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Woman Defies Her Doctor and Refuses C-Section: The Story of a VBAC Home Birth

VBAC vaginal births after c-section

Going against doctors orders

This week, CNN Health profiled Aneka (last name withheld for confidentiality), a mom who refused to have a C-section after having three previously, instead holding strong for not just a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) — but a VBAC home birth.

Aneka had her first baby by unplanned c-section nine years ago. Afterwords, the doctor told her her hips were simply too narrow to deliver vaginally. Her next two children were delivered by c-section as well. When she got pregnant for the forth time, doctors orders were to follow course and schedule another c-section, which she did.

But the day of the surgery, Aneka didn’t show up. The doctor called, pleading with her that she was putting her baby and herself at risk. But Aneka had another plan, and it didn’t involve a hospital stay at all:

At some point during her pregnancy, she had watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born,” and it got her thinking that she had been unnecessarily roped into consecutive c-sections with her previous babies.

So she asked multiple doctors and three hospitals if they would let her try to deliver vaginally — all said no. A couple of months from her due date, she started to do research about other options and had found the International Cesarean Awareness Network, an organization that promotes VBAC deliveries.

They connected her to a midwife and four days after her due date, she delivered a healthy, 9 pound, 6 ounce baby at home. The doula told CNN:  “We were all crying at the delivery…It was very emotional. I was just so proud of Aneka.”

It was a happy ending, and in fact the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists put out a statement earlier this year encouraging doctors and moms to consider a vaginal delivery after a woman has had two c-sections.

The risk of uterine rupture is very low after one (CNN said .5 to .9 percent of cases end in rupture). But it’s a potentially deadly complication and the numbers go up to 1 percent to 3.7 percent after two cesareans. The director of the ICOG told CNN that this is an anecdote, it’s not a good plan for women across the board. Women doing VBACs should be in facilities with emergency care, says the ICOG. But Aneka had been unable to find a hospital that was less than 90 minutes away that would allow her to do so.

What do you think? A heroic move, or unnecessary risk on the part of this mom?

Image: flickr/tammara mcculley

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