Homebirth: sacrificing babies on the altar of normal birth

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Last week I wrote about the theology of quackery.

Homebirth advocacy meets many of the same criteria. It imagines a Paleolithic Garden of Eden where every woman gave birth in a state of grace, easily and safely. It ascribes The Fall to the advent of modern obstetrics that “pathologized” birth. It believes in predestination; the elect can be recognized by their unmedicated vaginal births; and it has a religious hierarchy of midwives, doulas and childbirth educators who are needed to reach spiritual fulfillment.

Awe is reserved for women who insist on homebirth with twins, a breech baby or a previous C-section. The bigger the sacrifice, the greater the risk, the higher the praise.

It also has stories of human sacrifice akin to the biblical story of Isaac.

You may remember that to test his faith, God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son. God wants to find out if Abraham would be willing to kill the person most precious to him simply because He commanded it. Would Abraham being willing to make the supreme sacrifice to demonstrate his devotion to God?

If you know the story, you know that at the last minute, when Isaac is already bound on the altar and about to be killed, God sends an angel to stay Abraham’s hand. Evidently God never meant that Abraham should actually sacrifice Isaac. God does not want or need human sacrifice.

The sacrifice of Isaac is meant to demonstrate that the God of monotheism, of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, abhors human sacrifice. Unfortunately, it appears that Birth, the goddess in which homebirth advocates place such trust, has no such qualms.

“Birth,” like any goddess demands worship. Her power must be acknowledged and her essential goodness must be constantly praised through birth “affirmations.” “Birth” also demands constant evidence of belief. What could possibly be more demonstrative of true faith than the willingness to sacrifice your newborn child?

Unlike the God of the Old Testament, though, “Birth” does not send an angel to stay your hand. Quite the opposite, “Birth” sends tests; hence the praise for women who take the greatest risks at homebirth.

You can demonstrate your trust in “Birth” by having a homebirth in a low risk situation, where an unpredictable emergency can kill or maim you child. But women who really trust “Birth” are those who choose homebirth when they are at high risk of killing their babies. That’s why the greatest praise and awe is reserved for women who insist on homebirth with twins, a breech baby or a previous C-section. The bigger the sacrifice, the greater the faith, the higher the praise.

Unlike the God of the Old Testament, “Birth” apparently does want and need human sacrifice.

Babies die all the time at homebirth, and the biggest risk factors lead to the greatest number of deaths. As with any religion, believers must then deny that the deity had anything to do with it. Yes, they trusted “Birth” and the baby died, but that was just an incredible coincidence. They vehemently insist that the baby would have died in the hospital anyway, and they might have ended up with a C-section scar, too. A C-section scar is a horror because it is a permanent brand, marking its wearer as one who lost faith in “Birth.”

It’s easiest to figure out who are the truest believers. They are women who lost babies at homebirth but still trust “Birth.” To demonstrate their continued faith, they immediately being planning for the next “healing” homebirth.

Sacrificing your baby on the altar of “Birth” isn’t the highest form of devotion. That honor is reserved for deliberately placing your next child on the same altar and trusting that the goddess who killed your last baby won’t kill this one, too.

 

Adapted from a piece that appeared in September 2011.

  • Anna

    “A C-section scar is a horror because it is a permanent brand, marking its wearer as one who lost faith in β€œBirth.””
    Thanks for this. I used to think that so many people are repulsed by The Scar cause it looks ugly to them. Turns out that might not be the real reason. Makes me feel a bit less self-conscious about mine.

    • sdsures

      *hugs* Scars mean you and baby have survived. You are a smart mom.

      • Anna

        Thanks. The scar was certainly worth it.

  • Anna

    We have a gypsy people community where I live and even they with their “wild spirit” are more than happy to birth in a clean hospital. At the same time European women of high income worship Goddess “Homebirth”. Isn’t it just absolutely absurd?! Who’s the evolutionary winner here?

    • sdsures

      Being Romani or otherwise from a traditionalist culture doesn’t negate one’s ability to reason logically.

      • Anna

        Yeah, I know) I’m not 100% European myself so this was not meant to put down ethnic minorities. More like highlighting the stupidity of privileged women bluntly denying privilege.

        • sdsures

          Not at all taken that way. πŸ™‚ English is tricky – Russian is much easier.

