SHOW / EPISODE

Episode 310 Kristen's Healing VBAC with a Special Scar

46m | Jun 19, 2024

Every pregnancy and birth experience is different. That is true for everyone, but especially for Kristen. Kristen joins us from Provo, Utah, and shares her experiences with an initial vaginal birth, a diagnosis of omphacele with a Cesarean and infant loss with her second that left her with a special scar, an induced, medicated hospital VBAC with her third, and she is currently expecting twins!


Kristen’s journey has not been easy, but she has learned and grown so much. She talks about how a safe and supportive birth team truly makes all the difference. Your intuition will help guide you to the best provider for you. When you know, you know!


Meagan concludes the episode by touching on some myths and facts about doulas. 


The VBAC Link Blog: Myths and Facts About Doulas

The VBAC Link Blog: Special Scars

Special Scars, Special Hope

Needed Website

How to VBAC: The Ultimate Prep Course for Parents

Full Transcript under Episode Details 


01:50 Review of the Week

04:02 Kristen’s first vaginal birth

09:41 Coping with grief and hospital communication issues

15:17 A low transverse incision with a J extension

19:59 Finding VBAC support in Salt Lake

23:10 Foley induction at 41.5 weeks

29:29 Changing plans

30:37 Myths about doulas

38:55 Facts about doulas

41:05 Kristen’s advice to other women with special scars

43:26 Listening to your intuition when choosing a provider


Meagan: Hello, Women of Strength. Thank you for joining us for another amazing episode here at The VBAC Link. Today’s story is from someone who is local to me which I think is always kind of fun to have someone who when they are telling the story, I know the birthing place, I know the provider, and here I even know the doula so that is super exciting. 


Welcome, Kristen to the show. 


Kristen: Thank you, Meagan. 


Meagan: Thank you so much for being here and I’m excited for you to share your stories. I would like to get into a review really quickly so then we can do that. 


Kristen: Sure. 


01:50 Review of the Week


Meagan: Okay, we have a reviewer from Apple Podcasts and it says louuuuuhuuuu. I think that’s how it is and it says, “Very Inspirational.” It says, “I knew I wanted a VBAC with my third pregnancy, but I wasn’t sure if it was possible. However, I knew I didn’t like being flat-out told no at my first appointment. Listening to the podcast was definitely the start of me really researching birth and looking into my options. I ended up with a successful HBAC” which is home birth after two Cesareans, actually HBA2C, “and I definitely don’t think I would have had the courage or believed it was possible without the podcast. Thank you, Meagan, for all of the work that you do to provide this information.” 


And thank you, louuuuuhuuuu. I don’t know how to say it. I’m just butchering your name. If you are still listening, thank you so much for your review, and as always, we love your reviews. They really do help the podcast. They help Women of Strength find these incredible stories and information just like she was able to receive. You can drop that review at Apple Podcasts or Google or wherever you listen to your podcasts. 


04:02 Kristen’s first vaginal birth, Cesarean, and infant loss experience


Meagan: Okay, Kristen. Thank you again so much for joining us. I would love to turn the time over to you to share your stories. 


Kristen: Well, thank you. It’s hard to know where to start. There are a lot of details to mine. 


We had our first little boy in April of 2018. That was its own experience. That was a vaginal birth honestly. That was as hard as it was as a first-time mom and a first-time pregnancy/birth. It had its own set of interesting details to go along with that but we soon found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant with our second one just four months later after he was born. 


Meagan: Really soon. 


Kristen: Yeah, they would have been 11 months apart. I say would have been because my daughter who I had via Cesarean ended up passing away a few hours after she was born. She had a few congenital defects and when we got our first ultrasound, we found out she had a condition called omphalocele which means she had some of her organs on the outside of her body in a little protective sac. It was mostly her liver. I saw the ultrasound. I looked at it and I was like, That doesn’t look normal. 


