Episode 308 Shannon's VBA3C + Doubt From Her Delivery Team

44m | Jun 12, 2024

“I did it. They said I couldn’t, but I did it.”

When planning for her VBA3C, Shannon got just about as much kickback as someone can get. She was ambushed. She was coerced. She was given the scariest information. 

Shannon joins us from England today and talks about how each of her four births brought her to where she is today. By the time she was pregnant with her fourth, she was ready to advocate. She was ready to fight for something she had never gotten to experience. 

Though none of her providers were supportive, Shannon stayed grounded. She made her desires known and stood by them. 

Shannon labored unmedicated for just over 14 hours. Then to everyone’s surprise, she pushed her fourth baby girl out vaginally in 14 minutes!

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Full Transcript under Episode Details 

04:04 First pregnancy and birth

08:31 Second pregnancy and scheduled repeat Cesarean

10:56 Third pregnancy

14:04 A heartbreaking third Cesarean

17:42 Postpartum during COVID

19:55 Fourth pregnancy

24:37 Getting ambushed

28:40 Shannon’s VBA3C birth

36:32 “We are all so proud.”

38:30 VBAC after three Cesareans

Meagan: Hello, hello. You are listening to The VBAC Link. We have our friend, Shannon. Are you from England? Where are you?

Shannon: England, yeah. New Cambridge. 

Meagan: Okay, see? I’m so glad my mind is remembering. You are in England and you guys, she is recording. It is quite late there. She is such a gem to stay up and record and share her VBAC after three C-sections. 

Shannon: Three. 

Meagan: Yes. Her fourth was a vaginal birth. Uno, dos, tres. I can’t even say. I can’t even pretend that I know Spanish. Let’s be honest. So three, you guys. After three Cesareans and we know in our community that this is definitely something that people want to hear. People want to hear these stories because it is harder to find the support. They want to hear what people are doing, how they are navigating through, where they are finding support, and what they are doing to have their vaginal birth after multiple Cesareans. 

We are excited, Shannon, for you to share your stories today. 

01:07 Review of the Week

Meagan: We do have a Review of the Week so we’re going to get into that and then we’ll dive right in. Okay, so this is from morgane and it says, “I’m Not Alone.” I love that title because Women of Strength, you are not alone. This community is so incredible and we’re all here for you. It says, “This podcast has provided so much comfort for me in coping with my unplanned Cesarean and now planning for VBAC in March. The transition to motherhood has been somewhat lonely for me since most of my friends are not mothers and hello? Pandemic.” So this is a little bit ago, right? 

It says, “I am also an aspiring doula and spurred on by these ladies and their work. So thankful I stumbled across this group.” 

Oh my gosh. It says, “Us women really are strong.” I love that. Us women really are strong. I could not agree more. You guys, you are strong. You are capable and you have options. If that is not anything and everything that we talk about on this podcast, then I’m doing it wrong and you need to let me know on your next review. 

As just a constant reminder, if you wouldn’t mind leaving us a review, that would be so great. You can leave it on Apple Podcasts, Google, or you can even email us. 

04:04 First pregnancy and birth

Meagan: Okay, Shannon. Uno, dos, tres– three. I’m saying it correctly now. After three Cesareans, you have had quite the different journey with each birth. 

Shannon: Yeah. I think each one taught me a little bit more and I probably wasn’t ready for a vaginal birth with my first three. I think that while looking back on my journey it’s difficult, I think it led me to where I am today. 

Meagan: Me too. I’m right there. Amen. Same. I love birth and I’ve always loved birth, but I do not think that I would be here right now with you today if it weren’t for my experiences. 

Shannon: Yeah. I think the same. I’ll get into where I am now when we’re after my fourth, but had it not happened the way it did, I wouldn’t be where I am now. 

Meagan: Who you are today. We grow and we learn and we inspire and here you are sharing your story. So let’s talk about baby numer one.

Shannon: Okay, so I was 19 when I had him. I just assumed that he was going to come out that way, that he was going to come out vaginally. It was going to go well. There were going to be no complications and it didn’t turn out like that. I was due in the end of May and I think I was about a week over due. I went into the day unit here. It would be just where you would go if you had concerns that were slightly more than you would go to your midwife for but not enough that you would need to go to the labor ward for. 

Meagan: Kind of in between? 

Shannon: Yeah. Here, you have a midwife who is assigned to your GP surgery, your doctors, and they are usually who you see throughout. It’s supposed to be a continous midwife, but it can chop and change. You don’t see that midwife usually in the hospital so you deliver with someone completely different. 

Meagan: Oh, okay. 

Shannon: Yeah, so you don’t get that continuity of care in labor. So I went to the day unit because I was having some hip pain. It was really difficult to walk and because I was overdue and I was already booked in for an induction purely because I was overdue, they brought my induction forward. I think I was 8 days overdue when I went in. I was induced. I had the pessary induction and it worked pretty quickly. It worked within about an hour, an hour and a half. 

Meagan: Oh wow. 

Shannon: They didn’t believe me. They told me that it couldn’t happen that quickly. 

Meagan: That’s not super normal but it can happen. 

Shannon: They sent my husband home and left me on my own for three hours before they summoned me. I was 5 centimeters which is when they take you over to labor ward. I was wheeled over. I called my mum and my husband. 

Then it’s kind of a bit fuzzy. I don’t remember a lot from his birth. I remember that they broke my waters and there was meconium. They put the monitoring clip on his head. 

Meagan: The FSC, the fetal scalp electrode? 

Shannon: Yes. They put that on him and I was managing fine on the gas and air. 

Meagan: Was it nitrious? 

Shannon: Yes, yeah. 

Meagan: Okay. 

Shannon: Yes, the gas and air. It was about 3:00 in the morning and they told me that the anesthetist was going home and if I wanted an epidural then that was my last chance. I felt pressured so I got the epidural. All stalled from there. I didn’t move off the bed. I think I got to 10 centimeters at 10:00 the next morning so I’m now 9 days overdue. 

I pushed. Nothing happened. They wheeled me to theatre. I think I started pushing at 11:00 and he was born at half 12:00 so lunchtime. He was a big baby. He was 9 pounds, 13. 

Meagan: Okay. 

08:31 Second pregnancy and scheduled repeat Cesarean

Shannon: That was that. I recovered and didn’t think anything of it. 18 months later, we decided to have our second. I fell pregnant I think within the first month. It happened quite quickly. I did my research. I wanted a VBAC. I actually got signed off for an HBAC.

Meagan: Home birth? 

Shannon: Yep. It was all going fine. Then I got to 32 weeks and I panicked because my mom is our only childcare and she lives about an hour. I didn’t know how quickly I would labor because I had never labored spontaneously. I didn’t know what was going to happen. So I booked a routine section. That was booked for 39 weeks. 

At 38 weeks and 3 days, I went into again, the day unit because I had reduced movements. They put me on the monitors and his heart rate was quite erratic. It wasn’t settling. It was either quite high or quite low. There was no middle ground. I think they put me on there for about 4 hours and they just weren’t happy so they brought my section forward to the next day. 

Meagan: When I read your note, I’m like, I don’t know why, but that got me. If baby’s heart rate is that erratic and they are that concerned, it would be that day and then. 

Shannon: Yep, but they were happy for me to go home and come back the next day. 

Meagan: Yeah. Yeah. It’s just convenience. It seems, I am not going to say, but it seems like it was more of like, Well, it’s already going to happen so we will make it for tomorrow. We’ll give you this as a good reason why to validate it. 

Shannon: Yeah, no I agree now. At the time, I don’t think I thought about it like that. 

Meagan: Of course not, no. 

Shannon: Yeah, because with my fourth, with my VBAC, I went through a lot of what happened before. I definitely think it was a case of they didn’t want me to come back with more reduced movements and just sit there so because the section was going to happen anyway, they just thought– 

Meagan: Mhmm, let’s do it. Let’s move it up. 

