*sigh* C-sections. It is the new barometer to gauge how good of a mother you are, before you actually starting, you know, parenting. Oh, it isn’t that straight forward. People, mainly on the Internet, tell you they understand, but secretly behind their computer screens they are shaking their heads in judgement. Meh, who cares? Well, I do and I don’t. I care when misinformation is thrown about and used to pigeon hole everyone who has met their OB’s scalpel (yes, I know they use lasers. Work with me.) up close and personal. Well, life and judgements are never that cut and dry.
I have had 3 c-sections. Yes, you read that right, I had 3. Many factors went into me going under the knife. However, convenience and fear of pain was not on the list. Matter of fact, I clearly remember sitting at the side of my first OB’s ( I would go on to have 3 more doctors for my births)desk wringing my hands asking him if he knew for sure if I would AVOID a c-section. Damn doctors. Sadly they aren’t God and he couldn’t tell me. Bastard! You see, I had never been in a hospital, before giving birth, and I was deathly afraid….let me say it, again….DEATHLY AFRAID of having surgery. I didn’t want it. I took all the classes and I was prepared for a vaginal birth. I knew I could push. I knew I could breathe. I knew I could do that. What I didn’t know was what a c-section entailed. All I knew was that they wanted to cut me open and move my insides around. Last I checked my insides were fine where they were and there was no need to going poking around.
I researched. I am here to tell you that there is such a thing as too much research. Another thing to pop up that would put the fear of modern medicine into me, pitocin. From my research I learned that pitocin caused Autism. WHA?! Pitocin meant you were definitely, for sure going to have a c-section. NO! Pitocin hurt like a semi truck driving through your pelvic area. *falls to the floor* I prayed. I begged. I bargained. Please, oh please, don’t let me have pitocin or a c-section. I guess I my message to God went to the wrong in box, because at 5 days pass my due date (which I never believe, because I never knew the last day of my period. Who the hell keeps track of that crap? It is here. I curse. It is gone. The husband comes out of hiding.) I was contracting and then I wasn’t. Huh? What is that you say? That is not possible. Oh really. You want to have a conversation with my lazy uterus. Go ahead, but I am hear to tell you she ain’t listening to no body. So the pitocin drip starts, the contractions start to feel like an angry ape throwing luggage around in my uterus, but they don’t start getting any closer together. The story of my life, I do well with one thing, but can’t pull it through to complete the transaction. Here is where I tell you I take a nap and you go, “HUH, WHA?!” Oh yeah, that contraction was a bitch, but once it passed I was all clear for my journey to sleepy town. I would wake in another room with a doctor peering into my nether regions and liquid spilling all over the bed. That is when the action started. No, not contractions, medical staff bustling around like someone just set their collective pants on fire. It was time for the baby to come out. Whether she wanted to or not. I have stubborn kids, especially when you are expecting them to do certain things, like, I don’t know, be born into the world.
I have gone over a million times what I should have done during Amber’s birth. I have read on the Internet as people, some who have never given birth, say I had choices. Oh really? Let’s look at the choices I could have demand in all my non-medical knowledge glory: I could have demanded to push. That might be a little hard without contractions. I mean I know we are women, hear us roar, but we do need all parts doing their, well, part. I could have demanded to wait and see what might happen. I mean my body, as a female, is made to give birth, right? So it would have happened eventually, right? Who the hell knows. In the mean time Amber could have choked on her first bowel movement. (Yeah, I can never spell that word right, so you get my 2nd grade description of it.) So in the end I did have choices, but no one talks about the consequences of those choices or being in a situation where it might be a tad hard to make a completely rational decision. You can try. Here is what you do. Invite about 10/15 total strangers into a cold, very bright room, while you lay buck naked on a hard surface. Have about a million beeps going on, some of the people will be having a conversation with words you have no clue what they mean while someone tries to explain the situation to you quickly and then ask you for a decision. Let me know how you fair. I am not denying that I could have made the no c-section decision and come out completely fine. I can’t tell you how Amber would have come out in that scenario.
