Cesarean Sections

I posted this article on Facebook, but thought I’d put it here too. This was sent to me by Parenting Weekly. It’s an article from the San Francisco Chronicle, talking about how C-Section rates are higher in CA at a for-profit hospital than a nonprofit one, even when comparing hospitals who serve the same demographic in the same town.

You can read it and decide if you want to disregard it or not. When I posted this on Facebook, people began encouraging me to watch “The Business of Being Born” (available for instant viewing if you have Netflix), a documentary made by Ricki Lake (remember her?) when she started looking into why people choose midwives over hospitals. She was so convinced by her research that she decided to have her second child at home.

I am not saying that there aren’t valid reasons to have a C-Section. Doctors use this procedure all the time to save lives, and I’m grateful that modern medicine has found a way to turn otherwise deadly birth situations into a safe experience. I have friends who would not be here, were it not for this practice. So please don’t misunderstand me.

But our culture doesn’t seem to realize that birth is natural and normal, not a sickness. It isn’t ALWAYS an emergency. Why, then, is the national C-Section rate at 31.8%, vs. ? Did 1 in 3 women die in childbirth before doctors figured out how to perform this surgery? Was childbirth really more deadly than war? Plagues?

This also doesn’t explain why there is only an 11.1% transfer rate to the hospital of mothers who begin their care at my birth center (10% of which are first time moms who are not progressing). Less than 5% of these turn into C-Sections.

Are people just not aware of the possible complications of a C-Section?

Cesarean section is a major surgical procedure that increases the likelihood of many types of harm for mothers and babies in comparison with vaginal birth. Short-term harms for mothers include increased risk of infection, surgical injury, blood clots, emergency hysterectomy, intense and longer-lasting pain, going back into the hospital and poor overall functioning. Babies born by cesarean section are more likely to have surgical cuts, breathing problems, difficulty breastfeeding, and asthma in childhood and beyond. Perhaps due to the common surgical side effect of “adhesion” formation, cesarean mothers are more likely to have ongoing pelvic pain, to experience bowel blockage, to be injured during future surgery, and to have future infertility. Of special concern after cesarean are various serious conditions for mothers and babies that are more likely in future pregnancies, including ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa, placenta accreta, placental abruption, and uterine rupture (Childbirth Connection 2006).

One of my good friends is no longer able to have children because her first C-Section was so botched that her body went into labor 9 weeks early with her second  baby. When they went in to remove him, they said that her uterus was practically transparent near the first incision. Her body had gone into labor early in order to save her life. She and her husband had always dreamt of a big family– now, they will only have 2.

3 of Michael’s high school students just had C-Sections. Their doctors met with them ahead of time and explained that since they were so young, their hips couldn’t possibly accommodate a normal birth, so they should go ahead and schedule a C-Section ahead of time.

The woman I used to babysit for was livid about her first birth– the doctor at Baylor had also told her that her hips were too small to give birth to what they estimated to be a nine pound baby growing within her. They convinced her that a C-Section was the only way to be safe. After the surgery, they discovered that the baby was only 6 pounds. Simple mistake on their part (a charitable read), but now surgery has been her only option for her other two (despite the fact that a V-BAC– vaginal birth after cesarean– succeeds 9 out of 10 times, there is only one doctor in the entire DFW area who is willing to risk it).

A woman listed in this article talks about how her first c-section has now rendered her infertile. She, too, was told she was having a baby too big to fit through her cervix. A baby who turned out to be 5 pounds 12 oz.

What is going on, America? I’m not trying to artificially find a whipping boy for this one– big bad doctors, corporations, what have you. But am I wrong to see this as a problem?

Owlies

One of the best things about using a prefold diaper system instead of a pocket diaper system?  The cutest diaper covers ever, handmade by a lady on Etsy. If it works well, I will buy them from her when Gregory needs a new size, instead of from the chain brands. I think it’s nice to support SAHMs, who are just trying to make a living.

35 Weeks

Just one more week, and not even the midwife will try and stop me from going into labor!!

By the way, I just realized that nothing I was wearing today was actually maternity clothing. Ladies, there is hope, it doesn’t always have to be ugly belly panels and tent shirts!

Not exactly working...

Much better.

Really?

I’m sorry, but did this guy REALLY deserve to win over 10 year old Jackie Evancho, on America’s Got Talent? I didn’t watch the finale, just heard about it today. It came down to the two of them as finalists. Judge for yourself, everyone else is in an uproar about it. Piers said he had never seen someone with more potential, in all his years on the British or American show.

