Saturday, April 28, 2012

VBACs and "Choice"

You know what I think is strange?  That people across the country are outraged when they hear of legislation that would require a woman to look at an ultrasound picture of the life growing inside of her, an ultrasound that would already have had to be done for the doctor to see the baby, but that no one bats an eye when a huge number of hospitals in this country require that women have major abdominal surgery, undertaking far greater risks, because insurance companies have decided they like it better that way.

So it's a woman's right to decide whether or not to look at a picture that's already going to be taken, but it's not my choice to decide whether or not I want to have a surgeon cut into my uterus to remove my baby when there's no actual medical reason, to do so?

When we moved for Law School last year I had one very real hope for the immediate future and that was to move to an area where there existed a hospital that didn't have ridiculous "based on our insurance" VBAC policies, but instead actually based their policies on the health of the individual woman and the advice of her OB.

When Paul was accepted to Ave I immediately started googling Florida and VBACs and found that the area I was moving into was apparently just as bad as the one I was moving out of.  Every hospital I could find had either a formal or a de facto VBAC ban.  In California I could have driven four hours to get to a hospital that allowed VBACs.  Here it would be over a hundred miles north or east to find a hospital where it's "allowed."  The closest chapter of ICAN, according to their site is also over a hundred miles away, but I do plan on getting in touch with them.

With Mae I should have fought for a VBAC and I didn't because I still retained at tiny bit of trust and respect for hospitals and, despite the pretty horrible mistakes that were made during my previous labor (turning pitocin up, when the doctor said to turn it off, causing a contraction that lasted for an hour, after an emergency c-section had been ordered... to name one...), I still kind of believed they knew best.  Or at least had the best intentions.

I no longer believe that.  I've met individuals who I know devote their lives to helping people, doctors and nurses who are wonderful.  And I have a two page apology from one of the local hospitals about the incidents that occurred last April that basically says: "our contract workers really aren't our workers."  But the naivety that resulted in my last c-section is gone.  I'm no longer leaving my safety and health decisions in others hands.  You see, I've also met doctors who've endangered my life with their arrogance, so the blind trust has certainly disappeared.  I'm not going to do anything just because the hospital says it's best for them.

There's so much insanity surrounding VBAC policies.  When I went to the hospital the day before Mae was born, they sent me home.  I labored for hours at home, which seemed ridiculous since they were just going to make me do a c-section at the hospital.  And it sort of destroys the idea that they were so incredibly worried about my contractions rupturing my uterus, since they were okay with me having contractions and progressing at home, and told me to wait until I was far enough along to go into the hospital (I was 3 cm the first time I was sent home... my c-section was scheduled for three days later...).

And as for dangerous, what's going to be more dangerous, trying a VBAC after one or two c-sections, or having c-section after c-section since our family is open to life?  While I have no idea how long I'll be fertile, at thirty, it is possible that I have quite a few years left, just as it's possible that this is it.  We have averaged a baby every two years since we've been married.  Would they rather risk seven c-sections, or a VBAC after two?  I have a feeling that one is much more dangerous than the other.

But the hospitals and their insurance companies, often seem to only care about the risks right in this moment, at the expense of the individual's long term well being.

I'm really hoping for a VBAC this time.  If there's a medical reason for another c-section than I'll have one, but I'm not having one because the hospitals insurer prefers it that way.  I've heard that my doctor does VBACs, and I'm planning on asking what she thinks at my next appointment (all my other appointments have been about some scare or another and I always forget to bring it up!).  Does she do VBA2Cs?

I sure hope so...

I'm also thinking of trying hypno-babies since the nurses at the hospital did go out of their way to try to terrify me about VBACs during my miscarriage (isn't that sweet?).  So if anyone has any experiences with that program I'd love to hear about them!


  1. *hugs*

    Good luck! We have a couple Vba2c hopefully mama's in my ddg... and there was one in another group that did have a vba4c. There are dr's and midwives who'll do them is just a bit harder to find unfortunately.

    As for Hypnobabies, I definitely recommend it. Having your hubby on board helps a lot (can be done without that, but still). Already having kids I can say its a bit hard some days to find time to practice... so something to think about how to work in ahead of time since it is important to do so every day once you start. Other than that it's not hard though, a very straightforward class and helped me a ton.

