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Is the baby ALL that really matters? - Page 3

post #41 of 80
If my body believed that my babies had died (both c/s deliveries), why would I still produce milk? I successfully b/f both my kids, and I certainly don't think we ended up with any bonding/attachment issues, despite my emotional problems with the births themselves.
post #42 of 80
i asked my midwife after the birth was over about my body knowing or not knowing whether coral had died... she told me there would have been no difference in the way her birth went. i realize that i did go into labor on my own, and after her birth, i physiologically was postpartum... milk came down, uterus firmed and dropped down, just as if my baby was alive. i really don't know much about the body thinking the baby has died after a c-section, but my body didn't have a sense that coral was gone... that's one of the difficult parts of stillbirth- many mother's go through 'normal' postpartum functions, yet no baby.
and i just wanted to add that my hypnobirthing breathing and relaxation stayed in affect throughout her entire birth- i believe that i was able to give her a calm, smooth, loving transition into her death just as i would have if she was born alive.
post #43 of 80
Coralsmom.
You sound like an incredibly strong woman.
post #44 of 80
It's pretty simple, really -- the presence of the baby is not the only factor in what the mother's body does after birth. Ideally the mother survives after there is a stillbirth, so the body by itself usually takes care of preventing hemorrhage, for example (and I assume that the same hormones that protect the mother's life are tied in with milk production.) But not always, which is why it's important to have the baby close to mother if possible, facilitating more hormone production as insurance. All bodies are not created equal. Some can function well under adverse circumstances that would disable and damage others. Not knowing who is going to be who, though, as a general rule it makes sense to give babies and mothers as much of a chance at normality as possible, and that means not interfering with the hormonal process.

So you (not speaking to anyone in particular, here,) took the technocratic route and you feel very good about it and feel that it has not adversely affecting your health or the mother-child relationship. That doesn't mean that the importance of protecting the hormonal process of recovery and becoming a mother is a myth; it means either that you were lucky and that your body is especially resilient, or, that your belief system pulled you through (mind over matter,) or, that not having experienced normal birth and bonding you really have no inner understanding of what other people mean by "normal" because you haven't experienced it.
post #45 of 80
fourlittlebirds, I find that last paragraph so condescending.

first you are not going to convince me that I had unnatural bonding with my children, or for the millions of other women who have had non-all natural vaginal births or cesareans.

Also, let me just say that I think some of the things done in the "natural birthing community" is not "normal", and not always so natural and pure. In the big scheme of things, is it really all that different if a woman at home takes herbs to induce labor vs going a medical route at a hospital -- like the use of cervidil? Or how about women who drink alcohol in labor, is it all that different than the woman who takes demerol? No, not really. And I am not of the belief, nor will I be convinced that UC is "normal" in the realm of womanhood and birth because historically women have been supported and attended to by women in childbirth (and for good reason) I think to taunts ones way as the only normal way to give birth is a way to say "My experience is superior to your experience as a woman" and frankly I am not buying it -- I haven't bought into that with religion, and I won't be for birth either.

Another thing, some of us didn't choose the route we gave birth -- it was dealt to us. I didn't choose to have a deformed uterus -- nor did the thousands of other women who have mullerian anomalies that have had cesarean sections. The only "normal" way these women have to birth, is through cesarean.
post #46 of 80
Why is it condescending? This is academic, not personal. Let me try to put it another way.

In this country we have a large percentage of women who have never experienced a normal hormonal process and the benefits that are specific to it, and (as the OP asserts) they have decided that because they are happy with how things worked out for them, that those "supposed" benefits (from their perspective) are really not that big a deal, if they exist at all. Which is an assumption, not a logical truth. My point was, first, that there are many reasons a mom and baby might come out of an unnatural birth "fine" --we have back-up systems that work, more or less, for many people. And second, if you haven't experienced something, how can you judge its worth to others?

