Scheduled C-Sections: Interfering with Nature?


... I had really easy pregnancies ... By the end of each pregnancy, I was ready to do just about anything to get those babies out of me, but I never wanted a C-section ... I never even read the C-section chapters in all my pregnancy books. Why would I? I always knew I wanted to deliver my babies naturally, as in no drugs or medical interventions at all.

I went to my OB for a regular checkup on my due date for my first baby and was told that I was measuring small and needed an ultrasound. I felt fine, no contractions, cramping or anything at all, really. Baby was moving around and I felt fine. Back in the doctor’s office I was told that my amniotic fluid was a little low and they were going to “get me delivered today.” Huh? Um, ok. I guess we’re having a baby today! Yay!

I was hooked up to monitors and Pitocin and within 5 minutes ... doctors and nurses descended on me ... It took them 11 minutes to find [the heartbeat] ... they were prepping me for a C-section. I was terrified. Why did I need a C-section? They said they thought my baby wouldn’t tolerate labor. What does that mean?

I was taken to a surgical suite, strapped to a table, IVs in each arm, numbed from the chest down, catheterized, bright lights in my eyes, a curtain hung between my face and my belly. My husband was brought in just before they made the incision. No pain. No sensation at all. Then the “tugging” of my body being stretched apart and a tiny, perfect, healthy baby being pulled out. I couldn’t see her being born with the curtain between me and the doctors and I couldn’t see her when they took her across the room so the pediatricians could check her over. Once she was delivered, I was given “something to relax me” that nearly knocked me out. They brought my swaddled daughter over to me and placed her on my chest, but I couldn’t touch her since my arms were strapped to the table. Then they took her off to the nursery. The doctors chatted with each other about their upcoming travel plans whilst they sewed and taped me back together. Then I was bandaged, dressed and taken to recovery.

About an hour later, they brought my baby to me, but I couldn’t sit up and I was shaking so violently from the drugs that I was afraid I would drop her if I tried to hold her. I managed to nurse her throughout the night ... My baby was healthy and perfect but I felt like I had surgery and someone gave me a baby. Not like I had given birth. I expected birth to be difficult and intense and sweaty and painful and amazing, but instead it was cold and surgical and terrifying and left me feeling completely disconnected from how my child came into the world.

Two years later, I was pregnant again. I called my OB (who was on maternity leave herself) and she told me there was no reason I couldn’t have a natural birth. That was all I needed to hear. I found a midwife and learned everything I could about giving birth after a C-section. I learned that each medical intervention can lead to the need for more and as long as the baby is not in distress, labor should proceed on its own ... After 25 hours of unmedicated labor, attended by my husband ... and the midwife, I gave birth to another perfect, healthy baby girl. Two years later, I did it again. That time it only took two hours to deliver a 9lb baby boy.

... Speaking from experience, a C-section is much more difficult than a natural birth. After I delivered my second and third babies, I felt completely fine. Better than ever, actually. After the C-section, I couldn’t hold my baby, couldn’t sit up or go to the bathroom without assistance, and I couldn’t laugh or sneeze without feeling like all my insides would burst out of my incision. In some cases, a C-section can be a lifesaving procedure, but it is in no way an easy alternative to giving birth.

Tasha Schlake Festel I can definitely understand the appeal of a scheduled C-section. We’re all busy, juggling jobs, other kids, and countless glamorous social obligations, so penciling in “have the baby” at a time convenient for all totally makes sense. In fact, it is one of the only things you, as a mother of a newborn, will be able to control for the next 25 years.

But there’s no way I’d do it. I’ll have my babies the old fashioned way. Well, the old fashioned way plus drugs, that is.

... While a C-section is a fine and respectable choice, I was adamant about not wanting to have my children surgically removed from my body ... the history of mammalian life on earth has proven that mother’s bodies are built to birth babies without surgical intervention ... Third of all, with everything else so planned and premeditated, it’s kind of romantic to have that one thing – the most important thing in the world, the birth of your child – to be unexpected.

