It pains me to write this post, yet another baby has been seriously injured, his mother choosing to HBAC at home instead of VBAC in a hospital environment.
I wish I wasn’t writing this, I wish I didn’t even need to write this blog to create awareness of the dangers of HBAC. Because if there was no need for me to write this then it would mean women were no longer attempting HBACs, and that would be a great thing. There should come a point in time where the government decide to outlaw the practice of HBAC. This is what I hope will happen. I’m not sure how it will happen, maybe we need to allow for a right for life prior to birth. At the moment (in the UK) The human rights act does not come into force until you are born, it is at this point you gain the right to life. I know this will throw up many moot points.. When does it start? At what point does a child inutero become a living being, a legal entity, an entity deserving of the right to life? I won’t go into too much detail about my opinions on this in this post, as it’s fitting of its own post at some point in the future. But I will say that I am not against abortion, and I would not want any change in the law to take that right away from a woman. However I do feel that once a child inutero is capable of sustaining life should it be born (24 – 26 weeks) then that child should have a right to life, a right to a safe birth, a birth that is not going to leave him/her with irreversible brain damage or complete loss of life.
I know there will be many pro-HBACers reading this post with distain in their mouths, and I’m not going to apologise if I offend you. But the process of birth really is not about you! You may have had an awful first birth in a hospital, your previous birth may have been traumatic, it probably (if you are reading this post) ended up in an emergency section! I am sorry for your loss, I am sorry that you did not gain the vaginal birth you had hoped for. I am sorry that you resent the fact that you had to have intervention that saved your childs life.
There is so much more to birth than the actual process. Surely the main objective is to produce a healthy baby, a baby you will cherish and nurture for the rest of its life. Surely as a mother your main purpose is to protect your child, to ensure that no harm within your power can come to him or her.
Now I am not blaming the mother. I know from my last sentence you probably feel like I am. But no. The problem is that we have a very active HBAC movement. This movement (I have experienced and been part of one of their groups) actively encourage women to labour at home after a previous section, and even after a previous rupture! (Don’t get me started on that one!!)
The Pro HBAC movement are actively brainwashing these women into believing that home birth after a section is a safer option for them. That there is a lesser chance of complications if they birth at home. They throw fake statistics at these vulnerable mothers who desperately wish to avoid the trauma of their previous birth. They revel in the delight of every successful HBAC, showing these mothers to be how wonderful this is. Yet when something does go wrong, when a child dies after birth, when a child is born sleeping and when a child is left with irreversible brain damage they brush it under the carpet as fast as they can. They hide the fact that children are being killed, keeping the focus on the success cases, and putting the poor mums who suffer a loss to the back of the group. Deleting their posts, or on this occasion asking them to please stop posting about what happened.
See in their eyes, if you post a story of how HBAC didn’t work out then you are a fear-mongerer, your story will be wiped and replaced with the latest success story! This group of women who supported you from the first step of your pregnancy, who encouraged you to HBAC, who made you truly believe that you were doing the right thing for you and your child will not be there for you when it goes wrong. You will be alone, you will feel lost, and this is so so so wrong.
One of the HBAC groups that this poor mother is a member of is headed by a lady who has never had a vaginal birth, never attempted a VBAC, and never attempted a HBAC. Yet this lady (whom I obviously can’t name for legal reasons) is actively encouraging women to HBAC! Something she has no experience of. Is she trying to live out her dream of a natural home birth in these vulnerable young women? Who knows! All I know is that this group needs to be stopped. The mothers who are being brainwashed need to know the truth about home birth after a section. They need to be aware of the risks that they are taking. This is not fear-mongering! This is education!
The other issue with HBAC, is that a lot of these women are also religious (and no I’m not going to go on an anti-religion rant), they believe that whatever happens is ‘Gods Will’ and unfortunately that is the case with the woman whose baby boy has been brain damaged recently. She is asking for prayers, there are comments stating that this is gods will!! I am sorry but I know of no god who would will this pain and devastation onto any mother! This was not gods will, this was a choice that was made by the mother. Whether that choice was right or wrong, ill-informed or pressurised it was still her choice that led to this happening, Not gods! God gave us the freedom to choose, he/she (if you believe) gave us free will! Everything that we do in life is determined by the choices that we make. Including the choice to HBAC! I know this is probably sounding brutal. But its important to remember that most of these women have been brainwashed into believing they are doing the right thing for their child. They are not to blame. The HBAC movement have so much they need to answer for!
HBAC – Should not be Home Birth After Cesarean… it should be Hurting Babies And Children… Because this is what it is doing on a daily basis!
It’s not just the risk of rupture either, there are so many more factors involved.
Was your previous section due to breech? Then your chances of breech are higher for this one, do you want to HBAC a breech baby knowing that should they start breathing before they are fully born that they could then be born still or suffer oxygen depravation resulting in permanent brain damage or get pneumonia from fluid on their lungs, or meconium ingestion….
Was your previous section due to a large baby that you struggled to birth and your child got into distress?? Do you really want to risk this happening again, outside of a medical facility where they CAN help and will intervene if needed? Also remember that if your first was a large baby then the chances are that number 2, 3 , 4 or 5 are going to be bigger still!
Was your previous section due to Shoulder Dystocia? Then the chances are it may happen again.
The dangers of HBAC are about so much more than the risk of rupture! And not forgetting that if you do rupture at home your baby is highly unlikely to survive. If by some miracle they do survive then they will be damaged for life.
We need to educate women about the risks. We need to create awareness. Babies are being hurt or killed by women attempting HBACs. It’s about time it was stopped for good!