Buy Nothing New – For a Whole Year

Am I crazy? I’m considering challenging myself to buy nothing new, for an entire year.  Is it really possible?  There are two parts to this challenge:

1. Buy nothing new

2. Instead of buying something new try:

  • doing without
  • borrowing
  • using something else that I already have
  • making it myself
  • freecycling/hand-me-downs from friends
  • buying second hand

My reasons for doing this are part environmental and part personal.  I think the amount of stuff that people tend to buy nowadays is completely unsustainable, and the way our economy works we are encouraged to buy more and more stuff.  How is this supposed to work when we only have one planet to live on, and when people in countries like China are now starting to move towards this more materialistic, consumption-based way of life?  I’ve actually felt slightly ill this week thinking of everyone going shopping in the sales, haven’t we just spent the whole of December shopping and then been given tons of presents?  I also think that people forget that the three R’s of the environment are reduce, reuse, recycle in that order.

On a personal level, I really just want to simplify my life and declutter my house.  With our second baby due in the next few weeks, our spare room is no longer spare, and I’ve been working hard to get rid of all the junk we’ve accumulated over the years to make room for another actual human being in our home.  As a result of doing this I’ve started to feel that nearly all the stuff we own could be considered junk, in that we don’t really need it.  So not only am I going to buy nothing new, I’m going to try and avoid buying anything second hand, unless it’s essential.

I’m also trying to prioritise my spending.  I’d rather wear second hand clothes and use towels until they are threadbare and spend money on good quality food.  I really and truly believe that food is one of the most important things you can spend money on.  I’ll happily wear clothes from a charity shop but I avoid eating cheap food.  This is partly for health reasons as I feel healthier and have more energy when I eat better quality food, but also because I really like cooking and eating good food!  For this reason eating out is also ok in my book.  Good food is one of the great pleasures in life, and this challenge is not about being miserable.

However I am going to have a few exceptions, which are:

  • food (obviously!)
  • toiletries and medicines
  • baby essentials like nappies (although we mostly use cloth anyway)
  • art and craft materials
  • wool for knitting and crochet (this is my main hobby other than blogging)
  • gifts for other people (because I don’t expect other people to live by my values)
  • ebooks – I could borrow books from the library but with a toddler and soon a baby in tow I don’t exactly get much of a chance to browse the shelves.  Also my ebook reader will be much easier to use one handed when feeding the baby!
  • underwear and socks
  • gardening stuff (I share an allotment with a friend, see above re: food)
  • shoes – I think every person should have one pair of brand new good quality, season appropriate shoes for every day use.  In reality this probably means one pair of ‘normal’ shoes/trainers, one pair of boots for winter and one pair of sandals for summer.  For me I will only replace when mine wear out, for K (and later the baby) it will be as she grows and the seasons change.

Anything I do buy new I will prioritise finding an organic/recycled/eco-friendly/ethical option.

Want to join me in my quest to consume less and simplify your life?  Share your ‘rules’ in the comments below (or link to your own blog post).

Edit: I have removed kids clothing from the list because I already buy most of K’s clothes second hand and I’ve saved all her old clothes for the baby, so it really shouldn’t be too much effort to buy all of their clothes second hand. But I’ve added shoes instead.

Finding Contentment

I really struggled to adjust to life as a new mum. We did have a few issues which made the early days a bit more challenging, but looking back it was how I thought about things that made them so difficult. Thoughts like:
It’s not fair!
Why me!
Why won’t she sleep!
I can’t cope with sleep this bad!
I’m so crap at this!
There was also a lot of comparing to friends’ babies, or comparing our situation to other people’s e.g. lack of family support.

I also completely lost my sense of self-identity, which was very challenging. I’ve always been a bit of a goal-orientated person, and like being busy and ‘getting things done’. I get a great sense of achievement from setting myself a goal, working hard towards it, and completing it. Being a mum involves a lot of repetitive, monotonous tasks like changing nappies, feeding, housework and so on.

Thirdly I also felt really isolated. I had been working as a full-time adult education tutor which meant I was meeting lots of new people all the time and had people around to talk to nearly all day, every day. Then I went to being at home with only daytime TV for company. Facebook and Twitter were a bit of a lifeline but it doesn’t compare to face-to-face interaction with real human beings.

As a result, I felt angry, anxious, irritable, resentful and frustrated for most of the first year of my daughter’s life, if not longer. Not to mention guilty for feeling all of those things, because I was supposed to be enjoying this wonderful time.