It was one of those moments where the ultrasound tech was like, “I’m going to get the doctor.” Your heart sinks and your heart drops. At the time, it wasn’t a big deal after the doctor came to us and talked to us and said, “She’ll be fine. You can deliver safely. It would most likely be a scheduled C-section.” I was expecting that from the very beginning because it wasn’t just, “Oh, this is going to be a big baby. This is going to be a big baby with a large–”


Meagan: 100% necessary Cesarean. 


Kristen: Exactly. 100% necessary. 


Meagan: Yes. 


Kristen: That was to be expected even though I was like, Darn. I don’t want that, but obviously, I wanted her to be her in the best and safest way possible because this is just such a crazy anomaly. 


That was around 18 weeks and then around 24 weeks, we were at Maternal-Fetal Medicine at our local hospital down here where I live in Provo, Utah and they discovered something else which is a lot more serious. She had a diaphragmatic hernia which means her diaphragm didn’t really develop all of the way and allowed some of her other internal organs to be pushed up into her chest cavity. 


Meagan: Oh wow. 


Kristen: Whatever was left in her abdomen was pushed up. I think some of her spleen was in there and pushed. They essentially squished her lungs so they couldn’t develop all of the way which is essentially what happened at the end of her life. That’s not something– we’ve grieved and healed a lot from that but it’s also something that I consider one of those things that now I can be there for somebody else now who has gone through infant loss in whatever way that means. I can be a sounding board for anybody else who has been there. 


Meagan: Yeah. It’s crazy how sometimes we have some of the most unfortunate or horrific experiences that we could ever imagine going through and life-jarring and after we get through them, we are still super there but we are also stronger in a weird way where you can be that support for other people and you can relate. It’s just this weird but most amazing thing that there are people like you who are like, I went through this really not great experience, but now I’m here and I want to support those who need it. 


Kristen: Yeah, totally. It took a long time to get there. 


Meagan: I’m sure. 


Kristen: She was born on March 25, 2019 and so she would have turned 5 this year. We celebrate her birthday as a family every year. 


Meagan: Good, yes. 


Kristen: My 6-year-old is excited because we always release a balloon up for her and he said, “I’m so excited. My sister’s going to get this balloon.” It’s still very innocent and sweet. We love being able to do that as a family because she is very much still to us a part of our family. 


Meagan: Absolutely. That just gave me the chills thinking about your little boy doing that. That’s so awesome. 


Kristen: He’s very tender-hearted and sweet. It’s one of those things that means a lot to him. Even though he was barely one when this happened, he wouldn’t have remembered her at all. 


Anyway, with those things going on, her outlook from the very beginning was bleak. That was a hard piece of the puzzle to deal with, but it also plays into what happens later. Although this was a scheduled Cesarean and absolutely necessary, we wanted to give her every possible chance just in case she could beat the odds or whatever. Me as mom, I’m like, There is still a 20% chance this could be okay. That’s something. It’s not nothing. 


Meagan: Exactly, yeah. 


Kristen: You’ve got to hold onto something and that’s what I did. 


09:41 Coping with grief and hospital communication issues


Kristen: The Cesarean itself was fine. The process in the hospital for me, nothing went overly wrong with me physically. But afterward, that was where it gets a little complicated. We had to leave the hospital with just my husband and myself which was obviously very hard but we also had a few different things that left me baffled and confused but really frustrated. 


Anyway, the first thing was that after our daughter had passed and while I was recovering, the hospital staff didn’t seem to be on the same page with a lot of things. First being their communication. I remember it was the anesthesiologist who came in the day after my daughter had passed and they asked, “Oh, how are you? How is your baby?” Did you not read the notes? Is there not a sign on the door that says she’s not with us anymore? I had to clarify. Of course, he was very apologetic. “I’m so sorry.” Okay. 


That seemed like one of those things where it’s like, okay. You should have been informed. I don’t know why. 


After that, we had the resident doctor and the doctors in training at the time. He comes in and says, “We had to do a mid-transverse incision on your uterus and so you should plan on Cesareans from here on out. It’s not safe and don’t plan on having a vaginal birth.” It’s like, “Okay, no one told me that was happening.” 


