So here I am again. Feeling this immense calling to have another baby. Another year just ticked by and I'm feeling the feels. I'm still not pregnant. My daughter turned 3 and I turned 40 this November and it just adds this layer of, can I do this again? Can I deal with the temping, the charting, the overanalyzing? (I follow the Fertility Awareness Method where you track basal body temp, cervical fluid, and cervical changes to detect fertile time) The testing? The letdown? The risk of loss (I've had 3 pretty traumatic losses, one being an ectopic pregnancy that took one of my ova ducts aka Fallopian tubes) Will I be ok if it happens again?
Can I handle the discrimination with my weight and age during pregnancy in the medical model? The inner want for an undisturbed home birth but the fear that pre-eclampsia will foil my plans (again). Even though I know the odds are much lower in a second pregnancy, it's a legit fear I'm working through. I also had postpartum pre-eclampsia which is where the hormones of the placenta continued to be produced or at least were prevalent enough to cause my body to believe that I was still pregnant. Birth is the "cure" for pre-e but my body didn't get the memo. Had I not been boarding in the hospital when my daughter was in the NICU, I would not have had the gumption to ask a nurse for BP reading for shits and giggles. I was quickly readmitted as a patient after that reading. My blood pressure was through the roof and I had no other symptoms. Scary stuff.
The thing is, the fear of being restricted in labor with monitors, not being able to birth in a tub, and needing to constantly fight for an undisturbed VBAC is all the more reason that I know home is a safer place for me to be. It's such an inner dialogue. I trust birth and I trust others to learn to trust it too but can I trust myself? Can I move through these blocks and do the work to reclaim my birth story like so many of my brave clients have? Can I do the work I set others to do for themselves and have an empowered, undisturbed birth and even catch my own baby like I have witnessed my clients do?
It's a mindfuck.
Preparing your mind for a VBAC is the most important step because it's all about mindset. If you fear the process, don't believe in yourself, have shitty providers that don't really support you, and your partner is unprepared on how to support and advocate for you, then it might be a tough ride so a mindset shift is necessary but also a real shift in your team. The first thing I did after I felt I wanted another child was to switch to my favorite midwifery practice and hospital. Their VBAC rates are extremely high and they are not just VBAC tolerant but supportive.
If you have a provider saying they will "let you try" to labor, RUN.
Also known as TOLAC (Trial of labor after cesarean) They do not believe in VBAC, they are not updating their education on how safe it is and is actually safer than a repeat cesarean in most cases. They are going to push a repeat cesarean as soon as they can and will likely use scare tactics to fluff up their paycheck that week. Remember, this is a business. These are business owners working for an even bigger business. Don't think for a second, providers are not going to think about their bottom line. I'm a business owner with lots of heart and I still do. So always question and if you are able, find a VBAC supportive provider and hospital. Make sure the nurse team is on your side that day and ensure you and your partner are prepared to navigate this process and all the twists and turns that go along with the journey. I will do another post just on this topic and am working on a VBAC Prep class so stay tuned.
The other option is finding a homebirth midwife that supports your decision to have a VBAC at home also known as, HBAC. There is a ton of mindset work with this option too. You have to be prepared mentally and physically to go unmedicated. Knowing about your body and what's normal in birth is of utmost importance! Fear is the enemy of the birth space and puts our hormonal responses in the flight or fight so to keep birth going and those beautiful endorphins and oxytocin flowing, knowing what is normal can help you work through the tougher moments. Relaxed muscles reduce pain too and not to mention, a relaxed cervix offers no resistance. You open more smoothly when you feel safe.
I have 3 local homebirth midwifery practices that I will meet with as soon as I am pregnant to see if we are a good fit and available of course. The idea of undisturbed, instinctual birthing sounds like a great way to bring a baby into the world. No wires, no restrictions, just following your body and baby. I really want this route but it's hard when you love your midwifery team and they only work in the hospital setting. I guess we will see. My dream situation would be to have both options available for what I need and when I need it. I guess I like choices. Doesn't everyone? Maybe I'll just Free Birth?
Ok off my VBAC, home vs. hospital soapbox now...
So back to secondary infertility. It's something that isn't talked about enough and it is harder than most people think. Imagine having a deep yearning, a deep calling to add to your family and you hear, " Well at least you had a baby" " You got your miracle, shouldn't you be happy?" "You were meant to have an only child I guess!" ....soooo not necessary to say or hear. I have this ridiculously deep yearning to have another baby and it breaks my heart that it's taking us forever to get pregnant and also to start trying again. I took a health and mental health break from trying and the resistance to returning back to the charting and all of the other things that go along with trying is strong but the calling to conceive is louder and stronger than the doubts. I'm back at it soon and I guess I'm writing this as my declaration for support. I think I need to create a community around this in my new space in the new year. I feel this so deeply so I know I'm not alone.
If you or someone you know is dealing with secondary infertility or infertility in general, please reach out and help me build a community around this. I also have an amazing client, turned friend, turned colleague, that specializes in this support and she is a great resource! Her name is Sarah Howard. Just want to give her a shout-out, so give her a follow at @ridethetides.support on IG.
Thank you for reading and all of your support.
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