Love

I love my windowsill plants. I sometimes find that I look forward to getting up and watering them everyday. I’m not sure why it’s therapeutic, but it is.

My little cherry tomato plants, grown from seed (you don't realize how big of an accomplishment it is for me to keep ANYTHING alive, much less grow it from seed!). They're getting a bit crowded, I should probably transplant some of them. But to what? and where?

I love my African Violets 🙂

3 Random Thoughts

I hate to follow such a sad post with normal stuff, but it’s kinda the way life has to go. I’m already pensive and morose enough as it is.

I have 3 thoughts for today:

1. My dad is convinced I’ve become domesticated. It sounds like we’re talking about some wild animal, when it’s said like that, but whatever. It’s true. I have proof.

These are the top 3 things on my wish list right now.

I've gotten really into coupons the past 2 months....just ask Jesse. I carry my tattered little paper envelope everywhere with me.

I've been wanting a bread bin for some time now, seeing as all the bread on our counter gets cluttered, and there's no room in the pantry. Unfortunately for me, the one I want is $60 😦

I would love to sew more things than just Gregory's bedding set. Unfortunately, it took a very long time sewing all that by hand and I've lost the stomach for that fight. Every machine I tried to borrow from someone was in need of repair and produced ugly stitches that I had to rip out. I'd love my own machine...I used to sew a lot of things, back in my "homeschool days"

2. I bought 2 more diapers for $11 total on Ebay (retail $26-30). I was searching for an easy solution to the days when we are at church or I take Gregory with me to the store or piano lessons and I need to change his diapers. Without a diaper sprayer, it’s not super convenient to bring the cloth diapers. Instead of resorting to keeping plastic disposables on hand for these moments (I accidentally watched a video of how those things NEVER DECAY. EVER.), I’m going to keep these two on hand. They go with flushable/disposable biodegradable inserts. In case you’re looking into G Diapers (they’re kinda trendy right now, which is why Babys R Us and Target carry them), I’ve heard good things about the disposable inserts, but heard from many sources that the cloth ones leak. Some people use different cloth inserts by other brands and they work well, I’ve heard.

3. I’ve recently taken up swimming as my 3rd Trimester exercise. Not only is floating in the pool absolutely wonderful, but I can actually work hard at something without my joints punishing me for hours afterwards! Jesse got off work at 1pm yesterday, and we went to swim laps in the second, almost always deserted lap pool together. Of course, he always gave me a head start…and then still won. This didn’t make me mad. I’m never competitive.

Additional benefits– swimming the breast stroke actually relieves and treats a lot of the back and alignment problems that happen around this time! As Jesse said, “Why didn’t you discover this sooner?” I know. It feels like another cruel joke that I’m re-discovering swimming at the END of summer. It does bring back a lot of NCA Swim Team memories…I even started telling Jesse about a few of my favorite swim meets, including the one where I got disqualified… 🙂

A picture of our lap pool. No pretty fountains or landscaping like the front one, but way more practical. Plus, it's literally about 30 steps from our front door!

Sadness

Through reading a dear friend’s blog yesterday, I discovered that one of the girls from my Torrey class, a fellow English major, died just a few days after her 25th birthday. She was getting her MA from Columbia University and engaged to be married, it appears.

I never hung out with her at Biola, but we did travel to Europe together for a few weeks in a small(ish) group of 25. Although she was in my Torrey class, we were not in the same group.

So it’s odd that after years of not seeing her, just last week I was looking through some of her pictures on Facebook, wondering what had become of her. That was just days before her death.

If you would like, you can read her newspaper obituary link and pray for her family and fiance’.

Baby Book

This is one of the cutest baby books I’ve ever seen. Perhaps if I don’t get one at one of the 3 showers I have in the next few weeks (yes, the story behind these will be forthcoming), I’ll go ahead and order it. Just my style– all vintagey and writing oriented. Plus, since it’s spiral bound, there’s a way to have others- grandparents, aunts, etc.– mail pages in to be added to the book!

Haiti

I’ve recently found a few blogs from people who sold everything they had and moved to Haiti to become missionaries and school teachers there.

It’s interesting, you should check them out.

Ben and Katie

The Hendrick Family

Healing

I know I’ve talked before about the benefits of the sacrament of Confession. Sometimes, it becomes part of a routine, like taking your vitamins, knowing they’ll keep you healthy.

But then there are other Confessions that are especially nourishing and productive. They heal parts of your soul you weren’t even aware were hurting until the ache is gone and you feel light as a feather.