I also expected my husband to understand how I was feeling and somehow fulfill all the needs I felt were now lacking, which is rather a lot to expect from any human being, let alone one who is also sleep deprived and adjusting to being a new parent!

I have been reading Buddhism for Mothers and The Little Book of Contentment (free ebook) lately and although I’ve never really thought of myself as a religious or spiritual person before now, they have really resonated with me. Buddhism for Mothers focuses more on your experience as a mother than on what to do as a parent. It’s the first book I’ve found that really acknowledges that parenting comes with suffering as well as happiness.  The Little Book of Contentment is a really easy read (you can read it in an hour) so it’s perfect for parents with little free time.

I see now that previously, I was completely reliant on external sources of happiness: achieving goals, interactions with other people, being praised, good food, playing computer games and so on.  When I became a mum, suddenly all of these were taken away, or I had very little time to do them.  My baby daughter has, in a way, become my first spiritual teacher, because she has forced me to learn how to be happy with much less, and to look within for happiness.  I am slowly, very slowly, learning to be content with life as it is; to learn to like myself, to stop comparing myself to others, to let go of perfectionism.

Christmas Countdown Week 3 (and a bit)

I guess I am a bit late with this blog post as the big day is now over, but I thought I’d share anyway, in case you want to try any of the activities in that strange limbo land between Christmas and New Year, and to look back at next year.

glass candle holder Xmas sensory tub magic key

Glass jar candle holder

A very simple craft to make, and achievable for toddlers and preschoolers from about 2 yrs and up, but looks surprisingly good!  All you need is a clean glass jar big enough to hold a tealight candle (we used a small nutella jar because it doesn’t have a screw top so it looks nicer), craft glue, tissue paper, sequins and glitter.  Tear or cut the tissue paper into smallish pieces.  Paint the jar all over with craft glue and stick the tissue paper.  Try to cover the whole jar with one layer of tissue (more than one layer makes it harder to see the candle light).  Paint again over the top of the tissue paper with craft glue, this sticks down any loose corners.  Then add sequins and glitter as desired.  I’ll be honest, K enjoyed tearing up the tissue paper and sprinkling on the glitter, but was less interested in the rest so this was a team effort!  Our is a present for grandma, along with a nice scented candle to go inside.  They also make a nice table decoration for Christmas or for the winter solstice.

Christmas themed sensory play tub

I am a huge fan of sensory tubs, as is my little girl, and so I decided to put together a Christmas themed tub using bits and bobs from around the house.  I had some blue coloured rice that I made in the summer so I started with that, and then added lots of blue, white and silver accessories to make it very wintery!  I added: tinsel, bows, mini baubles, lolly sticks, pompoms, snowflake sequins, glass pebbles and a snowflake tree decoration.  I also included some different sizes and shapes of plastic pots (yogurt pots etc) and a scoop.  The tub in the picture was not quite big enough for sensory play, so I’ve now transferred everything into an under-bed storage tub which is perfect, and added some pudding rice that had been hiding in the back of the kitchen cupboard and was well past its use-by date. Sensory play is brilliant for young children because it is completely open ended, so they can take whatever they need from it.  Some of the things K likes to do include: scooping and pouring games (great for maths and learning about capacity), pretend cooking, putting her feet in for a full sensory experience, adding small toys like dolls or diggers and making up stories with them.

Magic key

As we don’t have a chimney I thought it would be fun to make our own ‘magic’ key for Santa to let himself in on Christmas Eve.  I cut out a key shape from a cardboard box, which we then painted with gold acrylic paint and decorated with, you guessed it, sequins and glitter.  We hung it on the front door on Christmas Eve before K went to bed and it is now a tree decoration.

Other non-crafty, Christmassy things we have done in the run-up to Christmas include:

  • Making homemade mince pies
  • 2 Christmas parties, preschool and our local natural parenting group.
  • Going to see a children’s show at our local theatre called Penguin, which was billed as a Christmas show but I’m not convinced!  Still K enjoyed it which is the main thing, she also loves the book and even had us all acting it out today!
  • Christmas lunches with friends
  • Christmas face paints
  • Snuggling up in our PJs to watch Polar Express on Christmas Eve with hot chocolate and popcorn.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and your little ones had a magical time!