Shannon: Yes. He was born at 38 and 4. He was 10 days early and he weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. Again, he was quite a good size. 

Meagan: At 38 weeks, yeah. 

10:56 Third pregnancy

Shannon: So then we decided to have a third. It took us a long time to get pregnant with her. It took us 14 months which was our longest conception. Our first one was four months and then a month so it took a while. She was due the 11th of April, 2020. I got to, I think it was about 30 weeks when talk of the pandemic was rolling in. 

We were like, Oh, it’s fine. We don’t need to worry about it. And then it all blew up. I had to go to midwife appointments alone, the hospital scans alone because I had to have growth scans because my babies are big. 

Everything was fine. I did want a home birth again with her, but they kept me waiting. I wasn’t signed off until 37 weeks. They kept me waiting a long time to sign me off for that, but it was all signed off and we were good to go. I was feeling good despite the pandemic because we were in lockdown by the time she was due. I think the lockdown was called a month before she was born. Lockdown here for the first time was called on the 23rd of March and she was born on the 23rd of April. 

I remember I went into hospital and I had a growth scan at 40 weeks. She was absolutely fine, no issues. She was measuring fine. The water levels were fine. The placenta looked good. They gave me a sweep and sent me on my way and said, “I don’t think I’ll see you next week. You’ll have this baby by the weekend.” It didn’t happen. 

I got to 41 weeks and I went back for another routine growth scan. I remember going in the car on my own obviously and I felt good. I thought that they were going to say that everything was fine again and that they were quite happy for me to just carry on. It didn’t go like that. I should probably mention that my hospital’s policy is that if you haven’t had your baby by 41 and 4, so 41 weeks and 4 days, they either induce you or they give you a section. That’s their policy. 

I had this growth scan at 41+3. I went in, had this growth scan, and I was on my own. I didn’t have any support. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon. She scanned me. In a week, my placenta had aged. It calcified and it was failing. Those were the reasons she gave me that she needed to get my baby out the next day. She gave me the pre-op swabs. She took my blood and she basically told me to come back the next day at 11:00. 

I had no time to prepare. I had no time to research. I had no time to ask questions. It was, “This is what’s happening. You’re going to do it.” 

Meagan: See you tomorrow. 

Shannon: Yep, basically. 

Meagan: Was baby’s heart rate struggling? 

Shannon: No, she was fine. 

Meagan: She was fine. 

Shannon: She was fine. There was no reason at all. 

Meagan: That’s interesting. Okay. 

14:04 A heartbreaking third Cesarean

Shannon: Then it was a mad dash too because I am the only driver in my house. My husband doesn’t drive. Obviously, having a section means we can’t go anywhere. 

Meagan: Yeah, and during the pandemic on top of all of it. 

Shannon: Yeah. It was a mad dash that night to get enough food in. House deliveries were like unicorn dust so to get enough food in, I had to arrange childcare with my mom. Otherwise, I was delivering alone. Again, she still lives an hour away in a different county. We were sure what the rules were because here, you weren’t allowed to cross county lines. 

Meagan: Oh no way. 

Shannon: Yep. It was difficult. She did come up and she did look after the boys. I did see her before I went into delivery, but I didn’t see her again until baby was 6 weeks old. She had gone home by the time I came home so that was difficult. 

I went in. I think I got to the hospital at 11:00. I was pulled down to theatre at 2:00 and baby was born at 3 minutes past 3:00 in the afternoon. She weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces, so again, she was a good size. 

I got back to the recovery ward. My husband stayed with us for an hour and then he left. He wasn’t allowed to come back. I still had my catheter in. I was still numb. My phone was dead and I was just left because I couldn’t get anything. Every time you had to call a midwife in, they had to put in new PPE on and it just took so much longer. 

I didn’t get wheeled around to the actual recovery ward until about 1:00 in the morning. They admitted to me that they had forgotten about me. I was just in this room on my own. 