I felt like there was again that lack of communication and just that misstep between doctors and the other providers and stuff. I was told that in the hospital as I was recovering so that was another blow of course because I was very much expecting, Okay, I know I can have a vaginal birth after a Cesarean. That’s totally a possibility. I go in with that strand of hope again for myself thinking that I could totally do this later. I’ve heard it’s possible. I’ve just got to find somebody who can help me with it. I’m fine, then someone tells you like your reviewer today. I hate it when someone tells me no. Don’t tell me no. Don’t do it because I will literally make it my life’s work to prove you wrong. 


That was really hard to hear, of course, in that setting and in that moment. It’s really deflating to hear that. 


But I was like, Okay. If that’s what they think, that’s fine. I’m going to prove them wrong later. Whatever. I’ll do it.


Then we ended up going home. I ended up calling back the doctor’s office saying, “Okay. You said mid-transverse. What does that actually mean?” I was trying to clarify things. 


Meagan: It’s higher up. 


Kristen: Yeah. The nurse who answered said, “Well, we had to do a mid-transverse incision. We had to make more room for your baby to get out.” I was kind of expecting that they might have to do that. They did forewarn us that it may be a possibility but no one ever said that was what happened in the hospital when we were delivering her. 


Anyway, they never told us that happened until I called back and said, “Hey, what actually happened?” She said, the nurse I remember was like– it still makes me baffled why you would say something like this– but she goes, “We had to show a mid-transverse incision with a double-J extension,” so one on either side. 


Meagan: On each side? Wow. 


Kristen: Yeah. That’s what she told me. She said, “Think of it like a smiley face on your uterus.” It’s like, why would I ever think of it like that? It was just the weirdest verbiage. Why would you say that to somebody? I don’t know. I was like, Okay. That was weird. Why would you say that to me? 


Then it gets even better. You can request your op-notes. 


Meagan: Yes. 


Kristen: I did that. I requested them. I feel like people are just going to be doing the facepalm like, Oh my gosh, seriously? What were these people thinking? On my op-notes, they have little bullet points. 


The first one says, “Uterine incision”. The uterine incision they told me they had on there said “classical”. 


Meagan: Oh. 


Kristen: Which is wrong, totally wrong. Immediately beneath that, it says, “Detailed C-section notes”. Then it says, “Mid-transverse incision. Patient should not labor in the future.” That was the note. First it says classical. Then it says mid-transverse incision. Then they tell me I have a mid-transverse incision with a J extension or double J’s. What do I have? What did you do? 


Meagan: Yeah. Yeah. 


15:17 A low transverse incision with a J extension


Meagan: That’s frustrating. 


Kristen: Yeah, so fast forward to when I have my new provider. We’re pregnant with our third now or we were at the time. He was a wonderful, wonderful guy and a wonderful provider. He said, “Do you know what? I’m going to go off of the actual written notes from the person who says they were watching the procedure.” It’s like, oh that’s really smart. They said I have a low transverse incision with a single J extension to my right side. 


Meagan: Wait, so different again? 


Kristen: Different again. So I was like, Oh my goodness. Where does this end? It stopped there, thank goodness. Yeah, he said, “I’m trusting more the person who was basically looking and saying, I was here in the moment taking physical notes and this is what was done. I’m trusting this more than somebody’s bullet points.” 


Meagan: Everybody’s bullet points, yeah. 


Kristen: Exactly. 


Meagan: And the nurses who are just randomly saying what they did. Okay. 


Kristen: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 


Meagan: Wow. 


Kristen: So I was like, “Thank goodness I have you to translate for me,” because I was like, What did they do to me? I have no idea. Probably any other doctor who wasn’t super VBAC-friendly would be like, “Well, this is too risky. I don’t want to take any chances.”


Meagan: So technically you have a special scar. 


Kristen: I do. I have a special scar. 


Meagan: Low-transverse with a J. 


