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  #61  
Old 27.07.2010, 15:03
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Re: C-Section on request

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Birth really doesn't have to be scary or painful. I had a back to back labour with my first which lasted 7 hours and I can honestly say it didn't hurt. It was hugely intense and I can think of better ways to spend an evening but the high I was on afterwards was more than worth it.


It's worthwhile being aware that some of the most horrible 'natural' birth stories you'll hear are to do with a cascade of interventions. Also, for what it's worth, episotomy's have been shown to do a lot more damage than the possible risk of tearing naturally (which heals faster), you are within your rights to request that you do not have one.
There is a lot of warped risk perception when it comes to the birthing process and by exploring all the options we can at least make informed decisions regarding our bodies and that of our babies.
Yep, I spoke to myself during the labor; ''Come one Nil, It is all good, you are enjoying this moment, no pain. It is all good''

it hurts! You can tell what ever you want, but If the pain is there, you have to deal with it. And I can tell you this, the amount of birth ŕ la Ina May are not that common.

My horrible labor story wasn't all about the pain nor the intervention but a mix of all.


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My pregancy ended up in an emergency and life-threatening c-section. I now have a quite ugly (and big) scar, and a whole area around it that is totally dead to the touch - docs told me it's quite common, as tiny nerves got cut during the op.

My labour was induced for medical reasons, and what I really minded was that my baby couldn't 'decide' when he wanted to be born.

We don't really know what starts labour, but it seems that when the baby feels 'ready' it begins producing a specific hormone starting the contractions.

I find it particularly harsh for the baby when - on a date planned by the parents and the hospital - a big scalpel comes to rip the tummy open to extract him from his warm place...

If it has to happen for medical reasons, well so be it. But I really have troubles understanding why someone would WANT to go through that...
I find more harsh someone judging other people's situation, experience and emotions.

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Well although I joke above, the way my labour was handled and the cock-ups that were made (putting myself and the wee one in danger) I am actually now TERRIFIED of natural birth. Medically there is no reason to have a c-section but mentally, that's a different story
Yes.

And no one should ever judge you for the way you want to handle your birth. 42 hours of labors, 3 nights without sleep or rest and a hell lots of pain without meds and an episiotomy with a baby in life danger. That is more then enough for me to want to have a c-section.
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Old 27.07.2010, 15:13
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Re: C-Section on request

OK I'm (clearly) not a girl/woman, but if someone said "ok, you can have a load of pain, or no pain" I'd go with the no pain. Birth is dangerous and physically traumatic and if a c-section can relieve that, then seriously, where's the downside?
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Old 27.07.2010, 15:18
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Re: C-Section on request

Aah...see...the point is that a c-section isn't pain-free. The recovery afterwards is a lot longer, it's major abdominal surgery, and things like infection, bleeding for the mother, and breathing problems for the baby are the most common risks...

So a c-section is painful and physically traumatic, and a vaginal birth is painful and physically traumatic...and it's a 'pot luck' whether you get a 'good one' or a 'bad one' - but a good vaginal birth beats a good c-section birth, no doubt about that...after my third baby, I could have picked him up and gone 'back to work in the fields' if I'd had to - no way you can do that after an epidural or a c-section...
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Old 27.07.2010, 15:20
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Re: C-Section on request

There can be downsides. My youngest ended up in Intensive Care with breathing issues a few days after the birth which was partly attributed to having a c-section and the lungs not being squeezed as per a natural birth. Two of my friends went throught he same thing in one case the baby was lucky to survive. All 3 of us had c-sections for medical reasons.

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OK I'm (clearly) not a girl/woman, but if someone said "ok, you can have a load of pain, or no pain" I'd go with the no pain. Birth is dangerous and physically traumatic and if a c-section can relieve that, then seriously, where's the downside?
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Old 27.07.2010, 15:20
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Re: C-Section on request

Nil, I think nobody denies that c-sections can be medically required. They saved many lives, and must always be an option as things can go wrong very quickly during labour.

