“So I got an epidural for my VBAC. Get over it.” What a great title! You know exactly what kind of story you’re going to read and can even take a guess at the spectrum of responses to such a post.
I think this is an important post to read. A VBAC doesn’t have to be a fully unmedicated waterbirth at home to be a ‘success.’ Yet, we run the risk of presenting a set of demands on VBAC mamas, and for many if not most this might be obstructive.
My sense of this woman’s story is that she got the epidural knowing what risks and benefits are involved. If not, then yeah, maybe she got lucky. My sense of other women’s stories who have had epidurals, is that even though in most women, the risks may outweigh the benefits . . . some women just don’t dilate or labor well without them. Perhaps we can hindsight quarterback their birth preparation process, but I think that’s a fruitless discussion.
I agree with Andrea’s point that fighting about the best way to VBAC isn’t constructive. Ideally, we wouldn’t even need to address the “best way to VBAC” if we had a medically-appropriate cesarean rate in this country. And if “normal birth” (and I do mean natural) has a high degree of variability, so much so that we insist women be left to labor in peace without clock pressure, then we must be willing to accept variability in the way women pursue their VBACs.
Most of us, I would assume, who consider ourselves to be VBACtivists, are working so hard to re-educate women about patient autonomy, patient choice, informed consent, and participating in health care choices, that we start from the position that a woman who requests an intervention such as an epidural during a VBAC labor doesn’t know the risks. And this is probably how the squabbles begin.
Further, plenty of “die hard” VBAC gals make “natural choices” that I find potentially risky. I’m pretty specifically talking about the use of EPO for home induction and tonics such as 5w or PN6. And some women say NO to induction but YES to augmentation. And some women agree to AROM (having their waters broken). Some women have their membranes stripped. And I get it . . . because as soon as you get to 40 weeks, you’re treated as a ticking time bomb.
What will I do this time? Only time will tell. But you bet your butt that if I get exhausted laboring at home but think an epidural will help me regain the strength to birth this child vaginally, we’ll hop in the car and accept the the bad with the good.