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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 288 Jennifer's HBA3C + Getting Pregnant After Tubal Ligation

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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.

Jennifer joins us today sharing her HBA3C story! Each birth was a stepping stone that gave her more education and wisdom which ultimately led to her home birth after three Cesareans. Jennifer’s first Cesarean was due to meconium in the water, slow progress, and heart rate issues. Her other two Cesareans were scheduled, but her third was particularly difficult because in her heart, Jennifer really wanted a VBAC.

After regretting her decision to get her tubes tied during her third Cesarean, Jennifer opted for a reversal and it worked! Once pregnant with her fourth, she traveled two hours each way across state lines to find a home birth midwife. When labor began, Jennifer booked an Airbnb, called in her team, and had the beautiful home birth she knew she was capable of.

Jennifer’s Website

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

02:20 Review of the Week

05:02 First C-section

06:48 Second C-section

08:02 Third C-section during COVID

10:09 Getting her tubes tied and reversal

13:38 Fourth pregnancy

16:39 Finding a home birth midwife in another state

19:02 Going into labor and reserving an Airbnb

24:04 Complete dilation

26:37 Pushing and catching her baby

31:24 You are worth it

Meagan: Hello, hello everybody. This is Meagan, your host here at The VBAC Link and we have our friend, Jennifer. Hi Jennifer.

Jennifer: Hi.

Meagan: You guys, her story– we were just talking about this before the episode. It has a lot of surprises like, “Oh, I didn’t expect that. Whoa.” So I’m so excited to– I’ve read a summary of her story and am now excited to hear it in her own words. I also thought it was kind of fun. She was just saying her kids are excited to hear her story because they know The VBAC Link podcast too.

Jennifer: Yep. It was part of our preparation for the birth just having them hear stuff and hear how births are because obviously, they’d never had any experience.

Meagan: Yes, so how old are your kids?

Jennifer: 11. 9, 3 and now newborn.

Meagan: And now newborn. We have very similar-aged kids. 11 and 9 and then I have an 8-year-old this year. And then we jump. That is so exciting. I’m excited to get into your HBAC after three Cesareans and all of the fun things away.

02:20 Review of the Week

Meagan: But I do have a Review of the Week and this review is from mcgrace. I actually think I know who this is. It says, “Must listen for every mom-to-be.” It says, “This podcast is a must-listen not just for the mom preparing for a VBAC but anyone who is giving birth and has given birth or plans to give birth in the U.S. Meagan wonderfully walks through personal stories while preparing helpful advocacy tips and a solid dose of empowerment in each episode. If you want to hear people discussing their path to VBAC, if you’re curious about what giving birth looks like in the U.S., and if you want tips on how to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare yourself for the best birth, listen to this podcast.”

Thank you so much for that review.

Jennifer: Totally. I 100% agree.

Meagan: That is so sweet. I do agree with her. Yes, VBAC is in the title of this podcast, but it really is for anyone.

Jennifer: Totally.

Meagan: And everyone wanting to give birth.

Jennifer: Definitely.

Meagan: I feel like if I had this podcast when I was preparing for my daughter Lainey, that would have changed a lot.

Jennifer: Yes. If I had listened before my first birth, I feel like so much would have and could have been different.

Meagan: Could have been different. I know. I’m so grateful for all of the Women of Strength who are sharing on this podcast and who are sharing on social media. By the way, we are accepting stories for our social media because we do have a lot of submissions on the podcast and we can’t get to everyone. We would love to still share every story possible, so if you are interested in sharing your story on our social media, email us at info@thevbaclink.com with your subject “Share My Story” and we will get that posted.

05:02 First C-section

Meagan: Okay, girl. Let’s dive into all of these stories. They are all– I don’t know. I feel like each one is the stepping stone to this final birth.

Jennifer: Yes. Yes.

Meagan: And I’m not saying you are done having babies.

Jennifer: Well, yeah. Most recent.

Meagan: I don’t want to say final like you are done. But this birth that you are sharing, I feel like each one came with learning and growing and all of the steps it took to get you to this point.

Jennifer: Yeah. I feel like I was so young with my first and I didn’t have any education at all which is common.

Meagan: That’s how I felt.

Jennifer: But yeah. It was a slow, long labor which is pretty typical for a first. I went to the hospital right away and I just had in my mind, I didn’t know about physiological birth. I just knew. I was like, “Oh my gosh. This hurts.” I thought I needed to be in the hospital because this hurts and something must be wrong because it hurts. Then I had an epidural and things were slow.

He did have meconium. They broke my water and he had meconium. It was that cascade of interventions and it was just kind of one thing after another. It slowed down after the epidural and at 4 centimeters, his heart rate wasn’t looking great and they said, “You need a C-section.” In my mind, it was like it was an emergency. “Oh my gosh, I need a C-section.”

So I had the C-section and yeah. That was the first stepping stone like you said. I didn’t know anything.

06:48 Second C-section

Jennifer: Then with my daughter, I wanted a VBAC. I heard about VBAC and was like, “Oh, that’s a thing.” Someone who I look up to told me the dangers and the big risks. They really had good intentions. They really thought it was dangerous so were trying to look out for me, but I was very vulnerable and they really scared me out of it. They were like, “You’ll both die if you rupture within a couple of minutes.” Now, after I’ve learned more, I’m like, “That’s not even true,” but at the time, I was like, “Uh, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk,” so I just scheduled that C-section.

I think each recovery was also more difficult. The first one was a fairly easy recovery and then the second one was a little harder and then my third was that bigger age gap. I had educated myself a little more or at least I knew what I wanted.

08:02 Third C-section during COVID

Jennifer: I knew that I wanted a VBAC. I didn’t want to deal with the drugs again postpartum and the numbness and everything. I just didn’t want to deal with it all with a C-section. That was during 2020 COVID year so that was a whole other level of difficulty added in with that year.

