Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Birth and Politics, (As Usual)

So I had my postpartum check-up yesterday, and everything has healed very well. My husband and I thanked our doctor for making little R's birth such a wonderful and healing experience, despite the fact that it was a VBAC attempt that turned into a CBAC (cesarean birth after cesarean). She said that she knew how hard we had worked to have the best birth for our son, which was true, and she felt as emotional as we did. Even though, to our doctor, it was a routine day at the office, she said R's birth was as profound an experience for her as it was for us. And it definitely showed in the kindness and compassion we experienced in the operating room that day in July. I will always remember that.

We discussed the possibility of future children and I mentioned that I would most likely just schedule a c-section next time, if we decide to have another baby. She agreed that was the best decision and also explained that it's possible my scleroderma contributed to the failure of descent in both of my births, since the connective tissue of my pelvis could be affected. In my case, it's not an issue of true CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion), in which the mother's bony pelvis cannot accomodate the size of the baby's head, because I dilated completely in both labors, and quickly and easily in R's birth. Instead, it's possible that the tissue was simply unable to stretch far enough to allow proper descent into the birth canal.

I was about to bring up ACOG's recent change in VBAC guidelines, which states that most women with previous multiple cesareans cannot be denied a trial of labor, but my doctor beat me to it. The new recommendations mean that doctors cannot force a cesarean on anyone and many mothers with previous cesarean scars should be allowed to attempt vaginal births. Unfortunately, my doctor explained, the hospital where I delivered, North Austin Medical Center, is refusing to change their guidelines to accomodate this new bulletin. She and the other doctor in the practice are working hard to convince NAMC to change its mind, but so far, they've had no luck.

This is the same practice that successfully brought midwives back to the hospital setting in Austin, after much debate, so maybe, just maybe, they'll be able to shake things up once again. Not for me, necessarily, but for all the other moms in Austin who deserve a chance to heal their hearts and minds, as I did.