To tell the story of the birth of my 3rd child Gabe I have to begin with the births of my first 2 children. Lucas was born in 2007, after a comfortable and very uneventful pregnancy. I had done everything that all of the books and pamphlets tell you to do, I had all the tests done, I went to birthing classes at the hospital, I took a breastfeeding class, I was ready to give birth, and anxiously awaited the moment that I would realize that labor had begun. That moment never came. I had fallen while I was walking our dog when I was 38 weeks pregnant and it was discovered then that he was in a frank breech position. When a doctor from my group finally came to see me, I asked for an ECV and was instead scheduled for a section 2 weeks later. I pressured them for another week to try to turn him and they finally consented but it was too late, my ECV was the day before my “elective c-section” and they wouldn’t perform it because I was just too far along, Lucas was too big, and I didn’t have enough fluid. So they sent me off to get pre-op blood work done. I sat in the waiting room crying, my mother sitting next to me trying to tell me that it was going to be okay, but I didn’t believe her, How did this happen? To me of all people, I was so ready to feel the pain, and wonder that childbirth had to offer, and was ready to see the life that had grown in my body enter the world. There was a middle aged woman sitting across from me in the waiting room and she asked why I was crying, my mother told her, and with the best intentions the very nice woman told us she had 4 wonderful children all born by cesarean, and that she had never been in labor and that it was going to be ok. My response to this was even more tears, I didn’t want to go through life never knowing what it was like. The next day my beautiful son was born, delivered by a doctor I had never met, I saw him for a few minutes and then he was taken away from me for more than 4 hours, because “that’s just how they do things.” Later on (4months later) we discovered that Lucas had a cranial defect that also would have prevented a vaginal birth, regardless of his presentation. This still didn’t make me feel better about anything.
Enter my OB, he checked baby’s heartbeat and did a cervical check and then with my children present proceeded to tell me that I was ruining his personal like and his professional life, that I had the hospital in an uproar because I was refusing to be sectioned. He told me that if I were to go into labor that I would surely have shoulder dystocia and a ruptured uterus, and that he didn’t want to get sued. He said that when I came into the hospital either for a section or in labor that my reception would be cold at best. My interpretation of that was that I wouldn’t get the same care that everyone else was receiving or the care that as a human being I was entitled to . . .do no harm I think is what it‘s called. I told him that my intention wasn’t to ruin anything but to only protect my body and baby from an unnecessary surgery, or a surgery of convenience. Of course if I needed a c-section I would consent but that I didn’t believe based on the information that he gave me that it was indeed necessary, since the main reason was that he wouldn’t be on-call and another doctor would have to deliver me, and “they” weren’t comfortable with VBA2C patients, yes my OB had said this exact statement in our conversations/recorded voicemails, that had taken place. .He called me self-serving, and demanded that I consent to schedule a c-section for the Friday 3/23. I told him that I would have to discuss it with my husband because I don’t make these decisions without him, we do things as a family. He told me that I needed to find another provider, but that we wouldn’t find anyone to VBAC us, let alone take us at 40+wks. I told him that I would of course let him know if we were able to find another provider, and that I would let him know about the section for Friday, I then told him that we were finished talking and asked him to leave the room. Oh and that vaginal ultrasound, I guess it wasn’t medically necessary after all. It was during this visit that I knew that this man was not going to get anywhere near my baby or my body, ever again. I left the hospital, called my husband and we made a decision of what we were going to do, I called our doula, told her what happened, and what hubby and I had decided to do. She was on board of course, because she is the best doula EVER! I got home and got on the phone. I called my old midwife, yes the one that couldn’t VBAC me. I knew that calling them meant a repeat section, but I was quickly approaching the end of my VBAC comfort zone anyway, and it was becoming impossible to dodge our now very persistent OB. I knew that I had always felt safe in her care, and that her partner was a great surgeon, and also as caring as she is. I told her a watered down version of what had transpired and asked if she would be able to help me deliver via cesarean, because I did not feel safe going to the OB anymore and did not feel safe at his hospital. She agreed to try to get me in, she called me back about an hour later and told me that of course they would deliver me, and that I was now scheduled for Friday 3/23, also my husband’s birthday. I went in the next day saw the OB to sign some papers, again told the watered down version of what happened, he hugged me, told me he would keep us safe. Friday came, we checked into L&D, talked with the midwife and OB, went over some things that we wanted for the birth, and they obliged. They allowed my husband and doula to be with me in the OR, they lowered the drape at the moment of birth, I saw my son enter the world, saw him breath air for the first time, I still can‘t verbalize what that was like without bursting into tears it was so moving I can‘t explain it, they delayed clamping his cord, and they kept him with me in the OR for quite a while. We were only separated for what I can guess was 20 minutes or so. My little Gabe weighed 9lbs 1oz. And was perfectly cooked.
So in the end, a baby didn’t come out of my vagina, even though I had hoped and wished for it, for a lot longer then this story documented. Am I disappointed that I never labored? Never pushed? Never had any of that burning that everyone talks about? Well I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed a little. I’ll always wonder, always imagine what it might have been like. But I have a birth that I am proud of. I not only experienced things during Gabe’s birth that I never thought I would see or feel, but I found strength within myself, to stand up for what I knew was right. I was not bullied, I was not a victim, I chose to birth my way, on my own terms. There are people who thought I was crazy for having done all of this, only to end up back to where I started, but I needed to take the road less traveled, and stay on it just once. It led me to a place where I feel peace, I feel strong and I feel empowered, all things that anyone would want out of the birth of their children, and after 6 years, and 3 children I finally have them.