Over the summer I got to be "internet doula" to an American mama I met on a VBAC forum who was living in Saudi Arabia. The medical system is very different there, and she was told since she had 2 prior cesareans that she must have a third for this delivery. I cringed when she told me that her doctor informed her that earlier that week she had done a *sixth* c-section on a mama there and there was no problem doing so many!
She really wanted her VBAC, educated herself, read any information she could get her hands on, and continued to insist on getting a shot to VBAC. Her husband was an amazing support, and went to her doctor repeatedly to insist that she get to try. She was prepared to refuse the cesarean if necessary, labor at home till she was pushing if necessary, but ideally would have loved to get the support of her medical team. She also knew that she would be facing this alone, because in Saudi Arabia, husbands are not allowed in the labor and delivery ward! Her bravery and courage are such an inspiration!
About 3-4 weeks before her due date, ACOG released their new guidelines for VBAC and I emailed her the info. She and her husband brought the information to her doctor and she finally got the official OK! I could tell she was so relieved and excited from her email and so was I!! Here is an excerpt from her very triumphant birth story:
"On August 14th I woke up at 1pm with mild contractions, oh by the way, it is the month of Ramadan where all Muslims fast for the entire month during the day, which means no food, water and only pure thoughts. I get out of bed and time a few contractions just to see where I'm at. They are every 10-15 mins. apart. I text my husband and tell him I think today is the day. He called and asked me if I wanted him to come home. I said no cause everything is fine. About an hour later I went to the bathroom and I lost my mucas plug. I never thought I'd be so happy to see blood and yucky glob! haha Hubby came home and we had dinner around 6:30pm. At 9pm we went to my NST. (different working hours due to Ramadan) They do the test for 30 minutes then the doctor comes in to check me because I've been contracting. She checks to see if I'm leaking any fluid. She said that I am and continues to check for dilation. When she checks me my water breaks. The doctor tells me that I will be admitted now. How nice, cause I was told that I would have to be monitored the whole time I'm in labor which means that I have to stay in bed. Not my plan at all. I wanted to labor at home where I could use my birth ball, the shower and be with my hubby. (husbands are not allowed in the room during the delivery of the baby) By this time it's 10pm and I'm getting hungry again. lol My contractions are still coming about the same 10-15 minutes apart and are still mild but I have to stop moving when I get one.
"Around 4am the doctor checked me and I was at 4 cm in active labor. Now the contractions are hard and fast. I started asking for releif but they didn't have anything. I started begging for a c-section about 6 am because the pain was so bad. They put the catheter in, shaved the lower belly, checked my vitals and brought the bed in for the OR. At shift change, 7am, is when my supportive doctor which I never met before came in and seen me. She checked me and said Shari you've come so far just wait a little longer. She waited and checked me again and said get that bed out of here she's at 9cm and will not have a RCS. If it wasn't for this new doctor I would have chickened out again and had a RCS. They don't let you push in any position. You have to have you knees under stir-ups while pushing. I started to push I think around 8am. I couldn't really keep track of the time cause it was really intense. My hubby came to the hospital and was in the hallway trying to talk to me. I had texted him saying I was going for c-section. The doctor got the vacuum and showed it to me cause I wasn't pushing good and was stopping in the middle of contractions. My hubby asked the doctor to give me a few more minutes to try before she did the vacuum. She agreed and I started to push harder and longer. Everyone in the room was saying push Shari push. Good girl. Don't stop now. They were a great team. I could feel the baby's head starting to come and I felt a burst of energy. I felt his head come out and the doctor said 1 more push don't stop. So I pushed and my baby boy was placed on my belly at 8:43 am born naturally. He weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. They took him to NICU for 24 hours because he was so big. (Saudi babies are smaller) I was able to see him after a few hours and try to nurse him about 6:30 pm. He did great and was able to room in with me after 24 hour observation. He started to nurse like a pro and is gaining weight.
"Without God, my husband this group and the new staff that came on duty I wouldn't have been able to do this. I was the first person to try VBA2C in the hospital and I hope it will help other women to at least try labor. Thank you all for the support and information. God bless you. "
I got a call from her husband at about 5:55am (central time) that her VBA2C was successful. It was the best wake-up call I could have received! What an incredible triumphant birth in the face of such odds! Congratulations Shari, you rock, and thank you so much for letting me be a part, even from the other side of the world!