Aneka is a proud mom of four, enjoying the bliss of her newborn baby. But to some, she is more. She is the woman who stood up and defied her doctor’s orders for a repeat Cesarean Section. While some mothers are praising her strength, some in the medical community are calling her irresponsible.
Aneka’s first three births were c-sections. Her first ended after 20 hours, when her doctor told her she was not progressing. When she was pregnant with her second, she was told a vaginal birth after a c-section was too risky and not allowed. The same reason was given when she was pregnant with her third child.
However, during her fourth pregnancy, something changed. Near the end of her pregnancy, Aneka began looking into childbirth groups online. There, she found women who were working toward VBACS, or vaginal birth after cesareans. She also discovered the movie “The Business of Being Born” by actress Ricki Lake. At that moment, she decided to fight to avoid a forth c-section.
“I was a little bit angry after watching documentary,” she said. “It made me realize I’d been robbed of the birthing experience. If possible, all women should be allowed to birth naturally.”
“I asked my doctor if I could try delivering vaginally, and she said no,” Aneka says. “I called the hospital and they said they wouldn’t allow it, and I called three other hospitals and they wouldn’t let me deliver vaginally, either.”
After several calls, Aneka managed to find a local midwife who was willing to help her have the birth she wanted. When the day came for her scheduled c-section, Aneka refused to show up. She waited at home until her baby, and body, was ready to go.
After a c-section, a woman faces an increased risk of uterine rupture. After one c-section, a woman can have between a 0.5 percent and a 0.9 percent of the fatal condition happening. For women who are being induced, this risk can be even higher. Many doctors and hospital refuse to allow women to attempt vaginal birth after a c-section because of this risk. After some pressure, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement earlier this that was more VBAC friendly than previous policies. However, many women still cannot find local doctors who are willing to let them try.
Though Aneka is being praised as a hero by many women in childbirth groups, experts are quick to dismiss Aneka’s success as a one-time occurrence. Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, a spokesman for ACOG and director of obstetrical clinical research and quality assurance at Massachusetts General Hospital, says other women who are thinking about VBAC should not let Aneka’s birth be a deciding factor.
“Anecdote is no way for folks to make plans,” he says. “Just because something turned out well for one patient doesn’t mean there are no risks and it will turn out well for you.”
Aneka, however, is thrilled with how her birth went and already looking forward to her next one.
“Once you have that experience there’s no other way to go, being in the comfort of your home without any unnecessary interventions and feeling like you’re in charge,” she says.
– Summer, staff writer
- Some Second Time Moms Opting For C-Section After Traumatic First Births
- Woman Damaged During Epidural Recovering Slowly
- ACOG Agrees VBACs Are Safe For Most Women
- Is A Home Birth Risky For Babies? Are Mothers Selfish For Trying?