Meagan: I’m so sorry. 

Shannon: Yeah. They wheeled me into recovery. I still had the catheter in. That didn’t come out until 7:00 the next morning so I was bed-bound with this new baby. They came around and took my observations. My temperature was raised which is normal after a section, but I was told that I might have COVID, that my baby might have COVID. I would need to be separated from my baby and we wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital for 3 days. 

Meagan: Stop it. 

Shannon: No, honestly. 

Meagan: I am feeling very frustrated for you right now and very saddened. Yeah. I feel a little enraged because this shouldn’t have happened. These things didn’t need to happen to people. 

Shannon: I know and the more that I talk to other people who have had babies during the pandemic, it’s not unusual either. 

Meagan: No, it’s not. It’s maddening. 

Shannon: It is. It’s strange now to talk about it without either filling up or actually crying because it has taken me a long time to get to this point. 

Meagan: To process. 

Shannon: Yeah. She said she would come back in an hour. I remember, obviously, I had my catheter in so I didn’t have to get up and go to the toilet. I was just downing water trying to get my temperature down. 

She came back at 4:00 and I did get my temperature down because I didn’t have COVID. 

It was a strange experience. There were six beds in this ward, but I was on the end bed and there was a woman diagonally to me and there was a woman two beds over and that was it. There was no one else there. It was eerie. It got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore so 26 hours after my baby was born, I discharged myself and I went home. I was not staying in there any longer. 

17:42 Postpartum during COVID

Shannon: Even after that, I got home and I spent the first week in tears. Motherhood wasn’t new to me. She was my third baby, but giving birth during a pandemic was a completely different experience. I don’t know what it’s like over there, but here you have a midwife check in at day 3 and day 5 and then you get signed off at day 10 by the midwife then you get sent to a health visitor who then looks after you until your baby is about 5 then they go to school. 

Meagan: Wow, I like that. We do not have that. We are just told, “We’ll see you in 6-8 weeks. See ya.” 

Shannon: Oh. 

Meagan: Then you just go home. Yeah. It’s very different for a lot of home-birth people, but that’s how the hospital is. It’s like, “We’ll see you in 6-8 weeks and we’ll see you then.” That’s really it. 

Shannon: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. 

Meagan: Yeah. It’s not great. 

Shannon: No. So on day 3 and day 5, I had to go to a clinic. They usually go to your house especially if you’ve had a section, but because of the pandemic, I had to go there, and being the only driver– my husband can drive. 

Meagan: You can’t even drive after a section, really. 

Shannon: My husband can drive but we had to stick the old plates on. We made it there but it wasn’t great. 

Yeah, we did that. We do have a 6-week check. It’s with a doctor. That was over the phone and then you get introduced to your health visitor. Normally, they come over to your house. That was on the phone. 

And then that was it. We were just left. No one met her until she was 6 weeks old. She was the first granddaughter because I’m the oldest and my husband is an only child. She was the first granddaughter after two boys. No one met her until she was 6 weeks old. I spent the first week in tears trying to process everything that happened. It was a difficult time. 

After that, we said we didn’t want another one so we locked it away somewhere and didn’t deal with it. 

19:55 Fourth pregnancy

Shannon: And then we decided to have a fourth. I had to come to terms with it. 

This is the reason why I’m here now. I found out I was pregnant in October 2022. It was a difficult journey to get my VBAC. It was the biggest fight that I’ve ever had to do. When you find out you’re pregnant, you contact your GP surgery and then you are assigned a midwife. 

The midwife I had this time was the same one I had with my third pregnancy, but the first appointment, she was actually off so I saw someone completely different and she was horrible. 

I only live 9 minutes from the hospital. 

Meagan: That’s really close. 

Shannon: Well, I know from listening to your podcast that women travel for hours. 

Meagan: Way far, yeah. Like to other countries sometimes even. 

