency Cesarean. Though her second planned Cesarean went smoothly, Kara did not love how her birth felt like such a medical procedure.

After experiencing a miscarriage during her third pregnancy, Kara experienced heartache and grief, but also shares how she gained a deep reverence for her body throughout the process. She just knew that her body was capable of having a vaginal birth.

Kara pulled out all of the stops with her VBA2C prep. She built a birth team she felt great about. She prepared physically. She processed past fears and trauma.

Though her birth had some intense twists, Kara was able to achieve the VBA2C she fought so hard for. She took the leap of faith, trusted her body, and saw what it could do.

Kara’s Website

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

02:45 Review of the Week

05:09 Kara’s first pregnancy

08:17 Kara’s second pregnancy and planned Cesarean

10:57 Miscarriage

16:45 Fourth pregnancy and VBA2C prep

22:30 Beginning of labor

25:08 Thoughts about the hospital system

28:49 Breaking waters

32:28 Pushing, hemorrhaging, and the NICU

Megan: Hello, hello Women of Strength. It is Meagan and we have got a VBAC after two C-sections story. Of course, I love VBA2C stories because I’m a VBAC after two C-sections mama. Her name is Kara and she is amazing. I’m just going to read your bio because you are just amazing.

It says, “She is an award-winning creative marketer and mother of three. She is in LA.” If you have been listening for a little bit, she actually was on the show quite a few months ago at this point of being aired with her OB.

Kara: Oh yes, with Dr. Brock. Oh my gosh, when I was pregnant. I don’t know why I forgot about that, but we interviewed my practitioner, Dr. Barry Brock, together who is a very VBAC-supportive provider. That was a really fun conversation. I think I was 4 or 5 months pregnant at that point.

Meagan: Yeah. We really wanted to ask him some questions about VBAC. He was with you along your journey and he was so gracious to come on and talk with us. So yeah.

She has worked on so many amazing things, some of your favorite things I’m sure like Netflix, Stranger Things, which is definitely one of my favorites, Patrone Tequila, and some of your favorite women’s apparel brands at Target which is also my favorite store.

She started her own brand consulting agency, Always Friday, in 2019, and after the birth of her first daughter, Hadley, she experienced an emergency C-section with her and then a planned C-section, and then a miscarriage, and then went on to have a VBAC after two C-section story. We are going to hear all of the stories today. Thank you, Kara, for being here.

Kara: Yes. I’m so excited to be here. I love this community and I don’t think that I could have gotten to a place where I was having a VBAC without your podcast, without finding The VBAC Link Facebook group and just hearing other women really give me the encouragement to not do a third C-section. I am really happy. I’m just about three months postpartum now, so forgive me if I make no sense. Yeah. I’m just grateful for your guidance, your expertise, and all of the things that you pour your heart into as an expert on all things VBAC.

Meagan: Aw.

Kara: Thank you for that.

Meagan: Well, thank you so much. I’m so excited to hear this story because I haven’t even heard the full story. I just have this little blurb right here on my form, so I’m really excited to dive into it.

02:45 Review of the Week

Meagan: We do have a review of the week and I put Kara on the spot you guys because she actually took Needed during her pregnancy and first, I’m obsessed with Needed and love and trust Needed. You took it throughout pregnancy and I would just love to hear your review on Needed today.

Kara: Yes. I have obviously looked at all of these different types of prenatals and I ended up going with Needed and loved it. I did their prenatal multi and at first, I was like, “This is a little wild.” It’s eight capsules which felt aggressive, but it actually was so much of the nutrients that I needed. I broke it up to four in the morning and four towards the evening.

I felt the most energized during this pregnancy. I felt the strongest. I obviously did all of the things, drank all of the tea, had the protein, the dates, and all of that, and my baby was much– I mean, I don’t know if this is correlated or not, but my baby was almost a pound and a half bigger than my previous biggest baby and I felt the strongest, the healthiest that I’ve ever felt during any of my pregnancies.

I wish I would have taken it with the other two, but you live and you learn, so yeah. I highly recommend that to all of my friends and I always send people the link for the Needed vitamins whenever I can.