Planning a positive home VBAC/HBAC

I’ve blogged previously about my reasons for planning a home VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).  Today I want to write about the steps you can take to ensure that it goes smoothly, and is a positive experience.  I don’t want to talk in terms of ‘success’ because I don’t think that birth is an achievement, and if things don’t go according to plan it is not a ‘failure’.  But I don’t think there’s any harm in being clear about what you want and doing everything you can to give yourself the best chance of getting what you want.  Many of these points also apply for a hospital VBAC.

Do your research

You need to be 100% confident in your decision.  It’s good to have a clear understanding of exactly what the risks and benefits are of having a home birth.  There may be people along the way who will question your choices, whether out of ignorance or curiosity, and it’s good to be prepared and be able to answer them.  I’ve included a list of the reading I’ve done in my previous post Planning a HBAC – Why?.

Talk to your partner

Support is so important.  Share your research with your partner.  Make sure they are on your side from the beginning, so that you can stand united.

Think about your birth preferences

I think most women who are planning a VBAC really just want to have a birth where they feel in control of what is going on.  So it’s a good idea to be clear in your mind about what you really want.  This applies if you are having a hospital VBAC or a repeat ceasarean as well.  I prefer to call this birth ‘preferences’ rather than a birth ‘plan’ because it feels more flexible.  If you’re having a home birth this is less of an issue, but it’s still worth considering.  It’s also important to talk your preferences through with your midwife in advance, so that they are aware of what you want and there are no surprises on the day.  Some issues you might want to think about are:

  • Do you want routine VEs?  If so, do you want to know what the result is or just be told that you are progressing or not.
  • What pain relief would you like to use?
  • Would you like to use water – a birth pool, bath or shower?
  • Cord clamping/cutting and placenta – would you like a managed (by injection) or physiological third stage?

Release any fears

If you had a difficult experience first time around then you may have some unresolved fears or anxieties.  It is best to deal with them as soon as possible so that you can relax and enjoy your pregnancy.  Fear can also hold back labour, so even though it is hard, it is important to face it head on.  You can do this in whatever way feels most comfortable to you.  You might like to talk to a sympathetic friend or family member or try formal counselling (CBT is particularly good if you have anxiety or any post traumatic stress).  Writing or journalling can help you to explore your feelings more privately (there are some excellent activities in the book Birthing from Within that can help with this).  You can write a letter to anyone who you feel may have let you down in your previous birth and then burn it.  Hypnobirthing courses include a emotional release session, which allows you to let go of any lingering fears in a very safe way, without even having to consciously think about them, and the natal hypnotherapy VBAC CD has a fear release session on one of the discs.

Support for the birth

Do your best to ensure you have plenty of support for the birth itself.  If your birth partner is going to be your partner, mum, sister or someone else make sure they are clued up about VBAC and talk to them about your birth preferences so they can advocate for you while you are in labour.  You might like to consider hiring a doula, preferably one with experience of attending VBACs at home, as they will be able to reassure you and speak up for you, as well as encouraging your partner to support you.  You can also find support online, for example on Facebook there are home birth and VBAC groups where women share birth stories, ask questions and get advice from each other.

Independent midwives

Most NHS midwives have never attended a HBAC, and as they are trained to view VBACs as high risk, and used to managing them under strict hospital protocols, they may be nervous or find it difficult to support you at the birth.  In some areas home births are attended by whoever is on call, so you may not even have met the midwives who attend your birth.   An independent midwife is one that is self-employed and operates independently from the NHS, and can offer you continuity of care throughout pregnancy, birth and postnatally.  They mostly attend home births and are experienced at working with women who are considered ‘high risk’ by the NHS, including VBACs.  They are expensive but you may feel that it is money well spent to have someone who is experienced at attending HBACs, and who can give you one-to-one care throughout your pregnancy, during labour and afterwards.

Positive brainwashing

Surround yourself with positive images and thoughts about birth.  Our culture and media is full of messages that birth is painful and scary, when in fact it does not have to be.  Avoid watching programmes like OBEM as those shows tend to focus on the dramatic, with things going wrong.  There are lots of lovely home birth videos on YouTube.  Read positive birth stories.  One book that has really helped me is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, which has lots of positive birth stories which really make birth seem like no big deal, and also explains about the physiological processes of birth.  Hypnobirthing is also fantastic for this as you listen to positive birth affirmations daily, which helps you to think positively about your body and labour and birth.

