Artwork

Treść dostarczona przez Meagan Heaton. Cała zawartość podcastów, w tym odcinki, grafika i opisy podcastów, jest przesyłana i udostępniana bezpośrednio przez Meagan Heaton lub jego partnera na platformie podcastów. Jeśli uważasz, że ktoś wykorzystuje Twoje dzieło chronione prawem autorskim bez Twojej zgody, możesz postępować zgodnie z procedurą opisaną tutaj https://pl.player.fm/legal.
Player FM - aplikacja do podcastów
Przejdź do trybu offline z Player FM !

Episode 272 Grace's Traumatic Cesarean & Beautiful VBAC + Warning Signs for ALL Birthing Moms

1:13:54
 
Udostępnij
 

Manage episode 395858718 series 2500712
Treść dostarczona przez Meagan Heaton. Cała zawartość podcastów, w tym odcinki, grafika i opisy podcastów, jest przesyłana i udostępniana bezpośrednio przez Meagan Heaton lub jego partnera na platformie podcastów. Jeśli uważasz, że ktoś wykorzystuje Twoje dzieło chronione prawem autorskim bez Twojej zgody, możesz postępować zgodnie z procedurą opisaną tutaj https://pl.player.fm/legal.

Grace: “'If you are COVID-positive as the mother, you are not allowed to do skin-to-skin, you are not allowed to breastfeed your baby, and you are only allowed to hold your baby two times a day for 15 minutes.'”

Meagan: "That’s what they told you?"

Grace: "That’s what they did. That was their policy."

Today’s episode is a must-listen for everyone in the birthing community. We know 2020 was an especially tough year to give birth and Grace’s first birth story shows exactly why. Grace unexpectedly tested positive for COVID upon arriving at the hospital for a recommended induction after providers were worried about her baby’s size. She was immediately subject to the hospital’s policies for that day.

Grace felt like her birthing autonomy was slipping farther away with every intervention. She ultimately consented to a C-section for failure to progress. Her lowest point was watching a nurse feed her new baby a bottle in her hospital room while she felt perfectly fine and capable of doing it herself. Grace was a compliant and obedient patient, but her heart was broken.

Though she went through so much, Grace’s positivity and commitment to a redemptive second birth experience are so inspiring. Grace is sharing all of the warning signs she wishes she recognized before along with so many helpful VBAC preparation tips.

While we wish Grace didn’t have to go through what she did, we are SO very proud of her resilience and strength!

Additional Links

The VBAC Link Blog: 10+ Signs to Switch Your Provider

The VBAC Link Blog: How to Find a Truly Supportive VBAC Provider

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

Meagan: Hello, Women of Strength. I am bringing another VBAC to you for you today. I always do that. To you, for you. It is for you today. We have our friend, Grace, and she is actually from New York, right? Yes.

Grace: Yes.

Meagan: New York. Yes. That too, is something I want to start highlighting on the podcast because we have a lot of people being like, “Well, where are they from? I want that provider. How possible is it for me to get that provider?”

She is from New York, everybody, so if you are from New York, definitely listen up extra sharp on this one. Yeah. She is going to share her traumatic C-section story and her healing VBAC. It just tickled me so much when she said in the beginning when we were chatting that this podcast truly helped her so much. It truly is so heartwarming to hear those things because this is exactly why I’m still doing this podcast.

It is because I want everyone to have these stories, to be able to feel empowered, and to learn along the way because I think in addition to inspiring, these podcasts really, truly inform and educate. We can learn from other peoples’ stories. We can be like, “Oh, I didn’t even know that was a thing.”

Even though birth is really the same, it’s just the same concept. Our cervix gets to 10 centimeters. We get 100% effaced. Our baby comes out through our pelvis and we push a baby out, it’s just treated so differently truly worldwide. That’s what is kind of crazy to me still that we haven’t caught up to evidence-based birth in every state or country and we do things so differently. I think that’s something really cool too to learn where people are from so we can learn what birth looks like in that state or in that country.

Review of the Week

We are going to read a Review of the Week and then we are going to turn the time over to our cute friend, Grace, to share her stories.

Grace: Yay.

Meagan: This is from stephmeb and her title is “Positive Stories Inspire Birthing Women”. It says, “As a VBAC mama myself, I have to say that one of the things I drew strength the most from were the most positive birth stories. I wish this existed with my previous babies and cannot wait to listen and gain strength from the stories that we are blessed enough to have one another sharing.” It says, “What a beautiful thing to have and it all is in one place.”

I love that she highlighted that. That is something that we love to do here at The VBAC Link. That’s why we created it. We wanted you to have all of the things– the stories, the information, the education, the resources all in one place because I too, when I was going for my VBAC, had a hard time scrambling all over the place trying to find out the information.

It says, “These ladies are really blessing and inspiring birthing women, VBAC or not.” I love that. Thank you so much. As always, we love your reviews. They truly make us smile. They keep us going. I even still to this day will get a review and send it over to Julie so she can see that her legacy is still carrying on today. So if you haven’t left a review, we would love one. You can help us on Google if you just Google “The VBAC Link”. You can leave us a review there. It helps everyone out there looking for VBAC to find us, to find this podcast, and to hear these amazing stories. Or on Apple Podcasts or you can even email us. Thank you so much for your review.

Grace’s Stories

Meagan: Okay, Grace. Before we were talking, we talked about not the best C-section experience.

Grace: Horrible. It was horrible.

Meagan: We talked about being COVID-positive. That was a really hard time. We are still having COVID. COVID is not going away, so I think this is also a really good thing to hear about what things to do or what things to know if you are COVID-positive. Fortunately, the hospital system has changed substantially since then. I was probably one of the most angry people that I have ever been. I was a very angry person during COVID watching what was happening to my clients and what was being told to my clients. It was heartbreaking to see and I can’t imagine going through that. So if you are a COVID mama birther whether you had COVID or not, just know I am sending you so much love because I know you went through hell a lot of the time.

And then you had a redemptive VBAC. I am going to turn the time over to you to share with the listeners your stories.

Grace: Awesome, yeah. Going back, since my first birth which was a C-section, my first is three and a half. It’s been crazy trying to go over what happened before I started recording with you just so I had all of my points down. I started to cry at one point just because it was so traumatic.

I don’t know if other women have gotten as traumatized as I have, but I’m sure some have because it just was terrible. So maybe that’s why it’s good I have everything written down. I don’t know where I should start because it’s just so much.

So again, I was COVID-positive. This was 2020 and this was right when COVID started becoming so serious that they shut everything down. So March and April 2020, I had to start working from home. At that point, I was 6 or 7 months pregnant with my first baby.

I didn’t think anything of it. COVID at the time was scary, but because of my age– and I didn’t have any other conditions. I wasn’t a diabetic or anything where COVID can be really scary. Other than that, we were just isolating the way we were supposed to. I am a teacher and we didn’t have to go to work so that was actually kind of nice. I got to work from home. I went on really long walks and just enjoyed the end of my pregnancy. Nothing was phasing me.

I had a regular OB. I picked this OB. Why did I pick this OB? I think it was that I wanted to give birth at this hospital that when I was picking hospitals in my area, I was told that this hospital has the best NICU. I’m like, “Okay.”

I had no reason to think my baby should need a NICU, but when you are picking, you’re like, “What are the pros and cons?” I picked that one and I went with the OB practice that was connected with that one. It was, I think, private. There were a lot of providers in that practice. A few people did say, “Just so you know, a lot of people have C-sections there.” I already knew two women who went there and both had C-sections.

Warning sign number one, if you are hearing people say that a particular provider or practice is likely to give you a C-section, just be aware of that.

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah.

Grace: I didn’t listen to that. So probably in mid-April, I started losing my sense of smell. Immediately, I’m like, “I might have COVID.” My husband and I about a few weeks earlier than that did have five days where we didn’t feel great. We were tired. We were run down. We kept thinking, “Maybe it’s COVID,” but our symptoms were super mild. No fever, no difficulty breathing.

And remember, in early 2020, everybody was petrified of COVID and expecting it to be this super terrible thing. You’re going to go on a respirator and all of these things. We had that one week. We weren’t feeling great and then mid-April which was a few weeks after that, I lost my sense of smell so I was like, “Crap. I think I might have COVID.” I hope I can say that.

Meagan: Yeah, you can. I just said “hell” so “crap” is good.

Grace: I called my OB and I called a few other people. I said, “I don’t know what to do. I lost my sense of smell. I feel fine.” I felt fine. They were like, “Okay. Isolate for two weeks. Let us know how you are doing.” We were. We weren’t going anywhere. We were just working from home. I would go out with my mask and my gloves. We did all of the things then, but we didn’t really go to work or anything.

So then those few months go by. This is something I didn’t want to forget to mention. Even at 20 weeks of my pregnancy, almost every appointment that I went to whether it was a checkup or a sonogram, they started saying, “Your baby is very big. It’s big. He’s going to be–” Not that they would give me a weight, but they were like, “He’s going to be a big baby. He’s going to be a big baby.”

He was a boy, so I was big in the front. I was gaining weight which was concerning me.

Meagan: Also normal to gain weight.

Grace: Right. Totally normal, but when they started saying that so early, and then at the time, my sister had her first and her son was, I want to say 8 pounds, something. She really struggled to get him out. I’m not going to tell her story, but the things she had to go through to get him out were tough. She didn’t have a C-section, but when I started hearing, “Oh, he’s big,” it started making me concerned like, “I hope I can get him out.”

Again, another foreshadowing that you’re not seeing the right people because they shouldn’t be saying that to you. They should just be letting the baby get where it needs to get and letting you know that everything is going to be fine.

So I’m going through isolation. Time goes by and I’m getting into my third trimester. As we all know, women who have been pregnant, when you get to the end, you start to lose your mind. You start to get very vulnerable. You start to be like, “Please get this baby out of me.” By that point, I was rotating OBs so I had met everyone because you don’t know which OB you’re going to get.

So I went to this one OB and he was the main OB of a girlfriend. She would only want to see him. He did make a comment that was bad bedside manner and it should have been an indicator that this guy was not looking out for you. He said, “Oh, you’re having a boy? We don’t like when you ladies have boys.”

Meagan: Oh, whoa.

Grace: Yeah, he said that to me. I giggled out of awkwardness, but after leaving, I was like, “Who says that to somebody?”

Meagan: Yeah, I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all.

Grace: I didn’t like it either. I think that was the first time I had seen him. I only had seen him twice during my whole pregnancy and then the last time was before I got admitted to the hospital. It was at 40 weeks. I think I went in to see them and he goes, “Okay, again. Your baby is really big. Let’s give it a few more days and then we’ll schedule an induction for you.” You know, at the end of your pregnancy, you’re like, “Yeah, get it out.”

Meagan: Vulnerable, yeah.

Grace: Vulnerable. And because my sister had gotten induced that January, inducing didn’t seem like any kind of fearful thing to me. I had heard stories of women getting induced and getting a C-section, but I just kept thinking, “I’m full term. I’m healthy. There’s nothing wrong.” Again, I didn’t want my baby to get too big. They kept putting that thought in my head.

They scheduled my induction and right when I told my mom, my mom had five kids all natural. She never had any chemicals put in her body every. When I told my mom they scheduled my induction, she flipped out. She was like, “No!” Another warning sign for me that I should have listened to. “Don’t do the Pitocin. Don’t do it. It’s not good for you. You don’t need it. Your labor is going to be really hard. It’s going to be really long.” She was telling me, “Don’t. This is a terrible decision.” “You know,” I’m like, “But they’re telling me that this baby is going to get too big. I don’t want it to get any bigger. I don’t want to go too far.”

Meagan: It’s scary.

Grace: And it’s scary. They do say my risk goes up once you go past the 40 weeks and all of these things. But I did it anyway. I go to the induction. We get to the hospital. They’re like, “Oh, you have to do a COVID test when you get there.” I thought it was a good thing. I’m like, “Oh, good. They’re making sure the COVID people are separate. It’s such a good thing.” No thought in my mind that I would ever be positive. I felt perfectly fine. We were keeping ourselves in the house, wearing the masks and doing all of the things.

They do the test. Meanwhile, my husband and I are sharing a water bottle in the room. Then they were taking a really long time to get back in the room. I remember thinking, “That’s not good. Where are these people? We took the test at least 30 minutes ago and these tests don’t take that long.” They come back in full get-up, all three– the OB and the two nurses– full get-up of the gown and everything. Immediately, my heart sank.

They’re like, “So it turns out that you are COVID-positive. Your husband is COVID-negative so he can stay.” If he was COVID-positive, he would have had to go home. Yes. I’m hearing this. I’m starting to freak out. Remember, I’m a first-time mom. I’m already petrified of giving birth in general, so hearing that, I’m like, “Oh my god. Oh my god.” Then they told us that the policy that day– because the policy with COVID patients was changing every day.

They were like, “So if you are COVID-positive as the mother, you are not allowed to do skin-to-skin and you are not allowed to breastfeed your baby, and you are only allowed to hold your baby two times a day for 15 minutes.”

Meagan: Shut up. That’s what they told you?

Grace: That’s what they did. That was their policy.

Meagan: No. See? This is why I was the angriest doula in my life. It was the angriest time I have ever been because of this stuff. That doesn’t even make sense.

Grace: It made no sense especially because I’m thinking, “I’m bringing the baby home with me.” The baby is going to be 100%. I’m going to nurse this baby. I’m going to have this baby on me.” If I was coughing and had a fever and a runny nose and all of these horrible, contagious symptoms, obviously, it’s like, “Yeah. I shouldn’t maybe hold my baby. I don’t want to get my baby sick.” At that time, COVID was scary, so it’s like, “Okay, if I am this COVID-positive, deathly-looking patient, fine. I get it. Baby’s safety first,” but I was fine.

I said I was sharing germs with my husband who was negative. I kept saying, “Please retest. Please? Clearly, these tests are wrong.” I actually did all of this research that the COVID-positive gene or swab or whatever it is in you will stay in you for months and I was pregnant. My immune system was not what it normally is.

