August 24, 2007

How the Baby Comes Out, and Why I Don't Need Crappy Advice on How It Should Be Done

I was reading today's Purple is a Fruit, and it resonated with me so strongly that I went on to leave a Long and Impassioned Comment. Linda put her point so well, I got a little carried away. You know how you get that rush when you read something that is exactly what you feel but phrased so much better than you ever could have phrased it?

And now I keep THINKING about her post, and I want to talk about it more, but hitting "refresh" constantly in Linda's comment section isn't enough to satisfy me, and Paul is begging me not to talk about it anymore, so I will talk about it here. You'll need to click the link to Purple is a Fruit first, so you know what we're talking about, and also so you can read Linda's delicious, delicious words. (I once read an interview with an actor who said his least favorite word was "delicious" used for anything other than food. Now I think of that every time I use the word. Well-played, Actor Whose Name I No Longer Remember But Who Has Eternally Affected My Vocabulary.)

Back now? Okay!

During my first c-section, a medical situation was discovered. The OB talked with me about it afterward, and said she was sorry to tell me that this meant I would need to have c-sections from now on, that I would not be a candidate for a VBAC, and that in fact for future pregnancies I would need to be carefully informed about what I should do if I went into labor unexpectedly so that I wouldn't, for example, DIE. I don't want to be all Dramatic about it, but I do want it clear that this medical situation is not something like, "Oooooogk, natural childbirth is ICKY!"

I would also like it clear that the precise nature of the medical situation is my Private Medical Information. It's not that I won't tell, it's that I don't have to if I don't feel like it. I'm not required by law to disclose that medical situation to the general public as proof that I really do need to have c-sections. "All right, then," I picture The General Public saying, after inspecting my Proof of Need certificate and satisfying themselves that I do in fact have what they'd consider a valid excuse. "We'll let you have your c-section...THIS time."

And yet I've noticed that if I say, "I'm having a scheduled c-section" without telling all about the medical situation that requires it, sometimes other people assume that I'm only having a c-section because I don't understand my options. They think perhaps I have not considered the possibility of a VBAC, or that my OB is pressuring me into a repeat c-section because OBs just LOVE c-sections and want to strip women of their Natural Childbirth Powers. Or they think perhaps I am unaware that c-sections involve risks, unlike natural childbirth which is natural and risk-free and has been done for millions of years in complete safety. Or they want to tell me how if I have a c-section I'm basically saying I don't care about my baby's health. Perhaps I am unaware of the DRUGS the baby will be exposed to, both during and after the surgery! Drugs which no one has considered might affect the baby, and so have been prescribed with no thought for the baby's well-being!

Listen: if I say, "I'm having a scheduled c-section," I want it to be assumed that I am a mentally-fit adult capable of making decisions based on research I have ALREADY DONE and don't need to be instructed to do. I especially dislike it when the "research" other people want me to do is only in the one particular area the other person thinks I should be agreeing with. My lack of agreement with their point of view must mean I'm IGNORANT OF THE FACTS, as opposed to having an EQUALLY VALID OPINION based on the SAME AVAILABLE INFORMATION.

Which reminds me that I ALSO hate when the other person assumes that I'm being some sort of spineless patsy and agreeing with my Medical Establishment Doctor when I should instead be insisting on my right to do things in an unsafe way--which the other person, without a medical degree of any sort, tells me IS safe, without knowing my reason for having c-sections. Oh! Okay! I'm SURE my doctor is wrong and YOU'RE right! I shouldn't let my DOCTOR "push me around," but I SHOULD let YOU do it! And perhaps you will also DELIVER THE BABY, since you are SUCH AN EXPERT!!

And here's my final point. If I DIDN'T have a medical reason other people would consider "acceptable," if my reason WERE "Oooooogk, natural childbirth is ICKY!," it would STILL be my business to choose what method of giving birth was right for me, and I would STILL want other people to assume I was a mentally-fit adult capable of doing research and coming to my own conclusions.

61 comments:

Annie said...

Breathe Swistle, breathe!
I swear people are so much more judgmental online than IRL. And also more nosy about details of others' business. If someone told me they were having a c-section I would ask if they needed someone to help with their kids during or after. I couldn't care less about their PMI which would probably be TMI (hee hee, rhyming acronyms) for me anyway.

