[NB: Most of what I've written below applies specifically to the hospital venue.]
We all know the books to read when preparing for a VBAC or the videos that will help us gain confidence in our ability to give birth vaginally. We all know to pack our hospital bags, including our mental focus recordings, and bring a copy of our birth plans. We all know that we need a doula with us, one who is experienced supporting VBACing women.
Many of us even know that we need to talk powerfully about our upcoming VBACs. “I’m trying for a VBAC” is not nearly strong enough. Replace that with “I’m planning a VBAC.” Did you birth the first time with “I’m gonna try to give birth vaginally” going through your brains? Probably not. I myself never doubted my ability to give birth naturally.
Anyway, I digress. In addition to constructing a clear but concise birth plan, you need to also do the following:
- obtain a copy of the hospital’s VBAC consent form; review it and make changes as you see fit; give a copy to your care provider and bring a copy with you to the hospital
- obtain a copy of the hospital’s cesarean consent form; review it and make changes as you see fit; give a copy to your care provider and bring a copy with you to the hospital. My hospital doesn’t have a cesarean consent form. They have you sign their generic “invasive procedure” form which I find unacceptable.
- discuss the modifications you’ve made to the above forms with your care provider(s)
- especially if you’re NOT married, make sure your will is in order
- make sure you bring a medical power of attorney in case medical decisions need to be made and you are incapacitated
Bruce Flamm’s VBAC consent form appears everywhere on the internet. I personally didn’t find it sufficient, but it is a place to start. Here’s a great post - an actual cesarean consent form with some added commentary from the blogger. I’ve taken this form and modified it so that (1) consent is not given for elective cesarean; (2) consent is withheld until the situation would arise for an emergent cesarean; (3) my husband is named as having power of attorney in the case of an emergency where I was unable to make my wishes known. I also added some things that were missed on the form.
Please ask questions or offer your own suggestions!