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how do c-sections fit into a natural birth framework? - Page 12

post #221 of 260
Warm, happy, glowing heart...I am so touched by the wisdom emerging here. There are so many great things being said.

As someone who has followed this thread avidly, I want to share my sense that we're coming through something difficult & important together. Birthing ideas, like birthing babies, is big stuff. We're birthing our stories and our truths here, and it's messy and painful and joyful and triumphant. It takes courage, and I'm so proud of us for doing this work.

I've started a new thread called "humbling beginnings" that is a place to explore humility in the birthing process. It's open to anyone, c-section or otherwise. I've set what I hope is a very strong & clear intention for the thread, and I hope that it will become a respectful place for sharing stories and connecting. I invite anyone who feels that they have a story to tell to visit that thread and offer your experience if you wish. Or just visit to read others' stories.

It is so easy to see the world in terms of divisions and separations, but it seems like the idea of "humbled by birth" is a place where we can come together.

An on-line forum is such a weird blend of anonymity and intimacy....though I don't know any of you, I feel very connected and supported by the conversation that's happening here. It's something that's really been missing from my life, and I'm so incredibly grateful to find it here.

post #222 of 260
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Don't jump to conclusions. Don't assume we're traumatized. Don't assume we aren't. Don't assume our sections were unnecessary. Don't tell us what we did - or didn't - do wrong. Listen to us. Living life is about growing, learning and changing. So is the beginning of life. Don't be like the midwife a pp mentioned, and assume you have all the answers, when you weren't even there.

Women who are pro natural birth, but have had c-sections, have a perspective that doesn't fit into the Natural Childbirth box, or the "mainstream" box. Learn from us. Support us. We're in a very different space than...almost everybody else...and that rare perspective makes us valuable, imo. We don't all see things the same way. We don't all have the same perspective. That's part of why we fit into the natural childbirth community...to keep it from slipping into a really unhealthy form of groupthink.

That's my two bits. (And, hey - maybe I'm just trying to turn my own personal hell into something useful, but that's okay, too.)


that was a wonderful post!

i'm sorry i've been missing for the last day and a half, training at work plus school means no internet time.

i really want to thank everyone for their contributions. i think this discussion has been thoughtful, provoking, and inspiring all at the same time.

ci- i will definitely be posting on your thread.
post #223 of 260
umm...thank you. I think this may be the most positive reception any of my posts has ever received.

I do not have positive feelings about my sections (nor do I feel that I did my best to avoid them...maybe that's part of the problem), but that doesn't mean every other woman who's had a c/s has to see it the same way I do. I hate people trying to muzzle me. In my case - maybe because my hatred of my sections is so...blatant - I get it more from the "mainstream", but the source really doesn't matter. People need to listen.
post #224 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by _ktg_ View Post
This post/thread was to discuss where c-sections may fit into the NCB community, and how to do c-section moms fit into that community. Unfortunately this thread has taken several turns and I hope we can come back to the original topic - can it fit into the model and what can c-section moms bring to the table to benefit the community?
This question of "how do c/s moms fit into the community" just kind of rubs me the wrong way. I feel especially sad that moms like Altair who are birth professionals and c/s moms feel like they have to "renounce their NCB card" or whatever.

I mean, that is just nuts. The NCB community is about supporting and promoting a lower-intervention approach to birth. It's not (or shouldn't be!) an exclusive club where you have to pass a personal NCB 'test' to get in. A mom who has interest in NCB is necessarily part of the NCB community regardless of how her own births went.

And in terms of what c/s moms can bring to the community, well, from some of what I've heard on this thread it sounds like they could educate some of the other members of the NCB community about all of the things that could happen to ANY laboring woman that might require her to have a c/s.
post #225 of 260
I've been doing more processing about this topic and there's another thing I'm thinking about that I'd like to share.

I wouldn't say that I started my parenting journey as a natural childbirth/natural parenting advocate. I started as someone looking for a way to be fully present on the journey. Looking for mindfulness or intention in my parenting choices, to give it other words. I also started as someone who feels out of synch with a lot of "mainstream" culture (though not all...nothing's B&W here) and who really wanted information about alternatives.

The "natural" approach works for me to the extent that it increases my ability to be a present, mindful, intentional parent. And there are lots & lots of instances where that is the case. I am glad I read "Birthing from Within" because it talked about c-section in a way that gave me tools that I used. Because of that information, I knew that I could still regard my c-section as a birth, not just a surgical procedure. I knew that I could ask to hold my baby right away, I could begin bonding as soon as the surgery was over, I could encourage my partner to do skin-to-skin right away so that she could begin bonding with our daughter, I could still breastfeed, etc. That information really, really helped me.

