So the question I want to pose is: why are there so many Cesarean Sections performed in the US now? The rate for C-sections in the US is now at 33%! One in three! According to The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the World Health Organization sees 10-15% an acceptable rate. So why?
Well, I am beginning to come to the conclusion that doctors are afraid of malpractice suits. They see all the possible risks and things that could go wrong, instead of relying on the woman’s body (that knows what to do and has since Eve had her first baby). Now, I understand that things have gone wrong in the past and can happen at any time, with any woman and with any baby. But these things do not happen every day, nor with every woman or baby. So why does it seem like all pregnant women who choose to use an OB instead of a midwife are treated like this? Not every delivery is going to be life-threatening or cause serious debilitation.
I had originally wanted to utilize the services of a midwife to deliver Lydia, but I got really comfortable with my doctor, who is a Christian, and who I felt would do everything in her power to keep me from having any form of intervention, let alone a C-section. (Not that I blame my doctor, I blame myself really, for allowing myself to get anxious about getting the baby out of me.) At 36 weeks I was measuring like I should have been. Then at 37 weeks, I was measuring like I was at 35 weeks. Worried, the doctor scheduled an ultrasound for 39 weeks and determined at that time that my placenta was on the decline. She decided that she was not comfortable letting me carry too much past 40 weeks, if I did, and so we scheduled an induction for 40 weeks and 5 days, just in case. And of course, you know the rest if you’ve read my previous entries.
What would someone have done before the time when they had ultrasound? Would they have induced me back in Bible times or even a hundred years ago? I think not. I know that medicine has come a long way since then, but, as my husband says, “they call it the PRACTICE of medicine for a reason”.
So I am going to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for my next baby. I am going to consult with a couple of the midwiferies in town and discuss my options. (On a side note, the lady that was my parent’s Lamaze coach and also the person who delivered me at the time of my birth, Beth Korb, is in practice at MAHEC, a branch of our hospital here! I’m going to try to meet her.) I hold nothing against my doctor, but I believe it was said best by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein in their documentary “The Business of Being Born”, that obstetricians are surgeons. They have no business delivering babies. (By the way, I recommend that any of you ladies thinking of having a baby watch this movie. It is highly informative and will get you thinking. Plus, you get to see some babies make their way into this world!)
I have been researching some about VBAC, and WebMD actually recommends that women at least try to have their baby vaginally after having had a C-section, because even a little bit of labor is good for the mother and the baby. They call it a “trial of labor”, and up to 60% of women have successful VBACs. Of course there are certain risk factors that make your chances of success go up or down, but that's true with any major medical or bodily occurance.
Something else that I am curious about is that the delivering doctor, who was not my OB, (I had been in labor so long that my doc's 24-hour on-call shift had ended) told me that my pelvis is too narrow and that VBAC would not be a good idea. Where did this come from all of a sudden? She was not the doc who examined me weekly and don’t you think that my doctor would have noticed something like a too-narrow pelvis before we started trying to deliver vaginally? I have my annual on Monday, and I plan on discussing this at length with my doctor.
Another thing that disappoints me about having the C-section with Lydia is that now I am no longer a candidate for home birth. This is something that interests me b/c it seems so natural. Where were babies born before there were hospitals? Home. Some people may think that home deliveries are insane, but successful ones happen every day. It just seems the perfect place to start life out, don’t you think? At home, where mama is comfortable and surrounded by familiarity. At home, where you have everything you may need for your newborn. At home, where you (hopefully) aren't surrounded by bright lights and unfamiliar faces barging in on you at all hours.
Though I am saddened by all this, I won’t let it get the best of me. I am still capable of bringing babies into this world, and I do plan to. The Lord has been very good to me and James, and we have been truly blessed with our wonderful daughter. We are looking forward to the day when we get to bring her siblings into the world, no matter how they come.