Sunday, April 11, 2010

Faith In VBAC

Faith in VBAC

Author unknown (to me at least)

Just think for a minute. If you were in a terrible car accident and had to have a piece of metal removed from your leg, they would have to cut in to get it. Then they stitch you all back up. What do you expect the scar to do? Do you expect it to fall open when you start to walk? No? Well, okay maybe normal walking is okay, but what about running? Maybe running will cause it to fall open. No? Alright maybe not normal running, but I bet a marathon would cause enough pressure to just rip it open, right? Hmm… wait a second, maybe not. Perhaps if they hooked the repaired leg up to a machine that mimicked running, it could cause problems – especially a machine that pulled the muscle further than normal use would, that didn't do it “naturally” (kind of like Pitocin!). But for regular use, we expect ourselves to stay shut. We expect wounds to have healed. We expect normal function to be obtainable for straightforward injuries.

If we get a cut or have stitches anywhere else on our bodies, we expect it to stay shut. If we looked at the doctor and said, “I don't think this is going to stay shut,” they would be highly offended because we doubted their skill as a surgeon and we would be turning our noses up at our body's ability to heal and reams of scientific evidence that shows it does.

But then when we have a c-section, we look at that and think, “Oh no! This thing isn't going to hold!!!” Do you think the surgeon stitched you up? Do you think he/she is a skilled surgeon? If your old surgeon questions the integrity of your healing, then he/she is expressing a complete lack of confidence in his/her work. Point that out. They need to think about this. If your new OB or midwife is questioning the integrity of your womb, then they need to be confronted about doubting the surgical skill of your previous surgeon. If they doubt his/her skill that seriously, perhaps they need to express their concern to the medical board.

Anytime someone is stitched back together the ultimate goal is to prepare the organ or muscle or whatever to perform its normal function. I have had two c-sections. One was with my first and one was with my fifth. The rest have been HBAC’s. All my births up through the second c-section were to fairly tiny babies, weighing between 6.5 and 8 pounds. My sixth, the fresh VBAC who was testing out the surgeon's skill, was 11 pounds 4 ounces. I had some nifty pushing contractions. And I can compliment my surgeon for a job well done because her work held up under normal use. Giving birth is normal use, yes even when giving birth to an 11 pounder. It is exactly what the uterus was created to do. If we expect that a straightforward incision and stitching should restore other muscles to regular use, then why do we doubt the womb?

I will tell you what finally set my own mind to ease this last pregnancy because yes, for the first time ever, I was actually nervous about uterine rupture. My daughter used to play with my lower uterine scar; she would push and stretch and wedge herself in. She would shove her hands right under where my external incision scar was and do boxing drills. Maybe she could feel the ridge of my external incision? I don't know. But what I do know is that I felt very reassured that if she could do all that and it held together, then what was a little labor?

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