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VBAC at Home


I really love to share my story with people who are interested in hearing it, because a lot of people that I tell it to either think I'm crazy, stupid, or radical. I am none of those things; I only wanted to be safe and healthy, and protect my baby as much as possible during birth. I had my vbac at home, with the HomeFirst Family Practice. My first pregnancy 17 years ago ended as a c-section due to failure to progress. I was dilated to 5cm when the nurse put me in bed and attached a fetal monitor. Of course my labor was interrupted, I stopped dilating, and the monitor showed my twins in distress. This was after about 18 hours of laboring alone in the hospital, with no information or preparation or support whatsoever. I was terrified, and my delivery was totally managed by strangers. So when I became pregnant in 1996, I began asking doctors for two simple things: no automatic iv when labor started and no fetal monitoring unless there was an absolute emergency. I felt these things had contributed to my c-section the first time and definitely wanted to try to avoid surgery and have at least a chance to deliver vaginally. The three doctors I talked to all said that they could not guarantee an iv and fetal monitoring wouldn't be used in the hospital. I was surprised, as I thought doctors were in charge and could do what they wanted. But I was told that even if the doctors agreed, the hospitals had standard procedures and policies that limited doctors' orders. I was finally told that the only way to have the kind of delivery I was asking about was to have a home birth, and that HomeFirst was pretty much the only practice outside of midwives that would do a home birth vbac. When I contacted HomeFirst, they sent me an information packet right away and offered me a free consultation with a doctor. What a difference from the regular ob's I'd been talking to! I had one ob's receptionist tell me I couldn't talk to the doctor unless I scheduled a first prenatal exam for my maternity care. When I responded that I didn't even know if I would choose that doctor until I had a chance to meet her and wanted a consultation even if there was an office visit charge, I was told the doctor doesn't do that, she's too busy. Well I'm busy too, but it doesn't make me treat people like that. My final response on that call was that if the doctor was like that before I even met her, and her staff was like that on the phone, I already knew I didn't want her to be my doctor. When I met with Dr. Rossi for my consultation, he was so friendly and informative that I was surprised. He actually took the time to talk to me like a real person, and not from an egomaniacal over-scheduled doctor-to-patient standpoint. I told him about my first pregnancy and why I had come to HomeFirst and we discussed things. I decided that I had finally found the right healthcare, and began my prenatal care with Dr. Rossi. HomeFirst has a different attitude toward mothers, babies, and families than other ob practices. They are very pro-family, pro-home-birth, pro-breastfeeding, pro-patient-education. They are also very supportive. I felt that I could trust the doctors and nurses there without a doubt, something I hadn't experienced before. When I went into labor, the nurse came to our home and stayed throughout my whole labor, offering me advice and support while monitoring my progress. She helped my manage my pain naturally, without pushing medications or strong drugs on me. She had me taking warm baths, walking back and forth, and rocking on hands and knees to dilate my cervix and progress my labor. I never knew about any of those things before, and doubt I would have learned about them in the hospital from a regular ob or nurse. I was also allowed (encouraged) to eat and drink throughout my labor. When my water broke and I felt like pushing, my doctor and nurse had my husband help me push, watch as the baby's head emerged, cut the cord, help clean the baby, and pretty much completely included him in everything that was going on. Our baby was never taken from us for a moment, I was instructed and encouraged to nurse my baby as soon as possible, and we were celebrating even before I got out of bed to sit up! It was so different from my hospital experience! And I am so proud to have had a baby with no drugs whatsoever! My cousin was there with us the whole time also, and we could have invited whoever we wanted to share in the happy birth of our baby. My doctor never warned me about trial of labor, uterine rupture, or scared me with stories of losing the baby because of once a c-section always a c-section philosophy. Instead he told me about the reasons vaginal delivery is better than surgery, and how HomeFirst's experience with hvbac's (home vaginal birth after cesarean) had taught them that women were perfectly able to deliver normally and safely after c-sections. It was a great relief, and I felt the best choice for me and my baby. My only regret is that the information and support and quality healthcare I received from HomeFirst is not available to other women through their ob's. They are missing so much, and it's such a shame. When people ask me about my current pregnancy, and ask what hospital I am going to, and I tell them we are having the baby at home, I get the same remarks that I did with my previous pregnancy: "Aren't you scared?" "What happens if something goes wrong?" "Don't you care about the safety of your baby?" "Are you crazy?" "Can't you afford to go to the hospital?" All insensitive and uninformed comments, but opportunities for me to educate people. Unfortunately, most people don't care though. But I'm so happy there are people who do! And thank you for asking for vbac stories! I am happy to tell people about my wonderful experience! If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Heidi



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