Who's Afraid of the Big Bad C-Section?
by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
My sister-in-law just had a baby and she had four hours of labor, pushed for one hour (with seven minutes between contractions so she could rest) while talking to her doctor and holding her husband’s hand, and her beautiful baby boy slid out like a tiny miracle.
Everything was perfect.
I’ve had two c-sections.
Until the other day, I didn’t think I was missing out on anything. But to hear her talk about what an amazing experience it was left me wondering if I’d gotten the short end of the child birth stick.
“It was the most natural experience of my entire life,” my sister-in-law gushed when I entered her hospital room. She was flying high, by the way, and her mood wasn’t due to morphine like mine was when I was wheeled out of recovery trailing my catheter tubes behind me.
“It’s like, now I understand what our bodies are made for. It all makes perfect sense,” she said tearing up at the realization.
It’s not like I don’t know what our bodies are meant for. Because I do. I know what a vagina is for. I just didn’t use mine for that. And it’s not that I never wanted to. I didn’t request a c-section because I was planning a fabulous vacation and needed to know my schedule. Although if you read the news these days they’d have you believe that despite the risks involved in major surgery, women are lining up around the block for their C’s, poo poo’ing vaginal deliveries like they’re last season’s hemline.
According to MSNBC, the US’s C-section rates are among the highest in the world and only increasing. A lot of these C-sections are repeat C’s which according to the author of this article are highly unnecessary. The problem apparently is that these darn doctors are saying once a C always a C when women should at least try to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section). I guess being one of those women this article is referring to: a repeat C offender, I feel at once ripped off and defensive.
When I got knocked up with my first baby, I already knew I’d be having a C-sec. I’d been treated for a large uterine fibroid multiple times and my top notch female surgeon told me –no vaginal birth. “Are you certain?” I’d asked, not because I was so upset at the thought just because I figured I should know the reasons. “I shouldn’t even try?”
“No. You have scars on your uterus and if you went into hard labor, your uterus could rupture. Even though there’s only a small chance of that happening, if it happened you could lose the baby and you could also die. You don’t want to take that risk.
“So you’re saying I should definitely give it a try then. Ha ha.” Obviously I didn’t want to take that risk so I put it out of my mind, never second guessing it until I was pregnant with my first child and other women asked me about my birth plan.
“I have to have a C-sec,” I’d tell them.