Last night I attended a meeting with ICAN of Metro Detroit, and I could not be happier that I did! To those of you who do not know what ICAN is, I will gladly introduce you. ICAN is a non-profit organization that provides information on Cesarean awareness and VBAC support. They serve Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. Originally there was only a chapter in Grand Rapids, but with the high demand they started a meet-up in Rochester!! (perfect timing in my book!!) Check out their Facebook page here
I am very confident that I will be able to have a successful VBAC but I kept saying that it would be so nice to meet someone face to face that has actually done it. My midwife, recommended that I go to this meeting- “Thank you very much Goldie!!” Yesterday was the first meeting and I wasn’t sure what to expect going in to it but I was blown away from what I was able to take away from it. There were about 15 people in the room and we were all able to tell our stories. There were women that had planned home births and some that planned hospital births for their first births, all of them ended in a birth that was nothing like they wanted though. There was even a woman who did not have to have a cesarean but had a traumatic experience with her delivery so she was there to offer her story and support. There were women that tried for a VBAC with their second child, some were successful and others had to have a repeat Cesarean and will try for a VBAC again. I am so amazed at their strength and wish them the best in having the birth they deserve to experience. Each story was very different in many ways, as labor is for every woman, but the reoccurring trend is that things happened to them and they were not made apart of the decision. One woman said it best when she said that someone told her,No matter what,”to bring your voice”. This is so true. When you are expecting a baby you do lots of research on things such as vaccines, epidurals, and the birth you are hoping to have; you know what you want for your baby, such as skin-to-skin contact, breast- feeding, and that you want your baby with you at all times. What most women are not prepared for is how to have the strength to say” No you are not going to intervene with my labor” . I heard so many stories of women who knew that nothing was wrong but were fed scare-tactics to be talked into things they didn’t want to do. So many doctors are trained to follow a text book and you have to be progressing exactly to their standards in order for them not to intervene. I know that it is not ALL doctors and that it is not completely their fault because that is how they are trained and a lot has to do with their insurance and liability (which is completely messed up!!!) But if I can spread the word about one thing to women it really would be to know that no matter how much you think you know your doctor and how much you think they are on the same page as you you need to stay strong and make sure that your husband, family, whoever is there with you knows your wishes and that every nurse and doctor you see is made aware as well. There were multiple stories of women that were completely put under and had no warning, just a gas mask on their face. How did they even have a chance to express their wishes for their baby?
What always drives me crazy is when people say,” oh, well your baby is fine and that is all that matters” or think you are mad that you had a cesarean because you have a scar. Having a cesarean is a major surgery that denies your baby from benefits that happen during a natural delivery ( fluid being squeezed out, TH1 being activated -natural immunity, being born into a calm happy environment…and more). Plus, now the mom has to take care of a newborn while recovering from a surgery that cuts you open, removes your insides and then put you back together, and hopefully you won’t have complications from that. What is really amazing to me is that people say, oh its not like the baby remembers, but their have been studies on children 2-3 years old that can remember parts of their birth. I did not know this until after I had told the story about what my daughter had told me about her delivery. Charley knows that she was delivered through the scar across my abdomen. She asked me that over a year ago and I never make a big deal about it with her. This pregnancy there has been no talk about being cut. She has always described me birthing this baby as saying he is going to pop out (instead of me pushing him out). A couple months ago we were driving and she asked if “her baby (that is what she calls her brother) was going to be cut out?” I told her “no, that she shouldn’t have been either but sometimes that is what happens”, and as I thought of how to explain a little better she said , “because that really hurt me.” With tears in my eyes I said,” no hunny they didn’t hurt you, they just cut mommy.” She quickly responded again,”No, mom that hurt me”. It broke my heart. No one thinks about the effects on a family when the mom is put in a position where she is no longer a person with rights and wishes she just becomes an operation game and that needs to change.
I think the most important part of last night for me was meeting other woman that have gone through the same emotional distress as me after having a cesarean and that had other fears such as being scared to get pregnant again and have the same thing happen or what if you are able to have a natural delivery and bond easier with this child… It took me almost 4 years to be able to talk (without crying or getting enraged) about having an unnecessary cesarean and now I just want to help any women out there that have had a traumatic birth story, that are expecting, or thinking about becoming pregnant again. I am so thankful for the chance to have a healthy pregnancy under the care of my midwife that is just so dedicated to women having positive birth stories. I also love how much my daughter is apart of my pregnancy and that I can teach her the importance of natural birth. I am glad that I know my husband fully supports a natural birth and will be everything I need once I am in labor, and that he has all the same views as I do.
I look forward to attending more meetings with ICAN and doing whatever else I can to help women! Thank you for reading and I would love to hear your stories!!