Some more about me (warning, about bad birth experiences)
I mentioned in my space that I had 3 unnecesareans but I didn't feel like that was the right place to divulge. Let me preface this by saying that c-sections are wonderful, life saving things- WHEN they are necessary. When they are not necessary, they carry a ton of risks and every woman should be aware of those risks and allowed to make an informed decision that she feels is best for her and her little one. I was denied this right, so please understand that there is a very good reason that I am pushing so hard for a vaginal birth after THREE cesareans.
My first birth, I was 16 and suffered from physician failure to wait. At 3cm, he ordered an epidural. I did not ask for it, I did not know the risks of having it that early nor did I know I could refuse medical treatment because I didn't know my a$$ from a hole in the ground and he took advantage of that. My waters started to leak, he ruptured them after telling me matter of factly that he was going to do so without giving me a chance to say anything. I got to 4cm and stalled for 3 hours. There was no fetal distress whatsoever but he whisked me off to the OR under the guise of failure to progress- a condition that I fully believe he caused. He is no longer allowed to deliver babies. Ever. This isn't something I did to him, as I didn't know until 2009 that this had happened. The last baby he delivered was my old supervisor's child and she had a seething hatred for him. She never told me why but I suspect it was bad. I suspect that she is the reason he can no longer deliver babies. Oddly, my stepMIL (whom I do not get along with at all) LOVES this OB and swears he's the best thing since sliced bread. I suppose...as long as you don't value your rights or well being.
My second, was an attempted vbac that the ob spent months telling me he'd "allow", then last minute made me schedule a section "just in case" but assured me that if I went into labor on my own before the c/s, he'd "allow" me a TOL. I went into labor in the pre-op room and he saw the contrax on the monitor, acknowledged that they were very regular, saw that I could not really speak between them and disappeared without checking my cervix. Next thing I know, I was being prepped for the OR, completely unable to fight for myself because of the labor pains. I believe I would have had my son naturally within the next few hours had I been left alone. The worst part about this experience was that after all of this, I read a local c-section horror story of Amber Marlowe and learned that the OB I was seeing, was the very one from that story. Had I known that, I would have ran for the hills. Again, I didn't have any idea that I was about to be taken by a butcher. A butcher that actually left staple scars the whole length of my incision. A butcher that left me feeling like Frankenstein's creation.
My third was another attempted vbac (at a different practice) which involved me arguing and flat out refusing a repeat section to every single doctor I encountered. I made the mistake of asking for pain meds at 40w4d because I had been unable to sleep through the pain for the entire night and I was exhausted. They gave me stadol- insisting it was perfectly safe and then could not find Xander's heartbeat for a short time. When they did find it, he had moved from the birth canal (probably because he too was hallucinating!) but was otherwise looking great. I was in pain, I was exhausted and they scared me into agreeing to another section by telling me that they had never seen a baby leave the birth canal and that they didn't know what it meant. I don't regret that choice but I do wish I had been given proper information on the stadol because I believe I would have refused it and I believe it was the cause of the problems. Had I refused the stadol and problems still occurred, I still would have opted for the section. My only regret with this birth was the stadol- that I did not know was an opiate that could cause respiratory problems.
This time, I WILL have a vbac. I am woman, hear me roar! No doctor in my area is going to agree to a vba3c so this is going to be quite a fight for me but barring any real emergencies, I will push this baby out myself. I know that I can do it. I just need to be allowed to follow my baby's cue's instead of a surgeon's.
In my case, I feel like my c-section was absolutely necessary, so while my birth experience was traumatic, I still feel trust for the hospital I birthed at and the doctors there. They didn't bother me with any talk of a c-section for 38 hours, then when they brought it up, it was still put in a way that was MY choice. As in, "Well, you're pushing involunarily at 8cm, the baby is showing some distress, and you have an infection. You can labor for a couple more hours and see where it goes, but we'd recommend a c-section at this point. What would you like to do?"
No one in the hospital ever even mentioned an epidural to me, even after my Mom went to the nurses station screaming at them to tell me to have one, because it was in my birth plan that I wanted a natural birth.
Now I have to choose between a VBAC and a repeat c-section and I'm still not sure which way I'm going to go. I have a supportive doctor, so I'm not worried about her pushing me one way or another.
