Did you catch the first post in this series?!
After those monumental moments, dates, and conversations, we spent the month of October secluding ourselves from obligations and intensely focusing on VBAC education and prayer over our decision. We took a class from Birth Matters on VBACs, I attended an ICAN meeting (support group for those who have had, have attempted, or are planning for a VBAC), and we consulted with a Dr. in the region who is known for, among many things, supporting and advocating for VBACs.
If you are curious out of pure interest or have a personal desire to research more about VBACs, here is a list of websites that contain statistics Joel and I would direct you to research on your own:
An article written by an OB/GYN about VBACs
And you MUST get ahold of a copy of The Business of Being Born (you can find it on YouTube), a documentary by Ricki Lake. Joel declared that every person (especially American) should watch this and become informed on what we so easily are ignorant of in preparation for pregnancy and birth. It is shocking and upsetting, informative and uplifting, motivating and absolutely necessary for everyone considering to be a parent to watch (in our humble opinion!).
The class we completed not only educated our minds, but it helped heal our emotions that were raw and traumatized from our previous 2 birth experiences. We were asked to tell our story (in our case, stories), validate one another, discuss what we wanted to learn, talk about our upcoming birth plan, and do some homework assignments. The first homework assignment was to write out our birth story in one column with corresponding emotions in a parallel column. This helped us sort out how we can experience 2 opposite emotions at the same time. Such as, when we were told we had to have a c-section with Mylin, we were both disappointed because that was NOT what we wanted, yet intensely excited to finally meet our first child! As a counselor and lover of vulnerability, you can just imagine how thrilled I was to realize this was not only a class, but obviously group counseling as well 🙂
The second homework assignment was to write a letter to ourselves. I wrote this letter to both myself before I became a mother, but also hope to share it with Mylin some day as she prepares, Lord-willing, to become a mother:
“Be confident. Be informed. Be educated. Be prepared. Take a childbirth class. Take a natural childbirth class. Take a breastfeeding class and have a lactation consultant to call when you return home from the hospital. Find out what a doula is and hire one for birth. Eat something before you head to the hospital if/when you’re in labor. Take your hospital bag to your last few appointments, just like everyone suggests. Don’t get so anxious to become a parent that you make comprises to your birth plan. Create a birth plan J Take your mother’s advice and never, ever, ever take the pain medication in an effort to get relief during labor. Read books on birth and have Joel read the sections on being a birth coach. Meditate on scriptural truths. Pray for your birth and during your birth. Remain aware of what you are thankful for in each moment. Remember to communicate with Joel throughout labor and when making all decisions. Trust and have faith in his ability to coach you. Pay attention to his reactions – they will tell you more than his words. Keep your atmosphere cool, quiet, calm, and peaceful. Bring your baby out in a similar way the baby came in: with love and in an intimate space. Be prepared: becoming a mother will be the toughest, longest, most rewarding and relentless test on your heart. Humility will be inevitable. Guard yourself against anger and false, unrealistic expectations. These children are not yours to keep, but only to teach and train for a short time. Unbelievably, He has trusted them unto your care. Treat them as unto the Lord. God will use your babies to mold you into His likeness.”
I would urge you to take time and emotional space to process any upcoming important decisions. It was specific and intentional for us – and we immediately saw the benefits of focused education and will replicate it in other areas of our lives as we are able.
Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about the links, statistics, or education we continue to seek out!
And check back soon for Part 3 in this series…