One of the things I love about social media is the ability to connect with someone you may have otherwise never met. I feel blessed to have found this very special woman who shines among the crowded social media world. She will be guest blogging today. I hope her journey and tips will be helpful to many mothers!
Top Five Tips Towards VBAC
Hi! My name is Jaimie and I am a mother who had a life changing VBA3C. I have spent time researching before and during my pregnancy and even after! If you are thinking about VBAC, or are currently preparing to have one, below I am sharing my top five tips towards VBAC. I think there’s a lot we can do towards having a healthy pregnancy and even towards a VBAC. But I also believe we can do all the right things and not have a VBAC. I also think that some may do nothing and have a VBAC. There can be many twists and turns in birth, but I believe if we go in doing the best we can we will have the best opportunity to have the birth we desire.
1. Find a supportive provider.
Make sure the doctor/midwife who oversees your care is truly supportive of VBAC and not just tolerating your wishes. It’s best to find this out early on in the pregnancy, rather than later. If you don’t feel comfortable with the provider you are currently seeing, or the next several you interview…keep looking. If you have a local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network http://www.ican-online.org/icanchapters/)chapter in your area, they are very supportive. You may also be able to ask them for possible VBAC supportive providers in your area.
2. Hire a doula.
I really think doulas are great! They offer support to you during pregnancy, labor and the immediate postpartum. They are worth saving your money for. ACOG has recently said that having a support person in labor is beneficial (http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Approaches-to-Limit-Intervention-During-Labor-and-Birth) A recent study also showed, “Women who received continuous labour support were more likely to give birth 'spontaneously', i.e. give birth with neither caesarean nor vacuum nor forceps. In addition, women were less likely to use pain medications, were more likely to be satisfied, and had slightly shorter labours. Their babies were less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores, (http://www.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-for-women-during-childbirth).” Studies show….a doula is worth it!
Read here about why even doulas want a doula!
3. Find a Webster certified chiropractor.
A chiropractor who has certified in this technique specializes in prenatal care. Many research articles point out benefits such as avoiding c-sections and helping a breech baby to turn. To find a chiropractor you can search for one in your area here: http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/ and you can learn more about the benefits and research here: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Webster-Technique/
If you are looking for a chiropractor in Winchester, Virginia, click here to hear about my favorite!
4. Take care of your physical body and your heart/mind as well.
This would include exercising, eating well and drinking lots of water. It also may mean taking supplements. I believe if we can provide the body with excellent nutrition, movement and hydration we can only benefit ourselves and our baby for the better. Labor is hard work! Hard, but doable! If we even put forward a little effort, our bodies and babies will thank us later! Not only is the body important, but even more so in my opinion is the heart and the mind. It is essential to face any fears, worries and concerns about your upcoming birth and to really working towards finding peace and confidence in yourself. Journal, pray or talk to a trusted friend. Release negative feelings and go forward with joy and hope towards the birth of your baby.
5. Take responsibility for your birth.
A doula, a doctor and a chiropractor are all great tools to have for support and encouragement for our births. But no one will care more for your birth or your baby than you. Research about labor, gain a real grasp on what to expect, learn about VBAC (VBACFacts.com is a great place to start!), educate yourself before so you can know how you may handle different things that will come up during labor. Create a birth plan. Learn about the policies and procedures that are set in place at your hospital. Be prepared. It doesn’t guarantee a specific outcome, but it can help you to have the best birth possible.
As you go look forward to one of the most special days of your life…the birth of your child, I hope you will be able to anticipate it with joy, optimism and hope. Doing anything to prepare for a VBAC can really help a mother to be at the best place possible physically, emotionally and mentally. Any positive preparation can make a difference, no matter how small. If you can’t do all of these, that’s totally ok! The most important thing you can do it have a positive attitude and believe in yourself.
I am so grateful and thankful I was able to have a VBA3C (vaginal birth after three c-sections). It was a very challenging time for me in many ways. But I chose to trust God, trust myself and let my fears fall away. I experienced one of the best days of my life, holding my baby before anyone else and having those first moments together. All the work to get there was very worth it in the end. And to you dear reader, if you are preparing for a VBAC I wish you the absolute best. And I believe in you. I really do. As a woman capable to vaginally birth her baby. Go forward in your pursuit. And no matter the outcome, I pray you can have peace knowing you had an active role in the decisions made for your birth and ultimately, you will have much joy on this very special and sacred day.
