Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please make a giant cut in my abdomen

[DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, duh. This is just an opinion and the "facts" here are possibly wrong. Please don't be mad at me, I'm just repeating observations.]

Sometimes the whole OB medical thing gets me a little miffed. I recently read a book discussing the history of childbirth, and I promise to look up the actual numbers and post it back later, but once men decided that women needed their help to give birth and turned childbirth from a natural procedure done with midwives and mothers and other women who had actually gone through the whole thing into a medical, sterile, "painful" procedure that needed intervention, deaths of mothers and babies actually increased (before eventually, more recently, decreasing).

O of course there are cases when medical intervention is necessary. Heck, Nate's birth was such a case - if we had not been able to get a Cesarean and were in an area where they were not safe and readily available, one or both of us likely would not have made it -- probably Nate. He got himself into a position that really wasn't going to let him come out.

What gets me upset is when women are told that their pelvises are too small. It does legitimately happen -- usually when the mom has gestational diabetes which can cause the child to grow larger and faster than normal. (Or if you have rickets, common in Victorian times because sun was the devil and women didn't get an vitamin D). Otherwise, a woman's body is an amazing thing. The hormones and chemicals that are released during childbirth actually make the pelvis malleable enough to accommodate the kid. A woman's body knows how big of a kid it can handle and adjusts accordingly. Average-sized women have given birth vaginally to 13-pound babies, so why are women with 7 or 8 pound babies being told they can't do it? It seems to be a combination of things that usually get labeled "small pelvis". From the women I've known that have been given this diagnosis, they started off with back labor, which is not so much fun (read: VERY painful). So they get an epidural. Nothing wrong with that. But then their contractions slow or since they're essentially stuck on their back, the baby's heart rate goes down (when I was in labor, I couldn't lay on my back because something about that position made Nate's heart rate decrease -- so I layed on my side or stood or walked), or any number of things happen that leads to an emergency C-section. And the poor woman is told that their pelvis is too small, but maybe the doctor just got impatient.

I chose midwives. I still gave birth in a hospital. They're certified nurse-midwives and they have a little more time for you and they've gone through labor and birth (though not always, but most are mothers) and they're not going to deny you drugs if that is what you want, but they're willing to take a little more time with you and work with you so that you're not automatically rushed off for an emergency Cesarean. Some women are so torn up (emotionally, not physically) after getting C-sections (that were unplanned) because they have feelings of inadequacy because they've been told that their bodies weren't good enough. Though I had an unplanned C-section, I certainly feel like I gave it a chance. I labored (after they administered pitocin since my water had broken 36 hours earlier) for 10 hours and made it to 10 cm dilated (without any drugs, though I was definitely considering it at that point) before my midwife discovered Nate was face-first and not going to come out vaginally. ("Normal" babies come out head first, with their chins tucked to their chests. Nate was trying to look out where he was going and trying to come out face-first with the back of his head against his back.)

And I am planning to go for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean). There is no reason for me not to. Once you have a C-section, you do get a bit of a choice, you can plan another, or try for the VBAC. My midwives told me that as long as there are no uterine problems, there are no reasons not to do the VBAC. So we'll see what happens. Not pregnant yet, so I don't really have to think about it too much. :) Everyone's different, but I don't understand women who choose to have C-sections (for their first births, I don't mean those who have one for whatever reason and then choose to have a second, that doesn't bother me at all). It's major abdominal surgery. I'd much rather have a sore cootchicoo than a giant incision in my stomach. And I didn't even have that much pain and healed really quickly! But still. Giant gash that needs staples and being told not to lift more than the weight of your baby and still having an 8-week "period" or some soreness "down there" and the same 8-week "period"? Well, it's your choice.


  1. I totally agree. I don't know why anyone would choose to be cut open when you don't need to be. Boo to unnecessary c-sections! I got jipped twice...I'm hoping that if I have a third baby, I will get to have a successful vbac delivery.

    PS you gonna have another baby soon? :)

  2. Heh, cootchicoo. Is that a medical term? No seriously, you're so right. It's like doctors have a worst case scenario perspective while midwives seem to look at pregnancy and childbirth as a very natural experience that rarely requires intervention. Yet when a situation truly does require medical intervention, they are prepared to accommodate that too. I loved the midwives at my hospital and will use them again if I have another baby.