Mom Has Home Birth After 3 C-Sections


The CNN headline has now been changed, but it originally asked if mother Aneka of Maryland was a "hero or a danger?" for defying doctor's orders and refusing to go in for a scheduled c-section after what she now realizes were three unnecessary previous c-sections, and choosing instead to birth with a midwife in her home.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced earlier this year that they would support vaginal births after cesareans (VBAC), even after multiple c-sections, because they were significantly safer for the mother, yet Aneka is under fire for risking her child's life.

But wait, isn't that hypocritical?

The idea of "once a c-section, always a c-section" is almost a century old -- seriously, that idea started in 1916. For 30 years now, we've known that women should be offered a trial of labor, meaning letting a woman try normal birth and labor before deciding if she needs a repeat c-section, yet so many doctors and moms don't ever consider that. It's "I WILL have a repeat cesarean" or "I WILL have a VBAC."

The reason that really happens is because we've stopped even considering the trial of labor at all, so women have to work really, really hard for that vaginal birth. If something does go wrong and they do end up needing a repeat cesarean, they're told that they shouldn't have tried in the first place, they risked their baby's life and their own, and "I told you so."

There are situations where a trial of labor of VBAC is not a good idea, but require intense discussion with the doctor and often tests performed to look at issues considered, not just one doctor's opinion.

These are things that Aneka learned, over halfway through her pregnancy. She saw Ricki Lake's The Business of Being Born documentary that really questions birth in the United States, and it raised some questions in her mind. The more she researched, the more upset she got that her doctor refused to even consider the idea of a VBAC. Even then, it's not like she just suddenly said, "Homebirth! Whoo hoo!" She tried three other hospitals, called around, and was told, "No, no, no, absolutely not!"

Despite all the facts out there that VBACs in most women are way, WAY safer than a repeat c-section, and even that they could just let her do a "trial of labor" first, everyone just flat out told her no and told her she had no choice but to schedule her surgery. The only place she found that would even let her try was over an hour and a half away, which she decided was just too far to be considered.

She got in contact with her local International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) leader and got a lot of information from her, including the name of a midwife who would do a VBAC with her in her own home.

Her VBAC was an amazing, emotional, healing success, and yet she's still being called a poor example. A spokesperson for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) says not to look at Aneka's story and come to conclusions because she took a great risk ... and yet their own release earlier this year discussed how much safer VBACs actually are.

Aneka wasn't a "hero" or a "danger." She was a mom trying to figure out what was safest for her and her baby, according to all the science out there, without the intricacies of business and malpractice suits getting involved in her birth.

Does this mean everyone should do a VBAC in their home? Of course not. But when we know that VBACs are safer than c-sections, when we know that c-sections are incredibly dangerous to both mom and baby, and we know that we do way too many c-sections in this country, doesn't it make a LITTLE sense to question why so many women are told they need a c-section when they haven't even been able to see if a vaginal birth is possible?

If doctors really don't want women doing what Aneka did, maybe one of those four hospitals she called in the first place should have actually followed the recommendations of the ACOG and allowed her to try. You can't villainize a person who you've backed into a corner.

Do you think Aneka made the right choice?


Image via CNN

c-sections, complications, delivery, labor & delivery, labor


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Pishyah Pishyah

I love her!  I don't even know her but I'm totally enamored!  She did the right thing. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

Good for her! My ideal birth is be labor at home push at the hospital so I can get some shut eye afterwards : ) I think women are so misinformed of what her options are. It's assumed you go to a doctor and do an epidural. No one person told me what my options were so I had to figure it out on my own. Each of my births were different tried so hard to do the drug-free birth but caved on the last one, got an epi that didn't work-thank god so got my wish but was stuck in bed rolling around. So happy my babies were happy and healthy thats really all that matters! Still proud of this mother and a wee bit jealous.

stell... stellarluna

HERO!!!!!  You have to be the advocate for yourself and child... doctors are wrong every day!

betha... bethany169

Hell yeah, I think she made the right choice!!  And I'm only slightly biased because I'm having an HBAC with a midwife in April :)  She learned about her options, considered her own situation, and made the right decision for her and her family--good for her! 

Tara Thulin

Good for her!!! That is sooo awsome I am with her 100%!  I had an emergency c-section with my first child, a boy due to the cord being around his head twice causeing his heart rate to flat line everytime I pushed, but when I got pregnant with my second son I was determind to have a natural delivery I had to drive 35 min away to a different town hospital to do it but my second baby boy was born naturally! and so was my 3rd baby, a girl :D

red74k red74k

Yes she was right!!! Of course, I'm planning an HBA2C =D...

ankle... anklebitr

Can't the ACOG just be happy she has a healthy baby? 



But seriously, I think she did the right thing by educating herself, evaluating the risks and being her own advocate.  Right on momma!!!!

Amanda Wright

absolutely she did the right thing. ALWAYS educate yourself and make the right decision for YOU.

Tanya... TanyaR1024

She rocks! Good for her for taking control of her birth and doing her research!

Adareaa Adareaa

The people that are critizing her should stop and look at its the midwifes job to take care of the mother and child. If something had went wrong she would have called and had her taken to a hospital for a repeat c-section if it was needed. She did the right thing in researching her options and the risks associated with them all. I had a c-section with my son only cause his head was so big when he was coming down the birth canal he wouldn't fit and they lost his heart rate. If I get pregnant again I want a v-bac since the problem with my last birth was my sons head and not me. They have to have a signed consent form to do a c-section Don't sign it if there is no reason for one other than the Dr doesn't want to do it.

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