Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ah, the Glorious C-Section

I received this email from a former student of mine. She gave me permission to share it with you. Her baby was born about a year ago. She was induced (sudden spike in blood pressure) and had a rough labor because of it. She worked really hard to birth her baby vaginally, but ultimately, I don't think her body was quite ready. In the end, she had a prolapsed cord (the cord came out before the baby) and they did a c-section. Her emotional recovery continues. It's been a rough year for her and her husband.

No woman should meet her baby for the first time like this.

"I don't think I ever sent you this picture, so I'll share it w/ you now. My first picture of Kate & I together after her birth. You can see the hideous hospital gown, the blood pressure cuff, my eyes are red & watery & my face is covered in broken blood vessels from pushing for almost 4 hours and from vomiting once in labor, and then again during the c-section. (I guess that's very common when they ramp up your anesthesia so fast.) I have no memory of this photo - you can see I'm not even looking at her.

Moments before this, I remember telling the room "I'm going to throw up." And someone said, 'that's ok." And all I could think was, I'm pinned on my back, my arms are strapped down, I can't hardly lift my head. I'm going to choke on my own vomit & drown choking on my own vomit on this op table because no one is looking at me, they're looking at the surgeon. It was yucky & terrible, and I felt so alone yet I was surrounded by attending people (many nurses, surgeon, anesthesiologist & his assistants, AND my midwife.) Kip was late coming in because they made him change into special clothes - by the time they ushered him in they had already removed my uterus and it was laying outside the wound as they stitched it. He got to see it all. Luckily, he's not the fainting type!

I don't know why I suddenly felt compelled to share this w/ you, sorry so random, hope you don't mind the gory details. I guess I just needed a safe place to vent. Phew. Thanks, Donna."

As you can tell, it was business as usual at the hospital. They showed no compassion for this woman or her husband. She struggled with breastfeeding, which in the end, didn't last long. She struggled with depression. Her husband hasn't even wanted to begin to think about another baby because this was such a difficult experience.

I'm just left with thinking about why anyone would choose a c-section. Our birthing experiences are so underestimated in this country. We suffer from this mentality, "As long as the baby is healthy, it doesn't matter how it gets here." It does matter. For the baby and the mother, and even the father.

I was talking with a woman this weekend who was telling me that she's had 4 c-sections. One of her children is being tested for ADD. On the paperwork, she said there were loads of questions asking about the pregnancy and delivery. She was so surprised by that. I'm not.


Monica said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the troubles she and her husband have gone through. That sounded horrific. I hope (if they choose to have more kids) that next time she is able to have the birth she wants.

Lena said...

I think that was one of the worst parts- everyone in the world held Joseph before I did.

Alicia said...

I just got off the phone talking with a friend who is expecting. I love talking babies. I read this and really have a sadness that can not be expressed. The whole C-Section to me is such a foul word. I am so blessed to have found Donna. She gave me an understanding and knowledge of all aspects of birth, which I never had before. I had a fear of C-Sections before my Bradley class and now I have nothing but terror!