That was the one where they did a bait and switch on me. I said from the beginning with my OB/GYN, “Would you let me have a VBAC?” They were like, “Yeah. We can definitely do that. We’ll just look at your scar in an ultrasound later on and as long as it looks thick enough, yeah. You can have a VBAC.”

Of course, my scar was not thick enough. I’ve since learned and I think on one of your podcasts you talked about it in great detail. But that test is super– I mean, you talk about millimeters on this fuzzy black screen.

Meagan: Yeah. Not necessarily something that should be a determining factor for VBAC. We’ve even had a doctor on the podcast that was like, “No. The evidence is just not strong enough to go off of.”

Jennifer: Yeah. I was still in the mindset then of, “Doctor said no so I can’t,” so I scheduled the C-section and that one was really hard. I think it was because I knew that I wanted a VBAC and I wasn’t getting it. With the other two, I didn’t know I really wanted it so I was like, “Well, this is just how it is.”

With the third, I was so anxious during the C-section. I remember my doctor down there and she yelled to the anesthesiologist, “You need to give her something to calm her down,” because I was just crying and yeah.

Meagan: I’m sorry.

Jennifer: Yeah. It was a rough one.

10:09 Getting her tubes tied and reversal

Jennifer: And then this is one of the twists in my story. That’s when I had my tubes tied.

Meagan: The big twist.

Jennifer: Yeah. I had my tubes tied during that third C-section.

Meagan: Did your provider offer that or suggest it or did you say, “We’re done having babies”?

Jennifer: No. It was suggested multiple times throughout my care. I feel now like it was a little bit of coercion but it was my choice. My husband and I made the final decision as we were driving to get the C-section. Now I’m like, “You don’t decide to get your tubes tied when you are 9 months pregnant.”

Meagan: That’s a hard decision.

Jennifer: That’s not when you make that decision. Any decision, but definitely not that one because you are so tired of being pregnant at that point.

Meagan: You are vulnerable, yes.

Jennifer: So I had my tubes tied during that C-section and then the next day, it was instant regret. I was like, “I cannot believe we did this.” My husband felt the same way. We were both just like, “Ugh, what have we done? Why did we do that?”

Meagan: Mhmm, yeah.

Jennifer: It was really hard to grieve through that. It felt like a loss even though it wasn’t. It felt like I had lost a baby almost because of how intense the grief was knowing that I could never have another baby.

Meagan: I understand that so much when my husband got the vasectomy that I didn’t want him to get. I felt like, “I’m grieving a kid I’ve never had but I’m grieving a kid that I had in my mind.” You know?

Jennifer: Yeah, totally. It’s a very real grief. My husband right away suggested reversal, but I dealt with a lot of guilt about that like, “No. We chose this. My insurance paid for this. We can’t go and spend money on getting it reversed. We have to live with this.” I had to work through that guilt and shame and finally, we were blessed to be able to get it reversed two years-ish after.

Meagan: How was that? How was the process of that?

Jennifer: That was hard. It was like another C-section, the operation itself. It was outpatient but it was a big old C-section scar. The pain and everything was the same and not being able to lift. But emotionally, it was really healing.

Meagan: Yeah.

Jennifer: Right away, I remember waking up from being under anesthesia after it and I was just crying. The nurse was like, “It’s really normal to be emotional.” I was like “I’m so thankful.”

Meagan: Aww.

Jennifer: I was just so glad. At that point, I didn’t even know if it had worked because it was not a guarantee.

Meagan: A reversal.

Jennifer: A reversal is not a guarantee. There could be scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes.

Meagan: That makes sense.

Jennifer: I think depending on age, they have different success rates but I think it's 80% or something like that.

13:38 Fourth pregnancy

Jennifer: We did not conceive right away which we always did before, so I was not sure if it had been successful. It was almost a year before we finally did conceive, but we did about a year after I had the reversal.

Now, I knew I would have the VBAC. I was going to work for it and try for it and it was during the time before I had the reversal actually that I got really passionate about it. I was like, “This may never come to anything for me personally because I may not ever have a baby again,” but I really grew passionate about birth and physiological births. I read a lot and I got to know about rights. I never had to have a C-section even with the last one when he said the scar wasn’t thick enough. I still didn’t have to have a C-section.

Meagan: But we feel like that when we have providers who go through a lot more training and school than we do just on our Google searches and our classes and things like that. It feels that way. It feels like we don’t. They know what’s best. We trust them and we should trust our providers. I’m not saying we shouldn’t trust our providers, but we put everything that they say sometimes all in a basket and say, “That’s my fate,” and it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

16:39 Finding a home birth midwife in another state

Jennifer: So this time, this pregnancy was with my fourth. I knew I would work for the VBAC. At first, when I had been reading and researching and learning and everything, I knew I wanted a home birth. I was like, “That’s so what I desire.” It was just a dream for me that that could be a possibility. I knew it would help with the chances of having a VBAC just with what I’d learned about hospital practices and stuff.

So I met with some midwives in New Mexico where we live and they said– I met with several and they all said, “Law here doesn’t let us do a home birth after multiple C-sections. We can do it after one but not multiple.” I was just trying to be really open and praying that the birth would be how it was supposed to be.

I was like, “Okay. We’ll just do the hospital and I’ll be ready to stand up for myself. I’ll know all of my rights and I’ll know all of my info and I’ll just say, ‘I’m not having a C-section’”. Then I met with my OB and I was expecting to have a big dialogue. I was like, “Would you support a VBAC after I’ve had the three C-sections?” I was expecting this back and forth and he was like, “That’s a hard no.” I was like, “Oh, okay. I guess we’re done.”

Meagan: Okay.

Jennifer: So I started looking in El Paso, Texas which is just two hours away from us because one of the midwives had said that the laws are different in Texas. We found a really great, experienced midwife there in El Paso. She was very confident and I feel like that’s a really huge part of getting your VBAC is your provider’s confidence. Not just that they are tolerant, but that they are like, “Yeah. You can do this,” which is how she was.

