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An OB you like or who makes you comfortable isn’t enough

Many women do not interview OBs/midwives when selecting their VBAC care provider.  They either stay with the GYN who has been providing their well-woman care or the same OB who performed their cesarean because they like them.

Women they really believe that if they are good patients, if they are friendly, if they don’t question to much, if they are good-natured, their OB will treat them with the same courtesy by reading their birth plan, respecting their wishes, supporting their desire for a vaginal birth, and creating an environment where VBAC is the goal.  In short, the woman believes that she will receive a genuine opportunity to VBAC. 

However, as we read below, it is not enough to like your OB.  It’s not enough that you feel comfortable with them.  They need to support VBAC.  They need to see the value in vaginal birth.

As I read this letter again, it really breaks my heart to share with you.  This woman is fresh from her repeat cesarean and she is still mourning.  I thank her deeply for sharing her pain and regret with the readers of this site.  I hope that this woman’s pain can be transformed into greater knowledge and understanding for you.  I hope if you are considering staying with your OB/midwife just because you like them, and not because their standard of care is in favor of vaginal birth, that you reconsider your decision.

To learn more about “bait & switch” OBs, read: The Three Types of Care Providers Amongst OBs and Midwives

To read more birth stories of women who received less than stellar care in the hospital, please read: Hospital VBAC turned CS due to constant scare tactics and VBACing against the odds.

To support an OB who is currently being targeted by his hospital for attending VBACs, please read: VBAC supportive OB asked to stop attending VBACs by his hospital.

Dear Dr. XYZ:

It is with great reluctance that I submit payment to you for services rendered. 

I hired you for an intervention free VBAC.  Instead I had EVERY intervention I told you I did not want.  Under your care, I failed in the most basic way a woman can fail – I failed to birth my children.   You ignored each and every point on my birth plan.  I cannot help but wonder if you even read it, or if you ever had any intention of following it. 

I needed time for my body to do what it was designed to do.  I needed support from my doctor, from my nurses, and from my hospital.  What I did NOT need was to be pumped full of drugs, have multiple interventions that I specifically stated I did not want and pushed into a surgical procedure.  I am especially struck by our final interaction prior to consent.  Never, for the rest of my life, will I forget how you made your speech, and then stalked out of the room.  I recall thinking “I’m actually paying to be treated like this?  To be verbally bereted and physically tortured?” 

I have no joy when recalling my children’s births.

I have regrets. 

I regret coming in for an appointment that day when labor was in the early stages.  I regret listening to you that I should go to the hospital “just for some monitoring.”  I regret not leaving when labor stalled.  I regret agreeing to pitocin.  I regret allowing you to turn up the pitocin to a point where I could not stand it without pain relief.  I regret getting the epidural instead of just screaming my lungs out until it was over.  I regret letting you artificially rupture my membranes.  I regret allowing the monitoring – internal and external.  I regret not telling you that this was my baby, my birth experience, and I wasn’t having a C-section without a court order.

But what I regret most is choosing you as my provider.  I knew going in that you had a high C-section rate, that you had already given me most of those interventions with my first child.  But I liked you, and allowed that to influence my decision. 

How I wished I had chosen someone I loathed who would have worked with me to get the natural birth I desired.  In the end, liking you got me nothing that I REALLY wanted.

So, here is your money.  I don’t particularly think you have earned it, but I want to be free of this one last reminder of the worst experience of my life. 

Sincerely,

Jenn in St. Louis

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26 comments to An OB you like or who makes you comfortable isn’t enough

  • Tina

    Oh my goodness.
    That is gut wrenching.

    I have a similar letter somewhere on my computer, written not long after the birth of my son three years ago. I never sent it but I should have.

  • Tina R

    Oh this hits so close to home!!! I too went back to my OB because I liked him and trusted that he had my best interests at heart…..he changed his tune when I hit 40 weeks and said it was too risky to go beyond 40 weeks for a VBAC. Lucky for me I went into labour the night before my scheduled repeat section…but unlucky that she went into distress and had meconium in her amniotic fluid so ended up with the repeat c/s. I’ll know not to go back to him to have my vba2c!! :-)

  • Lisa Marie

    I know your pain! I have a slightly different story but all the same. Thanks for sharing!

  • So very close to heart. Thanks so much for writing this. I am an Indian who was in US for only 2 years before conceiving and I choose an Indian female doctor and lets say I am not the same person anymore since birth of my baby….I am still not out of the daze surrounding his birth even though he is 20 months now

  • Melissa

    I am SO glad that I had to move away from my first OB because I too would have gone right back because I liked him. Shoot, he saved my life, I hemorrhaged on the OR table as the doc was walking out and he heard a tech say I was bleeding a lot and a nurse said it’s normal. My doc turned around and took one look and said “that is NOT normal” so YES, I would have definitely gone back and probably be scheduling my repeat c-sec for early next year when #2 is due.