What i have more troubles understanding is the mothers who wish to have a c-section at a precise date, when labour hasn't even started, simply because it's easier. I link it to those OBs in private clinics who choose surgery to avoid having to come back at night or during the weekend for a normal birth.

A c-section is a majour procedure, and having a baby is not exactly like buying cauliflowers at the supermarket: your body experiences huge changes, and it goes with a certain amount of fears and sometimes traumatic experiences.

What I'm trying to say is: I understand that you were particularly traumatised by your traumatic labour, but perhaps it could go perfectly well another time, no?
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Old 27.07.2010, 15:38
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Re: C-Section on request

But there are things you can do to maximise the chances of having an easy vaginal birth. I used my birth as an example but I'd also be the first to say that ancedote is not the same as evidence. There is evidence that shows woman who are more relaxed, comfortable and under continuous care by someone who they feel confident in have faster labours. Those who are allowed to eat and drink during labour as well as have freedom of movement have faster and easier labours.

Ina May Gaskin has had over 2000 births over a substantial period of time. It is viable and factual reference data that shows the emotional and physically active managment of labour has a huge effect on the outcome and it isn't the only study out there.

There is no way I am judging anyone who has had a section. I was all for it myself as, due to back issues, I can't have an epidural. When I started researching options for my labour it was clear that the image I had in my head of a screaming woman strapped on her back was not how it had to be.

I just want to reassure women that it doesn't have to be a horrible experience because, actually, I quite enjoyed it. When you talk about it hurting it really didn't, no more than a really hard work out at the gym hurts. It's uncomfortable but, again, the way that our brain processes pain according to how we percieve it is a well documented fact.

The body is designed to birth a baby and before medical intervention became so prevalent it did it pretty easily. Hipp ocratesand Aristotle, who were the foremost physicians of their time didn't mention anything regarding pain in their notes on normal, uncomplicated birth. It wasn't until about 2AD that references to pain in labour became commonplace and that was around the time that midwifes had been banned and women were forced into confinement during pregnancy and labour. If you're a geek with too much time on your hands the history of childbirth is extremely interesting.

I'm 100% grateful that we have access to c-sections these days, it's a wonderful thing but they are more dangerous for mothers and children, that is well documented fact. I'm merely trying to say that there is middle ground between resigning yourself to an agonising VB or begging your OB/GYN for a section.
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Old 27.07.2010, 16:01
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Re: C-Section on request

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I really need to stop reading this thread
I managed till Page 3

Coincidentally, I was having the same discussion with Nicky a while back. She was surprised to learn that in my home country, you are able to request for a C-section.

My mother went through 24 hours of labour before I decided to make an entrance - stubborn ass I am. She never failed to remind me of that and she was so traumatised by it that she took 7 years before deciding to have my sister - who came out through a C-section. Her choice.

My sister in law on the other hand, had 2 kids and she described it like having cramps or a stomach-ache. Both of her labours were less than an hour - no epidural. Another friend of mine took 12 hours, and described it as "pushing a horse through a key hole".

I guess its up to each individual at the end of the day, whether they want to experience "the birthing process". Some believe that you are not a complete woman if you dont - whereas some are terrified and psychologically traumatised from the horror stories that they've heard from friends and family that they would rather have a C-section - and no other way. They rather bear the scars and stitches than pushing. Saying that you are too posh to push is, in my opinion, terribly judgmental and harsh.

It all boils down to choice at the end of the day as its the woman's body and as long as both the mum and child come out healthy in the end, that's what really matters doesnt it?
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Old 27.07.2010, 18:35
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Re: C-Section on request

My first was an unplanned section, after 24 hours of unproductive labour and a blue lights/ sirens ambulance transfer from cosy maternity home to regular hospital for the catch-all 'failure to progress' where a drip is required (really, we'd tried all the walking about, changing position, breathing stuff already). After a further 14 hours on the drip (with an epidural in place) I was given a section, where the surgeon discovered, as she'd suspected, that my son was stubbornly the wrong way round. I subsequently discovered what 'retroverted uterus' means, and how it results in your wrong way round baby pushing in the wrong place.

