Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

A Very Inspirational Update March 30, 2010

This one is for all you VBAC mommas out there!!!

In October of 2009 I posted a letter sent to me by Kelly, a mother who, at 35 weeks of pregnancy, was startled, hurt, confused, angry, and scared to find out that her supposedly VBAC friendly obstetrician was actually leading her on the whole time….


Dear Nursing Birth,


I’m a day short of 35 weeks pregnant today and went in for an OB appointment this morning. My doctor said that if I don’t go into labor on my own in my 39th week that (depending on how much and if my cervix is dilated) she might put me on pitocin- although she did say that “they don’t induce labor for VBAC patients”. But that they won’t let me go to 40 weeks, and that by 40 weeks they will have to schedule another c-section for me. (I live in Cedar Falls, IA)


I am shocked and angry! First of all- since when is 40 weeks, too late? My OB says it’s not wise to go to beyond 40 weeks due to increased risk of uterine rupture. But this just sounds like B.S. to me!


And how does the doc get away with not telling me something important like this until NOW? Unbelievable!!  My doctor and I have already gone through my birth plan, line by line, because I want as few interventions as possible and no drugs, seeking a natural vaginal childbirth. I’ve taken 12 weeks of Bradley method birth classes to help my husband and I be better prepared this time.  I also have a fantastic, knowledgeable, and supportive doula. But I can’t believe what a fight it is to have a VBAC!


If I had known sooner that this was the doctor/hospital policy for VBAC, I probably would have gone somewhere else. Since it’s so late in the game now, I’m probably going to stick it out. I don’t have to do anything they say, I can always stay at home and come in when I’m ready, and that will be after I am already in deep labor on my own.


I was just wondering if perhaps this reflects a change in my hospital’s policy for managing VBAC? One of the other OB’s I met with at the hospital said that after a high maintenance VBAC patient a few months ago (who also insisted on a natural vaginal childbirth, and did it, but most of the hospital staff were very unhappy dealing with this patient…?) that the hospital is reviewing whether to allow VBAC at all. I’m probably not helping the situation by openly trying to avoid their planned interventions. I KNOW I’m required to have continuous electronic fetal monitoring… but I’ve also been told that my labor has to be pretty much “text book” regarding continuous dilation of my cervix, and of course no tolerance for fetal distress…or else!


I just wish all women would know this before their first c-section. If you thought recovering from a c-section was bad, wait till you try to have a VBAC and deal with the red tape and lack of support from the medical community. It’s just so frustrating to have to be prepared to battle, and yet relax at the same time! 


Have you heard of this kind of change in management of VBAC? That VBAC isn’t even allowed to go to 40 weeks?? Thanks for writing such an informative, educational blog and for being so supportive of natural childbirth! I have enjoyed your tips and insight from the hospital perspective (about writing birth plans, and managing your OB, and also the many ways hospital staff really will be supportive- even if you barf!).








I replied to Kelly in my post entitled “The Ol’ Bait and Switch, OR Finding Out Your OB Has Been Leading You On” with words of encouragment and some information about other scare tactics that some health care providers use to intimidate VBAC planning mommas.  My main message was this:

“You deserve the opportunity to have the unmedicated, intervention-free birth that you have planned for.  Your desires for said unmedicated, intervention-free VBAC are well supported by the research.  You deserve to be cared for by a birth attendant who shares your philosophy regarding (among other things) childbirth and VBAC.  You deserve to NOT have to worry about fighting anyone to be given a fair chance at having the birth you have been planning…not the hospital, not the nursing staff, not your obstetrician, NOT ANYONE.  You deserve it for THIS birth. “


Fast forward 4 months.  I was struggling with the thought of returning back to blogging as NursingBirth.  I was working for a hosptial with a 40% C-section rate.  I was feeling powerless.  Until I saw this in my inbox…..


Hi Nursing Birth!

Hope you still plan to come back after you settle in from your move- we miss your great posts!


Also, just wanted to say thank you -again- for posting about my comment awhile back!  I wanted to update you and tell you that I had a successful VBAC!  Thanks for your suggestions, resources, and support!


You can read my story over at my blog:


Hugs and best wishes,




Needless to say I was touched, proud, empowered, honored, and ESTATIC!!!   There is no doubt in my mind that Kelly’s email was a main factor in my decision to return to blogging as well as take the plunge and start yet another new job!  So thank you Kelly for being just as much of an inspiration to me as I was to you!!!  I am so lucky to be a part of this awesome community we call the “birth blogosphere” 🙂

Congrats again Kelly!!  You rock!!