Meagan: Yes. I believe it so much too. It’s interesting that you said you have felt the most energy during this pregnancy because I feel like once you have one, two, and three– once we have more kids, during those pregnancies, they are more exhausting because we are not just able to rest and relax.

Kara: They are.

Meagan: We are being mom, right? So I love hearing that.

05:09 Kara’s first pregnancy

Meagan: Okay, let’s get into your stories.

Kara: Let’s do it. Cool. I’m excited.

Meagan: Perfect. Let’s talk about Hadley’s birth.

Kara: Yes. I got pregnant pretty easily and had a healthy pregnancy. I think maybe had this false sense of confidence that my delivery would match my pregnancy. I did not do a lot of prep work. I went into maybe how everyone does to some degree, what you don’t know you don’t know kind of thing.

I went into labor naturally. I was a little bit overdue and ended up sort of with the classic cascade of interventions. That was challenging. They broke my water and just set off a bunch of other things that then her heart rate went up, sort of the classic stories you hear, and they rushed me into an emergency C-section which was really scary. It felt like a true emergency like Grey’s anatomy style just being rushed down the halls, with no time for really conversation. I finally asked for my operating notes and it was a class 2 which I guess if it’s a class 1, you guys talk about it. If it’s a class 3, you or the baby didn’t make it.

It was really scary and honestly, I was terrified after. I think it took three weeks for my shoulders to come down from that C-section. I’ve said this before, but the only way I could describe it was it felt like a car crash and I wasn’t sure if my passenger made it. It was quiet in the room. I didn’t hear a baby crying. Nobody was really talking. I just remember tears streaming down my face while I was on the operating table completely unsure if my baby had made it.

Luckily, she’s healthy and fine, but I don’t think that took away from the birth trauma that I experienced with that first baby.

Meagan: Yeah. That just gave me the chills when you described it like that. How scary.

Kara: It was so scary. I’ve never seen my husband look so afraid before. I’ve never seen him pray out loud before. So yeah. It was just one of those things where I wasn’t mentally prepared for that. I was not up to date on how many women have C-sections and what you can do to prevent it. I guess in this Instagram world that we live in, you see your friends pregnant and they are cradling their bump and then the next square you see in their feed is a baby announcing its name and weight. You never get to hear unless you ask people how you got from point A to point B, right?

That was very just this naivety that you go into the hospital and you come out with a baby and you’re fine. I don’t know why I didn’t maybe do a better job researching all of the options.

That was baby number one.

08:17 Kara’s second pregnancy and planned Cesarean

Kara: Baby number two– I got pregnant about a year later. Again, quickly and easily thank God and all of that. It was the middle of COVID. It was 2020. I found out I was pregnant in March 2020 so it was sort of the peak of absolute fear and scare tactics to a degree.

I kept trying to wrap my head around going into labor again naturally and I just couldn’t get there. I would have borderline panic attacks every time I would think about it. The word birth trauma wasn’t a word or a phrase in my vocabulary so I just thought you kind of toughen up and figure it out. I just really couldn’t get there.

COVID every day, a new study came out basically saying that pregnant women are going to die.

Meagan: Yeah. Lots of scary stuff was coming out.

Kara: I opted for a planned C-section. That just seemed like the logical thing to do at that point. My husband couldn’t come to any of the appointments. I couldn’t have anyone else in the room. I was delivering with a mask on. It was all of these things that just took away from what is a natural birth experience so to speak and all of the things that you need. It eliminated a lot of that and made it this very sterile process that resulted in a great, planned C-section.

I can’t describe it any other way than it just felt like surgery. I hate to say that because you get a beautiful baby at the end of it and you created this beautiful baby. I’m not trying to take away anyone’s experience with a planned C-section. But for me, it felt like I scrubbed in for surgery and went into this sterile environment. I was put on a lot of different drugs, laid on the table, cut open, and a baby was handed to me.

I have a beautiful three-year-old named Hazel from that experience, but it ultimately left me feeling– I don’t know how to describe it, but not fulfilled in the way I wanted to feel.

Meagan: Yeah. I can understand that. I can understand that. Like you said, not everyone is going to experience this, but there is often this disconnect. You went in. You scrubbed in and had a baby. Everyone is sterile and quiet. It’s bright. There is beeping here and there. It just doesn’t feel sometimes like birth.

