Fight for Your Right to Birth: A Quest for a VBAC

by Birth Without Fear on September 13, 2011

Corey emailed me her birth story to share with the BWF Community. I love how she wrote her story in 10 main pieces! It’s very real and inspiring. ~Mrs. BWF

You Got to Fight for Your Right to Birth:  My quest for a VBAC

From Conscience Parenting

I find that when people write about their birth stories they often get caught up in the details, and while these details are of exceptional importance to the person writing them, as they should be, they can often become a little mundane or drawn out for the reader.  I am going to attempt to tell my VBAC story in only 10 pieces; pieces, not chapters.

1. I had the worst birth known to mankind with my first child that involved having preeclampsia, Pitocin, an epidural, an emergency c-section, two blood transfusions and an infection.  All of those elements combined were more than enough to make me swear I would never give birth again because in my mind my body “sucked” at giving birth.  Someday, I will write about how naïve I was while being pregnant the first time around, but that is a story for another day.

2. I thought having one C-section meant that you definitely had to have another one because something terrible would happen to you if you did not.  It wasn’t until I went for my yearly check up that I was told by my fabulous doctor, after mustering up the courage to even consider birth again, that one section did not guarantee another.

3. I became pregnant with the Mush Man.  I felt both elated and terrified.  I was elated that my son would have a brother, but terrified that I might die in birth after coming very close to it once before.  I felt as though I was tempting fate.

4. My doctor told me that I was an EXCELLENT candidate for a VBAC.  I was ecstatic.  No knives and no staples for this girl!

5. My husband gets a new job in a new city, and I have to find a new doctor.  I picked one out of the yellow pages.  She had a beautiful office and very polite staff.  That was all she had.  Well, that and the opinion that if I was going to be one of those difficult women, who just had to have a natural birth, she might consider letting me VBAC.  She then proceeded to tell me how fabulous planned sections were, and in my head I thought, “Maybe for you.”  That was the last time I saw her.

6. I called a ton of doctor offices trying to find a VBACing doc.  I quickly learned that while that movie Knocked Up did have some accurate facts, being able to interview doctors was not one of them.  I continued going to my wonderful doctor in my hometown, but finally I found a doctor, cue heavenly hallelujahs, who did VBACs.  Things were looking up.

7. When I was one month away from my due date, my new doctor informed me that she would be doing an Iron Man race in Brazil during my due date.  Crap!  However, she gave me the inside scoop on when the doctors at the hospital that perform VBACs were on call.  This would have been fantastic news had my uterus had an ON and OFF switch for controlling labor.  Nonetheless, it was something.

8. I go into labor, or so I thought, on a night that a VBAC doctor is on call.  Cue the hallelujahs again!  I go into triage, which still seems odd, and I get to wait for three hours.  The doctor feels that while I am in active labor, it is not active enough for her.  I get sent home.

9. I go into labor on a day that the doctor who does not do VBACS is on call.  Shit!  I labor at home for as long as possible.  I call the doctor.  I tell her this, “I AM having a natural birth.  If you won’t do it, push me on through to somebody who will.”  Obviously, this doctor was not use to this sort of an attitude.  She tells me to come in and talk.  The talk consisted of her telling me this: “You have a 1 in 100 chance of having a catastrophic event.  This is very dangerous.  As a mother, I would never do such thing.  I don’t think you really understand what is happening.”  And in my head I said, “F*ck you and your high horse!”  One hour later and one very painful “mandatory epidural” later, I had a beautiful little boy.  The doctor was practically high fiving and patting herself on the back.  And in my head I thought, “Congratulations.  You watched me do all the work instead of carving into me like a freaking Thanksgiving turkey, but sure, you take the credit.”

10. I named my baby boy after my first doctor that helped me on my journey to having a successful VBAC.  We originally had picked out another name, but in the delivery room my husband said, “Name him whatever you want.  You deserve it.”  I told him that only one name would do because without that doctor, this experience would never have happened, and I, in fact may have never considered having another child.

hospital birth baby
When I discuss my VBAC, I often get various looks.  I get the looks of “you’re crazy” or “I can’t believe you are alive to tell about it, “and those I unfortunately understand.  We live in a society today where doctors don’t always value the natural ability of a woman’s body during the labor and delivery process, or due to decisions made by insurance companies, are unable to practice the best way they know how.  The looks, however, that I have a hard time explaining are the looks of “why does it matter.”  Well, it matters because giving birth is the most personal experience on the planet.  It is something that makes you look at your body in a completely different light.  For me, having a VBAC gave me my power back, and to me, that was well worth the fight.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey May September 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

“the looks, however, that I have a hard time explaining are the looks of “why does it matter.” Well, it matters because giving birth is the most personal experience on the planet. It is something that makes you look at your body in a completely different light. For me, having a VBAC gave me my power back, and to me, that was well worth the fight.”

This was my favorite part…I loved her view and it really hit home that birthing is so individual and our personal views hold no water to another woman’s birthing ideals…be powered they way you need to be empowered…trust your self and do what is right for you…may it be hospital..home..water..or bed…!

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Corra September 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Way to stand your ground! Being hounded during labour is no treat, and it’s sometimes hard to defend yourself.
What was with the manditory epidural? Was that “in case” you ended up having to have another c-section?

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Corey September 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

@ Corra, a nurse in triage told me that I would greatly improve my chances of VBACing with this doctor if I got an epidural. I requested one and she was right. The doctor told me I had to have one in case of a rupture. Although, I know and believe otherwise, I bit that bullet to avoid a larger one, so to speak.

