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upset--my cousin has scheduled an elective primary cesarean

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
i guess i should quickly introduce myself and add that i know this kind of vent is probably better situated to an ICAN meeting or something, but they're all at night here where i live, and i can't make it.
so, hello, i my name is desiree and i had a cesarean because my DD's cord was around her neck and her heartrate dropped and didn't come back up. i am of course absolutely grateful for the section and my daughter's life, but i still have feelings of loss about it. most people IRL have told me to remember that a healthy mom and baby are all that matter, so i've mostly hidden my feelings about my section, but the truth is i was devastated. then, my poor DD got sick at 12 days old and had to be hospitalized for 3 days. i think that contributed to my trauma and made me less ok with the section... the two have compounded each other, if that makes any sense. so, that's where i am... dealing with the trauma and hoping for a VBAC.

so, my cousin is pregnant. she scheduled her section in her first trimester because she doesn't want to go through labor. i'm livid! i feel like, it's people like her that contribute to a system that puts surgical birth at or above vaginal birth, and causes people like me to have to fight for a VBAC. i'm taking it really personally. i know in part that i'm angry because of my own unresolved issues surrounding my section. i'm not sure what i need... to just vent, or to work through my own issues some more, or someone to convince me that i should respect her decision and not think about it, or what....

has anyone been here and have any advice? i know i can't go around resenting other people's decisions forever...

thanks.
post #2 of 38
I think you should try looking at it from a different angle. She's scared of labor, she thinks a c-section is easier, and she's making a choice that seems best to her right now. You don't need to blame her for feeling those things; instead, why not try to gently educate her on the issues? If she is still in the first trimester, she has plenty of time to change her mind.

I would suggest giving her some information on c-section recovery, and telling her your own story - but don't focus on the emotional loss because she obviously doesn't have the same emotional reaction. Tell her about how long the recovery takes, and how you have to sit around the hospital with a catheter in praying that you don't have to cough for a few weeks. How you can't use your abdominal muscles normally at first, and you have to pull yourself up with your arms if you want to sit up. How much it hurts when the baby kicks your incision. How, even years later, you still have that scar that is always just in the "right" place for the waistband of your underwear to chafe, and how it itches and aches even more when you get pregnant again.

I have accepted that I am going to have repeat cesareans instead of VBACs, but if I had the choice, I'd never have had that first c-section. My recovery was awful.
post #3 of 38
Not to mention that some people have lingering pain and/or other problems for months, that c/s is 4x more likely to result in maternal death, and non-emergency c/s is 3x more likely to result in the baby dying.

But I think you're right that this is really about your own issues. If you can, I think I would give her the information in as neutral and supportive a way as possible, then let it go.

And I think it is awful that people are telling you that the only thing that matters is healthy baby and you not being dead. Being surrounded by people who are in denial makes it so much harder to heal yourself and come to a state of REAL, whole, health. Emotional healing is every bit as important as cleaning your incision, it just takes a lot longer. I hope you find space to do some releasing, if you can't find a support group like ICAN then maybe find a therapist. You deserve to heal, even if the people around you don't want it for you.
post #4 of 38
Another point to bring up with your cousin, are the so-called "advantages" of c-sections that are total bunk! Such as, incontinence... I had a c/s, never got to pushing, and still had trouble peeing when I coughed/sneezed/laughed/looked-hard-at-something (practically, LOL).

Get her Henci Goer's Thinking Woman's Guide, and gently educate her. There are no advantages to a c-section, except (perhaps) scheduling. Although I've known of lots of women who have that c/s scheduled only to go into labor early, and then they have to do a rushed c/s. Pain isn't an issue, as all of us who've had surgery's know... it hurts like hell! And, if she's that afraid of the pain, she can have an epidural. While I think they're horribly overused, there are advantages in cases where the mom can avoid a c/s.

And, of course, the "dangers" of c/s that are more real, life-threatening and invasive than any vaginal birth.

And don't make excuses for being angry. You have every right to be angry with the fact that the medical community persuades women to come to these decisions. Just remember that your cousin is TRYING to do what's right for herself and her child. She probably just hasn't researched things as much as someone who's gone through this all before.