Shannon: Yep, but 9 minutes was too far for them. She said that 9 minutes was too far. The paramedics might not get to me in time. If I bleed out, I’m going to die. If baby gets stuck, I’m going to die. I’m putting my birth experience over a live baby.

Obviously, they know I care about the safety of my baby but that’s obviously their job. I left that appointment in tears. It was a great start. It didn’t improve from there, really. 

I think spent the next, I think your booking-in appointment is about 8-10 weeks so I then spent the next 30 weeks listening to your podcast, and researching stats, risks, benefits, and percentages. I lived, breathed, and slept statistics for VBACs because she probably 99% is our last baby. We’ve now got two of each so we don’t need any more. 

I knew that this was my last chance to get the birth that I wanted. Off the back of my booking-in appointment, they referred me to the consulting midwife at the hospital. She is higher up than a community midwife or just a midwife on the ward but not quite the head of midwifery. She’s kind of somewhere in the middle. I had a few appointments with her and while it was beneficial, it still felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall because she wasn’t listening to what I wanted. 

Every time I would come back with a statistic or a risk that she had– like if I corrected her, then I’d just get a “Mhmm, yeah. Okay,” or a patronizing nod. 

Meagan: Like, Yeah, sure. You think you know what you’re talking about but you don’t. 

Shannon: Yeah, kind of. At this point, I was 28, a mother of three and I was about to have my fourth. They were treating me like a child or that’s what it felt like anyway. 

So I went to every appointment knowing that’s what I wanted. I read off my stats, my risks, my percentages and told them I wanted a home birth. They again weren’t for it. They tried everything they could to get me into the hospital. 

We have a midwife-led unit and we have the labor ward. The labor ward is more for ordinary births like if you are going for the epidural and you want the more hospitalized birth whereas the midwife-led unit is more of a hands-off. That’s usually where the birth pool is. 

Meagan: If you want more of a medicated versus unmedicated, those are the differences here. 

Shannon: As a VBAC after three sections, normally there would be no way on earth that they would have signed me off for the midwife-led unit. I was too high risk. However, to get me into the hospital, they signed me off for the midwife-led unit. 

Meagan: Nuh-uh. 

Shannon: Yeah. That’s the option they gave me because I was close enough if there was an emergency, but I wasn’t too far away. That was their trump card. 

Meagan: Okay, okay. 

24:37 Getting ambushed

Shannon: I still said no. I still wanted a home birth because that hospital was the one I had my daughter at during the pandemic and I did not trust any of them after being lied to by the consultant and coerced into having that third section. I just didn’t trust them to do what I wanted. 

Meagan: Yeah. It makes sense. 

Shannon: Pardon? 

Meagan: I said it makes sense that you didn’t feel that they were completely trustworthy. 

Shannon: So then I got to 36 weeks and I had a routine midwife appointment at 36 weeks. I walked into the room and my midwife was there but so was the head of community midwifery. I wasn’t told she was going to be there. I was ambushed. 

She basically said to me that– I have it written down because I made a post at the time. She said that basically, my baby would die if I carried on with my plans to home birth, that there was a risk of shoulder dystocia, and hemorrhage that would both result in death. A delay in the paramedics getting to me so that would be death. I didn’t want a cannula inserted as a routine at the hospital so that would be a risk factor. I have a high BMI so again, that goes against me and they said I had low iron because I was refusing blood tests so that again was something that went against me. 

I was told that if I hemorrhaged and lost around two pints of blood that I would die, that my veins would have shrunk so they wouldn’t be able to get a cannula in me. I was told that they wanted to send three midwives to my birth. They normally send two but for some reason, they wanted three. 

I was told that my previous experience should be put to one side because it happened during COVID and it’s not representative of how it is now. I was told that I was making the entire midwifery twitchy. 

Meagan: Oh my. 

Shannon: Oh, the midwife I saw at the first appointment, the one who made me cry, she was one of the ones who was on call and they told me if she was on call, would I go to hospital and I said, “Maybe.” In my mind, I’m thinking that they were trying to put her on rotation to get me into hospital. 

