I recently met a woman I will call S for this article. She is the mother of one, and pregnant with her second child living in a state where it is not legal for Certified Professional Midwife to attend a home birth, in an area where Certified Nurse Midwives do not opt to attend births at home. Making a catch 22 for any woman who is interested in birthing at home. Meaning the only option for a home birth, is an unattended birth, with no medical professional. I think of this as a scary thought for myself because of my second birth experience in which an emergency turned my attempt for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) into a repeat section.
S is in a similar situation. With her first child she had a cesarean section, and is desperate to not repeat the experience, like many women who opt for home birth today.
But her experience did not start wanting to have a birth at home with the possibility of no medical professional there for her. It started in the care of a local "VBAC Friendly" Obsetrician who set a strict and unrealisitic list of guidelines for S to be able to attempt a trial of labor. Two of which were not exceeding her 40 week due date mark, and a required epidural. Both of which S was not comfortable with. Once learning about these stipulations, she declined to return to that OB/GYN.
S began calling hospitals to learn about their cesarean rates, and VBAC success numbers, and was not met with open arms but hang ups and dead ends. As if pregnancy isn’t emotionally screwy enough, having to go through this stress was taking a toll on her.
After searching through all the local hospitals, and all the Midwives in the area, she found a Certified Professional Midwife "attending births"to help ensure women birthing at home would not be forced no medical care at all. And thankfully for S she has been able to continue with her plan of having her birth at home.
More stressing factors for this situation is the lack of insurance coverage, and the fact that her previous Obstetricians office will not release her medical records to her for anything less than a $100 fee because they do not wan to "become liable" for a Rogue Patient birthing at home.
S is continuing to move forward with her pregnancy, healthy, and happy because she is not worrying about these hospitals, what her insurance may or may not cover, and worrying about going under the knife again.
But a growing number of women across the country are being pushed into corners like S. No options available after undergoing one cesarean section, and if you have had two, then in most places your only option is birthing at home because hospitals do not want to "allow" you a trial of labor at all.
Violating the essential rights of patients, human rights, and bodily anatomy. If these women do not wish to undergo major surgery, they should not have to, and they should not be forced to birth in a situaton that may be uncomfortable for them.
The climate of VBAC in the United States is dismal at best. With over 50% of the Nations hospitals banning a vaginal birth after cesarean, it is forcing mothers who do not know enough to question it into repeat surgery.
Sadly for women like myself, and like S, our childbearing future is in the hands of other people, mostly men.