Meagan: Well, and you were pregnant meaning you were sick. You had the antibiotics. Guess who has the antibiotics? Baby is inside of you. I don’t actually know the evidence, so I can’t say that there is no way, but in my head, it doesn’t connect. There’s a disconnect there. How did baby not– anyway. You were the same human– I mean, human in human during that time.

Grace: Yeah, like you said, not only could I not do the skin-to-skin, but neither could my husband which all of the antibodies and all of the healthy things, my baby really didn’t get any human skin touch until he got home which was three days later.

Meagan: I’m so sorry.

Grace: Yeah. I mean, I know he’s fine, but there are these things. Now he’s three and a half, when he has sensory issues or anything, I always go back to how his birth was horrible. Obviously, there’s more.

So that hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m just devastated and I’m calling all of my family. I can’t see any family. No one can come to the hospital and I’m just crying. Already, it’s like the downhill is starting. So that happened. I have to just– over the few hours that I’m there getting everything set up, I have to come to terms with, “I can’t have skin-to-skin. I can’t nurse. I don’t know how I’m going to handle that.” Still thinking about that makes me really upset.

Meagan: Even the nursing too, those are good antibodies and strong. That’s what helps our babies.

Grace: Yeah. I know. It’s completely backward. The OB that was there was actually no one I had met before. She really didn’t seem concerned. She was totally– what’s the word– I use this when it comes to these healthcare workers in the hospitals. They are desensitized. That’s the word. They were desensitized to my reaction and my husband’s and all of it. They were just like, “Yep. This is how it is. Whatever.”

Anyway, they get us in the room. We had to be locked in the room. Anytime another nurse came in or whatever, we had to put a mask on. Meanwhile, every time they came in a room, it was the full getup so obviously, I was already a patient that they didn’t want there. That was how you kind of felt. The nurses weren’t nasty or anything, but they gave you the vibe of, “Oh, great. She’s hitting the button. We gotta go help the girl with the whole getup.” You know? I know I’m not the only COVID-positive one there, but you don’t want to feel that. You don’t want to feel like that type of patient.

So you know, they started me on Pitocin. We’re trying to get through it. We’re watching TV. The contractions weren’t too bad. I was getting through it. I’m moving around like crazy. The first nurse I had made a joke. She said, “I’ve never seen a pregnant woman move around as much as you.” I was trying so hard to get contractions going.

Meagan: Movement is good. We should be moving around in labor.

Grace: 100%. I mean, I had to do it in my room. I couldn’t go anywhere which was dumb, but I’m doing all I can do. Hours are going by. Again, Pitocin is slow to go. I think after, I’d say maybe 10 hours of it, I go, “I am so tired and I’m not really progressing.” I think I was only 2 centimeters after 10 hours. I’m like, “I am so tired.” I was feeling contractions at that point that was enough that I needed a break.

This is another warning sign that I should have said no to. I was only 2 centimeters. She comes in and maybe it wasn’t 10 hours yet. Maybe it was 8 hours. She comes in. She checks me. She’s like, “Yeah.” I’m only 2 centimeters. She suggested to break my water. She said, “Yeah. That’ll get things going.”

I’m like, “Oh, great. Break my water. Totally. Do it.” Now, I shouldn’t have done that. I had read books and I had learned things, but again, you don’t even– it all goes out of your mind when you are trying to have a baby and get from A to B. You’re uncomfortable and you don’t have support around you and all of the things. Already, my vulnerability was so high because of COVID and the fact that I couldn’t hold the baby.

At that point, I said, “Great. Break my water.” 2 centimeters? Who does that? Crazy. What was I thinking?

Meagan: You’re not alone. You’re not crazy because you weren’t in the space to make a “better informed” decision. You were being told by your medical staff that this is what could help so you are not crazy. Offer yourself some grace, but yeah. It’s just one of those things that we take as a learning experience and a nugget for next time.

Grace: Yes. That’s what I think is upsetting. She knew that. My OB knew that. She wasn’t technically who I would consider my OB to be because the one woman I was seeing each time, I don’t think would have done that to me.

Meagan: The attending OB.

Grace: Exactly. It’s like whoever you get in that Russian Roulette lottery of that day. She didn’t even know me. She clearly didn’t care about me. Oh, and she also made a horrible comment to me that day. I don’t remember if it was before or after she broke my water. I think it was after. She breaks my water. Contractions are going again and they are way more intense. At that point, so much time had gone by that I was exhausted. It was maybe 10 hours. I don’t totally remember exactly, but I think it was 10 hours that I spent. I said, “Let me get an epidural because I can’t take it anymore. I need sleep.”

After I got the epidural, I was in bed and I feel like either the next morning or maybe it was the night right before I went to sleep, I was crying to her. I said, “I’m really upset. Is there anything we can do? I would really like skin-to-skin with my baby.” I said, “Wrap me in a garbage bag. I don’t care. I really hate that I can’t have that with the baby.”

She looked at me and she said, “Well, you don’t want to give your baby COVID.” I couldn’t believe she said that to me. I was crying already. I’m like, “Of course not.” It made me cry more. How could you put that out there and look at me right now? If it was you and it was your baby, how would you feel that it got taken away from you and I felt perfectly fine? I’m like, “Obviously, it’s not me. My husband just took a test and he was negative.” For her to say that to me, I didn’t want her back in my room again.

So the epidural came and I was under the impression– again, looking at my sister’s birth– that with the epidural, I would go to sleep. I’d wake up at 9 centimeters and I wouldn’t even feel a thing. I didn’t know. Again, because my sister did something similar. I don’t think she woke up super dilated, but she definitely progressed after she had gotten her epidural, so I was like, “You know what? Maybe that’s what I need.” And my water was already broken.

I get my epidural. I go to sleep. I get some rest and then the next morning, the OB comes in and I’m relaxed. I’m calm. She checks me and I’m only 3.5 centimeters. I barely moved. It was very disappointing. I couldn’t even handle it. I’m like, “Okay. Will I have more time? There is more time now. It’s okay. It’s okay.” But then, yeah. No. I didn’t progress again.

This is another warning sign. The OB comes in around a quarter to 4:00 and I remember hearing this on other podcast episodes that it’s that 5:30 PM C-section time, right?

Meagan: It does happen.

Grace: It’s before the end of the day. I mean, listen. Maybe it was coincidental, but given the fact that she comes in. She checks me. She’s like, “Listen, you don’t have much more time because you broke your water however many hours ago.” I don’t remember the amount of hours after you break your water. You probably know. I don’t remember.

Meagan: Well, there’s a lot of other factors than just the time. It’s like, “Are we having signs of an infection? How is baby doing? How is mom doing? Are we making change in other areas?” You know? So after 6 hours of getting in labor, 6 hours after waters have been broken with no progress, they will start discussing things but it doesn’t always have to be a C-section.

Grace: Oh, so she definitely gave me a lot of time. She gave me more than 6 hours, but I wasn’t progressing at all. I don’t really know. I will be honest that my timeline will be a little funky because of how long ago it was. This I do remember because of the time he was born. He was born at 4– oh my gosh. I should know the exact time. I think it was 4:36 or something like that.

Meagan: Whoa. Really fast after.

Grace: That’s just it, right? She comes in. “You’re not progressing. We really don’t have much more time before we’re going to have to give you a C-section. Otherwise, the safety of the baby is going to be at risk.” Now that she says that, I’m freaking out, right?

Meagan: Of course.

Grace: I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” You know what? A lot of women I had spoken to before said that C-sections are no big deal. It’s fine. Don’t be afraid of them. They’re fine. At that point, I said, “You know? I’m already going through hell right now. Let’s just do it. Let’s just get the baby out.” It’s so crazy how they are so slow to do so many things, but the moment I sign that form, nope. The operating room is ready to go. The team is ready to go. It’s within seconds. They are so ready to get you on that operating table. It’s almost like they want to get you out of the door. She wants to get out of the door. We all know that C-sections are going to bill your insurance way more than if you just had the baby naturally. I hate to think that is how a provider would think, but given the time and given everything that would happen, it’s like, what else am I going to think now? It’s not clear, but I feel like that was a piece of it. They were just trying to get me in and out.

Oh, on the operating table, she yelled out, “Just know that this patient is COVID-positive!” to the whole staff. I’m just the diseased person that is in the room. I was walking around like a perfectly healthy person. It was just so awful.

So they begin the C-section. I hope I’m not sharing too much and talking about things that don’t have meaning, but I guess I have to live through it a little bit.

Meagan: This has meaning. You’re sharing them. We can feel it. Yeah.

Grace: Okay. Now, at that point, during the C-section, you’re on a lot of pain meds. I come out of the operating room. Everything is fine. I’m not having any issues. I didn’t throw up or anything. All I wanted was to see and hold my baby. I heard the baby cry. My husband got to see the baby. No one got to hold the baby just yet. We’d get in the room. They immediately put the baby, I think, in the isolette. This is at the time where if you were COVID-positive, the baby could be in the room with you, an isolette I think? Or an isolette? Is that what it’s called?

Meagan: Like another room? I don’t know.

Grace: You know for NICU babies, they’re in this–

Meagan: Oh yeah, I do know what you are talking about. I don’t know what it’s called actually.

Grace: I think maybe it’s called an isolate and that’s what the rule was. When you are COVID-positive, your baby would stay in the isolette. You couldn’t hold your baby unless it was those two times during the day for 15 minutes. He went into that. My husband came in. I think that the attending nurse I had at that time–

Meagan: Your husband wasn’t with you in the C-section?

Grace: No, no, no. He was. I’m in a bed. I’m just trying to go through it again in my head.

Meagan: No, you’re fine.

Grace: So the whole time, I kept thinking, “I just want to hold him. Please just let me hold him. I won’t do skin-to-skin. I’ll follow all of your rules, whatever. Just let me hold him. It’s my brand new baby.” Again, I’m a first-time mom. I do think regardless if you are or not, I totally get it. It could be your fourth baby and you would still feel that way. When my mom had my sister who was her second, she was like, “The nursery can have her. I need rest.” There is a sense of, “I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I don’t necessarily have that need to hold them in that moment,” but as a first-time mom, seeing my first baby, that was all I wanted in the world was just to hold the baby.

So this one nurse comes in. I don’t know. I think she was just a post-delivery nurse and she was very tough. I was like, “Please, can I hold him now?” She was like, “You need to wash your hands. You are COVID-positive.” Nasty. I’m like, “Okay, fine.” I can’t move becaus I just had surgery. They bring me over this bucket of soap and everything. I’m washing my hands and I’m just constantly looking at him trying to get him. She yelled at me. She was like, “You’re not washing your hands enough.” She was like, “I’m an ER nurse during COVID. You have to take this seriously,” just belating me. It was so horrible.

But they did finally let me hold him. It was great, but it was obviously short-lived. Then after that, they took him. The nurse had to feed him a bottle. I wanted to breastfeed. I didn’t want to give him any formula. I remember just seeing her sitting there with him thinking– I’m so sorry– that I failed. My body failed. This woman has to feed my baby for me and I’m right here. I can do it. I couldn’t even give him a bottle. I just felt like such a failure at that moment.

I did not think I was going to start crying, but just to see a stranger do that just really upset me. That was pretty much that. Right then, I was there and then that nurse would come and feed him every 15 minutes. You know, it’s a baby. You have to feed them every 30 minutes or something. But then that moment when she first did it, I thought I was such a failure.

Meagan: Not a failure.

Grace: I know. My husband had no idea what was going on. They never really do. He was very much like, “We have to listen to the hospital.” When they would leave the room essentially, I was like, “Give me the baby. Let me just hold him. What are they going to do? There are no cameras. Even if there were, what are they going to do? Kick me out? I just got cut open.” Honestly, I was so ready to break those rules. The baby was going to be right there.

My husband was like, “They could walk in. You could get in so much trouble.” He didn’t know what could happen so we had to just follow the rules. He got to hold the baby, but every time he’d pick up the baby, he had to put on a new thing of gloves, a mask, and a gown, and he ended up having to feed the baby because he was allowed to. That started to drive him crazy because he was also on no sleep. If you go back from when we got to the hospital to when we had the C-section, it had already been two days of time where we were just there. He wasn’t really getting the best of sleep.

He has had so much going on, so now he has to care for this newborn baby. He’s never held a baby in his life. That ended up being what was going on at that point. Now at this point, the epidural was still in me and I wasn’t in any kind of crazy pain.

Then the nurse comes in. She’s a new nurse and was actually very nice. She goes, “Listen, I have a few other pills.” I can’t remember what they are but then she goes, “I have oxycodone for the pain.” I was like, “I really don’t want to take any opiates because I’m going to try to breastfeed when I get home and I am pumping. I don’t want to have any opiates in my system.” I was saying this while the epidural was still in my system. She looked at me like, “Okay,” and I have a Motrin allergy. I can’t take ibuprofen so all I was taking at the time was Tylenol.

She gives me probably the Tylenol at that point. The epidural was still there. I’m like, “This will be fine. I’ll just take Tylenol.” But it was a dumb thing to think. When that epidural wore off, I don’t know how many hours later, I was in so much pain. I could barely talk. Motrin and Tylenol work together because some women don’t take the opiate, but working together helps a lot. But when I wasn’t getting Motrin, all I had was Tylenol. It just was so, so painful that she got to my room. I look at her. I go, “You need to get me the oxycodone right now. I can’t move. I’m in serious, serious pain now.”

So she gets it for me, but the thing is with pain– oh, I’m sorry my friend texted me– when you don’t catch up to the pain and you have the pain meds in your system, you kind of can never stay on top of pain. Does that make sense?

Meagan: Mhmm. Chasing it.

Grace: You’re chasing it. So even with the oxycodone in my system, the pain would finally subside, but then once it came back, it came back so bad that I just never felt okay anymore. I just constantly was uncomfortable and in pain. Those moments when the meds would wear off to get your new set of meds, I could barely talk. It was so intense. Then also when you get surgery, you get gas that radiates up and that was insanely painful.