Second time around, I ummed and ahhed over what to do, but when I found out that DD was also back to back AND likely to weigh well in excess of 9lbs/4kgs, I asked for a planned section. It was virtually certain that I would labour pointlessly and riskily for the prescribed amount of time (about 10-12 hours in the UK) before being sent for a section anyway, because by then the possibility of rupture is getting too high. I went in all prepared to fight my case, with statistics on uterine rupture, infant mortality, etc, but the doctor agreed it was a sensible choice and signed it off on the spot.

I recovered well and had no complications, especially with the second one where I hadn't had 40 hours of labour, no sleep for two nights AND a major operation all at once. By the third week after my daughter was born, I was even driving short distances. Some people do of course have difficulties, but for a regular section with no complications the recovery is pretty good - I think this whole 'you won't be able to walk properly or lift a cup of tea for 6 weeks' is nonsense from another age where less healthy and nourished women had a vertical incision.

I'm glad I at least had the first labour, to go through the excitement of breaking waters and to know what contractions are like, but I've never once regretted that I didn't push them out myself. I am solely thankful that I live in a time where both me and my children survived, as in a previous age the circumstances of my first pregnancy/labour would have meant a very poor prognosis for either me, my son, or both of us.

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PS: I read a fascinating book once about the history of sections, how the medical approach changed from antiquity to modern times, etc, but the most grimly absorbing chapter was entitled 'Self-administered c-sections'. There were several documented cases of women carrying out their own section delivery in the absence of other options (usually stranded in a storm or some such). Naturally they did not usually end well...
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Old 27.07.2010, 21:55
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Re: C-Section on request

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OK I'm (clearly) not a girl/woman, but if someone said "ok, you can have a load of pain, or no pain" I'd go with the no pain. Birth is dangerous and physically traumatic and if a c-section can relieve that, then seriously, where's the downside?
Simply because giving birth is not an illness requiring medical treatment. We're made to have children and have been doing so for millennia. Nature has done things well.

C Section surgery should be reserved for complications and when there is a risk and the doctor needs to save the baby, the mother or both.
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Old 27.07.2010, 21:57
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Re: C-Section on request

I honestly believe it should be a personal decision BUT the doctor should inform the mother of the pros and cons of both methods. Unless of course there is an indication for c-section then the doctor should mention it and say why should a c-section be performed.
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Old 27.07.2010, 23:04
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Re: C-Section on request

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Simply because giving birth is not an illness requiring medical treatment. We're made to have children and have been doing so for millennia. Nature has done things well.
It really hasn't, actually. Some billenia ago, we traded bipedal upright motion for ease of birthing, and have been paying for it ever since. Human babies have to be born months before they're fully ready (brain scans compared to other species; ours don't develop the classic 'walnut' appearance until months after birth) in order to permit passage of the skull through the pelvis.

So no, we're really not made for it, which explains why the maternal mortality rate in childbirth was 1 in 30 until a century or so ago.

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Old 27.07.2010, 23:09
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Re: C-Section on request

No we are not. As I wrote in my previous post, I would have been dead three times over if I had given birth 50-100 years ago. We have by-passed the "nature thing" a long time ago and thus, now also unfit mothers give birth (like me) and pass on their unfit genes to their daughters.


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We're made to have children and have been doing so for millennia. Nature has done things well..
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Old 27.07.2010, 23:11
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Re: C-Section on request

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It really hasn't, actually. Some billenia ago, we traded bipedal upright motion for ease of birthing, and have been paying for it ever since. Human babies have to be born months before they're fully ready (brain scans compared to other species; ours don't develop the classic 'walnut' appearance until months after birth) in order to permit passage of the skull through the pelvis.

