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Be careful about ICAN and other such groups

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I was on the ICAN yahoo group for my local area. They were over the top in to one particular doctor. Members of the group would convince women that they needed to drive hours for this OB even for a vba1c. If anyone suggested going to a different doctor, the women would jump all over them about needing to be with this one particular doctor. They would say he was the only one that could be trusted for hours away. And if you dare shared something negative, no matter what it was, a person would be jumped. And sent private messages and even threats of lawsuits for sharing. I was personally put on moderate for telling about my bad experience. I said nothing more on that group than I said here. 

 

I was attacked openly on the group. I was told that the problems I had with the doctor were my fault. I was sent private messages attacking me. Fortunately, I was also defended on the group a little bit and received a fair number of private messages supporting me. 

 

The point I am getting at is, on a group like that, where everyone is hyper focused on one doctor to the point where the group is about that doctor and not about vbacs so much, a person can end up in a bad situation. I would have left that doctor sooner except if I went for help or guidance from that "support group" I was chastised and everything was explained away. I was left to feel like a defect for seeing those red flags along the way. (red flags like the OB appointments being 6-8 weeks apart, the doctor was caught going out of town 2 times during my pregnancy by me leaving no one on call...one time I had a fever with contractions and the other time I had a UTI, both had to be treated by a doctor from a different practice because the OB left no one on call, and his refusal to do the glucose tolerance test...I ended up likely having undiagnosed gestational diabetes, etc). In the end, when I went in to labor and did not progress, the OB refused to see me, admit it, examine me, or anything. After more than 40 hrs of labor, in such extreme pain that I could not function or cope anymore, I ended up being admitted to the hospital by a doctor from a different practice who did an emergency csect on me. She said after the section that I was rupturing and the baby and I would not have lived. The OB told me he would see me on Monday, but refused to see me on that Saturday. I posted the story in more detail here on another post. The OB always hid behind other people for his mistakes. But in this case, the case of the birth, he admitted to telling the on-call OB to turn me away. He admitted to knowing of my calls and what was going on. Thing is, once things were clearly not going well, he turned me away. He abandoned me as a patient. Reality is, the signs were there all along that he was going to do this. The signs were there all along that he was not a competent doctor. I looked back over people's birth stories who delivered with him and were happy. They all were completely intervention free and did not need it. They did not even have pain killers. I am happy for them that they wanted a natural birth and all went fine and they got what they wanted. But they might as well have had an unassisted childbirth. Because with that OB, he could not or would not recognize the signs of complications. He was not willing, or not capable, of checking me out when things went wrong. Because of this, he would be a horrible choice for a VBAC OB, or really, any OB. 

 

Being told it was my fault that things went how they did caused me a lot of grief and emotional distress. To add to it, I stayed with that bad OB because I was pushed and bullied by people at the group. I noticed at the end of my pregnancy that the group was not at all about vbacs or csects, but rather just about that one OB. I had been in a vbac support group years ago. In that group, we talked about how to have a successful vbac and what things increased your chances of a csect and so on. I learned so much from the vbac group I was in years ago. THAT should be the focus of any vbac support group.  I have heard from a few women now who have been on ICAN groups elsewhere (not the one I was on) where the focus is on a specific provider and not on vbacs or csects. 

 

I wanted to put this warning out there because I do not want any other woman to go through what I went through. Having a vbac is a wonderful thing. I have had 3 successful vbacs myself. I definitely feel vbacs are safer than csects for both mom and baby. But my baby almost died and so did I because I gave in to the pressures of that group to stay with that bad doctor. So, if you are on a support group and they seem to spend all their time worshipping one or two providers like this, and spend very little time actually educating on how to have a vbac or anything vbac/csect related, you may want to leave the group. There are places to get excellent information and support for a vbac without the pressure and bullying that happens in some groups. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and leave the group if that happens.

post #2 of 45

Lisa1970, thanks for sharing your story and experience.  I can't imagine how painful and frightening your birth must have been--not the treatment you deserved from any HCP.

 

I definitely don't want to bash ICAN, or any natural-birth-friendly group, but there are definitely different personalities among them.  There are several groups around, and what works for some doesn't always work for others.  For me, one group I contacted gave me the feeling that if I chose to birth at any but one specific hospital (90 minute drive, 2 bridges, 1 tunnel, and tolls) I was essentially choosing a c-section. Well, I disagree.  And that's not the attitude I'm going to surround myself with going in to my VBAC.  So I'm exploring other groups, and fortunately there are a few in this area.

