I recently got an email from a doula friend Maria who told me that one of her clients had her baby and specifically mentioned my name that I was instrumental in her birth because I had recommended my OB to her. I remembered the conversation with this woman and hadn’t thought much about how I could have possibly impacted her having the birth she desired (a VBAC.) Maria said, “Sometimes it really does take a village!”
I started thinking about that line. It really does take a village! I have many aspects of life where I can say that it takes a village. It takes a village to homeschool my children, which is why I am a part of a wonderful homeschool community. It takes a village to parent my children. There are so many things in my life that I could say this about. I thought back to my initial experience with pursuing my first VBA3C. It was amazing to me as I recalled the many people who led me to that path and how each one played a role in my success.
When I first found out I was pregnant with my fourth child, I was terrified. I knew that it meant I would be having a fourth and final cesarean. I did not want to have another surgery, but I also knew that no Doctor would ever touch me after having had three cesareans. Two days after I saw that first positive test, I was nursing my son at church during VBS week and overheard one of the Moms in there talking about her wonderful OB. She said that she chose him because he would allow her to have a VBAC and just felt that he was in line with her wishes with birthing. I trusted this Mom’s opinion, so the next day in the nursing room I prayed that she would come in again at the same time. She did, and I asked her about her OB. I told her I had just found out I was pregnant again and would love to have a vaginal birth, but didn’t think any Doctors out there would allow it. She told me his name was Fred Cummings and that she thought I should definitely talk with him! She only had 1 prior cesarean, so she didn’t know what his stance was on multiple cesareans, but this was the first time I had ever heard about Fred Cummings. That night I emailed several people about my wishes to have a VBA3C. I didn’t think it was possible, but was praying that God would lead if it was His will.
My friend Robyn emailed her doula Kathy to see if she had a recommendation. My friend Marg that I met over the internet through Babyfit (love these ladies!!) asked her friend who is a childbirth educator if she knew of anyone. Robyn emailed me back with Kathy’s response, and sure enough she said that she found out through another doula named Katie, that Fred Cummings would be the one to go to. At the same time, Marg’s friend Sarah had asked on her business page for recommendations and sure enough, Fred Cumming’s name was given. That was the third time that day that I was told to call Fred Cummings. I made the call the next day.
I was so nervous to make the call, not sure if they would laugh at me over the phone. I told the receptionist that I had three prior cesareans and wondered if I could meet with Dr. Cummings for a consultation. Not only did she not laugh at me, she very quickly made an appointment for me for 2 weeks out! I was excited, and nervous at the same time. Meanwhile, I had made my first appointment with my other OB, but wasn’t able to get in with her right away. That appointment was scheduled after my appointment with Dr. Cummings, so I kept it on the calendar just in case. That weekend, I started light bleeding and feared the worst, that I was miscarrying. We were getting ready to go away on a family vacation and I wasn’t sure if I would have to go to the ER before leaving town. The bleeding never picked up, and we went away for the week.
All week, I really didn’t know what to expect. Was I really planning to try for a vaginal birth? Would Dr. Cummings even accept me as a patient? What if he looked at my operative report and said I was a bad candidate? What if I was really having a miscarriage and all this wondering is for nothing? We had a wonderful vacation and when I came home I worked on getting my operative reports.
A week later, with my reports in hand, my husband and I went to meet with the famous Dr. Cummings. I don’t think I have ever been as nervous as I was that day! We had a long wait in the waiting room, but fortunately our kids were over at their Grandparents house playing. When Dr. Cummings came in the room, he just put me immediately at ease. He was so kind and attentive. My husband made reference to the long wait, and Dr. Cummings quickly responded that yes, there would sometimes be a wait, because he gives as much time to each patient as they need. We were happy to hear that. He spent the next 30 minutes with us, attentively listening to us, and answering our questions. He looked at my report pretty quickly, and said, “So you’re going to have a VBAC then?” I asked him what he thought about where my former OB referenced my paper thin uterus. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Not impressed. Your body has an amazing ability to heal. You’ll do this! We will do this!” I wanted to cry right there. We talked about the risks and again he put my mind at ease. I really could do this. We noticed a bracelet on his hand that said something about prayer. He talked a lot about his faith and he told us that he doesn’t fear lawyers, he fears God. He told us that he truly believes that God placed him in Denton to help women who desperately need a Doctor like him. He said Denton was never his first choice, but that was clearly where God had placed him! He told us we could think it over, but that we could go ahead and schedule my first appointment right away. We shook his hand and left the room. When my husband and I walked out to the elevator to leave, we looked at each other and we were both in tears! We knew there was nothing to think over. I went back and scheduled my first appointment. Later that day, I canceled the appointment with my former OB. I had finally broken up with her!
So far in my village: the Mom from church, Robyn, Kathy, Katie, Marg and Sarah. They all led me to Dr. Cummings. I decided to look up Katie on the internet, since she is the one that recommended him, and I learned that she also had a VBA3C with Dr. Cummings. I emailed her right away to see if I could interview her to be my doula. We met, and I absolutely loved her as I knew I would. Katie encouraged me to join ICAN, so I did. The women in ICAN quickly became part of my village as they encouraged me on the road to my VBA3C. I started a blog about my journey, and my followers quickly became part of my village. My Babyfit friends were some of my biggest supporters along the way. They cheered me on every step of the way and I always believed that I would do it. Marg’s friend Sarah who I mentioned earlier, posted one of my blog posts on her business page and encouraged her followers to cheer me on and pray for me! It was such an incredible journey. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support of these women. Through ICAN and other local VBAC groups, I met other women who had also had a VBA3C. I was so encouraged by their successes. These women also encouraged me in pursuit of having a natural birth. I had decided that in order to succeed in my VBA3C, my best shot of success would be to do it naturally. The ICAN women and Katie all helped me so much in my pursuit of this. I started going to a chiropractor regularly (which I had never heard of such a thing during pregnancy!) to help get the baby in the best position. Let’s go ahead and add my chiropractor Erin to my village.
Once it came time to actually have my baby, I felt I owed so much to my village! I had to do this for them, as much as I did for myself! I knew that they were cheering me on and I didn’t want to let me down. I imagined in my head what it would be like to post that first picture saying, “I did it!!!”
And when I did, it was glorious! My village cheered like they have never cheered before. It was as triumphant of an experience as I ever could have expected it to be! It was more. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It really does take a village. Thank you to my village for never doubting me, not once. Love to you all!
(My sweet doula Katie, I could not have done it without her!)
(The amazing Dr. Cummings, there are no words to describe how thankful I am for him!)