Part of my lack of blogging might be more to discouragement than to time-issues, though, I must confess. Since my glorious natural VBAC almost 9 months ago, I have served as a resource person to many of my friends seeking natural birth. Unfortunately, though, as a barometer of today's high-intervention obstetrical climate, many of these friends have had not-so-happy births.
I was so incredibly thrilled with my AMAZING natural birth in June 2010, that I was pretty vocal about it on facebook. Not surprising, I made quite a name for myself as being a natural birth advocate and wannabe-midwife. In the weeks and months following my birth, I received about a dozen e-mails from friends and acquaintances who were desperately seeking advice and encouragement on their journeys toward a happy birth. A good proportion of these pregnant women had similar stories to mine: a traumatic first birth (most often an unexpected c-section) and a desire to overcome feelings of feminine inadequacy and distrust of their bodies by having a glory-birth for their second (or third) baby. Many of them, like me, were shocked and outraged by obstetricians discouraging them or even forbidding them from attempting VBACs. I received e-mail after e-mail from women in my extended circle outlying such similar predicaments.
I would encourage them, pray for them, and tell them what worked for me. I gently pointed them toward midwife care, hypnobabies, and natural birth (no epidurals!). I pulled out some research articles on fetal positioning. I sent links, videos, articles... I loaned out books. Anything to pump them up to feel excited about their upcoming births!
Of the 6 friends who have already given birth... four were repeat c-sections!!!! ARGH!
One VBAC hopeful had a planned c/s for breech. Another delivered a 9lb2oz baby by repeat c/s-- 42 weeks gestation and well over 24 hours of active labor and never progressing past 5 cm. I was so proud of her for her efforts... and sad that the birth was not how she hoped. Two more moms - one, a VBA2C hopeful, both became discouraged by their OB and talked out of even trying to VBAC. They both had their babies by c/s this week.
I am reminded by these outcomes just how amazing it is that I was able to have such a beautiful and restorative birth. We must never ever ever take experiences like that for granted.
The two non-c/s deliveries? One was a quick and comfortable hypnobabies birth for a first time mom! YEAH! She delivered at a birth center and got to come home only hours later.
The other was a quick and comfortable vaginal TWIN delivery! YES!! I had been corresponding with this friend throughout her stressful pregnancy (stressful only because she was labeled "high risk" because of the twins and subjected to lots of testing, bedrest, and hospital admissions). By the time she was "gently induced" for PIH, she was already 5 cm on admission and didn't feel her contractions until about 8cm. She was comfortable until she was told it was time to push. Everything went so fast... she almost had baby A in the toilet! She said it was incredible and she felt great! I am just so thrilled for her!!!! She stood her ground, found a supportive care-giver, armed herself with knowledge, and had a fabulous birth as a result. These were her first babies!
I have discovered a passion in myself for supporting women in this crazy season of life called childbearing. It has become a scary unknown for many women-- there are so many horror stories, much misinformation, and so many risk-inflating and intimidating OBs who bully women into inductions and cesareans.
I, for one, will not let them bully my friends.