I left it alone. I felt badly, because it sounded unreasonable, but I figured, well, that's that. I wasn't going to get in her face or persist because it's her decision how much she wants to fight for it.
Recently I got on ICAN's website and looked it up for myself. I found that only could she have had a VBAC in her town, but there were two hospitals that allowed them, and they were both less than 15 minutes away from her house. So, true to form, her doctor had basically lied to her.
The worst part is that she, like so many of us (I say us, because I, too have been many times in this category - please don't think I haven't!) fell for it. Which makes me so sad and angry. Yet, even with all the information we have, women aren't using it. And the worst part of all is that even when they do use it, sometimes it still doesn't matter.
Over on theunnecessarean.com we had the discussion about "getting educated" and the Blame the Mother Game. I hate to use the word "blame," but really, we can't expect our doctors to inform us anymore truthfully, honestly and with our best interests at heart, instead of their own. But where do you draw the line? Doctors are misinforming their patients, and those patients go out into their circles of friends, sisters and daughters and misinform them, who, in turn, misinform their circle of friends and family. And no one bothers to question any of it, or even wonder if it's really true, often until it's way too late. And thus, the cycle continues. Because we can't put that trust in our doctors, it seems, (and from a historical perspective, could we ever?) it seems that the impetus is on us to learn the truth.
I admit, I thought I knew a lot about birth after I had my first child. Yeah, whatever. It took a rather persistent, sometimes unapologetic, passionate Fellow Birth Nerd to convince me what little I knew about what my body could do, and what doctors could do to my body that wasn't necessary, or even right. I hate to sound bitchy, or have an "I told you so!" attitude, but man - I just wish women realized that many of these things don't have to happen to them. That their own unwillingness to open their minds about it perhaps is what inadvertently led them down that road.
There I go, sounding like it's all the woman's fault. Which I don't think it is. But neither should we totally be let off the hook, either, for this reason: I was thinking how many people will do more research when buying a major appliance, car or computer than they will about childbirth choices. Those sentiments were echoed by a midwife interviewed for The Business of Being Born. Why is this? We are adamant about getting the best deal of a new refrigerator, and know how many colors it comes in, the range of features it has, and how much it costs. But we have no idea the range of "colors" (options) that our births can come in, the features that our bodies have to mitigate pain without the use of drugs, to enable a baby to be born without the need for excess tubes, wires and other superfluous crap. And many of us seem to take little stock in the cost: both financially, and physically, emotionally and psychologically.
A "doctor's birth plan" was posted awhile back on theunnecessarean.com, which has been circulating the internet for awhile. It echoes the plaque on the wall at the birthing center, that someone took a picture of and posted, that basically says the laboring mother will do things according to what the doctor wants, and that's that. No Bradley Method, no doulas, no support, basically. And while many people thought that the doctor's birth plan sucked, at least he was up front with it and gave the patient all that much more impetus to leave the practice in search of something better. If only they all did that, rather than purposely wait to disclose their lack of support until they know it's too late for you to find another OB, thus trapping you into doing things "their way."
As I'm sure it did everyone, the thing that bothered me most about the "doctor's birth plan" was not that he was such an ass about it, but that he outright lied several times.
Labor positions that hinder my ability to continuously monitor your baby’s heart rate are not allowed....Your legs will be positioned in the standard delivery stirrups. This is the most comfortable position for you. (That's BS.) It also provides maximum space in your pelvis, minimizing the risk of trauma to you and your baby during delivery (That's also BS.)...I will clamp the umbilical cord shortly after I deliver your baby. Delaying this procedure is not beneficial and can potentially be harmful to your baby (More BS.)....Contrary to many outdated beliefs, inducing labor, when done appropriately and at the right time, is safe, and does not increase the amount of pain or the risk of complications or the need for a c-section. (OK, this is really BS!)That last one was like having a nail driven through my thumb. It's a boldfaced lie, and there's lot of info out there to prove it .
I don't know what the answer is; I really don't. I can't speak for those women who know the risks and benefits, "got educated" and still got railroaded by overbearing doctors and nursing staff. I can't speak for those women who want desperately to have a natural birth and yet live hours away from a hospital, any hospital, which probably wouldn't support them anyway. I just know, from listening to others and from my own experiences, that hearing the lies and misinformation doesn't help. And ultimately we end up distrusting not the doctors, but ourselves. What bliss it would be if we could do both.