Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Who's Birth is This Anyway???

So, for the third time since becoming pregnant, I'm looking for an OB.  I had one in Texas who I only saw once thanks to the move to Mississippi (would not have gone back to her anyway) then I had my irreplaceable, awesome OB in Oregon while visiting and now I'm back in Mississippi, with a two-digit countdown to D-Day, looking for an OB.  I met with contender number one yesterday.  She had a brand new office that smelled intensely of rubber cement or some other toxic fume.  Her nurse was a bit concerning, as she didn't understand what I was talking about when I listed 5mg of folic acid as something I take regularly.  It went downhill from there.  I finally met the Dr., who was actually a really nice lady.  I really, really wanted to like her and her views. I wanted her to be "the one" and to know that I am going to get the VBAC that I want.  What exactly does that VBAC look like?  Well, a lot like Naomi's birth (maybe just a TAD shorter and minus the back labor).  No induction, no pain meds, minimal monitoring, poking and prodding and the ability to move around freely to cope with the pain.

I told the Dr. that I was looking for another VBAC.  Could I VBAC with her?  Absolutely.  Score, team!!!  I was thrilled!  Then I asked her if her protocol for a VBAC is different from that of a normal patient.  Not always, but it would be for me.  (This is the part where a giant knot showed up in my throat and tears started stinging my eyes.  Don't cry.  Don't cry.  Don't cry.)  Because I'm on anticoagulant shots twice a day, leaving me to go into labor on my own would, apparently, be irresponsible and dangerous.  An induction would be the answer. (Let loose the flood gates.  Crap.  Exactly what I didn't want to hear.)  She went on to explain that I couldn't receive an epidural with an anticoagulant in my system, so I'd be stuck without pain meds if we didn't plan it out.  (Brief glimmer of hope....) Well, lucky for me, I don't want pain meds, so that shouldn't be an issue or a factor, right?    Wrong.  (More tears.  Big tears.  With lots of apologies in between. WHY was I crying!?!)  Bottom line: it would be much more "convenient" to induce on a weekday between 8-5 so we could be sure that we are in control of all the details.  I would be induced with pitocin, my membranes would be stripped and I would be hooked up to an internal monitor.  I would then be catheterized to further attach me to my bed.  Then there would be an expected rate of progress that would cause an increase in pitocin if not met and a loose "time limit" set so if I plateaued for "too long" and "failed to progress" we'd do a c-section anyway.  It would be the EXACT opposite of anything I would ever want.

I cried for a while, trying desperately to pull myself together and apologized profusely for being "that crazy patient."  I am not usually a cryer.  At all!  I didn't even know where it was coming from at the time.  So, why was I crying?  I know my facts and have done my research.  I didn't just decide one day to have a "crunchy birth" as this new OB so sweetly put it.  This isn't just a means-to-an-end.  This is an experience of a lifetime.  It is bringing a beautiful, baby into the world and is sure-to-be one of the most defining moments of my entire life, just like my other two births have been.  I want to be given the chance to have the birth I want.  That's why I was crying.  My choice was being taken away from me.  I can move on from the disappointment of having to have a c-section with Lawson because I HAD to have one.  But I don't know if I could ever be okay with giving into the medical system, set in place to save the doctor's butts from lawsuits, and having a birth entirely different from what I want before I was ever given the chance to even try.  I know that birth plans go flying right out the window when baby decides to come.  Things happen and we are NOT in control.  I'm so okay with that.  I understand that during the labor process, things could go wrong and some interventions may be necessary.  I'm thankful that we can intervene when we need to!  I don't have a specific birth plan.  I simply know that I do not want to intervene unless there is a reason to.  I know that my body can do it and that I can handle the pain.  I want to be given the choice and the chance that I should inherently have as a mother to birth my baby how I want to.  Be that squatting, standing, laying down, unmedicated or numbed from the waist down via epideral.  That should be MY choice.  If I were birthing with the OB I had in Oregon, I would have the chance to birth how I want to.  But, here I am in the middle of rural Mississippi, where I am obviously the exception to the birthing rule, given the look she gave me when I opposed an epidural, stuck trying to figure out how to work the system to get the birth I want.  I've read and heard about this struggle and I am not happy to be in the middle of it now. 

I know that most women WANT an epidural and would be fine with pitocin speeding up the process to get to the "good" part, which is holding the baby.  I'm not sitting in judgment of anyone for wanting an epidural or choosing to induce when you're overdue and done.  I get it.  I just know it isn't for me.  I never wanted either of those things and now, being a VBAC patient, I will not raise my risk factors by inducing.  And I will not be stuck to a bed, unable to move to cope with the pain.  I had hoped for a home birth with Lawson and instead got knocked out for a c-section birth that I have no recollection of.  It was a devastating blow to my confidence to start out my journey of being a mother having "failed" at the very basic process of birthing him "normally."  When I gave birth to Naomi exactly how I'd wanted to, feeling every little bit of the experience both physically and emotionally, I felt like super. woman.  I could do anything!  It was an awakening and an intensely life-altering process.  I look back on that day with nothing but happiness and that is the way it should be.  I know not everyone understands my approach to birthing, but it's so important to me.  It's not for everyone, but it should be available for me.  I've done it before and I can do it again.  I hope.  My heart was pretty broken about it yesterday, but I'm trying to stay positive and am hoping that I can find a doctor who will give me a chance.  In the meantime, I am just baffled that maternal medicine in this country could be so backward, being set up for the doctor's convenience above the patience needs or wishes.  What I wouldn't give to go back to Oregon for the birth of this baby!  The documentary, The Business of Being Born, keeps popping in my head with this situation.  If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it.  I've seen it many times and have been thankful that my OB didn't fit the bill as the "norm."  Well, now I've found myself with the "norm" and it isn't pretty.

My new OB is hopefully going to be my old OB.  I'll go in next week for the ultrasound we scheduled and with any luck, that will be the end of my dealings with her.  I have already put in a request to be referred to  another OB in town that everyone raves about.  I know she'll do a VBAC, but my confidence has been shaken drastically that she'll offer me (being high risk) anything different than what OB #1 did.  According to her, I am not going to get what I am looking for in the state of Mississippi.  Which is just sad.  According to my primary care physician's nurse, it's "really difficult" to switch OBs in the middle of pregnancy, so now I'm wondering if it's going to be a fight to even move onto another OB.  This is all just crazy!  Hopefully this turns out to be a shorter story than it seems like it could become...



  1. oh hon, I am so sorry you are having a rough time. Have you researched any Certified Nurse-Midwives or lay Midwives in the area? Any birth centers that could take you on? I think you have every right to try for a VBAC that does NOT include getting induced.

  2. This makes me really sad. I'm sad for you, for our daughters and for women that this is what it's come to. I will say it again...homebirth?? I know you have said it's not an option, but I think it may be worth looking into at this point. There are some VERY competent midwives out there. I don't understand this mentality since you have already had a VBAC. Prayers for you my sweet cousin.

  3. I'm sorry your going through all this. I know you can do it all on your own. And if it wasn't for your rare condition I would be 100% on board for a homebirth, BUT you can't die, I need you here!!! So that is out of the question:) I hope you can find a doctor that will just let you do your thing because you can. So anyhoo call me this week!