There is a lady in my church who just had an elective repeat C-section today.
This in itself is not shocking or notable. What gets me is that with her first baby, she took my natural childbirth classes, hired a doula and really wanted to have her baby vaginally without drugs. So she said. More on that in a minute.
With her first baby, she got the story from her OB that she had "low fluid" and needed to be induced right away. Conveniently, she was 41 and 3, just the gestation her doc wanted to induce her at. Prostaglandin gel did nothing. So, start pit in the AM. That didn't work either. So the doc broke her water against her request to leave it intact. Guess what? Lots of water came out. She got an epidural. Was NPO for about 30 hours. Got to 10, pushed for a bit, then was sectioned. Familiar story? Her husband had called me several times for info/advice throughout. I told him to FEED HER and that they would never get the baby out if she didn't get some nourishment. He promptly got her some food, which she refused because the doctor had told her not to eat.
Fast forward to this pregnancy. Right off the bat, she SAYS she wants a VBAC. I recommend her a different OB, one that I (used to) trust, who has done really well with VBACs in the past. I offer to doula for them for FREE.
Throughout her pregnancy I would ask her how it was going, trying to stand back and only offer tips/advice when asked. It was hard to do, I tell you. She told me she was waffling between actually doing the VBAC and being scared of uterine rupture. We had a discussion about the real relative risks (another post for another day folks) and she said she "knew" all that, but was still not sure.
At one point, I finally asked her if she was still interested in me being her doula, as she hadn't said anything and she was now 32 weeks. She replied that as of now, she was planning a cesarean. I was surprised and asked her why? She responded that first, her placenta was over the cervix at that time (okay, totally understandable) and that the doctor told her the baby was already 4 WHOLE POUNDS and that if the baby got over 8 pounds, he wouldn't want her to try and push. Um what? (By 34 weeks, her placenta was out of the danger zone)
I bit back the words that were tripping over themselves in a rush to get past my lips. "But...but..." I said. "C-section is major surgery. Lots of VBAC women have bigger babies than their first." She knows.
So then, on Sunday, Preacherman announces that her scheduled section is for Thursday. I hear her say behind me that she hopes to go into labor before then.
After the service, I turn around and tell her that if she really wants to go into labor before then that I have some tips. She asks if I have anything other than sex. I tell her, sure, there's lots of things. I mention a few things but offer for her to come over and I'll do a slow stretch of her cervix. She says, "But that hurts." I say, "Not when I do it." She tells me that it has "always" hurt when she's had it done before (only one other baby, remember) and I tell her she's never had it done by a midwife. She laments that she thought this doctor was "going to let her VBAC". I remind her she doesn't have to have the section. She says she knows, but her husband wants her to have it. He doesn't like that she was crabby with her last labor. Seriously!?
I ask her why Thursday for the section? She says, well the doc told her that either she had to be induced or have a section, and she knew the risks to induction, so she chose the section. I ask again why Thursday? Well, it's her due date of course. And "he" doesn't want the baby to get too big. I remind her that the last few weeks the baby is putting on fat, which squishes.
Every single solution I gave her only led to another roadblock.
If she just wanted a section, why couldn't she just say, "I'm having a section. This is what we've decided." Every time she SAID she wanted a natural birth, but it was someone else's fault why she couldn't, I tried to give her information to help her achieve what she said she wanted. I can only conclude that her "desire" for a natural birth was really just for show for me. But what is the point of that exactly? Why say one thing and do another thing altogether? Does she think that I will think the c-section is great if she can make me believe she was the victim? I'm glad she and her baby are okay. I'm glad she didn't have any complications.
Eventually, she walks out the door and I don't hear from her again.
PreacherMan went up to the hospital last night to visit her. She's really pleased with her birth and her baby. How big was this huge baby that she would never have been able to birth? Can you guess? 7 lb. 6 oz. Yep.
Makes me sad. I'm not going to apologize for having an opinion. Everyone has them. Barring medical complications, an unmedicated vaginal birth is optimal for mother and baby. If I believed that all births are equal, I wouldn't be a midwife.