Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Natural Birth Bullies You!

I get really irritated with the whole cesarean/natural birth argument.  And you know why, because I had to have a cesarean.  I know what you guys are going to say, no, no, you didn't.  And that's what pisses me off!

About 90% of the hardcore anti-cesarean peeps out there will automatically consider my c-section unnecessary. My medical history doesn't matter and I even had one person ask me if I saw my uterus to confirm it.  Um, yeah, I did not ask my doctor to lift up and show me my uterus.  I felt that would be slightly invasive for the both of us.

And I will admit that Brazil, where my children were born, has one of those super duper high C-section rates. You know, one of those countries where the docs normally schedule in the birth between their morning appointments and afternoon lunch date. Quick and easy.

But again, what pisses me off is that I gave birth at a hospital where they don't do c-section unless they really have to. It's a "natural," aka. thrifty, Brazilian public hospital. I wasn't even allowed to bring a pacie into my freaking room. Not even nipple soother.  You went in, you gave birth in the factory line of birthing beds, and you breastfed. That was it.

Well, per my style, my uterus rebelled. It followed the beat of it's own little drummer right into the OR.

And you know what, I shouldn't have to feel bad about it. I gave birth to a baby and it's not any less of a birth! Actually, while you were up and around a day after your excruciating 24 hrs of labor, I was stuck in bed for weeks!  I got an infection, and I had a horrible time all around.  So you want to compare pain, I think I have some room to bicker with you.

And no, my birthing experience wasn't magical in that it was choreographed with Sade music and I chanted to the beat of bongo drums.  It was magical because I gave birth to my son!  So stop the Mom on Mom hate. It's fine to support your cause, and I too support avoiding unnecessary cesareans.  But just because you had one doesn't mean you didn't need it.  I don't get an automatic too posh to push sticker put on my chest.

So lay off, and please don't forget, that as much as the c-section is overused these days, it was created for a reason. Mothers used to die during childbirth. Babies used to die. And, shocking, sometimes both Mommy and Baby died.

I mean, seriously, you are all turning Gisele Bundchen on our asses and it is not pretty.

Yes, we need to get back to nature, but there are some cases in which nature would have sacrificed one or both of the people involved in the pregnancy.  In those cases, c-sections need to be performed.  And the Mother shouldn't be made to feel less of a woman because of it. Trust me, she feels that way already. 


  1. Oh it's nice to hear someone else singing this song. I always get really defensive about the crap my sister has gotten. She, after 17 hours of labor, had to have a c-section. She is a small person, and her baby's head was in the 95th percentile. When push came to shove he just didn't fit.

    Plus being the scientificly inclined person that I am I always get really frustrated that I have never once read an article, or heard an answer from these anti any c-section people that addresses the following:
    If we have been doing only necessary c-sections, evolutionarily speaking the number should still be increasing. Before they were available all those women and babies that may have something with their genetics that might predispose them to being a c-section risk (like small size, or gestational diabeties) died. With decades of c-sections keeping those women and babies in the gene pool, is it really a wonder why even the most necessary c-sections are still on the rise?
    I'm a tree-hugging hippie so I'm all about getting back to nature, but I'm still gonna go to the doc when I get sick. Nature is harsh, I'm glad we have medical and scientific discovery to make nature not so lethal.

  2. Grrl - you gotta stop hangin' out on those nasty mommie boards. They may boost your blog traffic, but you're gonna' blow a gaskit!

    Keep breathing grrl.

  3. I know. We Mommies can be pretty brutal!

  4. I really liked that I had a choice and there were some very good reasons that contributed to my choice to go c-section. In the end, it would not have been possible for me to deliver natural/vaginal as during my last month of pregnancy, my son managed to get tangled up in the umbilical cord, Mr. Dr. told me she would have preformed a c-section anyhow. Like you said, give Moms a break...

  5. whoa who is saying this stuff to you?

  6. Well, I've had plenty said to my face, been questioned, and had things implied. I've also read a lot where there is little consideration for the mother who went through a c-section. Actually calling us ignorant or uninformed, careless, and whatnot. It's just irritating. I finally had to say something when someone was going off on facebook. And guess what, they had a super easy natural labor. So you know what, they don't even know what women who have to get a c-section deal with physically, emotionally, and mentally.

    I know Brazil has high stats, but that doesn't mean that everyone opted for one or that every single doctor is an only c-section doctor. Not every one is lying to you. That's just extreme.

  7. I really wanted to have a normal birth (but with drugs please!) but after 14 odd hours, baby was stuck so I had a c-section. Such is life. It's nobody's business how your baby came out, only that you are both healthy. Don't listen to any holier than thou rants from 'mothers' who really should have betters things to do!

  8. Here's what I think: Women deserve choices. Whether it's the the right to choose to take birth control, have an abortion, or have a baby. It is not up to anyone to decide how she wants to have her baby. Maybe some women feel they are "too posh to push", but shouldn't it be their choice? It's their body, their baby, and their birth.