Although there are obviously no guarantees when it comes to childbirth, I think it is worth approaching labour and birth as positively and proactively as you can.  My hypnobirthing teacher suggested planning it in the same way as you plan your wedding day – instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong, plan for it to be a happy occasion, and work hard to prepare yourself, don’t just leave it to chance.  At the very least I feel that using this approach has helped me to relax and enjoy my pregnancy so much more this time around, and I’m hoping that no matter what happens, my birth experience will be a calm and positive one.

Have you had/are you planning a home birth after caesarean?  What are you doing to prepare yourself?  What do you feel helped you to have a positive experience?

Christmas Countdown Week 2

Christmas Countdown Week 2

3D Christmas Tree – simply cut out two Christmas tree shapes from a cardboard box, paint both sides green or cover with green paper, and then decorate! We used sparkly pompoms, Christmassy sequins and glitter, you could also use tin foil, milk bottle tops, tissue paper (screwed into balls to make baubles), sweet wrappers etc.  K loved this activity and it took us 2 days to complete (as we had to allow time for the paint to dry before painting the other side, and then wait for the glue to dry on each side) and it now has pride of place in her bedroom.

Customising Christmas Baubles (inspired by Learn with Play at Home) – I set up an invitation to create with baubles, sequins and other sparkly bits, glitter glue, and glue with a cotton bud.  We placed the bauble in a cup to stop it rolling around while K decorated it.  It’s a very open ended activity and K particularly liked putting glitter glue on the baubles (she has a slight obsession with putting glitter on things, but who can blame her!).  Squeezing tubes of glitter glue is great for strengthening muscles in the hands and fingers, and putting on the dots of glue and placing the sequins helps to develop fine motor skills.  K has asked to do it again 3 times so far this week – our Christmas tree is looking a bit full now!

Christmas Present Wrapping Game (inspired by Montessori Mischief) – I filled a shoe box with some offcuts of wrapping paper, scissors, a small sellotape dispenser, ribbon, bows, gift tags and a pencil.  Then we played a game of wrapping toys, putting them under the tree and opening them.  K thought this was great fun and decided she was an elf, she spent a good hour playing with it.  It’s the first time she’s used a sellotape dispenser so I had to teach her how to use it properly.  It’s also a good way to learn about and practise social skills as we talked about giving presents to others and saying thank you as we received presents.

Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits

Making Gingerbread Biscuits – a traditional Christmas activity but one that I was excited to try this year as I recently discovered you can make a reindeer by turning a gingerbread man upside down!  I have to be honest, I find cooking with K a bit stressful sometimes as I tend to be quite precise measuring ingredients which is difficult with an enthusiastic 3-year-old.  It’s also quite messy and I get frustrated when she tries to eat all the ingredients as we go along.  This is something I need to work on as cooking is a fantastic activity for young children, because not only is it fun and you get to eat something tasty at the end, but it also covers so many different areas of learning including maths, science, health and so on.  Decorating the biscuits was really fun, K helped me put the eyes (raisins) and buttons/nose (smarties) on the gingerbread men and reindeer, and I let her have free rein with the stars and some silver balls to keep her occupied while I piped on the other details.

I think the best thing about all the craft activities we have done this week was that it was all done using bits and bobs that we had around the house anyway.  We used some things that would otherwise have gone to waste, like leftover pieces of wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, and extra baubles that we hadn’t put on the tree.  I love doing crafts (can’t help it, used to be a primary school teacher!) and so I always tend to pick up crafty bits like pompoms and glitter glue whenever I see them.  And I always make sure I have some tubes of writing icing and decorations in the kitchen cupboard for a rainy day.  So all of this fun hasn’t really cost us anything this week.

We also had our playgroup Christmas party this week with another visit from Santa (that’s 3 presents from Santa already!) and K’s first preschool nativity.  She was an angel and was a total superstar, normally when there are lots of people around she’s quite reserved but she joined in with all the singing and dancing, and even worked her way to the front! When she spotted us she waved at us with a big grin on her face, and just carried on dancing!  We were very proud parents.  We’ve also had the Christmas themed playdough we made last week out again several times, listened to lots of Christmas music and done some Christmas colouring in sheets.

