Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 9:38 pm by EbonyMom
After reading this Time magazine article about just how uncommon VBACs are in the United States I was saddened at just how difficult it is for women to have true choice in their birth experience. I had a successful VBAC with ETot’s birth (then referred to as EbonyBaby) and soon after found out the OB group I was with in Atlanta was one of the few remaining that would even allow patients to attempt VBAC. The hospitals here in Dallas are unfortunately bound to the same litigation and insurance fears the Atlanta doctors face, but I was still stunned to find that one of the top hospitals in my area has a 2% VBAC success rate. Thankfully I won’t be giving birth at that particular hospital, but my heart truly goes out to the women who give it their best only to wind up with another cesarean (not that anything is wrong with cesareans, the healthy baby at the outcome is by far the most important thing).
I have multiple friends who are pregnant and the majority of us have had previous cesareans. Of the single previous cesareans only 1 friend (other than myself) is attempting a VBAC. Most have been firmly convinced by their doctors that their uterus is going to rupture if they even attempt it, which is not necessarily true. Others remember the severity of the pain of their previous labors and have no interest in repeating that process. But what so many don’t realize is while labor hurts, induced labor with pitocin takes your body’s control over how much and how often to contract and instead of gentle progression you get maximum compression (and pain) with each contraction. The excruciating experience of pitocin contractions in my first birth in no way compares with the natural nonmedicated labor I experienced with my VBAC.
My own experience recovering from the cesarean of my first birth was even more painful than the pitocin contractions, so VBAC was definitely an option I was very determined to make have happen. The nurses turned off my pain medication immediately after the surgery but didn’t bother to give me anything to reduce pain for another hour afterward, so I sat crying and waiting for someone to help me as my entire midsection burned in pain. I also had severe back spasms and wound up in physical therapy, which in some part was thanks to my botched epidural (it took the anesthesiologist 4 times to place the epidural needle correctly and yes I was in the midst of painful pitocin contractions at the time). My VBAC recovery was so much faster and less painful than the cesarean so going for a repeat VBAC this time is a no brainer.
I’ve still got quite a ways to go when it comes to preparing a nursery and gathering everything together for bringing my newest little EbonyBaby home but I have a very clear birth plan and have thoroughly discussed my concerns with my doctor. Another key thing that encouraged my choice of hospital for this birth is the fact that each room has a gliding rocking chair (which was my favorite thing during ETot’s birth) as well as birthing balls.
For women who do read this seeking VBACs I want to encourage you that it is fully possible. Research and know exactly what you want to have happen. Get in touch with support groups to further your knowledge and get encouragement. If possible try to labor at home as long as you can and I can’t recommend highly enough employing a doula to make sure your needs are met. I used aspects of the Bradley Method and Hypnobirthing for my VBAC birth as well but a supportive doctor and partner are huge benefits to the process. I hope to share a brand new VBAC story in just a matter of weeks- hopefully in the future more women will also be able to share their own positive experiences.