Jess said...

I have never had a baby, and honestly I don't quite even know what a VBAC is, though I think I get the general idea, but in any case, I think that both your and Linda's comments are spot-on, and I am going to bookmark them both so that if I am ever in a similar situation, I can just direct all interfering busybodies straight back to your posts.

Shannon said...

I get what you are saying because I was/am in the same exact boat as you. I always feel like I have to explain WHY I had c-sections, etc.. It is annoying. However, I just find it easier to explain said medical reason than to deal with the onslaught of "YOU CAN HAVE A VBAC" propaganda. But that is just me. I mean, I post my full name and should just give everybody my address on the internet, so needless to say, I have no sense of privacy.

Nellyru said...

Pretty much all in favor of whatever way you feel is best to get yer baby outta ya...although I do feel a little weirded out by those folks who like to climb up into the mountains and have their babies in creeks and such. Then again, those seem to be the ones who are the most adamant that the rest of us not take advantage of modern day medicine for having babies.

Swistle said...

Jess-- Sorry! Jargon! It stands for "Vaginal Birth After Cesarean."

Leah said...

Here's what I think happens: When someone finds out that you're doing things differently than they themselves would do them, they take it personally, as if YOU are invalidating THEM and their choices. What they don't realize is that they're then invalidating YOU in the process of trying to validate themselves (by telling you to do things their way). Stupid stupid stupid. I wish insecurity wasn't so rampant; we'd all be happier and, even better, we'd leave each other the hell alone and let people birth/parent/marry/whatever in the ways that are best FOR THEM. Sing it, sister.

whoorl said...

The judgment is everywhere, Swistle. The same people who were all up in my shit pre-birth about how horrible C-sections are ended up being the ones screaming about WHY THE DOCTORS JUST DIDN'T DO A C-SECTION AFTER ALL YOUR TRAUMA AND THE NICU, I MEAN OBVIOUSLY YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD A VAGINAL BIRTH!

Some people are just ignorant and annoying. Period.

Amie said...

I have had two vaginal births, an emergency c-section, a vbac, then a scheduled c-section. What I don't understand is why the heck people think a c-section is "taking the easy way", or "copping out". Not so. I don't think anybody makes this decision lightly.

Type (little) a said...


If I DIDN'T have a medical reason other people would consider "acceptable," if my reason WERE "Oooooogk, natural childbirth is ICKY!," it would STILL be my business to choose what method of giving birth was right for me.


A-fucking-men (i hope you're ok with cussing. otherwise i'll repost)

I got myself all worked up over the formula ban in the swag bags a couple of weeks ago.

This paternalistic (and maternalistic, I suppose) "We know what's best for you" shit works my very last nerve. One of the things I hate most about interacting with the world at all it that people constantly expect you to explain and justify your decisions.

GRRR!

anita said...

isn't the whole point to have a HEALTHY baby? geez, who's business are the details of how the baby comes out, anymore than how it got in there?

Jess said...

Ohhhhh, what a simple acronym! I thought it was something much more complicated. Thanks for the explanation.

Also, I've found that in general everyone likes to offer medical advice like whatever choice they made is the right choice for everyone, no matter what. There are scare tactic websites for every medical decision--childbirth, circumcision, you name it. Sometimes they are so one-sided and agenda-pushy that they really start to remind me of cults.

melissa said...

Amen Sistah!!

Misguided Mommy said...

Amen sista!!!!! I had a voluntary /c-section my first time. I got so much hell for not being a real woman blah blah suck it! This time around I have to have one because of the bleeding and clots. However I would have done it again in a heart beat /c sections rocked and my belief i it isn't the birth that makes you a mom it is the actual parenting part!!!! Also...typing one handed sorry for errors

Sundry said...

Oh, what a wonderful post. I will re-read it and re-read it and pet it and call it George.

I think Leah's point is a great one, it seems like insecurity is often what's behind all of these Crazy Hulk-ANGRY Let's Attack Each Other's Choices! Parenting Issues for exactly the reasons she lists.

But also some people are just kind of, you know, jerkwads.

hello insomnia said...