Meagan: Sneaky. 

Shannon: Yep. I was told that the head of community midwifery’s responsibility is to make sure I’m comfortable with the risks but it’s also her responsibility to make sure her midwifery team isn’t traumatized by my birth. I was also told– oh, they wanted my husband to be at the home birth assessment as it’s their responsibility to make sure he is aware of the risks of death so he is not traumatized like I hadn’t spoken to him about any of this. 

Meagan: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. 

Shannon: On my way out of that appointment, my midwife, the one who had supported me as best as she could said to me that she can’t wait until I give birth so that it’s all over. 

Thank you. 

Meagan: Oh my gosh. 

Shannon: Yeah. So that was that. 

Meagan: Wow. What a way to feel loved. 

Shannon: I know. Again, I had to go to these appointments alone because my husband was home with the three kids, and my mom, again, lives an hour away. I don’t have the support here so I had to go to these appointments on my own and to be faced with two midwives who are just coming at you with these scary statistics, it felt like I was ambushed.

I think I sent an email then and complained. I got this really lengthy email back but it was basically filler but it had happened already. 

28:40 Shannon’s VBA3C birth

Shannon: Yes. So, my birth. She was due on the 1st of July but I always thought she would be due somewhere between the 25th of June and the 28th of June. I remember the 27th of June, I needed to go and get new brake pads and discs put on my car. It was the last thing I needed to do. I sat in the mechanic’s feeling a little bit uncomfortable and a lot of pressure. I think I was about 39+3 at that point. 

I was just really uncomfortable. I sat there for about two hours and I was just like, Ugh, why is this taking so long? 

Meagan: You were ready to move on. 

Shannon: Yeah. The next day, my husband went into the office and I remember messaging him, I think you should have stayed at home today. Something just doesn’t feel right. I feel a bit off.

I woke up on the morning of the 29th of June and I had hip and leg pain which isn’t unusual for me. I’ve got hyper-mobility syndrome so my joints are extra bendy anyway so to wake up with pain is quite normal, especially in pregnancy. 

It was half-7:00 in the morning and my husband thought it would be a really good idea to cut his hair for him. It’s half-7:00 in the morning. I’m nearly 40 weeks pregnant and I was doing his hair. Then I felt a twinge. I was like, I don’t recognize that pain. I’ll keep an eye on it. 

They turned into contractions. I had my first contraction at half-7:00 in the morning and they got stronger. I said to my husband, “I think you need to sign off now. This is it. It’s happening. I’m going for a bath to see if they go away or if they stay.” 

We had a food delivery come in that day. We had an Amazon delivery come in and we had I think the carseat base was coming in as well that day. So in between my contractions, I was having to go to the door a deal with all of this stuff that was going on around me. 

The contractions stayed and they didn’t peter off. They just stayed. At this point, I was on all fours in the living room mooing like a cow which is bizarre because, with my first one who was my only experience of labor, my mum said that I was eerily quiet. It was different to make noise this time. 

My husband rang my mom and let her know what was happening and then he rang the hospital. They told me that the home birth service wasn’t available that day so I’d have to come into hospital. It was only after he told them my name that that happened. 

We’ll leave that just hanging there. 

Meagan: Yeah. 

Shannon: Then I burst into tears because I thought that as soon as I go into hospital, that’s it. I’m not going to get my vaginal birth. They’re going to find some reason to section me and that’s it. 

My mom came and drove us to the hospital. She was staying with the kids anyway. I think I got to the hospital at about 3:00 in the afternoon. They examined me and I was 4 centimeters so I was allowed to stay. 

They took me into the room and I stayed there until I had my baby. I just labored. I don’t remember a lot of it to be honest. When they say you go to another place, you go to another place. 

Meagan: You do. 

Shannon: The gas and air were amazing. I did try the birth pool but we had an issue here where they had to have air vents fitted in the rooms with the gas and air and they weren’t done in the birth pool. I was in the birth pool for about an hour, but I wasn’t allowed the gas and air. 

