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C-Sections and VBACs: Why our lack of choice matters

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C-Sections and VBACs: Why our lack of choice matters

Ann Brasco / Parental GuidanceBy Ann Brasco / Parental Guidance 
on March 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM, updated March 19, 2013 at 2:14 PM
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feet.jpgBirthing rights is a local topic of interest as New Jersey has the highest C-Section rate in the nation. 
Our decisions as parents often begin even before the baby is born. I was thinking about this very idea as I read that the most common elective surgery in the United States is now the Caesarean-Section. Note that the word “elective” is used quite liberally. In sad irony, when a Tampa woman refused to go to the hospital for an elective, scheduled Caesarean-Section, her doctor threatened to call the police to force her to have this elective surgery.

When I had my first two daughters, I never thought of a C-Section as "elective" surgery. Perhaps this is because I was told I didn’t have a choice. Our first child was breech. My obstetrician advised a breech babies must be delivered surgically. Our second child was a repeat C-Section. My doctor advised I would have difficulty finding a provider who would agree to a vaginal birth after a C-Section.

As a highly educated person, I found that I was highly uneducated on my options and rights. I didn’t know I could have a breech baby vaginally. I didn’t know there were providers in NJ who encourage VBACS (Vaginal Births After C-Sections). There was so much misinformation and so much judgment. People talked to me about safety and unnecessary risk. I didn’t know what was true. I decided to do my own research into what research existed. The only thing I was certain of was a compelling force inside that wanted the opportunity to give birth as nature had intended. I wanted a chance to tap into the power of one of the most powerful experiences life has to offer. I wanted a choice, some control, and some respect. At 38 weeks pregnant with our third child, I didn’t want a third scheduled C-Section. I found myself crying at the kitchen table telling my husband what this all meant to me and that I feared not trying for a VBAC would be a life-long regret.

My husband agreed to explore these options with me. We learned that the chances of something going wrong in a VBAC were almost exactly identical to the risks of a repeat C-Section. We learned that a C-Section brought an increased risk for respiratory issues, jaundice, and other complications. Ultimately, we decided to try for a VBAC. I am eternally grateful to the Hackettstown Midwives, Dr. David Garfinkel, and the staff at Morristown Hospital for their care.

Some people may wonder what the big deal is about. If you have a healthy baby then so what? Some women even choose a C-Section. That's fine. I’m not against C-Sections. Sometimes they are extremely necessary. Rather, I support choice and sensitivity. I don’t think cost, convenience, insurance companies, and my doctor or hospital’s fear of a lawsuit should dictate such a personal decision. How our children enter this world effects us as mothers. It impacts our families. Parents should have more say about what is best for their family with regard to risk, recovery time, and other relevant issues.

After surgery, I was even told to consider myself lucky I avoided the pain of birth. For anyone who’s missed out on having a c-section, try walking around with a constant feeling like you have been sawed in half. I felt like a botched magic-trick. I was then told I couldn’t exercise, vacuum, drive a car, walk long flights of stairs, or lift anything heavier than my infant for six weeks. With a toddler at home, three dogs to walk, and a household to run, that restriction lasted eighteen hours before I gave in. Personally, after 29 hours of unmedicated labor with my third child, I would choose the experience of naturally working through contractions to 10cm again over a C-Section.

In modern times, it is concerning that this issue remains so embryonic (no pun intended) .Many physicians and hospitals still prohibit VBACs. VBAC home births are still illegal. We live in a country where you can electively have your nose broken to reshape it, inject fat from your butt into your face to look younger, but pushing a baby out of your own vagina can be restricted. I can only imagine if men gave birth how there would be more convenience and choice.

I am interested to hear your birth experience and how it shaped you? How did your control or lack thereof effect your life? 

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by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Replies (11-20):
mrsevewat1
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:42 PM
I so understand this. I have 3 boys and my second was my husbands first and I was soo disappointed in myself that I had to have a c section with him after my oldest was 100% natural 24 1/2 hrs of labor. Now im due in July and the drs here are almost refusing to see me if I don't want a c section. Thank goodness we are moving out of this state in June. That's all I want is a vbac for my final baby boy. I will feel so much better.


Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

if i get my vbac, which she said chances are i will succeed (thanks for the pep talk doc, lol).

i feel like i *need* this, to get over feeling like a failure. sounds so dumb, i know. It really got to me.

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Megan11587
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM

I had a very difficult birth.  I ended up having an emergency c-section.  I really do just feel grateful for both me and my baby surviving the procedure, since I almost did not.  I never for a second had the thought that I was deprived of experiencing child birth naturally.  My baby is now 13 months and I am pregnant again, due in October.  I will have a c-section this time around as well.

goddiddlyumshis
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM
1 mom liked this
same here! our first was 38 hours of natural med free labor... plus 3 hours of pushing on top of that. i wound up with a LOT of stitches down there, but its better than being stapled shut and not able to sneeze, cough, laugh, or cry without feeling like youre about to split in half!

i felt so robbed of labor, especially knowing what natural labor is like! i worked so hard to get where i was with our second... and it was a slap in the face while i laid there on the table =/


Quoting mrsevewat1:

I so understand this. I have 3 boys and my second was my husbands first and I was soo disappointed in myself that I had to have a c section with him after my oldest was 100% natural 24 1/2 hrs of labor. Now im due in July and the drs here are almost refusing to see me if I don't want a c section. Thank goodness we are moving out of this state in June. That's all I want is a vbac for my final baby boy. I will feel so much better.




Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

if i get my vbac, which she said chances are i will succeed (thanks for the pep talk doc, lol).


i feel like i *need* this, to get over feeling like a failure. sounds so dumb, i know. It really got to me.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
mrsevewat1
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM
3 moms liked this
Honestly u can't miss something u never experienced. I personally felt sad after doing it naturally, then having a c section just because I knew what was supposed to happen and it just wasn't happening. Of course everyone is different but I felt deprived to say the least. Fingers crossed for this on. :)


Quoting Megan11587:

I had a very difficult birth.  I ended up having an emergency c-section.  I really do just feel grateful for both me and my baby surviving the procedure, since I almost did not.  I never for a second had the thought that I was deprived of experiencing child birth naturally.  My baby is now 13 months and I am pregnant again, due in October.  I will have a c-section this time around as well.


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ToriBabe1221
by Bronze Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM
1 mom liked this
My only option for VBAC is homebirth. Thank my stars it's legal in my state!!! I had my first VBAC march 2012 and I'm due for my second VBAC in October!! =)


I hated my csection experience. My vbac was so healing, empowering, needed. I wish every mom could have that
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Megan11587
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM
2 moms liked this
I hope you do, too! I just hope this birth is a lot more uneventful than the last lol

Quoting mrsevewat1:

Honestly u can't miss something u never experienced. I personally felt sad after doing it naturally, then having a c section just because I knew what was supposed to happen and it just wasn't happening. Of course everyone is different but I felt deprived to say the least. Fingers crossed for this on. :)




Quoting Megan11587:

I had a very difficult birth.  I ended up having an emergency c-section.  I really do just feel grateful for both me and my baby surviving the procedure, since I almost did not.  I never for a second had the thought that I was deprived of experiencing child birth naturally.  My baby is now 13 months and I am pregnant again, due in October.  I will have a c-section this time around as well.


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
mrsevewat1
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM
1 mom liked this
I felt robbed to. My midwife really didn't want to induce me but I kept telling he "Im ready!" When she finally agreed I was almost 44weeks and his head wasn't even against my cervix and he just wouldn't come out. My husband felt robbed to. He always says he didn't get to hold a leg. Lol


Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

same here! our first was 38 hours of natural med free labor... plus 3 hours of pushing on top of that. i wound up with a LOT of stitches down there, but its better than being stapled shut and not able to sneeze, cough, laugh, or cry without feeling like youre about to split in half!



i felt so robbed of labor, especially knowing what natural labor is like! i worked so hard to get where i was with our second... and it was a slap in the face while i laid there on the table =/




Quoting mrsevewat1:

I so understand this. I have 3 boys and my second was my husbands first and I was soo disappointed in myself that I had to have a c section with him after my oldest was 100% natural 24 1/2 hrs of labor. Now im due in July and the drs here are almost refusing to see me if I don't want a c section. Thank goodness we are moving out of this state in June. That's all I want is a vbac for my final baby boy. I will feel so much better.






Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

if i get my vbac, which she said chances are i will succeed (thanks for the pep talk doc, lol).



i feel like i *need* this, to get over feeling like a failure. sounds so dumb, i know. It really got to me.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
goddiddlyumshis
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM
2 moms liked this
lol @ didnt get to hold a leg.

my daughter was apparently bouncing off the birth canal and thats why i needed one.
*sigh* i WILL get my damn vbac this time! lol


Quoting mrsevewat1:

I felt robbed to. My midwife really didn't want to induce me but I kept telling he "Im ready!" When she finally agreed I was almost 44weeks and his head wasn't even against my cervix and he just wouldn't come out. My husband felt robbed to. He always says he didn't get to hold a leg. Lol




Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

same here! our first was 38 hours of natural med free labor... plus 3 hours of pushing on top of that. i wound up with a LOT of stitches down there, but its better than being stapled shut and not able to sneeze, cough, laugh, or cry without feeling like youre about to split in half!





i felt so robbed of labor, especially knowing what natural labor is like! i worked so hard to get where i was with our second... and it was a slap in the face while i laid there on the table =/






Quoting mrsevewat1:

I so understand this. I have 3 boys and my second was my husbands first and I was soo disappointed in myself that I had to have a c section with him after my oldest was 100% natural 24 1/2 hrs of labor. Now im due in July and the drs here are almost refusing to see me if I don't want a c section. Thank goodness we are moving out of this state in June. That's all I want is a vbac for my final baby boy. I will feel so much better.








Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

if i get my vbac, which she said chances are i will succeed (thanks for the pep talk doc, lol).




i feel like i *need* this, to get over feeling like a failure. sounds so dumb, i know. It really got to me.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
anxiousschk
by Silver Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM
1 mom liked this

First, I need to say that I firmly believe every woman should have the right to determine her birth experience.  

I was on both ends of this spectrum.  Breech baby, must have C-section (early) -- can't risk labor!  Tons of complications ensued and that first birth really messed me up physically, emotionally...everything.

10 years later my (different) OB was clearly headed toward a C-section -- I immediately switched to a midwife practice that worked with an OB who shared their beliefs.  

I was allowed to go to 42+ weeks and have the vaginal birth that I wanted.  It was a completely different experience for me.  

alexislovesjr
by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 1:02 PM
1 mom liked this

I fully agree with VBAC is possible. I give moms who are able alot respect for their decesion, it is a awesome choice. In my case its more life threatening to not do c-section than most. I am a nurse and respect all those in medical field. I fully trust my doc in his decesion for c-section especially because of my past complications. I want to be here for my children after delivery.

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