Healing My Birth Story

Have you ever read my baby story about Bluebelle?

Basically, my baby story was everything I didn’t expect to have with my first labor. Initially, I was just happy to have a healthy baby and my feelings toward that has never changed. I am beyond thankful that B was safe and healthy.

However, after the initial pleasure/shock over what happened had faded, the comments started pouring in.

“You didn’t really go through labor.”

“That wasn’t natural.”

“You shouldn’t have been induced.”

…and on and on and on. For months. Slowly, my personal guilt and opinions over the delivery of B was magnified through the comments and opinions of my family and friends. I felt broken. I was angry with myself for being naive enough to go through an induction. I was angry for how I responded through my contractions. I wished I would have done more to prepare myself for childbirth. I wish I wouldn’t have listened to all the well-meaning advice that did nothing but terrify me.

For the first 20 weeks of pregnancy with B, I lived in Texas. I went to a CNM (certified nurse midwife). I had planned on an intervention -free (with the possibility of epidural) birth with intermittent monitoring and lots of walking around. Jeanean was supportive and encouraging.  When we had to move to Oklahoma mid-pregnancy, I found myself going to the only free female OB in the Norman area and I quickly learned that NONE of those options would be possible with the doctor or the hospital I was delivering in. I wish now that I would have taken more control and looked for a doctor in the city that would have allowed me to do something more natural to my own desires.  Lessons are all too often learned in hindsight.

After my C-section, Todd asked my doctor about the idea of trying for a more natural birth the next time. My OB said that my body just “wouldn’t work” and I wouldn’t be a good candidate even if the hospital allowed for a VBAC… which they didn’t. So I was stuck being a repeat C-section no matter what. I felt broken.

Since B’s birth, I have seriously thought about the idea of a VBAC. A VBAC is short for Vaginal Birth After Caesarian. After a lot of research and prayer, I decided that planning for a VBAC was the only way I would be truly happy with my birth options. I wanted to talk to a doctor who supported the idea and would look seriously at my records and tell me if I really was “broken.” If I really was destined to have multiple C-sections, I wanted to know that I had exhausted all my options.

When I found out I was pregnant with #2, I decided to find a doctor with a good reputation for VBAC success. After talking with him, he believes my story is all too similar to the majority of VBAC hopefuls who come into his office… and go on to have a successful birth. We discussed the risks and talked about some of the things I need to do to increase my chances of having a natural birth.  He won’t use pitocin. He will do what he can to help me go into labor naturally. I feel good about my chances. More importantly, I feel good about doing what I can to have a healing birth story.

Are you happy with your birth story? 

Would you change anything about your birth? 

If you have had a natural birth and/or a VBAC: What resources helped you to succeed? What would you have done differently? 

 If you had a Caesarian, did/do you ever regret anything about it? 

I think that regardless of what you choose to do, its important to feel good about it. The birth of your child is important, and so is your mental well-being. I think this is a good step for me.

More about April

13 thoughts on “Healing My Birth Story

  1. Shayla

    My birth story was great. No pain, no healing time and no 9 months of nausea, cravings and emotional roller coasters. I highly recommend it.

    1. April McGrew

      Haha. You had your share of emotions! You do bring up a good point though — childbirth is an incredibly emotional thing. There’s nothing easy about becoming a parent. No matter what. I’d actually love to do what you did. Todd’s not as interested, but I would love to do it.

  2. Julia Bean

    I had a c-section and was sad about it!! I wasn’t induced though. Her heart rate dropped and I was an emergency c-section. Not really a choice there…. I don’t plan on trying for a VBAC. I’m too afraid of the risks.

    1. April McGrew

      I was afraid as well. You’re right, it’s not without risk, but uterine rupture is actually not as great as some make it out to be. I won’t tell you to get a VBAC, but I will encourage you to join a local ICAN network. ICAN is the International Caesarian Awareness Network. I am a part of one of the Facebook groups. It’s really nice to be around other women who went through the same thing and they are a great resource for both encouragement and options. http://ican-online.org/ Belle’s heart rate dropped as well and it was very scary. I completely understand! For me, I believe that it was the slippery slope of interventions that caused mine and I feel partly responsible for giving Belle that problem. The ladies in ICAN are great and supportive, whether you choose to repeat a c/s or not. 🙂 Even if I end up getting another c/s, I will be happy that I joined the group and came to terms with my experience.