I had the vision of waking up in the middle of the night, rolling over to my husband, nudging him gently and saying, “Honey, it’s time.” And then we’d hug, giggle, and bolt out of bed, grabbing our pre-packed and coordinated suitcases. My husband would fumble with the keys, act all cute and nervous, and run out to start the car. He’d drive off without me, only to turn around immediately, usher me in to the car and oh, how we’d laugh!

Shockingly, it didn’t work out like that – or anything close to it ... I was induced ... with both of my pregnancies ... due to relatively minor complications ...

Pitocin’s best friend is named Epidural. With my daughter, I tried just hanging out with Pitocin, but found it to be a violent companion. Epidural was a lovely counter. After overcoming my “irrational” fear of having a needle stuck into my spine to numb the bottom half of my body, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of childbirth. Several hours of painless contractions and 12 minutes of physical labor later, my daughter arrived and all was well.

Fast forward two years and five days, and I found myself hanging out with Pitocin and Epidural again. This time, I expected Pitocin to be a moody bitch, so I opted that we not hang out alone. The thing is, drugs or not, at the end of the experience you get a baby. You don’t get extra credit for doing it without pain medication. There is no trophy, no reward, no prize. It’s a baby. And you can either be exhausted from pain and effort, or just be exhausted from effort. I went with Option B.

Or at least I meant to. Here is some important advice. Do not let your labor and delivery nurse tell you that what you are feeling is “pressure” when you know damn well that it is pain. Stick to your guns. Demand more medication. Having round 2 of the pain killer kick in just in time for the delivery of the placenta is a few minutes too late, no matter how “good looking” your doctor tells you said placenta is. Of course, pain is a great motivator, so after two hearty pushes, unwavering determination and ample swearing, I was happy to hold my little boy.

I found out the hard way that I am not really “made” for a second dose of pain killer, as did the other new parents who were admiring their newborns when I threw up all over myself and the carpet in front of the nursery window ... Oops! But thankfully, I didn’t feel the delivery of that placenta. That would have sucked.

The point of pregnancy is to have a baby when you’re done with it. However that happens is a personal choice. I can’t imagine ever choosing to schedule surgery to accomplish this goal, but I don’t judge those who do. It’s a decision that should be made thoughtfully with your partner and your OB. Realize that your best-laid plans will likely not be followed, but get used to it. That’s life as a mom.

Holly DeSouza As much as I love being a mom, I hated being pregnant.

... I had a difficult pregnancy filled with first and third trimester bed rest, frequent fainting spells, constant morning sickness, two episodes of the flu (!!!), three threatened miscarriages, and weekly trips to MGH and Melrose Wakefield Hospital due to some freak occurrence where I could not feel the baby moving and could only see her when she was really kicking me. The silver lining to all of the hospital trips was my husband and I knew really early on the sex of our baby.

At 20 weeks, I felt I already endured enough and wanted an end date where I was guaranteed I would meet my daughter. I asked to schedule a C-section. When I was denied, I started begging and whining and pleading my case of hardship. My ob-gyn was steadfast and would not schedule a C-section. I tried every trick any formerly pregnant woman gave me so I could have the “luxury” of a C-section. My ob-gyn kept telling me to hang in there and, if I carried full term, we could discuss it ...

At the end of the day, turns out my doctor was not a dummy after all in not agreeing to an elective C-section for me. What women without a gaggle of nannies tend to discount is how busy you will be after the baby comes, how much longer the recovery time generally is after a C-section, and how greatly your priorities will shift once the baby is out of the womb. If you do not need a C-section for medical reasons, there should not be an option to have a C-section. I never looked ahead myself at both sides of the coin. All I wanted was a promise I could have a pain-free delivery. Picking her birth date was an added bonus. After a difficult pregnancy with a lot of down time, I am so thankful I did not have an elective C-section because I was up and running and enjoying my daughter as soon as she was delivered to my world.

Laurie Hunt Well, if I truly had my way I would request the stork bring my children. Especially the first one ...

It happened too quickly ... and the epidural did not work. You have not lived until you have experienced back labor without drugs. Trust me. The second time was a much better experience because I literally ran to the hospital at the first hint I might be in labor and asked them to meet me in the parking lot with the epidural. The drugs worked this second time around and while labor took longer it was a much better experience.


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