10 weeks

To date, there are about 10 weeks left until my planned, elective, cesarean section.  I cannot tell you how excited I am and pleased that elective cesarean is an available option for me.  To know that I am able to have another child, that I am able to commit to another pregnancy and delivery without an overwhelming sense of impending doom that the trauma I experienced before could happen again, is a complete joy.  Thankfully, the choice of elective cesarean, the choice of how I will bring forth my baby into the world, the choice of how my body will deliver new life to the world, is mine to make.  This choice is supported by my doctor, and my hospital.  This choice is, for the most part, supported by my family and friends.  Unfortunately, this choice is not readily available to all mothers, not promoted by many mothers and medical professionals, and downright denied to some pregnant individuals.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about elective cesarean and the thoughts and attitudes surrounding this mode of delivery.  Articles and comments that are part of our mainstream culture that discuss elective cesarean often focus on this delivery option as one of huge risk (to both mother and child), one that should be done only in extreme circumstances (a medical emergency that arises during a “natural” vaginal birth), and one that should never EVER be done electively.  These articles on elective c-section often focus  on the mother’s selfishness, the baby’s overwhelming ability to bond or breastfeed, and society’s disgust at the choice of operation vs. “natural” process.

Although the overwhelming amount of readily available literature regarding elective cesarean focus on the negatives, as an educated women, I am able to offer you two very excellent resources that talk about elective cesarean as a more streamlined and socially accepted choice.  The best resource that I have found on this subject is the book, Choosing Cesarean: A Natural Birth Plan, by Dr. Magnus Murphy and Pauline McDonagh Hull.  Another equally compelling resource for elective cesarean, a resource that provides current up-to-date trends and support surrounding this always controversial topic is the wonderful Facebook page, Cesarean by Choice Awareness Network.  Created by another individual who rallies for women’s choice in the mode of delivery, this Facebook page promotes civil discussion and inspires those individuals looking for answers and real information about elective cesarean…without societal bias of “natural” vaginal birth.

I urge anyone even remotely interested in the subject of elective cesarean to become informed, not just by the biased media that is most readily available, but by the literature and groups that are beginning to gain more momentum in the movement for women’s choice about how to birth their children.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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8 Comments »

  1. It’s great having the choice of cesarea for those woman who like me are dealing with the consecuences of a severe tear. Thanks for your blog Lauren, really help me a lot.
    Regards from Spain
    I started my blog as I told you!

    • peace4lauren Said:

      Desgarroparto-I agree, choice is GRAND! I’m glad you find the blog helpful. -Lauren

  2. I am so excited about your baby. You are such a trooper….so am I. We will grab life by the horns and ride the grand ride. Please keep us posted.

  3. If you go back more than 200 years, a c/s on a less than moribund woman or to save a fetus that couldn’t be born vaginally was considered “butchery.” Why? Because at that time, most physicians would only consider doing a c/s to remove a retained fetus after obstructed labour that couldn’t be removed any other way. The uterine contents were invariably infected and would be spilled into the abdominal cavity. If the woman survived the operation, she generally died in a few days from overwhelming sepsis (this was before antibiotics and ICU care!). Since the woman was generally moribund (ie mostly dead) before the surgery, many didn’t survive the procedure.

    Huge cognitive shift occured with the development of aseptic technique and the availability of antibiotics. Now c/s could save babies without condeming the mom to a nasty death.

    This shift, to the c/s as we know it today took a couple of hundred years. It was the operation, not the circumstances, that was often blamed for the high morbidity and mortality rate.

    Same thing (although less dramatically) is happening today with “elective” or “pre-labour” c/s. The operation is blamed for the M&M where really it is the operation performed after a difficult labour or due to maternal or fetal disease that accounts for the M&M. Elective pre-labour c/s, as Mrs Hull and Dr Murphy nicely lay out in their book, have an extremely low M&M rate.

    I hope it won’t take another 200 years for us all to accept that pre-labour c/s have some significant advantages. Of course, we would be much further ahead if we could take a lot of the politics out of birth…which are really just politics around how much a woman is allowed to control her own body.

    • peace4lauren Said:

      theadequatemommy: Thanks for your response and the historical perspective. I agree with you that change in attitudes takes a l o n g time to achieve. I agree with you that it truly is the “politics” of birth that hold back progress in this area. -Lauren

  4. CapitalDistrictMommy Said:

    I enjoyed hearing your perspective as detailed in this post, Lauren! Based on your previous birth experience, I can’t imagine any OBGYN of sound mind and spirit would give a single, solitary thought to a repeat vaginal delivery for you. While it would technically be elective, it seems to me that your impending c-section is medically necessary. When I think of an “elective cesarean,” I think of women who perceive a section to be [dare I say it?] glamorous. Ya know . . . choosing the date, not having to push, etc. (And there ARE women whom I’ve encountered who DO believe that a c-section is easier. I can’t tell you how many women chastised me for lamenting my two visits to the Labor & Delivery’s operating table). Unless absolutely medically necessary (as in your case), I would not recommend electing to have a cesarean. The recovery is slow, painful, and utterly tiresome. The risks to mother and baby are in fact a reality. Yes, as with any birth, you run MANY risks but complicating that with additional or added medications/injections/blood loss magnifies those risks. The complications one may face in recovery (such as incision site infection, need for hysterectomies, gallbladder issues, etc.) raise the U.S.’ childbirth mortality rate. I, myself, deal with my own physical and emotional birth trauma “after-effects” from my first c-section. I just can’t help but marvel at what different experiences we’ve shared regarding the stigma of a c-section. I delivered my second child twelve weeks ago and all throughout my pregnancy, had a difficult time in finding physicians who would be willing to consider an “elective” vaginal delivery (known to most as a VBAC)! To me, I find that doctors widely encourage/pressure mothers into medically unnecessary cesarean deliveries. So yes, women need to be given the opportunity to weigh their options in what sort of delivery is safest for them and their medical situation . . . on all fronts. Best wishes to you in these final weeks! Thanks for the post and the opportunity to weigh in!

    • peace4lauren Said:

      CapitalDistrictMommy-Thanks for the response! It is nice to have an open conversation regarding the risk and benefits of both elective c-section and vaginal delivery. I respectfully disagree with your point about an elective c-section being “glamorous” for all woman who make this choice without medical indication. There are many woman who have done research on both modes of delivery and have made the educated choice that elective cesarean is safer for them and the baby. That being said, with all of the research I have done at this point, I would choose an elective c-section over vaginal birth without any hesitation for my first birth (if I could do it over), even without having what mainstream literature deems “medical indication” because I have come to the conclusion that elective c-section is a safer choice for me. I don’t think elective c-section should be the choice for all women, or a forced choice for all birthing mothers, however, I feel it should be a validated and equally acceptable choice for society. I also believe that vaginal birth and VBAC should be an acceptable choice for all women who so choose. I agree with you wholeheartedly that women need to be given the opportunity to weigh their options about what sort of delivery they will have for the birth of their child, however, the literature available to make this decision in an educated way is often skewed in favor of vaginal “natural” birth and unfairly stigmatizes women who would like an elective c-section. -Lauren


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