There is a difference.
A world of difference.
Between choosing a cesarean at need. In knowing that your baby needs to be born now, in this moment.
And being told you have no choice.
That it’s not your choice.
That it’s not your decision.
That you will give birth alone, give birth without the support and care you wanted,
The type of support and care you need, desperately, to bring a baby into this world.
There is a world of difference in the ice cold OR gripping you when the tears flowing down your face are ones of lack of options.
And the ones that say “thank god, they are here, and safe”.
There is a world of difference in a mother who wonders if she could have done something differently and a mother whose confidence is in that this baby needed this now.
There is a world of difference in being a strong, compassionate woman who looks down, daily, at her belly and thinks “I would do anything for you”
And that same woman being led down a hall, to a wheelchair, to be taken back, unwillingly and against every fiber of her being, knowing there is no reason, lying down on a cold table, looking up at the ceiling and thinking “I would do anything for you”.
#cesareanawarenessmonth Day 15
We all know that sex is an amazing thing.
It can be beautiful and powerful, exciting and enjoyable. We also know it can be something to do to make a partner feel satisfied or to fulfill a need even when we know that really isn’t where we are *at right at the moment.
We also know that sex can be a nightmare. An act of power and coercion. Used against us to further another person’s goals, whatever they may be. When a person we know and trust uses us in that way, we are left wondering how we wound up here. Date rape, coercion, force. How did we wind up here and why did it happen this way. We are left, not broken, but fractured and trying to put the pieces together.
Birth is an amazing thing. It uplifts. We give, we strive, we are overwhelmed in the moment, we feel powerful, excited, and finally, overjoyed. Sometimes, we know certain things have to happen in order to bring our babies here safely and we know that need and weigh it against our own and make the choices that we need to make, for the good of that one we love. We even know that respectful care can happen under these circumstances.
We also know that birth can be a nightmare, out of control, a trauma, with others forcing us to unneeded procedures, telling us we are killing our babies if we continue, or that we will harm them, that we are stupid for trying homebirth, that we are broken and unable to give birth, that our babies being born through our bodies will result in brain damage and death. When a person we trusted uses their power in that way, telling us an induction is our only choice, that we can’t VBA2C, selling us a cesarean that will be “gentle” rather than giving us relationship, trust and good care, when we are forced to accept a coerced cesarean, it twists us inside. We wonder how we wound up here when we were desiring of a normal birth, we are fractured into the mother who wants to celebrate her love and look into her little ones eyes and the mother in pain who only wonders why she wasn’t stronger, more capable, why her doctor or midwife were so incapable of giving good care without the unnecessary procedures.
We are not broken but fractured and trying to put the pieces together.
This isn’t all cesareans and not all providers but with a virtually 40% cesarean rate, we need to stop buying acceptance and giving in because our providers have the capability to use power over us. We would never tell our daughters to accept date rape, we should stop giving them the example of birth rape. No means no, not convince me by making it nicer.
#cesareanawarenessmonth Day 14
So what causes one woman to come forward, to educate herself, to change?
What quality makes her look for a provider that won’t do cesareans, looks for natural birth, looks for drug-free, look for VBAC?
What is that undefined quality that makes one person want more and another ask no questions.
There is so much more to the equation than race, education, monetary status.
I know women who have chosen unassisted, midwives, CNMs, obstetricians, elective cesareans, VBAC, or fought like hell to not be induced, have epidurals or pitocin and other women who welcomed them. I know women who are ignorant, educated, black, Latino, Hispanic, white, rich, poor, WIC, food stamps, teenagers, twenty year olds, thirties, IVF and surrogate and the good old fashioned way, just true diversity of it all the types of women that are “studied” and I don’t presume to speak for any of them or make assumptions on what made them create their reality.
What I want to know is what makes that SHIFT because that SHIFT needs to happen.
We need to change gears and we need to realize that our health and the health of our babies depends on that research, information, education, adaptation, understanding.
What shifted for you?
#cesareanawarenessmonth Day 13
We often think that there is a right and wrong, a low risk and a high one. We mistakenly leave the humanity and individualism out of the birthing process and judge those women who are willing to take on risks we would not, do things differently than we would. The Cesarean Prevention Movement was not born out of risk assessment but out of women, banding together to support one another. Choosing homebirths when no hospital would take them, travelling across country to help one another when needed, driving hours to find the right care provider, sacrifice and support. Those women that sat around a table, who answered letters, who wrote books, they were real women with normal lives who felt that other women needed every ounce of support they could get to help fight the injustice of forced repeat cesareans. So, what are you doing to help other women and are you doing it as support and service, or are you holding back those petty emotional judgments that some women are too at risk, too fat, too thin, too old, too young, that you know too much about their condition to be able to support them? Do you believe in them that they deserve the essential human right to their own health care, to try for a vaginal birth and make up their own minds about which risks are appropriate to them? I believe in you. Women are strong capable and amaze me daily, they cannot be summed up by a risk category in their efforts to bring forth the amazing. #cesareanawarenessmonth Day 12
A Comment From Facebook:
My grandmother had a VBAC in the early 60’s. She was never the kind of woman to have someone tell her what she could and couldn’t do with her own body. I see so much of her in my mother and sisters. I wonder if that determination is nurture or nature. Either way I am thankful to have that same attitude.
I know a midwife who had a surgical birth with her first, over 30 years ago. As she told me how Nancy Wainer sent her hand written info on VBAC her eyes just sparkled. Decades later and you could see she was still thankful for that support. Birth Day Midwifery Care has touched thousands of women by just sharing information with that one woman.
I had a lot of things on my mind to talk about for today’s CAM.
Really, it all walked out the door when a friend lost her husband.
