Monday, January 3, 2011

Is This C-Section Rate For Real?

This week I went to the American Girl store in Dallas with my middle daughter (9) and a friend of hers.  We had a great time and went to lunch afterwards.  While we were waiting for a table, Abby's friend was telling about how she was born in the same hospital as a friend of hers, they have the same pediatrician, and born the same year.  I leaned over and told her that Abby was born at home in a big pool of water in our living room.  She was in total shock!  She said, "Did a doctor come to your house to get her out of your stomach?!"  (Abby seemed equally shocked by her reaction, which I must admit, made this mama proud.)

This is what girls growing up in America believe is normal -- babies being cut out of their mothers. 

I am certain that we are all aware that the rate of women having c-sections in the United States is about 1 in 3.  In North Texas, where I live, it's about 50%.  I have a friend that is a labor and delivery nurse at an area hospital and another that works postpartum at the same hospital.  They have both said there are days/nights that they do not tend to or witness a single woman that has a vaginal birth.  They are at a hospital that has a 60% c-section rate, but they have both told me they believe the rate is even higher.

I have another friend that works as a lactation consultant at another area hospital.  This is a portion of an email I received from her this weekend:

Out of 12 patients on the floor, 6 were c-sections.  Today's breakdown looked like this:
1 induction for "post dates" - mom was 40 weeks.  Ended in C/S
1 induction for "large for gestational age" at 39 weeks - baby weighed 7lb 9oz and ended up on antibiotics because mom ran a fever during labor.  Baby will spend an extra 2 nights in the hospital without mom for antibiotic therapy
1 induction at 39 weeks for "suspected ployhydramnios" - mom managed to deliver vaginally but baby is feeding poorly
1 induction for "post dates" at 40+6 - resulted in maternal fever, Failure to Progress, C/S and baby on antibiotics
1 "Term Induction" (whatever that means!) at 39+2
3 repeat C/S (1 at 36+ wk, 1 at 38wks and 1 at 39wks)
4 spontaneous labors, one of which ended in C/S for "Failure to descend"


Also this week, at the same hospital, a woman was told that she would have to have her birth plan approved by the legal department.   It was 11:30 p.m. and they would not be available to do so until the morning.  Her doula reminded her that she had options.  Yadda, yadda, yadda, she drove across town and birthed with the UNT Midwives in Ft. Worth -- no pain medication, cord wrapped around baby's neck 3 times, and water broken for almost 48 hours.   This couple would certainly have had a c-section had they stayed at their original birth place.   If that story doesn't inspire you to hire a doula, I don't know what will!

One of my couples had their baby at 37 weeks right before Christmas.  She had started bleeding pretty heavily, but it would stop when she laid down.  They suspected a placental abruption, but the midwife (yes, one of the UNT Midwives) and back-up OB couldn't see anything on the ultrasound.  She had lost quite a bit of blood, but they decided to wait it out.  Her contractions were sporadic -- short and not very strong -- and this went on for over 6 hours.  Baby was fine.  The midwife finally decided to break her water and things progressed from there.  She was catheterized so that she would not get up and start the bleeding again.   Her baby was born, posterior and wrapped in his cord, about 12 hours after the midwife broke her water.  No epidural.  As it turns out, she had had an abruption, but she had a large blood clot on the placenta that had stopped the bleeding.   Had it broken free, she would have had an emergency c-section.    I believe she would have had a c-section had she walked into the majority of the DFW hospitals bleeding like that.  Baby is nursing well and everyone is doing great.

So, yes, the c-section rate is crazy.  But we don't have to leave it to chance.  Do not ignore red flags.  If they are popping up at your hospital tour or monthly/weekly appointments, do not put a blindfold on and keep walking, hoping things will work out in your favor.  Tear it off and RUN!  There are care providers who will support you -- not just go along with you -- in your decision to have a normal vaginal birth.

Let's face it though, if I was an OB, I would be all over the c-section thing.  No waiting around, twice as much money, I'm the hero saving the day, and dang it, no one ever sues an OB for performing a c-section!

10 comments:

October Mom 2009 said...

