Saturday, March 06, 2010

Why is VBAC a vital option?

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.


RebeccaQ said...

"If every woman in this country had loving support for VBACs, (Birth in general). 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."

my own thought inserted

No truer words have ever been spoken...
Having been on this side of two necessary CBACs, I know it's hard to experience and know the pain of a necessary C/S even in the midst of the best of circumstances; much less feeling as if you have to explain your birth experience to those who earlier had supported you.
I am sorry if you have had to deal with judgement whether intended or not.
I was very fortunate to have great support and did not receive any negative comments from my Local ICAN group. But I certainly had my own doubts and what if's. It stinks being your own worst critic.

More often than not, in group settings each individual has their own idea of what is legitimate or exaggerated reasons for a C/S. But that doesn't excuse anyone passing judgement. (((hugs)))
peace to you!

Elaine said...

I had a CBAC-- I was trying to do "Everything right" by the ICAN crowd's standards- homebirth, yadda. Baby would not come out despite hours of pushing. I had a necessary CBAC. 2 unwanted CS.
The follow up is that 3 yrs later, I had a straightforeard VBA2C. In a hospital. With a male OB. :)

Jack and Lexi's Mom said...

Your second section saved L's life. I am a midwife and a big believer in natural. However, c-sections do save lives and should not be condemmed as a whole because they are frequently misused. Don't you feel bad at all! You did everything right!