Christmas Countdown Week 1

I have a confession to make: I LOVE Christmas!  I’m not religious (I’d describe myself as a secular humanist with a touch of Buddhist) but for me it really is the most wonderful time of the year.  I find it cheers me up at a time of year that would otherwise be dark and gloomy.  I like all the traditions, the decorations, Christmas lights, roast turkey with all the trimmings, mince pies… and I love all the make believe with Santa, reindeer and elves.  My little girl is 3 now and is beginning to understand about Christmas this year, and I want to make it a magical experience for her.  So every day in December, we are doing something Christmassy to get us in the festive spirit.  Some people have made advent activity trees which look amazing but at 32 weeks pregnant that’s a bit too much commitment for me (not to mention forward planning) so we’re making it up as we go along.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this week:

Christmas Countdown Week 1

Salt dough Christmas tree decorations (via The Imagination Tree) – this was spread over three days.  The first day we made the dough and dried out the shapes in the oven, the second day we painted them with some metallic acrylic paints, and the third day we added glitter for extra sparkle.  We had loads to put on the tree and we’ve also saved a few to give to relatives as gifts, as a way to encourage K to think of others.

Christmas fine motor playdough (via Racheous) – we made some red and green playdough using The Imagination Tree’s 4-minute no-cook recipe, with added glitter and peppermint extract for a multi sensory experience.  We made the dough together and I provided a craft box filled with items like tiny stars, beads, buttons, feathers, lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and goggly eyes, mostly red and green coloured.  K LOVED this activity because it was completely open ended.  First she made a ‘monster’ using the red playdough, then she stuck all the lolly sticks into the green playdough for ‘traffic lights’, and finally she had to go and get some of her Peppa Pig characters to join in the fun! From start to finish this kept her independently entertained for a full hour (apart from making the playdough which we did together) and I really enjoyed seeing where her imagination took her.  Manipulating the dough and all the little pieces is great for strengthening muscles in the hand and fingers as well as developing fine motor skills, which is all important for writing and lots of other life skills.

Christmas bath puzzles – I cut out some shapes from craft foam to make a reindeer and a Christmas tree.  Craft foam will stick to shiny surfaces like bath tiles when wet (you could also do this on a window).  I stuck all the pieces onto the wall randomly as an invitation to play and K couldn’t wait to get in the bath.  I think she spent about half an hour in the bath putting all the pieces on the wall and rearranging them – she loves Christmas trees so she had great fun putting all the tinsel and baubles on the tree, pretending the wind was ‘blowing them away’ and then putting them back on again!  You could also do this with a Santa or elf face or a snowman.

Meeting Santa – I took K to Bluewater to meet up with a relative as it is about halfway between where we both live.  We went to the Winter Wonderland to meet Santa in his grotto.  K was very excited until we got to the door and then got really scared, as many young children do.  She refused to talk to Santa but I had a lovely chat with him, he has asked us to leave a mince pie and a glass of milk on Christmas Eve out for him (no alcohol this year as last year he had an incident with a tree), plus some carrots and water for the reindeer.  When we got home we had to reenact this several times, right down to saying ‘cheese’ for the photo!

Spotting Christmas lights – the day after we went to Bluewater I was feeling pretty tired so I went for a lazy option of driving through a housing estate to see what Christmas lights we could spot, on our way to pick daddy up from work.  No picture as I was driving!

We’ve also put up our tree this week and decorated it (I’ll admit it, we put it up on 1st December!) which was great fun to do together as a family.  K has also had her advent calendar to open each morning (just a bog standard chocolate one, although I’m eyeing up a Playmobil one for next year).  She also has a Disney Christmas CD which we have listened to approximately 752 times this week as well as reading a few Christmas story books she has.  And today we went to our local NCT Christmas party which was great fun with face painting, crafts, toys, and an appearance from Santa to hand out presents.

Next week some highlights include our local playgroup Christmas party and K’s first ever nativity play at preschool (tissues at the ready!), and to get a sneaky peek at some of the crafts we might be doing check out my Christmas activities Pinterest board.

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Planning a HBAC (Home Birth After Caesarean) – Why?

I had my first daughter by emergency caesarean just over 3 years ago.  I am currently expecting baby number 2 in early February next year.  I live in the UK and In my area, I can choose whether to have a repeat caesarean, a hospital birth or a home birth.  I am automatically classed as ‘high risk’ by the NHS, but despite this I am planning to have the baby at home.

High risk

After a caesarean section, in subsequent pregnancies there is a small risk of scar rupture during labour.  The actual level of risk is about 0.2-0.5% according to the most recent studies (older studies have included medically induced labours which increases the risk).  The risk of the baby dying is even smaller (about 1 in 10,000), and the overall risk of uterine rupture is no different to first pregnancies – there was no mention of this risk in my first pregnancy, but now that I have had a caesarean it is the first thing that midwives want to talk about.  There are other things that can go wrong in any pregnancy but none of them are singled out to the same degree as scar rupture is for VBAC mothers, if they are even mentioned at all.

