April 25, 2012

Defining Moments - Miranda

Community member Miranda's first birth experience left her physically and emotionally scarred. When preparing for her second child, it was her strong desire to have a vaginal delivery, or VBAC.

Miranda wrote very eloquently about her feelings on her blog, Not Super... Just Mom. And just a few weeks ago, she had the birth experience she wanted. Her baby girl was born not only vaginally, but naturally as well, in a hospital setting...

What were your plans for the delivery of your first child? What did an ideal birth look like for you?
Long before I got pregnant with Joshua, I knew I wanted a med-free, natural delivery. People looked at me like I was crazy, but that's what I wanted. So when I got pregnant, I stuck to that. I expressed my desire to have a med-free delivery with my doctors and we took the hospital's childbirth class and I asked questions related to med-free childbirth. The ideal birth was one that was as intervention-free and natural as possible. 

What factors influenced the decisions you made concerning your delivery?
My mother had given birth to both of her children sans medication. My grandmother had given birth to all seven of her children sans medication. So had many of my aunts and cousins. It's just the way things were done in our family. Additionally, I knew that I wanted to avoid a c-section and I'd read the studies showing, even anecdotally, that a high rate of interventions leads to an increased risk for c-section.

Tell me a bit about your actual birth experience...
My water broke on a Saturday, four days after my due date. We rushed to the hospital only to get there and realize that I wasn't having contractions. The next morning, I was started on pitocin which was the slippery slope of interventions I'd wanted to avoid all along. Pitocin led to a shot of IV Fentanyl to help with pain and prolonged decelerations of Joshua's heart rate after contractions which led to an epidural. I reached 7-8 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced before being labeled "failure to progress" less than an hour after the epidural had been placed. Because I didn't know to ask for more time, when the doctor said my "time was up" I consented to a c-section. My actual experience could not have been further from my desires.

How did that experience shape any future births/birth plans you may have had?
Joshua's delivery really scarred me emotionally. It was a contributing factor to my postpartum depression/anxiety and certainly shaped my second pregnancy with  Emma. I knew that the only outcome that mattered wasn't just having a healthy baby. A healthy mom matters, too. So, I decided to VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean) with my second baby. When my heart and guts told me I wouldn't have a successful VBAC with my former care providers, I changed providers at 28 weeks pregnant. 11 weeks later, I VBACed my baby girl med-free.

Have you ever felt judged for the way you gave birth?
I've never felt judged for the c-section, but I have felt judged for the way I felt AFTER the c-section. People throw out the "oh, but you have a healthy baby. That's all that matters" sentiment with no regard to the mother's feelings or emotional well-being. Some people, upon finding out I intended to VBAC my second, looked at me like I'd grown an extra head. How could I possibly take that risk? To me, the question was always "How can I not?"

I did not ask Miranda any follow up questions, because she just had a baby! But, she has already written Emma's Birth Story on her blog. In that post, she links to some of the others she has written on her plans/desire to have a VBAC.

You can also read more about her first birth experience here.

A big thank you to this new mama for participating in our series! And way to go, Miranda!

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