Kara: Right. Yeah. It felt like a surgery.

10:57 Miscarriage

Kara: So then we were going back and forth with if we wanted to have a third and ultimately decided we love being parents. I love being a mom so much. I love my work. I love the branding things I do but nothing compares to the purpose, fulfillment, and joy that I feel raising children and being a mom.

I got pregnant again and it felt exciting but it also felt like it was coming at a time during my career that was potentially the busiest. Long story longer, I had a miscarriage with that baby and that pregnancy at almost 12 weeks. That was so surprising to me because once again, so similar to C-sections and all of that, it just was not on my radar.

I maybe took a lot of things for granted with my very healthy and easy pregnancies. No issues, truly with the first two. That miscarriage was scary in that I was alone at home with the girls. I put down my children for sleep and then I got in the bathtub and basically delivered the placenta. I saw. It was my first experience and the closest thing I had to delivery so far because I normally have C-sections. I’m seeing a lot of blood. I’m seeing the placenta and I’m seeing what was my unborn child. Sorry to be so graphic.

Meagan: It’s hard.

Kara: Yeah. Yeah. I felt like– and you have contractions and all of that for anybody who hasn’t ever experienced a miscarriage. It’s not anywhere near the same amount of pain as labor, but it is way above a period cramp or however else anyone might want to describe it at least for me.

Weirdly though, I have to say that you would think that experience would make me really sad and it did. The number one thing I took out of it is that I felt incredibly empowered. I felt like my body knew what it was doing. I felt a deep sense of trust in that, “Wow. This was not the right thing to happen and my body was smart enough to get rid of what wasn’t a viable fetus and pregnancy. It knew something was wrong and it got rid of it for me.” It’s like, wow. All of that while I made chicken nuggets. That’s so exciting.

I really walked away from it feeling like, “Gosh. The female body is so incredible. It is so strong. It knows what it is doing. It is so powerful. Why wouldn’t I go for having the birth that I want to have which was a vaginal delivery?”

So yeah. It was sad but also strengthening in a way.

Meagan: Yeah. A really sad situation and unfortunate circumstances, but in the end, it was that healing, empowering thing that happened to get you to this next step.

Kara: Yes. There is something about listening to yourself and your own gut and your own body in a way that you really just start to know that you know what’s best.

My husband wasn’t there and something took over in me that was like, “Get in the bathtub.” I have no experience. I visualized this pain leaving my body. When I did that and breathed through it, I was able to deliver the unborn baby. It was 12 weeks.

Yeah. So for me, it was really incredible. It gave me just the strength to know that I can do it and that our bodies are so, like I said, powerful and women are just so strong.

Meagan: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that.

Kara: Yeah. Yeah.

16:45 Fourth pregnancy and VBA2C prep

Kara: So then I got pregnant again and was confident I wanted a VBAC. I took your course and it gave me a sense of confidence and was so intelligently designed to make me think about visualizing fear, letting go of fear, and things that I really wish I would have done almost before I had a baby to be honest with you of just all of the things you don’t realize you are holding inside of you of the unknown, of what could go wrong, what you don’t know, what you want to ask, what you hope for, what you are going to let go of, and just filled with great information. That course was really helpful for me and my husband so for anyone who is looking to achieve a VBAC or do a VBAC, I highly recommend educating yourself with a course like The VBAC Link’s course or just one that can get you to a place where you guys are both really–

Meagan: Feeling confident too in the decisions you are making.

Kara: Yeah. So I did that and honestly, with this pregnancy, I was like, “I’m going to do all of the things.” I think women, if you can, if you have the means to do that, I think you should take care of yourself in a way that is– I wish I could take care of myself when I wasn’t pregnant at the level I took care of myself during this last and final pregnancy.

I took the Needed prenatal vitamins pretty religiously. I hired an incredible doula, Lia Berquist at Your Natural Birth who teaches The Bradley Method and is also just such an advocate for VBACs. She actually is a VBAC-certified doula with The VBAC Link.

Meagan: Yay.