The NHS doesn’t distinguish between different levels of risk and so this slight increase is automatically classed as ‘high risk’.  In my area, this means that I am not ‘allowed’ in a midwife led unit (MLU) and have to choose between the hospital labour ward or home birth.  This seems rather illogical to me, to allow me to give birth at home but not in the MLU,  but I was told that they do not admit so-called ‘high-risk’ women because it can affect their success rates.

Hospital protocols

Women having VBAC in hospital are usually advised to have continuous fetal monitoring (CFM) which involves having two monitors strapped to your stomach, which are attached by wires to a machine that continuously monitors uterine contractions and the baby’s heartrate.  One of the early warning signs of scar rupture can be a drop in the baby’s heartrate so this monitoring aims to detect any problems early. However, it still requires a human being to check the readings, and in a busy hospital ward there is no guarantee that there will be enough midwives available to do this regularly.  It also restricts movement as mothers are usually confined to the bed on their back, which is known to increase the likelihood of further intervention.  In addition, it is not the only indication of a scar rupture, and on VBAC forums online there are stories from women who have experienced scar rupture where the baby’s heartrate did not drop.

Other hospital protocols for VBAC labours include having an IV or cannula placed on admission, early admission to hospital, and restrictions on the length of the first and second stages of labour.  None of these protocols are based on research and there is no evidence that they improve safety for mother or baby.  They do however interfere with the natural progression of labour and increase the chances of intervention.  It is important to remember that none of these protocols are legally binding and if you do choose a hospital VBAC, you don’t have to go along with them if you don’t want to.

Early warning signs

As mentioned above, the most well-known indicator of a possible scar rupture is a drop in the baby’s heartrate.  This can be monitored by CFM in hospital, or via intermittent monitoring using a handheld device (the same kind that is used to check the baby’s heartrate during pregnancy).  There are other indicators which include a spike in the mother’s temperature, a drop in the mother’s pulse, pain in between contractions, unexplained bleeding, and the mother’s instinct that something is wrong.  An attentive midwife would easily spot these signs, and in the case of a home birth would call an ambulance straight away to transfer the mother to hospital.

Personal Choice

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of weighing up the different risks and benefits of each option: repeat CS, hospital VBAC or HBAC.  Personally I would support any woman to make the choice that she feels most comfortable with, and I can understand why someone might choose any of those options – it’s a very individual thing.  If you had your first baby by elective caesarean then a repeat CS might seem like the safe option, as you’ve been through it before (and also makes it easier to arrange childcare).  Some people will feel safer planning a hospital VBAC, knowing that if anything does go wrong they are in a building full of doctors and medical equipment.  And some people will feel more comfortable at home, where they have much more control over the environment and feel more relaxed (and you may not even need to arrange childcare!).

Myself, I am opting for a home birth after carefully considering the pros and cons of each option.  From the research I have done (see below), it seems that the risk of having any intervention is lower for women planning a home birth, although I understand that if something does go wrong, there is the added delay of having to wait for an ambulance and transfer to hospital.  I don’t feel like a hospital birth is the right choice for me as I have a phobia of hospitals and doctors, and fear can slow or even stop labour from progressing.  In addition, during my first labour I was on CFM most of the time and I found being stuck on the bed extremely uncomfortable, and made me feel trapped and even more scared.  For these reasons, I feel that my chances of success are far, far greater at home, and the benefits of being at home outweigh the risks.  It also means my 3-year-old daughter can be present at the birth, which is important to us, although we will have some friends on standby to pick her up if she becomes distressed or bored, or in an emergency.

Further Reading

There are two books I would highly recommend, the first is Birth after Caesarean by Jenny Lesley (available from AIMS) which has a very balanced and sensitive approach to both VBAC and planned caesarean.The second is Vaginal Birth After Caesarean: The VBAC Handbook* by Helen Churchill and Wendy Savage which again discusses the pros and cons of VBAC and caesarean and has advice on maximising your chances of success if you choose to plan a VBAC.

There are a lot of resources online about VBAC and HBAC, the following are ones found particularly helpful, several of which are from midwifery publications and websites:

Sources

*Disclosure: This is an affiliate link and I will receive compensation if you choose to buy this book after clicking on this link.