The night nurse ended up being late with the oxycodone at that point. It was 3:00 AM. My husband was sitting next to me. He couldn’t even sleep because he was so worried about me because of that pain. I wasn’t myself anymore. I don’t know if other women with C-sections have gone through anything like that, but it was just really bad.

He was sitting next to me. It was 3:00 AM and he was like, “I’m really worried I’m going to lose you.” I actually muttered, “I think I’m going to die.” That’s how intense it was. She was probably 45 minutes late with the medication and again with pain meds, if it’s not in your system, you feel everything.

That made it even more intense and horrible on top of everything else– all of the emotion, the fact that I didn’t even want a C-section, and it just kept spiraling into horribleness. I will say one positive good bit though that I look back on and I remember.

The attending nurse that I had during the day of my C-section actually came in after and was so sweet. She did know that I wanted to breastfeed, so she was trying to get the colostrum to give to the baby. One thing my sister told me to do was she goes, “Make sure before you are planning on giving birth that you start eating lactation cookies and getting your supply to come in.” Because I had done that, when I showed up and she wanted to get colostrum, there was tons of it. He was in shock. He was so happy. He was a bit older, almost like you could tell he was old school. He was like, “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is amazing.” It made me feel like somebody had faith in me instead of some diseased, horrible person. That’s what I felt the whole time. That was nice having that moment.

But yeah, so then with the pain, that was starting to make the whole experience really bad. We ended up leaving a day early and even the day we left, the pediatrician made a point to me. He was telling me about the baby and things to do with the baby and everything. I go, “I’m so really worried. I’m COVID-positive. I don’t want to get the baby sick. Everyone is making it like I’m going to make the baby sick and what should I do? Can I hold the baby? Can I do these things with the baby?” She looks at me and says, “Of course you can. You are going to take your baby home and you can nurse your baby. You’re going to hold your baby.” She was like, “Wear a mask,” and was almost looking at me like, “This hospital is crazy. This policy is horrible,” but because this is the routine for them and they are desensitized to everything, I wasn’t getting that from anyone else. It was just common.

It made me really look back and say, “How stupid that they put me through this.” I don’t even know. I think there were some COVID-positive mothers where their babies went in other rooms and they couldn’t even see them at all.

Meagan: Mhmm.

Grace: I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard other horrible stories.

So we go. We get to leave and my husband at that point had no sleep either. It was maybe three or four days that we had been there with no sleep. I had no sleep because I was in so much pain. We get home and my mom opens the door because she was waiting there for us to help us. My mother was really upset too. She was crying all night that I was going through that. She looked at me and was like, “Oh my god. What did they do to you?” I had dark circles under my eyes from being exhausted but also from crying.

Meagan: Yeah. I was going to say, I’m sure that you instantly knew that you wanted a different experience next time.

Grace: Oh my god, yeah. I wanted it different and you know, I have a beautiful, healthy baby so it’s not like it was the worst experience it could have been, but it wasn’t at all what I wanted or what I thought it would have been or that it really should have been. So many things went wrong and I take a lot of blame that I should have researched providers better. I should have researched the policies better. I didn’t know, you know? You never think it’s going to happen to you. You think everything’s going to be fine.

My one girlfriend, I think had placenta previa. Something like that, but she said, “I immediately knew I was having a C-section. There was no question there.” That’s one thing. You have physical limitations where it is very dangerous. Okay. It’s fine. You have a C-section. It’s fine. But when you are put in a horrible hamster wheel of horribleness where they already know you are going to have a C-section and they don’t even care, it’s so long. And the COVID-positive on top of it was just really, really hard.

My husband said, “Honestly, Grace, the C-section wouldn’t have bothered you as much had you been able to actually hold your baby.” Yes, and all of that positive adrenaline and endorphins in your body probably would have helped you heal faster. So when I brought him home, we had to get him latched and that was a whole other hurdle, but I did. I had a lot of nursing issues with him because he had this torticollis. He had all of these issues, but I totally powered through and I still did it.

But now with my daughter, I’m sharing her VBAC story, right? I’m sorry. I hope I’m not talking too much. With her, I had no issues. Nursed fine. She is a thriving, wonderful, beautiful baby and I totally believe that it is because of the birth with her and it went so differently that it is just so much better for me and it was better for her. It was better for my husband. It was better probably for my son too.

That was my horrible, horrible C-section birth.

Meagan: I’m so sorry.

Grace: I think I covered everything. I’m sorry too. I keep talking. Yeah. It was horrible. I mean, looking back, I’ve learned so much and hopefully, other women can learn from it. I hope I covered all of those warning signs I want women to look out for. I don’t know but hopefully I did, but yeah. My heart goes out to the COVID-positive mothers who went through something similar or worse. I can’t even imagine.

I do think that if you are positive and you are sick– if I were visibly ill, it’s so different to me. My mindset would have been way different. I would have still been sad, but I wouldn’t have felt like my autonomy was taken away from me.

Meagan: Stripped.

Grace: Yeah, stripped, which is much more where you feel like you are at their mercy. You don’t feel like you have freedom at all and it’s horrible.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah. So I get pregnant. My son at that point, I think, was about a year and four months. He wasn’t 18 months just yet. I got pregnant with my daughter and again, I knew I definitely wanted a VBAC, however, I had known a lot of other women who wanted VBACs too, and still ended up getting a C-section. They would say, “Yeah, we are going to try for the VBAC, but if it doesn’t work, you will have to have a C-section.” Every woman I spoke to who said that, ended up with one.

As I was going through my pregnancy, I was trying to educate over time. I was like, “What is this that they are missing that I don’t want to miss?” I did not want another C-section. I did not want to ever go through that pain unnecessarily again. Obviously, listen. C-sections save babies. I am not against them.

Meagan: Absolutely, yeah.

Grace: You know that and you know that in so many ways, they are super important, but for me, if I have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby and I don’t have anything going on that would require that other than I had a C-section prior, then I am going to do everything I can to not have another C-section.

So I discovered The VBAC Link, I want to say it was further into my pregnancy. I want to say I was at least 5 months into my pregnancy.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: How many weeks would I have to be for that?

Meagan: 20?

Grace: Was it 20?

Meagan: 20 weeks is about 5 months so probably a little over.

Grace: It was a little over 20 weeks and I discovered The VBAC Link. I am like, “Okay, I will give this a thought.” I already found a midwife. I didn’t want an OB and the midwife that I had, I really liked her. She had VBACs of her own.

Meagan: Awesome.

Grace: I was super adamant. I’m like, “I do not want another C-section.” She understood. Here’s the thing, though with these providers and I liked her. I’m not trying to make it seem like she did anything wrong, but they don’t educate women on what to do. There are so many things that women can do to get themselves in the best situation to have a nice, vaginal birth potentially not even needing medicine. They don’t. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t on purpose, but a midwife is not an OB. She’s not going to give me a C-section, so why wouldn’t she want to give all of the resources to her patients? I didn’t even know what Spinning Babies was until I listened to your podcast, then I researched Spinning Babies and I used Spinning Babies.

So anyways, I discovered you guys or you ladies and I started listening to you every day on the way to work and the stories were just so wonderful. I learned a lot. I learned that one of the big ones was to find a hospital that is more likely to support a VBAC and has a high success rate of a VBAC. Now, the hospital I picked, I was told it was a good one. It is a good hospital. Nothing specific about childbirth or anything. It was very close to me. I had known other people who had delivered there and it was fine, but I’m like, “You know what? Let’s look at their success rate versus other ones.” Their success rate was 7%. Is that high or is that low?

Meagan: That’s low. 7% of their success rate of a VBAC, that’s low.

Grace: That’s low. That’s low. There was another hospital I heard about from someone who gave birth there and it was an hour away. Most women who gave birth there had the best experience. It’s a hospital and then it had a birthing center connected to it. Because I was a VBAC, just birthing centers wouldn’t have let me go there because if they needed an emergency C-section. That setup was great. I looked at their VBAC success rate and it was 22%.

Meagan: Higher than 7.

Grace: Now that you say that, it was probably still fairly low, but that was the highest I found.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah, and now I went ahead and listened to your podcast for a few months and I started getting scared. I was like, “I don’t have a doula. I don’t have a lot of information that a lot of these women had.” Now that I have it, I was already at that point, I want to say 7 months in my pregnancy. Not going by weeks just because I don’t know why months make more sense to me.

That’s when I started becoming very much doing more research and being more actively aware of my birth and wanting to make sure that this birth goes better. I find this hospital. At that point, I go, “I’m going with this hospital and no one is going to stop me.” But because I was already so close, I was actually in my third trimester already and I told my– the way it works is I was very lucky. My provider was part of a bigger company. I’m not going to give out any names or anything unless should I?

Meagan: If you have a supportive provider that you would suggest, I highly suggest giving the name because also, Women of Strength if you are listening, we have a provider list. We actually have that, so we will be adding this one to your list. But if you guys have a provider that you highly suggest as being VBAC-supportive especially if there are multiple Cesareans, please send us that at info@thevbaclink.com because we want to add them to our list.

Grace: Okay. Okay, yeah. I definitely will. At the time, they were called CareMount near the area where I was, but they just got bought out by a new company called Optum.

Meagan: Optum, okay.

Grace: Most adults of my age remember them as CareMount because it was super recent that it changed. Optum was in my area and because they were big, they also had a practice up near this hospital. I called the practice up near the hospital and I said, “Listen. I’ve been going to midwives down by me, but you have all of my information because it’s all the same system. I want to go to your office because I want to deliver at this hospital.” Can I say the name of the hospital?

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: I can, right? It was Northern Dutchess. They are amazing. They have a birthing center. The staff there is incredible and yeah. I said, “That’s what I want.” The immediately were like, “We don’t take on patients so close to the end like this, but given that you are in the system, I guess it’s okay.” I was going to say to them, “I don’t care if it’s allowed or not. You’re going to help me give birth in your hospital.” I also was going to be like, “I don’t want to see any OBs. I only want to see midwives.” They still had me see two OBs and it’s actually fine because even their OBs were just better. They were more understanding.

Believe it or not, the male OB was even more. I was scared to see the male. Nothing against men, but the fact that with my son it was a man and he made that comment to me, treating me, I don’t know. They didn’t give him any kind of nickname, but I think he was known for only really doing C-sections. I was so scared to have a man especially because by the time I saw him– so before I even get to that, they do the switch and at that point, again, I was listening to your podcast still and I’m like, “You know, I really should get a doula.” I’m in my 35th week or something.

I’m like, “I need to get a doula. I need this birth to be what I want it to be.” I find a doula in my area. She is amazing. She said the same thing. She was like, “We’re meeting pretty late, but it’s okay.” She was super understanding. I told her about my whole horrible birth and she said, “You’d be surprised but that part is super common.” Not the COVID part, but the whole story.

Meagan: The whole story, yeah. Yeah.

Grace: Also, I think me being allergic to Motrin and that recovery being so– I hate to say it but traumatic for me because when you’re in so much pain and you are already in so much emotional pain, it is just horrible. She was like, “Yep. It’s a super common story. I’m not going to guarantee you a VBAC, but you’re going to get through this birth. It’s going to be beautiful. You’re going to have a wonderful connection with your baby.” She said, “Don’t worry about the COVID thing anymore. It’s not at all what it was in 2020. Try to think of all of the positive things.”

She introduced me to Spinning Babies. I started researching so much of my own and I was like, “Should I do all of the dates and tea and the stretching and the walking?” She goes, “Do all of it.” It’s what they say. It’s like an old wives’ tale, but it’s not going to hurt. Do all of it. Take a deep breath. I started to get almost obsessive at the time. I even made a joke to my provider at an appointment. I was like, “I’m sure it says in my file that I’m the crazy VBAC girl.” He laughed.

He said, “It doesn’t say that,” but I was very determined. Again, your podcast helped me so much because there were so many women who have gone through so many things and had to work even harder to get the providers that they wanted and get the support that they wanted. It’s so important and it’s so wonderful that you have it. So thank you.

Meagan: Mhmm, yes. Thanks for being with us.

Grace: So then, yeah. I changed my provider. I get the hospital. I get the doula and then I start those last, I want to say 5 weeks. I’m walking every day. I’m eating a disgusting amount of dates. I don’t think I’ll ever eat a date again. I’m sure you’ve heard that, but it’s true. Doing the tea and I was doing these stretches I saw on YouTube every night. My husband was very supportive. He was a little scared for me. He was kind of like, “Oh my god. If this girl doesn’t get her VBAC, what’s going to happen in the world?”

I was very intense about it and then, yeah. We just waited and waited. Toward the end, this part was scary for me. We also joined this Evidence-Based VBAC Facebook group and it was not– I can tell by your face. Yeah.

Meagan: Ugh.

Grace: It was not what I thought it was going to be.

Meagan: No, unfortunately.

Grace: Because I did this all kind of late, by the time I was up to 40 weeks, I went on that page maybe a week before or at 39 weeks. I started reading and I’m like, “Oh my god. Now I’m terrified to go into labor.” Note to listeners, please don’t go on that Facebook page.

Meagan: Join The VBAC Link Community.

Grace: Yes, 100%.

Meagan: Shameless plug right there. I think our community is just one of a kind.

Grace: 100%. But the thing is at that point in time, to read any of that at 39 weeks put me into a fear mode. At 40 weeks, I started crying every day that I wasn’t going into labor. I wanted to go into labor at 39 weeks, but that likelihood I think was very low because I was late with my son. I never even technically went into labor with my son. With my son, I was 40 weeks and 5 days when they induced me.

So from 40 weeks on, again, because of reading those posts, I started really freaking out. I was crying. I was calling my doula every day. I’m like, “I’m not going into labor. I really don’t want a uterine rupture. I’m scared.” This and that. She was so great. She just was like, “You need to relax. Everything is going to be fine.” She said, “If something is going to happen, it could have already happened.

