So, if you are a woman of the internet…what’s the chance you haven’t seen this?
(Taxman is not a woman of the internet, so he just saw it today.)
Just in case you haven’t:
This was posted on Facebook by someone I know, with some vitriol directed at the mom in question (she chose to give birth at home, against the advice of her doctor, after 3 C-sections).
Taxman wanted me to edit my Facebook response, and I wound up deleting it entirely because I was trying to work at the same time and then my brain exploded and I needed to go eat some more peanut M&Ms (thank you, Ilana).
So basically, here are my thoughts. Expanded for you all because I love you and wish you weren’t housebound by all the snow:
I don’t necessarily agree with what she did. She took a risk. There were better ways to go about it–like switching care providers. I know people who moved doctors/midwives/hospitals as late as 36 or 37 weeks into their pregnancy. Something about not showing up to your scheduled C-section smacks of junior high immaturity, like breaking up via text message. Just don’t do that.
So, switch to a midwife. Go to the Farm. At least tell your OBs that you’re leaving their care.
Frankly, I am surprised that she found ANY hospital willing to let her try a VBA3C, never mind one only 90 minutes away from her house.
But back up: In this story, the wheels came off when she wasn’t allowed to VBAC. That led to her second C-section, her third, and her ultimate distrust of the doctors and hospitals at her disposal. For me that is what’s upsetting.
This woman’s risk to herself and her fourth baby was limited to just those two people. Did she have the right to do that? I guess so. Was it a mistake? I can’t say.
But the banning of VBACs, on top of a very surgery-happy hospital establishment, makes this spill over into my court of public opinion.
In the end I have only my own experience and have only that to guide me.
I actually believe that my pelvis is narrow and that my big-hat-sized husband’s genes result in pretty large-headed kids.
On the other hand, my attempt for a VBAC was allowed. I don’t know that it was respected (by the hospital–which now bans them–or by my OB), but I wasn’t told, “No.” If I had been refused I knew enough to seek out a second opinion. I thought it was the healthier choice for me (no surgery) and for AM (the squeezing is good for lung function). It was, even if it didn’t happen.
Unfortunately for everyone–moms, dads, babies, doctors, midwives, everyone!–having a baby is not a zero-risk prospect. For every scenario there is risk. I just wish that more people would be honest about that–and let women decide for themselves what is best.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there are lots of people like me, who wanted the support of a medical environment but did not want it to be so clinical and vaguely prison-like (really? no juice?).
C-sections are safer than they once were, but still represent major abdominal surgery. VBACs have a chance for uterine rupture, but just having a C-section in the first place puts you at risk for uterine rupture. Getting pregnant after a C-section, especially soon after, puts you at risk for uterine rupture. Any OB will tell you to delay your next pregnancy after a C-section, but if you do get pregnant right away, your doctor is not going to move in with you for constant monitoring in case of uterine rupture.
What I would REALLY like to know is why ACOG isn’t standing up for women who want to VBAC. I am reminded, of course, of the AAP’s breastfeeding mess (some member doctors either ignorant of or acting at cross purposes to policy).
But mostly, I would hope that anyone who wants to try to VBAC (hey, no surgery! awesome!) is able to find a solution that makes them feel safe and secure and empowered.