I am not my own. It's feels like I have lost all my rights to my body. Lost the rights to make decisions because now all my decisions include the caveat 'as long as my baby isn't sleeping' or 'as long as my children can come with me' or 'I need to be home in time to nurse my baby.' When you become a mother, you are no longer your own.
As I write this, I am weeping. For many reasons... (1) being that I wish it would all slow down so I could savor the moments, and (2) because I also know that I keep wishing the days away, even when I know how quickly they fly by, and (3) I have been there, I remember, and I feel for you momma!
I must admit, I am coming out of this phase of life and into the preadolescent years. I have 4 daughters: a 10 year old, 8 year old, 6, year old, and 4 year old. My baby is no longer a baby, no longer wears diapers, sleeps in her own bed (until about 4 am and quietly slips into our bed). I don't have children stealing food off my plate or needing me to wipe their butt.
But I have been there...
I remember nursing every 1.5-2 hours and wondering when my body would be my own again. I was either pregnant or breastfeeding for over 8 years. I felt touched out! I was (and still am at times) sleep deprived. I remember feeling like my husband had no idea how difficult is was to be a mom- and honestly as much as he tried, there was no way he would fully understand- he wasn't breastfeeding, he wasn't getting up in the middle of the night to feed a baby. His body did not have the incredible design that mine did. My body was designed to sustain life, both inside the womb and outside of it. And, at times, I resented him for that.
I resented the freedom he had. I resented that he could go off to work and talk with BIG humans while I was stuck at home with tiny humans, whose voices were grating on my last nerves.
I hated that I was the main disciplinarian because I was the one around our kids the majority of the time.
I wished for the opportunity to walk through the door at the end of the day and have my kids run up to me like I held the world in my hands - seriously though, I was the one making their world spin, and yet these tiny humans had no clue.
I often wondered how other women could get out of their house looking so glamorous, while I had my day 3, unwashed, greasy hair pulled in a bun, wearing sweat pants and some freebie Tshirt, spit up across the front, toddler hanging on me legs, baby crying in my ear. I wished that these days would end.
I am not my own.
I resented the friendships that I lost because motherhood changes you. I hated that I was constantly missing out on fun opportunities because the baby needed me more. Your world goes from revolving around you and the decisions that better your life, to now revolving around these little ones and the decisions that are best for THIER LIFE. And that is a gift, not an easy accepted gift, but a gift nonetheless.
I am not my own any more.
But... there is a silver lining.
I got to be the one to snuggle that newborn and smell their head while I held them and nursed.
was the one who got to see their first smiles.
Kiss their first boo boo.
Watched them taste many first foods.
Helped them take their first steps.
Watched them and their wonder as the world awakened before them.
I held their hand when they were afraid;
they came to me when they truly wanted safety and security.
And I know that all this time invested is worth it. Ladies, whether your body carried your baby, or not, motherhood is a selfless act. You become more beautiful even though you feel so tattered. You are planting incredible seeds into the lives of your little ones and one day those seeds will take root and grow into strong, fruitful, trees. One day your children will soar... and it will be because of you!
Now I am on the other end of this season... but I have these empty breasts, and I think, how can they be so quickly forgotten, they brought nourishment to my babies. I think about my womb, this bare, dormant home that could miraculously grow tiny humans. It saddens me that it may never carry a baby again. My stretch marks are actually fading away.... slowly, but they are. My csection scar is practically invisible. One day you will look back and miss it all.
I am not my own.
Everyone says, 'this is only a season'... do you want to know what is scary... it's the truth. You feel like this season will never end, but I promise, one day you are going to blink and it will be gone.
So, take a moment and cry. Go into your closet and scream. Get it out! And then go look into the eyes of your precious baby, the smile of your tiny toddler because they adore you. See the joy that naturally flows out of them and capture some for yourself!