  2. Before I got pregnant with my first child I knew I wanted to have a midwife rather than a doctor deliver my baby. My mom worked for several OBGYNs when I was a child and I knew that medical intervention was often more harmful at times than natural progression. My husband, who hates medicine and doctors, surprised me when he said midwives were not an option and that I need to deliver in a hospital. He was so frightened by the medical community's view of pregnancy, he couldn't see the huge flaws in the system.

    I ended up with an emergency c-section for which I am still very upset about. I did the whole pitocin thing, without pain killers for 8 hours hoping I would deliver naturally. It took an hour of demanding they turn the pitocin off for them to believe me. I knew the consequences of my decision. I knew that demand would equate to a c-section. What I really hated was that the nurses were "bothered" by the noise I was making due to pitocin. Even though they weren't supposed to ask if I wanted pain meds, only I was supposed to make mention of pain killers, they still asked me every fifteen or so minutes. My husband told them not to ask me anymore, hurray husband, but they ignored him.

    After my baby was born and I was seen by my OBGYN six weeks later, I specifically asked him about VBACs. He said he will do them and that they are less risky than c-sections. My insurance has a policy that after two c-sections you are only allowed c-sections, no more VBACs. I talked with him about multiple c-sections, because you never know what a hospital will do, and he told me he had done 11 c-sections on one woman. He told me the only reason he would advise me to refrain from getting pregnant would be if I had a heart problem, which I don't.

    The other interesting thing I learned was that just because you have a big baby, doesn't mean it's impossible to deliver naturally, as most hospitals would like you to believe. Back in 1901, Lou Gehrig was born at 14 lbs. You can bet c-sections were not a option and his mother survived. He went on to be a famous baseball player. Don't believe everything the medical community advises. Be your own health advocate. Research everything and take control of your health. It may be annoying to nurses and doctors that you are informed but it's your health not theirs.

  3. I really hope you are able to have a VBAC. I totally agree with you about birth choice and how crazy VBAC bans are. I have known people who have had a successful VBA2C, so hopefully you will be one of them.

    I realize that this is impossible with bed rest, but hopefully you will be off soon and able to get back to walking as I believe that being in good physical shape for birth is a big factor in the ease of labor and birth. Good nutrition and regular chiropractic care (as it can help the baby be in optimal position) can also help...although if you can't go to a chiropractor, then doing t-tapp exercises (which has some chiropractic moves can help properly align the back and spine for optimal baby positioning.) Of course, having a good birth provider is probably the most important factor.

  4. Hear, hear! I could write a novel in this spot, but instead I'll just pray for you to find a practitioner that will allow you to VBA2C.

  5. I did hypnobabies, and while I found it helpful for early labor, once the painful, intense contractions started - it all flew out the window. If you are someone who has very long early labors, I think it could be worthwhile. Also, if you have anxiety about labor, or a low pain tolerance, it could be helpful. My experience though is that once it gets intense, it's too hard to remember the info and you revert back to your natural coping mechanisms.

    I share your concern about multiple Cesareans (my sister-in-law is an OBGYN and she gets very nervous after four, but has done up to six on one woman - albeit it was 6 in 18 years, with 8 years between the first four and the last two) and I hope that this time around you are a good candidate for a VBAC. Be sure to take care of yourself!

  6. What about the birthing center in Naples? Have you considered them? I think they do VBAC's.

  7. I wish the birthing center did! From everything I've read Florida banned VBACs in birthing centers in 2010. From what I can find homebirths are okay with a midwife, but it seems that no midwives around here do VBACs either. There are all these websites about fighting for birth centers in 2010... but I think they must have lost. It's just weird that they're okay with home births though... makes me think the decision was monetary and the hospitals didn't want competition.

  8. I cannot say enough good things about Hypnobabies- I recommend it to all my pregnant friends :D It helped me have the natural birth I hoped for, despite being induced for medical reasons! It is SO relaxing and really helped with pregnancy insomnia. I'm sure it is a great thing to do while on bedrest :D

    I have a friend whose mother has had 11 (YES ELEVEN!!) C-sections. She is in great health and even runs marathons! I'm sure her story is the exception, not the rule, but hey, you may be too...


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!