Last night was one such time for me. In the last few weeks, I’ve developed a lot of fears about motherhood and what that’s going to mean. I’m not worried about the toll it will take on me and my life– that’s part of the beautiful but necessary sacrifice of what it means to bring another human being into the world. I’m more afraid of inadequacy. Of accidents that I’m helpless to prevent.

I put two and two together just a few days ago. The reason I’m becoming so aware and protective of my environment is because it’s suddenly hit me that once Gregory is born, I’ll no longer be able to protect and control his environment. I keep asking myself all of the ways in which I could possibly make my home safer, cleaner, although with Claire’s bad potty habits, I’m pretty sure Gregory will have his first taste of dog poo within the year. But it does force me to ask myself– what kind of world am I bringing this kid into?

And then, there’s the part of me that’s become really selfish of our resources. This is probably because I feel like I am so exhausted, just making it through the day in one piece. If anything else comes up, I feel like I have nothing left to give.

Much of this is predictable, given 3rd Trimester pregnancy hormones. I can firmly attest to the fact that pregnant woman don’t choose to be this anal and crazy– there’s something weird that takes place where every.little.thing.matters. It’s the Don’t-EVEN-TRY-and-make-light-of-the-situation-or-say-I’m-taking-it-too-seriously-or-I-will-bite-your-head-off-and-use-it-to-nourish-my-baby Syndrome.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve decided to give in. All day Friday and Saturday, I self-examined, trying to determine ways in which I’ve gone crazy or changed, for better or worse, since becoming pregnant. I was running out of ideas though, and despair was quickly taking hold.

And then, Jesse suggested that we make it to church on Saturday night, if only to go to Confession. We were both exhausted– in the morning, I had my Trivium class and he had a Birth Orientation at the Birth Center in Dallas. From there, we both went straight to our 3 hour Birth Class, finishing in the late afternoon. So we were TIRED.

But we still made it. We had to wait in line for a while, even though we were there an hour before the service. But it was worth it.

God grants so much peace to us when we are willing to face our fears and our sins head on, even when we don’t know what the heck to do about it. Just hearing myself say that I was afraid of these things (as opposed to just thinking or talking with Jesse about them) in front of Jesus was therapeutic in and of itself. But to have a priest, who has earned my trust time and time again when he gives advice that is so right on and insightful it could only be given to him by God, increased the benefits exponentially. It was like taking a huge mental mess of emotions before Christ, breathing a sigh of relief, and then having someone gently help untangle it all.

One of the things I’m comfortable sharing about the whole thing is how Fr. Joe pointed out that a lot of my productive “planning” actually isn’t responsible, or making me a better mother. Instead, it’s a crutch, keeping me from trusting God’s provision and plan for these next couple months. It comes from a feeling that Jesse and I are all alone, and we have to act responsibly or we’ll crash and burn. Fr. Joe pointed out what could seem like the obvious, but it needed to be said boldly to my face– it’s not profitable or commendable to take from God what’s His. He also pointed out that if we demonstrate our inevitable love for Gregory and provide him with a roof over his head, food on the table and a place where he can be instructed and nourished spiritually, we will be doing far more for him than most parents ever can. He brought up examples (not by name) of people in our parish who grew up dirt poor but never even knew it or cared, mostly because they were loved by their parents and community. When one has the love of friends, family and church, the rest seems kinda worthless. I can already attest to that in my own life– I only feel the need to buy things or invest in the material aspects of this world when I feel lonely. The minute I’m surrounded by the people I love, not a whole lot else matters.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful selection that I’ve been meaning to post for sometime, from that book, “Touching Heaven” I posted from back in July.

Preparing to confess is almost as important as the confession itself. When confronted with the sobering question, “What have you done with My image within you?” one might feel like a proud child who eagerly raises his hand because he thinks he has the right answer, or like a shamed child who shoves his hands in his pockets, looks to the ground, and kicks a few stones.

I usually feel like hiding. But when we hear that question, it is in the preparation—the thoughtful, prayerful reflection that yields our most honest and penetrating responses—that we discover much of who we are and much of who God is.

Much, not all. The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us that “[our] heart is…desperately wicked;/ Who can know it?” (17:9) and Isaiah affirms that “as the heavens are higher than the earth,/ So are My ways higher than your ways,/ And My thoughts than your thoughts” (55:9). That mystery of unknowing, then, invites humility. A penetrating preparation for confession reminds us that our need is infinitely greater than we know for a God who is infinitely greater than we can comprehend.