I do not need or want to convince you that your bonding experience was any particular thing at all. That's not my concern. My concern is that society in general is dismissive and antagonistic toward the idea that the circumstances surrounding birth can have an affect on the health (mental, emotional, physical) of both mother and baby, so that people who make choices that are not purely mechanistic are accused of being selfish and naive, and are bullied and harassed into denying their instincts and common sense because "all that matters is getting a live baby." I can tell you from personal experience that it's not all that matters; my ability to bond, mother, and care for my baby was directly affected by the circumstances surrounding my births. That isn't a judgement of you; it just simply is a fact for me and for many others.

Just so there isn't any question about it: I'm not judging anyone for having a cesarean birth. That's not what this is about, at all. In any case, I know that sometimes we don't have a choice, if we want a live baby (although why that disclaimer should be necessary I don't know; we all know it.)

I totally agree with you that not all that happens in the name of "natural birth" is natural.

And last, I don't understand what the point is of bringing a critique of UC into this. The subject of the thread is whether the mother's experience of birth matters or not, not whether UC is normal or not.
post #47 of 80
fourlittlebirds,

I think I agree with everything you're saying about dismissing birth experiences in their entirety... Not good.

Doesn't meant that they can't be "overcome," maybe even "easily" for some women and babies.

But we shouldn't just dismiss them.

I had this conversation w/my SIL the other day, about her best friend, who wanted a VBAC. (First C-sec seemed to be for abrupted placenta. Although... I don't know).

SIL: Well, her doctor said he'd do VBAC, but her hospital said no. She's disappointed.
Me: Oh, that's too bad.
SIL: Well, I told her that natural birth isn't all it's cracked up to be!
Me: : Um, didn't you have epidurals?
SIL: Yeah.
Me: So, uh... When you say "natural," you mean vaginal?
SIL: Yeah. And let me tell you, I was still sore for weeks afterward!
Me: Well... you had episiotomies with both of them, right?
SIL: They *had* to do them. The babies didn't come out fast enough!
Me: (Thinking: Um, okay... But you've never had a C-sec, right? So you might not think she's missing much by not having a V-birth, but you can't really compare, can you? She might happily trade with you, if she could!)

But no, it's all "six of one, half a dozen of the other."

No, it's not. You might "end up fine," which is great. And I'm talking about odds, not certainties.

But let's not minimize birth experiences like they're all the same.
post #48 of 80
I think that statement is offensive and reduces women to birthing machines.
post #49 of 80
Quote:
I think that statement is offensive and reduces women to birthing machines.
It seems to me that it's the modern American (and probably in some other industrialized nations too) birth practices that reduce the female body to a machine...and a defective one at that. I found Floyd's Birth as an American Right of Passage to be quite illuminating.
post #50 of 80
A previous poster was asking about studies that look at the affect of hormones in labor and birth on the ability to mother (including the ability to breastfeed) and bond. Here is an article that looks at some of these studies:

http://www.michelodent.com/news.php?id=14
post #51 of 80
(edited to say what i really meant to say)

{{{great big hugs for coralsmom}}} your attitude about your birth and your baby has touched my heart in so many ways. isn't it amazing how the human mind and body can both grieve and celebrate on so many different levels?

OnTheFence: i think you're doing a great job of birthing babies. it's one thing to have an unexpected cesarean that takes one by surprise, it's another to have a uterine deformity necessitating cesarean and have the courage to say "ah, so this is how it will be. bring it on."

regardless of how prepared and educated i was for childbirth, regardless of how i had 2 doulas attending me, regardless of how long i labored naturally with no interventions, regardless of how many different laboring positions i went through ... i had a cesarean. going into it - signing the papers, being wheeled down the hall, getting the spinal, all that stuff - i was already deeply, deeply in mourning. even my OB knew i was grieving the loss of "my birth" and she hugged me tight as i made the decision. looking back the day after, i knew there was no alternative (Willow had a very short cord wrapped twice around her neck, she "yo-yo'd" the whole time and never dropped past -3) and i knew i could make my peace with that, someday. but at the time it was happening, i could only zoom through my thoughts "what did i miss, what did i do wrong, what's wrong with my body?!" in pure panic and fear. i have become grateful for the labor, every second of it, i loved "dancing" with my daughter through each surge.