One of my best friends is a nurse and she actually was a nurse in an OB’s office for a while. Every time I would go to talk to her, she would go, “You need to stop.” She would be like, “Anything could happen.”

Meagan: Spiraling.

Grace: Yeah, yeah. But it was good to have that. It was good to have somebody say, “Anything that could happen. You can’t sit there and say that just because you have this thing which is unique to you that you want to have a VBAC doesn’t mean that you’re definitely going to have something happen. You could have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and everything would be fine and then something bad would happen. You can’t worry about it. It’s not in your hands right now. You need to just relax.”

That was a tough part though, just going through that week and then I started getting really bad prodromal labor about a week after at 41 weeks. I started getting it really bad and I kept thinking, “Should I go to the hospital? Is this it? Can I get the baby out?” I was so excited and my doula every time would go, “No, no, no, no, no. You’re not going anywhere near that hospital right now.” Thank God she said that.

So then I think I had prodromal labor for about three days or four days or something. Then finally, on the final day, my mom was over and I was in so much pain just from all of the prodromal labor. I’m like, “Something is not right.” She looked at me and she was like, “You are in active labor. I can see your stomach contracting.” I’m like, “But I called. My doula said I shouldn’t go. I don’t know what to do.”

I already lost my mucus plug a few days before that. I had never gone through anything like that. Nothing like that.

Meagan: You’re getting into labor though, yeah.

Grace: Yeah, but my mom again, has five kids. She goes, “No, no. This is labor now. You really should go.” She even talked to my doula two nights before that because I thought that two nights before that I was going into labor and my doula was saying to my mom, “No, not yet. She’s not ready yet.” I don’t know how she knew that.

At that point, I called my doula again. She said, “You know what? Your mom is probably right.” I was timing them. I don’t remember what the times were, but they were so strong. I think my mom was like, “I don’t even think it matters. This is labor now.”

I get to the hospital and I was 100% effaced and 5 centimeters dilated. Something to start.

Meagan: Yay! Getting ready to get into active labor right there. Turning that transition.

Grace: Yes. He tells me that. I was COVID-negative. It was like the clouds were opening up. Things were falling into place. The only thing is and this is a totally okay thing. My doula had another birth that night so she couldn’t go. I forgot to mention this. She already knew she was going to not be there. She actually called a backup doula and this was actually the morning before I went into the hospital.

I called her. We had a nice conversation. She was like, “I will definitely be available.” I go, “I’m having a lot of prodromal labor. It’s really uncomfortable. I’m tired.” I’m like, “I just don’t know what to do. When should I go?” She was like, “Okay, at this point in pregnancy, it’s totally normal. Why don’t you just go on a two-hour walk?” What?

Meagan: A two-hour walk?

Grace: I was walking every day for two months. A two-hour walk? I’m struggling to sit. I’m like, “Okay.” She told me at 9 AM. I went on a two-hour walk and listen, I was at the hospital by 4:00 PM that day. She totally knew. She ended up coming and she was so sweet and amazing. I had never even met her before. I would totally recommend either doula if anyone is asking. If it means anything, their rates were nothing crazy. I listened to a bunch of doulas which again, I got from your podcast that you want to really interview your doulas and make sure you know your doulas. They were super reasonable and both were wonderful.

That all fell into place. I was just starting to have my contractions. She was there to do all of the lunges together and all of the movements together. She put me in all of the right positions and I ended up not needing an epidural. Let me rephrase that. I ended up not having to require an epidural even though it was very, very painful. But it was a very welcomed pain. I was in labor for about 14 hours. It was a long, long day.

I made a birth playlist which I did for my son too and I never got to really use it. One moment during labor, that particular experience was when the doula goes– this was around 6 centimeters, maybe 7 centimeters. She goes, “Why don’t you go dance with your husband?” I had my birth list on and I think it was a Justin Timberlake and maybe Beyonce song. It was a very romantic, lovey dovey song. We were just standing there. The lights were off. We were dancing and it was just so beautiful. The nurse told me after. When you’re in labor, you’re not totally aware of your surroundings. She told me the next day after the baby was born and everything and she goes, “I almost started crying when I saw you and your husband standing there dancing.”

Meagan: Such a precious moment.

Grace: Both she and my doula I remember were kind of off to the side standing there. It was just so wonderful and yeah. She got me through labor and I had to push for a solid, I think, hour which was fine. It was really painful. At one point, I screamed, “I want someone to help me!” You know, it was really hard, but she was there. I give a lot to her. She did all of these things to help me feel comfortable and safe. I was with someone who was going to make sure I was going to be okay. Yeah.

The midwife came and I loved the midwife. She was wonderful. I had met her before. She was very knowledgeable. She wasn’t necessarily the most nurturing. She was much more like, “I’ve given birth to thousands of babies. I’ve done VBACs before. We’ve got this, no problem.” At one point, she came in and she was worried my contractions had slowed down, but right after she left, my doula was like, “All right, let’s go. Get up. Ramp up the speed. We’re going to do this. We’ll put you on the peanut,” and all of the things because she knew I didn’t want an epidural.

I am curious about having the doula there if that is why they didn’t push anything on me. They didn’t push anything.

Meagan: Good.

Grace: Part of me is curious but I also think the hospital is known to not do that. My sister gave her second baby there and they didn’t push anything on her. So now again, you want to go to a good hospital that takes care of you.

Meagan: Yes, you do.

Grace: She came out and how big was she? She was 7 pounds, 8 ounces. My son was 8 pounds, 5 ounces. He really wasn’t even that big.

Meagan: No.

Grace: He could have come out.

Meagan: He wasn’t. Yeah.

Grace: No. I actually forgot to mention that before. He wasn’t even that big. They gave me all of that nonsense and yeah. Everything about her birth was wonderful. She went right on my breast. He latched not right away, but within 24 hours. He latched and was eating fine. It was wonderful. I didn’t have to change rooms or anything. They let me stay in the same room. I got to get up and walk around.

Yeah. It was exactly the experience that I had wanted.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah.

Meagan: I’m so happy for you. I’m so happy that you could have that more healing, redemptive experience where you felt the love. You felt that connection. You had the people there for you. You felt safe. You weren’t being pushed. You weren’t having people rushing in like you were some scary alien. You weren’t having these things that honestly doesn’t help our cervix dilate. There are so many things from your first story where I’m like if we can create a special environment, a comfortable environment for us, then that is going to help us progress in labor.

We know one of the number one reasons for a Cesarean is failure to progress and a lot of the time, it’s situational. We did this and it’s baby’s position or something like that, but a lot of the time, I think it’s truly the environment and what we’ve got going on and if we feel safe because our bodies are smart. If we don’t feel safe and if we don’t feel comfortable, we are not going to progress. We’re not going to have those things and so yeah. I’m just so, so happy for you.

I’d love to touch on a couple of signs when it is time to switch your provider or time to switch your location because I think it is one of the most daunting things to change your provider mid-pregnancy. It can be hard.

Grace: Yeah, yeah.

Meagan: And/or change your location. I changed my provider and my location at 24 weeks and it was emotional a little bit too. It was just like, “Oh, I hope it’s okay. I don’t want to hurt any feelings and this and that.” Anyway, just so much. We have some blogs on so many topics that we talked about today. But number one, I want to talk a little bit about some of those warning signs because like you said, you were like, “That was a warning sign. That was a warning sign. That was a warning sign,” but you weren’t in that space.

Sometimes that’s how it goes. I had the same thing. I go, “Whoa. I should have switched.”

One, I want you to know, Women of Strength, that it’s okay to switch. 100%. We do have that provider list if you are looking for a provider in your area or you start hearing some of these signs and you’re like, “Oh crap.” If one of those fits, email us at info@thevbaclink.com and remember VBAC is spelled V-B-A-C instead of V-B-A-C-K. Email us and our team will get you that list.

Okay, so warning signs. Recommending a third-trimester ultrasound to check on the baby’s size. When you go in for that 20-week ultrasound and they’re like, “Oh, this baby is big.” Right there, that’s a huge warning sign. I’m just going to say, if your doctor is talking about your baby being big in general, that’s a red flag. That means that they are starting to doubt your ability. Their confidence in you is going down to get that baby out and they will probably push things like induction and all of those things, right?

So talking about your placenta dying. They actually use these words. “Your placenta could die if you go past 40 weeks pregnant or past 41 weeks pregnant.” Not true. Not needed. You know? It’s not. You don’t need to have an induction just because you are 40 weeks. Your placenta is okay.

Yeah. Making those one-off hand comments of, “Your baby is big. Your pelvis could be too small. You’re looking big. You’re really a petite person.” I don’t like that. Refusing to let you go past 40 weeks. Refusing to induce at all. If your provider is completely refusing to induce you because you are a VBAC, they are not following evidence-based care. I cannot tell you that enough. We see it all the time in our community where it’s like, “I can’t be induced because I’m a VBAC.” False. False, false, false. False. Big F. False.

Now, is induction ideal?

Grace: No.

Meagan: It could be less ideal. It is less ideal. Not even could be, it is. It is less ideal. But it is not impossible. If you are facing an induction or a C-section, do the research. Learn about it. Know that it is still possible and you will not just for sure rupture because you are induced with Pitocin. That’s another myth out there.

Overemphasizing the risk of uterine rupture. Telling you that you last time didn’t have good success so you are unlikely to have good success this time, putting doubt there, and so much more. We actually have a blog about it. We are going to put it in the show notes today on 10 Signs it Might Be Time to Switch Your Provider.

I also think there are some really good tips for preparation. You talked about that. You did the Spinning Babies. You ate dates until you literally probably couldn’t eat any more or you couldn’t stand the smell of them. You did all of these things. Preparing for birth. You got the doula. You found the location. You researched your area. You found your birthing location. You found your hospital and midwife. You found a VBAC doula. Even in the end of pregnancy, you can find a doula and if you didn’t know, we have a resource online at vbaclink.com where you can find a doula that is actually VBAC-certified. They have taken our course. They understand all of the things about VBAC. They can help you find a VBAC-supportive provider. They can help you find that confidence. They can help you and see those moments of, “This is a really great time. Go dance with your husband. Let’s release the oxytocin naturally,” or “This is prodromal labor. Maybe don’t go to the hospital right now. This is what you can do instead.”

Okay, you know? Those types of things. Mental–

Grace: Get you off the ledge.

Meagan: Yes, talk you off of the ledge. Mental preparation– preparing, we have the VBAC Link Course. We have the blogs. We have the stories. We have the communities. This is what this is for. Mental prep, finding the confidence, processing your op reports, and these things. Physical prep– doing those things. Eating the dates, drinking the tea, and making sure you have good nutrients like our favorite Needed. You’re making sure that you are taking care of yourself nutritionally so that you can also prep in other ways and so many more.

We’re going to make sure to have that. We’re going to have blogs and books and things to suggest at the bottom of the show notes. I think that this story although it did start off with a heartbreaking experience– I could see you. I could feel it. Your experience is hard. It’s three and a half years ago and it’s still with you. These experiences stay with us. I think that’s where we owe it to ourselves to give us the best experience and to put us in the best situation possible.

Sometimes, I think it’s, “Oh, well a doula could be more expensive. Oh, taking a course is a lot,” but in the grand scheme of things, if we look back at our experiences, my first two C-sections and even with my second, I had educated pretty okay. I’d say okay, not great. If I had looked back and taken the course to help me know that information, if I would have hired the doula to help me feel not so backed in a corner, absolutely. Yeah. I would have paid that no matter what.

Grace: Yeah. Money is of no value at that point.

Meagan: It’s of no value and it is. Money is a huge thing in this world, especially with the way our world is going. Money is a big deal, but in the end, you deserve it. You deserve to get those prenatal massages, to go to the chiropractor, and to get those prenatal vitamins that are going to truly help you. You deserve these things. Women of Strength, it’s okay to spoil yourself for your birth.

Grace: Right.

Meagan: Recognize these things and get the tools we can so that in the end, even if it ends in a repeat Cesarean, it can hopefully be a more healing experience. You’re going to know the things. You’re going to know your options. You’re going to know you did everything. I just think there is so much power in these two stories all along the way that you can take from this.

Grace: I also think too, one thing I never really even thought about is if you are a mother and you have had children and you have had wonderful births, you’ve had wonderful vaginal births, don’t support new mothers that are pregnant to do those things anyway because just as maybe it didn’t work for you, they might need it. My mother had five natural births. She didn’t have a doula. She had none of that and she made it seem like it was like that. She made it seem like, “Just go to the hospital. They will take care of you.”

That’s what I did. I read baby books and everything, but I did not think I was going to be one of those moms.

Meagan: None of us do, really.

Grace: None of us do, but just because it was okay for you and everything was okay for you if you know a mother and she is nervous or something, tell her, “You know what? Get a doula. It’s going to help you. It’s going to guide you. Did I need it? No, but if you are nervous, do it anyway. It’s only going to make things better. It’s going to lessen your stress.”

Like you said, take a course. Support women anyway with those resources so that it can prevent them from falling into those pitfalls which now I think maybe it’s a generational thing. I don’t think my mother had a lot of pressure when she was giving birth to children back then. I don’t really know, but that was my guess because she was my main resource. Yeah, if you’ve had good births, still support other new moms to have more support and resources at their luxury even if you didn’t need it at the time because they might.

Meagan: Exactly. Yes.

Grace: Yes.

Meagan: Oh, well thank you so much for being here with me today and letting me go off on this little passionate rant at the end.

Grace: Thank you. I feel like I talked so much. I’m like, “Oh my god.” I don’t know what it is that I wanted to share so much. It’s just so important.

Meagan: These stories matter to us and they matter to everyone listening. Women of Strength, thank you for listening today. I hope and I’m sure that you took some information out of these stories. Remember that we are always accepting stories also for social media so if you are ever wanting to share your stories on social media, email us at info@thevbaclink.com.

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.