    This is such a wonderful letter. You have some cajones Jenn in St. Louis for writing that letter. I applaud you!

    I’m so thankful to have found a site like this with the support and info I need to make decisions for MY body and MY baby, not what the hospitals and doctors want you to do.

  • [...] An OB you like or who makes you comfortable isn’t enough [...]

  • Lisa

    Good for you, Jenn. If more women wrote these letters, doctors would be forced to sit up and listen. Cases like yours are exactly why I am committed to being a Coach and educator for birthing women. As it happens, I am a Professional Health and Wellness Coach who helps people to discover and choose exactly what is right for them. If there is a woman out there who feels that she can benefit from working with me, please feel free to contact me on Facebook: Lisa Merrick (I’m the Lisa who went to Reed College), or email me personally at LovingLotusHands@gmail.com.

  • Hugs to this mom, but what a powerful example of the importance in choosing your care provider!

  • [...] Some OBs will say they are VBAC friendly, but in the end they prove they are not! [...]

  • Somewhere In MO

    What you don’t know is that Jenn in St. Louis was two weeks overdue and had a lot of meconium in the amnio fluid. This wasn’t just some low-risk birth she’s bellyaching about. There was reason for the intervention and she can’t stop carrying on about it.

    • Patti

      Obviously you are a minority here, Miss Somewhere in MO. And not having the courage to actually sign your name shows that you are afraid, wrong, etc. I suggest you look into yourself and the other women that posted on this site and see that many women experience this and are feelilng the same as Jenn. Kudos to her again and again for speaking out! Obviously it was time that someone had to do it.

    • Malissa

      Somewhere In MO- I sure hope you are not in the medical profession and if so I sure hope Jenn continues to be strong and follows through with prosecuting you to the full extent of the law if you are, I hope she follows through and exposes you for who and whatever the Hell you are to publish her personal and private information for the world to see. Everyone is entitled to there opinion but are NOT Everyone is entitled to our Medical information that is suppose to be protected by our HIPPA laws. Good luck to you and I sure hope your life continues to be that pathetic and you continue to feel the need to expose peoples personal information. If you are with this OB’s medical team, I sure hope that Jenn continues to keep all of us informed on the outcome of this, because if they can provide her with you IP address for releasing her personal medical information and it will lead her back to this “Medical Team”, I sure as Hell want to know that my privacy is protected where ever I may need to go with myself or my family. Good Luck Jenn, and stay on this, you may be protecting the next Victim by doing so!

  • Chrissy

    What the heck does being overdue or having mec in the fluid have to do with a vaginal delivery? Two of my 3 had mec, which revealed itself up to an hour prior to delivery and were still delivered vaginally. Maybe you should follow up your snarky comment with details that make sense?

  • Ruthie

    Furthermore, “somewhere in MO”….please produce some studies that show 48 hours is so awful. In 1997, ACOG issued a practice bulletin stating that 72 hours of expectant management is the course of action after waterbreaking (that means, wait and see for 3 days)….then in 2007, they issued a new practice bulletin changing that to 24 horus, but they included ZERO studies to show the decreased mortality/morbidity of changing the time frame.

  • Jenn in St. Louis

    I’m the author of the letter.

    I have decided to address the medical aspects of “Somewhere in MO”‘s post. I am doing this for the pregnant Mom who may be reading, who thinks that being overdue or having meconium in the amnio was the reason for my C-section, and who might be use this as a basis for having a C-section. It was not. Though my doctor pulled out nearly every other common scare tactic, he never discussed either of these as reasons. My baby was not in distress from the meconium – he had none in his airway/lungs after the birth. Yes, I was 2 weeks past my “due date”. I have a 36 day cycle. Even the earliest ultrasounds indicated the baby was 5 days younger than the “due date”. I did not insist that the due date be changed to reflect that accuracy, and I should have. Monitoring indicated baby was FINE. Being 2 weeks past my due date did not necessitate my C-section.

    I am telling you all of this so you can go to your care provider, and ask “So, if my water breaks and there is meconium, what do you typically do?” and “If my due date comes and goes and 2 weeks later baby still isn’t here, how do you typically handle that?” And if your care provider talks about interventions he/she may take, I’d recommend your follow questions be “Are there studies that show this intervention is beneficial? I’d like to read more about this – please provide me with the citation.” Don’t let him blow you off with vague assurances that he knows what he is doing. Per the slogan of this site – Get the Facts.

