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Tips on being supportive of a "medicated" or csection birth:)

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
My sister is in labor as I type, it is her first,she was a week over due so this morning the dr broke her water...nothing happened...they gave her pitocin...she started contracting...it was painful...they gave her meds...and now she is sleeping My dd was born at home and we talked a lot about this and she was really wanting a natural unmedicated birth at the hospital. I am so happy for her to be a mom, should I just not even bring up the birth topic? I am really concerned at this point of it becoming a c-section, she isn't in my town and the only person there for her is her dh who I am not sure if that much of a help anyway I love my sis and want to support her- also don't want to make her feel any less of a mom if she does have a c-section/ or more meds. I tried to call her a little bit ago, but she was sleeping. Any tips?
Thanks!
post #2 of 60
bumping - I will be supporting a friend with her c/s in the morning. I had a home birth so I have no experience with hospital birth, let alone c/s. I'm looking forward to what anyone can offer as well!
post #3 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogmamaslings View Post
My sister is in labor as I type, it is her first,she was a week over due so this morning the dr broke her water...nothing happened...they gave her pitocin...she started contracting...it was painful...they gave her meds...and now she is sleeping My dd was born at home and we talked a lot about this and she was really wanting a natural unmedicated birth at the hospital. I am so happy for her to be a mom, should I just not even bring up the birth topic? I am really concerned at this point of it becoming a c-section, she isn't in my town and the only person there for her is her dh who I am not sure if that much of a help anyway I love my sis and want to support her- also don't want to make her feel any less of a mom if she does have a c-section/ or more meds. I tried to call her a little bit ago, but she was sleeping. Any tips?
Thanks!
I think that what she will need from you, is reassurance that she made the best choices she could at the time. You don't have to say that she made "right" choices, or the ones you would make... but let her know that she did the best she could, with what she had, under the circumstances at hand. If she seems completely satisfied with the birth, then let her know that is wonderful, you're very happy for her, and that if she should have any feelings of sadness or anger that that's normal and you are there if she needs to process some of that. A lot of women just don't know that even a "good" birth can be followed with mixed feelings of joy, relief, and disappointment, and that can much more pronounced with an interventive, worrisome birth. And it's okay to be happy and sad at the same time!

Besides praying/intentioning you can't really affect how her birth goes... my SIL gave birth 6 months ago to my first nephew, and was induced over 4 days with Cytotec and Pit, with IV abx, and then a forceps delivery. (Thankfully, no Cesarean!) They had wanted a homebirth but were afraid to go unassisted and couldn't afford a mw... so this was definitely far from what she wanted for her birth. She started her mothering feeling "broken" like she her body didn't "work" the way other women's bodies did. We can't change the birth experience for them, but we can be there to celebrate with them in their joy, and validate and accept their pain. Especially since others around her will probably not have the sensitivity to accept any negative feelings around the birth - "Well, the baby's healthy, that's all that matters" can be said quite dismissively and reflexively. So your voice can be one telling her that it's okay to be angry, and sad. And delighted in her sweet baby, all at the same time.
post #4 of 60
I'd just remind myself that it's her birth experience and the end result is going to be a beautiful new family member After having had 3 c/s myself, I would hate to feel any negativity or criticism from my family - especially my sister. I can understand the concern if you feel she might be pressured into things that you think she'll later regret, but let that regret be hers and if she feels badly, encourage her and remind her how great it is to have her baby.
post #5 of 60
One piece of advice that I've gotten, that I think is good, is to refer to a c/s as a cesarean BIRTH.
post #6 of 60
If she wants to talk about birth, she'll bring it up. If she does end up with a c-section you could give her the ICAN link, and leave it at that. I think it's very important that she not feel you're being critical.

My sister transferred from a homebirth and got every drug on the planet recently. She's happy with her experience, so I am too. It wasn't MY birth, it was hers. I'm GLAD she's happy. I'd hate for her to feel disappointed, though I'd have been there for her for that as well. Be available to her, that's the best thing you can do.
post #7 of 60
When my sil was at the hospital in labor w/ my nephew, I talked w/ my brother. He was very stressed out about his wife having surgery, he was driving home to get clothes, he needed someone to talk to on the drive. (I have no idea if he remembers it this way or not.) He also needed to focus on the road, so I think we talked a bit and then hung up.

They knew I was a VERY vocal homebirth/no drugs/no circ advocate (we went around on the circ issue a few times) yet their birth did not go that way.

My 20 yr old sil was in SURGERY. My little brother (we're 6 yrs apart) was very scared for his wife. They needed love and support and hugs and for ppl to be positive.

I didn't bring up natural birth, what they did 'wrong', what they should have done, what they needed to do next, or rant about hospital births and interventions and doctors.

You still have time (I hope) to talk to your sis about her options. Suggest that she try walking, try this, try that, whatever comes to mind that will help her get the best birth she can. But know that you can't change it. Be supportive as best as you can.