Our Sponsors:
* Check out Dr. Mom Butt Balm: drmombuttbalm.com
Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-vbac-link/donations
Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
  continue reading

310 odcinków

Artwork
iconUdostępnij
 
Manage episode 395858718 series 2500712
Treść dostarczona przez Meagan Heaton. Cała zawartość podcastów, w tym odcinki, grafika i opisy podcastów, jest przesyłana i udostępniana bezpośrednio przez Meagan Heaton lub jego partnera na platformie podcastów. Jeśli uważasz, że ktoś wykorzystuje Twoje dzieło chronione prawem autorskim bez Twojej zgody, możesz postępować zgodnie z procedurą opisaną tutaj https://pl.player.fm/legal.

Grace: “'If you are COVID-positive as the mother, you are not allowed to do skin-to-skin, you are not allowed to breastfeed your baby, and you are only allowed to hold your baby two times a day for 15 minutes.'”

Meagan: "That’s what they told you?"

Grace: "That’s what they did. That was their policy."

Today’s episode is a must-listen for everyone in the birthing community. We know 2020 was an especially tough year to give birth and Grace’s first birth story shows exactly why. Grace unexpectedly tested positive for COVID upon arriving at the hospital for a recommended induction after providers were worried about her baby’s size. She was immediately subject to the hospital’s policies for that day.

Grace felt like her birthing autonomy was slipping farther away with every intervention. She ultimately consented to a C-section for failure to progress. Her lowest point was watching a nurse feed her new baby a bottle in her hospital room while she felt perfectly fine and capable of doing it herself. Grace was a compliant and obedient patient, but her heart was broken.

Though she went through so much, Grace’s positivity and commitment to a redemptive second birth experience are so inspiring. Grace is sharing all of the warning signs she wishes she recognized before along with so many helpful VBAC preparation tips.

While we wish Grace didn’t have to go through what she did, we are SO very proud of her resilience and strength!

Additional Links

The VBAC Link Blog: 10+ Signs to Switch Your Provider

The VBAC Link Blog: How to Find a Truly Supportive VBAC Provider

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details

Meagan: Hello, Women of Strength. I am bringing another VBAC to you for you today. I always do that. To you, for you. It is for you today. We have our friend, Grace, and she is actually from New York, right? Yes.

Grace: Yes.

Meagan: New York. Yes. That too, is something I want to start highlighting on the podcast because we have a lot of people being like, “Well, where are they from? I want that provider. How possible is it for me to get that provider?”

She is from New York, everybody, so if you are from New York, definitely listen up extra sharp on this one. Yeah. She is going to share her traumatic C-section story and her healing VBAC. It just tickled me so much when she said in the beginning when we were chatting that this podcast truly helped her so much. It truly is so heartwarming to hear those things because this is exactly why I’m still doing this podcast.

It is because I want everyone to have these stories, to be able to feel empowered, and to learn along the way because I think in addition to inspiring, these podcasts really, truly inform and educate. We can learn from other peoples’ stories. We can be like, “Oh, I didn’t even know that was a thing.”

Even though birth is really the same, it’s just the same concept. Our cervix gets to 10 centimeters. We get 100% effaced. Our baby comes out through our pelvis and we push a baby out, it’s just treated so differently truly worldwide. That’s what is kind of crazy to me still that we haven’t caught up to evidence-based birth in every state or country and we do things so differently. I think that’s something really cool too to learn where people are from so we can learn what birth looks like in that state or in that country.

Review of the Week

We are going to read a Review of the Week and then we are going to turn the time over to our cute friend, Grace, to share her stories.

Grace: Yay.

Meagan: This is from stephmeb and her title is “Positive Stories Inspire Birthing Women”. It says, “As a VBAC mama myself, I have to say that one of the things I drew strength the most from were the most positive birth stories. I wish this existed with my previous babies and cannot wait to listen and gain strength from the stories that we are blessed enough to have one another sharing.” It says, “What a beautiful thing to have and it all is in one place.”

I love that she highlighted that. That is something that we love to do here at The VBAC Link. That’s why we created it. We wanted you to have all of the things– the stories, the information, the education, the resources all in one place because I too, when I was going for my VBAC, had a hard time scrambling all over the place trying to find out the information.

It says, “These ladies are really blessing and inspiring birthing women, VBAC or not.” I love that. Thank you so much. As always, we love your reviews. They truly make us smile. They keep us going. I even still to this day will get a review and send it over to Julie so she can see that her legacy is still carrying on today. So if you haven’t left a review, we would love one. You can help us on Google if you just Google “The VBAC Link”. You can leave us a review there. It helps everyone out there looking for VBAC to find us, to find this podcast, and to hear these amazing stories. Or on Apple Podcasts or you can even email us. Thank you so much for your review.

Grace’s Stories

Meagan: Okay, Grace. Before we were talking, we talked about not the best C-section experience.

Grace: Horrible. It was horrible.

Meagan: We talked about being COVID-positive. That was a really hard time. We are still having COVID. COVID is not going away, so I think this is also a really good thing to hear about what things to do or what things to know if you are COVID-positive. Fortunately, the hospital system has changed substantially since then. I was probably one of the most angry people that I have ever been. I was a very angry person during COVID watching what was happening to my clients and what was being told to my clients. It was heartbreaking to see and I can’t imagine going through that. So if you are a COVID mama birther whether you had COVID or not, just know I am sending you so much love because I know you went through hell a lot of the time.

And then you had a redemptive VBAC. I am going to turn the time over to you to share with the listeners your stories.

Grace: Awesome, yeah. Going back, since my first birth which was a C-section, my first is three and a half. It’s been crazy trying to go over what happened before I started recording with you just so I had all of my points down. I started to cry at one point just because it was so traumatic.

I don’t know if other women have gotten as traumatized as I have, but I’m sure some have because it just was terrible. So maybe that’s why it’s good I have everything written down. I don’t know where I should start because it’s just so much.

So again, I was COVID-positive. This was 2020 and this was right when COVID started becoming so serious that they shut everything down. So March and April 2020, I had to start working from home. At that point, I was 6 or 7 months pregnant with my first baby.

I didn’t think anything of it. COVID at the time was scary, but because of my age– and I didn’t have any other conditions. I wasn’t a diabetic or anything where COVID can be really scary. Other than that, we were just isolating the way we were supposed to. I am a teacher and we didn’t have to go to work so that was actually kind of nice. I got to work from home. I went on really long walks and just enjoyed the end of my pregnancy. Nothing was phasing me.

I had a regular OB. I picked this OB. Why did I pick this OB? I think it was that I wanted to give birth at this hospital that when I was picking hospitals in my area, I was told that this hospital has the best NICU. I’m like, “Okay.”

I had no reason to think my baby should need a NICU, but when you are picking, you’re like, “What are the pros and cons?” I picked that one and I went with the OB practice that was connected with that one. It was, I think, private. There were a lot of providers in that practice. A few people did say, “Just so you know, a lot of people have C-sections there.” I already knew two women who went there and both had C-sections.

Warning sign number one, if you are hearing people say that a particular provider or practice is likely to give you a C-section, just be aware of that.

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah.

Grace: I didn’t listen to that. So probably in mid-April, I started losing my sense of smell. Immediately, I’m like, “I might have COVID.” My husband and I about a few weeks earlier than that did have five days where we didn’t feel great. We were tired. We were run down. We kept thinking, “Maybe it’s COVID,” but our symptoms were super mild. No fever, no difficulty breathing.

And remember, in early 2020, everybody was petrified of COVID and expecting it to be this super terrible thing. You’re going to go on a respirator and all of these things. We had that one week. We weren’t feeling great and then mid-April which was a few weeks after that, I lost my sense of smell so I was like, “Crap. I think I might have COVID.” I hope I can say that.

Meagan: Yeah, you can. I just said “hell” so “crap” is good.

Grace: I called my OB and I called a few other people. I said, “I don’t know what to do. I lost my sense of smell. I feel fine.” I felt fine. They were like, “Okay. Isolate for two weeks. Let us know how you are doing.” We were. We weren’t going anywhere. We were just working from home. I would go out with my mask and my gloves. We did all of the things then, but we didn’t really go to work or anything.

So then those few months go by. This is something I didn’t want to forget to mention. Even at 20 weeks of my pregnancy, almost every appointment that I went to whether it was a checkup or a sonogram, they started saying, “Your baby is very big. It’s big. He’s going to be–” Not that they would give me a weight, but they were like, “He’s going to be a big baby. He’s going to be a big baby.”

He was a boy, so I was big in the front. I was gaining weight which was concerning me.

Meagan: Also normal to gain weight.

Grace: Right. Totally normal, but when they started saying that so early, and then at the time, my sister had her first and her son was, I want to say 8 pounds, something. She really struggled to get him out. I’m not going to tell her story, but the things she had to go through to get him out were tough. She didn’t have a C-section, but when I started hearing, “Oh, he’s big,” it started making me concerned like, “I hope I can get him out.”

Again, another foreshadowing that you’re not seeing the right people because they shouldn’t be saying that to you. They should just be letting the baby get where it needs to get and letting you know that everything is going to be fine.

So I’m going through isolation. Time goes by and I’m getting into my third trimester. As we all know, women who have been pregnant, when you get to the end, you start to lose your mind. You start to get very vulnerable. You start to be like, “Please get this baby out of me.” By that point, I was rotating OBs so I had met everyone because you don’t know which OB you’re going to get.

So I went to this one OB and he was the main OB of a girlfriend. She would only want to see him. He did make a comment that was bad bedside manner and it should have been an indicator that this guy was not looking out for you. He said, “Oh, you’re having a boy? We don’t like when you ladies have boys.”

Meagan: Oh, whoa.

Grace: Yeah, he said that to me. I giggled out of awkwardness, but after leaving, I was like, “Who says that to somebody?”

Meagan: Yeah, I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all.

Grace: I didn’t like it either. I think that was the first time I had seen him. I only had seen him twice during my whole pregnancy and then the last time was before I got admitted to the hospital. It was at 40 weeks. I think I went in to see them and he goes, “Okay, again. Your baby is really big. Let’s give it a few more days and then we’ll schedule an induction for you.” You know, at the end of your pregnancy, you’re like, “Yeah, get it out.”

Meagan: Vulnerable, yeah.

Grace: Vulnerable. And because my sister had gotten induced that January, inducing didn’t seem like any kind of fearful thing to me. I had heard stories of women getting induced and getting a C-section, but I just kept thinking, “I’m full term. I’m healthy. There’s nothing wrong.” Again, I didn’t want my baby to get too big. They kept putting that thought in my head.

They scheduled my induction and right when I told my mom, my mom had five kids all natural. She never had any chemicals put in her body every. When I told my mom they scheduled my induction, she flipped out. She was like, “No!” Another warning sign for me that I should have listened to. “Don’t do the Pitocin. Don’t do it. It’s not good for you. You don’t need it. Your labor is going to be really hard. It’s going to be really long.” She was telling me, “Don’t. This is a terrible decision.” “You know,” I’m like, “But they’re telling me that this baby is going to get too big. I don’t want it to get any bigger. I don’t want to go too far.”

Meagan: It’s scary.

Grace: And it’s scary. They do say my risk goes up once you go past the 40 weeks and all of these things. But I did it anyway. I go to the induction. We get to the hospital. They’re like, “Oh, you have to do a COVID test when you get there.” I thought it was a good thing. I’m like, “Oh, good. They’re making sure the COVID people are separate. It’s such a good thing.” No thought in my mind that I would ever be positive. I felt perfectly fine. We were keeping ourselves in the house, wearing the masks and doing all of the things.

They do the test. Meanwhile, my husband and I are sharing a water bottle in the room. Then they were taking a really long time to get back in the room. I remember thinking, “That’s not good. Where are these people? We took the test at least 30 minutes ago and these tests don’t take that long.” They come back in full get-up, all three– the OB and the two nurses– full get-up of the gown and everything. Immediately, my heart sank.

They’re like, “So it turns out that you are COVID-positive. Your husband is COVID-negative so he can stay.” If he was COVID-positive, he would have had to go home. Yes. I’m hearing this. I’m starting to freak out. Remember, I’m a first-time mom. I’m already petrified of giving birth in general, so hearing that, I’m like, “Oh my god. Oh my god.” Then they told us that the policy that day– because the policy with COVID patients was changing every day.

They were like, “So if you are COVID-positive as the mother, you are not allowed to do skin-to-skin and you are not allowed to breastfeed your baby, and you are only allowed to hold your baby two times a day for 15 minutes.”

Meagan: Shut up. That’s what they told you?

Grace: That’s what they did. That was their policy.

Meagan: No. See? This is why I was the angriest doula in my life. It was the angriest time I have ever been because of this stuff. That doesn’t even make sense.

Grace: It made no sense especially because I’m thinking, “I’m bringing the baby home with me.” The baby is going to be 100%. I’m going to nurse this baby. I’m going to have this baby on me.” If I was coughing and had a fever and a runny nose and all of these horrible, contagious symptoms, obviously, it’s like, “Yeah. I shouldn’t maybe hold my baby. I don’t want to get my baby sick.” At that time, COVID was scary, so it’s like, “Okay, if I am this COVID-positive, deathly-looking patient, fine. I get it. Baby’s safety first,” but I was fine.

I said I was sharing germs with my husband who was negative. I kept saying, “Please retest. Please? Clearly, these tests are wrong.” I actually did all of this research that the COVID-positive gene or swab or whatever it is in you will stay in you for months and I was pregnant. My immune system was not what it normally is.

Meagan: Well, and you were pregnant meaning you were sick. You had the antibiotics. Guess who has the antibiotics? Baby is inside of you. I don’t actually know the evidence, so I can’t say that there is no way, but in my head, it doesn’t connect. There’s a disconnect there. How did baby not– anyway. You were the same human– I mean, human in human during that time.

Grace: Yeah, like you said, not only could I not do the skin-to-skin, but neither could my husband which all of the antibodies and all of the healthy things, my baby really didn’t get any human skin touch until he got home which was three days later.