Kristen: With a J. In those op-notes, I actually did notice just the other day when I was reading them again, it said that they extended it bi-laterally which in my mind, I didn’t call and ask obviously, but in my mind, that would translate to making the low transverse incision just a little bit longer. Again, I don’t know. But at least at the bare minimum, I have a low transverse incision with a J extension. So yes, I have a special scar. It was one of those crazy things like, Oh, now I’ve got to look this up. 


Again, I’m gung-ho at this point about, I can do this with a special scar. I’ve listened to the podcast. So many women have done it. I can do it too. I’ve just got to find somebody who is willing to meet me in the middle. 


Meagan: Support you. 


Kristen: Yeah and like I said, luckily I did up in Salt Lake where it’s not too far of a drive from where we are from. It was definitely worth it. He said, “It shouldn’t be a problem from what I’m reading. We’ll just go with it and if anything changes, I’ll keep you posted.” He was just supportive from day one which was super awesome. 


Meagan: He’s wonderful. 


Kristen: Anyway, so yeah. That’s the complication from my fun story. Hope that all makes sense. Hope we are all able to piece that together. Sorry. 


Meagan: Well, that’s so hard because it’s like, I’m being told this and this and this so what is it? All of these things impact my decision or maybe it doesn’t. But you want to take all things into consideration so it’s frustrating to not know what you have. 


Kristen: Right, totally because yeah, like you said, it could totally impact somebody’s decision. 


Meagan: It could affect somebody’s decision, yeah. 


19:59 Finding VBAC support in Salt Lake


Meagan: Okay, so you found out it was a low transverse extension J special scar. You found a provider up here in Salt Lake that was like, “Yep, okay. We’re going to do this.” How did that go? 


Kristen: That was really good. Honestly, it was one of those things where you start looking online first and then go from there. I just found his name. At the time, unfortunately he doesn’t practice that anymore, but he had his own little personal video posted about that. I was like, I feel this. I’m getting really good vibes from this guy and I really like it. So I called his office. I scheduled myself in. Great. Okay. Then yeah, it was really comfortable from day one. I told him. I said, “I’ve got some weird things going but at the same time, I am really motivated. I’m really determined to do this.” 


He was like, “Okay. I’m with you.” 


Meagan: There was something about him that brought this overwhelming sense of calm when he was with you. 


Kristen: Mhmm. 


Meagan: Fun little side note, I was actually under his care as well for my VBAC. 


Kristen: Oh cool. 


Meagan: For a little while until I decided to go out-of-hospital. 


Kristen: Yeah. 


Meagan: Yeah. He’s just awesome. 


Kristen: Yeah. I completely agree 100%. 


Meagan: He transformed the VBAC community here in Utah. They just flocked to him because there was just something about him that wasn’t anywhere else here in Utah. 


Kristen: Yeah. Now you’re giving me chills. I’m going to get emotional about it because I feel like it’s so true. 


Meagan: Yeah. Yeah. He’s a special OB for sure. 


Kristen: Yep. It does. It makes you sad that he’s not doing that anymore but at the same time, I’m sure he is one of those doctors who will refer you to somebody who he trusts and you can be like, Well, if he trusts them then I can feel safe about it.


Meagan: Yeah. Yeah. And you hired a doula. 


Kristen: I did. I hired a doula. 


Meagan: Who was one of my clients. Crazy, huh? 


Kristen: She’s one of my good friends. I was like,  You know what? I’m going to do a total 180 on this one. It was the best thing ever and the best decision ever. It happened to work out super nicely because my husband was there, yes. He is the best– she calls them daddy doulas. He’s the best daddy doula, but he had to take some breaks too and having that other person there was like, If you weren’t here, I don’t know what I would do because I feel like my husband needs a break and I have to do this by myself, but no. I wasn’t left by myself. It was one of those things that helped with the whole VBAC process go so much more smoothly especially because it ended up being an induction. 


Meagan: Oh, okay. 


Kristen: Yeah, so just add more to my docket here of fun things that I chose to do. 