And just know that other moms have been there. We know what it is like. Give yourself grace; grace to fail, grace to grow, grace to be less than your own high expectations. You will make it through this season.
You, momma, make me brave! You remind me of the strength that I have cultivated because of those trying times I persevered through. You will come out stronger!
I pray that today is a good day for you!
Recently, at a JustBirth meeting, Shaheed Morris of WHAG news came to find out more information regarding the comfort measures class. His report made the 11 o'clock news!
To see the news broadcast, click here!
JustBirth is a resource for the Shenandoah Valley, supporting families in pregnancy and birth.
"We meet monthly for birth circles, speaker presentations or workshops, and video screenings. Our goal is to help women in our community gain awareness of childbirth options in the local regional area. We also network and connect with other organizations that focus on pregnancy and childbirth, both locally and nationally. We are here to share resources and story, as well as build a strong community of birth for expectant mothers/couples." JustBirth Website
I feel so honored to be able to serve on the board of JustBirth. To find out more about JustBirth, visit their website by clicking here. Below is the location, times, and dates of JustBirth meetings. It is completely free to attend and there are many different topics covered over the year. (To see a schedule of upcoming classes, please click here.)
2nd Tuesday of every month
Meetings held at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
26 West Boscawen Street
Winchester, VA 22601
I look forward to see you at a JustBirth meeting, invite a friend!
This week I visited The Latch Circle! The Latch Circle is a WIC sponsored breastfeeding support group (Whole Informed Choices, Women, Infants, & Children). It is held the first Wednesday of every month at Handley Library, beginning at 10:30am.
The ladies hosting this latch circle were kind and supportive to the many different breastfeeding relationships present - even welcoming me, though I am no longer breastfeeding.
This wonderful group of peer counselors consisted of...
I found out about the latch circle because my friend, Monika Schnupp, recently completed her certification as a WIC Peer Counselor. She has a wonderful heart and it is evident she is going to impact our community in great ways by helping women along in their breastfeeding journey's.
Some of the amazing ways WIC is able to support pregnancy and breastfeeding moms is through their 24/7 emergency service line. The peer counselors have on call phone numbers, just in case you are having breastfeeding troubles at 2am and really could use some helpful advice! How AMAZING is that!
I asked Jessica what is one thing she wished people knew about WIC..
(I wished they knew.) "it is not a formula program, we will help you with that if it is what you need," but they truly desire to assist moms in developing sustainable breastfeeding relationship to benefit both the mother and child.
They also provide FREE breast pumps for a year to mothers enrolled in the WIC program. And it does not stop there, they have free nursing bras available, nursing pads, prenatal vitamins, and one on one breastfeeding consultations.
Near to their heart is the relationships that are formed through the prenatal education they offer, classes such as...
To find out more about WIC visit www.wicva.com or call 1-888-942-3663
For direct phone numbers by county try...
When a mom feels the urge to push, there are so many things running through her head… excitement that this journey is almost over, nervousness that now she has to push a baby out, relief at being able to actively engage with her contractions… for me it was “SOMEONE SHUT THE DOOR!” (Seriously though, who leaves the door open to a hospital room while a woman is growling out a baby? Who does that?)
In a hospital setting a lot of things begin to happen at the very same time. A nurse begins prepping all the doctors/midwifes tools. They help the care provider get dressed in a special gown. Depending on how fast you are pushing, they call the baby team in who then begins preparing their station, all while you are trying to navigate the pushing phase. The cacophony of voices can become a little distracting.
So here are some tips to navigate the pushing phase…
1. Find a position that works for you
Don’t be afraid to try different positions. Many women, if left to their own ways, would choose position that is relatively upright… squatting, kneeling, leaning over a bed, hand and knees, even some standing positions can be great. Often women end up on their backs, and while a baby will still come out, it isn’t the most helpful position. Try side-lying instead of laying on your back if possible.
2. Wait for the swell
If you can push spontaneously then wait for the swell and go with your body, push when you feel the urge. When the swells goes, let go of your pushing. Wasted energy is draining.
