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Home Birth After Caesarean

By Pamela Stone, DC

This is the tale of two vastly different childbirth experiences. When you have a traumatic first birth, it takes courage and emotional strength to attempt it again. “Can I do this? Do I have the team to support me?” are two questions that often go through a woman’s mind. Sometimes it takes a bad experience to really learn more about what you want.

One of my clients, Jessica, is a crossfit athlete who works out at a gym frequented by many students from the local chiropractic college. While pregnant with her first child, someone at the gym suggested she should look for a Webster-certified chiropractor. She found our office during an Internet search. A few friends encouraged her to come in, so she felt confident she was in good hands.

Jessica started getting adjusted during her first pregnancy, but due to scheduling conflicts and being put on partial bedrest, she was adjusted only a few times over several months. She was under the care of a traditional OB practice, an office that wasn’t truly supportive of the benefits of chiropractic care. They suggested she stop getting adjusted during her pregnancy, so she did.

Jessica’s water broke before labor started. Like many women, she went to the hospital and was given Pitocin to “help” start labor. After six short hours, she was told she wasn’t progressing and that baby was “sunny-side up and too big.” She went in for a C-section. “After my son was born, I didn’t get to see him for about 10 to 15 minutes, because they took him to wash him, get measurements, etc.,” says Jessica. “When I finally got to see him, I remember literally thinking to myself, ‘That’s not my son.'”

The disappointment of that birth affected Jessica. She became much more informed and knowledgable on the ways of living a more natural and holistic life. “It’s what I wanted, and what is best for my family,” she says. “We started going to see Dr. Pam regularly when my son turned 4 months old, as we were having issues with constipation, eczema, and ear infections.” She felt that his issues were related to the vaccines he had received, and they were seeking a more natural way to deal with it.

A year later, Jessica became pregnant with her second son. This time, however, she chose to receive chiropractic care throughout her entire pregnancy. The focus was on the Webster Technique, which helps balance the bones, muscles, and ligaments, and reduces the effects of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Jessica chose to do a home birth, and she empowered herself to have a better experience.

Toward the end of the second trimester, Jessica was aware of her baby’s position in utero. “He was in a much more favorable position than my first. He was not posterior, and had moved into a better position for birth. I credit his positioning to my Webster chiropractic care throughout my entire pregnancy,” she says.

Because she was planning a home birth, Jessica felt less pressure, since she “was not on anyone’s clock but the baby’s.” She went into labor, and was able to give birth at home. “I believe my successful HBAC [home birth after cesarean] can be attributed to my new knowledge and understanding of pregnancy and birth, as well as continuous and frequent chiropractic care, as well as a knowledgable support team of midwives, a doula, and my husband,” she says.

“My second son’s birth was the most empowering experience of my life,” she says. “When he was born and immediately placed on my chest, my exact words were, ‘I can’t believe you are real.’ My midwives and doula then helped me into my bed where my husband, my baby, and I snuggled and relaxed. Cord still attached, vernix not wiped away, no eye goop administered. Just us and our fresh new baby. My midwife helped make sure my son latched, and we had a wonderful, stress-free first latch.” That birth experience was powerful for Jessica. She knew she could do it, and she did.

Jessica was recently asked to describe each of her births with three emotions. “My first: scared, naïve, and detached. My second: empowered, safe, and in control.”

Jessica is now pregnant with her third child, and she and her husband and two boys continue to receive regular chiropractic care. She feels the experience from her second birth, and the support she had, will continue to empower her to have the childbirth experience she wants.