Meagan: How it should be.

Jennifer: Yeah.

19:02 Going into labor and reserving an Airbnb

Jennifer: We did my prenatal care with her. It was a normal pregnancy. Then I went into labor at midnight a week and a day before Christmas.

Meagan: You went there. You had an Airbnb, right?

Jennifer: Yes. That’s the other twist and turn. We were doing this home birth, but we don’t live in El Paso obviously, so the plan was to get an Airbnb and birth there. At first, we were going to get it ahead of time, but just planning-wise and money-wise, we decided not to do that. We still could have missed it even if we booked two weeks around the due date.

Meagan: Right and that’s a lot of money to spend.

Jennifer: Yeah. We ended up just deciding to wait until I went into labor and then we’d book an Airbnb. The backup plan was we could do a hotel suite if we couldn’t find anything. Yes.

Meagan: If it wasn’t available.

Jennifer: Midnight was the worst time that I could have gone into labor because you check in to an Airbnb at 3:00 in the afternoon and midnight is about as long away as you can get from the afternoon.

But it was fine because it did progress really slowly. Even though it was my fourth birth, it was like a first-time labor.

Meagan: Yep. The first time you did really– well, I mean you labored.

Jennifer: I labored for a little while, but I never got into active labor.

Yeah, so it was slow and we had time. We just messaged all of the AirBnbs that would have worked for us and we were like, “Could you let us check in this morning?” They were like, “We have a guest and we have to clean so we can let you check in at 3:00 or 4:00” or whatever. Finally, one was like, “We’re cleaning it now and we can have it ready by 11:00.” We’re like, “We’ll take it.” It was beautiful. It was a great house to give birth in.

Meagan: Good.

Jennifer: So I labored slowly. It was really slow and then all of a sudden, it seemed like it was picking up. For a minute, I thought people weren’t going to get there. I texted all of my support people and I was like, “You need to come now. You might miss it,” but we had plenty of time. I had a doula and my midwife there and my friend, my sister, and my sister-in-law so a lot of support which I ended up just really needing.

I felt so in need of support– touch, prayers, drinks, back rubs, and everything that could be. I’m kind of a reserved person. That’s not my normal personality, but in labor, it was. I was also really bossy. I was like, “Cover me up right now. Okay, take the blanket off. I need the heating pad. Get me a drink.” I told my sister-in-law, I asked her to change because she had strong perfume and I’m really sensitive to smells. I was like, “Could you please change your shirt? I’m so sorry,” but I just got super bossy in labor.

My doula was great. She did lots of hip squeezes and counterpressure. That was so helpful. I remember during the hardest, last few hours, I was like, “How has any woman ever done this? How has any woman ever made it through labor?” I just felt like there was no escape and it was just going to go on forever. My midwife got kind of stern with me which was hard, really hard in the moment because I felt like she was being really mean.

My doula told me afterward that she was kind of in the middle range. She’s worked with midwives who are really aggressive and with midwives who are really gentle and this was kind of mid-range. I was like, “I guess that’s good.”

I realized afterward, it was really good. It helped push me through, but she was like, “You need to get out of your head. You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and do the work.” I was like, “You’re being so mean.”

Meagan: That is hard to hear when you’re going through labor.

Jennifer: Yeah, it was. But I think there was a part of me that did feel sorry for myself for going through it. I did need to get the mindset like, “I need to finish this.”

Meagan: We’re doing it, mhmm.

24:04 Complete dilation

Jennifer: Near the very end, she wanted to check me and I hadn’t wanted any cervical checks. I did end up having three total. I had one in the very beginning just to make sure it was really it and then she had checked me sometime in the afternoon/evening and this is why I didn’t want cervical checks because I was only at 5 and I was sure I must almost be done. I was like, “I must almost be at 9.” I was only at 5 and I was like, “Ah, how am I going to this much longer?” But then at the end, she wanted to check me again and I did not want to be checked again.

She said, “If you’re not progressed much from where you were earlier, with the way you are coping, we probably need to go to the hospital and get you an epidural, get you some Pitocin, and move this along.” I found out later that the baby’s heart rate at that time was looking iffy. It had been spiking and going back to normal.

I don’t know if they didn’t tell me during the time or if I just don’t remember it because of labor, but that’s why she was really urgent to check me. I was really resistant to it but finally, I was like, “Okay, fine.” When she checked me, she was like, “There’s no cervix. You are ready to push.”

Meagan: That’s a common thing when babies come down, the cervix opens, and everything is complete. Sometimes babies can do a funky, “Whoa, what’s going on here?” with their heart rate.

Jennifer: Okay, that would make sense. But I wasn’t pushing or anything. I expected– I had all of these expectations. I expected to do lots of different positions and then in the moment, I was like, “I just have to survive in whatever position I happen to be in.”

I had expected to feel that real urge to push and there really wasn’t. My midwife ended up directing me how to push. She put me on my back propped up on the bed. I didn’t want to be on my back because I knew that was not an optimal position for pushing, but I was so tired. This was around 2:00 in the morning the next morning after I had gone into labor the midnight before so it was a 26-hour labor altogether. I was so tired.

26:37 Pushing and catching her baby

Jennifer: I was on my back and she was telling me to hold my breath and bear down. Pushing was the hardest thing I have ever done. I wanted to blow out and let some of my air out and she was like, “Stop it. Hold your breath.” I could not feel the baby coming down. I felt no ring of fire. I didn’t feel any of it. All I felt was the contractions. They were so intense and trying to bear down and hold my breath and not blow out was so hard but it was effective. It was just a few minutes, just a few contractions that I pushed for and then her head came out.

I didn’t feel her head come out and then her body right after. I had wanted to catch her and my midwife guided her out. She was like, “Take your baby, Jennifer.”

Meagan: Aww.

Jennifer: So I reached down and pulled her up to my chest. It took a little while for it to sink in that I had the VBAC.

