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vent--sick of birth "know it alls"

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
i was at a brunch this morning where a mama was gushing about her healing VBAC...which was fine, i was happy for her to have a healing birth after traumatic birth!

but when she found out i had had a c-section, she was all, "oh, you know, don't give up on having a vaginal birth, it is so different/better/great! you can do it! it will be so healing and wonderful!"...when she had no idea i actually CAN'T do it and will never do it because i medically need a scheduled c-section.

so i guess this means i can't be healed, huh? i'm unfixable? *irked*

okay, so fine, she didn't know my medical situation. foot in mouth. etc.

well, then we were talking about pushing...and she said, "oh, those people who have to push for 5 hours, it's because they started pushing 4 hours too soon because someone made them!"

um, yeah. i was one of those 4 hours long pushers, TYVM. and no one "made" me push. and she still didn't come out.

later on in the conversation, she asked why i had my c/s, and i told her i pushed for 4 hours...she didn't seem embarrassed, and didn't even seem to connect it with her previous comment.

i'm just so over being told what i did wrong from the almighty birth gurus. i didn't do anything wrong. i did everything "right." i had a perfect birth plan, i was prepared, i was uber-educated about birth, i seriously knew my stuff!, i got to the hospital at 10 cm, i had a supportive team and a doula and a DH who was great that day.

sometimes life just sucks, and there is no "reason" for it. sometimes you give your all, and it's not enough. sometimes you try your best, and you fail anyway--and it doesn't mean a thing about you.

why do people like this woman think they can plan/birth their way out of everything? there are TRUE curve balls in life that no one prepares you for. to think you can triumph over any adversity and get the birth you want because you are oh-so-prepared...it's just ARROGANT. there are complications, there is birth loss, there are so many ways birth can go wrong. to think you can will yourself free of those risks, it's just complete madness!
post #2 of 43
Oh dear God I hear you! My favorite are those who believe if you just do hypnobabies/meditate/are zen/do LOA. and blah blah blah everything would have been fine. See traumatic birth is all in the mom's head because it is all about mind control

Sorry to hijack. I'm sorry about your experience.
post #3 of 43
I totally understand where you're coming from

but I also understand where she's coming from...

That makes me crazy right?

Yes, you are right. You can do everything 'right' - be educated, prepare, visualise, advocate etc etc. and still end up with a horribly traumatic birth. (or do everything 'wrong' and luck out with an amazing birth)

But the idea that it's a total crap-shoot scares the life out of people - that's why they convince themselves that if they do X y or z they can avoid the trauma. If they've already had a traumatic birth they might think about what they could do differently this time around, and then try to get themselves to believe that doing that will make it alright this time. (I'm already doing this - not even TTC yet, but moving country to a more HB friendly country in case!)

While doing XYZ may reduce your chances of a traumatic birth, that's statistics. No consolation when you're one of the few who get whacked with the nasty end anyway.

This is what I'm now working on trying to accept. But it's not easy. Much easier to tell myself I *must* have done *something* wrong last time, try to figure out what it was and then do it differently next time. And if it works and I have a non-traumatic birth, well there's the temptation to self-congratulate. "I did it, and it was all because I drank quarts of RRL/took EPO/had sex/didn't have sex/went to the hospital/stayed home/ate green cheese..." or whatever combination of things you do (with or without evidence) to try to improve your chances of a good outcome. The next step is the temptation to believe that other women who have suffered trauma have done so because they didn't do those things that you did, that worked for you.

It would be easier and better if we could say of our non-traumatic births "I did it. I worked hard, prepared well and was plain old lucky.'' and of our traumatic births "I did it. I worked hard, prepared well and was plain old unlucky." That way, by realising the crucial role that luck plays in birth, we can give ourselves credit for doing the 'right' things, but take away the guilt of blaming either ourselves or others for the trauma we/they have suffered.

But it's hard to admit that we're not in total control...