PTSD is a very real demon and should never be minimized or dismissed. Willow is 7 months old now, and i still have frequent nightmares about c-birth stuff ... nightmares about the operating room, of the bright light, the echoing voices, the cold air, the metallic noises ... about how the spinal went wrong and i was completely numb and paralyzed, ... about how i'm all alone in the OR and laid out in that horrible "crucifixion" pose, strapped down ... and the worst for me: nightmares where i wake up and Willow's been taken from my arms while we were both asleep, i scream her name but i can't move, but then i *really* wake up and she's right there, soundly asleep in my arms (i'm glad i don't scream my way out of bad dreams and disturb her!).

there ARE bonding issues for me, and i DO blame it on the c-birth, rightly or wrongly. sure, i'll tell you that i value my scar as my "other birth canal" and i plan to get a spiral tattoo above it someday, i'll tell you that i've grieved and mourned, i'll tell you i loved my labor, yada yada. and then my daughter cries one of those cries where i've gone through everything and i still can't figure out why she's crying, and i blame myself and my body and the surgery for my inability to know why she's crying. what if i'd birthed her vaginally and held her right away, would i be able to know the source of her every cry? i have no idea. i'll never know for sure.

when Willow was about 2 weeks old, we were skin-to-skin in bed after nursing, and on a sudden impulse i laid her head-down on my belly, let her body slide down between my legs onto the bed and then lifted her up into my arms ... just to feel even a little of what it would have felt like. i cried and cried and cried, just holding and rocking her, feeling really stupid for play-acting at a normal birth. but now i realize that was just my way of trying to recover from the grief. and it was a little bit healing, to imagine something so wonderful, to play-act it with her sleepy, soft, warm little body. agh, i haven't shared that with anyone yet, not even my husband, i don't know why i've spewed it out now. i just really, really want to make the point that of course the baby is the most important thing, but the birth is how the baby gets here, and it IS possible to feel different feelings on different levels all at the exact same time.
post #52 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
A previous poster was asking about studies that look at the affect of hormones in labor and birth on the ability to mother (including the ability to breastfeed) and bond. Here is an article that looks at some of these studies:

http://www.michelodent.com/news.php?id=14
Oy. Forgive me but I find it a crock. Its subjection and opinion on various studies ranging from the early 60s to 2000 (most are more than 20yrs old), and mainly on rats and mice when it comes to effects of oxytocin and bonding. The author is hardly open minded or objective as well. So nope this isn't a study saying that a mother who has a cesarean views her baby has died. While I think birth does play a part in bonding, whether it be good, bad, ugly --you aren't going to convince me that the women here who have had epidural births, pit induced births, or surgical mothers lack certain abilities or hormonal function to be mothers, good mothers to their young (unlike the rats who let their young DIE). I am also not going to buy into this notion that my kids are going to being born with mental health issues, learning disabilities, or eating disorders because they were born by cesarean other than an all natural birth. Nope, nadda, not going to believe it -- because too many things factor in like genetics, prenatal care, diet, personal temperment, and enviroment -- not to mention the spiritual side to it all.

I think its sad (and disgusting) that this kind of stuff is used to make women feel guilty about their births, or make their births seem less than to elevate anothers choices or sometimes not their choice at all.
post #53 of 80
I think when you have a healthy baby through a birthing process with a lot of medical interventions, that's the situation for which the expression "mixed feelings" was invented. I had a vaginal birth. My plan was to have a natural birth with no drugs in the hospital, using a birthing tub, and my CNM practice supported me in that. I took hypnobirthing classes, but didn't practice.

