As a follow-up to my post a few weeks ago about coping after a cesarean, I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about why I'm grateful for it. I'm not going to get into the miracle of cesareans. I do believe they are a blessing for true emergencies and I'm grateful they exist but that's not why I'm grateful. I'm grateful because my cesarean has made me much more determined to have a natural birth. Before I had Hyrum I thought a natural birth was for super hard-core people and I thought that just wasn't me at the time. But, now that I feel dissatisfied with my birth experience I am much more determined for a different experience. I think if I'd had an epidural and everything went smoothly, I would have just walked away and thought everything was hunky dorey and wouldn't have thought twice about it. However, now I'm filled with so much excitement at the thought of proving to myself that my body can do it.
However, this experience has done more than affect my thoughts towards birthing. It has changed other aspects of my life, especially in regards to health. Here are a few ways that working towards a VBAC has changed my life for the better.
Endurance: I know that in order to feel confident in having a natural birth I will need to have confidence in my physical capabilities and stamina. Maybe it's silly, but this has really pushed me to get into better shape and to not simply give up when I'm starting to get tired. The other day when I was on a particularly tough incline while biking I had the thought, "I should just get off and walk my bike up" but then I thought, "silly girl! You need to learn to push through 'til the end. You can make it!" Know what!? I did!
Nutrition: I feel that healthy eating affects our attitude and confidence in ourselves. Sure I still indulge with some Nutella and pretzels from time to time but for the most part, fruits and vegetables have become the staple in our family's diet.
Weight: In order to avoid any preventable pregnancy complications, I want to be at a healthy weight. I've still got some pregnancy pounds to shed and then some. Working towards a VBAC has given me a reason to want to sacrifice those things that are keeping me from a healthy weight.
Education: I think the main reason most women in the US request an epidural is because that is what they are educated about. I think they can be a blessing but I know that, at least for me, I didn't educate myself enough about what was going on in the birth process as well as possible complications, the advantages and disadvantages of medical interventions and how to make informed decisions regarding them. As a result, I succumbed to a lot of the interventions and ended up having a medical birth. That's not what I want next time and I don't want to be so overwhelmed next time that I allow myself to become passive in the process. I'm taking the time now to educate myself because I want to be able to make informed decisions all along the way.
I think one of the most beautiful things in life is the ability to learn from our mistakes. How grateful I am that I don't have to sit idly by and repeat them again. After preparing myself in any way possible, I know that if I somehow do end up in a repeat cesarean, it will not be because I was not informed or because I didn't work to make things different. And no matter what, this experience has changed my attitude toward so many other important areas of my life.