Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cesarean Aversion

Today as I was drying off from my shower I caught sight of my c-section scar. I don't pay much attention to it's just become sort of a part of me. I was reminded of the night Sammy was born, with all the drama and miracles that surrounded it, and was filled with a sort of odd gratitude for the scar and what it meant for my sweet baby: a healthy, problem-free birth.

From time to time I talk with other moms about our birth stories. It's sort of how I picture soldiers must converse when they return from war. We all have had something happen during the extraction of our children from our wombs that makes for great story telling. Whenever I get in one of these conversations I mention, of course, that Sammy was a c-section. It's odd to see people's reactions. Most always give some sort of small condolence or shake their heads at the 'tragedy' that has become a Cesarean nowadays.

In such situations I immediately correct any feigned or sincere apologies. I remind them that Sammy would have lost his arm, and I may have died, had we not be in a hospital and privy to excellent and immediate medical attention. Sammy came out happy and healthy...that was the only part of any sort of 'birth plan' I was adamant about.

I think it's odd we have become a society where things like c-sections and 'medical intervention' have become taboo when it comes to child birth. I am so grateful for my midwife who recognized immediately Sammy was presenting arm-first and for a doctor who was able to get him out within 10 minutes of this discovery. Had I opted for no 'intervention' the outcome would have been much much worse.

C-sections may not be the ideal way to pull a baby out of his or her aquatic habitat but if it saves a life, or two, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. There should be no stigma attached, and no apologies given, to a birth that happens surgically rather than vaginally. I feel sometimes like we're losing focus on what is the essential part of a birth; getting a baby out of the mother in a healthy and logical way. If you want to sit on a ball and sing sea-chanties so be it, but don't begrudge me of my 'intervention' birth...I am so eternally grateful I was in a hospital when Sammy was born and that the medical team around me was able to make educated and thoughtful decisions on behalf of me and my family.

I read a quote in my birth book (written BTW by a CNM). She said, "Remember no matter how it's done you are still 'giving birth'". C-sections save lives and should not be marginalized...especially by those who have never had to hear those life changing words "we have an emergency here...we need to rush you into surgery".

***In case you didn't catch the post on Sammy's birth here's the second half here.


  1. "Amen!" I've had 2 c-sections. The first after 32 hours of labor (15 without drugs). I've always felt grateful that a c-section was an option and never felt cheated.

    I recently heard someone refer to a c-section as "birth rape" and how they had an extremely difficult time attaching to the child that came (she blamed it on the fact that she didn't have a normal delivery). It was odd to read about, but talking to some people about my c-sections you could tell they pretty much had the same opinion. Even my great grandmother told us that it wasn't natural and shook her head in disbelief that I had had one (even after she was told one or 2 of her other grandchildren and their mother would not have been there if it wasn't for this miracle procedure). The further I have moved from areas that are concentrated with pregnant women (more specifically with 1st time pregnancies) the less I feel looked down on...just something I have noticed.

    Sorry for my novel, just some of my thoughts!

  2. Michelle I had never heard that the before that's awful.

  3. I think the deciding difference here would be if you mentioned whether or not your midwife was comfortable birthing a baby who was arm first.
    My sister came out like that to an obgyn and her shoulder was dislocated but 19 years later she is fine.
    I am defenitely not trying to marginalize your birth experience and if you are satisfied with it then the important part was done. But at the same time you cannot marginalize women who have had forced or unnecessary cesarians that have created more complications than they prevented. A lot of women who claim their own birth rape usually cite feelings of helplessness, disrespect and disregard. Their providers didn't go over possibilities and ask the woman how she would prefer they proceed for dome situations so their options were taken away and they were never asked.
    In that case a woman could say, I dint care as long as the baby comes out healthy and safe. Then the Dr. Would go for c section no problem and he had moms consent. Or mom could say, I want the opportunity to birth natural and I know statistics and possible outcomes. Here's my choice. And the Dr. Honors that because that's what she wants.

    The problem I see is that a. We don't respect other peoples experiences enough. And b. Dr.s and hospitals don't give correct true info to a woman to make the choice that is right for her and her baby. I don't know, maybe the rate if infant mortality is higher for c sections than arm first. I'm on a phone and can't look it up. But I'd say for myself, if the dr was just inexperienced with arm first but the rate of possible injury were lower,I'd go vag in a heartbeat.

    Okay, this seems long so I will quit here. I'm glad your proud of your choice, but a lot of women get bullied into theirs and that can leave deep emotional scars that take a long time to heal. So try not to take others judgement to seriously, they are just projecting their own stuff onto you.

  4. Thank you for your comments.

    I think the reason women are left with 'emotional scars' after a c-section is exactly what I'm talking about here. There should be no stigma attached to having a c-section. If a woman feels guilty about it then I would think she has been misinformed and pressured into somehow believing there is a right and a wrong way to have a baby. If the baby comes out and is HEALTHY there is nothing wrong with the way the birth happened. Remember...legally, ethically, morally and professionally a doctor's first and forever priority is keeping people healthy.

    I wasn't willing to play Russian Roulette with my son's health. I wasn't willing to have a power struggle with a trained medical professional in a time of intense emergency. We're all happy. I've known people born arm first who have has serious nerve damage. It wasn't worth it to me to hold on to some dogma or ideal in a moment when logic needed to take precedent over everything else.

    I would have loved to have had another vaginal birth like my first one. I would have loved to have had immediate contact with my boy and not have to go through the recovery of major abdominal surgery. But my son is healthy, I'm fine and I have absolutely no regrets.

    There is no right way to have a baby. Women should not be made to feel guilty over any way they choose to have a baby as long as the health of the baby is the number one concern. I'm not for "having a great experience" when it comes to giving birth...I'm for bringing a child into the world through the most logical and safest methods possible.