  3. beth the mom

    I was told the exact same thing after my c-section. When I was getting ready to have baby #2, my dr really wanted to try a VBAC, so we did – I had to be induced again (because she was going out of town around my due date and wasn’t sure the other drs would let me try a VBAC) and it was successful. I did an epidural both times.

    1. April McGrew

      That’s SO encouraging!! I am excited to hear it! I have been on the fence about the epidural because I really want to have a VBAC, but this gives me hope!

  4. Jill Schrader

    I’m pretty passionate about birth, etc. and have contemplated whether I should be a midwife instead of an attorney. Quite a switch that would be. 🙂 So this post was really moving/touching/thought provoking, etc. to me. I’m failing at being coherent in stringing together those thoughts, but here goes.

    1. You can do it! I don’t know much about VBACs, but I know you can do it. Your body is made perfectly by God to give birth!

    2. Don’t let negative nellies get you down. When I was pregnant, I refused to listen to/read anything but really positive birth stories. And that was hard. There are so many people who just want to tell you their horror stories. Please, people, I’m a pregnant woman, don’t tell me scary things about birth! Focus on the positive!

    3. Obviously, having a healthy baby is super ultimately what matters the most. But I kind of hate when people use that phrase to say that the mother’s birth experience doesn’t matter. It matter, too. I think the main thing is to find a care provider that you really trust. So if they say you need a C-section you know that you absolutely do but that they/you did everything you could to avoid that outcome first.

    4. You are not broken. Stop saying that.

    5. That’s a lot of rambling, and I feel like there’s still more rambling in my head. But I will quit. Hopefully, I don’t sound preachy, because that’s not at ALL how I mean it.

    1. April McGrew

      Jill, thank you so much. I don’t think you’re being preachy at all. 🙂 I will tell you, I don’t feel so broken now. Joining ICAN and talking to people who reassured me that it’s more the system than the woman really helps. I also think you’re right — the woman’s birth experience does matter! Did you know that women who experience a C-section is 6 times more likely to experience PTSD in result of the experience? I believe it. I want to do what I believe is the best thing for me, whether I have one more child or 10. (PLEASE NOT TEN. I’M NOT A DUGGAR.)

      What do you recommend for birth education? I know you used Hypnobabies. Would you do that again?

      I’m so glad I know you. I’m sure I’ll ask you a lot of questions! Also, have you been interested in becoming a birth coach/doula?

  5. Diane

    I wanted to go completely natural. I wanted to go to a birthing center, Doug was not in agreement. So we planned to go natural in the hospital. I LOVE my OB. However, I went into labor on my own and a different dr. delivered for me. I really liked him as well. When we got to the hospital my water had already broken (that’s a whole other story, quite hilarious now) and I was at a 4. I was hurting so bad that I decided to get the epidural. After they weighed Josiah I was really thankful for that epidural. I would not have made it without anything! He was so much bigger than anyone ever thought.

    It was suggested in our birth class at the hospital to do prenatal yoga. I got a video and did it from then to the end. I really enjoyed it and felt like it did help my body some.

    1. April McGrew

      Thank you so much! I’m excited to go into labor on my own. I really am. I’m not against an epidural, but I want to go as natural as possible. I guess I’m at a point where I’m not convinced I will have to have it, but I am also not so convinced I will not ask for one. 🙂

      Thank you for the yoga idea! I did yoga pre-pregnancy and I think I’ll go and get a prenatal one!

  6. Julia Hembree

    Oh sweetie, I understand this so very much. I am so proud of you for healing from your birth experience. And I can not believe those people said those things to you. You are absolutely NOT broken.
    I am so proud of you for pursuing a VBAC and for finding a doctor that supports that. I can not wait to hear about the birth of this baby and I just pray for you that this pregnancy and birth can bring healing and be a positive experience for you.

  7. The VBAC Decision | Rachel Johnson, Certified Childbirth Educator

    […] women from an ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group just blogged about her decision to have a VBA4C (VBAC after 4 Cesareans)! I’m here cheering her on and ready to encourage […]

  8. Forgiveness, a birth update, and an apology.

    […] VBAC journey has forced me to look at my first birth story and reevaluate it. I’ve mentioned before that I was wounded verbally when members of my family and a few friends made me feel as though I had […]

Comments are closed.