I'm really glad that you ABSOLUTELY know what you want to do, though! That must be a great feeling! I hope you find the supportive doctor you're looking for to assist in your birth.
I am an advocate for VBAC's and recently had one with my second child. The first was an emergency c-section due to fetal distress after many unneccessary interventions (doctor broke my water while "checking" dilation, started pitocin w/o my consent and knowledge). The second, they tried to "scare" me into a c-section by saying my son was too big to deliver vaginally (at an estimated 8lb 3 oz) and that I had less than an 80% change to deliver vaginally. Luckily, another OB was on call when I made it to the hospital at 40+3 weeks and I delivered a healthy 8lb boy! After the fact, I obtained my medical records and found out that my OB had scheduled a c-section mere days after I delivered w/o my knowledge and/or consent (different OB than my first birth). It just shows that some OB's are surgery happy regardless of what they say initially about being OK with a VBAC.
I will say, I give a lot of credit to my Doula. Anytime the OB came in she would be my voice and tell them I needed to talk/think before doing anything. She helped me build the courage to take charge of my birth, to say no to all interventions, and ultimately have the most amazing and successful natural-unmedicated VBAC.
You CAN do it - sounds like you have great enthusiasm and probably lots of research. Best of luck with your VBAC!! Have you thought about hiring a Doula?
Cindy, that's so awesome that you have a supportive doctor! Your experience is one of those that really, truly, makes c-sections a miraculous thing. They really are life saving procedures that have made a difference in labors where there are complications. I respect them when they're needed. The World Health Organization does not feel that the c-section rate should be above 10-15% though and nationally, we're at about 33% so they're definitely being performed excessively.
Rebecca, congrats on your VBAC I am hoping to hire a doula. There is only one that I know of for sure in the area. Oddly though, the OB that did my last section (he was a sweetheart, despite things not ending the way I wanted them to) told me that he wants to open a doula service in the hospital and that he thinks I should train to be a doula because he thinks I have a lot of support to offer laboring moms. I'd rather be a midwife but it was such an awesome thing for him to say. That same OB also told me, "you are my hero. I wish more moms that came in here were as informed as you are and as determined to make the best decision for their baby." He was an awesome OB given the bad circumstances. He actually told me that had he done my prior sections himself, he wouldn't have even batted an eye at letting me vbac- he just didn't trust someone else's work.
Ideally, I'd like a homebirth but DH is not on board because it'd be my first vaginal delivery so he's just nervous. We compromised, there is a woman in our area that is a direct entry midwife and also offers doula/montrice services. I didn't really know what the latter meant until just right now when I was reading her site again and that's exactly what I want. I was going to hire her as a midwife and then just go to the hospital last minute but her doula/montrice services actually cover vag. exams for progress of labor and is more than half the price so I'm glad I re-read through her site because that's actually more of what I'm looking for anyway.
All of the hospital's around here have c-section rates of about 30% though and there are NO birth centers so I don't have tons of options.
Again, I can't stress enough that I'm not anti c-section by any means. I'm just hardcore proVBAC for myself but I figured it's easier to understand why, if you've seen what I've been through. I'm also hardcore informed consent- which is clearly not like you experienced, Rebecca, with a doctor starting pit without your knowledge!
Wow, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that! I'm (hopefully) a first time mom to be so I never really put too much thought into how I want my birth experience to go. Thanks for posting this. You've given much food for thought. I hope that this time around you do get to experience VBAC!
Oh yeah, I had a doula too. I forgot to mention it. Crazy cause she was there through the ENTIRE process, all through Thanksgiving Day too. Doulas are WONDERFUL. I've spoken with a student doula (I just ran into her in a playground) and told her I was considering a VBAC and she referred me to a doula who specializes in VBACs. I'm going to wait a few more months to decide and call her if that's the way I decide to go.
The hospital I deliver at is actually very supportive of VBACs. According to other women who have had VBACs there, they perform VBACs really often and are encouraging. I even asked about VBACs at that hospital AS I was going in for my c-section... They said they did them all the time, and when I looked into it, they do. It's pretty common there.
