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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Caesarean section changes birth plan



I’m a C-section statistic and proud of it!

I had been in labor for 10 hours when the “C-word” was first mentioned. My baby boy’s heart rate was Mom_csection dropping with each powerful contraction, and it was these very contractions that I needed to dilate fully enough to begin pushing. I had already been placed on oxygen hoping that this would help the little guy take the powerful tremors.

“If this keeps up we’ll have to do a C-section,” my doctor warned as she monitored the little green lines jumping and falling on the fetal monitor.

I looked at my husband and then at the doctor. We want to exhaust all options before we have to do that, I told her. My husband was in agreement.

Throughout my pregnancy, we’d read how it was best to have a vaginal delivery. Babies born by caesarean section can have respiratory problems.

C-section rates have been on the rise, and some in the medical community suspect it is a result of doctors fearing malpractice. Plus the doctor has the ability to control the timing of a C-section vs. lengthy vaginal deliveries — thus freeing up busy doctors to move on to the next patient.

I remember spouting off this information to friends of mine who had to have C-sections recently. Not me, I declared. I was going to push this baby into the world if it was the last thing I did.

But here I was — exhausted from labor, on oxygen and watching my baby’s heart rate drop. After  stopping my labor  to give my son a rest and  then restarting it, the problems with his heart persisted.
All bets were off. I was whisked into a bright, cold operating room to be prepped for a C-section.

To my surprise, it was a rather uneventful process. My husband and I talked, and even laughed at times. The anesthesiologist promised to make me feel like I’d had a few martinis (my favorite drink), and I so appreciated him for it.

After about 20 minutes and a little pain that felt like tugging, I heard my beautiful baby boy scream and gasp for his first breath. When they lifted his pink body into the air for me to see, I felt disbelief that he was mine, fear of the enormity of it all and joy that he was healthy. I cried like, well, a baby.

It wasn’t until days later while recovering in my hospital room that it really began to sink in  — I had had a C-section.

I was now a statistic — but in good company.

In fact, about 30 percent of children born in the United States are done so by caesarean delivery, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. That’s compared to a recommended 15 percent by the World Health Organization.

Did this make my birth experience less authentic? Was I less of a woman because of it? And what did that mean for me as I thought of having more children? These questions and more were racing through my mind. I even became a little ashamed when I revealed to family and friends that I had to go the C-section route.

On the bright side, I made a speedy recovery and was released a day early from the hospital. As I made it through those first tough days of having a newborn at home, the worries of  being a “C-section statistic” quickly went away. I took the emphasis off my actual birth experience and really began to focus on this beautiful baby boy.

In the end, it’s not how you bring a child into the world that makes you a good mother, but what you do once he gets here.

-- Nicole Hutcheson, Deal Diva and new Momma

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:00am]


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