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Birth by appointment

Friday, April 17, 2009 Leave a Comment

I just read this: a whopping 31.8% of births in the United States are C-sections. Twenty years ago, that number was more like 12%.

"A decade ago, surgical delivery mainly was reserved for emergency situations, such as when mothers had high blood pressure or were failing to progress in labor or the baby showed signs of distress. Today, several factors are leading to the rapid rise in C-sections, even though having one carries with it a longer hospital stay, longer recovery time and the risk of complications from anesthesia. Those factors include changing attitudes toward childbirth, the convenience of a scheduled birth for busy women, and malpractice concerns by doctors and insurance companies. "

I just had an unmedicated childbirth and -- wouldn't you know it -- my baby was 9 pounds 8 ounces. That made me something of a rockstar on the labor & delivery ward. I had 4 nurses come in to congratulate me when they wheeled me to my room. They don't see a whole lot of unmedicated births these days.

I didn't rule out the epidural, but I didn't have the best experience with it the first time around. I think they just gave me too much, making the whole experience numb and disconnected. I never knew if I was pushing or not, I couldn't even move my legs for 4 hours after the birth, and I'm pretty sure I suffered some annoying nerve problems that will never go away -- although no doctor in the United States will admit that's a possibility. Fear of lawsuits and all.

So this time, I got a doula to help coach me through, and she was great. My labor was 12 hours, start to finish, most of it somewhat pleasant. The very experienced L&D nurse played the tough cop -- when I asked for an epidural at the very end, she said, "Snap out of it, it's too late! Work with me here and let's get this baby out!" I snapped to it and started pushing and we got the baby out.

I think my biggest fear was that I might have to have a C-section. To me, that's major surgery, and terrifying. I know lots of women feel the opposite: pushing a baby out their vagina is way more terrifying than major surgery. What's your take?


  • Anonymous said:  

    Congratulations! Which hospital did you deliver at? I'm surprised unmed'd births are not more common in Denver