Meagan: I’m so sorry.

Grace: Yeah. I mean, I know he’s fine, but there are these things. Now he’s three and a half, when he has sensory issues or anything, I always go back to how his birth was horrible. Obviously, there’s more.

So that hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m just devastated and I’m calling all of my family. I can’t see any family. No one can come to the hospital and I’m just crying. Already, it’s like the downhill is starting. So that happened. I have to just– over the few hours that I’m there getting everything set up, I have to come to terms with, “I can’t have skin-to-skin. I can’t nurse. I don’t know how I’m going to handle that.” Still thinking about that makes me really upset.

Meagan: Even the nursing too, those are good antibodies and strong. That’s what helps our babies.

Grace: Yeah. I know. It’s completely backward. The OB that was there was actually no one I had met before. She really didn’t seem concerned. She was totally– what’s the word– I use this when it comes to these healthcare workers in the hospitals. They are desensitized. That’s the word. They were desensitized to my reaction and my husband’s and all of it. They were just like, “Yep. This is how it is. Whatever.”

Anyway, they get us in the room. We had to be locked in the room. Anytime another nurse came in or whatever, we had to put a mask on. Meanwhile, every time they came in a room, it was the full getup so obviously, I was already a patient that they didn’t want there. That was how you kind of felt. The nurses weren’t nasty or anything, but they gave you the vibe of, “Oh, great. She’s hitting the button. We gotta go help the girl with the whole getup.” You know? I know I’m not the only COVID-positive one there, but you don’t want to feel that. You don’t want to feel like that type of patient.

So you know, they started me on Pitocin. We’re trying to get through it. We’re watching TV. The contractions weren’t too bad. I was getting through it. I’m moving around like crazy. The first nurse I had made a joke. She said, “I’ve never seen a pregnant woman move around as much as you.” I was trying so hard to get contractions going.

Meagan: Movement is good. We should be moving around in labor.

Grace: 100%. I mean, I had to do it in my room. I couldn’t go anywhere which was dumb, but I’m doing all I can do. Hours are going by. Again, Pitocin is slow to go. I think after, I’d say maybe 10 hours of it, I go, “I am so tired and I’m not really progressing.” I think I was only 2 centimeters after 10 hours. I’m like, “I am so tired.” I was feeling contractions at that point that was enough that I needed a break.

This is another warning sign that I should have said no to. I was only 2 centimeters. She comes in and maybe it wasn’t 10 hours yet. Maybe it was 8 hours. She comes in. She checks me. She’s like, “Yeah.” I’m only 2 centimeters. She suggested to break my water. She said, “Yeah. That’ll get things going.”

I’m like, “Oh, great. Break my water. Totally. Do it.” Now, I shouldn’t have done that. I had read books and I had learned things, but again, you don’t even– it all goes out of your mind when you are trying to have a baby and get from A to B. You’re uncomfortable and you don’t have support around you and all of the things. Already, my vulnerability was so high because of COVID and the fact that I couldn’t hold the baby.

At that point, I said, “Great. Break my water.” 2 centimeters? Who does that? Crazy. What was I thinking?

Meagan: You’re not alone. You’re not crazy because you weren’t in the space to make a “better informed” decision. You were being told by your medical staff that this is what could help so you are not crazy. Offer yourself some grace, but yeah. It’s just one of those things that we take as a learning experience and a nugget for next time.

Grace: Yes. That’s what I think is upsetting. She knew that. My OB knew that. She wasn’t technically who I would consider my OB to be because the one woman I was seeing each time, I don’t think would have done that to me.

Meagan: The attending OB.

Grace: Exactly. It’s like whoever you get in that Russian Roulette lottery of that day. She didn’t even know me. She clearly didn’t care about me. Oh, and she also made a horrible comment to me that day. I don’t remember if it was before or after she broke my water. I think it was after. She breaks my water. Contractions are going again and they are way more intense. At that point, so much time had gone by that I was exhausted. It was maybe 10 hours. I don’t totally remember exactly, but I think it was 10 hours that I spent. I said, “Let me get an epidural because I can’t take it anymore. I need sleep.”

After I got the epidural, I was in bed and I feel like either the next morning or maybe it was the night right before I went to sleep, I was crying to her. I said, “I’m really upset. Is there anything we can do? I would really like skin-to-skin with my baby.” I said, “Wrap me in a garbage bag. I don’t care. I really hate that I can’t have that with the baby.”

She looked at me and she said, “Well, you don’t want to give your baby COVID.” I couldn’t believe she said that to me. I was crying already. I’m like, “Of course not.” It made me cry more. How could you put that out there and look at me right now? If it was you and it was your baby, how would you feel that it got taken away from you and I felt perfectly fine? I’m like, “Obviously, it’s not me. My husband just took a test and he was negative.” For her to say that to me, I didn’t want her back in my room again.

So the epidural came and I was under the impression– again, looking at my sister’s birth– that with the epidural, I would go to sleep. I’d wake up at 9 centimeters and I wouldn’t even feel a thing. I didn’t know. Again, because my sister did something similar. I don’t think she woke up super dilated, but she definitely progressed after she had gotten her epidural, so I was like, “You know what? Maybe that’s what I need.” And my water was already broken.

I get my epidural. I go to sleep. I get some rest and then the next morning, the OB comes in and I’m relaxed. I’m calm. She checks me and I’m only 3.5 centimeters. I barely moved. It was very disappointing. I couldn’t even handle it. I’m like, “Okay. Will I have more time? There is more time now. It’s okay. It’s okay.” But then, yeah. No. I didn’t progress again.

This is another warning sign. The OB comes in around a quarter to 4:00 and I remember hearing this on other podcast episodes that it’s that 5:30 PM C-section time, right?

Meagan: It does happen.

Grace: It’s before the end of the day. I mean, listen. Maybe it was coincidental, but given the fact that she comes in. She checks me. She’s like, “Listen, you don’t have much more time because you broke your water however many hours ago.” I don’t remember the amount of hours after you break your water. You probably know. I don’t remember.

Meagan: Well, there’s a lot of other factors than just the time. It’s like, “Are we having signs of an infection? How is baby doing? How is mom doing? Are we making change in other areas?” You know? So after 6 hours of getting in labor, 6 hours after waters have been broken with no progress, they will start discussing things but it doesn’t always have to be a C-section.

Grace: Oh, so she definitely gave me a lot of time. She gave me more than 6 hours, but I wasn’t progressing at all. I don’t really know. I will be honest that my timeline will be a little funky because of how long ago it was. This I do remember because of the time he was born. He was born at 4– oh my gosh. I should know the exact time. I think it was 4:36 or something like that.

Meagan: Whoa. Really fast after.

Grace: That’s just it, right? She comes in. “You’re not progressing. We really don’t have much more time before we’re going to have to give you a C-section. Otherwise, the safety of the baby is going to be at risk.” Now that she says that, I’m freaking out, right?

Meagan: Of course.

Grace: I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” You know what? A lot of women I had spoken to before said that C-sections are no big deal. It’s fine. Don’t be afraid of them. They’re fine. At that point, I said, “You know? I’m already going through hell right now. Let’s just do it. Let’s just get the baby out.” It’s so crazy how they are so slow to do so many things, but the moment I sign that form, nope. The operating room is ready to go. The team is ready to go. It’s within seconds. They are so ready to get you on that operating table. It’s almost like they want to get you out of the door. She wants to get out of the door. We all know that C-sections are going to bill your insurance way more than if you just had the baby naturally. I hate to think that is how a provider would think, but given the time and given everything that would happen, it’s like, what else am I going to think now? It’s not clear, but I feel like that was a piece of it. They were just trying to get me in and out.

Oh, on the operating table, she yelled out, “Just know that this patient is COVID-positive!” to the whole staff. I’m just the diseased person that is in the room. I was walking around like a perfectly healthy person. It was just so awful.

So they begin the C-section. I hope I’m not sharing too much and talking about things that don’t have meaning, but I guess I have to live through it a little bit.

Meagan: This has meaning. You’re sharing them. We can feel it. Yeah.

Grace: Okay. Now, at that point, during the C-section, you’re on a lot of pain meds. I come out of the operating room. Everything is fine. I’m not having any issues. I didn’t throw up or anything. All I wanted was to see and hold my baby. I heard the baby cry. My husband got to see the baby. No one got to hold the baby just yet. We’d get in the room. They immediately put the baby, I think, in the isolette. This is at the time where if you were COVID-positive, the baby could be in the room with you, an isolette I think? Or an isolette? Is that what it’s called?

Meagan: Like another room? I don’t know.

Grace: You know for NICU babies, they’re in this–

Meagan: Oh yeah, I do know what you are talking about. I don’t know what it’s called actually.

Grace: I think maybe it’s called an isolate and that’s what the rule was. When you are COVID-positive, your baby would stay in the isolette. You couldn’t hold your baby unless it was those two times during the day for 15 minutes. He went into that. My husband came in. I think that the attending nurse I had at that time–

Meagan: Your husband wasn’t with you in the C-section?

Grace: No, no, no. He was. I’m in a bed. I’m just trying to go through it again in my head.

Meagan: No, you’re fine.

Grace: So the whole time, I kept thinking, “I just want to hold him. Please just let me hold him. I won’t do skin-to-skin. I’ll follow all of your rules, whatever. Just let me hold him. It’s my brand new baby.” Again, I’m a first-time mom. I do think regardless if you are or not, I totally get it. It could be your fourth baby and you would still feel that way. When my mom had my sister who was her second, she was like, “The nursery can have her. I need rest.” There is a sense of, “I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I don’t necessarily have that need to hold them in that moment,” but as a first-time mom, seeing my first baby, that was all I wanted in the world was just to hold the baby.

So this one nurse comes in. I don’t know. I think she was just a post-delivery nurse and she was very tough. I was like, “Please, can I hold him now?” She was like, “You need to wash your hands. You are COVID-positive.” Nasty. I’m like, “Okay, fine.” I can’t move becaus I just had surgery. They bring me over this bucket of soap and everything. I’m washing my hands and I’m just constantly looking at him trying to get him. She yelled at me. She was like, “You’re not washing your hands enough.” She was like, “I’m an ER nurse during COVID. You have to take this seriously,” just belating me. It was so horrible.

But they did finally let me hold him. It was great, but it was obviously short-lived. Then after that, they took him. The nurse had to feed him a bottle. I wanted to breastfeed. I didn’t want to give him any formula. I remember just seeing her sitting there with him thinking– I’m so sorry– that I failed. My body failed. This woman has to feed my baby for me and I’m right here. I can do it. I couldn’t even give him a bottle. I just felt like such a failure at that moment.

I did not think I was going to start crying, but just to see a stranger do that just really upset me. That was pretty much that. Right then, I was there and then that nurse would come and feed him every 15 minutes. You know, it’s a baby. You have to feed them every 30 minutes or something. But then that moment when she first did it, I thought I was such a failure.

Meagan: Not a failure.

Grace: I know. My husband had no idea what was going on. They never really do. He was very much like, “We have to listen to the hospital.” When they would leave the room essentially, I was like, “Give me the baby. Let me just hold him. What are they going to do? There are no cameras. Even if there were, what are they going to do? Kick me out? I just got cut open.” Honestly, I was so ready to break those rules. The baby was going to be right there.

My husband was like, “They could walk in. You could get in so much trouble.” He didn’t know what could happen so we had to just follow the rules. He got to hold the baby, but every time he’d pick up the baby, he had to put on a new thing of gloves, a mask, and a gown, and he ended up having to feed the baby because he was allowed to. That started to drive him crazy because he was also on no sleep. If you go back from when we got to the hospital to when we had the C-section, it had already been two days of time where we were just there. He wasn’t really getting the best of sleep.

He has had so much going on, so now he has to care for this newborn baby. He’s never held a baby in his life. That ended up being what was going on at that point. Now at this point, the epidural was still in me and I wasn’t in any kind of crazy pain.

Then the nurse comes in. She’s a new nurse and was actually very nice. She goes, “Listen, I have a few other pills.” I can’t remember what they are but then she goes, “I have oxycodone for the pain.” I was like, “I really don’t want to take any opiates because I’m going to try to breastfeed when I get home and I am pumping. I don’t want to have any opiates in my system.” I was saying this while the epidural was still in my system. She looked at me like, “Okay,” and I have a Motrin allergy. I can’t take ibuprofen so all I was taking at the time was Tylenol.

She gives me probably the Tylenol at that point. The epidural was still there. I’m like, “This will be fine. I’ll just take Tylenol.” But it was a dumb thing to think. When that epidural wore off, I don’t know how many hours later, I was in so much pain. I could barely talk. Motrin and Tylenol work together because some women don’t take the opiate, but working together helps a lot. But when I wasn’t getting Motrin, all I had was Tylenol. It just was so, so painful that she got to my room. I look at her. I go, “You need to get me the oxycodone right now. I can’t move. I’m in serious, serious pain now.”

So she gets it for me, but the thing is with pain– oh, I’m sorry my friend texted me– when you don’t catch up to the pain and you have the pain meds in your system, you kind of can never stay on top of pain. Does that make sense?

Meagan: Mhmm. Chasing it.

Grace: You’re chasing it. So even with the oxycodone in my system, the pain would finally subside, but then once it came back, it came back so bad that I just never felt okay anymore. I just constantly was uncomfortable and in pain. Those moments when the meds would wear off to get your new set of meds, I could barely talk. It was so intense. Then also when you get surgery, you get gas that radiates up and that was insanely painful.

The night nurse ended up being late with the oxycodone at that point. It was 3:00 AM. My husband was sitting next to me. He couldn’t even sleep because he was so worried about me because of that pain. I wasn’t myself anymore. I don’t know if other women with C-sections have gone through anything like that, but it was just really bad.

He was sitting next to me. It was 3:00 AM and he was like, “I’m really worried I’m going to lose you.” I actually muttered, “I think I’m going to die.” That’s how intense it was. She was probably 45 minutes late with the medication and again with pain meds, if it’s not in your system, you feel everything.