It really isn't anyone's business but your own. I was swamped with so many you-know-you-should-do's and are any of these jerks raising my son now?

jonniker said...

It's just hilarious to me that people care or even think about how other people birth their children beyond making sure that no one hacks their heads off when they finally exit the birth canal.

I mean, honestly, WHO CARES? I don't CARE if you have a c-section or a VBAC, and I don't CARE if you breastfeed, or don't. I honestly don't care, as it has nothing to do with me or my (purely hypothetical) baby, Jesus. It's not that I'm uninterested if you're having a problem and want some support, but if you want me to care on the sheer basis that you've chosen one or the other, you will be sorely mistaken. I DO NOT CARE.

And who are these people who do? How much time do they have on their hands, and can I good goddamn get them to do my laundry or write my stories or SOMETHING USEFUL, for Jesus's sake?

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Yes to what Leah said.

And also, another thing that bothers me about when you tell people you have a scheduled c-section, they make it sound like they think the doctor did it for his personal convenience, to plan your child's birth around his vacation or golf game- because there's NEVER any actual medical reason it might be necessary...

It makes me growl on your behalf and I've never even had a c-section.

Shannon said...

Do people really believe that there are doctors who try and convince women to have unnecessary c-sections? Really? After two c-sections I'd have to say I have not met a single medical professional who treated it like it was no big deal and "why the hell doesn't everyone have one???" I think the people who perpetuate this myth are the same people who pass along email forwards that start with "READ THIS IMMEDIATELY!!!" and forward them to 87 people so Microsoft will donate 100 million dollars to save little Jimmy from leprosy and toothpaste poisoning.

Sarah said...

I feel the same way, except replace "I am having a scheduled c-section" with "I choose not to have drugs during labor". For me, drugs are not the right choice for several medical reasons and I absolutely HATE it when smug people (some of whom have never had children or are MEN) tell me, smugly with smugginess, that I should "keep an open mind"because "it hurts" to have a child vaginally. Um, thanks, I kinda guessed that!

I say keep on keeping on. There's no way in hell you would have 5 lovely and darling children via c-section without your OB talking about it with you, so people can just mind their own damn business if they're not smart enough to realize that (which they should be doing anyways, of course).

T with Honey said...

"Do people really believe that there are doctors who try and convince women to have unnecessary c-sections?"

Yes, there are doctors out there like this. I have met one of them and quickly changed to a different office. I'll admit I will inquire "why" for family and close friends that tell me they are having a scheduled c-section.

JMH said...

Jonniker: I agree with you 100%. I did it MY way with MY kids but everyone else can feel free to do things differently and I. DON'T. CARE.

And as I said on the Purple is a Fruit blog, no one cares once the kids get to kindergarten!!! Why can't we all just get along?!?

LoriD said...

I didn't have the C-section comments, but my SIL did, and I find them to be just as rude and intrusive as the questions about my choice to have an epidural or not, or to have my son circumcised or not. Trust me, my decision will be informed, researched and made in the best interest of me and my baby. Back off and have your own kids.

jennifer said...

my MIL asked me just the other month about if I "could have waited for it to happen naturally" & my son is over a year old. Without giving TMI, my pelvis is too small for natural childbirth which we didn't discover until after 15 hours of labor & bone-crushing pain from his head slamming into said pelvis. And let's not forget the fact that his feet were hooked under my rib cage thus impeding his trip down the natural route...

To sum up, she still thinks I did it "wrong" and could have just "waited" until he was ready.

Thanks for paying attention!

jen said...

Actually, yes, there are doctors out there like that. And the people without medical degrees, well, they might not know all, but a lot of them are pretty informed, and would gladly hand you some reputable literature for their case.

I mean if you want a c section because of whatever silly frivolous little issue you have, who am I to argue, but you're going back on those people like they did on you :) I think most real people just don't care. A lot of people are just curious. Hell, I am curious.
But if you didn't say you had a medical condition. If you just said "I had a c section" I'd never even think to wonder. But then there's those people who doth protest too much. They go out of their way to tell us why they couldn't do things the conventional way.

Beth Fish said...