 

So I just wanted to say, in a nutshell, that I hear ya.  hug.gif  And also to put it out there that its true, not all birth support groups are created equal, so if anyone is feeling put off by one, try to find another.

post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

That is exactly how it was. If you do not go to this one doctor, you were not going to have a vbac. He is the only one anyone can trust and so on. They would say negative things about other doctors and midwives, but if you dared even express a concern, they jumped all over you. I even got emails that I was risking getting sued by saying anything about that one doctor.

post #4 of 45

Have you considered going above the chapter leader to the regional coordinator, or even someone from the board of directors, and sharing your experience? They should know that your local chapter is behaving this way.

post #5 of 45
Thread Starter 

I went to the ican website and could not find any sort of contact information.

post #6 of 45

here http://ican-online.org/contact-us

 

From the board of directors, Lauren Cooper looks like your best bet. And include whichever regional coordinator is closest to you

post #7 of 45

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

I even got emails that I was risking getting sued by saying anything about that one doctor.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

Have you considered going above the chapter leader to the regional coordinator, or even someone from the board of directors, and sharing your experience? They should know that your local chapter is behaving this way.


Wow, that's nuts.  It needs to be reported.  How are you doing otherwise, OP?  Babe doing alright?

 

 

 

post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

here http://ican-online.org/contact-us

 

From the board of directors, Lauren Cooper looks like your best bet. And include whichever regional coordinator is closest to you

Thanks!
post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

Have you considered going above the chapter leader to the regional coordinator, or even someone from the board of directors, and sharing your experience? They should know that your local chapter is behaving this way.



I am an ICAN Chapter leader and I agree.

post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 

I sent them an email. I know it is only noon, but no response yet.

post #11 of 45
Hope you get a response.


Not to de-rail the thread but something similar happened to me in a pregnancy loss support group years ago in Atlanta. The women would carry on about one doctor being the savior. It irked me because my child's loss was an accident and I loved my midwives and saw no reason to change care. You would think from the outcry that I was trying to murder my new babe by not going to their beloved doc. So odd. Collective hysteria? Group think? Mob psychology? Who knows?
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Hope you get a response.
Not to de-rail the thread but something similar happened to me in a pregnancy loss support group years ago in Atlanta. The women would carry on about one doctor being the savior. It irked me because my child's loss was an accident and I loved my midwives and saw no reason to change care. You would think from the outcry that I was trying to murder my new babe by not going to their beloved doc. So odd. Collective hysteria? Group think? Mob psychology? Who knows?


I am very sorry it was like that for you. That is an exact description what it was like for me with that ICAN group. They never spoke about actual vbac things. They acted like I was a criminal if I suggested at all that things the doctor was doing was off or wrong. The entire group was just a support that doctor group instead of any sort of vbac support or information providing or anything.

post #13 of 45

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Edited by JAHerr - 12/8/11 at 2:27pm
post #14 of 45

Lisa,

 

I'm very sorry. It's not ICAN's fault the group in your area is like this. I am a chapter leader of a newer group here in Alaska and I try very hard to ensure the meetings don't go this way, ever. 

I hope you get some answers from the ICAN Regional coordinator.

post #15 of 45

I do not want to downplay the issue of Lisa's experience with the ICAN yahoo group.  However, I think that yahoo groups are often very different from actual in person support groups - ICAN or otherwise..  Unfortunately, at times they have a life of their own.  The comments posted are not always from the leaders nor do they necessarily reflect the opinion of the larger organization.  I think it is too common for people to not think about what they are posting in an online community or how it will affect other people.  The varied expereinces mean that each person who reads that message will be filtering it with a different perspective and experiences.  The beauty and the challenge of support groups online or in person is that it is made up of individuals coming from varied backgrounds coming from different places in their healing experience.  It is much easier to reconcile these differences in person than it is online.  I think that is why it is important for moms who seek healing to go beyond the on-line community.  The on-line community is a great place for support.  However, it doesn't take the place of person to person interaction or if needed counseling.

