This post is about my vbac attempt in Morocco. For those who don’t know a vbac is a “vaginal birth after cesarean” there is alot of information on this link.
The ACOG ( American college of gynocology) recommend women who have only 1 prior cesarean attempt a vbac and even women who have have 2 prior cesarean to attempt labour ( if they have healthy pregnancies and a low transverse scar)
I struggled to find a decent Dr who would actually carry out urine tests and blood test, regular monitoring and general maternity care similar to the UK. Although yes Morocco is a 3rd world country many gynocoligists charge an arm and a leg for maternity care some who have up to date equipment from France and others who have the typical budget items that look like something from a movie from when I was young.
Most Drs have a cattle hearing approach to their waiting room. Basically sit down while people eat and drink around you and first come first served. As you watch each woman ushered in and another is rushed out you can’t help but want the appointments to go faster.
When your name is called you enter into the Dr who asks no medical history, fills out all results in paper she will keep and then does a quick scan to which you may receive some little squares that are hardly visible as to what your baby looks like. Then you are rushed out while another woman waits at the door. If you have questions they are answered in a hurry and you have probably 10 minutes total with the Dr but must pay around £20.
After experiencing this previously I refused to go through it again. Having an unplanned pregnancy made it very stressful as I hadn’t found a decent Dr.
I had met a Dr by the name Hanaa Fardi she had given some attention to answering questions and roughly agreed to me doing a vbac but was not supportive of what I wanted nor had she carried out any blood or urine tests. I visited her numerous times on my own accord until I was 13 weeks pregnant I had a bladder infection to which I was well aware of as my previous pregnancies I suffered them numerous times.
Dr hanaa said urine tests are expensive ( even though I’d pay for them) and there was no need and just take X amount of an antibiotic and progesterone! Progesterone is a hormone and I suffered severe side affects to it ( once again no health questions or history checks) although when I called my Dr she was on holiday and had not left an alternative Dr for me to contact.
Once again I found myself more and more pregnant while trying to find a decent Dr and battle a bladder infection naturally (which worked pretty well) I was becoming stressed about my vbac plans and the need to find a Dr who would carry out decent maternity care.
Around 18 weeks pregnant I woke up in severe pain unable to move without crying. Searching Google for a Dr who was open Saturday and had an availability to fit me in. I looked for a Dr who was 5 star in reviews or closest to that. This is when I came across Dr. Ella Arutinian she had the best credentials of female gynocologists and when she heard the pain I was in she waited for me to arrive even though she was about to close.
She was the most amazing Dr costing 2 to 4 times the amount of the other Drs but being that she is from Russia she had a more “professional” approach to her work.
Dr Ella only speaks Russian and French so the midwife was constantly translating for us. I had urine and blood tests done just like the UK and found out I had a bladder infection that had spread to my kidneys and my kidneys started to release proteins into my urine. Basically it was a very painful stupid mistake !
I was given the appropriate dosage of medicine, monitoring and each time I saw Dr Ella I was never rushed and always received my aloted time for whatever I had booked for. ( sometimes 30 minutes sometimes 60 minutes) I was never left waiting more then a few minutes in the waiting room either.
Dr Ella accepted my desire to have a vbac although she advised against it. I was constantly reading on ACOG for encouragement and other vbac studies that had been done. I was giving them to my Dr to try and get her to support me. None the less she was willing to measure my scar and answer my concerns never once rushing me out but I never felt true support for my vbac and in my heart new she wanted me to just accept the cesarean.
She scheduled me a cesarean date for 38 weeks gestation. I had started premature labour at 35 weeks and 3 days. My Dr had identified my pains as labour and sent me to the clinic for monitoring and further treatment. I was then advised to stop the contractions through intravenous medicines which worked but made me feel severely nauseous.
I left the hospital ( Clinic Grand Atlas) at about 2am as I was exhausted and my contractions had pretty much stopped for long enough.
I tried everything I could to try start contractions again after 36 weeks passed. My Dr had refused to carry out a pelvic sweep, she did measure my scar and lower uterine segment of my uterus which was looking good and thick. If I recall it was 6.7mm which is amazing around 36 weeks.
As my 37th week was coming to an end and my baby weighing around 3.2kg Dr Ella had allowed me to choose when I want my cesarean of the coming week between Monday to Friday. I chose the Friday which put me at 38 weeks and 3 days gestation
I walked my treadmill for hours, I did squats and alot of other things I will just keep to myself. Nothing worked and I started to feel defeated. Having my preemie baby via cesarean and then now facing another cesarean just because my uterus was considered deficient even though it worked fine to deliver my first 3 babies naturally. I felt angry, sad and severely anxious.
The day of my cesarean
I was outside the clinic and felt a doubt enter into my heart. I wanted to turn around and go back home. I started to feel sick, my legs got weak and my anxiety was so severe that I just felt sick.
I was concerned to go against my Drs wishes and push my own agenda and then be responsible for anything bad that happens. But then that little voice in my head reminding me I was only being pushed for a repeat cesarean because I had one previously and that was my Drs agenda.
That defeated feeling of guilt overtook me as I entered the clinic for them to cut me open and pull my baby out.
I was prepped with an intravenous in my hand and a catheter put in before the epidural. Ouch!
I was separated from my husband who wasn’t allowed to enter into the operation area. I was then laid onto a table with a room full of people including a large number of male staff. At this point I had all my clothes removed and iodine rubbed over my body. Feeling angry and anxious as to why so many male staff was just standing there looking at me naked and female staff doing pretty much the same thing.
I started to cry I felt so panicked as this wasn’t normal for me, it’s not normal for anyone to be in a country that the language isn’t your first language, people just do things differently and then have a man patting my hair telling me not to cry.
The anethasist hit a nerve going in which made my leg twitch and everyone started telling me to relax and not be scared. Their reactions made me more anxious. My Dr started to press my stomach which scared me as I could feel everything. I was telling her I can still feel everything my legs can still move!
No one seemed to understand what I was saying and suddenly a sharp pain hit my hand where the intravenous was and I passed out.
I was knocked out during my cesarean, during the birth of my precious baby boy. I was not able to see him or feel him when he was born. I woke up in recovery to nurses taking selfies and chatting away.
I started to cry once again asking to see my baby and if I can be taken to the room to see him.
I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on him, my little boy. He was dressed in a white hooded top with white trousers and a blue and white beanie I had made him. His father cradling him in his arms as he turned to me saying how beautiful and perfect he was.
Tears fill my eyes as pain starts to return and nurses help shift me to the recovery bed.” I haven’t seen him yet” I replied.
As I took my handsome little boy from his father and tried to breastfeed I felt overwhelming joy and I can’t lie a sense of failure.
My poor baby was left crying for 45 minutes while I was in recovery downstairs. I couldn’t help but feel guilty.
My recovery in Clinic Le Marrakech was so bad. I will write a seperate post about it as a review I guess and a warning to all those who wish to.
My overall thoughts about Dr Ella is she is an amazing Dr but I feel that until now she didn’t respect what I wanted and pushed a cesarean without a valid reason although she knew and understood how important a vbac was for me.
If you are searching for a good gynocoligist who will check you and carry out relevant checks then Dr Ella is worth the 500 Dirham per visit. I can’t speak of her ability with natural births but I feel she is more cesarean and medicine based. Which if that’s not your thing maybe consider standing your own ground with your own research.