Last April, in honor of National Cesarean Awareness Month, I shared the second part of my birth story, The Start of a Movement: Baby A’s Birth Story Part II. Disclosing my intimate journey didn’t come about because of a new found comfort level; or even because I could write or read my own story without becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Instead, I shared in the hope of helping others heal and to raise awareness. Additionally, I was pushing my own boundaries as I continued to mend physically and emotionally. This is still a work in progress as I prepare for Baby B’s arrival.
Because of my personal experience and what is taking place on a national level surrounding our nation’s C-Section epidemic, I had decided to “put it all out there.” In speaking out and telling my story, I’ve been able to shed light on the raw emotion and difficulties of coping with an unnecessary Cesarean. This brings about another topic concerning the lies women in my community are being told about the reasons they “need” first time or repeat C-Sections.
Even though I believe that some C-sections are necessary for life saving reasons, I am disgusted by the glamorization of surgical birth in America and in my hometown. There is nothing glamorous about major abdominal surgery and trying to recover with an overly swollen body and adverse reactions to medication while caring for a newborn. I didn’t find it easy to cope with my physical scar or the emotional despair over being a bystander at my first child’s birth. In the middle of learning to be a new, breastfeeding mom I was guilt-ridden over all of the things our baby was subject to including a stranger’s microbiomes as he entered the world; increased chances of respiratory illness, allergies and obesity; bonding difficulties; and increased risk of infant mortality and birth injury. I also should have been more worried about myself at that time than I knew to be. My birth education came too late.
It’s Risky Business: Read Up!
I’m growing weary of speaking with parents who have not been told of the true dangers accompanying C-Sections or the impact it could have on their babies. Some of the women I have met locally are unknowingly eating every line of BS their doctors are feeding them. For some reason, their healthcare professionals don’t want them to be educated consumers. The stakes are HIGH and opting for a surgical birth because of fetal positioning, unrelated first birth complications, wrapped umbilical cord, failure to progress, or amount of amniotic fluid may not be the best choice for these women or their babies. Their OBs are convincing them otherwise and our local hospital continues on with their 1 in 3 surgical birth rate and VBAC Ban.
C-Sections heighten serious risks to mother and baby yet we are blindly trusting institutions and professionals who are encouraging these choices based on financial gain, scheduling convenience and outdated policies. Doctors are not marketing the true dangers of Cesarean births, only the risks to mother and baby (however minimal) without. They are screaming about the dangers of VBAC without sharing the benefits. It’s time for local women to research best birth practices and read up on Cesarean risks and VBAC Facts for the sake of true informed consent or refusal, a RIGHT we ALL have.
For a great start, I suggest an ebook published by Cristen Pascucci through ImprovingBirth.org called “VBAC Bans: The Insanity of Mandatory Surgery.” By clicking here you can read the first chapter. If you find this interesting and want to be fully informed, purchase her ebook through the link provided in the same article. You won’t regret it.
“Shame lives in silence.” – Dr. Brené Brown
I spent so much time being ashamed after my son’s birth. I felt like a failure. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t deliver my baby “the right way” and I was traumatized over his surgical entry to our world. I, too, was lied to by a trusted healthcare professional. I, too, was not as informed as I needed to be. I didn’t speak about these things until I found life-changing resources like VBAC Facts, Birth Monopoly, ICAN, ImprovingBirth.org, and other blogs written by women.
I found hope and then went on to meet with professionals who offered their help and advocacy. I eventually got my hands on so much information that I launched the VBAC Casper movement with a very special woman named Sara. The New York Times covered our cause and gave a voice to the very women our local VBAC Ban and forced C-Sections practices are impacting. (Read the full article here.) It has been a long process but healing and powerful, nonetheless, and I hope to get information out to the local women in my community so that they can be informed decision makers as maternity care patients.
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