I know we all want to put ours and our unborn babies health into our OBGYN’s hands without question. I know so many moms who have told me that they did not have the degree and their doctor does so they will go with his word on the matter. I get that logic but here are some reasons to question your obstetrician when he (or she) is suggesting a cesarean birth.
1- He gets paid significantly higher for a cesarean delivery.
Who right now doesn’t want a bigger paycheck? If he is a younger to even 50 something year old doctor, he very well could be trying to pay off his student loan debt still and what better way to get it payed than a paycheck that can be significantly higher (depending on his contract) than his paycheck for a vaginal delivery? Or, he may now be trying to get his son or daughter through college. Or is saving up so he can retire. Either way, I’m sure he has something he could use more money for and that is a huge temptation to most people.
2- C-sections are a lot quicker.
He can wait around for your unpredictable natural birth or schedule it into his day. Most people like having a life outside of their jobs and your OB isn’t immune to that same desire. He likes making it home in time for dinner. He likes sleeping at night. He likes going on family vacations and catching Monday night football games. It makes his life a lot easier, more predictable, and gives him more personal time for himself if he schedules your cesarean.
3- He is less likely to get sued
Nothing ruins a day quite like getting sued for $250,000 (or more) and having your name destroyed in the medical world when you are an OB. A c-section is seen as the “everything that could be done was done” procedure. If a doctor just does the Cesarian then there’s a lot less of a risk that he can be blamed for not doing everything in his means to save mom or baby. So, when a patients blood pressure is slightly high at her 38wk appointment but she is feeling fine and baby is stable and there is no sign of pre-eclampsia, his suggestion for a 39wk cesarean may not be in her best interest, just his. Or when baby looks a little “big” on the ultrasound (remember that late in pregnancy ultrasounds are VERY inaccurate for measuring baby size. They can be up to 2 lbs off in any direction. That means that perfectly fine 8 lber can look like a 6 lb baby or a 10 lb baby on ultrasound.) the mom will start hearing the words c-section coming from him and things like “shoulder dystocia”. He has no real evidence that this is a risk for the moms baby but if it were to happen, you can bet your buttons the mom could sue him for not warning her and doing a CS. So, he will be more than happy to push a cesarean to save himself that risk of “If’s”.
4- It isn’t personal
How many patients does he have? How many births has he done? He is so numb to birth. Cesarean birth is not traumatic or horrific or unnatural to him just like the amazing-ness of natural birth that he may have felt in medical school and the first year or two of working out of school is gone for him. It’s a job now. It can be done vaginally or surgically. It does not make an emotional impact on him one way or another. The only way he is going to “fight for your vaginal birth” with you is if he is a very empathetic doctor who knows how strongly you desire a vaginal birth. Even then, though, he has all those other factors listed pushing him to consider doing a cesarean.
5- He’s human
Let’s face it. Your OB is no god. He isn’t holier and mightier than normal human temptations. He has good enough reasons to desire doing a cesarean section and he makes mistakes just like everyone else. At the end of the day, no matter how much faith you have in your doctor, he is human.
Your OB has enough reasons to suggest a cesarean section. He can come up with a reason to make you feel cornered into one and he has the knowledge and the “head over you” mojo to make you feel like it’s medically necessary. This is not to say your doctor is never being honest, and it’s very possible he feels very genuine about his CS suggestion every time. This is where I go back to him being human. There is not much incentive for an OB to want to keep his births vaginal.
Cesarian Section. C-section. CS. Surgical birth.
There is so much weight, emotion, assumptions, expectations that comes with even the mention of a C-section. Every kind of response from “Yay! you had/are having your baby” (with no thought or reaction or emotion about a C-S) to devastation, hurt, trauma, happiness, relief, and joy.
Cesarean sections are so loaded. Yes, we are having a baby. The baby is the point of all of this after all. This baby we conceived, dreamed of, felt grow, felt kick and hiccup, awaited the due date of, imagined how they may look, how they will act, how they will feel to hug and kiss, what their hobbies may be, what college they’ll go to. We have thought about it all for them. This entire birth process is for them. So we so often get that numb, heartless response and thought, even in our own minds, “as long as the baby is healthy”. Whatever you birth is like, it does not matter, as long as that baby is healthy. Whether they induce you, use forceps on you, or even cut you open and remove your baby from your numb gut, you have a healthy baby now. What society so often forgets is that even if the point is to get this beautiful baby into our arms, it’s our experience too. It’s our bodies that are contracting, pushing, cut at, pulled at, sewn back together. It is our experience that we remember for the rest of our lives. So what is it like? When our births end in c-section?
When I asked other moms what their experiences were, I get a range of answers.
Interesting life experience
These are just some of the words used. Some of the feelings that women still feel when thinking back to their c-section experience. What this shows to me is that women are strong. We are amazing, even. We are willing to sacrifice anything for our babies. I regret my C-section. I do not regret doing what I thought was necessary, at the time, for my baby girl. I’d even do it again if I thought it was necessary again. For her. We are filled with an incredible self-sacrificing love when it comes to our babies. We are willing to be sliced, diced, terrified and scarred for life for these little people who grew within us.
You will hear women express regret, sadness, hurt, anger, fear, numbness, confusion and more when it comes to her cesarean experience. Even planned cesareans, which do not tend to have the same range of emotions evolved around them, come loaded with fear and complications. None of us regret our babies.
So, don’t tell a cesarean mom, ” All that matters is a healthy baby”. Nobody knows how much that baby matters more than the mom who has a cesarean for that baby. We matter too. The mom matters. Her birth experience matters, her body and her pain and her feelings matter.
Moms who have had unexpected cesareans need time to heal. Part of healing is being loved. Feeling sympathized with. Being comforted. Yes, being reminded of the little blessing in our arms, nursing at our breasts, but also being reminded that we are strong and we are incredible and we made a huge sacrifice and that we should be proud of the mothers we are. Not that “at least our babies are alive”. We don’t need to be reminded to be thankful for healthy babies. We understand the value in that. What we need, is for others to understand the value of us and our experience and our bodies when we go through trauma. Love on mama’s. Love on the mama’s who have had unexpected, traumatic births. Help them heal. Help them recognize their own awesome mom-ness.