On being too posh to push and having a knife-happy obstetrician…

Linking up with Diary of a SAHM for iBOT today…

There seems to be some misconception in the media about caesarean births.

The first that I am aware of is that women who go under the knife are “too posh to push” and that all obstetricians are “caesar happy”.

The second is that having a caesarean birth is an easy way out.  A scary procedure to get out of having to endure the pain and indignity of labour.

Right, here we go…

At 33 weeks, with all the information at my disposal – the major point being that Twin 2 (Oscar, that’s him at 31 weeks up there) would struggle and possibly not survive a vaginal birth – the public Fetal Medicine Unit obstetrician and I decided that I would have a “medically required” caesarean.

I was not pushed, scared or made to feel stupid for wanting a vaginal birth.

At one point I was even told that a caesarean birth was not necessarily safer than a vaginal one.

My desire for a twin vaginal birth was supported from my very first appointment with the Fetal Medicine Unit at The Canberra Hospital.

In fact, no one ever said to me: “YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CAESAREAN OR YOUR BABIES WILL DIE!!!”

What my obstetrician did say, when I was 32 and a bit weeks pregnant, was something like:

“Considering the size of Twin 2, I’m not convinced he will deal well with a vaginal birth.  The danger is he is so fragile he will struggle considerably.”

Then he took a BIG breath and said very gently, with great respect:

“I think it would be best for Twin 2 if we delivered via caesarean. What do you think?”

You betcha.  He told me he thought it was a good idea to do a caesarean and then asked me what I wanted to do.  Shocking!

Back in Young, a week and two days later, I was at the hospital having my second steroid injection for the babies’ lung development.  They asked me to hop up on the bed and after some grumbling on my part that no woman 34 weeks pregnant with twins, as of today, was in any state to “hop”, I obliged by lumbering up and onto the narrow bed.

They took my blood pressure, asked for a wee sample, put a CTG trace on my belly, and walked away.

An hour and a half later my GP had taken my blood, was hooking me up to a magnesium drip to keep the “pre” in “eclampsia”, plying me with some gross powder to stop the contractions, the ambulance had arrived and I was totally out of it and thought that the ambulance was going to follow Pal and I in the car to make sure we got there safely.  Until they brought in the trolley bed.

I  met the anaesthetist in theatre before he went round to air my backside and draw a target on my back.

He thought he was hilarious.  I thought this was all a bit mad.

Target drawn, needle at the ready, they got the call to STOP.

A woman 27 weeks with twins had presented ready to pop and the neonatal staff were obviously attending to her, so could my babies not be born yet? Would I mind waiting?

What seemed like very soon after the room filled with people, I got stabbed in the back (which was actually ridiculously annoying rather than painful, like someone kneeing me in the small of my back), they laid me down quickly, Pal arrived and the surgeon proceeded to cut me open.

Someone decided to wash the dishes in my belly, and then all of a sudden, Twin One was here.

And 40 seconds later, Twin Two was as well.

And it was beautiful.

I forgot I was laying on a table with my innards displayed for the world to see.  All I thought about was my beautiful babies, and the burning question, were they OK?

They were.  Oscar just.

They were small, red balls of born-too-early fury, and they were beautiful, they were mine and they were safe.

I had a caesarean birth.

And it was amazing.

Fraser

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I realise that many women haven’t been as fortunate to have such an understanding and pro-vaginal birth obstetrician as I have.

I realise that of course there are situations where women are made to feel pressured into birth choices they would not otherwise have chosen.

However, is it so hard to accept that because of a medical procedure there are babies being born alive that would not for a caesarean have survived?

Why must a procedure that is saving lives be branded as an easy way out?

Because to be honest with you, needing help to get out of bed and go to the toilet? Not a whole lot of fun, not very dignified, not easy.

Being in pain, unable to hold your babies comfortably or without someone to help you? Not a whole lot of fun, not very confidence-inducing (especially for new mothers), not easy.

Lying in a bed being unable to visit your babies until 7 hours after they are born, with a nurse and a wardsman to wheel your bed to the NICU? Ain’t a whole lot of fun.  Nor is it – in any way, shape or form – easy.

Sometimes, being a mother isn’t a whole lot of fun, isn’t dignified, and it sure isn’t easy.  We are all just trying to keep our children safe from before the moment they are born.

That starts in the birthing room – whether it’s at home or under the knife.