A Courageous and Determined VBAC

Did you hear about Joy Szabo, the Arizona woman fighting to have a VBAC despite being denied by her hospital? After a c-section with her second child, she successfully had a VBAC at the same hospital with her 3rd child. Now pregnant with her fourth, the same hospital has since changed its rules and is refusing to allow her to try for a repeat VBAC.

CNN picked this story up and featured it on their homepage earlier this week. They’ve been refused by their hospital and so

To get around the ban, Joy Szabo plans on moving to an apartment in Phoenix in the middle of November. They have no friends or family there, but a doula, or childbirth assistant, will drive her to the hospital when she goes into labor.

Which is a little more than heartbreaking to me that this is their only option to get the birth they want.

The Szabos know there’s little chance Jeff will make it in time for the birth. “With our other sons, her labor only lasted three hours. It’ll take me five hours to get to Phoenix,” Jeff says, noting that with three little kids along for the ride, it will take even longer.

“Of course I’m scared that I won’t be there,” he adds. “It’s my job as the dad to make sure the baby’s OK after the birth, to follow him around and make sure he has 10 fingers and 10 toes. Now the chances of that happening are slim to none.”

And it reminds me how much we need to completely change the American system of hospital birth – midwives are crucial to that but not the only answer. I’m so pleased CNN has really brought attention to this issue, it’s been making a lot of people (rightfully) angry.

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7 responses to “A Courageous and Determined VBAC

  1. WOW, so sad, but YES, so glad that is at least *some* national attention given to these issues, especially since it makes NO SENSE that the hospital would refuse her for a VBAC since she has safely been able to do so in the past. Good thing we have people like you in the field to help right the wrongs.

  2. Glad it is getting the attention it deserves (VBACs that is). I feel badly for how this is playing out but sometimes it takes one person stepping up for a great cause, with great sacrifice, in order to make a change!

    • Right. What strikes me is that there is finally some uproar about VBACs, but this family is not the only family facing this. This is the story I hear again and again from folks. A midwife friend of mine in southern MN says that it’s not unusual for her to hear from clients who travel 300+ miles just to have a VBAC. Hospital policies like the ones the Szabos are facing are becoming the norm more and more – and there is a relatively small chance of uterine rupture (1-2%), and a hospital should have all of the equipment and expertise to avoid a catastrophe in those rare instances.

  3. I’ve read a few articles on the story and admire the strength this woman and her family have. I hardly ever read comments sections on news sites, but wanted to see what readers thought of this one. I was so sad to see the attitude that some people have. Calling this brave Mama selfish, and that doctors know everything, or even sadder still that she should just suck it up and go under the knife. things do indeed need to change.

    • But don’t you know that any woman who choose to …. have a VBAC, have a homebirth, not wear makeup, or not shave her legs is being selfish and endangering everyone? You’re right Songweaver, she is incredibly brave for her choice and incredibly brave to take the national spotlight for it.

  4. I am not surprise to read about this topic. Although I am glad they are posting it on CNN. I live in Minneapolis MN I found myself under the same circumstances. My 1st delivery ended up on an emergency c-sec after hours of inducing me. My water hadn’t broke when I got to the hospital but I was having contractions. They tried to speed up the process and I ended up under the knife. With my 2nd child they didn’t even gave me the option, instead they just scheduled the date/time and that was it. I didn’t had any medical knowledge at the time so I assumed that the provider knew what was best for me. WRONG! They did what was more convenient for them. Now 7yrs later and with a nursing degree I know I’ve should’ve given the option. I am now 4mo pregnant and refuse to go under the knife again without at least trying. I have been turned down by most of the offices Ive talked/visited. So unless someone will allow me a TOLAC (trial of labor after csec) I will wait until im almost there to show up at the ER giving them no choice but to let me birth this baby the way it should be- the NATURAL way. I think that unless medically necessary, women should be given options on who they want to delivery their babies and providers should be more open to their options and atleast allow them to try. You won’t know the outcome unless you try.

    • I applaud your determination. Have you considered an HBAC or giving birth in a birth center? There’s a decent number of midwives in the twin cities.

      Best of luck with your pregnancy and birth!

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