Tuesday, October 10, 2006

VBAC, anyone?

In case you've never heard the term, VBAC is *saying slowly* a vaginal birth after cesarean. Apparently, they are very hard to obtain these days due to doctor's and hospital's malpractice insurance. There is a slight risk, like .1 percentage risk of having the scar tear resulting in a uterine rupture. I'd like to know my risks of being opened up again to infection from another surgery to weigh this.

When I had my daughter, I didn't really educate myself on the whole childbirth thing. I preferred not to think about it. Birthing a human is pretty hardcore, and I should have done my homework, and should have known that you don't blindly trust your doctor and think every thing will be peachy.

Here's what happened in a nutshell:

At 40 weeks I went for my doctor's appointment and saw the nurse practitioner. I was right at my due date (these days, the medical world looks at you like you have snakes coming out of your ears if you want to go past your due date) and the NP said she needed to call the doc to look at me because he needed to get me going. Get me going? Like what, a lawn mower?

I was scheduled for an induction. At the time, I was thinking, hey I'm 40 weeks pregnant and pretty darn tired of carrying around this kid whose shoving her toes between my ribs and then wiggling them. So one night Jason drove me to the hospital and I was given cervadil, a cervix softener, lovely. Went to sleep, and then that morning, kind of started labor, was given Pitocin, an artifical hormone to increase contractions. I was feeling the pain, but not horrible and a long story short, after 10 hours only dilated to 3 centimeters. Then doc came in and said I needed to rest some more, I was going to get an epidural, have my water broken, and then if nothing happened after that, I "needed" to have a C-section.

So, as you've gathered, I ended up having a surgical birth. The surgery itself was not pleasant, but not horrific either. A little nauseating and freakish, being completely awake while the doctors are joking about golf as they slice you open. The recovery wasn't horrible either, I was up and walking around the next day. I have to admit, I didn't hate it, but didn't love it either. The traumatizing part about it was, after you have the baby, you are sewn back up while the nurses attend to the baby. You get a photo op, but then say goodbye to hubby and baby for the next hour and a half. I had lots of drugs so much of it is a blur. But I remember desperatly wanting to hold my baby. I finally got wheeled to my empty room. I pressed my nurse call button and pretty much said, where the hell is my family? Then Jason came in with the worst nurse in the hospital carting in our first born. She was from a scary movie. She looked like the headmistress in Matilda. I try not to judge by appearances, but the way she held my baby - she had her in her arms like she didn't actually want me to see my own child. And then she went off on the whole breastfeeding schpiel in a most condescending way. I had chosen to breastfeed, but I must not have looked capable, because she was talking to me like I was a four year old. Jason, was like, "Can she please just hold her baby?" She even, er, "handled" me roughly while she was teaching me how to get Hannah to latch on. Terrible.

Thank God, I never saw that nurse after that first night, and Hannah and I went on to have a very successful breastfeeding relationsip. But now that I am expecting again, I have the delemma on how I am going to get this one out. If I stay with my OB, I will have a scheduled cesarean in the same hospital. It appears that ifI go with just about any OB and in a hopsital, I will have a scheduled cesarean. I really would like to not be sliced open again if I can avoid it. According to what I have learned through word of mouth and websites like www.ican-online.org in my area, the only way to get a VBAC is with a midwife at home. Mentioning this to Jason made him uncomfortable. He didn't really like the thought of the neighbors hearing me shrieking in agony, and getting blood all over our lovely carpet.

I have heard excellent things about some midwifes and I know now that the more unecessary interventions you have the closer you get to having a C-Section. OBs are busy. They don't have time to wait around. If labor stalls a midwife will have you take a nap. If that happens with an OB, you are given drugs to hurry you up. OBs aren't like Dr. Huxtable anymore, coming in all hours of the night to deliver you. If you do happen to deliver late at night, you have whatever doc is on that night. I don't know what to do. Either way it's going to hurt, right? he he.

So I joined an email community of women who are seaking VBACs, have had them, and pretty much are all pissed off that the medical community has tried to take away their right to a natural birth in the safety of a hospital. It's like the hospitals have turned on us. But I kind of feel like the group is a downer. I don't know if I'm going to unsubscribe or not. Being an angry activist gets tiring. And I feel like a chicken, sort of just going along with my doctor for now. More reading, more research. 30 more weeks.


Blogger annie said...

What a difficult thing.
Are there any birth centers in the area? They, I am quite sure, will assist you in a vbac. Some are covered by insurance plans. Kaiser Hospitals are also generally "vbac friendly". Of course, that doesn't help if they aren't your insurance plan. I am just trying to give you some info. I am sure you have rights, I don't think they can MAKE you have another c-section.
If you need another resource, mothering.com has excellent articles written on the subject. Just enter vbac into their search. I am probably not being very helpful. But I will pray for you concerning this. You need to be able to have the birth experience you want.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...

Thanks Annie, I keep hearing so much conflicting info. I hear that one area doctor does do them, at a close by hospital, and I'm pretty sure my ins. covers him. Apparently, it is actually illegal for a hospital to do an unconsented c-section. There are ways around it but they are tricky and you have to be kind of sneaky. Not my favorite thing to do. Plus, I have doubts about my ability to have a VBAC. What if I go through all this stuff to get the birth I want but still end up in the OR?

2:14 PM  
Blogger Christopher Robin said...


My wife Katie and I are friends of Katie, aka, Xenia Kathyrin,over at The Daily Grab Bag, that's how I found your blog ;)

I just wanted to say that I am sorry that your first birth was affected so much by indifferent and critical caregivers. That sucks, and I hope you next birth is a much more positive experience.

My wife and I just had our daughter, Adella, 2 1/2 months ago, and we also have been going to an Orthodox church for a little over a year now, after us both growing up Evangelical for our whole lives.

My wife will be getting a blog soon as well, so I'll direct her here.


PS: A couple of books that helped us a lot were Babycatcher by Peggy Vincent and The Birth Book by William Sears; they are both GREAT!

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must be really frustrating. I was also induced; however, my story is very different. I had preacclampsia and my blood pressure was really high, so they had to induce three weeks early. Normally, babies are ok at that point, but that was not my son's case. I went through the same drugs as you did, but they REALLY worked for me! My contractions were off the charts for three hours straight without any break in between- and I did it without drugs. It was crazy, but I have an amazing husband who coached me through the whole thing. My son was born and whisked away to the NICU where he was hovering between life and death for about a week. His lungs weren't developed, he had pneumonia, severe jaundice and, to top it off, a broken collarbone (which is semi-common). He was a mess. We didn't get to hold him until he was a week old and I didn't get to nurse him until the following day. He is perfect now and 98th percentile for height. I often wonder how big he would have been if I had carried him full term. So that's my story :)

I pray that if you are able to have a natural childbirth with this child, that everything will go well! Just have your husband by your side.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, so I am back reading this again after your email. I am the "anonymous", but not quite sure why. I must have messed up something the day that I commented. So, I have obviously read your story before :) I'll write more in my email.

1:06 PM  

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