I’ve heard so much hoopla about Americans and their love for c-sections in the last few years that I decided to get my opinion out there. I know c-sections are not natural and should only be used in cases of emergency (actually I don’t know this, it’s just what I hear), but weighing up the options, here are the very simple reasons I chose c-section the second time. Hint: they both were the less deadly of the options.
1. I’m not made for birthing babies.
I was induced with my first child. He weighed 8lbs, 1 ounce which is not a large baby. I’d guess it’s pretty average, but after 17 hours of trying, I had only dilated 3 cm and he was in distress. His heart rate was dropping and so they did the c-section. No one can know for sure whether the c was because of the induction (although random people, men and women, that don’t know me sure seem to enjoy casting their opinions) but my OB (the one who went to school more than most of us) believes the baby was too big for me. Apparently, I’m small inside and out.
Baby number 2 is officially due in five days and my cervix is solid as a brick wall. The guess is that if we left her to stew until she was ready, we’d both be dead. When you hear words like stillbirth and dead baby, you don’t give a shit what random people say. You’ll choose any other option.
2. My husband is a statistic lovin’ fool.
My husband is of the school where protecting and providing for your family involves statistics, discussions about fiscal solidity, and health insurance. He’s the guy that asks for the APGAR score and checks the percentiles with every ultrasound. I hate numbers. I love words and if no one says any when measuring my babies, I know they’re safe. But I guess he rubs off on me sometimes.
I asked about VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) when I found out I was pregnant the second time. OB recommended against it. I asked for statistics. She said there was approximately a 60% chance of ending up with the same scenario (this is based on my body and prior experience, so don’t jump as if this is good for everyone), a 29% chance of everything being joyous and groovy, and a 1% chance of my scar rupturing. If the scar ruptures, the baby has approximately 4 minutes to get out. In her experience, it has never taken less than 4 minutes to scrub in, cut open and remove baby. Baby usually dies.
I’m no genius but I believe 1% is more than 0% and that’s too much. I know, you could argue that there is a chance of death anyway and I live with that daily, but this is a decision.
In a contest of words vs. numbers, “death” beats “1%.”
Those are my reasons. I made my choice. It might not live up to the opinions of strangers in the supermarket, but these choices weren’t as easy as picking the best strawberries. I have a lot of regrets. I will never experience pulling my baby out or placing him/her on my chest immediately. I will never get back the two hours I spent shaking uncontrollably in recovery rather than staring at my newborn son. I will never breastfeed immediately, and perhaps I’ll never breastfeed successfully because of this. I will never go through childbirth in the way I would have liked. I won’t bounce back afterwards. I’ll be drugged for days, I won’t sit up without help for days or drive for weeks. I’ll be completely dependent. My 17-month old son will not understand that I can’t pick him up for two to three weeks and I will experience aching pain in my lower belly for months after.
I wouldn’t wish a c-section on anyone, so don’t presume that a c-section is the wish of every woman that has one.