So today, I want you to realize that when you look back on your life, did you birth in love?
Did the moment of birth, that stunningly amazing MOMENT make you go “wow” and stare into the eyes of your beloved and know your strength, your amazingness, your joy.
THAT is the message of the day.
And for all the mothers who will never do that, I understand and feel for your loss.
For all the mothers who stand a chance at doing that, fight for it tooth and nail and know that it is the most powerful moment in creation, the division of a dyad into two separate and whole new beings.
That kind of love is agony and will sustain you through everything because in that moment, it IS everything.
Give birth in love. No matter how you do it. Let go and feel the miracle.
#cesareanawarenessmonth Day 10
Cesareans affect real women.
Women who have cesareans, even planned ones, have higher rates of postpartum depression.
Women who have cesareans after laboring often have experiences of PTSD symptoms.
Mothers go home with babies they have irrational fears about, wondering deep down if they are really their babies.
They have higher rates of infertility, and higher rates of choosing to never have another child voluntarily reducing their fertility.
They go home and turn off the lights so their partners won’t see their bellies when they make love.
They carry “shelves” of fat over their scars that pilates can’t get rid of, depending on their surgeon’s care and skill of technique.
They are talked about like inanimate objects while on the OR table so their baby’s first moments are about football games and who is going where to do what and they carry that for life.
They have flashbacks from the drugs they are given during the birth.
They are told not to pick up anything more than a few pounds but must cope with toddlers at home and newborn babies they can’t lift.
If it’s bad enough, they get infections and then are blamed for being too fat, doing too much, not taking care of themselves.
Six weeks later, they go back to their surgeon and that surgeon will never see them again to discuss this birth, to discuss this event, to help them recover or to understand the reality of what has just occurred for her and her baby.
None of that is real to them because it is not what they do.
Liability fears should never trump real lives and the true impact of cesarean is not on whether or not a provider will get sued but whether or not a mother is made or whether her basic sense of being a mother is destroyed.
#cesareanawarenessmonth Day 10
I’m going to say what you shouldn’t.
Women in the US are failing at educating themselves about motherhood, parenting and birth. We are failing our daughters. We are failing each other. We pretend that induction is okay because our doctors said so, that cesareans are harmless or better choices, that our bodies are just toooooo small for our BIG HUGE BABIES to come out of, that OUR baby and OUR birth is “that one” even when we know better. We allow ourselves to become victims at the tune of 1/2 women. We aren’t strong enough to have normal births, we aren’t brave enough to say no, we aren’t, we can’t, we won’t and we don’t.
I don’t excuse doctors in their role in this. Nor do I excuse midwives. They both have much to learn that they didn’t learn in school about letting go of their fears and about acting appropriately and ethically rather than precipitously and defensively.
But ladies, let’s stop kidding ourselves. As long as we go on the way we are, not teaching our daughters their biology, being afraid to discuss the reality of pregnancy and bodily function, being ignorant ourselves of how our cycles work, being dependent on doctors to tell us when we are pregnant because that fifteenth stick didn’t convince us, as long as we don’t do our own research and then STAND BY IT rather than trying to convince them to behave as if you are an individual autonomous adult, then we are simply walking around blaming those who prey on the weak when we are being the weak. Your doctor can’t induce you without your permission. She can’t increase your risk by giving you drugs you don’t need if you don’t tell her to. They can’t section you if you refuse unless they go through hell and high water to do so.
Wake the hell up, a 33% cesarean rate isn’t being done to us as much as are complicit in doing it to ourselves and our babies. #cesareanawarenessmonth Day 9
My baby has blue eyes.
They told me so on an ultrasound.
A friend told me her baby had blue eyes, so they had to be born by cesarean in case there was an emergency
A study in 1992 said that babies with blue eyes had a higher likelihood of being born by cesarean.
The study in 1994 says that babies with blue eyes had a higher likelihood of dying, so my doctor said I had to schedule my cesarean before 40 weeks. He won’t let me go past.
My doctor said that I am already 1cm dilated and that I should have the cesarean at 38 weeks to keep from putting pressure on the baby if I go into labor.
I found out today that the other doctor in my practice wasn’t even taught how to deliver blue eyed babies. She said they don’t teach it in school any more.
As I sit here holding my perfect, brown-eyed baby, I wonder what went wrong, but I am so grateful it all went right.
My brown eyed baby is 6 mos old today and a study came out saying that all the research about blue-eyed babies was flawed and that blue-eyed babies are just a normal variation of babies.
And other words, from other women…and their stories….and their emotions…
And one last:
Because, after all, this is the takeaway from cesarean. “You Should Be Grateful.”
Across the country, millions of women are carrying the child of a man who trusts her enough to feed, to care for, to change the diapers of and to maintain the basic safety of the child they are having together. They will leave her alone daily with their child, they will do all of the things that say “I trust you” until a VBAC or homebirth come up. Then, suddenly, there is no longer the trust of the woman’s ability, the woman’s innate sense of protection for her newborn.
They can only see their own fear. Fear of responsibility, fear of loss, fear of something they cannot express. They will give you a thousand reasons but in the end, there is only one thing that any woman wants to hear when planning a VBAC:
“I trust your judgment”
If you can’t give her that, don’t put a baby in her body.
And women, if you know he won’t give you that, then you are on your own and should make the best decisions you can for the child you carry because ultimately, you are the one responsible for you and your baby. #cesareanawarenessmonth Day 7
VBAC mothers are like all other mothers, with one exception:
Every one from the pool boy to the grocery store cashier to her plumber all know her risks.
She doesn’t need you to tell her, too. She’s already aware.
How about being the one person in her life that talks about the possibilities of success, help and support along with trusting her judgment?
#cesareanawarenessmonth Day 6