Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knowledge is Power?

For the past few days, I have been reading about c-sections online. Yesterday morning, I was tired, had an oven fire, and started freaking out about it (the c-section, not the oven fire.) Just doing a search for “c-sections” leads you to many sites by people who want to encourage you to refuse a c-section or choose a vbac for later pregnancies if you’ve already had a c-section. They are full of testimonials from women who are so upset by their “doctor’s choice” to perform a c-section, later had a vbac, and oh, what a pain-free recovery they had from that one. They list so many reasons why a vaginal delivery is preferable to a c-section. For one minute (only one) I considered that maybe I should see if the hospital here would induce me (which I’ve also been reading you should avoid at all costs, because oh, no, it could lead to a c-section) early, so that at least I would be delivering a smaller baby. Then, I thought "how is this baby going to get out of me?" Some of these sites also tell you to avoid hearing women’s horror stories about childbirth. But, it’s ok to tell everyone how horrible c-sections are?

A doctor told me at one point that women who talk most about their birth experience either had a terrible time or an incredibly easy time, but most people fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve had others tell me that childbirth can’t be that bad, or no one would do it twice. Well, I would fall in that other category. I was not/am not willing to have another vaginal delivery. Without going into details, I did not have an easy recovery from Ashlyn’s birth. She was totally worth it, but, when contemplating another pregnancy, with taking a risk for an unknown, unmade child, no. On our first doctor’s appointment, I told the doctor about my previous problems and, just as every doctor that I saw in the states told me, she also recommended a c-section, which was good, because I would have done everything possible to have a c-section. Before my appointment, I had already talked to the referral people on post about the possibilities of having this baby in the states, if the doctors here encouraged me to have a vaginal delivery. I didn’t and still don’t see that as a choice.

I believe it was about this point in my last pregnancy that I started freaking out about childbirth as well. Then, I had no experience, but, while going through our childbirth education class, I was pretty sure that none of it sounded good. Maybe this is just the point when your belly is so big that you realize that you really ARE pregnant, but can't stay this way forever. I calmed down by the end of the class, and was so miserable by the time I reached my due date, that I was ready for whatever, just “get out!”

I don’t know if this seems normal that I am stressing. Are other women as worried or even more the second time around?

I’m not sure, but I do believe that I need to GET OFF THE INTERNET. If I want to find out about c-sections, I have sisters-in-law who’ve experienced them. I have a close friend who fought to have a c-section for her second child. (Expect phone calls or emails soon!) I don’t need a glossed-over version of recoveries, but I don’t need to continue reading about how much better a vaginal delivery would be for me. If after a c-section, I decide that the vaginal delivery WAS the better option, I can pretty much guarantee that 2 children will be enough for me (of course, I’m leaning that way already.)

Disclaimer: Everyone has a different experience when having a child. I am sure that for some women a vaginal delivery is a better option.


Laura said...

I'm stressed just thinking about you being stressed and all of that pain. Ugh! Get off the internet girl! It only seems to be making matters worse. And look at it this way, even if it is bad, it can't be much worse than what you've already been through. Besides, all the stars chose c-sections so it can't be that bad. You'll be fine.

Alaska Dunns said...

Oh, Angie! You are totally normal. I think there is a some horrible hormone that kicks in during the 3rd trimester that makes us obsess about labor and delivery. I try to redirect myself to focus on ending up with a healthy baby instead of focusing on the whole labor process. There are lots of ways to end up with a healthy baby. I don't think there is only one right way for anyone.

Personally, I have had mostly easy deliveries and I think a C/S recovery would be a lot more difficult for me than my vag recoveries. But that doesn't translate to anyone else. Each person has a different story and you really can't go wrong if you have good healthcare and you take care of yourself and your baby during your pregnancy. C/S or vag, it will all work out and you will have a beautiful baby to cuddle with.

One thing I have heard from others and experienced personally ... each recovery tends to get a little easier for most women. My first recovery was tough emotionally and physically. The labor wasn't bad but I had a couple big recovery issues that really stopped me cold. I wasn't expecting any of it. My second was quite a bit easier and this one has been a piece of cake. I'm ready to go back to Curves. :)

I will be praying for you that whatever choice you make you will have peace with it and end up with a healthy baby and a smooth recovery.


KimS said...

Preach it, sistah.

There's something about early motherhood that makes moms so opinionated... as if their opinions/methods/experience is so much more valid/wise/correct than every other option. It's idiotic, especially when you consider how different each of our bodies and personalities is (and how different our children's bodies and personalities are) and how much all that can effect almost every decision about having the baby and then raising it-- to say nothing of our doctor's and husbands' opinions and preferences, which (I think) should weigh in as well on these things.

The internet can be a great source of info, but for young motherhood, it's also a source of a lot of very biased information, flame wars, and ugliness. Surfers beware!

Natalie said...

I used to look up every pain or possible illness on the internet and it it turned me into a hypocondriac. If I thought I had strep-throat, the internet would tell me I may have cancer, etc. I had to cut-ties with the internet when it comes to health issues. As you probably should.

In my humble opinion, I think you are going to have a much quicker recovery than you did with Ashlyn if you have a c-section. I do not think you are making a bad decision and you shouldn't second-guess yourself or overthink it any more. I don't know the exact details, but I know you were miserable for months. So, get the c-section. You'll be so glad you did!

Personally, I disagree with c-sections unless there is a absolute medical necessity (as in your case). I think induction in almost all cases (ruling out serious medical conditions in which it is proper to do so), is just stupid. It's more painful, the baby, in many cases, does not tolorate the pitocin contractions very well (heart-rate issues), often the mother's body doesn't tolorate pitocin well and, therefore, c-sections are common.

Elective c-sections, like the ones common in Hollywood, should be banned. It's just not good medicine to do this. I could go on and on.

I don't know if I told anyone this, but my labor with Lila was long. Not much shortean with Olivia. 25 hours (6-hours of the worst b/c the contractions were closer together - but 25 total). But, I was better mentally prepared, had better support (love my husband - but he had no idea how to properly help the first time around) because I hired a doula, stayed at home MUCH longer, and I told the nurses to piss-off when I got to the hospital. The first time around, I let them dictate what I was going to do and not do. The second time, they would have had to bring in the MP's to get me to do what they wanted.

All of the above (and the fact that I didn't vomit the second time) made for a wonderful birth experience. But, it was just as painful and I pushed just as many times - not a lot - but not any less.

So, c-section or vaginal, they both stink. Most people, as you know, recover faster with a vaginal and for most women, it is the better option. But, unfortuately, you don't fall in that category and, therefore, a c-section, is cleary the better route.

Sharon said...

Loved catching up on your blog, Angie! If I may put in my 2 cents worth...of course I don't have the full experience of a vaginal delivery, but I did go through full labor the first time around. One thing I can say is that each additional delivery after Hannah wasn't so bad (she was emergency that's why and all the hustle bustle that goes with it is more than anyone shoulg have to go through on that special day). Now, with Hayes he had to 'rip' me open b/c he didn't realize how big he was (he didn't make the incision large enough for that Harris head size)so therefore I tore! The recovery for that one was definitely my longest. But, all in deliveries were great, recoveries were quick, and the end result is all that really matters. You'll do great! I worried with each one as well- I think it just comes with it.