A woman's ideal birth plan is never written in stone. Things can change at a moment's notice, and you can go from having a home birth to a C-section in a hospital if certain complications arise. Nonetheless, there's usually a legitimate case for the game plan to change dramatically, and one mom from New York argues that there was no such case when she had a C-section at Staten Island University Hospital ...
Rinat Dray -- whose desire was to deliver her third baby via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) after her first two children were born surgically -- is now suing the doctors and hospital for malpractice, charging them with "improperly substituting their judgment for that of the mother” and of trying to persuade her by “pressuring and threatening” her during the birth of her third son, Yosef, in July 2011.
Dray says that after several hours of trying to deliver vaginally, the doctor told her the baby would be in peril and her uterus would rupture if she did not have a C-section -- that she would be committing the equivalent of child abuse and that her baby would be taken away from her. Heinous.
Dray's story is another example of a disturbing trend expectant mothers are facing as they attempt to navigate the best path to giving birth. Almost two-thirds of women in a Listening to Mothers survey who had their first C-section said their doctor was the decision maker, and more than one-quarter said they felt pressured to have the surgery.
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For that reason, it's even more imperative that women realize they need to be empowered patients and their own advocates. Of course, once you're in labor, it becomes harder to advocate for yourself, but women can designate their partner or a doula or others to advocate for them.
What's more, though, Dray's experience is also a case for expectant moms to take on the responsibility of doing the research and planning for the kind of birth experience they want. Whether it's right or not, if you want a VBAC, you really have no choice but to go out and find the OB/GYN -- or perhaps, better yet, a midwife -- whose track record and philosophy show they will support your decision and not knee-jerk to medical interventions without there being a solid case for them. Because given the rising rate of cesarean, just expecting your wishes to be honored by any doctor or hospital is a recipe for conflict and disappointment.
How did you ensure you got the birth experience you were hoping for? Or did you feel, like Dray, that your plan was overshadowed by a doctor's agenda?
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