That made it even more intense and horrible on top of everything else– all of the emotion, the fact that I didn’t even want a C-section, and it just kept spiraling into horribleness. I will say one positive good bit though that I look back on and I remember.

The attending nurse that I had during the day of my C-section actually came in after and was so sweet. She did know that I wanted to breastfeed, so she was trying to get the colostrum to give to the baby. One thing my sister told me to do was she goes, “Make sure before you are planning on giving birth that you start eating lactation cookies and getting your supply to come in.” Because I had done that, when I showed up and she wanted to get colostrum, there was tons of it. He was in shock. He was so happy. He was a bit older, almost like you could tell he was old school. He was like, “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is amazing.” It made me feel like somebody had faith in me instead of some diseased, horrible person. That’s what I felt the whole time. That was nice having that moment.

But yeah, so then with the pain, that was starting to make the whole experience really bad. We ended up leaving a day early and even the day we left, the pediatrician made a point to me. He was telling me about the baby and things to do with the baby and everything. I go, “I’m so really worried. I’m COVID-positive. I don’t want to get the baby sick. Everyone is making it like I’m going to make the baby sick and what should I do? Can I hold the baby? Can I do these things with the baby?” She looks at me and says, “Of course you can. You are going to take your baby home and you can nurse your baby. You’re going to hold your baby.” She was like, “Wear a mask,” and was almost looking at me like, “This hospital is crazy. This policy is horrible,” but because this is the routine for them and they are desensitized to everything, I wasn’t getting that from anyone else. It was just common.

It made me really look back and say, “How stupid that they put me through this.” I don’t even know. I think there were some COVID-positive mothers where their babies went in other rooms and they couldn’t even see them at all.

Meagan: Mhmm.

Grace: I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard other horrible stories.

So we go. We get to leave and my husband at that point had no sleep either. It was maybe three or four days that we had been there with no sleep. I had no sleep because I was in so much pain. We get home and my mom opens the door because she was waiting there for us to help us. My mother was really upset too. She was crying all night that I was going through that. She looked at me and was like, “Oh my god. What did they do to you?” I had dark circles under my eyes from being exhausted but also from crying.

Meagan: Yeah. I was going to say, I’m sure that you instantly knew that you wanted a different experience next time.

Grace: Oh my god, yeah. I wanted it different and you know, I have a beautiful, healthy baby so it’s not like it was the worst experience it could have been, but it wasn’t at all what I wanted or what I thought it would have been or that it really should have been. So many things went wrong and I take a lot of blame that I should have researched providers better. I should have researched the policies better. I didn’t know, you know? You never think it’s going to happen to you. You think everything’s going to be fine.

My one girlfriend, I think had placenta previa. Something like that, but she said, “I immediately knew I was having a C-section. There was no question there.” That’s one thing. You have physical limitations where it is very dangerous. Okay. It’s fine. You have a C-section. It’s fine. But when you are put in a horrible hamster wheel of horribleness where they already know you are going to have a C-section and they don’t even care, it’s so long. And the COVID-positive on top of it was just really, really hard.

My husband said, “Honestly, Grace, the C-section wouldn’t have bothered you as much had you been able to actually hold your baby.” Yes, and all of that positive adrenaline and endorphins in your body probably would have helped you heal faster. So when I brought him home, we had to get him latched and that was a whole other hurdle, but I did. I had a lot of nursing issues with him because he had this torticollis. He had all of these issues, but I totally powered through and I still did it.

But now with my daughter, I’m sharing her VBAC story, right? I’m sorry. I hope I’m not talking too much. With her, I had no issues. Nursed fine. She is a thriving, wonderful, beautiful baby and I totally believe that it is because of the birth with her and it went so differently that it is just so much better for me and it was better for her. It was better for my husband. It was better probably for my son too.

That was my horrible, horrible C-section birth.

Meagan: I’m so sorry.

Grace: I think I covered everything. I’m sorry too. I keep talking. Yeah. It was horrible. I mean, looking back, I’ve learned so much and hopefully, other women can learn from it. I hope I covered all of those warning signs I want women to look out for. I don’t know but hopefully I did, but yeah. My heart goes out to the COVID-positive mothers who went through something similar or worse. I can’t even imagine.

I do think that if you are positive and you are sick– if I were visibly ill, it’s so different to me. My mindset would have been way different. I would have still been sad, but I wouldn’t have felt like my autonomy was taken away from me.

Meagan: Stripped.

Grace: Yeah, stripped, which is much more where you feel like you are at their mercy. You don’t feel like you have freedom at all and it’s horrible.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah. So I get pregnant. My son at that point, I think, was about a year and four months. He wasn’t 18 months just yet. I got pregnant with my daughter and again, I knew I definitely wanted a VBAC, however, I had known a lot of other women who wanted VBACs too, and still ended up getting a C-section. They would say, “Yeah, we are going to try for the VBAC, but if it doesn’t work, you will have to have a C-section.” Every woman I spoke to who said that, ended up with one.

As I was going through my pregnancy, I was trying to educate over time. I was like, “What is this that they are missing that I don’t want to miss?” I did not want another C-section. I did not want to ever go through that pain unnecessarily again. Obviously, listen. C-sections save babies. I am not against them.

Meagan: Absolutely, yeah.

Grace: You know that and you know that in so many ways, they are super important, but for me, if I have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby and I don’t have anything going on that would require that other than I had a C-section prior, then I am going to do everything I can to not have another C-section.

So I discovered The VBAC Link, I want to say it was further into my pregnancy. I want to say I was at least 5 months into my pregnancy.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: How many weeks would I have to be for that?

Meagan: 20?

Grace: Was it 20?

Meagan: 20 weeks is about 5 months so probably a little over.

Grace: It was a little over 20 weeks and I discovered The VBAC Link. I am like, “Okay, I will give this a thought.” I already found a midwife. I didn’t want an OB and the midwife that I had, I really liked her. She had VBACs of her own.

Meagan: Awesome.

Grace: I was super adamant. I’m like, “I do not want another C-section.” She understood. Here’s the thing, though with these providers and I liked her. I’m not trying to make it seem like she did anything wrong, but they don’t educate women on what to do. There are so many things that women can do to get themselves in the best situation to have a nice, vaginal birth potentially not even needing medicine. They don’t. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t on purpose, but a midwife is not an OB. She’s not going to give me a C-section, so why wouldn’t she want to give all of the resources to her patients? I didn’t even know what Spinning Babies was until I listened to your podcast, then I researched Spinning Babies and I used Spinning Babies.

So anyways, I discovered you guys or you ladies and I started listening to you every day on the way to work and the stories were just so wonderful. I learned a lot. I learned that one of the big ones was to find a hospital that is more likely to support a VBAC and has a high success rate of a VBAC. Now, the hospital I picked, I was told it was a good one. It is a good hospital. Nothing specific about childbirth or anything. It was very close to me. I had known other people who had delivered there and it was fine, but I’m like, “You know what? Let’s look at their success rate versus other ones.” Their success rate was 7%. Is that high or is that low?

Meagan: That’s low. 7% of their success rate of a VBAC, that’s low.

Grace: That’s low. That’s low. There was another hospital I heard about from someone who gave birth there and it was an hour away. Most women who gave birth there had the best experience. It’s a hospital and then it had a birthing center connected to it. Because I was a VBAC, just birthing centers wouldn’t have let me go there because if they needed an emergency C-section. That setup was great. I looked at their VBAC success rate and it was 22%.

Meagan: Higher than 7.

Grace: Now that you say that, it was probably still fairly low, but that was the highest I found.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah, and now I went ahead and listened to your podcast for a few months and I started getting scared. I was like, “I don’t have a doula. I don’t have a lot of information that a lot of these women had.” Now that I have it, I was already at that point, I want to say 7 months in my pregnancy. Not going by weeks just because I don’t know why months make more sense to me.

That’s when I started becoming very much doing more research and being more actively aware of my birth and wanting to make sure that this birth goes better. I find this hospital. At that point, I go, “I’m going with this hospital and no one is going to stop me.” But because I was already so close, I was actually in my third trimester already and I told my– the way it works is I was very lucky. My provider was part of a bigger company. I’m not going to give out any names or anything unless should I?

Meagan: If you have a supportive provider that you would suggest, I highly suggest giving the name because also, Women of Strength if you are listening, we have a provider list. We actually have that, so we will be adding this one to your list. But if you guys have a provider that you highly suggest as being VBAC-supportive especially if there are multiple Cesareans, please send us that at info@thevbaclink.com because we want to add them to our list.

Grace: Okay. Okay, yeah. I definitely will. At the time, they were called CareMount near the area where I was, but they just got bought out by a new company called Optum.

Meagan: Optum, okay.

Grace: Most adults of my age remember them as CareMount because it was super recent that it changed. Optum was in my area and because they were big, they also had a practice up near this hospital. I called the practice up near the hospital and I said, “Listen. I’ve been going to midwives down by me, but you have all of my information because it’s all the same system. I want to go to your office because I want to deliver at this hospital.” Can I say the name of the hospital?

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: I can, right? It was Northern Dutchess. They are amazing. They have a birthing center. The staff there is incredible and yeah. I said, “That’s what I want.” The immediately were like, “We don’t take on patients so close to the end like this, but given that you are in the system, I guess it’s okay.” I was going to say to them, “I don’t care if it’s allowed or not. You’re going to help me give birth in your hospital.” I also was going to be like, “I don’t want to see any OBs. I only want to see midwives.” They still had me see two OBs and it’s actually fine because even their OBs were just better. They were more understanding.

Believe it or not, the male OB was even more. I was scared to see the male. Nothing against men, but the fact that with my son it was a man and he made that comment to me, treating me, I don’t know. They didn’t give him any kind of nickname, but I think he was known for only really doing C-sections. I was so scared to have a man especially because by the time I saw him– so before I even get to that, they do the switch and at that point, again, I was listening to your podcast still and I’m like, “You know, I really should get a doula.” I’m in my 35th week or something.

I’m like, “I need to get a doula. I need this birth to be what I want it to be.” I find a doula in my area. She is amazing. She said the same thing. She was like, “We’re meeting pretty late, but it’s okay.” She was super understanding. I told her about my whole horrible birth and she said, “You’d be surprised but that part is super common.” Not the COVID part, but the whole story.

Meagan: The whole story, yeah. Yeah.

Grace: Also, I think me being allergic to Motrin and that recovery being so– I hate to say it but traumatic for me because when you’re in so much pain and you are already in so much emotional pain, it is just horrible. She was like, “Yep. It’s a super common story. I’m not going to guarantee you a VBAC, but you’re going to get through this birth. It’s going to be beautiful. You’re going to have a wonderful connection with your baby.” She said, “Don’t worry about the COVID thing anymore. It’s not at all what it was in 2020. Try to think of all of the positive things.”

She introduced me to Spinning Babies. I started researching so much of my own and I was like, “Should I do all of the dates and tea and the stretching and the walking?” She goes, “Do all of it.” It’s what they say. It’s like an old wives’ tale, but it’s not going to hurt. Do all of it. Take a deep breath. I started to get almost obsessive at the time. I even made a joke to my provider at an appointment. I was like, “I’m sure it says in my file that I’m the crazy VBAC girl.” He laughed.

He said, “It doesn’t say that,” but I was very determined. Again, your podcast helped me so much because there were so many women who have gone through so many things and had to work even harder to get the providers that they wanted and get the support that they wanted. It’s so important and it’s so wonderful that you have it. So thank you.

Meagan: Mhmm, yes. Thanks for being with us.

Grace: So then, yeah. I changed my provider. I get the hospital. I get the doula and then I start those last, I want to say 5 weeks. I’m walking every day. I’m eating a disgusting amount of dates. I don’t think I’ll ever eat a date again. I’m sure you’ve heard that, but it’s true. Doing the tea and I was doing these stretches I saw on YouTube every night. My husband was very supportive. He was a little scared for me. He was kind of like, “Oh my god. If this girl doesn’t get her VBAC, what’s going to happen in the world?”

I was very intense about it and then, yeah. We just waited and waited. Toward the end, this part was scary for me. We also joined this Evidence-Based VBAC Facebook group and it was not– I can tell by your face. Yeah.

Meagan: Ugh.

Grace: It was not what I thought it was going to be.

Meagan: No, unfortunately.

Grace: Because I did this all kind of late, by the time I was up to 40 weeks, I went on that page maybe a week before or at 39 weeks. I started reading and I’m like, “Oh my god. Now I’m terrified to go into labor.” Note to listeners, please don’t go on that Facebook page.

Meagan: Join The VBAC Link Community.

Grace: Yes, 100%.

Meagan: Shameless plug right there. I think our community is just one of a kind.

Grace: 100%. But the thing is at that point in time, to read any of that at 39 weeks put me into a fear mode. At 40 weeks, I started crying every day that I wasn’t going into labor. I wanted to go into labor at 39 weeks, but that likelihood I think was very low because I was late with my son. I never even technically went into labor with my son. With my son, I was 40 weeks and 5 days when they induced me.

So from 40 weeks on, again, because of reading those posts, I started really freaking out. I was crying. I was calling my doula every day. I’m like, “I’m not going into labor. I really don’t want a uterine rupture. I’m scared.” This and that. She was so great. She just was like, “You need to relax. Everything is going to be fine.” She said, “If something is going to happen, it could have already happened.

One of my best friends is a nurse and she actually was a nurse in an OB’s office for a while. Every time I would go to talk to her, she would go, “You need to stop.” She would be like, “Anything could happen.”

Meagan: Spiraling.

Grace: Yeah, yeah. But it was good to have that. It was good to have somebody say, “Anything that could happen. You can’t sit there and say that just because you have this thing which is unique to you that you want to have a VBAC doesn’t mean that you’re definitely going to have something happen. You could have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and everything would be fine and then something bad would happen. You can’t worry about it. It’s not in your hands right now. You need to just relax.”

