I’ve been home for 6 days and I have yet to post anything about the NIH. I have been so crazy busy updating the bibliography (check out the fancy pants APA format) and trying to add as much information from the NIH conference as possible into the VBAC class I taught this past Sunday. All the midst of trying to manage my little man who I hoped would night wean (HA!) and feared would wean entirely (DOUBLE HA!) during my four days away only to return and realize that he fully intended to make up for lost time. Trying to prep for the class, synthesize all the information from the NIH, and then come up with something remotely intelligent and articulate to say, is really hard when my toddler was intent on yet another round of gymnastic nursing anytime I sat down.
So here I am, with kids asleep, and I finally get to finish one of the many posts I have started over the last 9 days. These moments are so few and far between. It is seriously so luxurious to be able to sit in the quiet and write. In short, I need your help.
I was beyond thrilled to be at the NIH in the same room as so many vocal and passionate VBAC supportive care providers. It occurred to me how there are certainly women in their same communities who didn’t even know these fantastic resources existed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a list of attendees released for the conference and I continue to receive pleas for referrals from women who cannot find a care provider such as Jessica in Pittsburgh, Maggie in Arizona, and Heidi in Athens, Ohio.
Ever since I started vbacfacts.com over two years ago, many have suggested that I post the names of supportive care providers. While I do write about care providers who are themselves vocal, I am hesitant to bring public attention to others who discretely support VBAC. Many practitioners are under considerable pressure from multiple sources such as hospital administrators as well as peers within their practice, hospital, or community. Then we have midwives who work “under the radar” in states where it is not legal for them to attend births and/or VBACs yet they do so because women in their communities do not have hospital-based options.
While I desperately want to connect women with care providers, I don’t want to bring excess, and possibility negative, attention to a practitioner who, unbeknownst to me, is already under hefty pressure as this might interfere with, or ultimately bar, their ability to attend VBACs at all.
I started creating a database so that practitioners, particularly those who attended the NIH VBAC conference, could volunteer their names and contact information. I would try to mitigate the attention factor by offering to privately maintain their information on my computer’s hard drive in addition to providing the option of publishing their information publicly on vbacfacts.com. I could then reference the private database as individual women contacted me for referrals.
But before I start such an endeavor, I wondered if there was a better way to go about this. And so I’m looking for your suggestions. How I can use this forum as a way to facilitate connecting supportive care providers with moms without bringing potentially harmful attention their way? Is there even a way to do it?
If you are reading this and wonder, “What’s so hard about finding a VBAC supportive care provider?” permit me to share the story of Brooke Addley from northeastern Pennsylvania. She asked her current OB his thoughts on VBAC and received so much false information, as typically happens, that it left her in tears.
Women are frequently provided with inflated and inaccurate uterine rupture, infant mortality and maternal mortality rates by their OBs when they breech the topic of VBAC. It is heartbreaking because women are making major medical decisions, which impact their future health and pregnancies, based on outright lies.
Scare tactics masquerading as informed consent is a major problem. Somehow, we have to find a way to connect women with supportive care providers in their area. Please leave a comment or email me with your ideas on how we can do that.
Learn more about finding a supportive care provider: