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Charlie: Our Healing VBA2C Birth Story

When my husband and I found out that we were expecting a third child, we were both happy but also dreaded the idea of a third c-section. Aside from the pain and long recovery time, we were scared of the risks. But, as much as we wanted a vaginal birth for our third baby, it was out of the picture, we thought. Our OB-GYNE (and many others) said that once you birth via a c-section, you have no other choice. That’s why I had a repeat CS back in 2012. And so we accepted it and just prayed for a safe pregnancy and birth.

Our VBA2C Birth Story |

Come our first prenatal checkup, I asked our OB-GYNE if there is a slight chance we can do a normal birth because I was really worried about a third c-section. It has been five years since my last anyway; perhaps I have had enough time to heal. I received a flat out NO. “Even if you pay me thrice the amount, I wouldn’t do it,” she told me. She also said that after my third c-section, she will tie my tubes already.

The idea of someone making such a big decision for us didn’t sit well with my husband and I. That’s when we started to think about looking for a new OB-GYNE and trying a vaginal birth after two c-sections (VBA2C).

We looked for other VBA2C stories online to get some encouragement, but although there are a lot of VBAC stories, there aren’t a lot of VBA2C stories in the Philippines. I remember finding one that was done in Davao. We seriously considered flying there to meet the doctor who assisted in the birth and even temporarily moving there if we need to.

Thankfully, a friend of mine introduced me to the Gentle Birth in the Philippines group. She said I will find resources and support there for our dream birth. True enough, we did find helpful information that gave us the courage to go for our VBA2C.

We found one highly recommended OB-GYNE who supports VBA2C in Manila through the group. Unfortunately, when I called her clinic, I was told that she was no longer accepting patients for our due date. We also tried going to Shiphrah, but they couldn’t accept us since they can only assist in VBAC–not VBA2C. My heart sank. If we want to achieve our dream birth, we don’t just need to want it, we need to have a supportive and skilled doctor. Otherwise, we might just end up with another c-section.

We continued our search until I remembered a friend who had a water birth just a few years back. I asked about her doctor and she said that her OB-GYNE is a huge supporter of natural birth. Although we can’t find other patients of hers who successfully had a VBA2C, we decided to give her a try.

Our VBA2C Birth Story |

On our first prenatal checkup with Dra. Karen Ty-Torredes, my husband and I both knew she is the one. When we opened up about our VBA2C plan, she gladly said we can try as long as we’re willing to do the necessary preparations for it. Dra. Torredes explained that if we want our VBA2C, we need to commit to being healthy through exercise and proper diet. She also encouraged us to attend a birthing class so we can prepare for an all-natural birth since she wants us to stay away from pain relievers and induction to lessen the chances of uterine rupture.

After our prenatal checkup, we signed up for the Binhi Childbirth Preparation Class hosted by the Pinay Doulas Collective. If you’re expecting, this class will give you lots of information about pregnancy and birth. You might think you know what to expect already, but you actually don’t–and Binhi Childbirth Preparation will prepare you for those unexpected situations! To be honest, if we took this class when we had our first two kids, I don’t think we would have ended up going under the knife.

Our VBA2C Birth Story |

We knew that although our dream birth is achievable, it won’t be easy. So after the class, my husband and I also agreed to get the services of Doula Ros Macachor.

A doula is a trained birth attendant who offers both physical and emotional support to a mother and her partner throughout pregnancy, during childbirth, and postpartum. From our experience, having one made a huge difference as she pushed us to achieve our dream birth especially during the most trying times and allowed us to enjoy the whole experience.

Our Dream Birth, Our VBA2C Birth Story

Based on my ultrasound, I was due to give birth on December 29, 2017. I was feeling irregular contractions during the weeks leading to my due date, but they never progressed. I continued to walk and do my prenatal exercises. Come December 29th, there was still no sign of me giving birth. I was scheduled to have a prenatal checkup that day and I remember feeling so anxious. It’s my 40th week if we base the guesstimate on my ultrasound. Will Dra. Torredes induce me? Will she say it’s time for a c-section?

All my worries went away when she said, “Let’s just wait and see.” She never said anything about inducing me or performing a c-section. I knew then that we really chose the right doctor!

31 December 2017, 10:00 PM | We went back to our hotel room after dinner to rest before the fireworks display starts later that evening. I tried to sleep, but was feeling uncomfortable as I felt pain radiating from my back to my abdomen. I decided to time them–6 minutes apart. By 11:45 in the evening, my contractions were 4 minutes apart already. They were still bearable so I didn’t ask to be brought to the hospital yet.

We took the opportunity to hike up the viewing deck to watch the fireworks display. The walk up the steep stairs may help me progress. By the time the fireworks display was over, I felt the contractions intensify. We went back to our hotel room where I did more exercises to cope with the pain and also to help me progress further.

1 January 2018, 2:30 AM | The contractions became more intense and were 2 to 3 minutes apart. We decided to drive to the hospital already. I informed Doula Noelle (our back up doula since Doula Ros was out of the country) and Doc Karen.

1 January 2018, 3:30 AM | We were brought to the High Risk Pregnancy Unit. I was at 1 cm and my water bag is still intact. The doctors and nurses honored our birth plan and did not hook me to an IV. They did occasionally hook me up to a machine that monitors the baby’s heart rate and my contractions, but it was only for 30 minutes at a time. The rest of my stay, they allowed me to move around, do my exercises with Doula Noelle, eat, and drink.

The rest of the day went by pretty slowly. I progressed from 1 cm to 3 cm, but that was it. Dra. Torredes remained patient as she waited for our baby’s perfect timing.

1 January 2018, 10:00 PM |Β I progressed to 5 cm and contractions were intense. I tried to rest smart in between the contractions, but as they became closer to each other, I had no chance to rest at all. My husband supported me by massaging my back and being my anchor as I go through wave after wave of contractions.

Doula Ros was with us now. She made me do different labor exercises to help baby position himself and engage.

2 January 2018, 4:00 AM | I was awake for two days straight already. My contractions were hitting the high numbers and were one on top of another. I was in tears and at the verge of giving up already. I remember screaming in pain and begging my husband to make it stop already. Not one of our labor positions to ease pain seemed to work by then.

My doula reminded us that pain is good; pain is progress. Yet, I felt disheartened because despite the tremendous pain I was enduring, I was still at 5 cm and my cervix was still 70% effaced. The doctors and nurses were suggesting an epidural at this point, but my husband refused to have one inserted without discussing it with our OB-GYNE and doula.

2 January 2018, 6:00 AM | My husband called Dra. Torredes to ask for advice. I would have been able to handle the wave of contractions if I had enough energy, but having no sleep for two days already, the pain became unbearable. She said the decision is still up to us.

2 January 2018, 8:00 AM | We finally called for an epidural after discussing it again with our doula, Dra. Torredes, and the anesthesiologist on duty. We had them explain the whole process and how the epidural will affect the progress of my labor. We wanted to make sure it won’t hinder progress in fear of another c-section.

Although we wanted an all-natural birth, my husband and I decided to get the epidural already because I was exhausted and might not be able to push if not given time to rest.

Not long after, I was wheeled to another room where they inserted the epidural. I remember feeling relieved as soon as the medicine kicked in and falling asleep right after. I woke up four hours later and feeling much better.

The good thing about the epidural is that it didn’t totally remove the pain, but just managed it–and so I continued to progress. This time, though, I regained my energy and ready to finish my birth marathon.

2 January 2018, 4:00 PM | I was still at 5 cm and 70% effaced. Dra. Torredes visited me again and suggested that we do nipple stimulation to encourage more contractions and get labor moving faster. It worked, but progress was still slow. She later on suggested an induction, although at the minimum dose possible. We were willing to do anything to help baby come out by this time. We agreed to the induction.

2 January 2018, 8:00 PM | I was at 9 cm at this point and my water bag broke on its own. I was nearing the finish line! Dra. Torredes had me wheeled to the delivery room and asked my husband and Doula Ros to get prepped as well. Inside the delivery room, she had me do practice pushes. She said baby’s head is small, but she wasn’t sure why the baby wasn’t going down. We continued doing pushes.

The contractions became more intense and I was really feeling the urge to push. I lost track of time and everything else around me. In my mind I imagined waves, each one bringing my baby closer to shore.

I remember feeling a strong contraction coming, taking in a deep breath, and pushing as hard as I can. I would then take another deep breath and push again; after which I would be given some time to rest before the next contraction. I pushed with every wave that passed. Two doctors helped me by pushing down on my stomach as well.