You wanna know what chaps my ass? I am going to tell you anyway. People who talk about the poor baby being exposed to all those drugs. Listen, sister. My kid was out of my body maybe 30 minutes after the epidural started. Explain to me please how that is worse for my child than hours after hour of exposure during labor?

Omaha Mama said...

I'm not sure how this started - are you? Women, judging other women on how they popped that baby out? I'm just not sure why it matters. Or why women care so much if the baby comes from here or there. It's not their baby. It's not their birth.

I had [gasp] an epideral during my first labor and [double gasp] the doctor had to use forceps on the last push to help my poor, stuck little baby out. I felt like a failure. Which I know many women experience with C-sections too.

It's really frustrating, how women have to pick something else to beat each other up about. As if hair, clothing, social status, careers, etc. weren't enough.

Good topic, I'll be back to read
the million comments you're sure to get!

Swistle said...

Shannon 1- I don't mind telling people the reason, but it's a little Long And Involved And TMI-ish, so I don't want to just, you know, LAUNCH INTO IT if what they wanted was an answer more like, "Oh, medical reasons." You're right that it's easier to just explain it and be done with it--although the really aggressive people then KEEP GOING, with, "Well, you can't always trust what DOCTORS say." Urg.

Type(little)a- Swearing is fine! I like swearing.

Shannon 2- I've never run into an OB like that, either, but I guess a few people have. Mine are always trying to talk me into a VBAC--and then they look at my file and say, "Oh. Never mind." My experience with the medical community has been that they are opposed to c-sections and dislike all the women who "don't want to mess up their hair" having a natural childbirth. AS HE WAS PREPPING ME FOR THE C-SECTION, the anesthesiologist asked if I'd ever tried a VBAC.

Jonniker- Ha ha about harnessing all that energy!

T with Honey- It's all in the TONE, I think. If you sound like you're demanding their license and registration, or making sure their reason passes your standards of legitimate, it's rude and insulting. If you care about them and are curious, it's showing concern and letting them talk about themselves which is always pleasant.

Jen (Never Melts Jen)- I know a lot of people ARE informed--and they should assume, then, that I am also informed. Their assumption that THEY are informed but _I_ am an idiot is insulting. Also, I totally agree about the over-protesting. People do that when they find out I breastfeed: they're so worried I'll judge them for not breastfeeding (probably because of all the people who DO judge them), they go on and on about how they COULDN'T--without realizing that actually I'm totally fine with reasons like "I didn't want to," and that their reasons are making me feel like arguing that those aren't actually reasons! which I would never otherwise have even thought to do! so I've been turned judgmental!

Black Sheeped said...

This stuff always blows my mind. I'm obviously clueless, but I never thought about women being judgemental of birth methods/breast feeding/etc. until the last year or so, when my friends started having children and I started reading blogs about them. All the judging! It's crazy. It makes me feel sad, and it makes me feel nervous and uncomfortable ALREADY (and we're not even trying yet) that I probably won't breastfeed and that people might judge me for that and for a billion other things that will probably happen along the way. Being a parent sounds so terrifying to me anyway, just the parenting part. And then everyone has to make it so much harder, for stupid reasons I don't understand!

Why can't people behave, just once, as they should?

I don't know. It just seems ridiculous when really, all that matters is a healthy baby and a healthy mom. I hate being nervous about getting pregnant and being a parent because of shit like this, when it shouldn't even matter.

Sorry I'm so rambly and incoherent.

jen said...

I was thinking of breastfeeding when I wrote my comment. I think it's more insulting to me if you say "I couldn't do it because (insert some long convoluted story ending with 'not everyone is lucky as you are')" than if you just said "I don't want to" because the former implies I didn't go through heartbreak and struggle as well, but hey, if you don't want to or you wanted to quit, more power to you, but leave me out of it.

Though now I'm torn, do I have to tell my kids both ways when they ask "how does the baby come out?" ha!

Shelly Overlook said...

I haven't had time to read all the comments, so forgive me if I'm repeating.

Hell yeah to what you said!! I think it's just one more instance of how women become open targets (of other women mostly) the moment they announce they're pregnant.