After Simon's birth my sil went on a self-exploration journey, so to speak. She went from thinking she was broken to knowing she isn't. It's taken her 4 years of healing but she's done it. Yes, she had a c/s, but she was able to use it as a learning experience. If she had ppl around her telling her how awful it was form the get-go maybe she'd have had a harder time, maybe she wouldn't be the UBAC queen that she is now.

You love your sister. Be there for her and listen when she talks. This will be her journey and where she goes after is up to her. She's gonna need someone like you to be there and hear her and support her.



I hope she has a really, really good birth. Let us know how she does.
post #8 of 60
Just let her know that you love her and support her. I was asked to be support for a friend during a schedualed induction. They started with something the night before (the name escapes me not cervidil but the other), broke her water at about 8:00 am. She was in non progressing labor for quite some time. She was in a lot of pain and her DH and I tried different things to help her; baths, being on all fours, sitting in a chair. After 11 hours of labor she started crying and asked me if I would be upset with her for getting an epidural. I was shocked! I had given her so much support for unmedicated childbirth because that was what she wanted and I had no idea she felt guilty or that she would disappoint me if she got an epidural. I told her it didn't matter to me what she did it was her body. I still feel awful that she was so worried about upsetting me. I joked with her later that 11 hours of drug free labor got her the gold star for unmedicated childbirth. She was given pitocin after the epi because she hadn't progressed past 4 cm. She ended up with a c-section but her DH and I just wanted her to feel safe and secure. That was why I was there. That and I was in charge of yelling at her family if they didn't listen, which I did when I kicked them out for the epidural.
post #9 of 60
My sister gave birth in Brazil where natural unmedicated births are becoming more and more rare everyday. When she was 37 weeks along, during an ultrasound the doctor said she noticed something wrong in the flow of blood in the umbilical cord and the baby seemed to be in distress. She scheduled a c-section right away and that's how my niece was born. My sister's second baby was also a c-section because a VBAC is definitely not something they do there.

My sister felt so horrible about having c-sections and said things like "I don't feel like a real woman" or "I had nothing to do with the birth of my children" I immediately reassure her saying that she has 2 beautiful children and she is a fantastic mom! The few hours of labour are nothing when you think about the years and years in motherhood and they are what really matters. The important thing is that her babies were born healthy and they are happy little pumpkins

ETA - Wow! No idea that my post was going to come across offensive!! I was just talking about which things I say to MY SISTER and really help her! I know that other women feel the same way she does, so my comment was not crazy or meant to hurt anyone
post #10 of 60
She was in a lot of pain and her DH and I tried different things to help her; baths, being on all fours, sitting in a chair. After 11 hours of labor she started crying and asked me if I would be upset with her for getting an epidural. I was shocked!

this sounds lke me with my first. I felt like I was disappointing my sister by getting an epi. She'd tried everything to help me deal with the pain naturally.
post #11 of 60
I think the most important thing is to find out how she feels about it, and validate that. There's really no way to know how she's going to feel until it's all over and you talk to her. Also, accept that how she feels may change. I felt somewhat triumphant when I had ds2, because I managed to make some of what happened happen on my terms (ie. I went into labour before my section, and made them wait, instead of going along with scheduling...three weeks before I actually had him). However, once that initial feeling faded, the reality that I'd had another f***ing c-section sank in and I spent most of the last two years wanting to kill myself. I think if one more person had told me that I was healthy or the baby was healthy, and that's what counts, I'd have been in jail for assault and battery. I don't know why people don't just come out and say, "we don't care how much you hated it - that doesn't count".

Find out how she feels, and be certain to let her know that there's nothing wrong with that.

If she does have a c-section, I strongly recommend being very careful about using the terms "c-birth", "cesarean birth", "belly birth", etc. Some women feel much better when they feel that their experience is being recognized as a birth. Some women, like me, feel that their experience is being further dismissed. The above terms set my teeth on edge, and it really pisses me off when someone uses them with respect to my experiences...just one more way of saying that my reality isn't real. Try to find out how she feels about that first...
post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by polihaupt View Post
The few hours of labour are nothing when you think about the years and years in motherhood and they are what really matters. The important thing is that her babies were born healthy and they are happy little pumpkins
Nothing? Thanks. I'll be sure to let my kids know that having a mother who can't take care of them post-op, and who spent their entire childhoods fighting to be a mom, instead of just slicing her wrists so she could forget the OR, doesn't matter.

It's also very nice to know that my healthy babies are the important thing...maybe I should just off myself, since I'm not important, anyway.

I can honestly say that I never expected to see the vile "a healthy baby is all that matters" crap here on MDC.
post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogmamaslings View Post
also don't want to make her feel any less of a mom if she does have a c-section/ or more meds. I tried to call her a little bit ago, but she was sleeping. Any tips?
Thanks!
Why on earth would she be less of a mom because she had a c/s or more meds?