Kara: Yeah. Then I took her course. I read Ina May’s books even though my heart was not dead-set on having a natural delivery which, I think if I had a fourth, I would love to go for that but for me, just getting past the C-sections and being able to have a VBAC was really what I wanted. Like I said, I took your course. I listened to a couple of my friends. My friend, Olga, had a VBAC and she recommended her doctor who I already mentioned, Dr. Barry Brock, who is VBAC supportive, and also her chiropractor, Dr. Berlin who also has a great podcast, The Informed Pregnancy Podcast. It’s great and he is also a great resource and a great person.

I had all of these people around me. I assembled an all-star team.

Meagan: 100%. Holy cow.

Kara: I went deep. I read a lot. I took it seriously. I got my head in the game. I did not let fear creep in and I really tried to focus on what I could achieve. I think that you will notice if you are someone who has had two C-sections and you tell people confidently when you are pregnant that you want to have a VBAC, you will get a really, really mixed response even today in 2024. You will get people asking you, “Can you even do that? Is that possible? I thought you couldn’t do that.” It’s not your job to educate them and enlighten them on what you can or cannot do unless you feel like it.

Sometimes I was in the mood to tell them, “Yes!” and tell them all of the things I learned, and other times, I was like, “Yes, you can and I will,” and just left it at that and moved the conversation along. But yes. It is important to just not let other people’s fears creep in.

Meagan: Absolutely.

Kara: I think if you are pregnant in general, people tend to want to tell you their horror stories.

Meagan: Yes. Why? I don’t understand. I don’t understand why when you are pregnant, it’s like, “Well, let me tell you how horrible my birth was.” I’m like, “Ahh. Don’t share those things.”

Kara: I would actually stop people and be like, “I’m sorry you had that experience. I personally don’t want to hear it.”

Meagan: Good for you.

Kara: I know that is rude but I had to protect my own space and my own mental sanity. I needed to really do that.

Meagan: Protect that. Yeah.

Kara: Yeah. I mean, even when I would see people, there are things going on in the world. There are shootings and there are wars. People wanted to tell me that and I really tried to block all of that out, especially in the final months of getting ready to deliver.

Meagan: Yeah. Good for you.

Kara: Yeah. I was overdue and I went into labor naturally. Basically, contractions picked up. We wanted to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital– another mistake that I definitely made in my first pregnancy of getting to the hospital, getting checked in, and becoming a patient really just too early in the labor process.

Meagan: In the labor process, yeah.

Kara: What I didn’t know and what I learned through your course, through the Bradley Method course, and through all of the different things that I did to prepare is that your body is not a business and labor is a natural thing that could take as long as it needs to take. Sometimes your contractions stop when the sun comes up. It’s an incredible thing. Sometimes your contractions stop when you get afraid and you go into a space of needing to not– so I learned all of that because my contractions did slow down when the sun came up and my contractions did slow down when I finally did get to the hospital.

22:30 Beginning of labor

Kara: My husband and I went to a hotel actually that was near the hospital because if you have ever been to Los Angeles, the traffic is so scary. Yeah.

It gave me peace of mind to be able to labor, be close to the hospital, be in a bathtub, and know that I was going to be okay and that I could also be as loud and visceral as I wanted without my other two children being frightened by my primal-ness so to speak.

Meagan: Mhmm. Mhmm.

Kara: Yeah. That was a really nice experience. Incredibly painful, but I basically got to the hospital and was able to labor unmedicated until about 7.5 centimeters.

Meagan: Nice.

Kara: At that point, I started throwing up. I think that’s common. I mean, you would know.

Meagan: It is. It’s miserable.

Kara: It’s miserable. The other thing I didn’t anticipate is when you throw up as much as I did, you lose that– we’re talking bags and bags to the point where my doula, Lia, was like, “Wow. I didn’t even know you could have that much in you.” We were like, “Whoa.” I felt so weak and so dehydrated and just not ready to run a marathon of pushing and all the things I knew were in front of me.

At that point, I opted for the epidural. I’m glad I did because I needed to take a rest. I needed the contractions to stop a little bit, to slow down, to be lessened so I could just rest and get a little bit of my strength back before it was time to push.

