Here are a few reasons why:
- I'm delivering at the hospital which has for years has had one of the lowest c-section rates in the state. For the last year of reported data, I'm told that they had the lowest rate in the state. The OB at the practice has a particular interest in VBACs, and they have a terrific VBAC success rate.
- At my last midwife appointment we discussed my birth plan. The last one I wrote, for my son's birth seven years ago, was pretty defensive, with lots of statements like "I do not want an episiotomy unless it is medically necessary." I asked my midwife if I needed to include statements like that and she said, "Well, we did one episiotomy in all of last year, so I'd say your chances are pretty low." Ditto for everything else I had concerns about the last time.
- When I asked about newborn procedures after the birth, my midwife said exactly what I wanted to hear: that the baby will be put on my chest immediately after the birth, that all procedures can be done after the first feeding and while the baby is on my chest, and that we decide when and if the baby is bathed. She also said that if a c-section is necessary they have protocols for making sure that the baby is placed on my chest right away (barring any medical problems) and remains there as much as possible. (For more information on newborn practices that support breastfeeding, see my prior post on writing a breastfeeding-friendly birth plan)
- The hospital has birthing tubs and underwater telemetry, so even though I'll need external monitoring I can labor and birth in the tub.
- The lactation consultant is there a friend.
- Our town now has a full service maternity center, with an army of experts in everything you could want: chiropractic, babywearing, massage, fitness, childbirth education, breastfeeding support, cloth diapering, acupuncture, and much more. Plus they have a store with great stuff, and I can do my prenatal appointments there.
- There are many fabulous doulas in my area, and we were able to hire one who is both a doula and a homebirth midwife.
- We were able to take a full day class on VBACs not too far from here.
- This one is amazing: One of the midwives in my practice worked at the same small hospital 3,000 miles away where I had my son, and has remained friends with the midwife who attended my son's birth.
Obviously I can't control how the birth will go, but I'm feeling really lucky that so many of the factors that contribute to a good chance at having a VBAC and a good start with breastfeeding are available here.