Oh oh oh I attended a lovely VBAC with a beautiful nine pound baby girl two weeks ago here in the Boston area. The couple interviewed me during their sixth month of pregnancy and decided to move to Boston for a month and birth here with me. They rented an apartment about twenty minutes from my home and awaited the birth of their baby. They were quite certain, after having interviewed many midwives in their state, that they would most likely be sectioned again if they stayed close to home.
Once they made the decision to birth here, they asked a group of midwives if they could do their prenatal care with them, even though they were coming to Boston to birth. They got a flat refusal. “If you are going to birth elsewhere, we won’t see you,” they were told. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. Many times, I have seen women for prenatal appointments, even when I knew they were going to birth elsewhere. One woman came to me for all her prenatal appointments — she said she just couldn’t quite make the decision to birth at home, but having compared the visits that we had to the six minute appointments she had with her obstetrician, she wanted to have comprehensive, caring prenatal care. Another woman was quite certain that her husband would be transferred before the baby was born, and “wither he goest, so goest I.” I saw her five times and then they moved to Pittsburgh. I have seen countless women who were vacationing for the summer on Cape Cod and who wanted to be seen by a midwife during those summer months, even though they were going to birth back in their home states.
When the midwives refused to take care of this woman prenatally, my client was surprised and annoyed. She said, “I could have lied to them and then just disappeared at the end of the pregnancy!” She said that she sat down and explained to them why she felt she needed to travel elsewhere to birth. Among the reasons was their constant pressure for her to have more ultrasounds to date the baby, to estimate the baby’s weight, and to “check on things.” She brought in studies that showed that ultrasounds are not accurate for predicting due dates, that they are notoriously inaccurate for predicting weight, and that they sometimes showed problems that didn’t exist and didn’t always pick up problems that did. She also brought in a number of articles that reported serious concerns about the safety of ultrasound. The midwives in this practice didn’t ask to see the studies, and commented that they didn’t understand why she wouldn’t have more ultrasounds – “… after all, your insurance will pay for them, ” they remarked.
When she went into that office a few weeks later to pick up her records, one of the midwives pulled her aside. “I shouldn’t be saying this to you,” she said, “but I’m really glad you made that decision. If you stayed here, you would most likely never get your VBAC. The OBs here are scared of big babies, you know – and since you went two weeks past your due date last time, they are going to schedule you for a section if you haven’t birthed within two or three days of that day.”
Thanks for coming to Boston, K and D, and for having faith in your ability to birth this baby naturally. I’m sorry that you had to travel to have your VBAC home birth, but I was delighted to get to know you and to attend your birth. I hope that the midwives in your area will someday know the joy, delight, ecstasy, and honor of witnessing the joy, delight and ecstasy of a woman birthing her baby naturally after having had a disappointing, traumatic and upsetting cesarean the first time around.