I don’t know who is spreading the word that c-sections are fun. I am here to tell you they ain’t no walk in the park on sunny day. You are literally cut in half while you are AWAKE! Yeah, that last part freaked me out, too. And I don’t care what anyone says, they don’t get easier the more you have. Each one carries it’s own risks. What I am here to tell you is that until you are in that situation you can’t completely say with all certainty what you would do or not do. Not to mention you suddenly have another human being who is completely dependent on you to make the right decision. Remember the goal is healthy, happy babies. So if I am out of the running for mother of the year because I had 3 c-sections then so be it. I am sure there are many other things you could have used to take me out of the running.
I don’t really need to justify my other 2 c-sections. I could tell you about the natural disaster I found myself in while 4 months pregnant with Sam. I could go on and on about how I didn’t like nor trusted my OB, but what choice did I have in a city that barely had hospitals up and running? My main goal with her was for her NOT to tie my tubes no matter how much she insisted. Without medical records and hospital staffs at an all time low there was no chance in hell I was going to get a VBAC. I would guess New Orleans after Katrina, even 6 mos after, was as close to a 3rd world country as I ever want to get. Do you give me points for even asking at the beginning of my pregnancy and when I finally secured a doctor after my original one had fled? By the time I got pregnant with Evie, I was done. I would have let them extract her through my nose if that is what they said was the best way. I was in the hands of my fully capable OB (a new one from the one that I had with Sam)and the Perinatologist who I saw every damn month. That was a bit much, I thought, but hey, again, if it gets me a healthy baby so be it.
Who do we blame for this? Do we blame those nasty money hungry medical doctors? I really don’t think ALL doctors are assholes. And if you find yourself faced with an asshole, then, um, here is your choice: Find a new one. I have many times and didn’t feel bad at all. However, when I do find a new doctor I discuss my medical care and ask questions. My first clue that you are an asshole doctor is if you get annoyed at all my questions. I am here to tell you in any profession there will be good ones and there will be bad ones. Your job is to find a good one and then trust them. Do we blame health insurance? That one I am not touching. If you think insurance companies don’t want to pay for your regular visit to the doctor, what makes you think they are all gung ho to pay for your c-section. My belief is that insurance companies are going to fight and go over with a fine tooth comb just about every claim put before them, because they are trying to make money. It is a pain for us, but we have a choice, we can pay out of pocket for our medical care. Go ahead and ask, I am sure your doctor or hospital will take cash. I know they took mine. We can blame lawyers, but what can’t you blame lawyers for? Hmmm, I am not sure how to defend lawyers on this one, but I will say that I would venture a guess that someone came to them with a grievance regarding their birth and the lawyer did his job. Maybe a little too well, but he did his job. You can blame malpractice insurance that all doctors and hospitals must have to cover their asses. Having a mother, who is a nurse, who got dragged into a lawsuit, because a family didn’t want to accept that their elderly mother died of natural causes, it is frightening to be on the shit end of a lawsuit, especially if you have never been involved in one before . And I am sure doctors and hospitals would much rather put the money they spend on malpractice insurance to better use, but alas it is a necessary evil much like car insurance. There are many places to put the blame for the c-section rates. Dare I say, yes even those mothers, who I believe are very rare, that pressure their doctors for a c-section out of convenience. I have heard of them, but have never met one. Does it do anyone any good? Not really.
We live in a society where many things are available to us, medicine, medical advancement out the ying yang and the Internet that can scare you with one small Google search. I don’t think the answer is beating mothers, who have already had their babies, over the head with the fact that YOU think they didn’t birth right. I think the real solution is an open dialogue that dispenses with the scare tactics (I am looking at all you old school moms who just love your war stories) and share an experience that can be learned from. I think there needs to be included in those birth classes (keep in mind my last one was 10 yrs ago. ) a real discussion about c-section, stalled labor and pitocin. I might have heard a blip about these things in the birth class I took, but nothing substantial. What I really think is that the medical community doesn’t know everything about pregnancy and birth. Yeah, I said it. And they are still learning. When my daughters are ready to give birth I am sure I will be sitting at the kitchen table with my mouth gaped open amazed at what they are telling me is going to happen. That is what we do people, we live, learn and move on. Each generation will learn something new about the process of being born and will be a little better off. And the generation behind them will sit there and wish they had that when they were about to give birth. It is the circle of knowledge.