If she is feeling that, you need to listen and let her process.

If she is not feeling that... leave the topic alone.

I suggest congratulating her on the birth. I think that each women gets to call her experience what she wants, and if she wants to call it something other than birth good for her, but for me to call it anything other than a birth is offensive to me. Let her define it, and be respectful of her terms.
post #14 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Nothing? Thanks. I'll be sure to let my kids know that having a mother who can't take care of them post-op, and who spent their entire childhoods fighting to be a mom, instead of just slicing her wrists so she could forget the OR, doesn't matter.

It's also very nice to know that my healthy babies are the important thing...maybe I should just off myself, since I'm not important, anyway.

I can honestly say that I never expected to see the vile "a healthy baby is all that matters" crap here on MDC.
oh for pity's sake.
:
i don't think ANYONE has said or implied ANYTHING about moms not mattering.
when it comes down to it, isn't having a healthy baby important? or is it most important to have some "gold standard" birth? because if its the latter, i think our priorities are WAY out of whack. :

to the OP, your sister is giving birth! congrats on your new neice or nephew!
bring her some flowers, bring her a comfy pair of socks and some lotion and give her a foot rub, bring her FOOD (that's really all i wanted)! welcome your new family member with open arms and don't worry about how they got here UNLESS and UNTIL your sister wants to discuss it. she's not "less of a mother" because of the choices she made. it may not be the *ideal* birth, but i think now is the time to focus on the positives in the situation, imho.
post #15 of 60
Celebrate the birth of your nephew or niece. Realize that for her, a c/s birth might not be a tragedy. Take your cues from her, and don't assume anything. It's a birth. Celebrate it.
post #16 of 60
I agree with the pp that say to take your cues from the mom. If she's happy, be happy for her. If she wants to complain about her birth, let her.

For the record, I say that I delivered/birthed (use both words) my baby via cesarean. I know that words are very powerful. I get that. That's why I say what I do.
post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophiekat View Post
i don't think ANYONE has said or implied ANYTHING about moms not mattering.
when it comes down to it, isn't having a healthy baby important? or is it most important to have some "gold standard" birth? because if its the latter, i think our priorities are WAY out of whack.
Some moms here have had really traumatic birth experiences. Like, malpractice suit traumatic. You might not be talking about the same thing that she is.

For the OP: the best way you can support her if she has to have a c/s is to help her out after surgery. She'll probably need someone to fill the freezer.
post #18 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophiekat View Post
oh for pity's sake.
:
i don't think ANYONE has said or implied ANYTHING about moms not mattering.
when it comes down to it, isn't having a healthy baby important? or is it most important to have some "gold standard" birth? because if its the latter, i think our priorities are WAY out of whack. : g
You said "The few hours of labour are nothing", "that motherhood is "what really matters", and that "the important thing" is the baby's health".

You didn't imply, you out and out said that Birth/Labor is "nothing". You implied that they "don't really matter" like motherhood does, and that "the important thing" is baby's health, leaving no room for mom's birth experience to be important as well.

I don't understand why it's so hard to get that yes, a healthy baby is the MOST important thing but mom's experience is HUGELY important too. The two don't contradict one another.

I find the way you worded things particularly telling " isn't having a healthy baby important? or is it most important to have some "gold standard" birth?"
There's only one answer to that question as it's presented.

Yes, having a healthy baby is important, No it's not most important to have some gold standard birth. Why'd you throw the "most" in there? To force the answer to be "No, birth is not the most important", to minimize it? That's the only reason to do it.

There should NOT be an "Or" there. It's an AND. Having a healthy baby is important. Having a good birth is important. Both of them. Not one or the other. Why does saying you're not happy with your birth make people think you're ungrateful for your child, and why do people think the proper way to deal with that is to say Don't Be Sad, You Have a Baby, Your Feelings Are Silly and Meaningless, Your Priorities are Wrong. :
post #19 of 60
She actually said nothing compared to the years and years of motherhood. Timewise, 24 hours of labor is pretty puny compared to a lifetime of motherhood. I recognize that for many of us the experience makes it matter much more than those hours add up to in themselves. Not everyone feels that way.
post #20 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by SublimeBirthGirl View Post
I recognize that for many of us the experience makes it matter much more than those hours add up to in themselves. Not everyone feels that way.
Granted. And I that's why I would never come at someone who had a difficult birth but was happy with it and thinks it doesn't matter with the attitude that "omg that's so awful". Because, obviously to her it's not!

But it's also entirely inappropriate, in my opinion, to come at someone who had a difficult birth and is UNhappy with it with the attitude that "don't worry, it's not that important". The key, as many pp have pointed out, is to validate the mother's own feelings.
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