So this morning, I was rushing into Whole Foods to get something and asked a stock person if she could assist me in finding the item. She was turned away from me and so I didn’t notice she was pregnant. When I realized she was, I said to her, “Oh, you are pregnant!” and she laughed, as it was quite obvious. I don’t know exactly what possessed me, but I said to her, “Isn’t it sad that most women in this culture don’t have very good birth experiences?” She looked very surprised that I’d said this – and then – her face turned quite serious and she said, “I had a terrible birth last time with my first baby.” “Did you have a cesarean? ” I asked, although I wasn’t really asking – I knew immediately. “Yes,” she replied, and then her eyes welled up with tears.
“I’m a midwife,” I told her. “Have you heard of the word VBAC? You most likely DON’T have to have another section!” “Oh yes I do,” she countered. “My doctor told me I did.”
I handed her my lovely card and said to her that if she wanted to have a really nice birth, to check out the website. I knew that she wouldn’t. I wondered if I should have just kept my mouth shut and bought the flippin’ yogurt. I wondered why it is ALWAYS the case that the person sitting next to me on an airplane is pregnant, or that the one salesperson that is free when I go into a store to purchase something is the one who’s got the bump.
What happened this morning reminded me of a time, twenty two years ago, when I was in a dressing room at a local clothing store. I couldn’t see who was in the the next cubicle, as the flower-printed curtain was pulled across the opening. But I heard someone ask the woman who was in that room, “So when is your section?” and the reply: ” Tuesday.”
Tuesday. Four days away.
And so I quickly took off the dress I had been trying on – trust me, it had looked much better on the hanger – and threw on my clothes. At the same time, I addressed the person in that next dressing room: “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation just now. I had a cesarean and was told I would have to have all my babies that way, but I had a vaginal birth the next time around. I teach classes on this, and would be happy to help you avoid being cut again.”
Uh oh, I should have kept my big mouth shut.
I was now in the common area of the dressing room. I saw the curtain where the “mysterious-person-who-was-already-scheduled-to-have-another-cesarean-section” had been trying on one thing or another being pulled to one side and saw a very pregnant woman emerge. Like the woman today, she had tears in her eyes.
“You are the answer to a prayer,” she said.
I gave her my phone number. She called me that night, came to see me the next day, cancelled her cesarean, called the doctor I recommended, and had a VBAC the following Thursday.
I will most likely keep opening up my big mouth.