Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family Birth Stories: Me!

Since today is my birthday, here is my mom's birth story!

I don't know much of my mom's birth story. For some reason, I feel rather uncomfortable discussing birth or other intimate topics with my mom, even though I can discuss the most intimate details of childbirth with friends and perfect strangers without turning a hair. Odd, but there it is. Here is what I do know:

I was a first (and only) child. I entered the world on a day when my dad was supposed to leave for town on a business trip. As he got up that morning to get ready to go, my mom said "You're not going anywhere!" She knew that my arrival would be that day, as early labor had already started.

My mom labored throughout the day, and sometime or other they landed at their planned birth place, a freestanding birth center next to a hospital in a larger city about 20 minutes away from our home (this birth center is unfortunately no longer around). My mom had taken Lamaze classes - the real "hee hee ha ha" Lamaze, and she says that it really helped her. She wanted me to take the same classes, though I never could bring myself to do so. Anyhow, she puffed her way through early and active labor...

... until sometime around 11 p.m., when "something" went wrong and baby (Yours Truly) started having trouble and the decision was made for a cesarean.

Before I knew anything about birth, I always assumed that my life was saved by a cesarean section. Now knowing that, unfortunately, a huge majority of cesareans are completely unnecessary, I can no longer say that with complete assurance. I wonder what would have happened with a midwife-assisted homebirth?

However, I think it likely that my mom's cesarean was in some way necessary, simply because of the speed with which it was accomplished. This was no "let's talk it over and start thinking cesarean" sort of c-section - according to my mom, they tossed her on a gurney (stark naked) and took off at a dead run out of the birth center across the parking lot to the hospital, where she was put under immediately and I was subsequently born. That must have been quite an adventure! Yikes!

My dad did get to be present, and due to a childhood spent assisting his father in the mortician business (child labor laws were looser in those days!), he watched the entire surgery without a qualm. In later days (up to the present) he enjoyed regaling us all with the details - such as my mom's entire uterus being dragged out of her body for stitching, along with various intestines, etc. - ugh!.

My mom didn't get to see me until I was multiple hours old, if not a day or so, so I must have been given formula at some point; nevertheless she established successful breastfeeding, despite returning to work when I was 2 months old, and breastfed to 1 year of age - at which time, she tells me, I quit cold-turkey and refused to have anything more to do with the idea. (I therefore expected that my first would also naturally self-wean at 1 year and was quite surprised when we happily continued to the near-3-year mark!)

My mom wanted more kidlets; my dad didn't. Combined with their infertility problems (I took 10 years to show up) and her doctor's recommendation against VBAC (in part, I think, because of the type of incision done), I remained sibling-less, much to my disappointment.

And that is my birth story! Or rather, my mom's! :)


  1. I just checked the C/s rates ( -- if you really, really, really want to see, it's p. 118): "The rate of cesarean section deliveries in the United States quadrupled from 1965 to 1983, from 4.5 per 100 hospital deliveries in 1965 to 20.3 in 1983, based on National Hospital Discharge Survey data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Cesarean section rates in 1981 were highest in the Northeast at 20.0 per 100 hospital deliveries and lowest in the North Central Region at 15.9 per 100. The South and West had intermediate rates in 1981 of 18.8 and 17.1, respectively."

    But considering the details around the birth, with it being treated as a true emergency, I'd say it was a true emergency. A C/s might have been avoided at home, if they did something at the birth center that caused a problem, or if they made a mistake and things weren't really that emergent; but it's more likely that it was one of those cases where we're all glad that there is such a thing as C-sections.


  2. And, here is the graph I wanted to post initially, but had to ask Jill for it because I'm so brilliant I couldn't find "search" on The Unnecesarean. :-)

  3. Wow, Kathy! Thanks for all that info! Stellar!!! You are awesome. :)


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