On Monday I had my dreaded "VBAC consultation" with an obstetrician. I wasn't looking forward to this meeting for several reasons:
- It seems ridiculous to me to require a woman to have to sign a form stating that she would like to be "allowed" to use her vagina for one of its intended purposes
- I knew that the consultation would center around the doctor looking over my birth history and then HE would decide if I was a good candidate for VBAC
- I had a surgical birth for reasons not likely to recur
- I've ALREADY HAD a VBAC!
- I have already signed a form stating I understand the risks and benefits of VBAC and cesarean
Overall, the consultation went just as I'd expected. The doctor first asked me if I was having a repeat cesarean or a VBAC (obviously he didn't know I'm seeing the midwife, who is not a surgeon and cannot perform a c-section). Then, before he even examined my prior birth history, the doctor launched into a list of the benefits of a planned repeat cesarean and the risks of VBAC. Yes, it was a discussion of "risks vs benefits", but do you notice what's missing? There was absolutely NO discussion of the risks of repeat cesarean or the benefits of VBAC!
Finally the doctor looks over my birth history (because, don'tchaknow, a doctor has to deem a woman a "good candidate" for a "trial of labor"), and he noticed my children's birth weights (3lbs 10oz at 37 weeks and 5lbs 2 oz at 41 weeks). Then, he dropped a bombshell:
"Well, we can let you try a VBAC if you want to, but I don't really seeWHAT?!?!?!?
it happening. Your other children were so small and this baby is going to be a
normal size. I give you a 50/50 chance. It's just not likely to happen."
First of all, there is no "we". You're not even my care provider, doc! I am giving birth. M-E. Not you. Second, you don't "let me" do anything. You give me the information I need to make an informed decision and then you stand back and let me decide. As far as "not really see[ing] it happening," oh you have no idea how I would adore dragging your butt out of bed and having you watch me push this baby out!
NOW, WHAT IN THE WORLD do you mean I can't give birth to a "normal-sized" baby? I've heard of doctors giving mothers the "big baby card" and the "dead baby card". I have even been given the "small baby card". No wonder the cesarean rate in this country is skyrocketing! You just can't please these doctors!! "You can't birth this baby because she's too small" and "you can't birth this baby because she's just the right size". A nation of schizophrenic obstetricians... and women simply line up to be strapped down--MADNESS!!!!
Now, dear doctor, here is my "VBAC consent form":
- I had a cesarean for reasons not likely to recur.
- I had a low, transverse incision with an uncomplicated physical recovery.
- It has been 4.5 years since my cesarean.
- I have had a subsequent vaginal birth (VBAC).
- I understand that, having had a successful vaginal birth, my risk for uterine rupture is less than 1%.
- I understand that the risks of a repeat cesarean include: death, hemorrhage, blood clots, injury to bladder, bowel, uterus, injury to baby, excessive blood loss and hysterectomy.
I declare myself an autonomous woman, of sound mind and body, and hereby state my decision to have a VBAC.