"You're drinking coffee?" "You're eating that?" "How much weight have you gained?" "Home birth or hospital birth?" "Natural birth or epidural?" "Epidural or c-section?" "Breastfeeding or formula?" "Circumcision or foreskin in tact" "Working outside the home or stay at home?" etc.

I think that being pregnant/giving birth somehow automatically eliminates people's "None of Your Damn Business" radar and they think it gives them permission to not only ask obscenely personal questions, but also the right to judge you on whatever answer you may give. It's pathetic and it makes me sad that women truly are not there for one another in the way I think they should be.

Erin said...

Unsolicited advice in general has an aire of judgement to it. And if there's ONE thing in the world of mothers that is probably more harmful than anything else, it's passing judgement on each other. The idea that someone else knows better than you what is good for you and your child and your family can be so insulting. To me, one of the most difficult and constant challenges to being a mom is trusting my own decisions. There are so many very personal decisions in having kids, whether to breastfeed or bottle feed, how to deal with nighttime crying, whether or not to work, etc., etc., etc... Not to get all soap box, but don't you think Moms in general would have it easier if we just stopped passing judgement on each other & trusted we're making the best decisions for our own families? Thanks for the post. It really got me thinking.

Sam said...

I heart you Swistle, you and Linda both. It is totally ridiculous that people feel the need to judge - like someone else said, we have a lot of other things to worry about, such as, raising the child we've just birthed. Not to mention securing the necessary chocolate to do so.

I just gave birth vaginally to a nearly nine pound child - and ended up with a level four tear. (hope that is not TMI) One doctor did say I may want to consider a C section in the future, but that's just one dr. and one opinion - and he wasn't my gynecologist. So, I plan to do my research.

Erica said...

If you replace "c-section vs VBAC" with "breastfeed vs formula" or even "work vs stay at home" the same rules apply.

I've never understood why mothers are so judgmental of each other. We're sisters united with a common goal of raising healthy, happy babies. We need to support each other, not tear each other down.

Bottom line is this: we all make the choices that are best for (a) our family, (b) our kids and (c) ourselves. Respect that, and we'll get along just fine.

Anonymous said...

Linked over from Sundry's sight and going to bookmark now. Always like a good excuse to ignore my two precious children a little longer...
I figure if I am not involved in how the baby got there, I am not involved in how it gets out.
But, you know, that's just me.
g~

Sundry said...

Jen -- curiosity can feel a lot like judgement, probably mistakenly so. When someone wants to know all about *why* I'm having a c-section, or why I couldn't breastfeed my son, I can't help but wonder why they are, in fact, so curious. I feel forced into a position of having to, in your words, "protest too much". Because to give the correct answer (which in neither case was "because I didn't want to") involves more information than I feel like sharing -- few people seem content with "because I couldn't do the other way, The End." Despite what most of the nice people are saying here, there sure are plenty of folks who DO care about what particular choices total strangers make , enough to push their own agenda. Witness, for instance, any breastfeeding discussion I've ever seen online EVER.

jen said...

Linda, it's all how you word it. When I said protesting too much, I meant the ones who offer up the information right then and there, and keep talking, while I stare at them, dumbfounded.. "gee, I just asked.. yes or no would have sufficed."

I am curious because I'm a nosy little brat. But I only speak for myself, and rest assured I don't go around judging people. I just like to hear their stories! I can understand why a blogger like you would do that, because you've been there and got the comment to prove it, but some people in real life just slay me.

Stacie said...

Have I mentioned lately how I love you. I HATE HATE HATE feeling like I have to "justify" my section. Granted, it's my issue and most people are probably just plain old nosy and aren't wandering around thinking "Lazy slattern, she could have forced her cervix to cooperate if she'd just tried harder." Arrgh...you sing it.

JMC said...

This is interesting. It would have never dawned on me to care about anyone's birthing procedure. Who the hell cares HOW someone else has a baby? After reading this post, of course, I'm now facing months and months of seeing pregnant women and wondering just exactly how they're planning to give birth and why. :)

bellevelma said...

I know people who are like this. However they gave birth, especially if they refused all drugs, is THE way to go. The funniest thing to me is how it really doesn't matter. Now that my child is 5 nobody asks me how his birth was. Nobody asks him - were you a natural birth, C-section, induced, or what? I don't understand why everyone cares so much about business that isn't their own.

