So part of this is in response to some people not understanding some of the big changes I’ve decided to make. By no means am I trying to say what I did in the past was WRONG, but I do feel like when you have more information, you should use it. And, just because you can learn from your mistakes doesn’t mean what you get out of it was a mistake.
Let me start out by saying that I LOVE MY KIDS. I’m so thankful for them, and thankful for everything that shapes who they are. But I really wish that I’d been given the information THEN that I have researched and have NOW. I wish I had the Dr with them that I have now. To go through the same motions now when I have more information and better resources just seems wrong. Plus, there is added risk to me and my baby by repeating the same thing again.
So I’ve laid the foundation, now to explain and build on that. To start with a little background. I’m not a historian, a doctor or a scientist, but thankfully with the internet I can research what people who know these fields have studied and found. And I’m just touching the surface of things here.
The woman’s movement of the early 20th century brought us many wonderful things: the right to vote, access to better jobs, and access to safer childbirth. But there were many problems that came out of this too. In the cause of woman’s rights, children’s value has decreased. A child in the womb is not viewed as a person. And while a career can be a wonderful thing, in some cases it is put at a higher value than one’s marriage, children, and family (I am guilty of this!).
One of the worst results of the woman’s movement (after the devaluing of the life of a child) that I have seen is how it has affected childbirth in the western world, the devaluing of natural birth. In Genesis, Eve was “cursed” with pain in childbirth. One of the goals of the women’s movement was “undo” this curse. Early results were techniques like twilight birth, which in reality took away all control and power of a woman during childbirth. The whole process is just sad and scary!
Don’t get me wrong, I love medical technology. Safe c-sections are a great medical advancement. There are truly a small number of women who have a very small pelvis and have difficult and very hard labors while everything moves to make room for the baby. There are babies that are facing the wrong way. There are medical emergencies like placenta detachment that can cause the baby to suffocate and you can’t wait to deliver the baby vaginally. But the sad thing, is these cases are not the norm. Plus, skills that used to be common like getting a baby to change positions or safely deliver a breech baby have been lost in western medicine due to the ease of c-section. Again, this is a wonderful skill for Doctorrs to have, it saves the lives of mothers and babies. But according to the World Health Organization, the safe c-section rate of a country should be between 5-10%, not the over 1/3 of births like the current rate in the US.
I can say with all honesty that my first c-section possibly saved my son’s life. The part I struggle with, is that in my Dr’s desire for a quicker delivery (and mine too), we rushed the natural progression of labor. The added pain that resulted caused me to rush into an epidural that not only made it impossible for me to feel the natural cues of labor, but also required me to labor in a position that decreased my labor’s effectiveness. The medications that were used to start my labor, continue it, and counteract the effects of the previous interventions put unnecessary stress on my baby. And when I was unable to get him out due to a 30% smaller pelvic opening from being on my back and all the stress on his little body from hard but ineffective contractions, a c-section was necessary to have him delivered safely.
With my second birth, my daughter was breech at the beginning on my third trimester, so my Dr recommended scheduling a c-section. Even though she turned on her own, and even though I desperately wanted a VBAC, I let my Dr talk me into keeping the section scheduled at 39 weeks. And while this one was so much easier than the “emergency” c-section I experienced before, I regret knowing how much easier it would have been to heal without surgery having a toddler and a baby. Also, 39 weeks? A baby is considered full-term in the US at 40 weeks, but in the rest of the world a baby is considered full term at 41 weeks. Thankfully I gave birth to a healthy 8 lb 8 ozer, but what if we’d been off on my dating and we unknowingly caused my baby girl to be born too early?
So, I already wasn’t happy with my first birth experience and I really regretted my decisions with my second. Does this mean that I don’t love my kids? No way. But I decided before I ever got pregnant again that I was going to learn as much as I could so I would have no regrets in future pregnancies. While researching ways to avoid c-sections I discovered all kinds of wonderful things about the way God designed the female body, and about all the hormones involved in labor and delivery. By trying to avoid the pain, we as women are selling ourselves short in the level of bonding we can have with our new babies, we make nursing more difficult, and we increase our chances of experiencing post partum depression. But my goal in this is not to provide all the information I found, but to share why I have made the decisions to change that I have.
We have lost so much with modern technology. God really does have a reason for why he made things the way he did. He created plants that help labor naturally progress, but we use synthetic medications that are so much harsher on our bodies. We are so afraid of pain that we look past or ignore many of the reasons for that pain. It lets us know that our bodies are working hard for something. It lets us know if something is actually wrong. It causes hormones to release in our bodies that will help us bond with our new babies. Believe me, I KNOW that it’s going to hurt. But isn’t that something I should be willing to deal with to do what I think is BEST for my baby?
To some it may look like I’m risking a lot, attempting a VBA2C. But the risk of multiple c-sections is a whole lot more daunting to me. I don’t know if I’m done having kids after this one. I know I want at least one more biological child. The risks of uterine rupture, placental detachment, and other complications increases with each added c-section. I’m doing everything as safely as I can. I’ve had several medical professionals tell me that I am an ideal candidate for a VBAC. By doing it naturally, my body will be able to tell me something is wrong long before a fetal monitor would show fetal distress. I’m using a Dr that is experienced in VBAC and supports it fully as he’s seen firsthand a baby die as a result of multiple c-sections. I’m using a doula to help me cope with the pain while also having experience staying through full labors and knowing what is normal and what is not.
I’m doing this naturally, not only do what’s best for the baby I’m carrying, but also because it’s best for my other 2 children. I want to be able to heal faster then after having a major surgery. I want to be home with them sooner. I don’t want to have doubts that I did the wrong thing…I already know that I struggle with depression at times, I don’t want to increase the chances of that. I also want to teach my children that we can grow and learn and make changes. I want to empower my daughter to do what’s best for her future children and have sons that can help their future wives by knowing my experiences. I want them to be as involved with the birth of their new brother as they want. They shouldn’t see me hooked up to tubes and monitors. They shouldn’t be afraid. If they want to come in and give me a hug, I should do as much as I can to make it comfortable for them. I want them to be able to come in right away and meet their baby brother and begin bonding with him. And they deserve to have a mom that did everything she could to heal quickly and be able to focus on them too.
And I know I may end up with another c-section. But I’ll go into it with no regrets. I’ll know I tried. And I can still ensure that even if I do have another c-section, that doesn’t mean that I need to be separated for hours from my baby like what happened with the first 2. I have more information that will make nursing easier. I will know that it was actually necessary, and not easier, more convenient, or because I chickened out.
And obviously from my previous post I’m making other changes. I’m not going to go into all of those. But when you start researching things, you find a lot more information than just what you were searching for. I’ve found some wonderful blogs. One site worth reading if you’re a woman at any stage in your life is http://drpoppy.com. Another is http://www.naturallyknockedup.com. You can do random Google searches to find more information on a lot of the changes I’m making and make your own decisions on what is right for you and your family. And again, just because I’m doing things differently doesn’t devalue my other children, it just makes me thankful that we didn’t suffer any of the risks that were involved with those decisions. Now that I’m aware of the risks, it would be irresponsible of me to do the same thing again. I love my kids, just the way they are. Doesn’t mean I can’t change now, they are experiencing the benefits of most of the changes. My responsibility is to do what I can to do the best for them now and in the future.