It was painful, it was tiring, but I knew I was almost there. I took deep breaths and visualized my baby descending with every exhale. It helped that my husband was beside me holding my hand and cheering me on. Doula Ros was also there whispering words of encouragement, reminding me of all the hard work we did to prepare for this birth.

Dra. Torredes told me to give it my all. I pushed as hard as I can while two doctors pressed on my tummy. I felt my baby coming out. I didn’t feel pain anymore, just an urge to let go. Everyone cheered me on. “One more push!” they said and I pushed again. I felt a sense of relief after that last big push then I heard our baby cry.

On January 2, 2018 at 10:15 PM, I gave birth to Charlie.

Our VBA2C Birth Story |

“It’s a boy, Kim!” I heard Dra. Torredes say. “You did it, mommy. Ang galing mo,” my husband told me. I started to cry tears of joy–I was overwhelmed, I was overjoyed. I can’t believe we did it!

Charlie had his cord wrapped around his neck twice. I was surprised that I was able to deliver him through a vaginal birth (because I’ve heard cases like this that ended up with c-section) and that Dra. Torredes didn’t have to do an episiotomy. Dra. Torredes said that my boy and I were both fighters throughout. I did my job during labor and birth; he did not show any signs of distress throughout the process despite the length and difficulty of the birth.

I cried as they placed little Charlie on my chest. After our long wait, after all we’ve been through in the last nine months… he is finally in my arms!

Our VBA2C Birth Story |

Charlie’s birth is a healing and empowering experience. Healing–because it brought a closure to my two previous c-sections that I felt could have been prevented if only our birth wishes were honored.Β Empowering–because what I endured throughout pregnancy and birth revealed how strong I am if I just put my mind into something and surround myself with people who will support me.

But the best thing about Charlie’s birth is that it brought our family even closer together. It wasn’t just me who gave birth–my husband and our two older kids were all involved. I wasn’t the only one who gave birth; somehow they did too.

Our VBA2C Birth Story |

We will forever hold the beautiful memories this birth gave our family in our hearts. This will serve as a reminder that as long as we have each other, we can achieve big things.

My Birth Team:

Hospital:Β St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City
OB-GYNE: Dra. Karen Ty-Torredes
Doula: Ros Padua-Macachor and Noelle Polack

…and of course, my husband, Arjay.


Charlie: A Healing VBA2C Birth Story |

Kimberley Reyes

Kimberley Reyes is an Online Business Manager for entrepreneurs who are ready to get off the hamster wheel and step into their CEO shoes. On top of helping her clients get organized and scale their businesses, she is also happily busy raising her five kids with her firefighter husband.

This Post Has 48 Comments

  1. Bessie Ramos

    Ang cute ni baby matagal n pla to mommy salamat sa paginspire

  2. Fhadilla Irwandy

    Thank you for sharing Mommy Kim!
    I’m Indonesian, living in Taguig City. I’m expecting my 2nd baby due April 2019.
    May I know where can I find the doula here?
    I just met my son’s pedia in st luke, she recommends me to see DRA Karen who support VBAC, then I did googling and found out your story.

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Hello Fhadilla. First of all, congratulations on baby number 2! Dra. Karen is highly recommended. As for the doula, you can go to My doulas are Doula Ros and Doula Noelle – both took care of us very well.

  3. Fhadilla Irwandy

    Thank you for sharing Mommy Kim!

    I’m Indonesian, living in Taguig City. I’m expecting my 2nd baby due April 2019.
    May I know where can I find the doula here?
    I just met my son’s pedia in st luke, she recommends me to see DRA Karen who support VBAC, then I did googling and found out your story.

  4. Lhourdes Mercadero

    Congratulations Mommy Kim. Sabi ni Chelsea nag high-five si baby mo sa photo.

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Haha! Even my kids said that the baby was giving them a high five. πŸ˜€

  5. Teresa Dumadag

    Congratulations! I gave birth to our 3 children all through natural means. No painkillers at all. Your OB really makes a lot of difference. I’m happy for you that you got what you prayed for.

  6. Mommy Anna

    Congrats to your new bundle of joy, I admire your courage to give birth naturally, That is also my dream if I will get pregnant again to have a vaginal birth.