Kelsey said...

Thank you for posting about this; it has been interesting to read the comments. . . Harper was born via planned c-section because she was breech. We even went to the hospital before and tried to turn her, which was a mostly horrible experience. I have lots of mixed feelings about her birth. . . And I think all the time about what we'll do, choose to do, have to do if/when we have another. But I will say c-section cannot be the "easy" way out because the recovery for me was something I feel like I'd never voluntarily repeat, and that's without any complications.

laughing mommy said...

Well said! (Both you and Linda.)

C-sections weren't an issue for me but breastfeeding was. I was put under horrible pressure to breastfeed. Made to feel like I would be failure if I did not. And I'm sad to say that I caved to the pressure instead of chosing my own path. I breastfed both my kids for a year each, but it was a painful, difficult experience and many times I thought I would be so much happier bottle feeding. I felt like I would enjoy my babies more if I bottle fed them, but never had the courage to do it.

I wish we could all be more supportive. Those of us facing c-sections and breastfeeding (or vaginal births and bottlefeeding) need support, not unwanted advice.

Katie said...

I agree with Jonniker. Why does anyone even CARE which way another person has their baby? It is like trying to convert someone to your religion or something (which I am also totally against, by the way. The converting, not the religion necessarily.)

Ahem. Anyway...I think it might have to do with the fact that childbirth is so powerful and emotional a moment that people think other people need to do what THEY did because it was so wonderful. Maybe. At least that is my best guess WHY people do this stupid stuff.

Mommy Daisy said...

I agree, I agree. It doesn't matter how the baby gets there. If I ask someone, it's just because I'm curious how they had the baby and how it went. Not because I'm being judgemental.

I hated that so many people asked me if I had a c-section when they heard how BIG my baby was. And I didn't hate it because I gave birth vaginally and was SOO proud of that. (I am glad I could have him naturally, don't get me wrong.) But I was mad at those comments, because who cares if I did have a c-section. And more often than not it was worded like this. "Oh wow, he was a big baby. Did you have him naturally?" What do you mean 'natually'? Yes, the baby came out of my, it was natural. I don't know, just thought it was stupid that people cared. Seemed like they were judging c-sections, and I hated that. It's necessary for some people. And who says I won't have to have one in the future.

the new girl said...

I skeeve the word 'delicious' to describe anything but food. Here, I thought I was all alone.

Swistle said...

The New Girl- Me too, now that the actor has pointed it out. It has the prissy-evil sound of movie villains: "Oh, my, what a DELICIOUS turn of events!" *mince mince* But I still have to use it SOMETIMES. For example, certain TLNGs ARE delicious.

the new girl said...

I hit publish too soon! I meant to say, great post and so right on. I'd say way more but the baby is squirming and getting ready. to. blow.

Tessie said...

My favorite part of this was the part about "agreeing with the Medical Establishment Doctors" etc. I talked to people who just INSISTED that I throwdown with the doctor and positively WRESTLE the scalpel out of her hand if she so much as suggested a c-section.

Besides the fact that this would have required a complete personality transplant, um...no.

I loved this post, and also Linda's. Let's just all pay attention to our *own* vaginas, shall we? Hee hee.

My Buddy Mimi said...

You tell 'em, sister!

Erin said...

I agree! It is your own business, not to mention the fact that you don't get a medal for childbirth, whichever way you do it!

Swistle said...

Erin- I think that should change, don't you? I want mine to be solid gold.

Pann said...

I think some people seem to be unable to keep apart the general research information from the personal information of people you happen to meet. On the topic of C-sections, I'm interested in the fact that in general, the percentages of births by C-section has risen dramatically in recent years. This is an important issue for women's health, and an important issue for our society. Surely some of these sections were not medically necessary, unless childbirth is just getting more and more dangerous than it used to be? Perhaps it is, with so many more women being offered (or pressured) to take advantage of epidurals, or other pain management interventions. I don't know, I am just speculating about this issue in a general way.