  9. I had a friend in college who was going to do the midwife at home and deliver in a tub. Hardcore. But during the labor she had complications and the midwife sent her to the hospital. So after 24 hours she was still in labor without any sleep, hour 26 the doctor tells her the baby is under distress. Which of course she begins to become under distress too. Thankfully, 4 hours later she delivers a healthy baby. But man the doctor left her hanging there 30 hours in labor no sleep and freaking out? Sometimes I think c-section is a good idea.

  10. I think there's no reason why we should put science as being vs nature and vice-versa. It's great and amazing that we have science to give a hand to nature when the cookie cutter breaks, and even better that science strives always to learn more and correct it's faults - otherwise Earth would still be flat!

    So yeah, I had a 30something hour long labour and stuck it out till the end because a. my baby was fine all the way through, b. I was in a hospital which gave me the peace of mind that if anything went wrong I was in the best place to correct anything before bad went to worse, and c. I'm actually so much more scared of being cut open and all the consequences that can have on my body, than to push for a while and maybe pop a seam and get a few stiches. Maybe I'm a sissy, but natural yes, but a good safety net underneath, please.

    So I think that as long as the mom is well informed of pros/cons of either side, if she chooses a home-water-birth with 13 chanting maidens or a 2-4-1 C-sec-nip/tuck, then the result should be a happy momma, not because of those last few or many hours, but because of the previous 9 months she dedicated to having that baby finally there.

    And I'm gonna break a golden rule here, but I really have doubts as to that saying that childbirth is the most painful feeling in the world (that is without butcher-job episectomies). Love to use that one vs the men, but I'm sure that having your belly sliced and bursting a stitch when you bend to carry the baby or getting an infection is worse!

  11. BTW Rachel, if anyone who has read/knows your birth story gives you carp, they are total idiots. THAT, if anything, was proper sacrifice for your baby and I take my hat off.

  12. Dear Rachel,

    I totally hear you!
    I wouldn't exist if it wasn't for C-section, my mother has a "narrow hip". I think this is how it's called, "quadril estreito" in Portuguese.
    She would have died trying to give birth to me because of this condition.
    Thanks to C-sections she had me with no problems and 3 more after me :)
    Yay for C-Sections and a big boo for Gisele Bunchen and her radical followers ;)


  13. Oi Rachel !
    I gave birth twice in Holland, 100% drugs free, maybe the only country in the world with a strict policy about giving birth. It will be natural or... it will be natural. And highly probably at home. Moms-to-be are pushed to courses and gym and yoga. The daddies-to-be learn through courses how to help during a delivery, if necessary. They learn how to support the woman, how to count the rythym of contaction, how to hold the head, extract and turn the kid. EVERYmother is entitled to a free box with emergency articles for a delivery at home. You are called and visited weeks before the calculated date of birth so that they can approve whether your bed was placed high enough, whether everything is at hand... The midwives (I had a man helping during the birth!) have a case with everything needed (instruments like huge and thick woodden needles, forceps, pumps...) and far more experience than any doctor or gynecologist. And they visited you twice after the birth, just to check if you are having signs of a post partum depression.

    To summarize: there is a LOT of preparation before the natural birth. There is a lot of support AFTER the birth. And a helper during 8 days after the birth, for 4h, 6h or 8h a day (depending of your insurance. No work thus no insurance ? The government covers the cost of it)

    Yes, C-sections do happen here, and the number is minimal.
    You had a C-section. Be happy about it,be gratreful, be happy for your healthy kids. Bless the doctors ! You do not have to justify much about your personal experiences. Everything is well when it ends well.

  14. Anita...Holland = :)

    eesh :S having a baby at a pub hospital here sounds terrible. i visited a g-ma in a hospital here and i felt like i was in a max-security prison. pretty damn scary. but if a c-section was necessary for you for your son's health, what can people blame you for? when bad things happen, we reach for medical surgery. so what is the difference if a complication happened? though the fact that it was in c-section-happy brazil is tough. im sorry :(

    so im 24 and don't have kids yet, but chances are when i do it will be here in Brazil and i already thought about how im not sure i can handle that...even though we go to a private hospital, but still. the c-section stats threw me way off too when i first heard of them, but i was told that it changed since the 70s, 80s, 90s. I got so mad when my MIL told me that her c-sections to have both my husband and brother in law (early 80s and early 90s) were both scheduled before labor and everything! not even for a reason, just for "because." after that i got pretty freaked out. im the second of 6 siblings and my mom spent over 20 years as a lactation consultant and birthing tub distributor (always had pregnant ladies in my hose getting a tub or having a course on how to breast feed), and 2 of my siblings were born at home, so growing up in and seeing that as the normal obviously molded my personal opinion, you know. i am no where near to having kids but i talked about it with my husband and he thinks im crazy. i really always wanted a midwife and a fancy pants birthing center (im from seattle, granola center) but now brazil has me pretty on the fence about having a baby here. obviously i know im just speculating, and things will change when i actually experience it, but it's strange how it affected me so much. i think i'll be waiting for quite a while.

