Hi! I have been following several threads in the c-sec, VBAC areas for a few days because my friend has been told, after having surgery to correct a uterine deformity, that she must have all her babies by c-section. She was told this despite all the research that suggests that, to the contrary, it would be safer for her to have a vagnal birth.
I am the mother of five children. My first was born by unnecessary c-section. How do I know this? Because my diagnosis was CPD and my ten pounder was followed by a 10 and a half pounder! My second, larger baby was the first VBAC in Columbus, Ohio.
Ladies, my midwives stopped doing pelvimetry after that birth because it proved that pelvimetry is basically a useless tool. But it taught them another lesson, too. That position during labor and birth makes a big difference in the baby's abiliy to navigate the birth canal.
This VBAC experience occurred in 1982. After that VBAC in hospital (OSU) atended by a midwife, a privately retained nurse and a high risk doc anxious to make a name for himself, I gave birth with no drugs, a hep lock inserted in the last four hours, I tore a bit because the doc wouldn't let the midwife do the perineal support and was discharged home with my baby two hours after birth with my beautiful second daughter in tow. My only regret: that I didn't do it at home where my other beautiful daughter could be a part of the expereince.
My next three children were born safely and wonderfully at home. To this day, there is no evidence of even the slightest dehisence to the scar. And each one of my babies was bigger than the last!
So why am I posting? My situation turned out great.
Well it wasn't great for the first year after my c-sec. I was depressed and suffering from what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which does occur after any kind of
birth wherein the mother felt violated, miseducated, misinformed or denied her right to choose.
I was told continuously in the last three months of pregnancy that my baby was too big for me and then, when the ultrasound scans showed a crown-rump measurement consistent with an older baby, my due date was changed to reflect the test despite me knowing exactly when I became pregnant. (By the way, ultrasound scans are not accurate predictors of fetal age and size, especially after 16 weeks gestation, but I didn't know that when I was pregnant with my first.)
I was induced at what the test showed was 42 weeks. My baby was actually only 38 weeks gestational age. Thank God they didn't induce me earlier! I shudder to think what might have happened! Then, RDS was a laife-threatening situation, the management was not nearly as good as it is now.) Well, She was not ready and neither was I and I didn't dilate. So off they took me to the OR and put me under without my consent. I woke up to see my gorgeous first baby two hours later when what I had planned was to breastfeed her within the first hour and go home ASAP after birth.
Breastfeeding went fine, and she was perfect, and I recovered without even a hint of a problem except that, down the road I have had probelms with muscular weakness in the area of the incision and adhesion problems. I have addressed both successfully with Pilates and craniosacral bodywork.
But I was depressed, angry, and fighting mad for years.
I had been violated and I was determined never to let anyone control my birthing situation again. And so my decisions were governed by that desire. And I have done what I wanted.
Each woman has that same right. They can choose to have repreat c-secs if thay want or they can have VBACs if they want. Some women (a very small percentage: 7% or less) will even need c-secs if they choose to continue having babies. The point here is, (a point that seems to be getting missed), that a woman's choice ought to be made after she has been as fully informed as is humanly possible.
To presume that what a doctor tells you is all the information that you ever need to make an informed decision is naive. In my own situation, my doc told me "no VBACs for you, you couldn't handle a big baby, ever. You or your baby could die." Well, was he wrong? Blatantly!!!!
Each and every woman owes it to herself AND to her baby to consider every shred of information out there in making her decision. Each person who shares a fact and an experience adds to the information bank. I don't think anyone who posts here intends to indicate that a particular choice is wrong, just that a particular reason for making that choice may not be based on full information.
I am sure that many of you are aware that the c-sec rate has climbed once again to well over 10% ( and in some communities, upweards of 30-40%) because of the abuse of epidural meds during childbirth. I can hear some of you now "I needed my epidural, etc., etc." Well, the fact still remains that epirdurals slow labor, cause babies' heart rates to decellerate necessitating c-sec intervention, lead to vacuum extraction for failure to progress. Now, this is not just my opinion, but solid, research-based fact. Those same childbirth drugs get to the baby within seconds of administartion and can negatively impact breastfeeding and bonding. Again, fact.
C-sections have a whole host of morbid and mortal side effects. Women still die from c-sections and so do babies. C-section wasn't even considered "safe" until the 1970s when there was a big leap in proper understanding and application of anesthetics.
So, when we consider the facts, a whole picture emerges around the relative wisdom of assuming that c-sec is an appropriate choice in all cases. If a safer, more advantageous choice could be made in a given situation, it ought to be. Proper choices can be made only when proper information is provided. Proper information does not include myth, desire, foolishness, monetray considerations, legal issues and opinion.
This means that each situation should be evaluated individually and on its own merits.
But, and here is my biggest point... the fact that c-section has negative consequences is a real concern that should not be dismissed. That vaginal birth in some situations has negative consequences is real, that epidurals and spinal's have negative consequences is real. In my mind, the questions needing answered are How do you avoid the worst possible scenario and protect your infant and yourself in the process? and What WILL You Do to compensate for the downside after the baby is born should you have to choose an approach that carries negative consequences?
It seems that to become defensive when other women present suggestions to address the various issues is a coverup for deeper feelings that perhaps should be addressed. I highly recommend that women have bodywork, talk therapy and the like to ferret out and address emotional and physical issues just as a matter of course post delivery of any kind. It never hurts to be proactive. And, hey, if you feel completely OK about the events of your birth, fabulous! Then life is sweet.
My daughter posted earlier. It was only through our mutual acknowledgement that something was up for both of us post her c-sec that we have been able to navigate the post-birth waters productively. We have done rebirthing and it helped. I have done much on my own and she is pursuing various avenues to assist her in her process. I wish I could have been more assertive for her sake, but I couldn't and wasn't and that is just the way it is. But, I didn't have to be a victim the next time around and so I wasn't. But that is just my way.
Yours may be different. But I hope that no matter what any one of you chooses, that it is a choice based on all information and after you ahve eben able to process any misgivings, fears and fallout from your previous birth experience.
Lisa , married to Dan, mama to IVF miracle Natalie 5/20/09 :