Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guest post: plans for hospital VBA2C change to repeat cesarean

Well Rounded reader Sarah shared her birth story in her own words. Thank you for sharing, Sarah.


I’ve had three cesareans.  The first one was not by choice.  The second one was a decision based on lies.  The third was part of the big picture, not mine, but part of a plan, nonetheless.  
When I was pregnant with our first child, I had never even considered going to a birthing center or a midwife.  I went to a practice of obstetricians that had three male doctors.  I went to a birthing class given by the hospital.  Wasn’t that what all pregnant women did?  
Around month 7, I noticed a very hard lump under my rib cage.  I kept asking the doctor if this perhaps could be my son’s head.  He kept reassuring me that he could feel the head “down there”.  My husband even voiced his concerns and again the doctor said it was all fine.  At week 40, my cervix was 85% effaced, but I hadn’t dilated at all.  My official OB was in Paris on vacation, so I saw another doctor from the practice.  He immediately ordered an ultrasound to determine the baby’s position.  Breech.  He said, “You are going in tomorrow morning for a C-section.”  I cried.  It didn’t even occur to me to question this decision that was made for us.  Our birth story was forever altered by a stranger.  
There was never any mention of exercises to correct a breech presentation.  There was never any mention of attempting aversion.  There was never any mention of attempting labor to see if the child might flip over during contractions.  They didn’t cover cesareans in the ill-informative birthing class.
When I became pregnant with our second child, I inquired about attempting a VBAC.  My OB immediately shot my request down.  “Why would you want to do that?”  Also, he said that the rate of uterine rupture was much higher than they originally thought.  He said the risk of rupture was over 30%. [Well Rounded Birth Prep adds: The actual statistics for uterine rupture for VBAC range from 0.7% to 0.9%.]  Who would want to take that risk?  My husband and I immediately scheduled the repeat cesarean.  It never occurred to us to check those statistics out on our own.  Why would our doctor lie to us???
I was all set to have my third cesarean with our third pregnancy.  But, I had met some other women who had stories to tell.  I felt that God was urging me in another direction.  Believe me; I didn’t want to go there.  Who is crazy enough to attempt a VBAC after two C-sections?  How misinformed I was!  After much prayer, my husband and I decided to go for a VBA2C.  We hired a doula and educated ourselves with informative, private birthing classes.  What an eye-opener.  Why was this information not presented in a doctor’s office or a hospital-sanctioned birth class?  We prepared to deliver our third child naturally, but in a hospital setting.  
At week 41, I finally went into labor on a Wednesday.  I was still having consistent and stronger contractions on Thursday.  By the time Friday rolled around, I was having pretty strong contractions like clockwork, every 4 minutes and 60 seconds long.  We decided Friday evening to go to the hospital.  
Within an hour upon arrival, the high-risk doctor came in to tell us our baby was in distress and we needed to immediately go to surgery.  My husband kicked everyone out of the room and we prayed together.  The baby’s heart rate instantly dropped to normal.  This would be just one out of many urgings from the many doctors we saw to have a C-section.  The fear of uterine rupture from the staff was palpable.  We ignored them.  I found out that there had never been a VBA2C in that hospital before, according to our labor nurse of 30 years in that facility.  I think the staff thought we were complete freaks, but we were given our space to labor alone.  
Saturday morning, I was still laboring naturally.  My husband and I were having an extremely emotional, intimately bonding experience, even in the hospital.  It was very spiritual with our praying and quoting scripture and breathing through contractions.  We made the decision to not use our doula; it was that special for us both.  We were walking and eating and drinking.  I was taking hot showers.  Basically, we were doing everything the hospital said I shouldn’t/couldn’t do.  
Around 3 pm on Saturday, the baby went into distress for the second time.  The doctor suspected meconium in the amniotic fluid.  So, I agreed to let him break the water to check.  It was tainted.  The doctor strongly urged us to have a C-section.  Again we requested to be alone and prayed and the baby’s heart rate returned to normal.  I continued to labor for the next five hours until we had a cesarean Saturday evening.  
I am not privy to the big picture.  I totally felt God’s presence through this entire experience.  I had wanted to have a vaginal birth and felt that God had opened us to this idea.  Lots of people had questions as to why didn’t we do this or why did we do that.   I can’t answer that.  I know God’s hand was in the entire experience and delivered us through it safely.  It was an incredible birth.
My husband and I, as well as so many friends and family, had prayed fervently to have a labor-friendly nurse and OB on call when I went into labor.  I definitely feel so blessed to have had that particular doctor on call that Saturday.  He was very honest and up front about not doing anything we didn’t agree to do.  He even stayed past his designated shift because he felt that he couldn’t leave us with the next on-call doc.  Our labor nurse told us directly that she could only recommend something, that she couldn’t enforce anything.  I highly respect these individuals and am not in any way trying to bash medical professionals.  The key in this was our vocalization.  My husband was the voice.  He said “No!” on more than one occasion.    
What I do know is that I have choices.  It is up to you to inform yourself about birth.  Don’t let someone else decide for you.  I fully believe cesareans are a necessary surgery when it is necessary.  I am not anti-cesarean at all.  I just believe all women should be informed about the “typical” birth in this country.  That is what I take from this experience.  I will educate my daughters (and son, for that matter) to be their own advocates.  They will have choices that I never knew I had.  They will get to write their own birth stories, I hope and pray.  

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