3. Push like you have to poop
I know this sounds weird, but if you push in this way, then you have good form. And guess what, if you poop, then you are REALLY doing a good job! (Also, no one will draw attention to you pooping, in most cases you and your spouse will not even know it happened because doctors and nurses are amazingly discrete about it.)
4. Ask for supportive feedback
Pushing is not the easiest task and there are lots of people in the room who have different perspectives and may be able to give you helpful tips to either open your pelvis wider or release pent up tension in one part of your body to help you to direct it to another part.
5. When it burns, breathe lightly
When you feel that “ring of fire” it is your bodies way of saying slow down, let me open gently. It is your body’s way of trying to prevent tearing. And guess what, It won’t last long, PROMISE!
6. Tune into one voice
If you need coaching throughout your pushing phase, listen to the voice that resonates above all the others – the one voice that you understand. Tell them you are relying on their lead and they will be glad to help!
7. Ask for a mirror
Sometimes being able to see what your body is doing can be helpful. When you see how one style of pushing had more progress than another style, it empowers you to keep at it!
8. Try a Birth Stool/Birth Bar
Using gravity to your advantage will assist your pushing progress. ***Ask if these things are available before the pushing phase begins or else you may not remember them as an option.
I wish you the best of luck!
You are about to find out how strong you truly are!
If you would like more pushing practice, please check out my Birth Boot Camp class series!
If you don’t live in the Winchester/Shenandoah area, I have online classes available.
And lastly, if you need the support of a doula, please message me and we can get together!
Don’t be like Ricky Bobby…
I love my husband, but let’s be honest for a moment… he had NO IDEA how to help me when I was in labor with our first baby. (Find out more about my first birth experience by clicking here)
He didn’t know what to do with his hands!
He didn’t know if he should touch me.
He didn’t know where to touch me.
When he did touch me, it was more annoying than comforting.
By the next baby he did a little better, by the 4th kiddo he was a pro!
BUT, I wonder, if we had taken a comprehensive birth class how different things could have been.
Don't get me wrong, we did take a childbirth class, but the only thing we took away from it was how silly the vagina puppet was and how awkward the instructor sounded when she had us practicing stroking massage, all while saying “DOOOOOWWWWWWNNNNN.” (Nothing against the instructor - she was sweet)
***Disclosure – I totally own a vagina puppet!!! And it is hilariously funny to pull out in class and see the dads reactions. But the real truth, I rarely use it besides for getting a reaction out or people and telling my personal vagina puppet story - perfect ice breaker!
Trust me I get the whole “down” thing now, but we were a giggling mess then, and implementing it took more than just doing it…
What I mean when I say that is… Touch doesn’t feel good if it isn’t accompanied by relaxation, by comforting words, by sympathy, or empathy.
Touch, for a man, can be hard to do when he see’s his partner in pain. He doesn’t want to cause more pain.
And thus…. He doesn’t know what to do with his hands.
Birth Boot Camp teaches dads how to use their hands. How to help a mom feel amazing, comforted, and physically supported during labor! We teach dads how to be involved and active in the birth process. Throughout Birth Boot Camp classes couples will practice comfort measures on one another, they will practice positions that help with moms comfort. By the end of this 10 week class series, DAD WILL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO WITH HIS HANDS AND HE WON'T BE AFRAID TO USE THEM!
Come to Birth Boot Camp class… learn what to do with your hands!
*** This picture was from one of my Birth Boot Camp class series. The dad was watching a birth video and the whole time he just kept saying Will Ferrell’s famous quote as the character Ricky Bobby “I don’t know what to do with my hands!”
Hear what people are saying about Birth Boot Camp, Winchester, Virginia!
Register for Birth Boot Camp today!
I am a birth doula, childbirth educator, wife to an amazing man, and mother to four beautiful girls. I love serving families as they bring new life into the world!
Serving Virginia's Shenandoah Valley & West Virginia's Panhandle
Winchester // Stephenson // Stephens City // Strasburg // Berryville // Purceville // Leesburg // Inwood // Gerrardstown // Shepherdstown // Martinsburg // Charlestown // Middletown // Front Royal
Doula // Childbirth Educator // Placenta Encapsulation Specialist