Anyway, I'm sorry for your trauma
post #4 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
i'm just so over being told what i did wrong from the almighty birth gurus. i didn't do anything wrong. i did everything "right." i had a perfect birth plan, i was prepared, i was uber-educated about birth, i seriously knew my stuff!, i got to the hospital at 10 cm, i had a supportive team and a doula and a DH who was great that day.

sometimes life just sucks, and there is no "reason" for it. sometimes you give your all, and it's not enough. sometimes you try your best, and you fail anyway--and it doesn't mean a thing about you.
I hear you. It's hard because 99.9% of the time, someone saying that kind of thing is just trying to be positive/helpful/encouraging. But for someone who had a different experience and *knows* it doesn't always work if you just do things "right," it can be so frustrating to hear it over and over again.

magstphil's example is a good one - that sometimes, mind over matter isn't going to cut it if we're talking, say, traumatically painful birth. I don't like it when that sort of argument is overused or overgeneralized because it inherently places the blame for a rough birth on the mother - a la if you'd only done this or that, you would have been fine.

I'm all about having an inherent knowledge and understanding that most of the time, birth goes well and does best when uninterfered with. That said, nature is imperfect. We aren't perfectly designed to give birth. We can do it proficiently most of the time; however, it's an imperfect system and the result is injury and/or death. Anyone who thinks you can avoid those nearly all of the time just by doing things "right" is deluding themselves.

One of my personal pet peeves is being told that I would have had a pushing urge if I'd just waited long enough. What, 7+ hours plus 30 min of pushing isn't enough time to be sure that that pushing urge isn't coming, despite being fully dilated? I should have just kept waiting? I find it especially silly in the context of my second birth, where I did experience a pushing urge - and it was completely different from not having one.

Sometimes generalizations are helpful. Sometimes people are just trying to educate and get the word out because something better happened for them when they learned something. It can be hard to hear it sometimes, though, when we know it isn't (or hasn't been) true for us.
post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post
It would be easier and better if we could say of our non-traumatic births "I did it. I worked hard, prepared well and was plain old lucky.'' and of our traumatic births "I did it. I worked hard, prepared well and was plain old unlucky." That way, by realising the crucial role that luck plays in birth, we can give ourselves credit for doing the 'right' things, but take away the guilt of blaming either ourselves or others for the trauma we/they have suffered.
Sorry about the multiple posts, but we were posting at the same time and I wanted to quote this.

This is really how I feel about it. I've been through it all (the "what might I have done differently" questions) so many times, and I feel like particularly with how my births went, it has just been a matter of luck more than anything. It really is a scary thing to look at for a subsequent birth, because you have to accept that it's out of your control, and you can do all the good stuff and still have an awful birth. I think I've come to accept that, and if we didn't want any more children it would be pretty easy to walk away feeling like that was that. But since we want more children, it means confronting birth again, and that, as I said, is a thought that makes me more than uneasy.
post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post
It would be easier and better if we could say of our non-traumatic births "I did it. I worked hard, prepared well and was plain old lucky.'' and of our traumatic births "I did it. I worked hard, prepared well and was plain old unlucky." That way, by realising the crucial role that luck plays in birth, we can give ourselves credit for doing the 'right' things, but take away the guilt of blaming either ourselves or others for the trauma we/they have suffered.
i completely agree with this! there is a LOT of luck involved with birth (and with breastfeeding, and with--everything, really!), and it seems like for the most part the only women who really know this are those who've gotten the crap end of the luck stick!
post #7 of 43
I wonder though... I think a lot of the cesareans in america (no, not all! there's certainly a need for cesareans and are just a matter of a crap shoot) are based in iatrogenic effects, etc. So really, it's not so untrue for *most* of the people she talks to that it's worth trying again and seeing it differently and informing yourself. OBviously, this is NOT the case for some percentage (maybe like half of american cesareans?) and for those people, like you, it's gotta be extremely frustrating!

