Meet Emerald, Montana

Emerald successfully avoids a repeat C-section but develops serious postpartum complications that require her to make a two-hour drive to a hospital.

Emerald is pregnant with baby number seven and lives “out in the middle of nowhere” in Montana with her husband and children. She says that the distance to the hospital is among the major reasons why “all my friends straight up have scheduled inductions, if not scheduled C-sections.” After five normal vaginal deliveries, Emerald’s sixth birth two years ago developed an emergency complication when her baby’s umbilical cord prolapsed (descended into the birth canal in front of his head, which can result in a potential fatal loss of circulation to the baby). Emerald credits the C-section she had with saving her baby’s life. With her current pregnancy, however, Emerald wants to avoid another C-section and long recovery.

Since her hospital’s insurance doesn’t allow her hospital to offer patients a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) Emerald had to sign a document during labor, officially refusing surgery. One of her doctors, Genevieve Reid, MD is sympathetic with Emerald’s wishes. She explains how malpractice insurers drive hospital standards of care, even when physicians and patients disagree that those standards will result in the best healthcare. Emerald successfully delivers by VBAC and returns home with her newborn the day after birth. Two days later however, Emerald develops postpartum complications. The hospital closest to her home doesn’t provide maternal health care so Erin must make the two-hour drive back to the hospital where she delivered for lifesaving care.

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