VBAC Casper

So, you may be wondering what VBAC Casper is all about. VBAC stands for “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean” and as it turns out our local hospital, the Wyoming Medical Center, has a ban against letting women deliver their babies vaginally if they have had a prior C-Section.

Updated medical research and evidence based care tell us that VBACs are a safe and healthy option for moms and babies. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “90% of women who have undergone cesarean deliveries are candidates for VBAC.” It was once believed that there was a dramatic increase in the chance of uterine rupture in a VBAC mom. New statistics provided by Medscape show that all delivering women have a .07% chance of uterine rupture and Childbirth Connection outlines studies that VBAC moms run a .09% (or less) chance of rupture. (Not much difference there, as you can see.) This is the main health risk associated with delivering vaginally after a cesarean.

Additionally, ACOG (American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) updated their VBAC Practice Bulletin in 2010 to state that VBACs are a reasonable and viable option for delivering women and that “restrictive VBAC policies should not be used to force women to undergo a repeat cesarean delivery against their will…” Our hospital makes more money by ignoring this guideline and operating off of a memo dated from 2003. As a result, they are forcing women to sign away all of their rights and privileges when they do present and deliver a VBAC.

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As I shared earlier this week through The Start of a Movement: Baby A’s Birth Story Part I, it took me a long time to come to terms with the delivery of my son, whom I love more than anything on this earth. Although I cherished everything about being pregnant, including the time I was “allowed” to labor, the actual C-Section and birth of my child was quite a traumatic experience. (I’ll share more in The Start of a Movement: Baby A’s Birth Story Part II.) I knew going into the major surgery that it wasn’t what I wanted (nor was it truly medically necessary). From the moment I scribbled my name in utter laboring weakness on the consent in the hospital, I internally vowed to do everything in my power for a vaginal birth with any subsequent babies.

As part of my research and quest to seek answers, I asked my doctor a million questions. I worked hard to understand my birth experience and sought the help of professionals to cope with the trauma, including a trusted nurse practitioner, psychologist, and a physical therapist. I read and read some more. I eventually started to research the VBAC Ban at Wyoming Medical Center and it slowly became clear to me that our local hospital was light years behind in the care they provide to labor and delivery patients. Then, I started looking for what I refer to as “VBAC Successfuls.” Confident I wasn’t the only woman armed with this information, I wanted to find someone, anyone, who had a successful VBAC story to tell from their experience at Wyoming Medical Center.

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Through this quest and a mutual friend, I found Sara. Sara, my birth hero. The woman whose birth stories I wanted to tell. A sister in motherhood who could understand and relate to every last word of my birth story. Sara, the VBAC Successful I had been looking for! We first connected through Facebook and eventually met at a Starbucks. (I know, I know, a millennial match made in heaven!) Nonetheless, our first cup of coffee turned into a meeting that lasted for hours. By the time we left one another we had promised to work together to reverse the VBAC Ban at Wyoming Medical Center. Selfishly, we both dreamed of a supportive VBAC environment for our future deliveries, but we also knew that the women of Wyoming deserved better than to be banned from using their own vaginas to deliver their own babies. We also knew that all of the women to follow in our birthing footsteps, including our own daughters, should have access to best practice and evidence based care.

VBAC-Casper S&CAbove Photo by Tom McCarthy

That was in April of 2013. We co-founded VBAC Casper and as we approach the year anniversary of the launch of this movement, we have accomplished many things. We have met with hospital administrators who have been less than kind, professional, or supportive of finding ways to do what’s best for women and babies by reversing their ban. We launched a social media site, incredibly successful petition, spoken with hundreds of women, and contacted media. We have given a handful of interviews and have helped to educate the women of Wyoming on VBACs. We have contacted our local physicians and spoken with a handful of them personally. We have rallied local and international support. We have a small working group that meets regularly and we are currently planning our next steps to challenge and change the ban.

VBAC-Casper-GroupAbove Photo by Tom McCarthy

If you are interested in supporting the movement please visit our webpage, sign our petition, and like our Facebook page. If you are interested in getting involved on a deeper level, please contact us. We have a long way to go but are confident, based on our research and conversations with the medical industry,  that we know what is best for moms and babies. Every woman deserves the right to have a say in her labor and delivery experience; access to evidence based care; and a safe, supportive environment in which to give birth. The women of Wyoming should have access to VBACs at the Wyoming Medical Center and we intend to see this ban reversal through.

575449_555683681121068_867920219_nLogos Created by Tom McCarthy

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