So is it better for her point out to the masses who *didn't* bother to think about and plan that there are things they can do to minimize their chances and occasionally offend someone who *did* do their part? or is it better for her to just not say anything ever? I think this is a difficult choice, because there are women out there who don't know they could have tried different things and it might really make a difference in their next outcome, but the flip side is that it will offend or upset those who had prepared and still had a traumatic experience (and some of those who didn't).

I'm so sorry that she offended you, but I do think it's a difficult question because of the lack of information out there for the mainstream beyond "ask your doctor" and "your doctor knows everything" yk?
post #8 of 43
Her info might have been right and she might have had the right intentions, but she was being proactively judgmental by not learning about you first. A person who truly cared would take the time to get to know you. And a person who was just making conversation would have kept it impersonal (e.g. Oh, c-secs are so common nowadays, has anyone seen the BOBB?).
Quote:
well, then we were talking about pushing...and she said, "oh, those people who have to push for 5 hours, it's because they started pushing 4 hours too soon because someone made them!"
Well she can take her advice and put it where the sun don't shine. I labored for 2.5 days before I started pushing lol.

She is right on the "because someone made them" I would have had an emergency c-sec except that a very caring underground MW chose to help us out w/ progression of labor and malposition.

All I heard for 9 months was how to "breathe the baby down" and "your body will push for you" and "don't start pushing or you'll get a lip"

Are you kidding me? I pushed so hard my thighs changed their size. I pushed until I thought I was going to pass out.
post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
So is it better for her point out to the masses who *didn't* bother to think about and plan that there are things they can do to minimize their chances and occasionally offend someone who *did* do their part? or is it better for her to just not say anything ever? I think this is a difficult choice, because there are women out there who don't know they could have tried different things and it might really make a difference in their next outcome, but the flip side is that it will offend or upset those who had prepared and still had a traumatic experience (and some of those who didn't).

I think you have to err on the side of "Thanks for sharing the information." But then it's still ok to come back here and vent about how unhelpful it is for you *personally.* That's what we're here for, right?
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romana9+2 View Post
I think you have to err on the side of "Thanks for sharing the information." But then it's still ok to come back here and vent about how unhelpful it is for you *personally.* That's what we're here for, right?
Yeah, no, I get that, but it really was a serious question...
post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post

So is it better for her point out to the masses who *didn't* bother to think about and plan that there are things they can do to minimize their chances and occasionally offend someone who *did* do their part? or is it better for her to just not say anything ever? I think this is a difficult choice, because there are women out there who don't know they could have tried different things and it might really make a difference in their next outcome, but the flip side is that it will offend or upset those who had prepared and still had a traumatic experience (and some of those who didn't).
i think it's better for her to try to figure out whether i'm "the masses" or not before she starts spewing her info, kwim? the fact is, i'd bet money (if i had any ) that i know at least as much about natural birth as she does. it just didn't happen for me.

maybe i'm overly sensitive about this kind of thing...but i really try to meet people where they are. like if someone is saying BFing isn't working for her, i don't just assume she is uneducated about it and start in on the basic stuff. i ask questions, "so how often are you nursing? did you see an LC? and what did she say?"

and i go from there. this woman asked me NOTHING, just started prattling on about the joys of VBACing, never stopping to wonder if my situation fit hers and if she was really in a position to mentor to me.

as an analogy--sure, when i'm with other hard core breastfeeding mamas, i might flippantly throw around the "these women give up so easily when all you have to do is just nurse the baby 567 times a day & you'll make enough milk" generalizations--but i surely know those aren't entirely true. and i don't really mean them per se--they're just shorthand, in the same way that "c-sections are so unnecessary; bodies are made to birth" is a shorthand way of describing something about birth.

i don't really expect people never to say that, but it would be nice if they were mindful about whom they said it TO.

it's kind of like when i hear people spouting off "i didn't have kids so i could put them in daycare and have them raised by other people"--without considering that i might have a kid in daycare. it's just tactless, like stereotyping southerners when you don't know whether you're talking to one (this also happens to me because i'm southern but don't really sound like it).

