Rebecca’s Story: Switching VBAC Providers
Rebecca is an inspiring woman who took matters into her own hands and switched providers when she realized that staying with her current OB wasn’t going to give her the best chance at having a VBA2C. She graciously allowed me to share her story because I want to help people understand that switcing providers is possible and so very worth it. What’s so cool about how this story unfolded is that she was over 40 weeks pregnant when she shared this with me and I had to wait to finish the article until her baby was born. Read on to find out what happened!
Rebecca’s 1st Birth:
Rebecca’s provider for her first birth was the same obstetrician she’d had since she was a teenager. She had a great pregnancy and trusted this doctor. However, when she hit 40 weeks pregnant, the doctor said she was full term and may as well plan an induction. There was no indication that her baby was ready to be born, but they went ahead. They placed cervadil overnight and the next morning her doctor performed a cervical exam and broke her water without first asking for consent, which was very upsetting for Rebecca. She dilated quickly after this, but pushed for 4 hours before it was declared that the baby’s shoulders were stuck and a cesarean was needed.
The cesarean itself was very traumatic for her. The anesthesiologist didn’t listen to her when she said she wasn’t numb and he left her under the care of the resident who gave her ketamine. She recalls not being present for the birth of her son, has no memory of what he looked like at birth, and was the last person to hold him. It took her a year before she could even share her story. The one silver lining came when the OB told her husband at the end of surgery that she saw no reason why Rebecca couldn’t try for a VBAC with her next baby.
Rebecca’s 2nd Birth
4 years later, Rebecca was pregnant and returned to this OB’s office. The doctor claimed that she would support a VBAC, but often made comments about all the things that might go wrong that would require a cesarean. These included having a big baby and going past 40 weeks (this doctor refused to induce for a VBAC – learn more about induction and VBAC here). Rebecca says she let it roll off her back, thinking she’d stay strong and resist the attempts to push her into a cesarean.
It got especially bad when the OB found out she had a doula and a birth plan. Rebecca said, “Her nurse gave her my plan and she came storming into the room with it saying, ‘if you couldnt get that first baby out, what makes you think you can get this one out?’ Thats when it was fully clear to me that she had always had every intention of bullying me into a planned c-section for no other reason, but her own schedule. There were so many times along the way that I should have changed doctors, but I didnt even know where to start. And by the time things got that bad I was so far along I thought there was no way.”
At the end of pregnancy, Rebecca took castor oil out of desperation to go into labor. It worked, but she labored on her back the whole time with no support from the OB. The OB popped her head in occasionally to remind her she was being kept there on her day off. At one point, Rebecca heard her tell the nurse to just have Rebecca try pushing so she’d realize she couldn’t do it. Coerced into pushing before she was ready led to 4 hours of pushing yet again, and another cesarean.
“I had to start over many times but I now see that was all because none of them were actually the one for me…It was totally worth it, my doctor is amazing and supportive and as confident as I am about a successful VBA2C – sometimes she’s more confident than me” – Rebecca
Rebecca’s Search for a Supportive VBAC Provider
After her 2nd baby was born, Rebecca decided she was done with this provider and that it was time to switch to a truly supportive VBAC provider. She did a ton of research and became pregnant 5 months later. She couldn’t find a local ICAN group, but asked in Facebook groups for recommendations. She would read websites of providers and then call their offices to see if their responses on the phone matched what their websites said about VBAC support.
At first, she received a handful of “no’s” from a few midwifery practices because she’d had 2 cesareans and the last one was so recent. She wanted to find care as soon as possible because she wanted bloodwork and support from early in pregnancy, but she decided to trust her body and baby and keep looking until she found a good fit. The one doctor she’d heard great things about was full for the month she was due. The next doctor didn’t take her insurance.
When she shared her story with me at the end of her pregnancy, she said, “I had to start over many times but I now see that was all because none of them were actually the one for me. Once I finally found my doctor I was already 9-10 weeks which doesn’t sound far along to some I’m sure, but that had been 4-5 weeks of searching for me. It was totally worth it, my doctor is amazing and supportive and as confident as I am about a successful VBA2C – sometimes she’s more confident than me. So as I sit here at 41 + 2, its so comforting to know I have that much support.”
Rebecca’s 3rd Birth
When I wrote most of this article, I didn’t yet know how Rebecca’s birth would turn out. But then I got an email from her that simply said, “I got my VBA2C on Monday at 41+3!! Having supportive providers meant everything!”
Rebecca’s Advice about Finding a VBAC Provider
“My advice would be to always go with your gut – if I had with my second pregnancy, he wouldnt have been a c-section. Never give up. It can be done and it makes all the difference in the world. Its not fair to women to be both pregnant and stressed because they know every time they go to an appointment they’ll have to defend themselves or fight for themselves. That’s not how pregnancy should be. Even if you have to travel, or its not easy, it’s totally worth it!”
If Rebecca’s story inspires you, and you’re ready to find a supportive VBAC provider for yourself, be sure to grab my free guide to finding your best VBAC provider. You can also schedule a 1:1 VBAC Clarity Intensive with me and I’ll help you delve into your options and start the process of finding support.
I'm Taylor, your VBAC Doula
I’m a doula, doula trainer, childbirth educator, ICAN leader, cesarean mama, VBAC mama, and HBAC mama. My mission is to support VBAC hopefuls to have empowered births.
"Taylor is warm, encouraging, and assertive. She allowed me to take charge and supported my decisions. I know that is the role of a doula, but I guess I expected to be following her lead or waiting for her suggestions. In the moment of labor, I needed those around me to support me in whatever felt right in that moment. It’s like she knew my body would lead and she followed that. I felt loved and heard every step along the way."