Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A VBAC Victory- Post Partum Thoughts

Surprise! Your pregnant... again!

When I unexpected found myself pregnant with Annabelle, I didn't know what to do. We had spent so much time just taking care of Aiden, we had not given much thought to how to prevent another pregnancy. So when that pregnancy test came up positive at 3am after spending an entire night puking, I was at a loss. Let's just say the first words out of my word started with "F" and it wasn't "f for fun!". While we did eventually want to try for another kiddo, but the last year of our lives was complete chaos. Between the high risk pregnancy with Aiden, to his DS diagnosis, moving from Portland, OR back home to Santa Barbara, CA only 2 weeks after deciding to move, and all the chaos that had happened with our business over the last year, I didn't feel as though I was in any position to go through another pregnancy.

I had some time to sort my thoughts, as I lay on the bathroom floor for a few hours worshiping the porcelain throne. I knew that "options" existed, but I couldn't bring myself to even contemplate it. While I am not religious, I do believe things happen for a reason. I didn't know it yet, but there was a reason this baby came at this time.

But don't you WANT a c-section???

I met with the kaiser ob the following week and had the dating ultrasound. I was absolutely shocked to find out I was already 12 weeks along! I was already almost out of the first trimester before I really even knew I was pregnant! Then came the bad news.

Dr: "So, at our next appointment, we will go ahead and schedule your c-section date."

Me: "Huh? Can't I try for a vbac?"

Dr: "No, the hospital won't allow it."

Me: "Which hospital will allow it?"

Dr: "None. But you will really like a scheduled c-section. It makes it so easy. Im sure your first c-section was pretty rough but it is so much easier the second time around when it is scheduled. "

Me: "No I wont".

Dr: "All my patients have had great experiences with repeat c-sections."

Me:"I'm sure you mean well, but your not going to succeed in convincing me that a repeat c-section is exciting and great."

He spent the next 10 minutes repeating the same things over and over, trying to convince me that this is what I wanted and getting no where. We finally decided to end our appointment and head for home.

Once at home, I did some research on the internet and found that both Santa Barbara and Ventura banned vbacs (vaginal birth after cesarean). The closest place I could try was UCLA.  I figured I didn't have a choice but to have a repeat c-section, but I didn't have to be happy about it.

Does Birth Choice even exist?

A week or two later I made an appointment with a doctor at the sansum Santa Barbara OB clinic, once our insurance switch had gone through. I met with my new doctor, who seemed very nice and supportive and tried to convince myself that the repeat c-section wasn't so bad. I tried very hard to convince myself, but I felt as though my heart had been crushed. Ever since I watched the "Business of Being Born," I had developed a strong desire for a natural home birth. It just made sense to me. I had spent the the last 5 years of my life eating a healthy diet and relying on alternative medicine to bring me to a state of good health. I wanted to bring a child into the world the natural way, the way I wanted to, without unnecessary and harmful interventions.

I decided that it wouldn't hurt to make a few additional phone calls to see if anyone knew of any midwives who would do a vbac. I called about 6-7 midwives and each apologized profusely for not being able to help me (for fear they would lose their back up OB, insurance... career), but each recommended me to the same person, Dr. Fischbein. I called Dr. Fischbein's office and scheduled a consultation.

I felt very encouraged after appointment with Dr. Fischbein. He spent an hour going over my previous pregnancy and went over the risks and benefits of both a vbac and repeat c-section. He explained my options, and even though I was at a slightly higher risk of uterine rupture due to the short time between pregnancies, if I was interested, he would take me on as a client for a home vbac.

Adam and I took all the information we were given and discussed how we wanted to move forward on the drive home. Adam felt confident in Dr. Fischbein's skill and extensive knowledge and told me that he would support me if this is the choice I wanted to make.

Do you have a death wish?

About a week after my appointment with Dr. Fischbein, I had another appointment with my sansum ob. After waiting for a full hour for my appointment, the doctor rushed in without much of a hello. He quickly shot of questions about I hadn't done any further genetic testing in this pregnancy and why did I refuse to get a blood panel done or the 20 week ultrasound. I politely responded that I had made it clear my last appointment that I didn't want to do any further genetic test, and that I had completed the blood work and the ultrasound, which he should have the paper work for. He briskly attempted to find fetal heart tones with the doppler, using far too much pressure and got frustrated after a couple of seconds when he couldn't find it. Once he found it, he said everything is great and asked if I had any questions. I told him I was more than likely going to have a home vbac. He turned beet red, elevated his voice and asked if I "had a death wish for myself and the baby." He then rambled on for about 10 minutes about how dangerous it was using false facts and stated how the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) was highly against vbacs (which they aren't). I knew for sure at that point I wanted to go with Dr. Fischbein.


The births of Aiden and Annabelle are two very special moments in my life. Aiden, for being my first baby, and the hardships we overcame. He was never expected to make it past 34 weeks gestation, only to make it to 38, and then to come through his medical problems as quickly as he did. Annabelle, for the victory of finally having the birth experience I didn't know I was capable of. I am proud of myself for conquering my fears and the pain of both experiences.

I am forever grateful for my home birth OB, Dr. Fischbein, for his willingness to take on "high risk" cases (VBAC, twin, breech, etc), such as myself. If it wasn't for him, I would have never been able to know that a birth experience can be a positive one. Going through Annabelle's birth was very therapeutic after what I had been through with Aiden; an experience I will never forget.

Birth Choice

For me, going through a natural home birth, surrounded by supportive professionals and my wonderful husband, was the most empowering moment of my life. While a home vbac, home birth, or hospital vbac, may not be the right choice for every woman who has gone through a c-section, it should be a choice.

Some women who have gone through traumatic labors or deliveries, only to end up with a c-section, and may find it more healing to have a scheduled repeat c-section. For me, going through Annabelle's birth, managing and experiencing contractions, labor, and pushing and then to actually see my baby being born, is an experience every woman should have access to.  The point is, there should be a choice. Her choice.

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