Meagan: I bet.

Jennifer: I was just in that state of, “This is never going to end.” It was so hard.

I was in a wanting to give up state of mind also. I was like, “If they could bring the hospital here, I would take the epidural. I would take the C-section,” at the moment, but I couldn’t fathom getting in the car. That was the only thing that stopped me from, “Let’s just go to the hospital.” I could not imagine getting in the car at that point of labor.

Meagan: Which says something too, right? It says, “It’s time to have a baby.”

Jennifer: Yeah, totally.

Yeah. That was it. It was a beautiful time afterward because everyone in the house heard. It was just me, my husband, and my doula for most of the time in the bedroom, but everyone heard me being very loud when I was pushing and heard her cry when she came out so my kids all came in at 2:00 in the morning and my sisters. Yeah. It was just a beautiful time afterward and was so nice to just be in a home even if it wasn’t my home.

Meagan: You were in a home.

Jennifer: And relaxed and comfortable. We waited to cut the cord until the placenta came out. It was just all relaxed and very beautiful. We named our little daughter Willa which means protection and just signifies how God protected us through this thing that a lot of people think is really scary and really dangerous. I’m very thankful.

Meagan: And you did it and there weren’t really any complications. How was your postpartum experience with this one? How was healing and recovery? You had three Cesareans. It started getting harder with each one and it can get harder naturally no matter what type of birth because we have other kids to take care of, but how was your postpartum experience?

Jennifer: It was really good, much easier than a C-section and really different. There’s still hard stuff. Just the pressure and bulging feeling that you have down there, I was like, “Oh, I’ve never experienced this before. I can’t sit up. I have to lay back or lean to the side or something to be comfortable.”

Then I kept instinctively putting my hands on my scar area anytime I’d sneeze or cough because that’s what I’m used to having to do.

Meagan: Oh, interesting.

Jennifer: Then I’d be like, “Oh, I don’t have to do that.”

Meagan: That was probably really nice.

Jennifer: That was really nice, yeah. Then not having to be on painkillers afterward. That’s a huge thing for me because I feel like it’s always dulled or blurred, those first few weeks. You are kind of out of it and both me and the baby were both more alert than I’ve ever experienced before.

Meagan: Absolutely. I would agree. I mean, I was there but it was. It was kind of blurry.

Jennifer: Yeah, just a little blurry.

Meagan: I was really tired and groggy. You’re already tired and groggy anyway after laboring, especially after surgery, but yeah.

Jennifer: Yes, totally.

31:24 You are worth it

Meagan: I am so happy for you. I am so grateful that along the way you were able to learn and grow educationally. Knowing you personally, you were finding out who you were more personally. You were like, “I have more to offer to this experience” by learning and growing and advocating for yourself. Driving two hours is not an easy thing and to think, “I’m renting. I’m paying for a midwife. I’m renting an Airbnb.” There are a lot of puzzle pieces that have to come together and fit and those can be really daunting. Really daunting, but typically it is worth it.

Jennifer: Yeah, so worth it. I’ve thought about that along the lines of how eating healthy costs more and is a little harder or sometimes a lot harder. It’s easy to eat fast food and processed food and stuff, but when you put in the work and the money also to have better health, it’s worth it.

I felt like that with the birth because yeah. We are paying for the Airbnb and we’re paying for the midwife and we’re paying for the doula and it was all worth it 100%. Worth it to pay for that.

Meagan: Worth it, right? We talked about this many, many times ago. I think it was Blyss Young who talked about how we put so much money and effort into our weddings and things like that, but then when it comes to birth, we’re like, “Oh, whatever.” Then we just don’t see the value in a lot of these things.

So talking about nutrition, eating really good foods, getting the good supplements, even finding the provider, and sometimes we have to pay more out of pocket for that provider or whatever it may be and it’s less ideal but in the grand scheme, when everything is done, I feel like it’s more unlikely for us to go back and be like, “I regret paying for that childbirth education class” or “I regret paying for a doula” or “I regret finding the right provider and giving birth in a home versus the hospital because that was my dream”.

Jennifer: Yeah. You’re just not going to. I mean, I don’t. I definitely do not regret any of that.

Meagan: I definitely didn’t either. I remember my husband being like, “You’re going to choose the most expensive option.” I was like, “It’s worth it. It’s worth it.” It’s worth it to give back to you. This is a really, really big day. Our wedding day is a big day. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a day that is amazing, but the vulnerability and the experience that sticks with us from birth I feel like is even bigger.

Jennifer: It’s just huge, yeah. It really is.

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer: It was definitely all worth it to have all of the extras.

Meagan: All of the extra, yeah. Not only is it worth it, you are worth it. Women of Strength, you are worth whatever it may be because I promise you in 25 years, you are not going to think about that $5000 that you spend on your midwife or whatever. I don’t know how much midwives are everywhere, but you’re not going to look at that. You’re not going to look at that. You’re going to be like, “That was worth it.” Yeah. Do what’s best for you and know that you are worth it. You are not selfish for wanting to do things differently or spend extra money or get the education. You’re not. It’s worth it.

Jennifer: Yeah. I mean, who knows but I have a strong feeling it would have ended in a C-section if I had been in the hospital because we passed that 24-hour mark, and now the baby’s heart rate is looking iffy and I’m utterly exhausted and ready to give up. I just feel like there’s a good chance that it could have ended in a C-section. That’s not what is best. I know that’s not what is best for me at this point. I don’t know if we are done having kids and I know there are more complications with more C-sections. It was definitely worth it to also give myself the location and type of birth and everything that was going to lead more to success.

Meagan: Right, yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing your journey.

Jennifer: Yeah. I’m so glad to have been able to. I told you at the beginning that we’ve been listening to The VBAC Link all throughout my pregnancy and yeah, my kids are so excited that I’m going to be on it.

Meagan: I can’t wait to hear what they think about it where they are like, “Whoa, that’s your voice, Mom. That’s your voice!”