We did that. The contractions slowed down a little bit which was unfortunate because they were so strong for a while, but we did some Pitocin as well which I didn’t want to do because I was trying to have a somewhat unmedicated delivery or birth experience. My wanting of that really was because I felt so helpless during my first delivery where I got an epidural early and then I just couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move and when her heart rate dropped during my first delivery, it just felt like I was at the mercy of the hospital staff and the doctors, and it just, yeah. I didn’t want that.

25:08 Thoughts about the hospital system

Kara: This was a great experience though. It did feel a little bit like I was on someone else’s schedule. Another thing I learned is the hospital is a business.

Meagan: It is. Yeah. It’s not a bad place to give birth, right? But there is still a system. There are still policies. There are still things where you come in and you’re not always just looked as an individual coming to give birth and that’s it.

Kara: No.

Meagan: This is an individual coming in to have a baby and we need to have a baby.

Kara: In order to bill.

Meagan: Yeah, and move on so we can fill the room with the next person. Yeah. That is the thing. A lot of the time when an epidural comes into play, Pitocin is just in there right in the front saying, “That is the next step ‘naturally’” to them because it can slow labor down. It often does.

Kara: Yeah. I really do like my doctor. Dr. Brock is amazing and he is so supportive of VBAC. It’s not his fault. It’s actually just how the system works. He had surgeries planned and he had a schedule to keep so in a way, it felt like my labor was taking too long and it was time to get things rolling.

Yeah, that and he recommended pretty strongly breaking the bag so it was just another thing where I mentally, Meagan, was getting to a place where I was like, “Oh my god. I’m going to end up in another C-section.”

Meagan: Same situation. Well, and a lot of triggers I’m sure. Even processed births, when things happen, even if you have processed them, they can trigger you very easily.

Kara: That is such a good point because even though I feel I processed all of the birth trauma from my first situation, the second my husband and I walked back into that hospital, the last time we were there in labor was with our first one and we both almost started crying. It was so triggering. I did not expect it at all.

Meagan: Yeah. You know, I as a doula– I had two C-sections at this one hospital, the same hospital. I as a doula, became a doula and I walked in. I wasn’t even giving birth. I wasn’t even giving birth and I was like, “Whoa.” I just felt that. When you are walking in, you are in a lot of discomfort. You are laboring hard, then you walk in and you feel that overwhelming space like you were saying earlier and sometimes they stop when our bodies are responding.

Kara: Right.

Meagan: That can happen.

Kara: And that is what happened. I went to a place where my body didn’t feel safe and my contractions, even though they were so strong back at the hotel, so strong to the point where I had the classic couldn’t walk in, keeled over, grabbing– really just powerful. The second I got there, it was like I froze up and everything slowed down which is so incredible when you think about your body. If you don’t feel safe–

Meagan: It responds. It protects you.

Kara: It protects you, right? It’s like, “Oh, we are not ready to bring a life into this world if you are in a space of total fear.”

Meagan: Yeah.

Kara: Exactly. That was so crazy reflecting back on that.

28:49 Breaking waters

Meagan: So you kind of went into that triggering moment of, “Hey, let’s break your water.” We’ve already got epidural, Pitocin and now it’s like, “Hey, we need to break your water.”

Kara: I told him, “No.”

Meagan: I was going to say, what did you say?

Kara: I said, “No.” He said, “Well, it’s what I would recommend.” It was a little bit jarring. It was a do you want to have a baby or not kind of a thing. I was like, “Okay. You leave. I’ll think on it. I’ll get back to you.” You know what I mean? I talked with my husband. We were both pretty afraid and ultimately, I decided to have the water broken. I think that if you are making the decision yourself and you are really taking time to come to that decision, it’s not the wrong decision. It’s an informed, empowered decision and you made the decision.

Things could go right. Things could go wrong. The point is that you were not backed into a corner and then being forced to choose it. So I chose it because I knew I was getting to a place mentally where I was so tired and I don’t want to say I was giving up on my VBAC, but kind of.

Meagan: Yeah, starting to doubt it a little maybe.

Kara: Starting to doubt it. 30 hours of labor with exhaustion, vomiting, and contractions were really starting to mess with my mental strength and getting me to a place where I was like, “Maybe I can’t do this. Maybe this isn’t going to happen for me.”

Meagan: Yeah.

Kara: That sucked. That’s a scary place to be especially after I told you about all of my A student level prep.