  7. tweenselmom

    Congratulations again for your bundle of joy! I’ve read your blog and admire you for your strength. This is why hindi na namin sinundan yung bunso ko, baka di na namin parehas kayanin ni mister. My husband is actually the one who fears for me a lot kaya total protection talaga kami.

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Did you give birth via c-sections too? Nakakatakot nga pag puro c-section kaya talagang inachieve namin itong VBAC sa third. Thankfully kinaya!

  8. Mommy Peachy

    Congratulations for a successful VBAC, mommy Kim! Galing! I don’t think I can do that.

  9. Mommy Gracie

    Wow! Antapang mo! And grabe ilan days ka nag-labor I’m sure super sakit.
    Congratulations Mommy Kim for a successful VBAC! (Cute cute ni Baby!)

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Okay pa naman the first day. Pero sa second day ang hirap na. Wala kasing tulog so hindi ko na ma-manage ng maayos yung pain. But glad we made it! Thanks Gracie!

  10. Mommy Levy

    Ako naman, I gave birth via normal delivery without any anesthesia (mas takot ako sa side effect ng gamot kesa sa sakit ng labor haha), pero dahil sa ramdam ko lahat, natatakot na ako manganak ulit πŸ™

    Your baby is so adorable.

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Haha! Truth! After experiencing NSD, sabi ko parang ayaw ko nang sundan. May epidural pa yun ha. πŸ˜€

  11. Rowena Wendy Lei

    I’m the opposite I actually opted for C-section because my first baby clocked in at 9lbs at 40 weeks and showed no signs of wanting to come out. Buti my OB honored my wishes at di ako pinilit mag normal. Two kids later I still don’t know what a contraction is lol.

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      I would have opted for a c-section too if I have a 9lb baby πŸ˜€ Mine was 6lbs, medyo nahirapan na ako magpush!

  12. Maan

    I’ve been following your VBA2C story, Kim! I’m so happy for you! Being a CS mom, too, I understand the frustration of not being able to give birth naturally. Although there was a reason why I had to undergo emergency CS, I still fantasize about giving birth naturally hehe. Is it okay if I ask for the name of the doctor you found in Davao?

  13. May

    Wow, 2 days of labor? I don’t think I would have lasted that. although I did give birth to my kids the natural way, and epidural-free (not because of choice, but because I gave birth in a primary clinic. it’s not allowed for primary clinic births).

    Anyway, I’m a bit shocked by your first OB GYNE. I don’t like anyone talking to us about huge decisions that way either. Pati pagtali sa yo, siya magdecision. Ay, nainis ako!

    Beautiful baby, by the way. Congratulations to you and your family. πŸ™‚

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Diba?! Napa-gasp ako in my head noong sinabi niya na itatali na niya without asking us about our plans.

      Thanks May!

  14. Edel San

    What a lovely and inspirational birthing journey! I was so overwhelmed with your tale and happy that everything turned out well for you and baby charlie. πŸ™‚

  15. Czjai

    Congratulations on your new baby, and glad to know that you both you and the baby are healthy and safe. πŸ™‚ I gave birth to my son via NSD. It was my (our) dream birth because it’s cheaper (eto talaga ang main reason, haha), and recovery time would be faster compared to giving birth via C-section. πŸ™‚

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      I agree! Recovery time is faster and easier pag NSD unlike with my two c-sections na weeks ang binilang ko before I was fully recovered.

  16. Ma.Me.Mi.Mommy

    Congratulations! Omg on such a long and tiring birth! Ang galing mo nga to have endured it! πŸ™‚ I’m sure you’re enjoying every moment with your little buddy. πŸ™‚

  17. Nerisa

    Congratulations! Being a CS mom who experienced the same feeling (bakit hindi naging normal ung delivery ko?) I find this blogpost of yours very inspiring. If you wouldnt mind, can I ask how much ang naging total cost ng VBA2C for you?