Good luck!
post #5 of 38
Wow, what I'm really wondering about is what type of doctor would agree to a scheduled primary c-section for no apparent reason. He/She should be educating your cousin instead.
post #6 of 38
Personally, I think if she wants one, and knows all the risks then so be it. But she should have to pay out of pocket for the entire thing. Like plastic surgery, because until it becomes a medical necessity, it is almost the same thing! She has a perfectly good vagina she can utilise... LMAO.
post #7 of 38
How close are you two? Is this something she is willing to discuss with you?
If so, I would ask her what research she's done to date. This might put her on the defensive, though. I don't know what kind of relationship you two have.. will she listen to statistics about length of recovery, added risks to both her and the baby, etc?
post #8 of 38
If she is wanting a cs because she is afraid of the pain I can tell you there is nothing more frightening or painful than a cs. I went into labor on my own and while my labor was painful there was no comparison to the pain I felt during my recovery. I ended up getting an infection in my uterus that landed me back in the hospital. I could not even breathe without pain let alone care for and enjoy my new son . I would do my best to encorage her to avoid one without making her more afraid than she already is.
post #9 of 38
It is possible that there is a more serious reason which she doesn't feel comfortable sharing with you. We have seen situations like that on this board before. Considering that you are posting publicly with judgment about her birth choices, you may wish to reflect on whether she is right not to trust you.
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post
It is possible that there is a more serious reason which she doesn't feel comfortable sharing with you. We have seen situations like that on this board before. Considering that you are posting publicly with judgment about her birth choices, you may wish to reflect on whether she is right not to trust you.
i agree with galateadunkel. whatever the reasons for her choice, it is her choice to make - not yours, not her ob, and certainly not us.

i had a really hard time post-c/s, and i wish that the birth of my son had gone differently, but sometimes life doesn't go as you "plan." i'm sorry that your birth didn't go the way you were hoping, but try not to project your anger about your c/s onto others by judging them in this way.
post #11 of 38
I think you guys are being overly harsh. It is incredibly difficult to heal from a traumatic birth and watch someone willingly and apparently ignorantly sign up for the same thing.

She's not making waves in the family. She's not confronting her cousin. She came here for support and to vent. She came here because she thought, of all places, this would be a place with people who would understand how she feels.

I've been in the exact same situation with my SIL. The only thing I could do was answer questions as honestly and thoughtfully as possible and to pray for the best. Luckily in my situation it didn't end up being a section, but if it had you better believe I would have been there to support her.
post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 
thank you shorin_mama, and everyone else for your comments. i'm not sure what else to write--the negative comments are making me feel like maybe my first instinct was right, and this isn't the best forum for advice.
post #13 of 38
I think you are absolutly right to feel that way. I can't really relate because I haven't had a c/s, well not even a birth yet. But I can understand how someone who wished to have a nice peaceful natural birth and end up with a c/s feel angry when someone they know decides to take a short cut and not have a "birth". Now I am not saying that if you have had a c/s that that is what you did. I am talking about selective c/s. And think there i something seriously wrong with our society to promote that.

So please know that you have a right to feel how you want. After all they are your feelings. Now you just have to decide what to do about them. You can tell her how you feel, but that might put her on the defensive. Or like others said, try and educate her. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. At least you will have tried and maybe that process will help you come to terms with how you feel about your c/s.

Anyway good luck
post #14 of 38
I had one of each, and I found it was a much more diffucult recovery from the cs than the v. For example, about 4 months after the cs, I did a few sit ups and my incision hurt the next day. I had more trouble with running to the bathroom after the cs. You're not allowed to drive for 2 weeks after a cs or lift anything heavier than the baby for 6, which means you can't lift a baby in a carseat.

I highly recommend hypnobirthing (www.hypnobirthing.com) to ease her fear of labor. According to my hb instructor, the more afraid someone is, the easier it is to be hypnotized (hypnosis is a form of deep relaxation). Read the first story under Providers Speak.
post #15 of 38
I totally understand. One of Dh's cousin's said after her dd was born that she shouldn've just had the c/s b/c the labor was so painful. I asked her if she was in pain then and hooked up to morhpine. She said no and was quiet after that understanding my point. I think so many people just have no idea what a true comparison is between the 2. I've had both and the c/s was way more painful (even then my 3rd degree vaginal tear) and was the only time I dealt w/ incontinence. I had to sleep on the couch for a month and could barely climb my stairs b/c I was in so much pain. At least w/ the pain I had in labor, it was gone for the most part after the baby was out. Hugs!
post #16 of 38
have you ever read this? http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/C...begrateful.htm

You have every right to feel However you feel! And I can sure see how the two compounded each other!! If you cousin is open to discussing it you could let her know CS aren't the easy way out and if she's planning to have more kids the risks to her and the baby's also compound with each one she has. You'll need to take a light touch though, that's the hardest part. the possibillity exists there may also be some deep seated stuff she's not sharing with you too.
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by majormajor View Post
thank you shorin_mama, and everyone else for your comments. i'm not sure what else to write--the negative comments are making me feel like maybe my first instinct was right, and this isn't the best forum for advice.
No one is trying to be mean or rude to you, or to discount your feelings.

