The emergency c-section I had with my first child was the opposite of what I dreamed my first birth experience would be; it was rushed, scary, medical – all the things I didn’t want. I emerged from the experience with a healthy child, but I was still so scarred by it that when I became pregnant again I did everything I could to ensure VBAC success. I mean – everything.
That I ended up with a surgical birth was funny – because I didn’t even envision being in a hospital when my first child was born. I can’t put my finger on exactly what happened that made me so obsessed with delivering at a birthing center – without the help of drugs or inductions of any kind – but whatever it was, I was focused. I read books, I watched documentaries – I could rattle off all the reasons that a natural birth was superior to a hospital one. I was one of those people who had never experienced childbirth, but was certain I knew everything about it. When an emergency at my last prenatal appointment necessitated a trip to the hospital that culminated in a surgical birth – I was shocked to say the least.
Emergency c-sections can be pretty frightening. Those of you who have only experienced the scheduled variety probably find it hard to understand why so many women react negatively to their c-sections when they happen as the result of an emergency. For me, it was a frantic, rushed procedure. I was scared through the thing that they weren’t going to get my child out in time. You would think the very fact that being in a hospital saved my first child’s life would make me a little more receptive to surgical births in general. Nope. My experience did exactly the opposite. My insane emotional and physical reaction to my first c-section made me determined to never experience one again. When I became pregnant with my second child – I was once again a woman obsessed; not with delivering in a birthing center, because that’s rarely allowed in a VBAC. My obsession shifted to doing whatever I could in my power to be able to deliver my second child vaginally. I needed that VBAC.
Initially, I felt really supported. I was in New York using the midwives I had used the first-time-around. They were skilled enough to recognize that my first birth needed to happen in a hospital. My midwife stayed by my side the entire time. I trusted them. They told me I was a good candidate for a VBAC and they would support me through one. The only difference was we would not be planning for the birth to take place in the birthing center where they normally deliver. They attended all VBACs at a hospital where they had privileges. I had no problem with that.