Natural parenting resources carried me through a painful and distressing 12-week breast infection that almost ended my breastfeeding experience. But with information & support from a wonderfully gentle lactation consultant and from other mamas at a local breastfeeding clinic, I was able to get through things. I still breastfeed my 18-month old, and I do so in large part because I love the way that it allows me to connect & be present & quiet with my on-the-go toddler.

Co-sleeping was a completely foreign concept to me, but mothering magazine and the Sears book directed my partner to the idea, and with her help & support, we started co-sleeping with our daughter and continue to do so to this day. Again, I've found it to be such a wonderful way to be mindful even while asleep!

These are all choices that take me outside the "mainstream" and I'm so glad that there is a natural parenting community where I can get information, connect with others who also make these choices, etc.

The places where I get turned off by NCB are the places where IMHO it loses the focus on presence, mindfulness, and intentionality that brought me here in the first place. When I perceive that this community is getting obsessed over a vagina vs. an incision or is building a perfectionist standard that every woman must now measure herself against, frankly I don't see the difference between NCB and the mainstream.

So in addition to all the great things said by StormBride & others, I would add: C-section fits into natural childbirth framework because there's a way to do c-section with mindfulness & intention, and NCB is where those resources are.

A personal note to Galatea, just in case you come back here some day: I want to apologize personally for responding to a previous thread of yours from a place of anger. Your words tripped a cord during a vulnerable moment, and I "hit reply" when I probably should have taken a walk. That thread is now closed, and I'm sorry if I had a part in shutting it down. I learned some valuable things through that experience and I hope I've come to this thread with a different approach. I also want to thank you for the passion & persistence with which you presented your thoughts in this thread. Your firey posts created a crucible in which many of us forged our own clarity and resolve. I honestly don't think we could have done it without you.

It's 3:45 am and a gentle rain has started. I've been awakened several nights this week full of thoughts that just won't let me rest until I get them out into the world....birthing my story...
post #226 of 260
Subbing. Just went through 2nd c/s and was led to this thread. Thank you to o/p for this.
post #227 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by louis View Post
We can always take things to extremes, but that is not what I am saying here. Major surgery is not a part of a vaginal natural birth. This is a fact. I also believe that women who have c-sections have a place in the ncb community, if they recognize that c-sections are not the desirable process. Yes they can be necessary and as a ncb advocate I agree with that. But every reasonable step should be taken to avoid them.
so as long as women agree with you then they belong? utterly ridiculous. i didn't plan a c birth, but you know what? i am absolutely educated and should i elect to have another rather than try for a vbac, i do not need your condescending approval.
post #228 of 260
i have had a c birth. i don't feel as though i am in a "more natural than thou" contest. it rubs me the wrong way when people use the "natural" vs. "unnatural" argument. I sense a lot of judgment from the mdc community when it comes to birth choices, and i do notice that mamas are "forgiven" other natural family living choices more frequently than c birthing.
the fact that we are debating whether or not a c birth is natural is senseless to me. i had an ectopic prior to this birth. would "natural" have been to go ahead and die from it?
i do not need approval. that idea smacks of judgmental attitude and i resent that. i do NOT resent the birth i had. we make choices based on the tools we have at the time. i refuse to lament my lack of place within natural childbirth communities because i will not accept being defined or having a label put upon my birth. it was what it was and i don't feel the need to defend myself for that.
for women who are/were coerced into making particular choices, THAT is a problem. That is where i chose to direct my anger and hostility. towards a society/media/medical establishment that refuses to disclose information or gather fully informed consent. fight the real enemy, y'all.
post #229 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by louis
We can always take things to extremes, but that is not what I am saying here. Major surgery is not a part of a vaginal natural birth. This is a fact. I also believe that women who have c-sections have a place in the ncb community, if they recognize that c-sections are not the desirable process. Yes they can be necessary and as a ncb advocate I agree with that. But every reasonable step should be taken to avoid them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post
so as long as women agree with you then they belong? utterly ridiculous. i didn't plan a c birth, but you know what? i am absolutely educated and should i elect to have another rather than try for a vbac, i do not need your condescending approval.
Now I am confused. Louis was not saying CS's are wrong or that women who have them cannot help promote natural birth choices as much as anyone else. She did say that someone could not maintain that a CS is the ideal birth outcome and still claim to support natural childbirth, which seems self-evident to me. If somebody believed a CS was as natural and desirable as a straightforward vaginal birth, why would she even want to be involved in advocating NCB?
post #230 of 260
Mamabadger, what if a c-section birth was *more* desirable to that particular woman than a "straightforward" vaginal birth could have been?