At 5PM on my due date, I was at work and my waters broke. For the next 40 hours, I waited for labor to start. I tried spicy food. I tried shiatsu (for hours, with lots of pummeling!) I tried herbs. I was in touch with the midwives on call the whole time. Finally, I went in to the hospital and had a pitocin induction. I had contractions, but not full fledged labor, for 24 hours. After 24 hours, I agreed to pain relief medication (Nubain). Then I agreed to an epidural, essentially because I was tired and hadn't had any food for 24 hours, and had been contracting with some discomfort. It seemed like we had to double the pitocin to make birth happen, so I was given enough pain meds to sleep for three hours while the pitocin did its work. Then I had about 8 hours at the pushing stage, with a break in the middle for the anaesthesiologist to come and turn off the pain meds because I couldn't push through them. Finally my CNM did an episiotomy right before I pushed the baby out. Pretty nearly as soon as he was born, the L&D nurse took him across the room to check him out, even though I protested that i wanted to nurse him right away. They didn't have him long, but I think it did disrupt the nursing process, and I didn't like it that I labored for soooooo long and someone else was even holding the baby!

I felt grateful that my baby was healthy and alert at birth in spite of my having agreed to pain drugs. I felt relieved that I had avoided a c-section and didn't have to recover from one, because of my CNM's birth skills. I felt exhausted and panicky because my baby didn't know how to latch on and establishing breastfeeding was insanely difficult. I felt disappointed that my birth was a very medical experience. I felt ambivalent (and now feel quite angry!) that the CNM decided to cut me. I felt deficient because my body didn't go into labor by itself. I felt very lucky because my baby was so incredible, but also like I had gotten away with something. My birthing process was so unreal that I couldn't believe this was really my child. How did I even get such a great kid. I still think that sometimes. I wish I had insisted at the outset that they had to do all exams with the baby on my body and that I wanted to wait to bathe him until I was recovered enough to be there.

So yes, I think you can hold gratitude and joy over the baby and disappointment and even anger about the birth in the same heart!
post #54 of 80
Mellybean,

I want to say I can relate. I did have PTSD after I had my first child, I did mourn that I would not be able to have a natural childbirth, a homebirth, and I was literally "tortured" in the OR that day. I had nightmares for months, had PPD, etc. I did get "over it". It took five years but I did. However I don't think the birth itself ( the actual act of the cesarean) affected bonding, gave me nightmares, etc. It was much bigger than that. I am one of the few people I know that have had the problems you and I both experienced having a surgical birth. (FTR, I had no problems breastfeeding) I contribute a lot of my grief and pain to not following my instincts, to being so engrained to one idea of thinking, and the judgement I had for so long placed upon other women and how they birthed in general. There were so many things that played into that day, that I think it would be unreasonable to say "this is why" I had the problems I did (surgical birth alone), because I didn't have those problems with my second cesarean and my second biological child. I seriously doubt I will have any problems this time around either.

Thanks for sharing your private and personal moments, I think its a good thing here for all to read.
post #55 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnTheFence
Oy. Forgive me but I find it a crock. Its subjection and opinion on various studies ranging from the early 60s to 2000 (most are more than 20yrs old), and mainly on rats and mice when it comes to effects of oxytocin and bonding. The author is hardly open minded or objective as well. So nope this isn't a study saying that a mother who has a cesarean views her baby has died. While I think birth does play a part in bonding, whether it be good, bad, ugly --you aren't going to convince me that the women here who have had epidural births, pit induced births, or surgical mothers lack certain abilities or hormonal function to be mothers, good mothers to their young (unlike the rats who let their young DIE).
I am wondering if you bothered to read the whole article, as this part addresses the animal/human comparison problem (bold emphasis mine):

It is noticeable that at all stages of the history of the scientification of love there have been convincing animal experiments. This is a reason to clarify what we can learn from non human mammals and also the limits of what we can learn from them. Let us take as an example the experiment by Krehbiel and Poindron, who studied the link between the birth process and maternal behavior. They found that after giving birth with epidural anesthesia, ewes do not take care of their lambs(21). It is obvious that the effects of an epidural anesthesia during labor among humans are much more complex than among sheep. It is easy to interpret such differences. Human beings use elaborated forms of communication and create cultures; this implies that our behaviors are less directly under the effects of the hormonal balances and more directly under the effects of the cultural milieu. This does not mean that we have nothing to learn from the sheep. Animal experiments indicate which question we should raise where human beings are concerned. If ewes do not take care of their lambs after giving birth with an epidural anesthesia, this implies that where human beings are concerned the right question is: what is the future of a civilization born under epidural anesthesia?

