Friday, September 7, 2007

My VBAC Anniversary

I am a year out from my VBAC. In celebrating my son's first birthday, I was also celebrating the anniversary of my VBAC. It is incredible to look back on that experience.

I am so proud of being able to do this. I am so proud that LittleMan is my VBAC baby. I feel privileged to have been able to accomplish this in my life.

See, I am a c-section baby myself. I do not blame my mother for having had a c-section. I do not feel traumatized by it. I do not feel less of a person, or that I had less of a childhood because I was born via c-section. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful that the medical technology was there to save me.

My LittleBird is a c-section baby. While her birth was not ideal, it in no way diminishes who she is. It does not diminish who I am.

I will proudly show her my scar. Some women throw around ugly and negative terms in describing their c-sections. I will never burden my daughter with those images. I will proudly tell her that I had a "belly birth" with her.

Were there traumatic emotions involved with that c-section? You betcha.

Did I have a hard time getting over it? Hell yes.

But I will never let my daughter feel that her entry into this world was anything less than a miracle. That would be selfish of me. Her birth was a miracle. I am blessed with an angel and she brings light and joy to my life every day.

The best scars a woman can have are those she bears for her child.

And in reflecting over this whole process, I feel the need to rant a little bit.

The decision to VBAC is hard enough. Depending on what part of the country you live in, it can be really hard to find a doctor's group that will let a woman VBAC. And when you look online for VBAC support, you have women telling you to homebirth or you will not be successful.

I think that is really fucked up.

You have many in the medical community scaring pregnant women with the line that VBACs are dangerous and to go with a repeat C.

You have the "VBAC supporters" online scaring pregnant women with the line that if you go to an OB/don't home birth that you are destined to have a failed VBAC and end up with a C-section anyway.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

What are women supposed to do who want a VBAC? It sometimes feels like there is nowhere to turn. If you join supposedly VBAC-friendly message boards, you get slammed for going to see an OB. If you don't have a VBAC-friendly OB, you don't get support there.

You know what? My OB is the reason I had a successful VBAC. I credit him working with me to make it possible, and his doing everything in his power to make it happen.

Do all women get that lucky? No. But not all OBs are bad. Neither are all homebirths bad. But why does it have to be either/or? Why do both sides have to go to the extreme? If the idea is for the woman to have a safe and satisfying birth experience, how is putting her in the middle helping her? Scare tactics on either side are shameful.

So in celebrating the anniversary of my VBAC, I want to list all the things I am grateful for:

I am grateful I was able to cut through all the bullshit out there. Both from the medical community and the advocacy groups.

I am grateful I have a husband who was excited to take this VBAC journey with me.

I am grateful to my OB for pushing the limits of what was "acceptable" in the hospital to fight for my VBAC.

I am grateful to my labor nurse for coaching me and pushing me to make this happen.

I am grateful to my friends, who no matter what their personal VBAC beliefs were, gave me love and support and were happy for me when I was successful. Even if they themselves had not been able to VBAC, they gave me that love and support. I know many of them were conflicted, and I appreciate the strength it took to give me those hugs.

I am grateful for my son.


Karen said...

Congratulations and happy birthday to your little one!

I appreciate your perspectives and I also have to remain conscious, now that my oldest and c/s baby is growing up, to frame her birth in a positive context! I agree that there are many ways to get to vbac and I hate that there are some folks who diminish a hospital birth instead of celebrating a mom birthing where she feels comfortable, and making a hospital birth work for her goals. I agree that some OBs are great... but I admit I think of them as midwives who happen to have surgical training :)

louann said...

HAppy Birthday to your little one!
Wow, having experienced both c-section and VBAC must be a wonderful experience to look back on.