A few weeks ago, a woman named Tanya in Texas contacted us in desperation. “I generally do not pose questions, or reach out for support from social media, but lately I am feeling completely beat down and powerless.”
Tanya’s estimated due date for her third VBAC was in two weeks. She had had one c-section for transverse-lying twins 13 years ago, followed by two vaginal births. She said: “I felt that I had been careful when seeking out a doctor. When we first met, I felt very comfortable with him. He appeared that he would not put any pressure on me as my due date approached.
“Now, he is telling me that he wants to use an Intrauterine monitor, Internal Fetal Monitor, place an Epidural port in my back, “just in case”, and IV antibiotics for Group B Strep (which he didn’t even tell me I had!). Oh, and he wants to break my water in order to put all of these into place. My water has always broken on its own, when it was ready.
“As my due date approaches, and every time I feel a Braxton Hick contraction, I want to cry, (and I don’t cry easily). I want to run and hide, and jump back in time to make my pregnancy last longer. I am so tired, and I am afraid that I will be pressured into something when I am at my most vulnerable.”
“I wanted to spend this time enjoying the last few moments alone with my baby. You know, every little kick and turn, but now I am feeling so anxious and apprehensive. I feel as though this time is being stolen from me, and I guess that I am reaching out for a little peace of mind. I don’t feel that there is ANY evidence based research that supports the use of all of these interventions for a third VBAC 13 years after c-section.
“I am going to my OB tomorrow, and I would like to take some information to back my decision for less interference. What are the best resources?”
We gave her some information, and offered to help her find some other providers in her area, just in case she needed some options.
“Sounds wonderful! I can’t thank you enough for offering such support. I’m already starting to relax a little more :)”
Tanya asked for a retest on the GBS test that she hadn’t been told was administered and had come back positive – and the second test was negative! However, Tanya reported that her doctor “basically told me that even if the GBS comes back negative, if I refuse antibiotic treatment, the pediatricians could call CPS [Child Protective Services] because I refused treatment for my child.
“As he was about to leave the room I said that if he wanted me to trust him, he had to trust me too. He said, ‘I do this for a living.’ I laughed and said, ‘Well, I basically do, too. Well, not for a living, but I’ve been doing this for most of my adult life.”
The mention of CPS was the final red flag. At this point, Tanya was ready to find a new, truly supportive provider.
Tanya’s request was posted on the ImprovingBirth.org Facebook page, and IB fans poured on the love: making suggestions, tagging their friends for more suggestions, and offering words of encouragement. One OB, Dr. Fred Cummings, quickly rose to the top of the list. Tanya contacted his office, but was told he was not taking new patients. She hung up in tears and let us know that she was back at Square One. We suggested she call back and explain that it was an emergency.
Her next report was:
“Dr. Cummings agreed to take me! I have an appointment tomorrow I never would have known my options if you hadn’t put it out there. I can’t thank you enough :). I’m feeling so much better, and lightened. Ready to relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.”
“I am so happy! I feel very comfortable with Dr. Cummings. He sees absolutely no reason why I should not VBAC the way I want to, and he is not ‘on call.’ He will be the one to ‘catch’ whenever she decides to come.
“Again, I can’t thank you enough. This week went from one that was filled with anxiety, frustration, and disappointment, to one filled with hope, reassurance, and peace. If I hadn’t found your page, and if you hadn’t responded with such support and promptness, I never would have known that there were options for me. It looks like Improvingbirth.org is already improving my birth experience. I feel confident that I am going to have a better birth experience because you, and everyone who offered suggestions, took the time to care about me, a total stranger no less. I am truly grateful, and I look forward to reading the stories of those that you continue to help in the future.”
An update at 40 weeks, 4 days:
“Just saw Dr. Cummings, and everything is great. Heart good, head in good position, etc. He said that he is complete comfortable with letting me do my thing and letting her come when she is ready! I have to say, it has been a wonderful, peaceful week knowing that there is no pressure to have her on a doctor’s schedule. I am pretty confident that if I had stayed with the other Dr he would have tried to bully me into having a c-section by now. Thank you again for all of your support. It has made all the difference.”
And three days later:
“I just had a wonderful birth!!!!! … Can’t wait to tell you all about it. I was so peaceful that I didn’t even realize that I was in active labor … [We] arrived at labor and delivery at 2:00 am, and Rowan Aderyn was born at 2:08 am. 9 lbs 6 oz , 19 1/2 inches. My biggest baby, and easiest delivery. 1st time I didn’t tear also. I had the freedom to be at peace, and it made a tremendous difference. Thank you, thank you again for your support :)”
We are so proud of Tanya! She stood up and said, “This isn’t right! We deserve better!” and she changed the course of her pregnancy and birth. She was her own advocate – and her baby’s best advocate. Congratulations, Tanya!
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Tanya, you look radiant with your sweet baby! Please get your story out there so they will see the power of your birth journey. I hope you will seriously consider writing a letter or contacting the other Ob to let him know how he failed you & your baby–& why! Each mother who takes the necessary steps like you did is a victory, but the system won’t change until MDs see women “voting with their feet” to find the respectful care they deserve, like you did! You are a wonderful example for so many mothers. Congratulations!
Do you have attorney referral information for a negligence case relating to my daughters birth?
So glad it worked out for her. I wish I knew the OB’s name who threatened her. I would love to write him a letter. I was also bullied during the birth of both of my children. Mostly by hospital administrators regarding breast feeding and having a doula at my first born’s birth. We had learned a lot of lessons with the first and were ready to make a stand the second time around. Good for this woman. I hope the other guy reads this story and realizes how it sheds a bad light on his practices.
Beautiful, empowering story! I love that you said, “I had the freedom to be at peace, and it made a tremendous difference.” I don’t doubt this one bit. Congratulations!
I am so delighted for you tanya!
I am so happy that everything worked out well for Tanya and her beautiful Rowan! Way to stand up for yourself and your daughter! Congratulations!