They're simply pointing out that you can't possibly know all of her reasons and feelings, and that there could be extenuating circumstances that she doesn't feel comfortable sharing with you.
post #18 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by talk de jour View Post
No one is trying to be mean or rude to you, or to discount your feelings.

They're simply pointing out that you can't possibly know all of her reasons and feelings, and that there could be extenuating circumstances that she doesn't feel comfortable sharing with you.
i can see that now. it's just SUCH a tough thing for me still. i think for now i won't talk to her about it, since i can see from looking the thread over that my reaction is all about me and my history and issues, and not really about her. though, i think at some point i'll see if i can be objective enough to pass along some stats, just for her benefit. i'm pretty sure there's nothing medical behind her section that she's not sharing, but i can't be 100%.
post #19 of 38
Wow folks! OP...I'm thinking folks missed an integral part of your post (empahsis mine):

Quote:
Originally Posted by majormajor
she scheduled her section in her first trimester because she doesn't want to go through labor. i'm livid! i feel like, it's people like her that contribute to a system that puts surgical birth at or above vaginal birth, and causes people like me to have to fight for a VBAC. i'm taking it really personally. i know in part that i'm angry because of my own unresolved issues surrounding my section. i'm not sure what i need... to just vent, or to work through my own issues some more, or someone to convince me that i should respect her decision and not think about it, or what....

has anyone been here and have any advice? i know i can't go around resenting other people's decisions forever...
I think this part is certainly most applicable and I applaud you for acknowledging your part in the feelings that you're having. I think that is a very valid line to track down. Some of it can certainly be helped by reminding yourself that she may just be scared/uninformed and feeling overwhelmed by the whole thing. There certainly may be a way that you can find to give her some information/support that may help her feel more confident in her body's ability to give birth and cope with the pain.

You can also direct some of your feelings towards the medical profession who has agreed to schedule a c/s this early in the pregnancy. It simply amazes me that the same folks who are willing to accomodate a request like your cousin's will at the same time be unable to grasp the concept of informed refusal when it comes to a patient choosing VBAC over their coerced ERCS.

OP...I think this is a great opportunity to channel your energy and feelings into a catalyst for change! Oh...and if you haven't read Marsden Wagner's "Born in the USA" yet you simply must head on over to your library and check it out asap! (Or buy it at your local bookstore) :0)

I can empathize with how you are feeling. Hang in there mama!

ETA: FTR, in my own personal experience, while I consider that my son has a "birth"day and was in fact "born", I emphatically believe that for me, I did not give birth. That implies that I was actively involved in what was going on (which is really hard to do when you are paralyzed from the chest down and strapped down to a surgical table). And yes, memz, you are right, everyone will feel differently about this issue.
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama2jack View Post
If she is wanting a cs because she is afraid of the pain I can tell you there is nothing more frightening or painful than a cs.
I'm so very sorry that you had such a bad experience with your C-section... but I would hope that your experience is atypical?

Personally, I had a very long labor, culminating in a C-section, but had an excellent, quick, relatively low-pain recovery with my C. I wasn't afraid of it at the time - frankly, after 31 hours of labor with nonstop contractions that weren't moving my baby, I was so grateful to be able to hold my baby, regardless of the method she was brought to me! I'm certainly NOT an advocate of C-section, and I'd gladly go through another 31 hours of intense back labor even if it ended in another C, rather than scheduling a repeat C... I wouldn't recommend an elective primary C as a way to avoid the fear of trial of labor...

but I think we all feel so differently towards our C sections - both the surgery itself, the birth experience, and the recovery. I DO feel that I went through the birth process. I DO feel that I gave birth. I DO feel that I was empowered throughout my birth, I was respected, and I realized that sometimes things don't turn out as planned.

I'm concerned that to describe a C-section to someone who has never had one as the most painful & frightening thing possible can really contribute to negative feelings/worries about birth, and a mother shouldn't come into birth being afraid of the unknown... it can stall labor.
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