I was devastated by my son’s unplanned c-section in 2011. I remember feeling like I missed a crucial part of becoming a mom. I knew I was supposed to just be happy that I had a healthy baby no matter how he came out (and don’t get me wrong, I was), but I felt robbed of an experience I had dreamt of my whole life. So, when I got pregnant with my daughter just 13 months later, I was determined to have her vaginally. My doctor and delivering hospital (Prentice) were both supportive of a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section). They advised me of all of the risks and although there were many (there were also many with another C-section), my gut told me I was meant to have a VBAC and my amazing husband was fully on board.
Then, at my 30-week ultrasound, we found out my daughter was breach. I was heartbroken. I dreaded not being able to hold my baby the moment she came out (I couldn’t feel my hands for the first couple of hours my son was born); not being able to do skin to skin or nurse immediately.
So, for the next 6 weeks, I literally tried everything to get her to flip – I consulted a midwife family friend, I took to social media (MamaTribe and BCB VIP were my go-tos at the time), I visited www.spinningbabies.com and I tried all the tricks in the book. I even spent hard-earned money on acupuncture and moxibustion where the moxibustionist (is that what they call themselves?) put a burning piece of chalk (I’m sure there’s a fancier name) near my feet which was supposed to convince the baby to flip. I put ice on the top of my belly (maybe she’d want move away from it?), laid on the floor with my butt in the air in some awkward slanted position, put a flashlight in my crotch. Literally, everything. She didn’t budge.
Nor did I.
I remember sitting on our apartment balcony with my husband just before 36 weeks, tears streaming down my face with disappointment at being “robbed” of the childbirth experience I knew in my heart of hearts I wanted, deciding right then and there that we would try for the version procedure – a procedure that involves getting an epidural and having the doctor manually push on your belly to turn the baby (like some weird sci-fi movie). And we did it. And she flipped and she stayed head down until, at 39 weeks, I went into labor.
To this day, I’ll never forget being in the labor & delivery room with the OB-GYN resident (who was exactly like every girl’s gay best friend) telling him that I was doing a VBAC and his immediate reaction being: “Oh, I just love that” with a little flick of his wrist. And I did it – I delivered Mia Sage on August 25, 2013 at 3:34pm vaginally, pushing for under 1 hour. And while it certainly doesn’t matter how a healthy baby comes out, for me, this made me feel complete. And now I have the most stubborn, headstrong 4 year old daughter you’ll ever meet – and it’s all because a stubborn mama like me birthed her.