Photo Credit: Bella Birth/Sarah Taege https://www.facebook.com/bellabirthdoula
Most mothers do not have experience with vba2cs (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean sections, vbac is a vaginal birth after cesarean section), homeschooling, multiple children, lymphatic malformation/cystic hygroma, breastfeeding, and home births. It is a rare occasion when I meet a person who makes me feel awe, heartbreak, joy, pride, and more all in one sitting. L. Baker, who asked that I withhold her full name for privacy reasons, is one such person. She also has experience with the list of items above that usually do not coincide with one another.
I originally intended to write a blog about her vba2c experience (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean sections), and I even typed the entire opening, but after speaking with her, I realized that there was no way that I could just write one simple post on VBACs. Her willingness to speak frankly about topics I probably would still be a blubbering mess over was inspiring. Hence the L. Series was born.
- Baker posted a bit of her story on Lait de la Vie’s VIP Facebook group. Just the quick notes version of her story was inspiring, but once I was able to speak to her one on one in an interview she graciously agreed to, I realized she is the type of mother who could encourage others.
- Baker hoped for a natural birth with her firstborn; however, when an ultrasound revealed a rare condition, her hopes for a natural birth were shattered. She began our interview by telling me a bit about herself. “I am currently a 32 year old stay at home mom and homeschool teacher to our 7 children, ages 6 months to 10. Closest age gaps are 12 months and 13 months, and nope no multiples. (what people usually ask first ),” she said. The fact that she not only manages 7 children but also manages to homeschool them is a feat I’ll openly admit to being envious of! My own two keep me on my toes, much less keeping up with 7 and their schooling. Mad props to this momma!
She continued telling me about her first birth experience. “ Prior to being a mom I was a graphic designer. I finished my degree a month before our first arrived. Although we were planning a natural birth with a midwife, she was born with a rare condition called a lymphatic malformation/cystic hygroma on her neck which required a scheduled cesarean delivery under general anesthesia with an EXIT procedure (to establish her airway prior to full delivery).” I’ll admit, I had to look up the condition.
The short version is that a large pocket of fluid (a cyst or cysts) forms in certain areas, in this case the neck, and L.Bakers growing baby would need to have emergency surgery during her birth so she could breathe. This baby not only would have to face the stresses of birth, but she would also have to have surgery before she was fully born. I can’t imagine the way this momma felt during the weeks leading up to her daughter’s birth, but “miraculously,” (in her words) “one side of the malformation resolved prior to birth and the spot ended up being smaller than the ultrasound estimates. Surgery was not required (though we were prepared for the possibility). She was considered immunocompromised for several years and there were no treatment options for her condition (as the mass was microcystic). Then thanks to time, luck, faith, and science a treatment option (sclerotherapy) was introduced in the states and further developed so that it could treat her some as well.”
I was happy to find out that she’s currently a healthy and active 10 year old. L.Baker said, “She still has the spot but is no longer considered as at risk and is doing everything a 10 year old should, sports, friends, drama and just happens to have the remaining spot that might become more noticeable with allergies and if she's recovering from illness.”
Raising a child is hard enough, but raising an immunocompromised child with an extremely rare condition is something that takes a special person. L. Baker even fought to be able to establish a breastfeeding relationship with her daughter in spite of the setbacks of a NICU stay and feeding tube, but her breastfeeding journeys are the subject of another blog.
- Baker didn’t get the natural birth she wanted; however, she said that she would have the c-section all over again because it meant that her baby would be able to have the care she needed to survive. Although any major surgery is something best avoided, L. Baker's story is a stark reminder of how vital a successful c-section can be to the health of a mother and/or child.
- Baker found out that she was pregnant for her second child with the exact same due date as her first one year later. My next blog entry in the L. Baker series will discuss her breastfeeding journey with her miracle baby as well as her experience with birth after her initial c-section.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story about L. Baker’s amazing journey with 7 children and a vba2c. Part 2 Coming Soon!
Written By: Jerrica Cheramie