The marvelous Michelle Carter, mother to Miles (2) and Caroline (3 months).
Michelle had an uncomplicated pregnancy with her son Miles but says that when she got to about 38 weeks, she realized she wasn't comfortable with her doctor or the hospital model of care she had hired on for herself. Her doctor mentioned delivering via cesarean for the first time simply because she may not be around which Michelle was not at all comfortable with but felt it was too late to change providers. When Michelle reached 40 weeks without labor starting the steps to induce her began and continued over the course of the following week in and out of the hospital before she ultimately delivered via cesarean. Michelle had consented to an epidural after 21 hours of hard labor and Miles heart rate immediately dropped and did not recover.
The staff she'd thought would support her did not at all seem on her side and she felt all alone as they prepped her for surgery. When Miles was out, her husband left with him and it was nearly an hour before she was able to meet him. Michelle had a very difficult time processing her birth and postpartum period. She grieved her birth and was saddened by her experience but felt that everyone she tried to talk to about it told her that she should be grateful she had a healthy baby and others had it much worse. She ultimately sought out a therapist who was able to help her and set her sights on having a healing VBAC a goal with her second birth.
Michelle conceived again when Miles was about a year old and learned all that she could about VBACs. She hired a doula and found a midwifery practice that was supportive and friendly. Pregnancy went very well but when she reached 42 weeks without labor starting, it was suggested she go to the hospital she had delivered at previously for induction. Michelle was devastated and felt like she was repeating history. Her doula helped her write a birth plan with her wishes for her cesarean birth, all of which were respected by the hospital. She had as good of a birth as she could have given the circumstance, Caroline was put on her chest just moments after her birth and never left her side, yet Michelle still struggled with feeling as if her body hadn't done the things she'd been told and hoped it would be able to do.
"I love being a mother but I hate how my children came into this world. It is something that eats at me everyday and I am struggling to find peace and healing. My son was born via an unplanned cesarean and it hit me really hard. After working for almost two years for a VBAC with my daughter, I was told at 42 weeks that this was not possible which threw me right back where I started. It was devastating and has made me feel so isolated and alone.
I wanted to participate in this project as a way to heal from the emotional trauma of my children's births. I want to be able to share my story without it being compared to anything else and hopefully feel like I am part of a community. "