That was a tough part though, just going through that week and then I started getting really bad prodromal labor about a week after at 41 weeks. I started getting it really bad and I kept thinking, “Should I go to the hospital? Is this it? Can I get the baby out?” I was so excited and my doula every time would go, “No, no, no, no, no. You’re not going anywhere near that hospital right now.” Thank God she said that.

So then I think I had prodromal labor for about three days or four days or something. Then finally, on the final day, my mom was over and I was in so much pain just from all of the prodromal labor. I’m like, “Something is not right.” She looked at me and she was like, “You are in active labor. I can see your stomach contracting.” I’m like, “But I called. My doula said I shouldn’t go. I don’t know what to do.”

I already lost my mucus plug a few days before that. I had never gone through anything like that. Nothing like that.

Meagan: You’re getting into labor though, yeah.

Grace: Yeah, but my mom again, has five kids. She goes, “No, no. This is labor now. You really should go.” She even talked to my doula two nights before that because I thought that two nights before that I was going into labor and my doula was saying to my mom, “No, not yet. She’s not ready yet.” I don’t know how she knew that.

At that point, I called my doula again. She said, “You know what? Your mom is probably right.” I was timing them. I don’t remember what the times were, but they were so strong. I think my mom was like, “I don’t even think it matters. This is labor now.”

I get to the hospital and I was 100% effaced and 5 centimeters dilated. Something to start.

Meagan: Yay! Getting ready to get into active labor right there. Turning that transition.

Grace: Yes. He tells me that. I was COVID-negative. It was like the clouds were opening up. Things were falling into place. The only thing is and this is a totally okay thing. My doula had another birth that night so she couldn’t go. I forgot to mention this. She already knew she was going to not be there. She actually called a backup doula and this was actually the morning before I went into the hospital.

I called her. We had a nice conversation. She was like, “I will definitely be available.” I go, “I’m having a lot of prodromal labor. It’s really uncomfortable. I’m tired.” I’m like, “I just don’t know what to do. When should I go?” She was like, “Okay, at this point in pregnancy, it’s totally normal. Why don’t you just go on a two-hour walk?” What?

Meagan: A two-hour walk?

Grace: I was walking every day for two months. A two-hour walk? I’m struggling to sit. I’m like, “Okay.” She told me at 9 AM. I went on a two-hour walk and listen, I was at the hospital by 4:00 PM that day. She totally knew. She ended up coming and she was so sweet and amazing. I had never even met her before. I would totally recommend either doula if anyone is asking. If it means anything, their rates were nothing crazy. I listened to a bunch of doulas which again, I got from your podcast that you want to really interview your doulas and make sure you know your doulas. They were super reasonable and both were wonderful.

That all fell into place. I was just starting to have my contractions. She was there to do all of the lunges together and all of the movements together. She put me in all of the right positions and I ended up not needing an epidural. Let me rephrase that. I ended up not having to require an epidural even though it was very, very painful. But it was a very welcomed pain. I was in labor for about 14 hours. It was a long, long day.

I made a birth playlist which I did for my son too and I never got to really use it. One moment during labor, that particular experience was when the doula goes– this was around 6 centimeters, maybe 7 centimeters. She goes, “Why don’t you go dance with your husband?” I had my birth list on and I think it was a Justin Timberlake and maybe Beyonce song. It was a very romantic, lovey dovey song. We were just standing there. The lights were off. We were dancing and it was just so beautiful. The nurse told me after. When you’re in labor, you’re not totally aware of your surroundings. She told me the next day after the baby was born and everything and she goes, “I almost started crying when I saw you and your husband standing there dancing.”

Meagan: Such a precious moment.

Grace: Both she and my doula I remember were kind of off to the side standing there. It was just so wonderful and yeah. She got me through labor and I had to push for a solid, I think, hour which was fine. It was really painful. At one point, I screamed, “I want someone to help me!” You know, it was really hard, but she was there. I give a lot to her. She did all of these things to help me feel comfortable and safe. I was with someone who was going to make sure I was going to be okay. Yeah.

The midwife came and I loved the midwife. She was wonderful. I had met her before. She was very knowledgeable. She wasn’t necessarily the most nurturing. She was much more like, “I’ve given birth to thousands of babies. I’ve done VBACs before. We’ve got this, no problem.” At one point, she came in and she was worried my contractions had slowed down, but right after she left, my doula was like, “All right, let’s go. Get up. Ramp up the speed. We’re going to do this. We’ll put you on the peanut,” and all of the things because she knew I didn’t want an epidural.

I am curious about having the doula there if that is why they didn’t push anything on me. They didn’t push anything.

Meagan: Good.

Grace: Part of me is curious but I also think the hospital is known to not do that. My sister gave her second baby there and they didn’t push anything on her. So now again, you want to go to a good hospital that takes care of you.

Meagan: Yes, you do.

Grace: She came out and how big was she? She was 7 pounds, 8 ounces. My son was 8 pounds, 5 ounces. He really wasn’t even that big.

Meagan: No.

Grace: He could have come out.

Meagan: He wasn’t. Yeah.

Grace: No. I actually forgot to mention that before. He wasn’t even that big. They gave me all of that nonsense and yeah. Everything about her birth was wonderful. She went right on my breast. He latched not right away, but within 24 hours. He latched and was eating fine. It was wonderful. I didn’t have to change rooms or anything. They let me stay in the same room. I got to get up and walk around.

Yeah. It was exactly the experience that I had wanted.

Meagan: Yeah.

Grace: Yeah.

Meagan: I’m so happy for you. I’m so happy that you could have that more healing, redemptive experience where you felt the love. You felt that connection. You had the people there for you. You felt safe. You weren’t being pushed. You weren’t having people rushing in like you were some scary alien. You weren’t having these things that honestly doesn’t help our cervix dilate. There are so many things from your first story where I’m like if we can create a special environment, a comfortable environment for us, then that is going to help us progress in labor.

We know one of the number one reasons for a Cesarean is failure to progress and a lot of the time, it’s situational. We did this and it’s baby’s position or something like that, but a lot of the time, I think it’s truly the environment and what we’ve got going on and if we feel safe because our bodies are smart. If we don’t feel safe and if we don’t feel comfortable, we are not going to progress. We’re not going to have those things and so yeah. I’m just so, so happy for you.

I’d love to touch on a couple of signs when it is time to switch your provider or time to switch your location because I think it is one of the most daunting things to change your provider mid-pregnancy. It can be hard.

Grace: Yeah, yeah.

Meagan: And/or change your location. I changed my provider and my location at 24 weeks and it was emotional a little bit too. It was just like, “Oh, I hope it’s okay. I don’t want to hurt any feelings and this and that.” Anyway, just so much. We have some blogs on so many topics that we talked about today. But number one, I want to talk a little bit about some of those warning signs because like you said, you were like, “That was a warning sign. That was a warning sign. That was a warning sign,” but you weren’t in that space.

Sometimes that’s how it goes. I had the same thing. I go, “Whoa. I should have switched.”

One, I want you to know, Women of Strength, that it’s okay to switch. 100%. We do have that provider list if you are looking for a provider in your area or you start hearing some of these signs and you’re like, “Oh crap.” If one of those fits, email us at info@thevbaclink.com and remember VBAC is spelled V-B-A-C instead of V-B-A-C-K. Email us and our team will get you that list.

Okay, so warning signs. Recommending a third-trimester ultrasound to check on the baby’s size. When you go in for that 20-week ultrasound and they’re like, “Oh, this baby is big.” Right there, that’s a huge warning sign. I’m just going to say, if your doctor is talking about your baby being big in general, that’s a red flag. That means that they are starting to doubt your ability. Their confidence in you is going down to get that baby out and they will probably push things like induction and all of those things, right?

So talking about your placenta dying. They actually use these words. “Your placenta could die if you go past 40 weeks pregnant or past 41 weeks pregnant.” Not true. Not needed. You know? It’s not. You don’t need to have an induction just because you are 40 weeks. Your placenta is okay.

Yeah. Making those one-off hand comments of, “Your baby is big. Your pelvis could be too small. You’re looking big. You’re really a petite person.” I don’t like that. Refusing to let you go past 40 weeks. Refusing to induce at all. If your provider is completely refusing to induce you because you are a VBAC, they are not following evidence-based care. I cannot tell you that enough. We see it all the time in our community where it’s like, “I can’t be induced because I’m a VBAC.” False. False, false, false. False. Big F. False.

Now, is induction ideal?

Grace: No.

Meagan: It could be less ideal. It is less ideal. Not even could be, it is. It is less ideal. But it is not impossible. If you are facing an induction or a C-section, do the research. Learn about it. Know that it is still possible and you will not just for sure rupture because you are induced with Pitocin. That’s another myth out there.

Overemphasizing the risk of uterine rupture. Telling you that you last time didn’t have good success so you are unlikely to have good success this time, putting doubt there, and so much more. We actually have a blog about it. We are going to put it in the show notes today on 10 Signs it Might Be Time to Switch Your Provider.

I also think there are some really good tips for preparation. You talked about that. You did the Spinning Babies. You ate dates until you literally probably couldn’t eat any more or you couldn’t stand the smell of them. You did all of these things. Preparing for birth. You got the doula. You found the location. You researched your area. You found your birthing location. You found your hospital and midwife. You found a VBAC doula. Even in the end of pregnancy, you can find a doula and if you didn’t know, we have a resource online at vbaclink.com where you can find a doula that is actually VBAC-certified. They have taken our course. They understand all of the things about VBAC. They can help you find a VBAC-supportive provider. They can help you find that confidence. They can help you and see those moments of, “This is a really great time. Go dance with your husband. Let’s release the oxytocin naturally,” or “This is prodromal labor. Maybe don’t go to the hospital right now. This is what you can do instead.”

Okay, you know? Those types of things. Mental–

Grace: Get you off the ledge.

Meagan: Yes, talk you off of the ledge. Mental preparation– preparing, we have the VBAC Link Course. We have the blogs. We have the stories. We have the communities. This is what this is for. Mental prep, finding the confidence, processing your op reports, and these things. Physical prep– doing those things. Eating the dates, drinking the tea, and making sure you have good nutrients like our favorite Needed. You’re making sure that you are taking care of yourself nutritionally so that you can also prep in other ways and so many more.

We’re going to make sure to have that. We’re going to have blogs and books and things to suggest at the bottom of the show notes. I think that this story although it did start off with a heartbreaking experience– I could see you. I could feel it. Your experience is hard. It’s three and a half years ago and it’s still with you. These experiences stay with us. I think that’s where we owe it to ourselves to give us the best experience and to put us in the best situation possible.

Sometimes, I think it’s, “Oh, well a doula could be more expensive. Oh, taking a course is a lot,” but in the grand scheme of things, if we look back at our experiences, my first two C-sections and even with my second, I had educated pretty okay. I’d say okay, not great. If I had looked back and taken the course to help me know that information, if I would have hired the doula to help me feel not so backed in a corner, absolutely. Yeah. I would have paid that no matter what.

Grace: Yeah. Money is of no value at that point.

Meagan: It’s of no value and it is. Money is a huge thing in this world, especially with the way our world is going. Money is a big deal, but in the end, you deserve it. You deserve to get those prenatal massages, to go to the chiropractor, and to get those prenatal vitamins that are going to truly help you. You deserve these things. Women of Strength, it’s okay to spoil yourself for your birth.

Grace: Right.

Meagan: Recognize these things and get the tools we can so that in the end, even if it ends in a repeat Cesarean, it can hopefully be a more healing experience. You’re going to know the things. You’re going to know your options. You’re going to know you did everything. I just think there is so much power in these two stories all along the way that you can take from this.

Grace: I also think too, one thing I never really even thought about is if you are a mother and you have had children and you have had wonderful births, you’ve had wonderful vaginal births, don’t support new mothers that are pregnant to do those things anyway because just as maybe it didn’t work for you, they might need it. My mother had five natural births. She didn’t have a doula. She had none of that and she made it seem like it was like that. She made it seem like, “Just go to the hospital. They will take care of you.”

That’s what I did. I read baby books and everything, but I did not think I was going to be one of those moms.

Meagan: None of us do, really.

Grace: None of us do, but just because it was okay for you and everything was okay for you if you know a mother and she is nervous or something, tell her, “You know what? Get a doula. It’s going to help you. It’s going to guide you. Did I need it? No, but if you are nervous, do it anyway. It’s only going to make things better. It’s going to lessen your stress.”

Like you said, take a course. Support women anyway with those resources so that it can prevent them from falling into those pitfalls which now I think maybe it’s a generational thing. I don’t think my mother had a lot of pressure when she was giving birth to children back then. I don’t really know, but that was my guess because she was my main resource. Yeah, if you’ve had good births, still support other new moms to have more support and resources at their luxury even if you didn’t need it at the time because they might.

Meagan: Exactly. Yes.

Grace: Yes.

Meagan: Oh, well thank you so much for being here with me today and letting me go off on this little passionate rant at the end.

Grace: Thank you. I feel like I talked so much. I’m like, “Oh my god.” I don’t know what it is that I wanted to share so much. It’s just so important.

Meagan: These stories matter to us and they matter to everyone listening. Women of Strength, thank you for listening today. I hope and I’m sure that you took some information out of these stories. Remember that we are always accepting stories also for social media so if you are ever wanting to share your stories on social media, email us at info@thevbaclink.com.

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.


Our Sponsors:
* Check out Dr. Mom Butt Balm: drmombuttbalm.com
Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-vbac-link/donations
Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
  continue reading

310 odcinków

Todos los episodios

×
 
Loading …

Zapraszamy w Player FM

Odtwarzacz FM skanuje sieć w poszukiwaniu wysokiej jakości podcastów, abyś mógł się nią cieszyć już teraz. To najlepsza aplikacja do podcastów, działająca na Androidzie, iPhonie i Internecie. Zarejestruj się, aby zsynchronizować subskrypcje na różnych urządzeniach.

 

Skrócona instrukcja obsługi