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.

Jennifer joins us today sharing her HBA3C story! Each birth was a stepping stone that gave her more education and wisdom which ultimately led to her home birth after three Cesareans. Jennifer’s first Cesarean was due to meconium in the water, slow progress, and heart rate issues. Her other two Cesareans were scheduled, but her third was particularly difficult because in her heart, Jennifer really wanted a VBAC.

After regretting her decision to get her tubes tied during her third Cesarean, Jennifer opted for a reversal and it worked! Once pregnant with her fourth, she traveled two hours each way across state lines to find a home birth midwife. When labor began, Jennifer booked an Airbnb, called in her team, and had the beautiful home birth she knew she was capable of.

Jennifer’s Website

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

02:20 Review of the Week

05:02 First C-section

06:48 Second C-section

08:02 Third C-section during COVID

10:09 Getting her tubes tied and reversal

13:38 Fourth pregnancy

16:39 Finding a home birth midwife in another state

19:02 Going into labor and reserving an Airbnb

24:04 Complete dilation

26:37 Pushing and catching her baby

31:24 You are worth it

Meagan: Hello, hello everybody. This is Meagan, your host here at The VBAC Link and we have our friend, Jennifer. Hi Jennifer.

Jennifer: Hi.

Meagan: You guys, her story– we were just talking about this before the episode. It has a lot of surprises like, “Oh, I didn’t expect that. Whoa.” So I’m so excited to– I’ve read a summary of her story and am now excited to hear it in her own words. I also thought it was kind of fun. She was just saying her kids are excited to hear her story because they know The VBAC Link podcast too.

Jennifer: Yep. It was part of our preparation for the birth just having them hear stuff and hear how births are because obviously, they’d never had any experience.

Meagan: Yes, so how old are your kids?

Jennifer: 11. 9, 3 and now newborn.

Meagan: And now newborn. We have very similar-aged kids. 11 and 9 and then I have an 8-year-old this year. And then we jump. That is so exciting. I’m excited to get into your HBAC after three Cesareans and all of the fun things away.

02:20 Review of the Week

Meagan: But I do have a Review of the Week and this review is from mcgrace. I actually think I know who this is. It says, “Must listen for every mom-to-be.” It says, “This podcast is a must-listen not just for the mom preparing for a VBAC but anyone who is giving birth and has given birth or plans to give birth in the U.S. Meagan wonderfully walks through personal stories while preparing helpful advocacy tips and a solid dose of empowerment in each episode. If you want to hear people discussing their path to VBAC, if you’re curious about what giving birth looks like in the U.S., and if you want tips on how to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare yourself for the best birth, listen to this podcast.”

Thank you so much for that review.

Jennifer: Totally. I 100% agree.

Meagan: That is so sweet. I do agree with her. Yes, VBAC is in the title of this podcast, but it really is for anyone.

Jennifer: Totally.

Meagan: And everyone wanting to give birth.

Jennifer: Definitely.

Meagan: I feel like if I had this podcast when I was preparing for my daughter Lainey, that would have changed a lot.

Jennifer: Yes. If I had listened before my first birth, I feel like so much would have and could have been different.

Meagan: Could have been different. I know. I’m so grateful for all of the Women of Strength who are sharing on this podcast and who are sharing on social media. By the way, we are accepting stories for our social media because we do have a lot of submissions on the podcast and we can’t get to everyone. We would love to still share every story possible, so if you are interested in sharing your story on our social media, email us at info@thevbaclink.com with your subject “Share My Story” and we will get that posted.

05:02 First C-section

Meagan: Okay, girl. Let’s dive into all of these stories. They are all– I don’t know. I feel like each one is the stepping stone to this final birth.

Jennifer: Yes. Yes.

Meagan: And I’m not saying you are done having babies.

Jennifer: Well, yeah. Most recent.

Meagan: I don’t want to say final like you are done. But this birth that you are sharing, I feel like each one came with learning and growing and all of the steps it took to get you to this point.

Jennifer: Yeah. I feel like I was so young with my first and I didn’t have any education at all which is common.

Meagan: That’s how I felt.

Jennifer: But yeah. It was a slow, long labor which is pretty typical for a first. I went to the hospital right away and I just had in my mind, I didn’t know about physiological birth. I just knew. I was like, “Oh my gosh. This hurts.” I thought I needed to be in the hospital because this hurts and something must be wrong because it hurts. Then I had an epidural and things were slow.

He did have meconium. They broke my water and he had meconium. It was that cascade of interventions and it was just kind of one thing after another. It slowed down after the epidural and at 4 centimeters, his heart rate wasn’t looking great and they said, “You need a C-section.” In my mind, it was like it was an emergency. “Oh my gosh, I need a C-section.”

So I had the C-section and yeah. That was the first stepping stone like you said. I didn’t know anything.

06:48 Second C-section

Jennifer: Then with my daughter, I wanted a VBAC. I heard about VBAC and was like, “Oh, that’s a thing.” Someone who I look up to told me the dangers and the big risks. They really had good intentions. They really thought it was dangerous so were trying to look out for me, but I was very vulnerable and they really scared me out of it. They were like, “You’ll both die if you rupture within a couple of minutes.” Now, after I’ve learned more, I’m like, “That’s not even true,” but at the time, I was like, “Uh, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk,” so I just scheduled that C-section.

I think each recovery was also more difficult. The first one was a fairly easy recovery and then the second one was a little harder and then my third was that bigger age gap. I had educated myself a little more or at least I knew what I wanted.

08:02 Third C-section during COVID

Jennifer: I knew that I wanted a VBAC. I didn’t want to deal with the drugs again postpartum and the numbness and everything. I just didn’t want to deal with it all with a C-section. That was during 2020 COVID year so that was a whole other level of difficulty added in with that year.