Meagan: I was going to say, a lot of work and mental prep and physical prep to go into that. It’s hard to have that defeating feeling of, “I don’t know if this is going to happen. I want it to but I don’t know.” It’s hard because we doubt ourselves. I don’t know exactly why we doubt ourselves in labor. It’s so common. I’ve attended hundreds and hundreds of births and the amount of doubt that happens is almost 100%.

Kara: Right. Why do you think that is?

Meagan: I don’t know. I know it’s getting intense and it’s at the end. Okay, so you have an epidural because that’s a very common stage at 7-8 centimeters to do it when they are unmedicated but here you are even with an epidural internally dealing with that. I don’t know why we always doubt our bodies and our abilities, but for some reason, I’m not kidding you. It’s almost 100% of births that I attend. At some point, there is doubt that crept in. Me too. I doubted it. I was 6 centimeters and I was like, “This isn’t going to happen. This isn’t going to happen.”

Kara: I wonder if you are in so much pain at that point that you feel weak.

Meagan: And exhausted.

Kara: And exhausted. I didn’t realize that your mental strength is almost if not more important than your physical strength during labor.

Meagan: Oh yes.

Kara: That part of it is just really the trick.

Meagan: Well, the mental part can get us through the physical part. If we tell ourselves we are not doing well or we can’t keep going, we physically stop feeling like we can.

Kara: Right. Your body listens to everything your mind says and I carry that with me through everything now. It’s the way you talk to yourself and the pep talks you are giving yourself. They are very important.


32:28 Pushing, hemorrhaging, and the NICU

Kara: Anyway, I then ended up going to the pushing stage and the epidural was starting to wear off so I could feel it a little bit. I pushed and pushed and pushed and yeah. A bunch of other things happened in that sort of period but I will spare you and ultimately, I asked for a mirror. I could see her head starting to come and that to me was so encouraging. I was just like, “You can do this.” I really gave it my all and was able to have my daughter. It was really magical and amazing and they put her on my chest. I was so excited that I did it. I was crying and all of that.

I did end up hemorrhaging pretty badly and during that hemorrhaging, she had swallowed some of my blood on the way out.

Meagan: Oh. Wait, so you were hemorrhaging internally as you were pushing?

Kara: Correct.

Meagan: Wow. Did they notice like, “Oh, we’re having blood here?” Or bleeding?

Kara: I feel like they should have but no one said that. Then all of a sudden, after I delivered the placenta, I had a minor tear internally. He was stitching that up and then all of a sudden, I just felt this huge gush of blood and of warmth around my legs. I was like, “What is that?” Then it became an emergency situation again where all of these people came running in to stop the bleeding. We had one person starting a second IV. The other person was jabbing a needle into your thigh. Someone was holding down your uterus to try and stop the bleeding.

The baby at this point was taken and is being looked at because she is not breathing super well because she has my blood stuck in her lungs and stomach. As quickly as that beautiful moment happened, it went away.

Meagan: Ugh. Which is so hard.

Kara: Oh my gosh. It was so hard. It was so hard. Then the room was quiet essentially. The bleeding they were able to stop. My baby went to the NICU and my husband went with her and I was just there with my doula. I remember looking at her and being like, “Why did I ever want to do this? This was awful. This was terrible.” I just started crying and crying.

Meagan: Yeah.

Kara: By the way, I don’t feel this way, but in that moment, I was like, “I just wish I would have done another C-section.” I felt this super high and then I felt this huge low. Any mom who has ever given birth, however you do it, when your baby gets put on your chest and you have your baby, you forget all of the pain and you are just like, “Yay!” Then when the baby is taken away from you, you are left with the most depressing feeling.

Meagan: Yeah. I can’t imagine. Yeah. Yeah. Like you said, the super high to super low. I mean, I think that’s very normal for you to doubt your decision in that moment.

Kara: Right, yeah. Anyway, so she went to the NICU and she was totally healthy and fine. They had to pump some blood out of her lungs and belly. I call her my vampire baby because she was sucking my blood.

Meagan: Literally. Oh my gosh.

Kara: I ended up doing two blood transfusions to build back my blood supply. My face was white. My lips were drained of all color. It was sort of like looking at a corpse, just absolutely iron-deficient.