23:10 Foley induction at 41.5 weeks


Kristen: We ended up going to 41.5 weeks with my daughter and at that point, I think this is probably biased but I feel like a lot of OBs, not matter how supportive they are, they are like, “Well, we could go this far if you wanted to, but it’s getting to that point.” It’s like, Okay, fine. 


It was my choice obviously to do it. We went in for the induction. I chose to use the Foley bulb. I had never done that before. That was hands-down so much better because my son was an induction as well and about the same time. My babies just go late. They are just 41+ weeks and they are still just cozy. 


So with him, it was not the same. They tried to push me in and out with a much faster style of induction. I was not a fan. The one, I was like, Okay. This is going to be different. Like I said, a 180. With her, it was a very slow, gentle induction and yeah. 


She arrived and it was pretty awesome just to feel at the end of the day like, Yeah, maybe an induction wasn’t exactly how I pictured this to happen, but my thoughts and feelings that I put out there into the universe was just that, I want a VBAC and I want it to go well. And it did. She’s here. She’s 3 now. It was one of those things that gave me that really big sense of accomplishment and that “ha” moment like, “I told you I could do it.” 


Meagan: I understand that “ah-ha” feeling so much. I definitely did that when my son came out as well. 


25:10 Pitocin, epidural, and pushing for 10 minutes


Meagan: You mentioned it was a lot slower of an induction and things like that. A lot of people don’t think that it’s really possible to do a low and slow induction. You started with a Foley then what happened from there? Did they start with Pitocin right after that? 


Kristen: They did. They started with Pitocin and we had to have some conversations with the nurses too. It was another reason I was glad I brought my doula. They started going a little bit faster than I wanted. I remember being a little bit earlier on and I was like, These contractions should not be on top of each other like this already. They were again, really good about backing off and letting me do it. 


Again, like I said, there are still things I would change but I feel like we all maybe have this ideal, I want it this way, especially for me. I’m very much like, I want this and this and this to happen. I have to be realistic. It’s not going to go exactly how I want it to. There are some things I can tweak and change along the way, but having a realistic viewpoint of how things might go is good. 


Meagan: Yeah. 


Kristen: Yeah. They ended up starting Pitocin and I was trying to go as natural as I could for as long as I could. I think I got to about 5 or 6 dilation and then I was like, Okay. I think I’m ready to just get a little relief. So yeah. I got an epidural. Again, then my brain switches over to how my induction births were different. 


With my son, I was cranking that thing up to 10 as high as it would go. It was my first time doing it. I didn’t know how it works. I ended up with him being flat on my back. I couldn’t feel my legs but with her, I was like, I don’t need to do that this time. So I was a lot more, that education. It helps having prior experience. But yes, it was as low as I could bear. I could still move around. I could sit up. I think I was even on my hands and knees for a little bit with it too. 


Meagan: Awesome. 


Kristen: Yeah. Having my doula there, she was wonderful helping. We were doing rebozo and stuff like that. Again, it was all of the good, natural stuff that I was looking forward to. 


Meagan: Yes. 


Kristen: Yeah, so I got myself to a 5 or a 6 and then I had a little help, but yeah it didn’t really take much longer after that. It’s hard to remember all of the details but once I got to a good place, they ended up breaking my water which was fine. After that, it only took a couple of hours to get her down and out. 


I pushed for 10 minutes and she’s here.

 

Meagan: Nice. 


Kristen: She’s our biggest one, 8 pounds, 14 ounces. Well within normal range. 


Meagan: Yes. 


Kristen: But still it’s just so funny how the nurses react, “Oh my gosh. She’s big.” Not really. For you, maybe. I don’t know. 


Meagan: I swear. Anytime the babies are over 7 pounds, they are like, “This baby is huge.” I’m like, “No, the baby is not that big. It’s perfect.” 


Kristen: Right? I know. She had a full head of hair. That was their biggest comment. “Look at all of that hair.” It was so funny. 


Meagan: I love that.


Kristen: But yeah, she was much more alert than my son was when he was born. Again, just different vibes, a different environment and a different style. 