You wouldn't happen to be able to reveal the name of the horror hospital would you??

BTW thanks soo much for revealing the UNT midwives website. Otherwise I would not have known that they take Medicaid.
Do you happen to know if they accept VBAC patients?

Kendra said...

Yes!!! october mom 2009 they do accept VBAC as I am one of their patients. due 04/28/2011 this will be my second Vbac 1st was successful so we are going for number 2 now. If you are expecting call them right away. My expereince in maternity care has been so differnt and much more positive since I switched. i will never see an OB again.

Jessi said...

Great post and I LOVE the new color of the site!!!

October Mom 2009 said...

Thanks so much Kendra! I actually just found out another option very locally as well and have decided not to call since in the end it will be over a 2 hour drive through all of the traffic and if I can do it here then I will jump at the chance.

Thanks so much for the support and congratulations on your Vbacs!

Lickmycritz said...

I actually found this blog because I saw your SUV parked at American Girl that day. I've been reading it sporadically when get the chance and it's just wonderful. I'm planning on starting my Midwifery apprenticeship in November and I agree with so many points you have made. You are well informed, proactive, and your blog is well written and not boring. What you do is a wonderful thing and I applaud your efforts to spread the word. Midwives as a whole need help getting the word out and you are fabulous.

Keep up the good work and I will continue to read along(and hopefully read from beginning to present quickly).

Teri

Lickmycritz said...

I actually found this blog because I saw your SUV parked at American Girl that day. I've been reading it sporadically when get the chance and it's just wonderful. I'm planning on starting my Midwifery apprenticeship in November and I agree with so many points you have made. You are well informed, proactive, and your blog is well written and not boring. What you do is a wonderful thing and I applaud your efforts to spread the word. Midwives as a whole need help getting the word out and you are fabulous.

Keep up the good work and I will continue to read along(and hopefully read from beginning to present quickly).

Teri

Donna Ryan said...

Teri, I just wanted to invite you to check out and be a part of the Tarrant County Birth Network. We meet on the TWU campus every 2nd Thursday of the month for some networking and speakers. Our website is being rebuilt next weekend, but you can still check it out. Let me know if you would like more information. www.tcbirthnetwork.org

Good luck with your midwifery training. Very exciting! Enjoy the blog!

Donna Ryan said...

I would rather not reveal the name of the hospitals because of my friends that work there. I'll be happy to tell you if you email me:

bannedfrombabyshowers@gmail.com

Judith said...

Blogger Judith said...

Mrs. Donna Ryan,

I am the mother you were talking about that had a nightmare turn into a wonderful memorable experience because of our excellent doula and midwives at UNT. My husband and I put full trust in a hospital that let us down at the last minute. Not only were we not informed about the whole situation of the birthing plan needing to be signed (Not even our Dr. told us - in which I showed it to him way in advance), I had to sign a form to allow the nursery to take care of my baby...After she was born for 3 hours...Doing all the tests on her...Not allowing even my husband in the nursery while they take her away... We weren't informed of this procedure either. Oh..did I mention we had to wait in the waiting room for a room to be opened up (just an add on)....I wanted my baby with me.. and I wanted her naturally... So With my water that had been leaking all day... and the tube tied around her neck 3 times... You are right... I probably would not have been happy with the end results... I can say that the nurses were nice and informed me to do what I want to do in regards to staying or leaving...They just told me the risks involved...if my water was broke.. I thank God for the information that our doula gave as...and out of our own bold but scared crazy choice... we chose to leave and listen to the advice our doula told us... and that is going to a mother friendly hospital...that did an awesome job...delivering our baby... The midwives and our doula were awesome...

I will write the whole birthing story soon...as I get the time to.. God Bless You

Judith Moyers
judadekin@gmail.com

January 7, 2011 4:53 PM


-I'm new to blogs and commented on the wrong story earlier. Sorry.

Gloria said...

Little girls growing up with no confidence or awareness that their bodies can deliver a child. I'm in Arlington, orginally from Mansfield. Most of my friends and friend's daughters have had c-sections. So, I actually think that 50% is a conservative number and that the section rate here is more like 65 - 70%