That was the one where they did a bait and switch on me. I said from the beginning with my OB/GYN, “Would you let me have a VBAC?” They were like, “Yeah. We can definitely do that. We’ll just look at your scar in an ultrasound later on and as long as it looks thick enough, yeah. You can have a VBAC.”

Of course, my scar was not thick enough. I’ve since learned and I think on one of your podcasts you talked about it in great detail. But that test is super– I mean, you talk about millimeters on this fuzzy black screen.

Meagan: Yeah. Not necessarily something that should be a determining factor for VBAC. We’ve even had a doctor on the podcast that was like, “No. The evidence is just not strong enough to go off of.”

Jennifer: Yeah. I was still in the mindset then of, “Doctor said no so I can’t,” so I scheduled the C-section and that one was really hard. I think it was because I knew that I wanted a VBAC and I wasn’t getting it. With the other two, I didn’t know I really wanted it so I was like, “Well, this is just how it is.”

With the third, I was so anxious during the C-section. I remember my doctor down there and she yelled to the anesthesiologist, “You need to give her something to calm her down,” because I was just crying and yeah.

Meagan: I’m sorry.

Jennifer: Yeah. It was a rough one.

10:09 Getting her tubes tied and reversal

Jennifer: And then this is one of the twists in my story. That’s when I had my tubes tied.

Meagan: The big twist.

Jennifer: Yeah. I had my tubes tied during that third C-section.

Meagan: Did your provider offer that or suggest it or did you say, “We’re done having babies”?

Jennifer: No. It was suggested multiple times throughout my care. I feel now like it was a little bit of coercion but it was my choice. My husband and I made the final decision as we were driving to get the C-section. Now I’m like, “You don’t decide to get your tubes tied when you are 9 months pregnant.”

Meagan: That’s a hard decision.

Jennifer: That’s not when you make that decision. Any decision, but definitely not that one because you are so tired of being pregnant at that point.

Meagan: You are vulnerable, yes.

Jennifer: So I had my tubes tied during that C-section and then the next day, it was instant regret. I was like, “I cannot believe we did this.” My husband felt the same way. We were both just like, “Ugh, what have we done? Why did we do that?”

Meagan: Mhmm, yeah.

Jennifer: It was really hard to grieve through that. It felt like a loss even though it wasn’t. It felt like I had lost a baby almost because of how intense the grief was knowing that I could never have another baby.

Meagan: I understand that so much when my husband got the vasectomy that I didn’t want him to get. I felt like, “I’m grieving a kid I’ve never had but I’m grieving a kid that I had in my mind.” You know?

Jennifer: Yeah, totally. It’s a very real grief. My husband right away suggested reversal, but I dealt with a lot of guilt about that like, “No. We chose this. My insurance paid for this. We can’t go and spend money on getting it reversed. We have to live with this.” I had to work through that guilt and shame and finally, we were blessed to be able to get it reversed two years-ish after.

Meagan: How was that? How was the process of that?

Jennifer: That was hard. It was like another C-section, the operation itself. It was outpatient but it was a big old C-section scar. The pain and everything was the same and not being able to lift. But emotionally, it was really healing.

Meagan: Yeah.

Jennifer: Right away, I remember waking up from being under anesthesia after it and I was just crying. The nurse was like, “It’s really normal to be emotional.” I was like “I’m so thankful.”

Meagan: Aww.

Jennifer: I was just so glad. At that point, I didn’t even know if it had worked because it was not a guarantee.

Meagan: A reversal.

Jennifer: A reversal is not a guarantee. There could be scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes.

Meagan: That makes sense.

Jennifer: I think depending on age, they have different success rates but I think it's 80% or something like that.

13:38 Fourth pregnancy

Jennifer: We did not conceive right away which we always did before, so I was not sure if it had been successful. It was almost a year before we finally did conceive, but we did about a year after I had the reversal.

Now, I knew I would have the VBAC. I was going to work for it and try for it and it was during the time before I had the reversal actually that I got really passionate about it. I was like, “This may never come to anything for me personally because I may not ever have a baby again,” but I really grew passionate about birth and physiological births. I read a lot and I got to know about rights. I never had to have a C-section even with the last one when he said the scar wasn’t thick enough. I still didn’t have to have a C-section.

Meagan: But we feel like that when we have providers who go through a lot more training and school than we do just on our Google searches and our classes and things like that. It feels that way. It feels like we don’t. They know what’s best. We trust them and we should trust our providers. I’m not saying we shouldn’t trust our providers, but we put everything that they say sometimes all in a basket and say, “That’s my fate,” and it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

16:39 Finding a home birth midwife in another state

Jennifer: So this time, this pregnancy was with my fourth. I knew I would work for the VBAC. At first, when I had been reading and researching and learning and everything, I knew I wanted a home birth. I was like, “That’s so what I desire.” It was just a dream for me that that could be a possibility. I knew it would help with the chances of having a VBAC just with what I’d learned about hospital practices and stuff.

So I met with some midwives in New Mexico where we live and they said– I met with several and they all said, “Law here doesn’t let us do a home birth after multiple C-sections. We can do it after one but not multiple.” I was just trying to be really open and praying that the birth would be how it was supposed to be.

I was like, “Okay. We’ll just do the hospital and I’ll be ready to stand up for myself. I’ll know all of my rights and I’ll know all of my info and I’ll just say, ‘I’m not having a C-section’”. Then I met with my OB and I was expecting to have a big dialogue. I was like, “Would you support a VBAC after I’ve had the three C-sections?” I was expecting this back and forth and he was like, “That’s a hard no.” I was like, “Oh, okay. I guess we’re done.”

Meagan: Okay.

Jennifer: So I started looking in El Paso, Texas which is just two hours away from us because one of the midwives had said that the laws are different in Texas. We found a really great, experienced midwife there in El Paso. She was very confident and I feel like that’s a really huge part of getting your VBAC is your provider’s confidence. Not just that they are tolerant, but that they are like, “Yeah. You can do this,” which is how she was.

