Birth Empowerment: Successful VBAC Stories - Page 2

Author // Rhea Zimmerman, DC

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Birth Empowerment: Successful VBAC Stories
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How did chiropractic support during pregnancy differ from pregnancy without chiropractic support?

Dara: During my first pregnancy, I suffered from bad sciatic and lower back pain, and edema in the last trimester. With this pregnancy, I had virtually no aches and pains and no swelling; I totally attribute that to my chiropractic care. I felt more balanced in general and ready to go into the delivery without fear or trepidation, because I really felt that my body was able and willing to give birth naturally.

Katie: I was able to tell how open my body felt when I practiced yoga. I felt much more grounded into my body during the pregnancy, and I believe much of that was due to the chiropractic adjustments. The openness, and keeping the sciatic pain away, made the pregnancy smoother. Besides being pregnant, I had a toddler to care for, and I think the chiropractic support allowed me to be very active with her until the end.

What role did cultivating a positive mental state play in your preparation to give birth? What helped you to do this?

Dara: Having a positive mental state played the biggest role of all in my preparation to give birth. After the trauma we experienced with our first birth, it took me a long time to deal with my emotions and disappointment about it. I was still dealing with it when I found out I was pregnant for the second time. I knew I wanted a VBAC , but I wasn’t about to get my hopes up for a natural birth for fear of being let down again. I just told myself, “What will be, will be,” and while that approach has some truth to it, I wasn’t looking at it in the most positive way. I was afraid to hope and believe I could have the birth I wanted because I just didn’t think I could handle the disappointment again if it didn’t work out. I realized fear was going to get me nowhere, so I consciously decided to work on creating a positive mental state. I think this was the hardest work of all, because in order to do so I had to face my fears. I had to have faith in myself and my baby. I did a lot of visualization, imagining my baby making his way through the birth canal and into the world. I talked to him and told him I supported and loved him and let him know we were a team. I made up little mantras to repeat to myself while resting or driving: “I believe in my body. I believe in my baby. We are strong in mind, body and spirit.”

Katie: I knew I had to cultivate a positive mental state: “Yes, I can give birth vaginally and without drugs.” I also had faced my fear of having a C-section during my first birth. Ironically, I was able to have such a successful VBAC because I did not have any fears about having another cesarean. I trusted my body, and I trusted the doctors and health professionals I had on my team. Thus, I was able to be calm and ready for the birth of our daughter. All of these factors allowed me to feel safe, which created the feeling that I could open and give birth with joy, strength, trust, courage and love. And I did.

What do you want to share with other women who are considering VBAC ?

Dara: I would say first and foremost, do not let fears persuade you. Not your own fear or the fear your doctor or anyone else may instill in you. It felt like a fight to hold my ground and stay positive, because the doctors (even though they may support VBAC in theory) give you the worst-case scenarios of VBAC , instead of sharing the success stories. If you are low-risk, there is no reason why you should not be able to give birth vaginally. Seek out as much support as possible and take good care of yourself. And most important, believe you can do it, because you can! Our bodies were designed to birth vaginally.

Katie: Trust in yourself to make the right choice. When it comes to health, so many decisions are rooted in fear. Begin by considering a VBAC from a place of trust in the strength of the human body, and that you can have the birth that you want for yourself and your child. Choose a birth team that supports your decision and has experienced successful VBAC s. Also, create a sense of security and safety for your labor. Finally, a lesson that I learned from my first breech birth is we can help prepare, but we cannot control birth. Be open to the process and to however your child is born. It will be a gift no matter what.

Is there any favorite moment you would like to share about your birth experience?

Dara: Once we got to the hospital, my contractions were coming on really strong and I was starting to doubt myself and get scared about what was about to happen next. One of our midwives was not on call that day, but she stopped in anyway. While she was there, my water broke and then the contractions got really intense. During one, I was screaming, “Oh, God!” and afterwards, she suggested at the next contraction I add, “Oh God, thank you!” It was this small act of gratitude during such an intense moment that brought me through and helped me get to the next stage of labor. I had to be thankful for what I was experiencing, because it was what I had always wanted…and what I always believed was possible.

Katie: Despite myself, my intention was so strong to have a VBAC without drugs that it did happen. I asked for an epidural at one point in the hospital, because I was feeling I could not do it naturally. I was feeling tired and had not progressed at this point. Yet the universe said no. My doctor wanted my contractions to be more regular before I would be given an epidural, and then we discovered that the nurse anesthetist was unavailable for another hour and a half. I am so grateful for these circumstances. Once I knew I could not get the epidural, I was able to let go and surrender to the birth process. Less than two hours later, our daughter was born naturally. It was physically the hardest thing I have done, and also definitely the most rewarding. My favorite quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

As I see it, my role with these women was to create a positive, relaxing and encouraging environment. We now know thoughts dramatically affect our bodies, and the more we focus on the powerful, the constructive and the positive, the more likely we will be to embody the outcome we hope to create. There is a powerful blend when someone is having her nervous system cleared through a chiropractic adjustment: The ligaments of the pelvis balance through the Webster technique to assist the baby in finding the best position for birth, and positive suggestions guide the person’s thinking.

I am in awe of the courage of these women and am grateful to have played a positive role in their experiences. If there is something you want to achieve and fear is in your way, reach out and construct a team of powerful people around you who can support you in pursuing the outcome you want.

Pathways Issue 32 CoverThis article appeared in P athways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #32.

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