The Szabos of Page, Arizona are gearing up for the birth of their fourth baby. Unfortunately, with three children and a family business to run, Jeff Szabo will not be able to move into an apartment in Phoenix, 350 miles away, with his wife for the last few weeks of her pregnancy.
After the widespread blog coverage following the publishing of an article in the Lake Powell Chronicle, CNN covered the story and interviewed the Szabos for a television segment.
Time was on the side of Joy Szabo. Had Joy not begun discussing her delivery early with care providers and showed up at the hospital in labor, Page Hospital’s CEO, Sandy Haryasz, would have sought a court order to force her to have her baby surgically removed.
The article, Mom won’t be forced to have c-section, appeared today on the CNN web site. The following is an excerpt:
(CNN) — Jeff Szabo was by his wife’s side when she gave birth to their son Gabriel seven years ago, and he was right there holding Joy’s hand when their younger sons Michael and Daniel were born, too.
Jeff Szabo was there when Joy gave birth to (from left) Gabriel, Michael and Daniel, but will probably miss No. 4. Joy is now eight months pregnant, but when this baby is born, her husband will most likely be more than 300 miles away.
The reason: Their local hospital in Page, Arizona, won’t deliver the Szabos’ baby vaginally as the Szabos wish, so a week or so before her November 21 due date, Joy will drive 350 miles to be near a hospital in Phoenix that will.
Their local hospital says they’ll only deliver the Szabos’ baby, another boy, via Caesarean section. Joy had her second son, Michael, by C-section. Page Hospital says it won’t do a vaginal birth after a woman has had a C-section — known as a VBAC — because it has a higher than usual risk for complications.
So Joy plans to move to Phoenix in November, while Jeff stays in Page, in far northern Arizona, to take care of their three children and run the family computer business.
“I’m so upset about this,” Jeff says. “I’ve been there in the delivery room for all the other boys and I won’t be there for this baby, and I won’t be there for Joy.”
The Szabos and a growing number of other families are facing the choice of Mom having a surgery she doesn’t want or attempting a vaginal birth at a hospital that, in most cases, would be far away.
A mother’s choice
The Szabos’ story began in 2004 when she was in labor with Michael. Complications arose and doctors at Page Hospital feared the baby wasn’t getting enough oxygen, and so they performed an emergency Caesarean section.
“I’m grateful for that C-section,” Joy says. “It saved Michael’s life.”
Two years later, Szabo had a successful, uncomplicated vaginal delivery with son Daniel at the same hospital. She assumed she could have a vaginal birth this time too, but, she says, a month ago her doctor told her Page Hospital had changed its policy and she’d have to have a C-section.
Photo: Page Hospital (Credit)