I attended a VBAC yesterday that would not have happened if she had stayed at her previous practice. This mom interviewed us late. She was already 32 weeks when she sat down with one of the Ladies of the Labyrinth and made the decision to hire us. Then we had her prenatal meeting at 35 weeks. She expressed the kind of birth experience she desired and I knew she would be hard pressed to do this at her current practice. We discussed how she would need to fight to get what she wanted. She was ready for the fight. But that night she tossed and turned thinking about the idea of having to fight during her labor- something no one should have to do. She called me the next morning to say she was ready to change practices and locations.
This used to be something that could happen at 35 weeks or even later. But it is getting much more difficult due to staffing and practices already being so busy. But a few phone calls later, we were able to get her into a practice that offered her more options than her current practice. I am thankful to the midwives who heard my plea and squeezed her in.
This mom gave birth just before her 39th week. This means she may have had three appointments at most before she was in labor. I know after her birth she was counting her blessings. No abdominal incision and a healthy baby girl in her arms was what she desired and she got it! She was supported in an unmedicated vaginal birth.
If there is one thing I wish I could sing from the tree tops it is – Please seek support for the kind of birth you want early! This mom was lucky. We had a mom a few months ago pass on the idea of changing although she had several reservations regarding her current practice. She stayed with her original practice and fought in labor but ended up in the OR. She had said during our prenatal that she would consider a change for her next pregnancy. If she wants a VBAC she will have to change to get it next time.
As a doula and childbirth educator my goal is not to help folks change practices. My goal is to inform couples of their options. When they begin to share their dream and my almost two decades of experience knows that what they are dreaming about and what they will most likely get are two different things I feel the need to share. There is the propensity to keep quiet when hosting the Meet and Greet or in an interview, but those who know me that does not usually work for me. Plus who is it serving? It seems keeping quiet may earn me being liked and hired, but keeping quiet is not being fully honest with the couple.
When they ask me pointed questions about my experience with their hospital or care provider, I try to couch my comments gently but I am honest. Can you have a great experience in any location with most any provider? Yes but not without a fight. And sometimes in your most vulnerable moment your ability to fight is not very resilient. But why fight when you can go to other locations and providers who support your desires?
Don’t let the beautiful hospital and nice provider who has been your gynecologist for years sway you if conversations with them about your dream birth send up red flags. Go with your gut and change. I am certainly proud of this mom for doing so. And I am also thankful for these midwives for accepting her as a late transfer!