  • [...] – An OB You Like or who Makes you Feel Comfortable is Not Enough:Jen shares a poignant reminder (in the form of a letter from a woman to her OB) that liking our [...]

  • Amie

    Jenn in St. Louis-

    I’m also from St. Louis- and your letter brought me to tears because it is the letter I wish I would have wrote. It’s been 8 months since my c-section and I remember it vividly. I feel so stupid to have not educated myself enough and to let myself be frightened by my doctor’s “concerns.” I’m currently in search of a new OB as we plan on getting pregnant again this year sometime. I’ve learned my lesson and thanks for sharing your story.

    Sincerely,

    Amie

  • Jenn in St. Louis

    Amie,

    If you want, copy it and send it. If you haven’t hooked up with the St. Louis ICAN chapter – do so. Lily, Ruthie, Nicole, et al are extremely valuable resources and can help guide you to the resources you’ll need. Hugs to you!!

    • Diana

      Dear Jenn,

      Your story and letter are both scary familiar to me. I had a repeat c after tol last August and wrote my gyn an angry letter in January. I published my letter on a Dutch blog, since I live in the Netherlands, thats about laboring feeling at liberty. Two weeks ago I send the gyn a second angry letter because in reaction to my first letter I received a phonecall from my home practitioner if I wanted to come in to talk about proffessional help for ptss. Can you believe these people? I just can’t stand being treated like a retard by dr’s .
      Best regards,
      Diana

      • Jenn in St. Louis

        Diana,
        It is rather astonishing how many people think we are mentally ill because we have a problem with having unnecessary surgery performed on us. There is nothing wrong with my mind – I am just angry that someone would not wait for my body to finish labor on its own! I, in turn, have to wonder about the mental state of any individual who cannot grasp that concept.
        Hugs,
        Jenn

  • Diana

    Hi Jenn,

    Your story and letter are very familiar to me.
    I’ve written my letter to my gyn in January and received a phonecall from my home practitioner a few weeks later to offer me proffessional help for PTS. After that my gyn received an even angrier letter of course.
    Both letters are published on a Dutch blog (since I live in the Netherlands) called In Vrijheid Bevallen (Birthing in Liberty).
    I would like to ask you for permission to post your letter on this blog, since the women behind the blog want to encourage women to stand up to their OB/Gyns, because they probably do not even realise what women go through in a VBAC/TOL.

    Best regards,
    Diana (mother of Gijs c/s 31-07-2007 and Rob c/s 15-09-2009 although I swore never to be cut open again)

  • Melissa in MO

    Oh how I wish I would have stumbled upon this sooner!! I, too, have so many of the same feelings. I have written angry letters to my former horrid OB yet I have never sent them. This emotional distress we are feeling is not petty nor is it a mental disorder and it burns me to no end when people, specifically medical doctors, believe this. Thank you Jenn for shaing this!!

  • Deann

    Jenn- what a brave soul you are! Thank you for sharing your story. I had my first 21 months ago by c/s and am still sad/angry by the whole process. Mine was due to medical reasons, but when I went in earlier this month to ask about a VBAC for my 2nd I was given every reason in the book as to why “I can’t physically do anything to make it happen.” Needless to say, I am now on the hunt for a new OB that will allow me the mere chance of a VBAC.
    I always thought that I was a little over the top for feeling “robbed” by not having a natural childbirth and now I know that I am only one of many who feel the same thing. So thanks to everyone for making me feel better about my situation!
    I am looking into ICAN for help on finding an OB who will work with me and encourage anyone else looking into a VBAC to do the same. There are local chapters everywhere!

  • [...] Jenn in St. Louis shared a letter she wrote to her provider after her attempted VBAC [...]

  • Angela in Houston

    Jenn –

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your letter (and experience, from what I read), pretty much summed up my first C-Section experience with my first birth in 2008. It’s sickening, and I still deeply regret the mistakes I made which led to that unnecessary C-Section.

    I was fortunate enough to find my local ICAN chapter about a year after my C-Section, and to have had a (miraculous, considering the circumstances) hospital VBAC 9 months ago (nearly 4 years after my C-Section). I know in my heart that without my scar sisters’ support and love, I would have fallen victim to my old OB once again – their encouragement, and help pointing me in the right direction for birth studies and facts helped me find a new OB who didn’t bait and switch me.

    I hope you find peace from this experience; I would say I hope you gain strength and wisdom, but I can see you’re already there!

    Thank you for summing up your experience so well – you are gifted! I will definitely share your letter with my friends.

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