i hope this makes some kind of sense!
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
why do people like this woman think they can plan/birth their way out of everything? there are TRUE curve balls in life that no one prepares you for. to think you can triumph over any adversity and get the birth you want because you are oh-so-prepared...it's just ARROGANT. there are complications, there is birth loss, there are so many ways birth can go wrong. to think you can will yourself free of those risks, it's just complete madness!
Maybe because it's so rare? I am a natural birth junkie and a breastfeeding educator in training (and actively offer advice for free until I get the official "CLE" behind my name). I took a while to learn about reasons why women have sections or don't/discontinue breastfeeding and learn to accept them. But I still know the rarity of true necessity for these things and am ALWAYS pessimistic when a woman says she HAD to have a section, COULDN'T bf, etc., the only difference is that now I am more inquiring about their reasons and if I cannot do so, I remind myself there ARE times when those things are necessary, rare as it may be.

If I had been in that woman's shoes, and didn't get a response beyond your statement about pushing for 4 hours, I would likely say (if I felt it was okay) something along the lines of MOST women who have sections simply bc of their length of pushing either didn't need them or could have (often quite easily) avoided them. BUT that some women just can't do it and, it may be rare, but having the ability to perform sections is AMAZING for those few, and their babes.

But I'll be the first to tell you, I didn't used to be nearly as open to the possibility of something being truly necessary. It just took time for me to figure it out and work better on choosing my words. Passion can blind people, no matter how well intending they are.
post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeep View Post

If I had been in that woman's shoes, and didn't get a response beyond your statement about pushing for 4 hours, I would likely say (if I felt it was okay) something along the lines of MOST women who have sections simply bc of their length of pushing either didn't need them or could have (often quite easily) avoided them.
i mean this in the nicest way possible...but if you said that to me, i might just punch you

it is probably IMPOSSIBLE to completely determine if most women who had them ever truly needed their c/s, or if it could have been avoided if they had done x, y, or z differently. you simply can't (usually) show that a woman who had a c-section would have definitely needed it if she had, say, practiced optimal fetal positioning more, or gone to a chiropractor, or not had an epidural, or not been induced, or done hypnobabies, or had a homebirth, or had a UC...you just can't know, because you can't take the same birth and "play" it two ways--believe me, in my head i've tried to play my birth 1,000 different ways, but it's all conjecture

(i guess the only things i can think of for which you really need a c/s (that was probably basically unpreventable) are complete previa and abruption.)

believe me, i used to barrage myself with questions about whether i could've avoided a c-section if i'd had a midwife (which i couldn't have in the hospital), or if i couldn't push her out because of something psychological, or what if i'd had a homebirth, blah blah blah. but i had a natural labor, non-induced, and everything went great except for pushing. i don't know what more i could have done.

and in the end, it doesn't matter. she didn't come out vaginally. and knowing why won't do a damn thing for me anyway because it's not like i can safely VBAC (another thing i don't like to hear about how i can do, when i can't). now, i don't expect the stranger on the street to KNOW these complexities about my life...but please, at least be aware there are people who had a c/s, can't safely VBAC, and don't want to hear that their c/s could've been prevented--because it doesn't matter and it doesn't help, and it might not even be true.
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
in the end, it doesn't matter. she didn't come out vaginally. and knowing why won't do a damn thing for me anyway because it's not like i can safely VBAC (another thing i don't like to hear about how i can do, when i can't). now, i don't expect the stranger on the street to KNOW these complexities about my life...but please, at least be aware there are people who had a c/s, can't safely VBAC, and don't want to hear that their c/s could've been prevented--because it doesn't matter and it doesn't help, and it might not even be true.
I can hear how much emotion/passion you have about this. And I'm sorry that your birth didn't go the way you had hoped and planned for. I would have felt exactly like you do if I had had that experience.