I have no idea about a study about cesarean mom's bodies reacting as though the baby has died -- I wonder if that was just an inference of the reader's, based on the fact when the natural birth process is cut short (or not allowed to happen at all) certain hormones do not get released, or in lesser amounts. For instance, a couple of studies that have been done recently (and on humans) show that

Beta-endorphins levels increase during labor and induce the release of prolactin. Women who gave birth vaginally release oxytocin in a pulsatile way during breastfeeding, 2 days after birth, while women who gave birth by emergency caesarean section do not. The “pulsatility” of oxytocin release is associated with the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and with the amount of milk transferred from mother to baby(23). Women delivered by cesarean section lacked a significant rise in prolactin levels at 20-30 minutes after the onset of breastfeeding(23). In addition, colostral milk beta-endorphin concentrations of mothers who delivered vaginally are significantly higher in the fourth postpartum day than colostrum levels of mothers who underwent caesarean section(24). One of the effects of milk opiates is probably to induce a sort of addiction to mother’s milk.

Quote:
I think its sad (and disgusting) that this kind of stuff is used to make women feel guilty about their births, or make their births seem less than to elevate anothers choices or sometimes not their choice at all.
What a despicable thing it would be to use these studies for those purposes.
post #56 of 80
I meant to mention too, on a personal note, that I was a cesarean baby (and I spent my first week of life in the hospital nursery!) and my mom was able to breastfeed me just fine. Although she did have trouble after her second cesarean with low milk supply and stopped at six weeks. I have to wonder if that had anything to do with the fact that she was not allowed to go into labor with the second, and so that oxytocin wasn't released... well, of course, back then too the baby was whisked away and kept in the nursery as much as possible and that can't have helped.

Also, OTF, concerning motive, one reason that the science of the hormonal process is important to me is because I had a traumatic birth with serious PPD (which, fwiw, had nothing to do with guilt over not fulfilling others' expectations -- I had none) and I have sought to understand why so that I could avoid that trauma and difficult postpartum with future children. Understanding what role hormones play in birth has helped me to do that, and I am sure I am not the only one who could benefit from this understanding, so I talk about it.

Mellybean (I have a Willow too ) your words have touched me so deeply, thank you for sharing them.
post #57 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice
ITA, fourlittlebirds; a friend of mine wanted to do her master's thesis at Harvard in the late 1960s on this very subject in psychology, but the professors, all men, did not think it was very important.

Go figure.
I DID write my doctoral dissertation on this topic in clinical psychology. for my committee for supporting me in doing that! It was amazing, fascinating work. I loved it.

As for the original question, NO, I don't believe that the baby is all that matters. Certainly it matters if you get your baby here safely, but women are not treated respectfully and humanely in birth in the US. Since this can affect self-esteem, body image, confidence in breastfeeding and parenting, and can cause long-term grief and loss issues for which there is relatively little empathy or support, I think it's a huge deal. Birth is an important psychological event for a mother, not just a change of address for a baby.
post #58 of 80
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post #59 of 80
I'm so sorry.

There's not a one of us that would trade a healthy baby for a "good" birth.
post #60 of 80
Kincaid, you left this preggo momma crying tonight. Your post, your story says it all.
It is sad that some of us have had to learn lessons in such a cruel and harsh way. I was lucky, my baby was lucky, even though I made some very selfish choices in an attept to get the birth I wanted.

Peace and hugs to you, I appreciate you sharing your experience and your childs.

Kim
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