So no, we're really not made for it, which explains why the maternal mortality rate in childbirth was 1 in 30 until a century or so ago.

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No we are not. As I wrote in my previous post, I would have been dead three times over if I had given birth 50-100 years ago. We have by-passed the "nature thing" a long time ago and thus, now also unfit mothers give birth (like me) and pass on their unfit genes to their daughters.
Really great postings! If I were allowed to contribute to this thread, I'd have said the same.
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Old 27.07.2010, 23:15
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Re: C-Section on request

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Really great postings! If I were allowed to contribute to this thread, I'd have said the same.
Ha ha! Nice try!
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Old 27.07.2010, 23:36
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Re: C-Section on request

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No we are not. As I wrote in my previous post, I would have been dead three times over if I had given birth 50-100 years ago. We have by-passed the "nature thing" a long time ago and thus, now also unfit mothers give birth (like me) and pass on their unfit genes to their daughters.
50-100 years ago maternal care was quite possibly at its worst.

The reason that human babies are born with only 24% of their brain developed is a result of the evolutionary change you mentioned above. Humans have been bipedal for a significant period of time and other factors have evolved to help in the birthing process. C-sections are a relatively recent phenomona. If you go with the theory that a surgical birth has allowed woman 'unfit for labour' to pass on their genes they would be in a miniscule minority after this long. If becoming bipedal ran the risk of the extinction of our species by causing birth to be fraught with danger in the majority of circumstances it wouldn't have had a successful evolutionary outcome and millions of years later we would not be at the top of the food chain.

Once more, there is a very important place for c-sections when a medical necessity but to have one without understanding the physiology of labour and the attendant risks with not following that process can cause more harm than it prevents.

At the risk of sounding like a dyed in the wool lentil knitting hippy (which is amusing as I'm quite possibly the opposite in most ways) I find it really sad that we are conditioned to trust more in a surgeon who has been performing an operation for a few years than in our body which has been designed for giving birth to our children. I was lucky to have access to extremely knowledgeable professionals who were able to guide me towards the research and facts to make my decisions around how I wished to give birth. Scaremongering is rife around birth, for very understandable reasons, we treat women in labour terribly and have a really warped idea of the process. It is unsuprising that so many have such terrible experiences with 'natural' labour and so feel inclined to turn towards the control of a section and encourage others to do so.
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Old 27.07.2010, 23:41
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Re: C-Section on request

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No we are not. As I wrote in my previous post, I would have been dead three times over if I had given birth 50-100 years ago. We have by-passed the "nature thing" a long time ago and thus, now also unfit mothers give birth (like me) and pass on their unfit genes to their daughters.
Yes, when you look at the 20-25% c-section rate in most developed countries, secondary infertility following complication in the first delivery, Rhesus negative issues, etc, etc, it's a wonder anyone got born safely at all in the old days. And the sad truth is that many didn't. Walk round any old graveyard and look for the headstones with a matching date for a mother and child.

I think it's marvellous progress that within 3-4 generations we've reached a point where women fear childbirth because it will be painful, embarrassing if they push out more than the baby, and might leave them feeling different 'down below' for their husbands afterwards. But at least we no longer fear that we may die.

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Old 27.07.2010, 23:55
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Re: C-Section on request

Oh boy, this reminds me of when I had my first baby I was pretty young (a few months shy of 20) and was terrified at the prospect of giving birth naturally. I ended up having a pretty rough time during the last stage of labor and was BEGGING the doctor/nurses to give me a C section, but that was mostly the pain talking, haha. I attempted to get an epidural, but they only had one anesthesiologist that night and by the time he got around to me, I had progressed very far in my labor and couldn't hold still long enough for him to get the needle into the right spot (he yelled at me too, which pissed off my family). So I had to go the completely natural way, which was scary!

