When the public hospital Rhonda Tombros was booked into was unable to offer her a vaginal birth she took out a loan for $10,000 to pay for a private obstetrician to avoid what she believed, was an unnecessary caesarean.
Rhonda is one of a growing number of desperate women forced to pay thousands for a private obstetrician or travelling, sometimes interstate, to find obstetricians willing to allow them to birth their breech babies vaginally.
“In my mind there was no doubt that I could birth my baby,” Rhonda said.
Although she said the consultant at the Melbourne hospital supported her decision to have a vaginal delivery she advised her that there were only three doctors comfortable in birthing breech babies vaginally at the hospital and she may not get one of them on the day.
“We had to borrow the money, but what price do you put on the integrity of your reproductive organs?” she said.
Rhonda’s daughter, Matilda, ended up being born vaginally at almost 42 weeks.
Rhonda said the whole experience was very traumatic, but she is thankful to have been able to birth her baby vaginally; the way she wanted.
Canberra mum, Claire Campton, had previously given birth vaginally to three boys, so when she found out her twin girls were breech she was confident she could birth them vaginally too.
“The obstetrician at the (public hospital) wanted to schedule a caesarean. There was absolutely no way I was going to consent to an elective caesarean. He was certainly surprised when I told him that I wouldn’t be scheduling one,” she said.
“This would be my fourth birth and I had confidence in my body to birth babies.”
When Claire asked what would happen if she arrived at the hospital in labour she was told there were only three obstetricians comfortable with vaginal breech birth and it would be the luck of the draw.
“I put on my best lawyer’s voice and asked him why I would need to undergo major surgery because the hospital did not have staff trained in breech birth. He acknowledged that there had been a de-skilling for breech births,” Claire said.
This ended up being her last appointment at the hospital and she left it in tears, feeling scared, stressed and powerless.
Determined to find someone who would support her to birth her twins vaginally, her husband called the private hospital, Calvary John James. The midwife was very encouraging and immediately started ringing around to find an obstetrician.