exercises for labour preparation

Hospital VBAC Success

Are you planning and wanting a VBAC? And have you decided that hospital is the place you are choosing to have your VBAC. That decision to VBAC in hospital may be really something you want, need for your own reasons or are being pressured by your unique situation. Does it matter how you feel about your coming hospital VBAC? Yes in the present childbirth conversation. No from the viewpoint of Birthing Better … we’ll explain that in a moment.

Let’s look back

What happened in your previous Caesarean/s? Do you feel it was necessary with clear medical reasons you absolutely know existed? Do you feel your previous c-section was unnecessary when you look back? Are you uncertain whether there was a medical reason or whether you could have delivered vaginally? From the present childbirth trend the reason for your previous cesarean is important. From the viewpoint of Birthing Better the reason for your previous Caesarean is really not the issue .. .and we’ll address this in a few minutes.

Answering those two issues … place and history

Of course it matters how you feel about where you will birth. Of course it matters whether you feel your previous Caesarean/s were necessary or questionable. But recognise that you probably had not prepared your body to give birth previously nor used birth and birth-coaching skills no matter where you birthed last time and during your previous surgical birth whether necessary or not. Do you understand what we’re saying?

You might not birth where you want or you might. You might labor and have a vaginal birth or not. No matter any circumstance, any situation, any reason … you can use skills to birth your baby. Does that matter rather than the type of birth you have? It should! This is your baby’s birth! Don’t waste it by being detached, pissed off, bewildered, passive or any negative feelings. Get stuck in, use skills and birth your baby.

Read how this family shifted their attitude and abilities: 

‘My husband and I were living in Wales when we had our first little girl. We aimed for a home birth and read everything about pregnancy and labor that we could get our hands on. Despite all of our best efforts and after a forty hour labor, (thirty hours at home and ten in hospital – and an indifferent midwife) I was wheeled in for a C-Section – my worst nightmare.
We moved to NZ in time for our second baby and after much searching, found an independent midwife willing to deliver our baby at home. She introduced us to Birthing Better childbirth preparation course that we studied in the privacy of our own home. 

We were thrilled to learn so much about our bodies, how to help the birthing process along and how to cope with pain in labor.
 I say ‘we’ because once my husband could feel all the skills in his own body, he was comfortable and confident to learn about mine. No one had told us in our previous pregnancy to prepare my body to give birth. Birth and birth-coaching skills were barely touched on. My husband was told to support my choices, offer me ice chips and just ‘be there’. Absolutely NO midwife told us to become highly skilled. 

Things didn’t work out as we planned. I developed pre-eclampsia and ended up in hospital very much to my disappointment. I pouted. My husband couldn’t engage me. I just sulked with disappointment and anger. Our midwife just got into my face, told to stop being selfish/stupid and wasting an opportunity. My husband couldn’t believe how staunch our midwife was and was ever so grateful. I started working with my husband and inside myself. I just changed my attitude. I realised what had been important was the home birth. What I now realised is that my baby’s birth is very much more important. 

Our second baby girl was born in our local hospital after nineteen hours of active labor. Our obstetrician was relaxed because he had worked with many of our midwife’s skilled clients. He could see that I was coping and my husband was really helping me cope with labor pains. We had a few moments when everything seemed to stall. I had horrible back labor that just seemed to go on and on and my cervix got to 7 cm and stopped and our baby didn’t come down further into my pelvis. Because of the Birthing Better skills we used the ‘uterine lift’ and ‘sacral lift’ together, with dramatic results the first try – our baby slipped right past the scar tissue from the previous section, my cervix fully dilated within 3 outrageously painful contractions, I started to push and out she came in about 30 minutes … also thanks to all the internal work we did in the last 8 weeks of pregnancy. Boy, that was proof of how effective these skills are. 

I’m sure that if I had tried a standard hospital birth without any skills – I wouldn’t have been able to give birth without interventions or even another C-Section. Our Birthing Better savvy midwife and my supportive husband enabled me to rest, eat, sleep and do what ever I needed to do to birth our daughter.
 Our midwife and our Birthing Better skills course itself were an answer to prayer. I thank the Lord – birth can be normal and is totally rewarding – just a couple of hours later I was already looking forward to the next time!’

Zeta and Maximum

What’s the take-away? 

This woman consciously used skills, had prepared her body, had a skilled husband, knew when her baby got stuck, decided to use specific skills that worked and could see the benefits as she was working through her baby’s birth journey.

Read this from the Director of Common Knowledge Trust:

‘Women feel that they are climbing a very steep mountain when they are preparing for a vaginal birth after a cesarean. They often feel that they are fighting a whole system. Much of the Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Course comes from very determined women who knew they had to prepare their bodies more realistically for their coming birth than they had for their previous one/s. Often women focused was on blaming external factors. 
Once we shift our focus on how-to make your birthing body flexible, recognise your own tendency to respond to pain by tensing up and understand that you have the ability to control your reflexes then we’ve been successful in giving women and their partners more skills to achieve a vaginal delivery after a previous Caesarean or multiple ones. (NOTE: Wintergreen)

VBAC success and birth success

VBAC birth story #1: 

‘I did it! After 3 previous cesereans, I gave birth vaginally to my daughter. It was the greatest challenge of my life. I tell everyone about Birthing Better. Where do I start? I’m a long distance cyclist. I had NO idea that being bent over in that position could negatively impact my births. In fact I was convinced that being an athlete would give me the upper hand. But all three labors ended up with a stuck baby and a section. I was livid, disappointed with myself, ashamed that I wasn’t woman enough to give birth. I took out my rage on my darling husband and our three gorgeous children. To say I had TABS would be an understatement. I was a screaming, angry wife and mother. 

