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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 (21-29):
anxiousschk
by Silver Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 1:03 PM
2 moms liked this

When I was delivering our second, my husband ran into the OB I had left.  

It was all I could do not to force him to say, "Yeah, so she just delivered our daughter at 42w 2 days VAGINALLY -- only 8.5 lbs -- SUCK IT!"  

(She was going to "require" an induction at 39 weeks-- would have been a C-section no doubt. 


Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

the doctor i used with her was such a prick. i see him when i go to L&D and it gives me anxiety. lol


Pandapanda
by Cafe Panda on Apr. 16, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Congrats on your VBAC and good luck with this birth in October! :D SO excited for you!

Quoting ToriBabe1221:

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


Heather2001
by Heather on Apr. 17, 2013 at 12:09 AM
1 mom liked this

Great info!  I was fortunate to do my research before my first baby or else I would have definitely ended up with a c-section.  By the time I had her, my water had been broken for 25 hours and I had pushed for over 4 hours. 

elly.H
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 12:42 AM
1 mom liked this
My labor started at 7 am, at 10:30 I went to the hospital, they said I could go home and do the first part of labor at home, so I did...well 30 min later oh my gosh the pain and I went back, I had my epidural at 5am. I started pushing at 1pm and I pushed for 2 hours and nothing happened. Her heart rate was above and beyond perfect for the entire pregnancy, my dr always said he wished every baby had a heart like hers. She was also facing up, so when he turned her, her heart rate dropped fast and wouldn't come back up so I went in for an "urgent" c-section. The recovery itself was good but physically I couldn't even dry off after a shower with out my husband helping me. Now with this pregnancy I can't have my same dr through out the pregnancy because of the c-section, but he is my primary and the pediatrician so he will be there, anyway I am so glad I read this because I feel like my new dr was and is trying to push me towards another c-section but my husband and I both agreed that NO. If she brings it up again I'm going to tell her that I might get a midwife because unless the baby is in danger, I do not want to do it again. A week before I had my daughter I went in to be induced "failed induction" but looking back now, for me personally, I don't think I have the right to choose my babies birthday and I told her that.
That is my story :-) oh! Also when I got my epidural the anesthesiologist missed 4x the needle kept going in crooked etc. she finally got it on the 5th try
Thank you very much for posting this
momma4xover
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

I was a bit confused when the article said that VBAC homebirth is "still illegal" I am assuming the author meant wherever she is- because it's perfectly legal here in Colorado!

goddiddlyumshis
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 11:32 AM
1 mom liked this
It says New jersey, and yes, its illegal here =/

Quoting momma4xover:

I was a bit confused when the article said that VBAC homebirth is "still illegal" I am assuming the author meant wherever she is- because it's perfectly legal here in Colorado!

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puertoricangeek
by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 4:53 PM

I got tricked into a c-section with my son. There was nothing wong with him or me however after being in the hospital for 7 hours, my water had been broke for 5 days, and I had not progressed in the last hour they decided to give me a c-section. I found out later that I could have told them no and there was nothing that they could have done about it. I found a dr. that is pushing for a VBAC, and my specialist is too. Thank you.

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Pandapanda
by Cafe Panda on Apr. 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Good luck with your VBAC! Keep your head high and fight for it! *hugs*

Quoting puertoricangeek:

I got tricked into a c-section with my son. There was nothing wong with him or me however after being in the hospital for 7 hours, my water had been broke for 5 days, and I had not progressed in the last hour they decided to give me a c-section. I found out later that I could have told them no and there was nothing that they could have done about it. I found a dr. that is pushing for a VBAC, and my specialist is too. Thank you.


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NoraDun
by Platinum Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM

I couldn't imagine having an elective c-section.

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