  15. Rachael,

    You should not be getting grief about the C-section. People need to realize they are necessary. Brazil has a high rate of C-sections, partly due to women's choice, partly due to former insurance policies which made it financially in the doctor's interest to push a C-section and partly due to doctor's inexperience (having had more experience with C-sections due to the financial incentives). Examples of this are the doctor thinking 6 hours of labor is "too long", or immediately administering pitosin drip and then having to do a C-section when the dilation does not keep up with the pushing induced by the drugs.

    The most important thing is to choose a good OB. You can create the birth experience you want and be confident that you dr is doing the right thing if you are confident in your doctor and you and your doctor are on the same page. Some doctors here in Brazil favor C-sections, others are promoters of vaginal births, some work with natural birth and others would not dream of delivering without drugs.

    @Mallory, I know 2 expats that had natural birth here and if I had had another, I would have tried that route. You just need to find an OB that is in line with how you think.

  16. Anita - AWESOME! That is so cool! I think every country should do that!

    Andrea - you crack me up! I would have loved to have had a 30 hr labor, any hours of labor, and would have totally gone with it. I do agree that is a problem in Brazil. They just don't have the long haul. Active labor, inactive labor, and all women are different. My Mom labored for like 3 hours with her first and out popped baby. Got less and less. Go figure.

    Nina - that's where it's hard. I can't imagine healing from a c-section after 24 hrs of labor. That would suck.

    Mallory, a natural birth can totally happen in Brazil! I know a number of people who have had one! There are a few pointers... maybe I"ll post on that and you should meet others who have done it. I would even hire a doula if you think you may be swayed. That's the danger, is having a doctor who will wait until last minute and then say, we should just do a c-section, wo reason.

  17. Ray, I spent countless hours/days/weeks depressed over the fact that I didn't have a natural birth. I was heart broken. I vowed to do a VBAC for my second. Of course, it wasn't possible. I had my first one because I did not go into labor, 42 weeks in and countless ways of trying to get me going. But my second OB was totally open and somewhat experienced in the vbac and had no issues in waiting 40 or so weeks. Seeing what we could do. Her only issue was that she wouldn't let me labor for the 24,30, 48 hrs because I had a previous c-section.

    I do wish there was more impartial info about VBACs. I always found hardcore stuff either for or against. Very little that actually wasn't written to terrify a person into agreeing either way. I decided to let my body pick. It was quite stressful

    1. Oh, I can totally relate to this! I had my first with midwives but in a hospital and ended up after 24 hours of labor with a c-section. To. Save. His. Life. I cried when they told me it was coming because I too had all these preconceived notions about the importance of a natural birth. But the moment I met my healthy boy none of that mattered. AND I was up and running around after 10 days. My sister labored at home with midwives for … get this… 56 hours and had terrible tears that took her 5-6 weeks to heal.

      Now, we live in Kenya in a place where it’s not unheard of for mom or child to die in childbirth. Yes, birthing is “natural” and shouldn’t be overly medicalized, but it’s also DANGEROUS. More for humans than other animals (something about the pelvis changing shape when we started walking on 2 legs). Women around the world would be thrilled to have access to a life saving c-section.

      And, I have to ask: Where did you get that awesomely terrible picture!!??

  18. I just ran across this post (a year later!). I was crushed, totally heartbroken about my csection. I was having a home birth and labored at home for 44 hours, then 3 more in the hospital, but Ava had her head cocked funny and the way it was sitting, she couldn't pass through my pelvis. I was and am all for natural birth, I think it's the best way to birth, but thank God for csections! Still, 9 months later, I don't even want to tell people I birthed in a hospital, let alone had a csection. When I have to say if I've had a recent surgery, I feel the need to explain, well, I was planning a natural birth, at home even, but I had to transfer to the hospital and ended up NEEDED a csection because Ava was Ascenclitic (spelling?).
    I'm definitely trying for a VBAC... but who knows. And healing from a csection after 48 hours of labor wasn't bad. I healed really quickly and much easier than many other women I've talked to. I think it's more to do with the person and the circumstances, but labor I guess could be a factor... thank goodness I healed well, because healing well from a csection is TOUGH, I can't imagine what you went through Rachel!
    We're all totally awesome for giving birth, no matter how the birth happens. It took me a long time to feel that way, and I'm still dealing, but one way can't be better than another in the end. Our children are beautiful, perfect angels and their entry into the world was beautiful, perfect and angelic. The most blessed, loved, heartwarming moment in my life was when little Ava came out of my body and into my life. She couldn't get to my breast to latch on, so she latched onto my cheek as Todd held her next to me. I'll never forget that moment. The painful memories are fading, but that positive, happy moment is strong in my mind.
    It's a woman's choice how she wants to birth, I just wish more doctors advocated natural birth and that there was more education out there that was non-bias and available to everyone!