16 Responses to “A Very Inspirational Update”

  1. Sosososo SO glad you’re back 🙂 What a great treat to find in my Google reader!!

  2. Amy K Says:

    Dear Nursing Birth,
    I am SO glad you are back. I just wanted to let you know that for every Kelly whose story you get to see, there are probably dozens more women you’ve helped and encouraged and educated who never leave comments (this is a first for me). In the five months that you were on hiatus, my first little one was born, naturally and drug-free! Reading your blog gave me the push I needed to change providers to a midwife-staffed birth center who practice evidence-based, mother-centered care, even though I was already in my third trimester. When a freak complication arose (lung collapse) at 38 weeks and I became too high-risk to deliver at the birth center, I still had the advantage of my supportive midwives, who did their best to keep my hospital birth intervention-free. I’m convinced that if I hadn’t switched providers, I probably would have ended up with a C-section. So, thank you, thank you, thank you! You are making a difference.

    • NursingBirth Says:

      Amy K, you’re making me cry!!! I am so touched! Thank you so much for commenting and CONGRATS TO YOU!!! I am so honored that my blog helped empower you to change your care provider!

  3. Saylor Says:

    Glad to see the update to the story! Very inspirational for us VBAC mommas, especially since my doc doesn’t want to “let” me go past 40 weeks either. I’ve done my research and am prepared to battle if I don’t deliver before then. Thanks for all the resources, education and inspiration you provide, NursingBirth!

  4. Rebekah Says:

    I just love a good birth story!!

  5. ladydilee Says:

    I will add my voice to the chorus of people saying I am glad you are back, and that I checked back frequently waiting for your post. Since I saw your comment from March 11 on your moving post, I have been checking almost daily, hoping that you had finally gotten your feet under you.

  6. Blair Says:

    Thank you Kelly for helping to bring NursingBirth back!

  7. Heather Says:

    I missed you, too! I had a home water birth with my baby and wouldn’t have had it any other way. I tell everybody I can, but I think your perspective “means” more to a lot of people since you’re not a wacky home birth type like me. LOL 😀

    Good to have you back in my Google reader.

  8. So happy to see that you are back. I am planning my third VBAC. I’m 37 weeks pregnant now. I had only recently found your site when you moved! So glad to be able to read new posts now! Looking very forward to your writing.

  9. Maggie Says:

    YAY! So glad to see you back. I’m sorry to hear that you’d been feeling discouraged but I want to throw my hat in too and say that because of your posts I was SO MUCH better informed when it came time for me to have my son. I felt empowered to say no to interventions I didn’t want or need. So THANK YOU and I can’t wait read more of what you have to say!

  10. atyourcervix Says:

    Absolutely AWESOME that you’re back NursingBirth! And totally, utterly amazing VBAC birth Kelly!!!

  11. Naomi Says:

    Oh, I’m so glad your back too! It is a bout time young lady! (imagine me wagging my finger at you with a scold face!)
    I’m due with my third (2nd HBAC) in a few weeks and I want to read some good meaty birth stuff!

    You go girl!

  12. Kelly Says:

    NURSING BIRTH! OMG, how awesome that you are back!! I was at my Bradley birth teacher’s house this morning and she said “hey, I saw the post about you on Nursing Birth!” and I said, “she’s back???” So now I feel like a dork for not checking back here, or checking the comments on my own blog— ((BIG CYBERSPACE HUGS!!))
    I should add, a little note about my VBAC, the I ended up skipping my OB apps from 39 weeks on, and I went to 41 weeks and 3 days 🙂 When I went back for my postpartum appt, my OB said that if I had come in for my regular prenatal appts, she would have given me a CS… so although I couldn’t recommend other moms ditch their doc, I can say “it worked for me!”
    **So sorry you have been so stressed with your moves and job changes- blog about it- maybe we can help just by listening? We love your stories!
    Also, thanks again NB for all your support, and to all the commenters as well!! This blog community is vital to help fill the gaps between our local care providers, especially when there aren’t local support groups for us!
    Last note: I went on to start an ICAN chapter b/c of the comments from your original post!
    So hopefully other families won’t have to go through what I did all alone!
    I ❤ Nursing Birth!
    btw, have you thought about starting a page on facebook?

  13. I love a new ICAN chapter, Kelly!

    Nursing birth, post please! I need my NB fix!

  14. Taylor Says:

    I am so glad you’re back! Your blog had much to do with my confidence going into, and success at achieving a totally intervention-free birth in a hospital with a high cesarean rate. I have been poring over the archives in anticipation of my second baby, and I recommend your blog to everybody I know who is pregnant and hoping for an intervention free birth. Your perspective is invaluable! Thank you so much!

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