Midwives are key for a successful unmedicated VBAC
I went to an ob/gyn when I was pregnant with ny first child because it was the mainstream thing to do and I did not know that I had options. I was treated like I had some medical issue, with unnecessary screenings and tests along the way. I was even encouraged to terminate my pregnancy since my baby might have Down Syndrome. I was frustrated because this didn't feel right. I knew that pregnancy is natural, not a medical condition. I went into labor on my daughter's due date. In the hospital my husband was my only support. The nurses came and went, only coming in to check vitals and encourage me to get an epidural, despite clarifying in my written birth plan that I did not want medication. I was having intense back labor and finally gave in to an epidural, which immobilized me but did not stop the back pain. I ended up needing pitocin because the epidural slowed my contractions. My blood pressure crashed and the anesthesiologist was concerned, pushing IV fluids. I pushed for 4 -1/2 hours, during which the ob/gyn came in for a total of five minutes and told me I'd need a c-section. I was devastated and already felt like a failure. The ob/gyn told me that I was not able to push well enough to deliver my baby! Luckily, my daughter was born healthy. I went on to have complications from the c-section and almost died twice. It was a very traumatizing experience.
When I became pregnant with my second child I ignorantly stayed with the ob/gyn group. With every prenatal visit I was getting more concerned because the ob/gyns kept telling me that I needed to have another c-section and that the VBAC I wanted would risk killing my baby. They were bullying me into a convenient scheduled c-section, rather than have to deal with supporting the inconvenient, unmedicated VBAC I wanted. I started looking for a doula and started learning that a midwife was an option. I was so excited and encouraged. Midwives embody my beliefs about pregnancy, birth, and overall women's health. They're even covered by my insurance! At 20 weeks, I switched to a midwife. It was the best decision I could have made. My midwife treated me with respect from day 1. She always made sure that I had all the information to make informed decisions about my pregnancy. We had conversations about my pregnancy and birth plan. We agreed that a VBAC in a hospital felt right (due to the risks). When I went into labor, my midwife met me and my husband in the parking lot of the hospital and walked with us up to my room. She stayed with us continuously through the whole experience. She gave my husband suggestions of how to help support me. She gave me options of different positions to try. She suggested I lean forward to alleviate the pain of back labor- it worked! It was then that I knew I could have avoided a c-section with my first child had I simply changed position. I learned with my midwife that my changing position allowed my baby to find his right birthing position. It all became intuitive. I found that squatting felt best and delivered my son with a successful unmedicated VBAC! I had never felt so empowered in my life. My midwife made all the difference in the world. She knew that pregnancy and birth are natural experiences, not medical conditions. Trusting my body's knowing ofand how to birth and my baby's knowing of how to be born was life changing! I stayed with my midwife and went on to have another successful unmedicated VBAC.