My thinking on birth has gone through a lot of changes in the last 13 years. Once, I thought that the vast majority (practically 100%) of complications were iatrogenic and that women could avoid them by avoiding allopathic western medicine. And now I don't. I don't think there is one single right answer for all women and all births, in all circumstances. I think each woman has to consider her personal, unique circumstances and make her decisions about birth based on those circumstances. I think all women should have access to supportive, respectful care and advice in making those decisions, and in pregnancy and labor.

And that's it. I don't think NCB is better than that. I support women's right to choose NCB, but I refuse to criticize women who made a different choice, or women whose circumstances forced a different choice upon them.
post #231 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Now I am confused. Louis was not saying CS's are wrong or that women who have them cannot help promote natural birth choices as much as anyone else. She did say that someone could not maintain that a CS is the ideal birth outcome and still claim to support natural childbirth, which seems self-evident to me. If somebody believed a CS was as natural and desirable as a straightforward vaginal birth, why would she even want to be involved in advocating NCB?
I think hildare was referring to choosing a repeat c/s over a vbac, which I think is a lot different than electing to have a primary c/s.

Although honestly, I'm not a NCB advocate. I think women who desire a natural birth have the right to be respected and supported. But I also think women who don't want a natural birth have the same right. I don't think NCB is inherently "better" because there are just too many variables in birth. It's better for some women and babies, but it's not for others. It can even change from birth to birth for the same woman.

I think there's a big difference between saying "a c/s might be the most desirable choice for some women" and saying "all women should have a c/s because it's always the best." Likewise with NCB.
post #232 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Although honestly, I'm not a NCB advocate. I think women who desire a natural birth have the right to be respected and supported. But I also think women who don't want a natural birth have the same right. I don't think NCB is inherently "better" because there are just too many variables in birth. It's better for some women and babies, but it's not for others. It can even change from birth to birth for the same woman.
This is kind of how I feel. I'm much more AP advocate than NCB advocate. I had my first baby unmedicated (in hospital), plan to do the same with this one, so I'm kind of semi NCB. And if I'm talking to a woman who is considering trying a NCB I'll definitely be encouraging and talk about it. But I agree with CherryBomb, there is no universal "best" birth-- just the best birth for each woman/baby/situation, case by case.
post #233 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly1101 View Post
This is kind of how I feel. I'm much more AP advocate than NCB advocate. I had my first baby unmedicated (in hospital), plan to do the same with this one, so I'm kind of semi NCB. And if I'm talking to a woman who is considering trying a NCB I'll definitely be encouraging and talk about it. But I agree with CherryBomb, there is no universal "best" birth-- just the best birth for each woman/baby/situation, case by case.

I love that! And it is exactly how I feel about birth.
post #234 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Now I am confused. Louis was not saying CS's are wrong or that women who have them cannot help promote natural birth choices as much as anyone else. She did say that someone could not maintain that a CS is the ideal birth outcome and still claim to support natural childbirth, which seems self-evident to me. If somebody believed a CS was as natural and desirable as a straightforward vaginal birth, why would she even want to be involved in advocating NCB?
I hope this isn't too repetitive but - a CS is to me as natural and desirable as a straightforward vaginal birth when it is the (probably final and) definitive life-saving procedure that results in a healthy baby.

It is entirely possible to separate out the cascade of intervention that leads to perhaps unnecessarily high c-section rates from the c-section procedure itself.

As a reminder c-sections have been performed for a long, long time and are a part of several cultures' mythologies - it's just that usually the mother was dead or dying at the time that they were performed: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/cesarean/part1.html
post #235 of 260
Deleted - lost my train of thought...
post #236 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
As a reminder c-sections have been performed for a long, long time and are a part of several cultures' mythologies - it's just that usually the mother was dead or dying at the time that they were performed: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/cesarean/part1.html
Thanks for sharing this website...fascinating read.
post #237 of 260
Yes, the question used to be "If we can only save one, which?" Midwives/doctors could save the mother by (whited out for the sensitive - graphic) basically crushing or collapsing the skull of the fetus, and then extracting or they could save the baby by opening the abdomen.
post #238 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
If somebody believed a CS was as natural and desirable as a straightforward vaginal birth, why would she even want to be involved in advocating NCB?
Here's why I think CS can be as natural and desirable as a straightforward vaginal birth & why I am an NCB advocate and why I see no contradiction whatsoever in that stance.

Reason #1: I see NCB as a process, not an outcome. It's not just about the moment the baby emerges from the mother's body, but about everything that leads up to that moment, and everything that follows it. It's not just about what happens, it's about how it happens. It's a way of thinking about child birth. It's holistic.