When we discovered we were pregnant yet again I went loopdee loop. Crazy lady to be sure. Our obstetrician had always supported my efforts to give birth vaginally. He had no idea why I couldn’t. I had plenty of room in my pelvis but all three babies somehow just won’t come down and I stopped dilating. 

Google became the love of my life. Finally I stumbled on Birthing Better … had never heard of it before but then I had focused on the same old, same old authors giving the same message … ‘trust your body (but mine didn’t work!)’; ‘women should be left alone to discover birth (I didn’t want to be left alone!)’; ‘Women know what to do (well, I didn’t)’. Hog wash, blather, nonsense for me! 

I tore into the Birthing Better lessons and got a slap in my face! I was being told to prepare my body for birth (I was an athlete … what was the problem?) and to learn birth and my husband coaching skills (well that seemed common sense). 

What did I find out? It’s simple, my sacrum was stuck and fixed and my babies needed it to be mobile. Really, does anyone focus on their sacral mobility? That’s a laugh! I got pretty good doing Kate’s Cat and my husband could easily do the Sacral Manoeuvre. 

So, what happened? I labored, labored and labored … just like my other births. My obstetrician tried to be supportive but really what could anyone do. The longer my labor lasted the more I pushed my husband away and retreated into my anger. Finally he whispered in my ear to try to mobilise my sacrum. Now why didn’t I think of that? So for the next 20 minutes I did Kate’s Cat and boy did my labor suddenly change. And then I was forced to have to deal with more pain and harder work which I hated. Thankfully that only lasted a short time and then I started to push. We had done the internal work and our baby basically popped out. I was in shock, sobbing hysterically and had to be calmed down. I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!

What did I learn … now that I’m 6 months past that birth? I learned how important opening up my pelvis was. Being a cyclist and bent over meant that long muscle that runs down the back and fixes onto the sacrum prevented it from moving and that simple thing had stopped my three babies from moving my sacrum out and being able to come down, through and out’. Get Birthing Better for god sake! 

VBAC birth story #2: 

‘My first birth was 19 years before my second birth. I had been left alone in a hospital ward with other laboring women. My husband wasn’t allowed in. I labored for days. I suffered something bad. Eventually I had a cesarean and after 10 days in hospital went home exhausted, overwhelmed and very sore. I had a scar up my beautiful belly and was ashamed to let my husband see me. Our relationship suffered. After 10 years we divorced and I brought my son up by myself.

When I was 40 I met a wonderful man 15 years younger. We got married and we wanted children. We got pregnant pretty quickly. I found a home birth midwife and was absolutely certain my first cesarean was unnecessary. After all times had changed and I was keen and excited. The director of common knowledge trust was in the process of developing birth skills with families. We decided to work with her.

In one of our sessions she showed us how to do the internal work and discovered I had a very, very small pelvic outlet. Even though she had my husband feel my shape, I just shut my ears and mind. She bluntly told me that there was no way I’d get a baby through my pelvis.

I wasn’t angry. I just didn’t believe her. Our midwife told me she trusted women to birth and that I should assume everything was ok. Anyway, I labored for 24 hours using all the birthing better skills the director taught us (this was back in the early 1970s and there was no resource … note Wintergreen). 

My husband and I loved working together. I got 8 cm dilated and stayed there for hours We went to hospital. The obstetrician examined me and told me that my pelvis was too small. I had another c-section … but with the new lower incision.

You’d think we’d have stopped then. But at 43 I fell pregnant again. By now I knew that I’d never have a vaginal birth but I loved labor. Our midwife was willing to work with us and so was the director for common knowledge. We found a great obstetrician who had no trouble with a trial of labor.

We labored at home for 10 hours. We used the birthing better skills and just loved the whole experience. We tooled off to the hospital. The obstetrician checked me and told me I was fully dilated and that our baby was fine. She then encouraged me to push for a whileI was very disappointed after my second birth. I really hadn’t acknowledged what was obvious. A peanut couldn’t have gotten out of me. After thinking it all through after our daughter was born and my husband and I talking about things; we decided that at the next birth we’d still ‘do’ labor.

When I got pregnant the next year, we prepared with The Pink Kit just as we had for the previous birth. We just got closer as a couple. I labored at home until I felt ready to go to the hospital. I had a wonderful doctor who knew my story. We got to the hospital and I was fully dilated. My baby was fine and he suggested I push for a little while which I did. After 45 minutes I was ready to give birth. I had another c-section using the skills and no one can take away the wonderful experience my husband and I had’.

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