Saturday, January 1, 2011

Anger, Frustration, The Works

Life is hard for a birth junkie.

A Facebook acquaintance of mine (knew her from high school), just had her first baby. From her Facebook posts, she had the typical high-intervention, high-testing American pregnancy. During her pregnancy, someone (not me, really!) posted on her wall about the benefits of unmedicated birth. She posted back, "Thanks, but no - I'm just going to go to the hospital and get the epidural as soon as I can." To my best knowledge, she took no childbirth education classes.

(And this really is not an anti-epidural piece. A good friend of mine discovered that she loved epidurals, but because of her strong education in Bradley childbirth ed, she was able to get epidurals in such a way that didn't overly jeopardize a vaginal birth, and she knew exactly the risks and benefits of each procedure she chose or rejected. But parking-lot epidurals are quite a different animal.)

So, when she posted that she was in the hospital in early labor, I told DH - "Guess what? So-and-so is at the hospital having her baby, and I'll bet you anything she comes home with a nice little c-section scar."

So this morning, I checked Facebook: "Due to baby's size and mama's anatomy, baby had to be born by c-section."

And what was the size of this mammoth baby who couldn't fit through the pelvis of a normal, healthy, American woman with no known health problems or pelvic abnormalities?

A whopping eight pounds even.

Do I really need to say anything more?

It fills me with helpless rage and grief. What are we doing to women in this country?

Not only are we sectioning millions of women with no good cause (or with causes that are caregiver-caused), we are lying to them about it in order to justify it.

A too-small pelvis, and a too-big baby? Really? No, try:

- Going to the hospital too early, followed by....
- A first-time mom being put on a too-short time scale, followed by....
- Early medication, followed by....
- Prone labor position and the typical cascade of hospital interventions, followed by....

Golly, gee whiz! A baby who's in distress and can't get out! Quick, to the operating room! Thank goodness this mama didn't try to birth at home, because she and her baby would have died if she hadn't been in the hospital!

And yes, unless the mother starts to do research and finds some answers, this is what she will believe for the rest of her life. "The doctors saved my baby." And unless she does that research, she will most likely end up with repeat cesareans for the rest of her childbearing career.

For anyone who is feeling offended:

Yes, I know that there are necessary cesareans. And I know that I do not have all the details. This possibly could have been the one birth in hundreds where there was true cephalopelvic disproportion and a cesarean was truly necessary. Anything is possible.

But seeing it happen time, after time, after time, after time? No, there is not an epidemic of CPD. There is an epidemic of bad maternity care, in which practitioners and caregivers have every logistical, financial, philosophical and legal reason to encourage the unnecessary cutting open of women, each incidence of which has the possibility (and high incidence) of side-effects and life-long negative health effects.

And seriously, what can one do?

In individual cases, nothing.

If I emailed her out of the blue and said, "Guess what? You know all the pain and fear you went through? Most likely it was all unnecessary! Here's the website for ICAN!", what would her reaction be?

Quite justifiably, rage!

That's not something one can say to someone, especially someone one hardly knows. If she wants to find her own way out of repeat cesareans, she will have to find her own path.

And she will have almost no encouragement from the medical community to do so.

Normally, I try to keep this blog on a more upbeat note, but I was just so angry and frustrated over this that I had to vent. I ask my readers' forgiveness, and I will try to get on a more positive vein soon.

I'll leave you with this excellent post from Mama Birth, which was oh-so-timely for me:

The First Birth: No Do-Overs Currently Available

And in the meantime, Happy New Year!! I think I'll go play with the baby and try to cheer up.


As always, civil conversation is welcome! Rude, uncivil, or hateful comments will be deleted immediately without response.


  1. *Deep sigh*

    And if you did send that letter, the mom's rage would be likely directed... at *you*, not at the doctor, hospital, and system that made her C/s "necessary."


  2. #%$@%!$!!! I feel you.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I've missed you!

  3. I've missed you too! I thought you'd fallen off the face of the planet there for a while! I'm so glad it was my pathetic internet skills that were at the root of it all. :)

  4. This post is so true. When I think about how much of a 180 I did with my own first birth story. I had a breech baby and doctors scheduled a c-section and I remember other mama's telling me I was so lucky to have a c-section. Less stress and I would look so much better after! Can you imagine! I was actually feeling excited about it, but something wasn't sitting right. So in my last week of pregnancy I started doing the research. I went to a chirpractor to turn baby (she turned that hour) and I started researching natural birth.
    I hired a doula and I took one hypno birthing class before baby came. I had a birth in the hospital. It was an uphill battle trying to refuse medicine. I had an IV, they insisted. It turned out to be an ok thing, because after I wouldn't stop bleeding and I had some intervention that would have needed IVs. My second birth was in a birth center. I had a shot of pitocin, to control the bleeding afterwards.
    I only discovered the truth a wk before my first baby was born. If I hadn't I would have bought all the conventional stories. YOu have to discover for yourself but that's why its good that so much of this information, like your blog, like the buisness of babies etc. is out there


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