This is a birth post, while we climb out of the mire of sickness. ICAN, which is an organization dedicated to giving moms the support and knowledge they need to avoid unnecessary repeat C-sections, is having a blog carnival on VBAC and why they're important.
I didn't have a VBAC--but I wanted one. Desperately. My first C-section was on the heels of 45 hours of labor, including three hours of pushing, and it took months until I felt like myself again.
This place in this post is where typically, now, I would list the reasons for the C-section. But I'm not going to, because I've learned something in the three-and-a-half years since my first son was born: most of my pro-natural-birth sisters believe a necessary C-section is rarer than a polar bear in the Sahara.
And I knew I wanted a VBAC for my second. I wanted the otherworldly thrill of pushing another being out of my body; I wanted to have a sore bottom for a couple weeks instead of intense pain while walking or lifting for a couple months. When I got pregnant, I researched doctors to find the one most committed to VBACs; we hired a monitrice/doula to help me labor at home for as long as possible before we went to the hospital. I perched on a birth ball for the last trimester for optimal fetal positioning and took my vitamins and thought positive thoughts.
Then, birth number two happened. I had a husband, a monitrice, an OB/GYN all pulling for the VBAC and it didn't happen. I'm a statistical freak: two births that each have a different almost-never-happens legitimate reason for C-section.
So why would I, a woman who's never had one, consider a VBAC a vital option? Making VBACs a true option would help me connect with other mothers. I've already had the unfortunate experience of having someone ask me my birth story, and once I said, "Repeat C-section," it was as if I've admitted to flaying my children or formula-feeding them, at least. The first C-section is a mistake; the second one is apparently a choice.
For the most part, the ICAN crowd wants to know what interventions I had. They want me to tell stories about the mean, pushy doctors; the awful hospital policies; how foolish and uneducated I was. They want my medical chart. They want to point out my first misstep, whether it was walking into the hospital to deliver or having an OB/GYN instead of a midwife in the first place. If I think the C-sections were necessary, I haven't done enough homework yet.
Lots of C-sections are done for the wrong reasons. I get that. Mine weren't.
If every woman in this country had loving support for VBACs, then when a statistical anomaly like me tells her birth stories, I could get the same respect as every other mother for birthing my children. If VBACs were the norm, then my C-sections would be assumed to be necessary until proven otherwise. Right now, my friends, that's not what's assumed at all.