Hi Stephanie! Giving birth vaginally is absolutely doable with vaginismus. As Heather said, I used Hypnobabies for my birth. My opinion is that if you want a certain kind of birth experience, and your doctor is naysaying it, find a different doctor who will support you, and don’t feel guilty about it one bit. You need someone who is in your corner, not someone who doubts your ability to birth your child the way you want to. Or, if you’re able to, be much more assertive with her. I also highly recommend hiring a doula. Most of them have flexible payment plans if money is a little tight for you. A doula will be there to support you before, during and after birth, and they will help you make the most informed decisions during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
I’m a firm believer in not sharing birth stories with pregnant women, because your birth will be yours. It won’t be like anyone else’s. It probably also won’t be 100% true to what you plan, because birth, like motherhood, is unpredictable. I will say this though – I birthed my son vaginally, and I have vaginismus.
I mentioned Hypnobabies earlier, and this is something I highly recommend looking into. It’s a 6 week course, so you’ll want to start it soon if you decide to go this route. Hypnobabies is a birthing method that focuses on erasing our fears of pregnancy and birth, and I think that’s especially important for women like us. It’s great for anything from a home birth with no interventions to a hospital birth with lots of interventions. My water broke early, so I ended up with a hospital birth instead of the birthing center I wanted, but I was still able to use all of the relaxation techniques I learned, and it helped immensely. When you look into it, you’ll also see an alternative called Hypnobirthing. It’s a similar approach, but most women I talked to preferred Hypnobabies.
Regarding getting what you want… Be an advocate for yourself. Just as an example, when I checked into the hospital, they asked me to change into a hospital gown. I declined, saying that I’d rather wear what I came in. The nurse seemed a little taken aback, but didn’t push the issue further, and I wore what I wanted to wear, thank you very much. There were some minor things I didn’t get a choice in – for instance, when the baby is actually coming out, I did have to be on the bed, but did NOT have to be laying down. The hospital’s lawyers basically don’t want the liability of having a baby fall on the floor, so the bed it was for that part. Otherwise, I walked, I sat, I squatted. I did whatever felt right at the time. If you don’t want a scheduled C-section simply because you have vaginismus, you don’t have to have one. Since your doctor already (falsely) thinks that you’ll need a C-section, I would absolutely read up in advance and know when a C-section would actually become necessary. Length of labor, as an FYI, is not an indicator for a C-section. This is also where having a doula comes in handy, because she can guide you to all of the information you’ll need to make an informed decision, especially when you’re tired and very much focused inward during your birthing time.