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C-Sections and VBACs: Why our lack of choice matters
April 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

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? 

Replies

  • goddiddlyumshis
    April 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM
    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!


    and thankfully, the doctor i have now is pushing for me to vbac! woo!
  • Pandapanda
    April 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Lol, finish reading up, mama! I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. How has recovery been for you? 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!


  • goddiddlyumshis
    April 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM
    it was in 2012, and honestly, i can say im traumatized by the whole experience. after having had my first naturally, i would do that 1000 times in a ROW before ever allowing someone to slice me open again!

    oh not to mention i felt completely robbed of birth. call me stupid, but i worked hard to get where i did, only to be told 17 hours later i "needed" a csection. *sigh*


    Quoting Pandapanda:

    Lol, finish reading up, mama! I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. How has recovery been for you? 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!


  • Pandapanda
    April 16, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I'm very sorry. :( Do you plan on having more children in the future? I know many women say that having a VBAC is a very healing process for them. 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    it was in 2012, and honestly, i can say im traumatized by the whole experience. after having had my first naturally, i would do that 1000 times in a ROW before ever allowing someone to slice me open again!

    oh not to mention i felt completely robbed of birth. call me stupid, but i worked hard to get where i did, only to be told 17 hours later i "needed" a csection. *sigh*


    Quoting Pandapanda:

    Lol, finish reading up, mama! I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. How has recovery been for you? 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!



  • goddiddlyumshis
    April 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM
    im pregnant with #3 and due in 3 weeks!
    i actually had my appointment today, and we were discussing vbac, and thankfully, the doctor i chose is PRO vbac. i asked her if there was any danger of me rejecting a section if it came down to it, and she looked at me and said no.
    the only thing that went wrong with my daughter was she was bouncing off the birth canal. so i couldnt get her out. i put off the doctors for a good 4-6 hours before caving. i was sitting there trying to push out a baby that i knew wasnt going to come out lol. never got the urge to push =/

    so, its not like blood pressures were skyrocketing, or plummeting, she wasnt in distress, no seizures... just the simple fact she wasnt entering where she was supposed to. irritating to say the least.

    but, because my first 2 were both 41.3 weeks when born, they are letting me go that far with this one... then options will be discussed.


    Quoting Pandapanda:

    I'm very sorry. :( Do you plan on having more children in the future? I know many women say that having a VBAC is a very healing process for them. 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    it was in 2012, and honestly, i can say im traumatized by the whole experience. after having had my first naturally, i would do that 1000 times in a ROW before ever allowing someone to slice me open again!



    oh not to mention i felt completely robbed of birth. call me stupid, but i worked hard to get where i did, only to be told 17 hours later i "needed" a csection. *sigh*




    Quoting Pandapanda:

    Lol, finish reading up, mama! I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. How has recovery been for you? 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!



  • goddiddlyumshis
    April 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM
    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.
  • Pandapanda
    April 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Wow, congratulations!! It's such a relief to hear you've got a great doctor on your side. That really is so vital when it comes to maternity care in general. 

    I wonder what prevented your daughter from descending the "normal" way? I've never heard of getting into active labor and having a baby refuse to come out! Hehe, it sounds like she was comfy!

    I wish you the absolute best of luck! I hope to see a birth story in the coming month or so! :)

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    im pregnant with #3 and due in 3 weeks!
    i actually had my appointment today, and we were discussing vbac, and thankfully, the doctor i chose is PRO vbac. i asked her if there was any danger of me rejecting a section if it came down to it, and she looked at me and said no.
    the only thing that went wrong with my daughter was she was bouncing off the birth canal. so i couldnt get her out. i put off the doctors for a good 4-6 hours before caving. i was sitting there trying to push out a baby that i knew wasnt going to come out lol. never got the urge to push =/

    so, its not like blood pressures were skyrocketing, or plummeting, she wasnt in distress, no seizures... just the simple fact she wasnt entering where she was supposed to. irritating to say the least.

    but, because my first 2 were both 41.3 weeks when born, they are letting me go that far with this one... then options will be discussed.