What I'm trying to figure out is how to avoid replaying this situation (topic of birth comes up, some have c-sections and some have vaginal births, discussion of VBACs, and you get offended/hurt/mad). Because I think many in the natural birth community honestly believe that the medical community scares women into believing that VBACs aren't safe. So when you say you aren't able to have one, many women won't believe that is actually the case. They are really coming from a position of trying to help you, not sheer bragging - though it may or may not come across that way.

I consider myself very educated on natural birth too. And other than the old style of incision (which I was under the impression wasn't done anymore), I am not clear on what would prohibit a woman from having a VBAC - that could be known prior to the pregnancy (like complete previa or abruption that you mentioned).

I think if you want to make people more sensitive to true reasons that VBACS aren't possible for some women, you could share those reasons. I think birth is a big topic for many women, and I'd assume women who have VBACs are very excited to share that info in the hopes of helping others. I don't know what that woman did wrong - given the information she has. I'm honestly interested in knowing more about why VBACS are impossible for some women, so I don't offend anyone in discussing it. I try to be thoughtful in birth discussions, but I can't work around info I don't know.
post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
Because I think many in the natural birth community honestly believe that the medical community scares women into believing that VBACs aren't safe. So when you say you aren't able to have one, many women won't believe that is actually the case. They are really coming from a position of trying to help you, not sheer bragging - though it may or may not come across that way.

I consider myself very educated on natural birth too. And other than the old style of incision (which I was under the impression wasn't done anymore), I am not clear on what would prohibit a woman from having a VBAC - that could be known prior to the pregnancy (like complete previa or abruption that you mentioned).

I think if you want to make people more sensitive to true reasons that VBACS aren't possible for some women, you could share those reasons. I think birth is a big topic for many women, and I'd assume women who have VBACs are very excited to share that info in the hopes of helping others. I don't know what that woman did wrong - given the information she has. I'm honestly interested in knowing more about why VBACS are impossible for some women, so I don't offend anyone in discussing it. I try to be thoughtful in birth discussions, but I can't work around info I don't know.
i totally get this. it's like how when a woman says "i couldn't BF because i didn't make enough milk" we tend to go (out loud or inside), "ooohh. lots of times women THINK they don't make enough milk because they're told to nurse on a schedule or to supplement, etc., etc."

but sometimes the woman actually doesn't make enough milk! and so it's best IMO to approach people who say this as if they are correct. to do otherwise is to suggest you know more about them than they know. after talking to them for a few minutes, you may well determine that they nursed on a schedule...and you can address it then. but you may also determine they were BFARing or had IGT. just get to know the woman before spewing forth info that may or may not be relevant. i guess that's all i'm advocating.

anyway, as to your question about why i can't VBAC, i had prior abdominal surgery that meant that, when i did need a c-section, it took over an hour to even get into my uterus (due to LOTS of adhesions and organs being shifted around), and my daughter was born with meconium aspiration and a heart rate of 20. since i can't have an emergency c-section, it is really not safe for me to have a vaginal birth that could end up requiring an emergent c-section. couple that with the fact i have a classical type incision (because my OB couldn't go in low-transverse), and you have a very bad scenario for a VBAC. thus i will be a RCS.

obviously this is such an exception. i am not asking you to seriously consider that every woman you meet has this medical history--almost no one you will meet actually does.

i'm just saying, please be cognizant that not everyone you meet who says she needed a c-section, or can't VBAC, is misinformed.



ETA: about the classical incision not being done anymore...it is still done, along with T incisions and J incisions, often when the baby is presenting such that the doctor can only get at it this way. in my case this was due to scar tissue over the lower part of my uterus. in the case of other women, for example moms of preemies, their lower uterine segments are too small to cut and remove the baby from, so a classical or T or J type incision is used.
post #16 of 43
ITA, Angela.

