Yesterday we had our appointment with the surgeon who performed my emergency c-section which brought the not so little Poppy into our world. I am under the care of the same midwives as with my last pregnancy primarily, but had a mandatory meeting with the surgeon. He is an older man with a bad dye job and zero bedside manners. It was impossible to get any real dialogue going with him. We went in figuring he would be telling us the usual risks of VBAC we were already aware of and he didn't let us down.
What we were told:
Due to the reason for the last C-section (pushing for 2.5 hours without any progress) my chances for successful VBAC drops to about 50 percent.
Because we are in a small town the hospital does not have a surgeon or anesthesiologists on staff and would therefore have to be called in in case of an emergency (about an hour wait)
Chance of uterine rupture is 1 in 200.
Although I knew what we were going to hear, there were a few surprises like the points stated above. It got a really honest dialogue going between Mike and I. Mike is a cautious and logical man and is really great at breaking down problems to find answers. I have felt uneasy with committing to a decision since the day we found out we were pregnant again. He feels that a C-section is the safest route, but fully respects my feelings of being "robbed" of a natural experience.
After a lot of talking and a few tears, I realize that I don't feel brave enough or sure enough to try for a VBAC, but feel like I should. I am greatly influenced and guided by the "crunchy" community, but also have respect for the medical interventions that save lives. Ideally, I wouldn't have to make this decision, but the reality is that I do have to make the decision. I have felt from the beginning that I should go with the scheduled section and felt a calm feeling come over me when I mentally commit to that. I am not sure if it is fear or a gut feeling. I don't want to make a decision based on fear nor do I wish to make a decision based on some false sense of bravery.
The best question Mike asked me was how I would feel if I tried for a VBAC and ended up with another emergency C-section. Would I be happy that I had at least tried? Would I feel bitter?
My answer was that I would feel sad and upset that I hadn't listened to my gut feeling.
I was not really happy with the support I received from my midwives at Poppy's birth. I have a different midwife this time and have voiced my concerns and bitterness, but still don't know what to expect.
Midwives in Ontario are regulated and covered under OHIP. This means that they will be doing everything by the book and if I am not progressing by the book medical interventions and transfer of care can happen quickly. Which would mean I would then be under the care of whatever surgeon was on call.
The local hospitals have a 45 percent c-section rate.
My midwives have only done a couple of VBACs in the last year. or more.
Ultimately this is my decision, but this is also Mike's baby. I am a mama and wife too. This is not just my decision. I have found myself wishing for the baby to be breech or too big just so that I wouldn't have to be the one to make the decision. I could put the reasoning on something else. A c-section goes against so much of what I believe and yet it sits right with me when I look at my two options. I can't imagine going through the nightmare of labour and surgery and the long recovery that required again.
As of today, Mike and I have decided to go with a scheduled c-section at 39 to 40 weeks. Though I feel at peace (aside from the nervousness of knowing I am going in for surgery) with that decision, I feel the need to defend my decision. It is an easy choice until it is your baby, your body, and your choice.
I guess I just needed to put it in writing.
Thank you everyone who has shared their stories and experiences!
go gently & be wonderful