This is a story about a young man named Olson. He was born in the early hours of 1/5/14 following the previous day’s snowstorm and weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces. His size alone justifies celebration, but there’s more. His mother gave birth to her previous two children via cesarean section and most told her that vaginal delivery possible for her. She disagreed…
Her first child was delivered via c-section because of an accident of sorts: the umbilical cord came out of the cervix ahead of the baby’s head (umbilical cord prolapse). This is an obstetrical emergency, which cannot be predicted nor prevented and requires a c-section. Her second c-section, was performed because her physician didn’t offer her the option of vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC). It can be difficult to find physicians willing to perform VBAC’s after once c-section, but the number of physicians who will support VBAC after two c-sections is astonishingly and increasingly small. So this means the decision to perform a second c-section can be even more important than the first because it may represent the last chance a woman has for a vaginal birth.
By the time her third pregnancy came along she and her husband found themselves in an all too common situation; they had a strange, somewhat nagging sense that something was missing from their birth experiences, that there just might be a better way than a third c-section. They started researching VBAC. They connected with the amazing team at Birth Matters (birthmatters.com), gaining a great deal of knowledge about birth in general, and vaginal birth following cesarean section, specifically. They found a certified Doula with VBAC experience who supported them in a variety of ways in preparation for and during their birth. And they set their collective minds to the task of avoiding unnecessary induction of labor, and finding a healthcare provider that would partner with them in a way to give them the best chance possible of achieving their goal of natural, vaginal birth.
After the spontaneous onset of her labor, she labored naturally and uneventfully. She pushed several hours and when she lost the energy to push any longer she rested a while, and then pushed some more. What she didn’t do was give up. She never gave up. She and her husband were determined, to the extent safely possible, to do everything within their ability to deliver their baby vaginally and their determination paid off. They worked intently all day and through the night. When one of them felt weak, the other provided strength. And after what must have seemed like eternity to them, in the early hours of that snow covered Monday morning, this beautiful 9 pound, 15 ounce son named Olson was born.
Olson’s birth is a testament to his parent’s determination and perseverance to pursue what they knew was right despite the difficulties at hand. It was a beautiful experience for all involved on so many levels. For me, I most enjoy the look on my patient’s face after a successful VBAC when she says, “I did it. I really did it.” There is nothing quite like that feeling.
If you or someone you know has had a cesarean birth and is interested in vaginal birth share this success story with them. We are fortunate in this community to have incredible resources such as Birth Matters (birthmatters.com), a local chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ican-online.org), and several truly world class professional Doulas (fortwaynedoula.com). Help them connect with some of these amazing resources and learn more about the options available to them. Just ask Olson—it’s worth the effort!