Meagan: How it should be.

Jennifer: Yeah.

19:02 Going into labor and reserving an Airbnb

Jennifer: We did my prenatal care with her. It was a normal pregnancy. Then I went into labor at midnight a week and a day before Christmas.

Meagan: You went there. You had an Airbnb, right?

Jennifer: Yes. That’s the other twist and turn. We were doing this home birth, but we don’t live in El Paso obviously, so the plan was to get an Airbnb and birth there. At first, we were going to get it ahead of time, but just planning-wise and money-wise, we decided not to do that. We still could have missed it even if we booked two weeks around the due date.

Meagan: Right and that’s a lot of money to spend.

Jennifer: Yeah. We ended up just deciding to wait until I went into labor and then we’d book an Airbnb. The backup plan was we could do a hotel suite if we couldn’t find anything. Yes.

Meagan: If it wasn’t available.

Jennifer: Midnight was the worst time that I could have gone into labor because you check in to an Airbnb at 3:00 in the afternoon and midnight is about as long away as you can get from the afternoon.

But it was fine because it did progress really slowly. Even though it was my fourth birth, it was like a first-time labor.

Meagan: Yep. The first time you did really– well, I mean you labored.

Jennifer: I labored for a little while, but I never got into active labor.

Yeah, so it was slow and we had time. We just messaged all of the AirBnbs that would have worked for us and we were like, “Could you let us check in this morning?” They were like, “We have a guest and we have to clean so we can let you check in at 3:00 or 4:00” or whatever. Finally, one was like, “We’re cleaning it now and we can have it ready by 11:00.” We’re like, “We’ll take it.” It was beautiful. It was a great house to give birth in.

Meagan: Good.

Jennifer: So I labored slowly. It was really slow and then all of a sudden, it seemed like it was picking up. For a minute, I thought people weren’t going to get there. I texted all of my support people and I was like, “You need to come now. You might miss it,” but we had plenty of time. I had a doula and my midwife there and my friend, my sister, and my sister-in-law so a lot of support which I ended up just really needing.

I felt so in need of support– touch, prayers, drinks, back rubs, and everything that could be. I’m kind of a reserved person. That’s not my normal personality, but in labor, it was. I was also really bossy. I was like, “Cover me up right now. Okay, take the blanket off. I need the heating pad. Get me a drink.” I told my sister-in-law, I asked her to change because she had strong perfume and I’m really sensitive to smells. I was like, “Could you please change your shirt? I’m so sorry,” but I just got super bossy in labor.

My doula was great. She did lots of hip squeezes and counterpressure. That was so helpful. I remember during the hardest, last few hours, I was like, “How has any woman ever done this? How has any woman ever made it through labor?” I just felt like there was no escape and it was just going to go on forever. My midwife got kind of stern with me which was hard, really hard in the moment because I felt like she was being really mean.

My doula told me afterward that she was kind of in the middle range. She’s worked with midwives who are really aggressive and with midwives who are really gentle and this was kind of mid-range. I was like, “I guess that’s good.”

I realized afterward, it was really good. It helped push me through, but she was like, “You need to get out of your head. You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and do the work.” I was like, “You’re being so mean.”

Meagan: That is hard to hear when you’re going through labor.

Jennifer: Yeah, it was. But I think there was a part of me that did feel sorry for myself for going through it. I did need to get the mindset like, “I need to finish this.”

Meagan: We’re doing it, mhmm.

24:04 Complete dilation

Jennifer: Near the very end, she wanted to check me and I hadn’t wanted any cervical checks. I did end up having three total. I had one in the very beginning just to make sure it was really it and then she had checked me sometime in the afternoon/evening and this is why I didn’t want cervical checks because I was only at 5 and I was sure I must almost be done. I was like, “I must almost be at 9.” I was only at 5 and I was like, “Ah, how am I going to this much longer?” But then at the end, she wanted to check me again and I did not want to be checked again.

She said, “If you’re not progressed much from where you were earlier, with the way you are coping, we probably need to go to the hospital and get you an epidural, get you some Pitocin, and move this along.” I found out later that the baby’s heart rate at that time was looking iffy. It had been spiking and going back to normal.

I don’t know if they didn’t tell me during the time or if I just don’t remember it because of labor, but that’s why she was really urgent to check me. I was really resistant to it but finally, I was like, “Okay, fine.” When she checked me, she was like, “There’s no cervix. You are ready to push.”

Meagan: That’s a common thing when babies come down, the cervix opens, and everything is complete. Sometimes babies can do a funky, “Whoa, what’s going on here?” with their heart rate.

Jennifer: Okay, that would make sense. But I wasn’t pushing or anything. I expected– I had all of these expectations. I expected to do lots of different positions and then in the moment, I was like, “I just have to survive in whatever position I happen to be in.”

I had expected to feel that real urge to push and there really wasn’t. My midwife ended up directing me how to push. She put me on my back propped up on the bed. I didn’t want to be on my back because I knew that was not an optimal position for pushing, but I was so tired. This was around 2:00 in the morning the next morning after I had gone into labor the midnight before so it was a 26-hour labor altogether. I was so tired.

26:37 Pushing and catching her baby

Jennifer: I was on my back and she was telling me to hold my breath and bear down. Pushing was the hardest thing I have ever done. I wanted to blow out and let some of my air out and she was like, “Stop it. Hold your breath.” I could not feel the baby coming down. I felt no ring of fire. I didn’t feel any of it. All I felt was the contractions. They were so intense and trying to bear down and hold my breath and not blow out was so hard but it was effective. It was just a few minutes, just a few contractions that I pushed for and then her head came out.

I didn’t feel her head come out and then her body right after. I had wanted to catch her and my midwife guided her out. She was like, “Take your baby, Jennifer.”

Meagan: Aww.

Jennifer: So I reached down and pulled her up to my chest. It took a little while for it to sink in that I had the VBAC.

Meagan: I bet.