 

post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
To add to it, I stayed with that bad OB because I was pushed and bullied by people at the group.
I wanted to put this warning out there because I do not want any other woman to go through what I went through. Having a vbac is a wonderful thing. I have had 3 successful vbacs myself. I definitely feel vbacs are safer than csects for both mom and baby. But my baby almost died and so did I because I gave in to the pressures of that group to stay with that bad doctor. So, if you are on a support group and they seem to spend all their time worshipping one or two providers like this, and spend very little time actually educating on how to have a vbac or anything vbac/csect related, you may want to leave the group. There are places to get excellent information and support for a vbac without the pressure and bullying that happens in some groups. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and leave the group if that happens.


I am so sorry for such a terrible and traumatic experience you went through!!!  :( 

 

The ICAN group local to me has been wonderful women have used a variety of providers and a variety of hospitals.  I have found them to be very respectful.  I'm sorry that you didn't find yours to be the same way.

 

Was this the doctor you had 3 other successful VBACs with?  If not, what made you leave the doctor you had successful VBACs with?  Perhaps I missed part of your story?

 

I am so upset for you but I feel like i have to point out that no one could have made you stay with this OB that you found so terrible. Was there really no one else if you already had 3 VBACs?  Have you had more than 1 c-section?  I am wondering if you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.  I hate to blurt that out but I want you to get the help that you need.  Clearly you are in so much pain and no mother should be dealing with that on her own.

 

I'm sorry if I have chosen the wrong words here.  I do not wish to upset you; rather I would love to see you get to the root of your pain so that you might work through it.

post #17 of 45
Thread Starter 


The people in the group were very against my old doctor and made it clear I would not be able to have a vbac with anyone else but the one favored OB in the group. The OB I had been with agreed to a vba3c so...I thought I was fine. But, within the group, they just kept saying you cannot trust anyone else but that one OB. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by E'smom View Post



I am so sorry for such a terrible and traumatic experience you went through!!!  :( 

 

The ICAN group local to me has been wonderful women have used a variety of providers and a variety of hospitals.  I have found them to be very respectful.  I'm sorry that you didn't find yours to be the same way.

 

Was this the doctor you had 3 other successful VBACs with?  If not, what made you leave the doctor you had successful VBACs with?  Perhaps I missed part of your story?

 

I am so upset for you but I feel like i have to point out that no one could have made you stay with this OB that you found so terrible. Was there really no one else if you already had 3 VBACs?  Have you had more than 1 c-section?  I am wondering if you are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.  I hate to blurt that out but I want you to get the help that you need.  Clearly you are in so much pain and no mother should be dealing with that on her own.

 

I'm sorry if I have chosen the wrong words here.  I do not wish to upset you; rather I would love to see you get to the root of your pain so that you might work through it.



 

post #18 of 45
Thread Starter 

I went to inperson meeting too.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAHerr View Post

I do not want to downplay the issue of Lisa's experience with the ICAN yahoo group.  However, I think that yahoo groups are often very different from actual in person support groups - ICAN or otherwise..  Unfortunately, at times they have a life of their own.  The comments posted are not always from the leaders nor do they necessarily reflect the opinion of the larger organization.  I think it is too common for people to not think about what they are posting in an online community or how it will affect other people.  The varied expereinces mean that each person who reads that message will be filtering it with a different perspective and experiences.  The beauty and the challenge of support groups online or in person is that it is made up of individuals coming from varied backgrounds coming from different places in their healing experience.  It is much easier to reconcile these differences in person than it is online.  I think that is why it is important for moms who seek healing to go beyond the on-line community.  The on-line community is a great place for support.  However, it doesn't take the place of person to person interaction or if needed counseling.

 



 

post #19 of 45

I wish we had ICAN here - I'm in SC and all of our chapters have gone defunct. There is a yahoo group, but it's practicaly inactive too. It's one of those things where everyone suggests asking your local ICAN chapter . . . and well, it doesn't exist! I would start something, but I work full time and just had a baby and just don't really have the time.

 

I will say I plugged into an AWESOME group of women on facebook via my doula. it's hard, but well worth working for finding the right kind of support you need, both online and face-to-face.

 

and I am so sorry about your experience. Nothing as traumatic, of course, but I've had bad experiences with our local Holistic Moms group. It's not that the organization as a whole is bad, but our local chapter . . .leaves a bit to be desired.

post #20 of 45

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Edited by JAHerr - 12/8/11 at 2:20pm
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