Not Showing Up for Her C-Section: One Woman’s Story

What are your options when your caregiver says you have to be induced or have a c section, but you don't feel it's right?

Most women feel trapped, like they no choice but to just show up and deal with it.

But what if you did have a choice?

One woman did what many women do…she not only switched caregivers, but she also switched birthplace

On Thursday, December 2, as Aneka sat at home nine months pregnant, the phone rang.

It was her obstetrician wanting to know where the heck she was. Did Aneka forget that today was the day for her cesarean section? How could she have forgotten?

No, Aneka hadn't forgotten. She hadn't shown up intentionally.

"She told me, 'You're being irresponsible. Your baby could die. You could die,'" Aneka recalls. Then the doctor hung up…..

Aneka's story begins nine years ago with the birth of her first daughter, Nya. After 10 hours of labor, her doctor told her she wasn't progressing quickly enough, and she needed a C-section.

Four years later, doctors told Aneka she couldn't deliver her second child vaginally, since Nya had been delivered by C-section.

Then again, when Aneka was pregnant with her third child, son Adasjan, she had a C-section for the same reason.

When she became pregnant with her fourth child, a boy named Annan Ni'em, she expected to have a fourth C-section. But about seven months into her pregnancy, Aneka started to read more about childbirth online, and noticed a documentary by actress Ricki Lake called "The Business of Being Born," a film released in 2008 that questions the way American women have babies.

Aneka made a controversial health decision by giving birth vaginally to her fourth child after three previous C-sections.
Aneka made a controversial health decision by giving birth vaginally to her fourth child after three previous C-sections.

So just seven weeks away from her December 1 due date, Aneka contacted the International Cesarean Awareness Network, an advocacy group that promotes vaginal births after cesareans, or VBACs.

"She asked me if I could find someone who would deliver her vaginally," remembers Bobbie Humphrey, who works with ICAN. "She started to cry because she'd heard 'no, no, no you can't do this' so many times."

But Humphrey told her yes, that she knew of a midwife who would be willing to deliver her baby at home.

An article in Midwifery Today, written by Barbara Stratton, the National VBAC ban chair for ICAN, lists several approaches women have used to protest a VBAC denial.

On December 5, three days after the C-section that never took place, Annan Ni'em was born at home. He weighed 9 pounds, 6 ounces and was delivered after 20 hours of labor, and, she says, just four minutes of pushing. He was completely healthy.

"We were all crying at the delivery," says Humphrey, a doula who assisted the midwife at the birth. "It was very emotional. I was just so proud of Aneka."

Many women don't realize that there is nothing wrong about choosing a new caregiver, even late in pregnancy, if you feel uncomfortable with the recommendations yoru current one is giving you.

To learn more about your choices in birth and VBAC, please visit Birthologie.com

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