You know after I had Olive and had such a horrible experience my motives changed from trying to educate people to just trying to be a mutual mom and be supportive. So when the majority of women I know go off about how they *had* to get an epidural and I want to talk about how dangerous they are and how they really aren't needed I instead say to myself "you know maybe they did need one. Maybe their birth would have been traumatic like mine without one" and you know that's probably the truth for these women.
post #17 of 43
i stumbled upon this thread and i just want to say:
readytobedone - you are amazing. even here you have to defend the unlucky truths of your situation and you do it with grace, poise, and humor.
i have a dear friend who has survived stage four metastatic breast cancer and a stem sell transplant. we toasted to ten years since her first diagnosis and with her glass in the air, she had this to say: "everyone constantly tells you how strong you are. everything is about fighting the cancer and braving it away and courage. but you know what? nobody ever talks about how all the people who die from cancer are weak, and didn't try hard enough. because you know what? they are just as strong as me."
and a toast for you, too, mama: here's to the lucky heart, and the unlucky heart, and may real true empathy grow in each, the way it has in yours.
post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aileen View Post
i stumbled upon this thread and i just want to say:
readytobedone - you are amazing. even here you have to defend the unlucky truths of your situation and you do it with grace, poise, and humor.
i have a dear friend who has survived stage four metastatic breast cancer and a stem sell transplant. we toasted to ten years since her first diagnosis and with her glass in the air, she had this to say: "everyone constantly tells you how strong you are. everything is about fighting the cancer and braving it away and courage. but you know what? nobody ever talks about how all the people who die from cancer are weak, and didn't try hard enough. because you know what? they are just as strong as me."
and a toast for you, too, mama: here's to the lucky heart, and the unlucky heart, and may real true empathy grow in each, the way it has in yours.


you aren't allowed to make me cry on my rant thread! :

such kind words, thank you so much for them. i'm going to C&P this into a document on my computer so i can read it whenever i need to remember this.

and it means all the more coming from you, aileen, because i've read the wonderful wonderful beautiful things you've written on the CLW board about nursing an older child, and aspired to be like you should i ever make it that far in my nursing relationship

post #19 of 43
When you have had a vbac, you have the strong desire to try to empower other women to have them too. I pushed for 4.5 hrs and my baby was stuck. He looked like a cone head after he was born. He ended up being born by csect. I was informed to never try a vaginal birth again and that my hips were too narrow and so on. The huge difference between your labor and mine though is, I was induced early. Early induction can and often does, cause these problems. You said you were 10cm when you got to the hospital so I am assuming you were not induced. I went on to vbac. I simply did not allow early induction and all was fine. I had to hunt all over the place for a different doctor as everyone just kept agreeing with the first doctor.

I admit to being zealous about telling all about the vbac information and so on. I just know how important it was to me and that most women get told never, they just cannot do it and most of the time, with proper management, they can. I will say though, everything you did the first time around was right and exactly what I needed to do to have a successful vbac so I have no clue what you would change. I had 1 friend who could not have anything but csects because of a bone thing she had. I had another friend whose birth was so traumatic, she never wanted to labor again so she did not want a vbac. I would never push my vbac stories or information on those people. I started to tell the 2nd friend I listed why she can vbac when she was saying how much she wanted a repeat csect. But she finally just told me that she did not want a vbac. Then I laid off. I think it is her body, her choice, not mine. I respect that.

Did you tell this lady to please lay off and you did not want to hear it? I would have laid off if you said to me. Reading your post though, I think I will try to be a lot more sensitive in the future. I am very sorry you were hurt. I hope she did not intend to be hurtful and thought she was helping. I know that is how I feel when I talk about vbacs. I am sorry for all you went through. If you ever are with this woman again and she starts, try just telling her that you do not want to discuss it. If she does not lay off, then she really is not someone you want to be with. (((((hugs)))))
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
sometimes life just sucks, and there is no "reason" for it. sometimes you give your all, and it's not enough. sometimes you try your best, and you fail anyway--and it doesn't mean a thing about you.
hugs mama! I wanted to quote what you said above. I hate that just because you had a c-section it is viewed as a failure. I hope you dont see it that way. Just because it didnt go as planned or expected didnt make that a failure. You just had to use plan B, thats all. You are succeeded, you had a healthy baby!
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