Thursday, January 12, 2012

Options and Statistics

Even though Conner is only 2 months old now, I've already started making myself educated about future labors. Coming off of an emergency C-section, I want to make sure that I am well rehearsed in how things can go in future pregnancies and birthings. I'm finding that it's an empowering thing, to recognize that I want to be prepared and knowledgeable, and that it's helping me get over the fact that Conner's birth was less than my dream experience.

In the United States, approximated 34% of women deliver their babies via C-section, though that number is from 2009 and may be higher at this point. While a C-section may be preferred by some women, for me personally it isn't a route I wanted to take, nor one that I wish to take again if I can avoid it. I don't want to deal with that recovery again, or the difficulty I had taking care of my son for the first few days after he was born, or even the restrictions on basic things like driving or carrying grocery bags. I especially don't want to experience the devastating feelings of failure and disappointment again. I don't really want to put my body or my mind through that all over again if I don't have to.

Luckily for me, the hospital on our base is pretty amazing. They're huge promoters of breastfeeding, complete with free-of-charge lactation consultants, helpful classes both pre and post natal, and even weekly E-mails with facts and helpful tips. In addition, they're also advocates of VBACs: vaginal birth after cesarean. This is pretty exciting to me.

In previous years, VBACs were not recommended and frowned upon in the medical community. And while, as of 2010, the U.S. boasted a 90% repeat Cesarean rate, VBACs are now considered safe. In fact, successful VBACs are considered to have lower complication rates than repeat C-sections in most cases. And while things happen and there are always risks, women have the option.

Just the thought that I will have the opportunity to deliver my next child the way I want to is incredibly meaningful to me. And I understand that I am lucky to be a patient in a medical system which encourages women to try a VBAC, as nationally about 57% of women wanting a VBAC have a difficult time finding a supportive provider (perhaps this is where the 90% repeat C-section rate comes from? hmmm). I'm also finding that, for myself, being educated about my options makes me feel safe. Should we ever move before having another child, I feel secure in having information about VBACs and knowing that I don't have to settle with a provider who isn't willing to support my decision to try.

I've come to the understanding that my next pregnancy will be considered "high-risk" because of the infection I had during labor, and the fact that the cause of it is still unknown. I've come to the understanding that my next labor may not go the way I want it to because of the potential for complications again. But I've also come to the understanding that I should be educated, I should continue to be involved in the decisions made about my children and my body and that I should not feel bad or guilty about Conner's birth any more. I've come to the understanding that I have options, I have a voice and I'm lucky to have providers who are willing to hear it and support it.

1 comment:

  1. Val, i think it's great you are doing so much research to get ready for your next L&D. Only question I have is about your C-section (and it's one for your OB) - was your incision made in a way that would be okay for a VBAC? Some emergency C's are made with vertical incisions (because it's faster to get the baby out) and then (from what friends with vertica; scars have told me)you can't have a VBAC due to the risk of uterine rupture during delivery. Just a thought of something to check with your doctor about, from my friends' experiences.
    p.s. my mom had 3 easy successful VBAC's after I was born, so I am totally an advocate of them, just want you being safe :)