Meagan: It probably wasn’t as long so he didn’t have as much in his system too. Yeah. 


Kristen: Exactly. Yeah, but it was one of those things where she came and then it was like, oh my gosh, that sense of relief. It went off without a hitch. In my mind, I was like, This was just perfect. 


29:29 Changing plans


Meagan: I love that you mentioned things along the way like change with induction. There are things within our labors and things that may not go exactly as we envisioned or wrote down on paper, but there are so often times where we can sit back and decide, Okay, yes. I’ll go for an induction. Okay, yes. Let’s try a Foley this time. Okay, I’ll actually go for that epidural. 


We’re changing plans or making decisions and in the end if we were part of that decision, it really resonates differently for our minds. We feel better about the experience even if it wasn’t exactly how we would have put it on paper. 


Kristen: Yeah, exactly. 


Meagan: I love hearing that you were like, Yes. This was a good experience and I got my doula and I had my provider and honestly, you were in a really great hospital. I really, really like them. 


30:37 Myths about doulas


Meagan: I wanted to share a little bit about doulas because obviously, I love them. 


Kristen: Sure, yes. 


Meagan: I am a doula and so maybe that is biased, but I really had a long labor myself and was able to truly benefit from doula support. Like you mentioned, my husband was exhausted and he got to a point where he was starving. He needed food and I remember he actually left the birth. He full-on left the birth to go get food. He felt very confident that I was in good hands and I was being supported. 


I love that so much, but there are a lot of things that people think about doulas that aren’t necessarily true. I wanted to go over some myths and then some really good pros and facts about doulas. 


Number one is that doulas are expensive. Now, doulas– 


Kristen: False. 


Meagan: It’s so funny because after services with our clients, a lot of the time they will be like, “You are worth your weight in gold. You need to charge more.” 


Kristen: Right. 


Meagan: When you see a doula who ranges from $800-$2000, that is a lot of money. That is a lot of money, but then when you break it down and look at really what a doula offers–


Kristen: Totally, from start to finish, correct me if I’m wrong, you can hire them as early as you want and then, especially for me, it was the postpartum support that was a really big deal so it’s not just, “Okay, I was here. I helped you while you had your baby. See ya. Good luck. Let me know if you need anything.” No, “I’m going to bring you supplies.” Of course, my doula is a little bit more special because she was one of my friends. 


Meagan: But she is amazing. 


Kristen: She is. She is wonderful. 


Meagan: Her natural ability to care and help you feel supported, she–


Kristen: Mhmm. She has this way of connecting with people that is quite rare, I think. 


Meagan: Yes. I love that. And myth number two is that doulas replace the birth partner. 


Kristen: Like we just both said, nope. They don’t. 


Meagan: I think that they help the birth partner. A lot of people don’t realize that doulas are there for our partners as well. It’s definitely more focused on mom because mom is giving birth, but there is a lot that partners go through during childbirth that really is important to be loved because you are in a very vulnerable state. You are watching someone who you love so much go through a very big event and they are also bringing another human into this world who is yours. 


There is a lot of fear and uncertainty and desire to help but again, uncertain as to how and needing rest and things like that. As doulas, we are never there to replace a birth partner ever unless that is something specifically where you are like, “Hey, my partner is not going to be here. I would like you to replace and be there in place of that.” 


But no, we definitely don’t do that. 


Myth number three, doulas are the same as midwives. Just before we started recording, I was telling Kristen how even to this day in 2024, people are like, “What do you do?” I’m like, “I’m a birth doula.” They’re like, “Oh you catch babies?” I’m like, “No. I don’t.” “Oh, you do this?” I’m like, “No, I don’t do any of that.”


We’re not midwives. We are doulas. We are there for loving, educational support and information and all of those things, but we are definitely not trained midwives. We work with midwives and OBs. 


Another one is that doulas are only for the mother which is kind of what I was just saying a second ago. No, we are not only there for the mother. 


Doulas are hippies who chant and sacrifice chickens during birth. 


