Thank you so much for all of the responses. It is really eye opening to me, to see so many points of view.
A little (long) back story... I never knew about UC until I was pregnant with my last baby. I started researching VBACs and wanted to have a positive hospital birth experience, so I hired a doula. (at this time I was still planning a hospital birth) I hired her pretty early in pregnancy, and she started really talking up her birth experiences and how great her UC was. Then I got the news that my OB wasnt going to allow a VBAC because my records were missing (long story) and no OB on my entire insurance (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) would agree to a VBAC TOL. Then I started contacting midwives and they all said "would love to, but can't" due to the licencing restrictions. (totally understandable) The doula suggested I look into a UC, and assured me that she would be there with me (not as a pretend midwife, just as birth support - the same exact stuff she was agreeing to do for me if I was in the hospital, as my DH and I understood the logistics, but had not been through a vaginal birth before). Right up until about 6 weeks prior to my EDD, she was emailing me, and we were meeting every so often and discussing my birth plan etc, right on schedule. She shared links to all of the boards/groups she found UC information on, and it was very comforting having someone to talk to, because I really didnt have anyone other than DH around me that believed in natural birth. I never expected her to act "medical" just to be there to hold my hand, get me a drink, help me figure out how to best use my birth ball, etc. Then all of a sudden, I get an email, which was CC'd to me and 5 other clients (I guess she convinced most of her client base to go UC or something?) saying that she could not attend any of our UCs, and wishes us the best of luck (oh, and she was keeping the money we paid her - in full) I just felt really betrayed and like the floor fell out from under me. I was fighting w/ my OB at the same time (who I used right up till 36 weeks for shadow care, till they fired me for not agreeing to schedule my cesarean) and it came very close to a legal battle (think my story may still be in the ICAN archives, and I did an interview with a webzine as well over all that drama). It was just a really bad month for me.
Fast forward to the birth. Everything went GREAT. It was just my DH and I, and he was the perfect labor partner. But we were kinda short on hands. I didnt want him to leave my side, so anything that was not in the room when I went through transition, didnt come into the room until after the baby was born. I don't have friends or family that I could invite to my birth (or would feel comfortable with even if they did agree to come) and thinking back, my DH and I agree that it would have really been nice to have another person there, someone who believes fully in natural birth, and that could be a second support person for us, to help with the general comforts of labor and birth. I don't mean checking heart tones or exams or cutting cords or discussing PPH or anything like that. I mean getting me a drink, getting warm towels out of the dryer, keeping me company during labor, holding my hand if DH needs to take 5 etc. Basically the things I would have a friend do, if I had a friend who understood the birth process and whom I trusted to be there.
I am not one of those "UC means I birth alone" people. I am just a girl who was given a set of options and picked the one that was best for my baby and I (agree to a cesarean, refuse a cesarean and interventions repeatedly for my entire hospital stay-at a hospital where they were very clear that not having interventions or eating/getting out of bed was not an option, choose to UC)
|Here in SC, where direct entry midwives cannot attend VBACs at home (CNMs can, but none will that I know of), a lot of women don't UC for the philosophical "just me and DH" aspect of it. A lot of them UC because they don't want to volunteer themselves or their babies to become the hospital's science project. So, I've personally heard of a few of the direct entry midwives here in SC even attending at-home VBACs as a doula/labor support ONLY, not checking heart tones or providing any kind of other intervention.
BTW, I am in SC as well, and not wanting to be the hospital's next science project had a lot to do with my decision. I wasnt even aware that CNMs could do homebirths, as my CNM at the practice I was going to told me that they were not allowed to attend hospital VBACs and that I would have to have a doctor. (guess that was just an office policy and not a legal issue as I had thought) If the restrictions were not as they were, I would have just had a hospital VBAC and never learned about UC, or possibly had a homebirth with a midwife. But all the begging in the world was not helping me get a midwife last time, so I had to choose another option, and a cesarean for a 10 yr old scar was not on my list of acceptable options.