This one is for all you VBAC mommas out there!!!
In October of 2009 I posted a letter sent to me by Kelly, a mother who, at 35 weeks of pregnancy, was startled, hurt, confused, angry, and scared to find out that her supposedly VBAC friendly obstetrician was actually leading her on the whole time….
Dear Nursing Birth,
I’m a day short of 35 weeks pregnant today and went in for an OB appointment this morning. My doctor said that if I don’t go into labor on my own in my 39th week that (depending on how much and if my cervix is dilated) she might put me on pitocin- although she did say that “they don’t induce labor for VBAC patients”. But that they won’t let me go to 40 weeks, and that by 40 weeks they will have to schedule another c-section for me. (I live in Cedar Falls, IA)
I am shocked and angry! First of all- since when is 40 weeks, too late? My OB says it’s not wise to go to beyond 40 weeks due to increased risk of uterine rupture. But this just sounds like B.S. to me!
And how does the doc get away with not telling me something important like this until NOW? Unbelievable!! My doctor and I have already gone through my birth plan, line by line, because I want as few interventions as possible and no drugs, seeking a natural vaginal childbirth. I’ve taken 12 weeks of Bradley method birth classes to help my husband and I be better prepared this time. I also have a fantastic, knowledgeable, and supportive doula. But I can’t believe what a fight it is to have a VBAC!
If I had known sooner that this was the doctor/hospital policy for VBAC, I probably would have gone somewhere else. Since it’s so late in the game now, I’m probably going to stick it out. I don’t have to do anything they say, I can always stay at home and come in when I’m ready, and that will be after I am already in deep labor on my own.
I was just wondering if perhaps this reflects a change in my hospital’s policy for managing VBAC? One of the other OB’s I met with at the hospital said that after a high maintenance VBAC patient a few months ago (who also insisted on a natural vaginal childbirth, and did it, but most of the hospital staff were very unhappy dealing with this patient…?) that the hospital is reviewing whether to allow VBAC at all. I’m probably not helping the situation by openly trying to avoid their planned interventions. I KNOW I’m required to have continuous electronic fetal monitoring… but I’ve also been told that my labor has to be pretty much “text book” regarding continuous dilation of my cervix, and of course no tolerance for fetal distress…or else!
I just wish all women would know this before their first c-section. If you thought recovering from a c-section was bad, wait till you try to have a VBAC and deal with the red tape and lack of support from the medical community. It’s just so frustrating to have to be prepared to battle, and yet relax at the same time!
Have you heard of this kind of change in management of VBAC? That VBAC isn’t even allowed to go to 40 weeks?? Thanks for writing such an informative, educational blog and for being so supportive of natural childbirth! I have enjoyed your tips and insight from the hospital perspective (about writing birth plans, and managing your OB, and also the many ways hospital staff really will be supportive- even if you barf!).
I replied to Kelly in my post entitled “The Ol’ Bait and Switch, OR Finding Out Your OB Has Been Leading You On” with words of encouragment and some information about other scare tactics that some health care providers use to intimidate VBAC planning mommas. My main message was this:
“You deserve the opportunity to have the unmedicated, intervention-free birth that you have planned for. Your desires for said unmedicated, intervention-free VBAC are well supported by the research. You deserve to be cared for by a birth attendant who shares your philosophy regarding (among other things) childbirth and VBAC. You deserve to NOT have to worry about fighting anyone to be given a fair chance at having the birth you have been planning…not the hospital, not the nursing staff, not your obstetrician, NOT ANYONE. You deserve it for THIS birth. “
Fast forward 4 months. I was struggling with the thought of returning back to blogging as NursingBirth. I was working for a hosptial with a 40% C-section rate. I was feeling powerless. Until I saw this in my inbox…..
Hi Nursing Birth!
Hope you still plan to come back after you settle in from your move- we miss your great posts!
Also, just wanted to say thank you -again- for posting about my comment awhile back! I wanted to update you and tell you that I had a successful VBAC! Thanks for your suggestions, resources, and support!
You can read my story over at my blog: http://chun-beeks.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-birthday-john-carl-fischer.html
Hugs and best wishes,
Needless to say I was touched, proud, empowered, honored, and ESTATIC!!! There is no doubt in my mind that Kelly’s email was a main factor in my decision to return to blogging as well as take the plunge and start yet another new job! So thank you Kelly for being just as much of an inspiration to me as I was to you!!! I am so lucky to be a part of this awesome community we call the “birth blogosphere”
Congrats again Kelly!! You rock!!