The pool was all right, but the gas and air were helping me more. 

I went back into the room with the bed and even though I said to my husband, “I don’t want to be on my back,” I was on my back for most of the time. That’s where I was comfortable. 

When I was in the pool, I said no to the continuous monitoring. I just wanted intermittent with the monitor. We didn’t know what she was. At this point, we had no idea what she was but they couldn’t find her with the Doppler. They asked me to get out of the pool and put me on the bed and they were going to scan to see where she was. 

I couldn’t roll onto my back at this point. I was on my side and I couldn’t roll on my back to get them to scan me to see where she was. Then I opened my eyes and the consultant that had lied and coerced me into my third section was in the room and I specifically said I don’t want to see her. 

She was standing at the end of the bed and she said to me, “How long are you going to push for?” I said, “As long as I need to. As long as me and my baby are safe,” and she left. That was the end of it. I didn’t see her again. 

Meagan: Oh my gosh. 

Shannon: Yeah. That was that. They managed to scan me and they found her. She was just really low. That’s the only reason they couldn’t find her. She was fine. She was happy. 

It went on again for about another couple of hours of moving from all fours on the bed to my back and I remember sitting up on my knees upright and I felt something go. I was like, “Okay, I think my waters have gone.” They had a look and they had gone on their own. I didn’t have to have them pop like last time. There was no meconium. It was all good.

I remember spacing out for a while going to that other place. I came to and it was burning. That ring of fire is real. It was real. I said, “Okay, it really stings. Something has changed.” The midwife lifted up the sheet and she said, “Oh, there is the head. Quick!” They had to scramble to get everything they needed. 

My husband was texting my mum so I got all the time stamps. They saw her head at 3 minutes past 10:00 at night and she was born at 14 minutes past 10:00. She slid out and we found out she was a girl which my husband told me which was what I wanted. 

I remember saying, “I did it. They said I couldn’t, but I did it.” They wanted to get her a yellow hat because we didn’t know what she was but because she came out so quickly, they only had a blue one so she’s got a little blue hat and yeah, she was here. It was amazing. 

I did have two second-degree tears. They did only repair one and I wish they had repaired both because going for a wee afterward with the open one was hell. 

Meagan: Yes, not fun. 

Shannon: But I would take that over a section recovery any day. I was going to the park with the kids 3 days post-birth. I was walking around the house. I was able to go up the stairs. It was amazing. 

Yeah, I did it. They told me I couldn’t and that I would die or she would die. 

Meagan: They really put up a fight and tried so hard. Let me tell you too, I don’t know the right word but to stand up to that type of pressure, oh my goodness. That is hard. That is very, very hard. The fact that you did and it’s not like it didn’t affect you. Of course, it affected you but you were able to go and you were like, “Listen, I know the research. It’s in my favor. I’m okay. I believe that it’s the best choice because I really have researched it and truly believe that it’s the best choice for me and my baby.” 

They just tried so hard to not let that happen. 

36:32 “We are all so proud.”

Shannon: They did. I think it was the next morning and I was just sitting in my room with my baby quite happy. The head of midwifery came into the room and I had met her once before. She said to me, “Well done, you did it. All of our phones were going off last night because it was flagged that you had gone into labor and we were all waiting to see what had happened. But you did it vaginally and we are all so proud. Well done.” 

I was like, “Well, you didn’t tell me that at the time, did you?” 

Meagan: You’re like, “I wish you had cheered for me in my pregnancy and not made me feel like I was crazy or scheming my husband,” or all of that. Oh my goodness. 

Shannon: Yeah. 

Meagan: You have gone through a lot on top of your birth and trauma there and recovering from all of that. You have grown so much and achieved so much. You should be really proud of yourself. 

Shannon: Thank you. I am. I think that like I said at the beginning, if it hadn’t happened the way that it happened, I’m going to train to be a doula in May and June. 

Meagan: Yay!