However, nobody needs to know why their neighbor, cousin, or sister-in-law ended up giving birth surgically. It's insensitive, rude, and down right unfair to her for a person to judge that she didn't know what she was getting into, or didn't get informed enough in advance, or whatever. When I think about C-sections, I think hard about the big picture. But judging someone's personal choice isn't appropriate, and I hope that more of us (especially online where we all loosen our "tongues") can keep that in mind.

Artemisia said...

ABSOLUTELY.

Swistle said...

Pann- I suspect it goes with the rise in medical lawsuits. If anything goes wrong during a birth, the OB gets sued. If things looked dicey (as they always look in retrospect, AFTER something turned out to be wrong) and everything could have been fine with a c-section, but a c-section was not performed and the baby and/or mother died--just imagine the enormous lawsuit. People blame OBs for doing more c-sections, but I suspect it's the fault of the people doing the suing.

Swistle said...

I thought of some more things that might be leading to the increase in c-sections:

1) Improvements in the c-section procedure (methods and anesthestics), making it safer for both mother and baby, and making OBs less nervous about recommending them.

2) The number of women asking for inductions.

3) The number of women getting fertility treatments.

4) The number of women who are choosing to have c-sections purely electively.

5) The number of women who don't mind so much if the delivery is c-section, and say yes as soon as it's offered.

6) The number of women who've read books saying labor should be pain-free as long as you're without fear, and therefore aren't prepared for the pain.

Swistle said...

Oh! And:

7) The increase in the number of choices available for fetal monitoring. Before, maybe no one knew the baby's heartrate was going down, so the woman continued to labor. Now, we know. And it alarms everyone, and they want the baby OUT--when maybe before, the baby would have been fine? I don't know much about heartbeat stuff.

the mad momma said...

wow.. you read my mind...and spoke for me. i hope you dont mind me adding this link to my list of csec stories..

Melospiza said...

I totally groked on that idea of medals for childbirth...don't you think that's why some people get all competitive about this childbirth (and childrearing) thing? Because it's so damn hard, it seems like we ought to get some kind of gold-encrusted, list-on-your-CV type credit? Or at least be able to casually mention how, yeah, back in the day I got a bronze in the regional semifinals for Emergency C-Sections. And have the plaques lined up on your wall...because it seems like in the Olympics there aren't ridiculous comments like, "You got a gold in the 50-meter dash? But didn't you wish you were able to do the 10-mile relay? (or, um, whatever...this metaphor's starting to stretch the limits of my knowledge). No, they don't. You have your event, and I have mine, and we can trade secrets about coaches and training regimens and so forth, secure in the knowledge that in my event, I reign supreme (or at least got bronze in the regional semifinals).

Swistle said...

Mad Momma- Go ahead, link away!

Melospiza- LOVE. THIS.

Ally said...

You go. GO! I loved this post, which was hilarious even as it ranted.

Pann said...

With a list like that (7 possible reasons for an increase in C's) I think it somewhat understandable that some of feel like vaginal childbirth needs someone to defend it, stick up for it. I was able to birth both of kids vaginally, without any meds, as I had hoped. But during the birth of my first baby, I had to turn down drugs about 5 times, or more, because nurses kept after me to try this or that. It was like drug pushers... and then I later found out that my OB was prepping the OR for an emergency C. My doula spoke up for me, asked for another 20 minutes or something, and ultimately I pushed the baby out. That whole time, there was no heart rate problem with the baby, but the OB was just really impatient. She thought I was getting "too tired".

But for my doula, I may have missed out on what was truly a life changing childbirth.

All this is to say that I believe that there are some woman who are making choices based on limited, poor information from doctors whose concern for being sued is greater than their concern for the actual health of their patient. And who is to say what might have happened in the event of a C-section? It's not as though bad things don't sometimes come of that as well.

I just want to reiterate: None of this makes it OK for anyone to judge another particular mom's choices.

Moms who've had C-sections should absolutely NOT feel that they have to justify the method by which their child was born - and should not under any circumstance be made to feel they are any less of a mother because of it.

Swistle said...

Pann- I gave a list only to say that c-sections might be going up for reasons other than because The Medical Establishment is Evil and Wants to Sleep In, or because there's an alarming trend. I don't see any attack of vaginal births in the list.