Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Second Time Around: Childbirth and What I Wish I'd Known Last Time: Part 1

I should start this small series of posts with a warning: I've been thinking a lot about how different having Maggie will be from my "birth experience" last time... so there will be some things in this post, positive and negative, about "last time."

I never was really bothered when people told me child birth horror stories when I was pregnant, because I kept thinking, "what are the odds of that actually happening to me?!?!" But since last time could very appropriately be described as a "horror story" I'd like to warn any pregnant moms out there (or future pregnant moms) before they go any further. On the other hand, there is a bit of "if I'd known then what I know now" that will probably come out, and truly, if I had known then what I know now, it might now have been nearly as "horror story-ish." And actually this first part of the post won't be all that horror story-ish... the second post will get a little more into what went wrong.

As many of you know, this will, if all goes smoothly, be a scheduled c-section. At the start of this pregnancy I was very upset about that fact. My doctor would let me try giving birth naturally this time and says she thinks I would have a 50% chance of being successful (although in the same breath she pointed out that my husband is very big and that this baby will also probably be very big, just like her sister). The hospital, however, has a no VBAC policy for insurance reasons that have to do with not having an anesthesiologist full time on the OB floor. There are three hospitals that deliver babies in a two and a half hour radius... none of them do VBACs...

The thing that bothers me the most about the policy is that it isn't on a case by case basis. If I was told I couldn't have a c-section because the doctor thought it was dangerous I'd be okay with it. Being told I have to have a c-section because the hospital doesn't want to be sued is something else altogether. It also irks me that this is coming from a "Catholic" hospital (although I'm sure most of you have read about how "Catholic" Catholic Healthcare West is these days... apparently they're okay with abortions on a "case by case basis" but not VBACs?). I feel like this particular hospital policy is putting me, and other women, at greater risk in the future for some catastrophic event (like a rupture from having too many c-sections), simply because they're afraid of being sued. They're priorities are more than a little out of line. Because let's face it, we're going to keep following the Church's teachings on being open to life... and the danger level is going to go up and up and up with each subsequent pregnancy. So I'm not okay with the policy...

On the other hand, I do feel like Maggie is bigger than Sadie was and Sadie was 9lbs 4 oz. After Sadie was born I was told by three different doctor's that we both would have died without the c-section... and so I imagine my odds for success now, that Maggie is measuring 3 weeks ahead of schedule, would be less than 50%. Either way, I've had more than eight months to become resigned to the c-section and despite my little rant, I've accepted it... Mostly...


  1. I came across your post in a Google Alert. I just wanted to let you know that if you don't want to have a c-section, you can find a way to VBAC. Forcing a woman to have surgery against her will is utterly reprehensible! Not to mention, the recent NIH conference on VBACs suggested the repeal of the VBAC guidelines on anesthesia availability. If a hospital doesn't have the resources for an emergency that arises in childbirth (vaginal, cesarean, or VBAC), then how can they handle ANY emergency situation? It's a bogus claim on the part of hospitals.

    Please consider contacting your nearest chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) if you haven't already. They can assist you in finding VBAC resources. Best of luck to you for a healthy and safe birth, no matter the type of delivery.

  2. If you want to have a large family, you should really seek out a VBAC. Each cesarean impacts your future fertility. With each cesarean the chance of hemorrhage and hysterectomy increases. Secondary infertilty, abnormal placenta implantation, bleeding. All of these are reasons for a mama who wants more than two kids to seek out a VBAC and avoid another cesarean. Do seek out your local ICAN chapter. It is not too late!


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