Shannon: Because I don’t want other women to go through what I went through. Like I said, if it hadn’t happened the way it happened then I wouldn’t be here today. I’m grateful for the experience, but I wish that I had more support at the time. 

Meagan: Right, totally. I mean, that’s definitely something that led me to the doula and obviously here where I’m at too. I think through these birth experiences, it’s hard to deny that fire inside of you when you feel it. Right? You’re like, I want to help people not have the experience that I had and have a better experience to the best of my ability. 

I’m sure that you will do it and you’re going to take this passion and you’re just going to flourish and touch so many lives. I’m so excited for you. 

Shannon: Thank you. 

38:30 VBAC after three Cesareans

Meagan: Okay, so let’s talk about VBAC after three C-sections. I think this is sometimes a hard one because we do have providers throwing out things and blank statements like, “If you hemorrhage, if this, if this, and if this, you and your baby will die.” When we hear those things, it is very scary and very overwhelming. 

When it comes to VBAC more than two after multiple Cesareans and more than two, the stats are harder to find. Did you find that it was really harder to find? There are not a lot of huge Cochrane studies at least that I know about where they have studied VBAC after three Cesareans specifically. 

Shannon: Yep. 

Meagan: We are often told by providers that the chances of uterine rupture are astronomically higher than our typical VBAC or VBAC after two Cesareans. For people in your area in England, what did you find local study-wise for your stats? I’m curious to see the difference. 

Shannon: I didn’t. There wasn’t anything, no. I remember I had to relay as much information as I could on VBAC after multiple Cesareans because I remember them saying to me that after two Cesareans, the risk of uterine rupture doubles and when they say that to you, you’re like, Oh my god, that sounds really scary. What they don’t tell you is that it only doubles from 1% to 2%. There’s not much here that is different because there really isn’t a lot. There was not support especially not from my hospital or anywhere like that for me. I just had to do it on my own. The internet is your best friend. 

Meagan: Yeah, I know. This darn internet can be your best friend and your enemy at the same time. That’s why we are here and why we have our blog and all of the things because we want people to be able to find that best friend side of the internet and really dive in. 

We do have a blog on vaginal birth after three Cesareans. It is titled, Is VBAC After Three C-sections the Right Choice For Me? We will have it here in the show notes so definitely check it out. In it, we talk about how uterine rupture makes the idea of VBAC very scary. The word itself, “rupture” makes it very, very scary. When I think of something rupturing, it doesn’t look pretty. It’s something that we want to talk about in its real form. 

Uterine rupture happens. When it does, it is typically an emergent situation. However, it doesn’t happen very often and when we’re talking about VBAC, the world feels like, and I’m talking about world as in other countries too, it is bigger than it is like you were saying. 

It happens in really less than 1% of people so they are showing that with VBAC after multiple Cesareans, it might be slightly higher around 1.2%. It’s just so hard. What I think is unfortunate is that it’s not being offered enough to show the real stats, but what this podcast and what Facebook and all of the groups out there, the VBAC groups are showing, is that VBAC after three Cesareans is possible. It is possible. 

Do your research. Find the support and you did it. I mean, I’m going to say that you did it without support. I mean, you had support from your husband and stuff, but to the fact that they were showing up at the end of your bed like, “How long are you going to push for?” That type of stuff is not combined with the definition of support for me by the way and ambushing you and those things. You got through it without that much support backing you up in this decision. 

That is where we are shy here. I think that we don’t offer the support. 

One, if you’re listening and you’re a provider and you offer VBAC after three Cesareans, please let us know so that we can chat with you and get you added to our list. If you’ve had a VBAC after three Cesareans and you are listening and had support, please message us so we can add your provider to the list because VBAC after three, four, and all of the Cesareans may not be the best choice for everyone, but for those who want it, let’s try to get the information out there. Read up. Get the information. Like I said, it’s going to be in the show notes and the blog. We have our course. 

There’s not a ton out there on vaginal birth after multiple Cesareans so find what you can. Read what you can. Find the stats and do what’s best for you. 


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