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Hi Nerisa, 170k (hospital bill and PF) – medyo matagal kasi ako naglabor sa high risk pregnancy unit eh medyo malaki ang rate doon. Ang advice ko: go to the hospital pag malapit na talaga (malakas na malakas na contractions) para hindi masyadong matagal sa labor room. πŸ˜€

  18. Mav

    Congrats Mommy Kimberly and to your hubby! Inspiring ang kwento mo. Not yet a mom but my husband and I are planning to have a baby soon πŸ™‚

  19. Crystal

    Woot woot, yay for VBAC2

  20. preciosa

    Wow! Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚ My due is on February 4 at gustong gusto ko talaga mag VBAC this time. Ayoko na kasing ma CS ulit. You really inspired me. Kaya ko to! πŸ™‚

  21. Via

    Saw your post in FB from Noelle, who helped me with my breastfeeding struggles with my 2nd baby. I am currently 7mos pregnant with our 3rd.
    2nd and 3rd baby are only 2 years apart and both first two pregnancies were CS. Kasi sabi ng OB sa 2nd ‘Bat mo pa papahirapan ang sarili mo eh nag CS ka na dati?’ In short, walang support and most likely walang alam sa VBAC.
    I want our 3rd na manormal kasi me and my husband are planning to have one more child in the future kaso sabi nila since hanggang 3 CS lang pwede.
    I also know magastos ang pinagdaanan mo so isa pang challenge yun.
    Pero your story is so inpiring. Wish I had the information and support and funds when I had my 2nd.
    Congrats and God Bless your family!

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Hi Via, oh no! If you ask me, compared sa repeat CS ko sa 2nd namin, easier ang recovery ko sa VBA2C. In terms of gastos naman, halos pareho lang yung ginastos namin nung na-CS ako and sa VBA2C. Napalaki lang yung sa VBA2C ko kasi ang tagal ko talaga nag-labor. Pero siguro kung naghintay pa ako sa house, hindi ganun kalaki ang bill. Medyo mahal din kasi daily rate sa high risk pregnancy unit so if we were to do it again, we would have labored longer at home before going to the hospital. Kaya pa naman contractions during the early hours.

      I hope you get your dream birth sa 3rd niyo! Like you, we’re hoping for another one kaya inachieve talaga namin itong VBA2C. I suggest that you talk to other OBs as well about the possibility of a VBAC. Sayang naman din. Good luck!

  22. Lique

    Such a beautiful story! Glad you got your dream birth πŸ™‚ our OB also suggested a ligation after I give birth to our third child this March. Pero parang nagdadalawang isip kami. I assume your OB now did you suggest it? Or did you consider it. Thanks for sharing your story! God bless your family!

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Hi Lique! My new OB didn’t bring it up. She knows we’re considering another child in the future so I guess pwede pa since nag normal birth na ako this time. πŸ™‚

  23. Serene Shikukeza

    Oh my goodness Kim! I cannot imagine the pain you went through! Feeling ko ang sakit sakit ng sobra! I had [ainful contractions too with Jon Raine and yun palang, para na akong mawawalan ng paa sa sobrang sakit! You are a superhero! Hands down na ako sayo sa sobrang tapang mo after 2CS. Congratulations again! Ang tangos ng ilong ni Charlie!

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Thank you! There were a lot of times that I wanted to give up already dahil sa sobrang sakit at pagod. Thankful lang talaga ako may support ako from Arjay, our doula, and our doctor. Hindi nila hinayaan na madala ako basta basta sa pain. πŸ™‚

  24. Patti

    Beautiful story. So happy it worked out so well for you and your family. I am a doula on the other side. I help people transition to their final stages. The circle of life!

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Thanks for dropping by, Patti! I think we all need doulas for all stages of life – I never knew how important it is to have one until I actually tried having one by my side.

  25. Ayi

    You just gave me hope mommy Kim πŸ™‚ I had 2 CS already, although the second one was scheduled na because of the spacing (my kids have 1.6 years age gap). I wanted vaginal birth as well if I get pregnant the third time, but I don’t have much info about it, until now. Thanks for sharing your story. Will definitely consider your OB as well πŸ™‚

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Hi Ayi, same tayo ng situation! First CS (2011) is due to failed induction. The second one (2012) is because they were only a little over a year apart. You can do it too, mommy! Dra. Karen will take good care of you so don’t worry too much about uterine rupture. She will check everything to make sure you are a good candidate. Come labor and delivery, talagang babantayan ka niya. Do visit her when you have your third!

  26. Neri Ann

    Nakakaiyak! Galing mu mommy Kim! Congrats again!

    1. Kimberley Reyes

      Thank you! I hope this inspires other expecting parents to aim for their dream birth as well. <3

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