There was talk of sending me home and keeping my baby there which I just lobbied against.

Meagan: To not happen.

Kara: To not happen. Then finally I was able to leave and I achieved my VBAC so I took my celebratory VBAC photo in the parking lot of the hospital while I was leaving because I didn’t have her in the hospital bed with me while I was there.

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I am so sorry that that happened. That’s a lot. That is a lot. I don’t know if you’ve heard our radical acceptance episode, but you should go listen to it not just to radically accept your situation. I think that in turn, it will be very powerful as you are healing through this. I can see right now you are still healing. You still are feeling this. I can see it in your face.

Kara: Yeah. Right.

Meagan: I can see it and I can hear it in your voice. It’s okay to take time in healing that and also, be really, really happy while being really pissed off. That’s okay. You can have those two feelings together. You can be so happy that you had your VBAC but you can be so ticked that it happened and appreciate the experience while also being angry about the experience.

But yeah, through processing, I send you love and I wish you luck through your processing journey. I am so happy for you that you were able to get your VBAC.

Kara: I am so, so happy. I really am. I know I just highlighted a lot of crazy things that happened, but ultimately, the way I feel about it when I think about it and when I talk about it is that I really just am so proud and so happy that I was able to have that experience, to trust my body again, and just to deliver my baby the way I wanted to do it.

Meagan: Right.

Kara: I really hate when people say, “All that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”

Meagan: I know, met too. It drives me nuts.

Kara: It really bothers me because it’s like, “Well, duh I want a healthy baby and I don’t want to be injured. That is so baseline. I don’t even know why we are saying it.”

Meagan: I know.

Kara: But it’s also taking away the fact of how you’re getting there and the journey.

Meagan: Yeah. Yes.

Kara: You know. I think it’s just something we say to make ourselves feel better kind of a thing.

Meagan: Yeah. I do too. I feel like it’s the same thing with CPD. Providers are quick to just be like, “Oh, we’ve got a too-small pelvis. That’s why there was a C-section,” just because it makes them feel better. I swear it makes a lot of providers better just to say “CPD” because it justifies the– I’m trying to think of the right word– reason why it happened.

Kara: Yeah. It makes it so that it’s clearly a cause and effect. It’s a simple black-and-white thing on paper. It simplifies it for everyone.

Meagan: It makes it okay.

Kara: It makes it okay. But to me, that’s like saying to someone, “You got in a really, really bad car accident and you guys both survived the car accident. Yay!” But all that matters is that you survived. But you’re like, “Yeah, but what about the fact that every time I get in the car now, I can’t drive or I’m terrified?” Or the effects that it had on you?

I don’t know why we are so quick with every other trauma, if you are in a shooting or something horrific that you would be given the space to talk about it, process it, and be given that grace but when it comes to birth trauma, it just feels sort of like–

Meagan: Dismissive.

Kara: Very dismissive. Oh, but look at the healthy baby you have now.

Meagan: Aren’t you happy?

Kara: It’s like, they can exist in the same space. You can be happy to have a baby and be healthy and alive while also still being traumatized, disappointed, and saddened of how it all went down.

Meagan: Yes. Absolutely.

Kara: Anywho, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Meagan: Amen. Mic drop. I believe that wholeheartedly. Julie and I in the past have talked about that. I’ve talked about that. They can co-exist together and you don’t have to dismiss your feelings. Please, Women of Strength, do not dismiss your feelings because the world says you should. These feelings exist. They are in you and–

Kara: They’re valid.

Meagan: They’re very valid. They’re very valid. Even if to someone else, Jane down the street, it seems irrational or ridiculous because you have that healthy baby, no. She can think that way or someone else can think that way, but you are not wrong for feeling the feelings that you failed.

Kara: Right. Yeah.

Meagan: Well thank you so much for sharing with us today.

Kara: Yeah. I loved chatting with you and am so thankful to this community and you and your podcast and the space that you have created for everyone to talk about it and benefit from it. So yeah.

Meagan: Well, good. This space is for everyone here.

Kara: Thank you for having me.

Meagan: Thank you, thank you and we’ll talk to you later.

Kara: Okay, bye.

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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