And now for something completely different.
What if you’re a woman that needs a cesarean, wants a cesarean or would like to let your body give birth vaginally but feels that modern technology makes the birth process safer for you after a previous cesarean?
Morgan from Adventures in Diapering and Beyond advocates for making the cesarean experience and recovery period better for families and supporting women who need cesareans as well as for women with a previous cesarean who aren’t interested in a VBAC for successive births, who can’t find anyone to attend their birth because of VBAC bans, who are living in a Push State without access to Certified Professional Midwives, whose financial situation precludes them from hiring a home birth midwife and who do not want to give birth unassisted.
I confess that I thought that making decisions per the status quo, such as consenting to any and all interventions and hopping on the repeat cesarean train, led to a certain amount of privileging in American society. “Listen to your doctor” seems to be the focus of almost every pregnancy book, magazine, online parenting community and I suspect that almost everyone has a relative that won’t pause to take the cigarette from her lips when she tells you that your doctor probably has really good reason for recommending a cesarean, so listen to the doctor, dear. I have always assumed that there was plenty of support and validation available for women having medicalized births. Yet even if you go with the medical grain instead of against it, you still need a place to share your feelings and get woman to woman advice from like-minded peers and mentors, right?
The reality is that our friends, sisters, partners and relatives are having cesareans. A lot of them. When you start seeing this and this and this and this, you know that when you look around in a room of women, you might be in the minority in terms of vaginal birth. Morgan’s blog posts on cesareans raise important questions. While we work to change the system here in the U.S. to make more options available to pregnant women, are we doing enough to support the many women—1,372,844 in 2007— having cesareans? Are we set up for this many cesarean sections as a society? What are we doing to help with post-surgery rehabilitation and making postpartum care accessible to uninsured or underinsured women? Can we do better than insurance companies refusing to provide coverage to women who’ve had a previous cesarean? Michelle Obama says we can.
In this post for “Best of” Week, Morgan writes from experience about reasons to avoid unnecessary cesareans.
Unnecessary Elective C-Sections- WHY?!?
In case you’re thinking of having a c-section just for the fun of it, let me give you a couple reasons of why you should reconsider having a vaginal birth:
Point 1: Does this look like the face of someone who is having a grand old time? Not hardly. It’s surgery- not a county fair. It’s painful and scary. I know all births are painful and can be frightening, but still, why would anyone want to have their insides on the outsides if they don’t need to?
Point 2: Recovery can be much harder and longer than a vaginal birth. My VBAC friends were up and walking after their vaginal births right away. I was up walking later that day, but I did it hunched over and moving very slowly.
Point 3: If you have a vaginal birth, you don’t have to worry about watching comedy movies. Let me just say that you do NOT want to watch a funny movie while recovering from a c-section in the hospital! Ouch!
Point 4: See this little guy? He went into respiratory distress within the first hour after birth. My husband and I were so scared about whether he was going to be okay. Unfortunately, this happens somewhat often with c-sections. Most not nearly as bad as my son’s case was, but still- have your baby vaginally and you don’t have to worry about repository distress due to not getting the fluid out of his lungs.
Point 5: If you are hoping to have more than 10 kids, you’re probably going to find that is a little more difficult when you have to have them all c-sections.
If your body can safely handle a vaginal birth, then why not go that route rather than going through surgery and birth? Choosing a c-section if a person knows they (and their child) do not need it- that I truly just don’t understand.
This post originally appeared on Adventures in Diapering and Beyond on February 2, 2009.
Some of Morgan’s tips and thoughts on c-sections:
Morgan is a mother of four young children who had four c-section births in four years. Using her c-section experiences, she helps educate other women on cesarean births through her blog Adventures in Diapering and Beyond and as a co-owner of a popular c-section support group on a leading online parenting community. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time with her family, homeschooling, quilting, singing, photographing, and reading to her kids.