Thursday, March 17, 2011

The WHY of my VBAC.

My first big baby, the Kimchi Kid, cuddling up to my big baby belly.

I realize it has been 2 months since my last post, for that I apologize.
Things have been busy for us with our business, work and life in general. I've been focusing on preparing myself for the birth as well as preparing our cluttered home for the arrival of baby Graham Seong Ho. (Graham is the middle name of my father and paternal grandfather, Seong is the same first Korean character as the Kimchi Kid's name.)

Through out this process I really have come to several realizations as to WHY I want to VBAC despite the difficulty of doing so in South Korea.

My first reason was for my family. I want to be able to be there for BOTH my sons from day one, not trapped in a hospital bed, unable to see or care for them until a week or more later. I worry so about how the Kimchi Kid will adjust to the new arrival and I want to be sure that he knows I still love and care for him. I've never been away from him for very long, never longer than a day since he was young, and I think it would be hard on us both.
I know as well that breastfeeding the Kimchi Kid was a painful and difficult process that lasted 2-3 weeks, most likely due to bad latch and our separation for the first 5 days of his life. I don't want to repeat that with baby Graham. I want to be able to breastfeed without the blood, pain and tears that I suffered through the first time and I believe a VBAC will enable me to do so as I can be with my newborn from the start.

My second reason was for my own personal health. A C-section is major surgery with the possibility of major complications. I was lucky that I healed quickly and easily the first time but there would be no guarantees the second time. That being said, it still took me over a month to be able to walk without major pain, and over a year before the sensation returned to my abdominal area. It was very strange to scratch my stomach and feel nothing for so long. Having a VBAC will allow me to heal even faster and return to my family in terms of walking, standing and caring for a newborn. It will also allow me to have the chance to bond earlier and easier with Graham.
I have educated myself thoroughly regarding the risks of a VBAC but I really feel that they are slim compared to a secondary C-section. The most common concern is Uterine Rupture with a VBAC. The incidence of uterine rupture with VBAC in a mother who has had a low transverse incision is approximately 0.2–1.5%. This was the incision style I had.
The reasons behind my first C-section were poor. I was only truly in labor perhaps 12 hours. This is very short for a first time birth. I wasn't given any drugs to ripen my cervix or speed up my labor. I was simply in pain and denied pain relief with a C-section the only option being provided to me. Despite my best efforts at preparing, I was sorely unprepared and stressed at the idea of transferring to a different hospital at that moment. While we made the decision to continue to try for the natural birth, not having a doula, any labor support or suggestions on how to reposition and avoid back labor meant our resolve quickly ran out. I was in pain without relief and my husband couldn't handle seeing me that way. We had a C-section, much to the satisfaction of our doctor who 100% believed we would have one from the start.( A warning sign we completely missed!)

My third reason for a VBAC is that I am an excellent VBAC candidate. I had a low, transverse incision. I did experience labor and had no complications of my health nor my son's. I healed quickly and easily. It has been more than 18mths since I had my surgery. My blood pressure and hemoglobin levels are all ideal. My weight gain has been right on target. I've exercised and done my best to maintain the proper nutrition during this pregnancy. I feel great and it shows!

I've built a solid team of supporters, my doula from Morning Calm Doulas, Karen. My closest Korean friend Jo, who had a natural birth with a midwife here 3 years ago. My husband who learned from the first birth and has been more proactive this time around. My midwife, Midwife Seo, who informed me that her only purpose will be to watch and catch, the birth is up to me and my baby. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded with so many people who are willing to work with me and baby Graham to have the birth we want.

Next time I post, I hope to be posting about our successful VBAC!