Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Choosing a Provider

I believe choosing a provider is the single most important external factor regarding birth. Sure, there are lots of things a mom can do to have an excellent birth...she can exercise, watch what she eats, read great books, etc. Here are some stories that have led me to believe this:

- A friend LOVES her doctor. He did a c-section for "failure to progress" at 9cm. He will not VBAC. So, she won't get her VBAC. He also delivers at a hospital notoriously known for their incredibly high c-section rate. Hmmm...she had a c-section and most likely will have another.

- Another friend had a supportive midwife, but the midwife was a part of a group practice. In the end, there was an incredibly unsupportive physician backing up the midwife the day she went in to labor. Unfortunately, she didn't get the outcome she wanted.

- An ICAN mom/doula had a great midwife with a great supporting physician. She had complications during her pregnancy and had to have a repeat c-section. While she didn't VBAC (she actually was already a VBA2C mom), she had a respectful c-section.

And, my favorite provider story of all..."MY" doctor. She's no longer practicing in my state, but I would go to great lengths to let her care for me again!

The story of my provider goes way back. I was a nurse at the hospital where she practiced. I loved her immediately. I saw her for the first year or two I worked there. Then, I realized she was very slow to do c-sections. I had the typical, everything-is-high-risk attitude some nurses have. I switched providers because...get this...I thought she wouldn't do a c-section if I needed one. The absolute irony of this is wild!

I went to the other doctor once. Sure, I liked her, but throughout that next year, I realized I didn't want a doctor who would jump at the chance to cut me. I went back to the first doctor.

She was a VBAC mom herself. I started to see how she treated her patients. Most memorably was a VBAC labor and birth with her. She was so gentle and so supportive.

When I got pregnant, I never really thought of c-section. My mom had 2 easy vaginal births. Nearly every woman on her side of the family had easy vaginal births. In fact, from my grandmother to my cousins, women in family (blood relatives) have given birth 26 times. Of those 26 births, there have only been 4 c-sections. The c-section rate of my family is 15%, what the WHO recommends. Interestingly enough, there were no c-sections with any of my mom's sister. The four c-sections reside amongst 3 cousins (mine, 2 from one cousin, and one from another). Back to the point...

My doctor spend the night at the hospital, even though she only lived a few blocks away. After pushing for 2.5 hours, I believed and trusted my doctor when she said she didn't think anything was going to happen. When I decided it was time, she patted my leg and said, "Don't worry, you'll VBAC next time." Before surgery!

When she came to see me after surgery, she told me she used two layers of suture so I could VBAC.

I know I would have been so much worse off if I had a different provider. Dr. S knew how much a vaginal birth meant to me. She is so amazing and wonderful!

So, please pick a provider you know with all of your heart will provide the best care possible for you!

Also, get a doula, read good books, and enjoy your pregnancy!

1 comment:

natalie said...

Choosing a good provider is SO important in avoiding an unnecessarean! Also, choosing a supportive location... depending on the area, that may mean one hospital over another, or a birth center over a hospital. In my area, it meant being at home, since our local choices aren't very supportive at all of natural birth.

I was in labor for 25 hours with my first, and multiple people have expressed that many hospitals have a 24 hour limit after your water breaks... but I was at home with my midwife, and she was monitoring everything and everything was going well. Had I been in the hospital, though, policy might have dictated something that wasn't best.