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caris34 September 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I have had 2 vbacs and am so lucky, I never had to fight for either. The only resistance I had at all was after I had been pushing for an hour with my 2nd son (first vbac) the ob started pushing for a caeser, but the midwives stood up for me, got another 1/2 hour out of her and I gave birth to my son 15 mins later! also I was told I COULD NOT have an epidural with my first vbac! b/c I wouldnt be able to feel anything in case a rupture happened. Congratultions on your vbac what a wonderful feeling :)

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Susie September 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Congratulations, on the baby and the triumphant birth. And I love the way you wrote this story. I do have to say one thing, and that from here, it looks like you got your power back before the birth. Way to stand your ground.

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Sheila Pai September 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I am in awe. I admit that when I read epidural in my head I thought “Oh no!” Immediately after, though, I had the thought “She was that committed.” That’s intense. And awe-inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
And I love the format.
Congratulations on your empowered and informed birth!
sheila

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Claire September 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Only 1 in 100? I had a VBA2C with a full inverse T with a rupture rate of 5% (or 95% not happening as I kept saying over my consultant, but she was great anyway!) and despite the on the day team trying to convert me they were too held up in theatre to get me there – shame!

Congratulations and well done, it’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?

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Renee September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am

Good for you! Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t do it! I had a emergency c section with my first daughter…. After 52 hours of Labor, morphine and a epidural. My epidural had been turned down and not turned back up before the section. I felt them cut me open, had to be put to sleep. Finally after 3 hours I got to hold my daughter, but in the nicu because she had a skull fracture. Then that evening a nurse discovered all of my staples had fallen out! Let me tell you, being stapled together while awake was not fun! Five days later, home with a healthy baby and a infected incision! She was 7#15 oz, I was told my body was not made to give birth to such a big baby…. My ob said a vbac was not safe and I would fail! Thats all I needed to hear to know I would succeed. Ditched that doctor, found a awesome practice with amazing midwives, got pregnant and have since had two successful, completely drug free vbacs! The first one was 8#12 oz and the second was 8#5 oz! I have three wonderful girls and the knowledge that I will pass on to them, you can do whatever you set your mind to and don’t let anyone tell you different!

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Rebecca M. September 17, 2011 at 12:13 am

Congratulations on the birth of your son and way to go on standing up for yourself and your baby to have a safe, healthy birth the way yu chose. I hated to read that you were coerced into having an unwanted epidural. As someone else posted, other care providers won’t “allow” VBACing mothers to have an epidural. Neither position is evidence-based, and frankly I believe such “requirements” are really just to discourage moms from pursuing a VBAC, along with other policies including restrictions on length of pregnancy, requiring/forbidding induction, and continuous monitoring, restriction of food/drink, confinement to bed, etc. during labor. That OB had no right to try to
share her personal opinion if it were her baby — her job is to provide the medical information to allow you to make an informed decision, then support that decision. I don’t understand how doctors can refuse to “perform” VBAC — really, all they are doing is attending a vaginal birth. Of course there are some risks, but every birth comes with risks, including uterine rupture even without a uterine scar and several other complications which are more common than a uterine scar rupture.

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Corey September 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thanks for all of the congratulations. I greatly appreciate it.

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Rachelle October 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Interesting article. I am considering a VBAC with my 3rd child – it’s still young days here, but it’s something I want to have. I was forced (really) into an emergency c-section with my son after a failed 4 day induction. Their policy is to always induce at 38 weeks and my son just wan’t ready to come out. I was told both times that I was having ginormous babies – both around 10 lbs – and my son was 6lbs.13oz and my daughter was 6lbs.10oz.
I am worried that they are going to tell me that I can’t try for a VBAC with my third. They also told me that with my daughter if I chose to have a VBAC it would be without an epidural (which after my son’s emergency birth where the epidural failed and I too, felt them cutting me open) I didn’t want to experience pain like that again. They said no to the epidural because my uterus could rupture, etc., and I wouldn’t feel it and be rushed into another emergency c-section again without any pain medication. I think that I was scared into having 2 c-sections and I’m wondering if anyone has had a successful VBAC after 2 previous c-sections?

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Ally November 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I just want to say that you have a amazing story… I cant even comprehend living in a society that you have to fight for a Vbac like that…. I live in the Vancouver area of Canada and was encouraged by every doctor and nurse I spoke too to go Vbac… planned c-sections are not common here unless you have a vertical uterine incision they let you make the choice. :) I had no epidurals or anything for my two post c section birth in a hospital setting. Hearing these stories make me sad for you guys that have to fight for something I was just given, also makes me proud.

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Nicole November 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Great story! I wish my second birth experience had ended up like this one! I had a c-section with my first because he had a birth defect and that was the way it had to be. With my second, I asked for a VBAC and was met with a lot of resistance. My doctor said she would do it but there were all these rules and it sounded like I would most likely end up with another c-section anyway, so I just ended up scheduling another c-section and had several months to accept the decision instead of being disappointed about it when I was in labor.

If I could go back and do it again, I would maybe try to find a more VBAC-friendly doctor instead of letting myself be scared by all the things that could go wrong. I’m done having kids now and am sad that I never got to experience birth the way it was meant to be. When I told that to my OBGYN she said “I’ve had 4 kids that way and I can tell you, it’s not that great”. Guess I’ll never know.

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