I absolutely agree, this country performs way more c-sections than necessary. There's definitely something wrong with that. I actually thought I read in one of Ina May's book that her rate of c-section on the farm was actually around 3%... That says something. I read the book a while ago, but I distinctly remember reading that. Many women aren't even told that a VBAC is an option for them... It's just, "Okay, looks like you had a c-section. Let's schedule a repeat." I've heard lots of women say that when they brought up a VBAC to their doctor, they just tell them they *can't* because of the risk of a uterine rupture, they never mention that the risk is less than 1%.
I definitely think a doula is a great idea, for ANY birth. I think they're completely necessary for a VBAC, especially with how negative many hospitals are regarding VBACs. Again, good luck!
I was very lucky and had a vaginal birth - although they were on the verge of using forceps and I had been pushing for 1 hour. When they said that I worried me so much I pushed too hard and ended up with a second degree tear along with graising down the inside and had to be stitched and put on a catheter for 3 days.
Jina, you'll do fine, just make sure you advocate for yourself and have a good support system. I advise making a birth plan. Even if you can't figure out what you want specifically, you can figure out what you DON'T want and make informed decisions at the time of birth. For instance, I did not know with my first pregnancy that an internal fetal monitor screws into the baby's scalp or I would have outright refused it. Nobody told me exactly what it was. I had no clue until it was too late. Now, some moms do want that and that's their choice- as long as they actually know what it involves- otherwise the doctor made the choice for them by neglecting to give them the information. So ask lots of questions and arm yourself with knowledge and you'll do great.
I think if I had had a doula the first time I tried to VBAC, I would have been successful because I couldn't fight through those contractions and DH was just too flabbergasted to say anything- because he didn't expect any of that to happen. Doula's are a dime a dozen around here though and with my first VBAC, I assumed (wrongly) that I wouldn't need one because I had been told by that very practice that they'd allow me to VBAC back when they did my section! With my second VBAC, I couldn't afford a doula and I wish that I had been able to. It's happening this time and I will be successful.
Cindy, I wish you the best in whichever you decide.
I actually had a negative experience the other night where a woman attacked me for my choice to vbac. She told me I was being selfish (selfish, for not wanting to go through that trauma again if I can avoid it) and that my baby's safety should be more important. The most recent study (done this year) found that moms who have had multiple sections did not experience higher instances of complications than moms with one prior cesarean. They study followed moms who attempted vba3+c. It's a newish study but it supports all of the previous data that there's no huge increase in risk after multiple sections, yet this person decided to berate me anyway. She had a section and then opted for a repeat section because she felt less than 1% was too high of a risk- I'm not mocking her, she actually said that. That's all fine and dandy but just because she made a different choice does not make me selfish or a horrible person. I've been researching vbac's for 7 years now- to which she of course said that "anyone can go on google and "research" and that I should listen to my doctors. I read medical journals and read through entire studies. I don't just "google" things. What's worse is that I didn't ask her opinion about my choice to VBAC. I asked a group opinion about my prospective doula who shares different personal beliefs than I do. People are mean.
I had no idea about the internal fetal monitor! I have a lot of learning and research to do. Maybe I should look into hiring a doula. As for the crazy lady who attacked you, please don't give her any thought. Only you know what's best for you and it sounds like you've done a ton of research. People are always going to attack what they don't understand.
Danielle- That is HORRIBLE. I can't believe she would call you selfish for making that decision... First off, it's none of her business. Second, there are a TON of risks associated with having a repeat c-section too!! Who is she to say YOU'RE selfish?? There are risks no matter what you decide when it comes to VBACs and repeat c-sections. And any DOCTOR will tell you THAT. Not "google". Makes me mad for you.
Jina- Oh yeah, there are lots of things that are common place during hospital births that have risks they don't tell you about when they're doing them. You have to ASK what the risk is when they ask to do it (or when they TELL you they're about to do it, which they will often do). They feel the benefits outweigh the risks, but you might not always agree with that. Have you considered any birthing classes yet? My husband and I took Bradley Method courses and found them really informative. Bradley Method encourages natural pain management, with your partner as your coach, and as few interventions at hospital births as possible. They also educate you on common interventions and what the risks are, as well as when interventions ARE necessary. It was great.
A doula, like I mentioned before, is a FABULOUS idea as well! They are so supportive and informative. They're not afraid to tell you that you have a choice in interventions when the doctor is telling you matter of factly that they're going to "start pitocin", "attach an internal monitor", "break your water" or whatnot.