The mind is an amazing thing. There is really no limit to the human capacity for shedding responsibility for hurting and even killing others. VBAC advocates seem to be particularly adept at this form of denial.
Consider the following story of a baby who died a preventable death at a VBA2C. The short version:
The mother had a terrible obstetric history, 3 preterm deliveries, one vaginal, a C-section for preterm breech and a C-section for bleeding placenta previa. She was a horrible candidate for VBAC, with a low chance of success and a high chance of rupture. No hospital would accept her for VBA2C because the risk of rupture and death was too high. She decided to labor at home and show up at the hospital fully dilated. Unfortunately she did have a catastrophic uterine rupture and the baby did die EXACTLY as she was warned. Nonetheless, several months after the fact, she is still babbling that this was both unpredictable an unsurvivable. She is flat out wrong on both points.
This is the way she tells the story on a VBAC support website:
Her terrible obstetric history
My first daughter was a PPROM at 31.5wks, born natural vaginal in about 4 hrs post rupture . No augment or meds to stop labor. Was amazing and despite 24days in NICU she is amazing!
My next baby we were so freaked out about prematurity … [A]t 32.5wks .. I was having contrax, we went in for steroids and “stop meds”. During this antepartum stay I was bullied and badgered and harassed. My breech baby girl also had ‘low fluid’ … [They] told us if we didn’t surgically deliver that day my daughter would die. BIRTH TRAUMA occurred for me and major PPD 9months after due to horrible 21day NICU stay and crap bonding (despite steroids her lungs were crap for a 34week girl) …
… 3rd daughter was bound and determined to get to ten! birth vaginally! no bullying allowed! Alas, due to csection, a complete centered placenta previa. Made it to 35weeks when a bleeding placenta forced surgical delivery. Healing birth don’t get me wrong but hospital policy dictated an antepartum stay for a few days during which I was asked to “presign” consent etc and had to fight doctors … my hubby and I even had social workers sent in for us because my RN (who was 8months pregnant) couldn’t understand that a healthy baby was NOT my only goal outcome. (my emphasis)
Three times this mother was in danger of a baby dying. Once she was even in danger of dying herself. Instead of being grateful, she was angry at not having a specific birth experience. After all, a healthy baby was NOT her only goal.
Her interpretation of being told that she was not a suitable candidate for VBA2C:
We had been working with a CNM, OB, MFM doc all on the same page: the two closest hospitals WOULD NOT let me labor without being bullied and badgered for a csection. I was told to come “ready to deliver” which to me meant to labor at home for as long as possible.
Imagine that; they bullied her by telling her that the risk of her baby dying was high. So instead of giving up her “experience” for a live baby, she decided to stay home until the hospital would be forced to let her deliver vaginally.
She and her doula missed the signs of uterine rupture. After multiple hours of regular contractions she felt a “kick” and then continuous pain:
She and I couldn’t differentiate contrax as I was feeling almost tetanic but still very much cramping sensations
Her grossly irresponsible CNM let her labor at home alone and arrived to find that the baby was dead.
[The rupture] was catastrophic. But my uterus did its job. The scar opened, birthed a baby and placenta and it shut down the bleeding. My son most likely died within the first 10 minutes though we will never know and for that I am grateful. My CNM arrived around midnight as planned and she couldn’t find baby’s heartbeat. After that I went into shock quite promptly and was eventually ambulance transferred for emergency surgery where my son was removed from my abdomen (he was up by my spleen) and 2 liters of blood was removed from my peritoneal cavity. I needed one blood transfusion but my uterus had stopped bleeding completely so the Dr stitched the now small hole and left it in my pelvis. Though he commented “Never use it again!”
A woman with a terrible obstetric history was told that she was not a candidate for a VBA2C because the risk of uterine rupture and death of her baby was too high, even for hospitals that routinely handled VBACs. So instead she decided to labor at home, where a rupture would surely be a death sentence for her baby. Just as she was warned, she ruptured and the baby died. How does she justify the entirely preventable death of her son?
Had this happened in the hospital most likely it would not have given us a healthy or alive son. It was a quick rupture per the 3 OBs that were in the OR, like a popped balloon, not a slow tear. There was no predicting it though per our perinatologist, as it is not evidence based to measure scar thickness to TOLAC. We would most likely not have been presenting to a hospital this early in labor anyway, having not lost mucus plug or water breaking etc. And after a pregnancy so unlike all my others, with everything going our way, why would I
have thought about rupture?
NO PREDICTING IT? The told her repeatedly that they would not oversee a VBA2C specifically BECAUSE they thought she would rupture.
Hospital birth would not have given us a health or alive son? That’s pure bullshit. Had she had a C-section prior to labor, her baby would be alive and healthy. Had she gone to the hospital and had a C-section at the first sign of labor, her baby would be alive and healthy. And the odds are high that if she had experienced the exact same rupture in the hospital, her baby would be alive and healthy. The ONLY reason her baby is dead is because she chose to martyr him on the altar of vaginal birth. She let him die.
But, as I say, the human mind is an amazing thing. She still hasn’t accepted responsibility for her choice.
We were given the statistics respectfully and it was our choice to make. Obviously the wrong one for my son but how were we to know?
How were you to know? BECAUSE THEY TOLD YOU!!!
There is at least a glimmer of awareness:
I do have more posts coming related to the birth and VBAC, specifically one called , “I Martyred My Son” but since it is highly political I am really working it to make it right.
But only the tiniest glimmer:
My story should not be taken as a scare tactic. I would still have made the same choice but wish we had the option to attempt this in the hospital. I will never know if we could have saved my son if given the opportunity to monitor him earlier.
But what we ALL know is that if she had agreed to a C-section, he would be alive, cooing, babbling, smiling at his older sisters, and instead he is DEAD! All the potential of a life that had limitless potential was snuffed out just because his mother wanted to experience a vaginal birth.
She martyred her son for her own birth “experience.” I’d like to know if it was worth it.