I have heard that some women don't go through much pain at all but I am not sure if that is true. I have generally a very high level of pain tolerance (I was at work when I started going into labor and finished out my shift even though I was having contractions) but it was still bad for me. IMO there is absolutely no pain like it in the world (natural things that is; of course torture and extreme stuff like that is probably far worse) BUT....once it's done, it is DONE. I was amazed at how quickly the pain stopped; literally, as soon as that baby is out, you feel soooo much better. Tired, exhausted, sweaty, icky, yes, but the pain goes away incredibly quickly. I was up and walking around a couple of hours later, even though I ended up needing stitches as well.

Anyway, I believe that a woman should be able to have an elective C section if she wants to; personally I don't think that I would simply because of the very long recovery time afterward.
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Old 27.07.2010, 23:56
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Re: C-Section on request

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If becoming bipedal ran the risk of the extinction of our species by causing birth to be fraught with danger in the majority of circumstances it wouldn't have had a successful evolutionary outcome and millions of years later we would not be at the top of the food chain.
Nah, evolution makes these sort of trades all the time - take sickle cell anaemia, for example (kills off its hosts in their 30s but in the meantime gives greater protection against malaria, allowing them to live long enough to reach adulthood and procreate).

The absolute certainty of the advantage of being upright versus the possibility - say 1 in 10 - over a woman's childbearing years of dying is an evolutionary no-brainer.

For the record, I'm at the notion of sections on demand for convenience, ignorance based on others' unfortunate birth anecdotes, or to have a lucky birthdate.

But I'm also at the notion that 'natural' is a synonym for 'good'. We have natural tooth decay but have found ways to deal with it, we have natural cancer yet still want to either try and get rid of it or at least alleviate the suffering of the person stricken. Childbirth is no different.

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Old 28.07.2010, 00:39
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Re: C-Section on request

Can't agree. We're built to have children and carry on the species. Pregnancy is too often treated as if it were a sickness.
Yes lots of mothers died in childbirth from complications and now these people can be saved.

Nevertheless it still is a natural process.

I'm grateful for my surgeon, we both were saved that day.
I'm just stipulating that C-sections should only be reserved for medical reasons.

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But I'm also at the notion that 'natural' is a synonym for 'good'. We have natural tooth decay but have found ways to deal with it, we have natural cancer yet still want to either try and get rid of it or at least alleviate the suffering of the person stricken. Childbirth is no different.

kodokan
Who said natural is good in the sense you're giving it ?
And who can deny that a woman physical structure was not made to carry children ?
You're supporting exactly what I'm saying, you're comparing childbirth with sickness such as cancer
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Old 28.07.2010, 01:15
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Re: C-Section on request

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Can't agree. We're built to have children and carry on the species. Pregnancy is too often treated as if it were a sickness.
Yes lots of mothers died in childbirth from complications and now these people can be saved.

Nevertheless it still is a natural process....
Who said natural is good in the sense you're giving it ?
And who can deny that a woman physical structure was not made to carry children ? You're supporting exactly what I'm saying, you're comparing childbirth with sickness such as cancer
Sorry, maybe I didn't explain it very clearly. I was responding to the 'Nature has done things well' comment you made above by my 'natural = good?' query. I meant it in the sense that just because something is a natural physiological process it doesn't mean that it's (a) perfect, and (b) something that should therefore not be tampered with.

And yes, I'm exactly comparing childbirth with sickness (ie, a physical condition of our bodies which we choose nowadays to cure or relieve). Of course, as with illness, sometimes it's good to intervene, and other times it's best just to let our bodies get on with the job. I just don't think that childbirth should be treated as some separate sacred cow solely on the basis that it's 'natural', when we're quite happy to take Nature out back and shoot it when it comes to dear old grandad's DNA telemenes unravelling and causing cancer.

For what it's worth, I'm entirely with you on not having sections for non-medical issues. But i would choose to argue that vaginal birth is better because it can be demonstrated that the risks and future impacts are lower, not that it's better because it's 'natural'. Nature gets tons of things wrong.

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