    Quoting Pandapanda:

    I'm very sorry. :( Do you plan on having more children in the future? I know many women say that having a VBAC is a very healing process for them. 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    it was in 2012, and honestly, i can say im traumatized by the whole experience. after having had my first naturally, i would do that 1000 times in a ROW before ever allowing someone to slice me open again!



    oh not to mention i felt completely robbed of birth. call me stupid, but i worked hard to get where i did, only to be told 17 hours later i "needed" a csection. *sigh*




    Quoting Pandapanda:

    Lol, finish reading up, mama! I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. How has recovery been for you? 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!




  • Pandapanda
    April 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    It's not dumb at all. I completely understand the need to heal emotionally- nothing silly about it. 

    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.


  • goddiddlyumshis
    April 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM
    they told me she was "too big" and i know when i hear that, i roll my freakin eyes.
    she was very broad shouldered, so i kinda believe thats why.
    but i also pushed out my son who was 8.8lbs, after 3 hours of pushing and 160+ stitches lol.
    i know my body is capable of doing things.
    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


    Quoting Pandapanda:

    Wow, congratulations!! It's such a relief to hear you've got a great doctor on your side. That really is so vital when it comes to maternity care in general. 

    I wonder what prevented your daughter from descending the "normal" way? I've never heard of getting into active labor and having a baby refuse to come out! Hehe, it sounds like she was comfy!

    I wish you the absolute best of luck! I hope to see a birth story in the coming month or so! :)

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    im pregnant with #3 and due in 3 weeks!

    i actually had my appointment today, and we were discussing vbac, and thankfully, the doctor i chose is PRO vbac. i asked her if there was any danger of me rejecting a section if it came down to it, and she looked at me and said no.

    the only thing that went wrong with my daughter was she was bouncing off the birth canal. so i couldnt get her out. i put off the doctors for a good 4-6 hours before caving. i was sitting there trying to push out a baby that i knew wasnt going to come out lol. never got the urge to push =/



    so, its not like blood pressures were skyrocketing, or plummeting, she wasnt in distress, no seizures... just the simple fact she wasnt entering where she was supposed to. irritating to say the least.



    but, because my first 2 were both 41.3 weeks when born, they are letting me go that far with this one... then options will be discussed.




    Quoting Pandapanda:

    I'm very sorry. :( Do you plan on having more children in the future? I know many women say that having a VBAC is a very healing process for them. 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    it was in 2012, and honestly, i can say im traumatized by the whole experience. after having had my first naturally, i would do that 1000 times in a ROW before ever allowing someone to slice me open again!





    oh not to mention i felt completely robbed of birth. call me stupid, but i worked hard to get where i did, only to be told 17 hours later i "needed" a csection. *sigh*






    Quoting Pandapanda:

    Lol, finish reading up, mama! I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. How has recovery been for you? 

    Quoting goddiddlyumshis:

    well, gee. i get to the first sentence and nod my head in agreement. im in jersey, and i had a csection forced on me last january. . . because my daughter was bouncing off the birth canal. oy.

    ok, ill finish reading now. lol!




  • Ruffnekwife87
    April 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM
    With my first baby I was told I had to have a C-Section because her heart was stopping every time I had a contraction and my cervix was not opening. I had her 3 hours later through a C-Section and she was still born. After 20 mins of trying they revived her and she is now a happy and healthy 5 yr old!
    My 2nd baby I had a C-Section. My doctor told me that he would not even consider a vbac because she had a weak heart and it could kill her if I went into labor. I went into labor at 34w4d with her my water broke at 4:30am and when I got to the hospital they hooked me up to a monitor right away and my baby's heart beat never dropped once but no matter how much I asked they said I had to have a C-Section.
    I am currently pregnant with my 3rd baby and I have an appointment on the 9th for an U/S after that I see the doctor and I'm going to ask her if everything looks good if we can consider doing a vbac. I really want to do a vbac with this baby and truth be told if they really can't say anything is wrong with my baby and he is healthy but they still say no to a vbac I might just not go to the hospital until the very last min. I live right across the street from the hospital so I guess I will have to wait and see.
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