Kristen: That is quite the specific myth. 


Meagan: That is very specific. This is something that was on our blog, but it was something that someone said and we are like, Oh, yeah. Okay. This is perfect. We are putting this as Myth #5. 


Kristen: That’s hilarious, yep. 


Meagan: But really, we are hippy. We are hippy. 


Kristen: That’s funny. 


Meagan: Okay, maybe. Maybe doulas are a little bit more natural-minded. That’s true, but just because someone wants an epidural or even a scheduled C-section or doesn’t want to go in and do weird sacrificing of chickens apparently, I don’t know, that doesn’t mean it’s true. We don’t. We are there to support you and we are going to be there in the way that you want us to be there. 


Doulas only support home or unmedicated births. This is a big myth. So many people when I start telling them about what I do, they are like, “Oh, so you just only do home births.” I’m like, “Actually, it’s a rarity. It’s more rare to do a home birth than a hospital.” I would say that 97% of our births are in-hospital. As far as medicated go, we don’t support them, that is B.S. Kristen, you are living proof that that is not true.


You guys, it is not for us to judge anybody on the way they birth. We are there to love and support them. If that means that they choose the epidural route, that means they choose the epidural route and that is great. We support them. 


So, no. If you are wanting to get an epidural and you don’t know if you want to hire a doula because you want an epidural, let me tell you. We as doulas do a lot actually with epidurals. Sometimes when there are epidurals at play, we actually have to work differently. It’s more in a different way because there is more to do as far as movement. You can’t just get up and move. 


Kristen: Yes, it’s true. 


Meagan: Right? Or being on hands and knees, you need that extra support. Whatever it may be, we are now restricted a little bit with movement so as doulas, we are going to be doing more with epidural. A lot of people think if I got an epidural, a doula is not worthless or it’s pointless. Go ahead. 


Kristen: Sorry to interrupt, but if I hadn’t have had my doula when I got my epidural, I probably wouldn’t have known if I could actually do certain positions. I was like, Oh, well I have this epidural so I’m not really supposed to move. No, actually you can do this. And laying down, due to my prior induction was like, I know it’s bad. Don’t lay on your back. She was like, “Well, actually if you sit yourself up just a little bit, you’re actually going to be just fine. This is actually okay. It’s like, “Okay. I’m so glad you are here. If you weren’t here, then maybe the nurse would have told me I’m okay or maybe she would have helped me. Nope, probably not. She’s got her own stuff that she’s doing.” 


Yeah, that was a really big deal for me too especially for a VBAC and an induction on top of each other. I’ve got so many things in my mind while you’re giving birth. I can get this baby out with no problems. I can do this. That’s where your focus is so having that doula say, “Hey, you know what? Change this a little bit,” and being there to support you in that way was awesome. 


Meagan: Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that you pointed that out. 


38:55 Facts about doulas


Meagan: Here are some facts. Doulas help you cut costs. There is a 39% decrease in the chance of having a Cesarean which is an increased cost a lot of the time. Some insurances are amazing, but there is that. There’s a 15% increase in the chance of having a spontaneous vaginal delivery which is non-induced. We know that induction is also an added expense. A 10% decrease in the need for any medication for pain relief, a 41-minute average reduction in the length of labor, a 38% decrease in a low 5-minute APGAR score, and a 31% increase in satisfaction for the overall birth experience. 


Holy cow. This is what a stat says on our blog. It says, “In the U.S., an epidural alone costs an average of $2,132.” Now, this was written back in 2021 and we know that since a lot of things in our lives have happened, things have increased. I would put money on that that is definitely more now for sure. 


There are a whole bunch of other facts on here. We’re not going to go over all of them, but I would encourage you to check out our blog. It’s going to be listed in the show notes. We’re also going to list in the show notes a couple of other groups especially if you are a special scar listener, we want you to know about an amazing group. 


Did you ever go to Special Scars, Special Hope? 


Kristen: I did not actually. 