Jennifer: I was just in that state of, “This is never going to end.” It was so hard.

I was in a wanting to give up state of mind also. I was like, “If they could bring the hospital here, I would take the epidural. I would take the C-section,” at the moment, but I couldn’t fathom getting in the car. That was the only thing that stopped me from, “Let’s just go to the hospital.” I could not imagine getting in the car at that point of labor.

Meagan: Which says something too, right? It says, “It’s time to have a baby.”

Jennifer: Yeah, totally.

Yeah. That was it. It was a beautiful time afterward because everyone in the house heard. It was just me, my husband, and my doula for most of the time in the bedroom, but everyone heard me being very loud when I was pushing and heard her cry when she came out so my kids all came in at 2:00 in the morning and my sisters. Yeah. It was just a beautiful time afterward and was so nice to just be in a home even if it wasn’t my home.

Meagan: You were in a home.

Jennifer: And relaxed and comfortable. We waited to cut the cord until the placenta came out. It was just all relaxed and very beautiful. We named our little daughter Willa which means protection and just signifies how God protected us through this thing that a lot of people think is really scary and really dangerous. I’m very thankful.

Meagan: And you did it and there weren’t really any complications. How was your postpartum experience with this one? How was healing and recovery? You had three Cesareans. It started getting harder with each one and it can get harder naturally no matter what type of birth because we have other kids to take care of, but how was your postpartum experience?

Jennifer: It was really good, much easier than a C-section and really different. There’s still hard stuff. Just the pressure and bulging feeling that you have down there, I was like, “Oh, I’ve never experienced this before. I can’t sit up. I have to lay back or lean to the side or something to be comfortable.”

Then I kept instinctively putting my hands on my scar area anytime I’d sneeze or cough because that’s what I’m used to having to do.

Meagan: Oh, interesting.

Jennifer: Then I’d be like, “Oh, I don’t have to do that.”

Meagan: That was probably really nice.

Jennifer: That was really nice, yeah. Then not having to be on painkillers afterward. That’s a huge thing for me because I feel like it’s always dulled or blurred, those first few weeks. You are kind of out of it and both me and the baby were both more alert than I’ve ever experienced before.

Meagan: Absolutely. I would agree. I mean, I was there but it was. It was kind of blurry.

Jennifer: Yeah, just a little blurry.

Meagan: I was really tired and groggy. You’re already tired and groggy anyway after laboring, especially after surgery, but yeah.

Jennifer: Yes, totally.

31:24 You are worth it

Meagan: I am so happy for you. I am so grateful that along the way you were able to learn and grow educationally. Knowing you personally, you were finding out who you were more personally. You were like, “I have more to offer to this experience” by learning and growing and advocating for yourself. Driving two hours is not an easy thing and to think, “I’m renting. I’m paying for a midwife. I’m renting an Airbnb.” There are a lot of puzzle pieces that have to come together and fit and those can be really daunting. Really daunting, but typically it is worth it.

Jennifer: Yeah, so worth it. I’ve thought about that along the lines of how eating healthy costs more and is a little harder or sometimes a lot harder. It’s easy to eat fast food and processed food and stuff, but when you put in the work and the money also to have better health, it’s worth it.

I felt like that with the birth because yeah. We are paying for the Airbnb and we’re paying for the midwife and we’re paying for the doula and it was all worth it 100%. Worth it to pay for that.

Meagan: Worth it, right? We talked about this many, many times ago. I think it was Blyss Young who talked about how we put so much money and effort into our weddings and things like that, but then when it comes to birth, we’re like, “Oh, whatever.” Then we just don’t see the value in a lot of these things.

So talking about nutrition, eating really good foods, getting the good supplements, even finding the provider, and sometimes we have to pay more out of pocket for that provider or whatever it may be and it’s less ideal but in the grand scheme, when everything is done, I feel like it’s more unlikely for us to go back and be like, “I regret paying for that childbirth education class” or “I regret paying for a doula” or “I regret finding the right provider and giving birth in a home versus the hospital because that was my dream”.

Jennifer: Yeah. You’re just not going to. I mean, I don’t. I definitely do not regret any of that.

Meagan: I definitely didn’t either. I remember my husband being like, “You’re going to choose the most expensive option.” I was like, “It’s worth it. It’s worth it.” It’s worth it to give back to you. This is a really, really big day. Our wedding day is a big day. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a day that is amazing, but the vulnerability and the experience that sticks with us from birth I feel like is even bigger.

Jennifer: It’s just huge, yeah. It really is.

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer: It was definitely all worth it to have all of the extras.

Meagan: All of the extra, yeah. Not only is it worth it, you are worth it. Women of Strength, you are worth whatever it may be because I promise you in 25 years, you are not going to think about that $5000 that you spend on your midwife or whatever. I don’t know how much midwives are everywhere, but you’re not going to look at that. You’re not going to look at that. You’re going to be like, “That was worth it.” Yeah. Do what’s best for you and know that you are worth it. You are not selfish for wanting to do things differently or spend extra money or get the education. You’re not. It’s worth it.

Jennifer: Yeah. I mean, who knows but I have a strong feeling it would have ended in a C-section if I had been in the hospital because we passed that 24-hour mark, and now the baby’s heart rate is looking iffy and I’m utterly exhausted and ready to give up. I just feel like there’s a good chance that it could have ended in a C-section. That’s not what is best. I know that’s not what is best for me at this point. I don’t know if we are done having kids and I know there are more complications with more C-sections. It was definitely worth it to also give myself the location and type of birth and everything that was going to lead more to success.

Meagan: Right, yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing your journey.

Jennifer: Yeah. I’m so glad to have been able to. I told you at the beginning that we’ve been listening to The VBAC Link all throughout my pregnancy and yeah, my kids are so excited that I’m going to be on it.

Meagan: I can’t wait to hear what they think about it where they are like, “Whoa, that’s your voice, Mom. That’s your voice!”

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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