Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My unnecesarean

Butterfly was born almost 2 years ago, via elective c section. A TRULY elective c section... I waltzed on in and asked for it! *Facepalm*

Here is how it all went down on my first visit to the OB...

OB: "How come you have chosen this hospital when you live 40 minutes away? Thats a long way in labour"
Me: "Well I wanted to talk to you about that. I want a c section"
OB: "Oh? Why?"
Me: "Well my husband had a baby with his ex girlfriend and he was stillborn"
OB: "so you are worried about that happening again?"
Me: "yes. Also, my family has a VERY strong history of uterine prolapse following birth" (a family member had recovered from surgery in recent times that was botched and her recovery was traumatic for all of us)
OB: "OK, based on those reasons I will do a c section for you"

Now, what he SHOULD have said was: "actually C sections don't decrease the likelihood of stillbirth. In fact by having one c section you will increase the chances that your future offspring will be stillborn. Also uterine prolapse is not genetic, nor is it helped by having a surgical birth"

But he didn't. I get the feeling he always expected me to change my mind, to educate myself. He always said he had "pencilled in" my c section date, and I remember thinking to myself "you may as well do it in PEN because I'm having a c section!"

Some people have told me I did the right thing, that my fears justified my decision. No. If my OB had told me that none of my reasons were valid, that a natural birth was the safest option all round, I WOULD have changed my mind. See, I have never feared birth itself, I wasn't trying to avoid contractions. I mean if you want to talk about pain, try breastfeeding a baby with an abdominal incision!

I have seen arguments online about c sections vs natural birth. People can be very defensive about their c sections. I get it, it IS hard to have someone tell you that the best day of your life (the day your child was born) was somehow substandard, a tradgedy. However when I see people saying "women should be able to CHOOSE to have a c section if they want to!" I cry "NOOOOOOO!" I chose. I was not informed. I live in regret. And with a damaged uterus.

Now I believe that my c section almost cost me my life. Why? Because if you read my last blog you would have heard about my ectopic pregnancy. I suffered a rutpured fallopian tube which went undiagnosed for a whole week, filling my abdomen with blood. Ectopic pregnancy can be caused by a few things:

Pelvic inflammatory disease caused by chlamydia: Nope. The Dr checked my liver while he was in there and said that my pristine liver told them I have never had chlamydia.

Endometriosis: Nope.

IVF treatment: Nope haven't had that either.

IUD: never had one

Smoke: Pfft never even tried the things.

Previous ectopic pregnancy: Nope

Abdominal surgery including C SECTION: Bingo.

C sections are overused in our society, damn near one in THREE women are having one these days! And all of them will tell you theirs was necessary, because thats what they've been told. If one in 3 women would have either died in childbirth or lost their baby, the human race would never have survived. If you look at statistics from The Farm in the USA, where all births are at home attended by experienced midwives, the c section rate is less than 2%. A far cry from a 30% c section rate! Not only do they have a low c section rate, but also a very low infant mortality and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they've ever had a maternal death (I can't check, my copy of "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin is already packed for our move!)

I never wish to diminish the birth experience for any woman. Birth is extroadinary! Yes, even Butterfly's birth was amazing and wonderful and life changing. If you have had a c section, you cannot change that, but don't sign up for another without doing your own research.

My c section made breastfeeding extremely difficult. My milk was late. My baby blues were severe. My recovery was painful and slow. My uterus will always be damaged, my future births riskier than they should be. Butterfly never got to choose her birthday, she was taken out when she was because that was my OB's "surgery day". Neither of us ever felt a contraction, nor experienced the hormonal cascade of birth that aids in breastfeeding and bonding.

My c section led to an ectopic pregnancy. One that almost KILLED me. My fertility is decreased, my risk of another ectopic is increased, and I have only one fallopian tube left.


I recommend reading "Spiritual Midwifery" and "Ina May's guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. "Delivery By Appointment" by Michelle Hamer. "Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering" by Dr Sarah Buckley. And if you don't like to read, watch "The Business of Being Born" by Ricki Lake.

What I DON'T recommend is relying on a doctor to inform you about childbirth. Inform YOURSELF. Empower YOURSELF. I wish I had.



  1. You made me cry - I feel such an ignoramus - wish I had been more into researching everything myself instead of believing doctors are gods and know everything - but, for what it's worth - I got two of the most beautiful and wonderful baby girls out of my experience and hence a sensational granddaughter so I escaped only with my "ignorance" - overall I scored "BIG TIME" AND i LOVE them all more than they could possibly ever know <3

  2. so well written. and brave to share. I hope your experience can help someone else and I wish you heaps of luck and health in conceiving and carrying your future babies :)

  3. Yes, they are not always necessary, but sometimes they are. Death in childbirth was much more common before medical advances. I wish I didn't need a cs (after a few days labouring), but I am glad it was the outcome for the survival of myself and the baby, rather than us both dying. You can't dwell on the past, just as I have. There isn't anything I or anyone else could have done.

  4. Well said!

    I have always been uncomfortable with moving too far away from how nature intended, which is why I chose a natural drug free birth for my two children. With the cesarean rate being so high in Western cultures I fear there is an increasing risk that women will, overtime, lose the ability to birth naturally. Please don't misunderstand me, cesareans have their place however I believe that they should be the last port of call.