Meagan: Okay, that is a Facebook group and honestly, it’s amazing for special scars. We’re going to link that. We’ll have a special scar blog so you can read more about special scars and their chances. Definitely check out the podcast even more for some more special scar episodes. If you are looking because you have a special scar, know that there are risks involved, but there are also very high chances that you can. You do need to find the support. 


Do you have any other tips, Kristen, that you would suggest for moms who may have special scars or gone through similar experiences like you where you were not even exactly sure what happened? 


41:05 Kristen’s advice to other women with special scars


Kristen: For me, it’s always come down to not just doing research by yourself, but take your time with everything. I think we get into this, I have to find this supportive provider right now and if it doesn’t work out the first time, then we get flustered and stressed about never being able to find the right person. If it didn’t work out the first time, then I’ll never be able to find it. 


I took my time and really tried to do my research honestly even before we got pregnant with our daughter who we had the successful VBAC with. 


As soon as I was mentally and emotionally ready to start thinking about having another baby, I was telling myself, I can do this. Granted, like I said before, no one is going to tell me no. That’s just my motivation. I know some people where that might be intimidating to think about. I just don’t know. That’s okay. Accept yourself where you are and go from there. If it’s something that you want to pursue, then do your research on providers and find women who have been there. I think that was a big deal for me knowing that, Oh, there are a pretty decent number of people who have had special scars like me. It’s not impossible to make it happen. 


Like we said about my particular provider, it’s almost like that cliche phrase, “When you know, you know.” 


Meagan: When you know, you know. 


Kristen: It’s like, Oh, I found my provider. That’s just how it was for me personally. I know it may not be like that for everybody, but yeah. You take your time. I’m sure you guys have had many, many episodes in the past where it’s like, I changed providers halfway through. It probably happens all of the time or more often than you think it does. Don’t be afraid to say, “You know what? I’m not feeling the support exactly how I want right now so it’s time to go a different route. Be confident in that. That’s it. 


43:26 Listening to your intuition when choosing a provider


Meagan: Absolutely. One of the things I want to talk about when you were saying that is even if you were with a provider that the world is saying they are supportive of VBAC– I want to take it personal and share my own experience. I was with probably the most supportive provider in Utah at the time and I felt very, very good but then there was something that was telling me I should switch. It seemed so weird. It seemed so weird, but I had to take the time to really ponder and listen to my intuition and I had to follow that. I couldn’t deny my intuition. 


I know Julie and I for years talked about it and I’m still talking about it today. Follow your intuition. Sometimes it might not make sense to someone else and that’s okay, but if it makes sense to you and it feels true to you, then follow it. Follow it and take your time like she said. 


Kristen: Totally, yep. That was a big deal and now that we found out that this is our fourth pregnancy now that I’m on right now. I’m pregnant right now expecting twin girls in August and who knows how this is going to go obviously, but I’m shooting for another VBAC. Here we go. 


Meagan: You’ve got this. 


Kristen: This is a very different scenario. 


Meagan: Very. 


Kristen: Every pregnancy is so different. They say that. You hear that all the time. “Every pregnancy is different. Every kid is different.” But I feel like seriously, okay. Everyone is so different. 


Meagan: You ring it real true. 


Kristen: So this is a totally new way to navigate this. From what I understand correctly, every birth after even if you have had a vaginal birth between like I did, I had a Cesarean and I had a VBAC, this is still considered a VBAC so this will still be considered a VBAC twin birth. Wish us luck and hopefully, I will have some updates later for you. I don’t know.


Meagan: Yes, please keep us posted and congratulations on the pregnancy and congratulations ahead of time on your birth. Yes, please keep us posted on how things go and thank you so much again for being here with us. 


Kristen: You’re so welcome. Thank you, Meagan. 


Closing


Would you like to be a guest on the podcast? Tell us about your experience at thevbaclink.com/share. For more information on all things VBAC including online and in-person VBAC classes, The VBAC Link blog, and Meagan’s bio, head over to thevbaclink.com. Congratulations on starting your journey of learning and discovery with The VBAC Link.




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