The NCB that I embrace is less concerned about home vs. hospital and more concerned with dignity for all women. It's less about OB vs. Midwife vs. unassisted and more about making sure that women, not institutions, drive birthing choices. It's about making sure that women have choices--real choices--and that includes having access to education and information and the personal power to choose what's best for us. The NCB I embrace is less concerned with vagina vs. incision, and more concerned with how to create a mindful experience every step of the way, no matter what happens.

So looking at it that way, there's no reason to reject any particular type of birth as "unnatural." What's "unnatural" is to treat women like mindless idiots who need to be controlled. What's "unnatural" is to focus on the moment of baby-emerging-from-body and to decide that that's what defines the entire birthing process.

I'm NOT interested in NCB that tries to determine one perfect way to give birth and fit all women into that mold. I feel like "the mainstream" has that pretty well covered.

Reason #2: I believe that we know very little about why c-sections become "necessary." We tend to focus a lot on the "chain of interventions" and "bad hospital environment" and "knife-happy OBs", and I agree that those are important things to look at, but to me that's just the tip of the iceberg. I think there are many layers of social & economic & personal circumstances that form a unique constellation around each c-section.

In my own case, I think my choice to birth in a hospital was a factor in my c-section. So was the fact that I work full-time and had limited maternity leave, so I was working literally almost up to the moment when labor began. I think the fact that I spent 15 months trying to get pregnant before conceiving might have something to do with it, as might the fact that I was 38 years old at the time of conception & birth. There was some really stupid homophobic bullshit that directly impacted my labor. And I have bone-deep personal grief directly related to losing 2 mothers. I think that all of those factors--and potentially others--impacted my experience. I think that if I had witnessed dozens of women giving birth before my time came, if I had been surrounded by unwashed humans with a free flow of pheremones (like our cave dwelling ancestors), that would have given me a different birthing experience.

In short, I think that if I were a different person and had manifested completely different circumstances around my birthing, my c-section would not have been necessary. Does that mean I could have prevented it? I have no idea.

When we try to draw lines around which c-sections are "necessary" and which ones aren't, or which ones were "preventable" and which ones weren't, we're taking a really complex issue and oversimplifying it.

I'll leave the oversimplifications to "the mainstream." I'll also let them reduce childbirth to something that can be tamed, managed, controlled & explained in neat, tidy packages. The NCB that I embrace respects that there's a big, fat Mystery at the center of pregnancy and birth and that NOTHING is guaranteed.

That's MY NCB. If it's not THE NCB, then I have no idea where I belong in this world.
post #239 of 260
CI Mama - I think you summed everything perfectly. C/S is one potential final stage of a birthing process that has more variables than any one of us can realize. And to judge only the outcome rather than the process make NCB advocates no better than the mainstream counterparts.

In looking at my first c/s, I realize that all of the decisions I made during my pregnancy from using midwives to trying for a home birth led me to the path of a c/s. Had there been a familiar OB at the hospital who knew me and treated me instead of a tired and knife-happy one, had my MWs not pushed me into labor, had I not felt pressure from my family, had I joined the mainstream, etc.

This thread makes me yearn for a medical and NCB community that work together and respect each other for the common goals of providing the best birth choices and maternal outcomes for each individual. There is absolutely a place for both in the spectrum of pregnancy and childbirth. I just wish they were not antagonists. And of course all are not antagonists. There are plenty of OBs who respect midwives and homebirth. But the greater feeling I get from my own experiences, and I'm sure that is colored by my location and the resources available to me, is that the two parties do not get along as well as they should. And that is damaging to most importantly mothers and babies.
post #240 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

So in addition to all the great things said by StormBride & others, I would add: C-section fits into natural childbirth framework because there's a way to do c-section with mindfulness & intention, and NCB is where those resources are.
That really hits on something important for me. I just met with a midwife about my upcoming VBAC. I was transferred out of the birth center with a big headed stuck baby. Doctor listened to his heart and felt he was under stress. I agreed to the c/sec. But I had felt like such a failure, and that my midwife was a dunce...

Anyhow, the new mw listened to the story and said, "I like what I'm hearing. I think everything happened as it should have." I felt more healing in that moment than in the last 2 years combined. I still wish more than anything that DS could have been positioned better (ie not sunny side up). But I'm finding it easier to accept that it happened. And also I am thankful because I believe the c/sec saved both our lives. I know I wasn't able to push that little boy's head out.

Thanks very much for this thread. I've been really touched by everyone's stories.
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