  • Linden

    OT: The story of Abraham and Isaac was why I became an atheist at age 10. No way I was going to be on the team of such a *troll* :-p.
    No offense meant to those who interpreted that story some other way. Not that I’ve changed my mind about it. Now that I’m a parent, it feels like an even more appalling thing to do to a father.

    • MaineJen

      No arguments here. Even if this was a convoluted way of “god” proving to his people that he doesn’t require human sacrifice…I can think of at least 20 easier ways to convey that message, rather than saying “Hey Abraham, I need you to kill your kid. No, I’m serious, take him to the altar, tie him up, raise your sword…NO STOP JUST KIDDING” I mean, seriously? No thank you.

      /rant

      • Deborah

        I’m reading a book at the moment about three sisters who grew up in the Children of God cult. Makes me realise the 30 years I spent in Christian Fundamentalism wasn’t that bad after all πŸ™

      • FormerPhysicist

        It’s never been clear to me (and others) if Abraham passed or failed the test.

    • Ardea

      My rabbi explained it as the story that was told to the early Israelites as a way of explaining why they no longer did child sacrifice, because their neighbors still did. It was a way of setting them apart, because the didn’t, and thus marked a transition away from local practices.

      • T.

        Oh yeah. Child sacrifice was very common in the Ancient World… Romans kept it up until the Imperial Age, too. Ancient Jews were quite advanced on that point.

        • Ardea

          It’s hard to fathom as a modern parent.

        • Rita Rippetoe

          I think you are confusing exposure of unwanted children with child sacrifice. Quite different concepts. In one the child is offered because it is the most valuable thing you can give to god, in the other it is a way to control family size, avoid dowries for female children or avoid raising a defective citizen. Not all exposed infants died, the healthy ones might be picked up and raised as slaves.
          The Romans abhorred actual child sacrifice, it was one of the things they found abhorrent about the Carthaginians.

      • Madtowngirl

        This is what my historical-critical theology professor also explained. The Bible and Jewish Scriptures should be read through a lens that understands that the average person could not read or write at this time in history. Therefore, stories were passed down through oral tradition, meaning stories were embellished, exaggerated, and manipulated to ensure their lessons would be remembered.

        That’s also why it is so frustrating when people try to interpret the Bible literally. It wasn’t even literal when it was written!

        • Ardea

          That too.

    • A lot of Jews also see it as a test of Abraham that he failed. He was supposed to say, uh God, no way! But he didn’t.

      This is, granted, a reasonably modern interpretation (in the sense that the Talmud is a much newer document than the Torah). But still, it puts a different if still very icky spin on the story.

      • swbarnes2

        I think that reading is…at odds with the rest of the text. The Bible is generally not full of “Hooray for disobeying orders from God, ordinary people should feel free to be skeptical of orders from authorities”. It’s kind of full of the other thing.

        • The New Testament and parts of the Tanakh are, but a lot of the Tanakh actually does say “hooray for being skeptical of orders from above”. Abraham argues with God about the whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing. Jacob wrestles with an angel. Moses argues about his fitness to lead the Israelites out of slavery, and while he does do it in the end, he isn’t punished for arguing back.

          The Talmud is even more adamant that it’s not just okay, it’s a good thing to not just obey because reasons. One of the stories involves people arguing about a fairly random thing (when an oven can be purified, if you’re curious). One of them insists it can’t be in a certain circumstance, the others say it can. The one rabbi asks for, and receives, any number of miracles when he asks for divine confirmation that his interpretation is correct, but the other rabbis say the Torah was given to people, so it’s up to us to interpret it, and he’s outvoted. When God is told, he laughs in delight and exclaims “my children have outsmarted Me!”.

          I’m not saying any one interpretation is right or wrong here. I am saying there are various interpretations of that story, some of which are way worse than others. It is a longstanding Jewish interpretation that Abraham failed the test, and there is some textual justification for that view, but more importantly there is a tradition that we get to change the interpretation of stories as cultures and societies change.

          • sdsures

            I thought Moses did get punished for talking back – Aaron was designated, instead of Moses, to work all of God’s plagues upon Egypt (i.e. putting the staff into the Nile and turning the water to blood, etc.)

          • Maybe? It’s been awhile since I delved into it. I remember what I remember, but I know I’ve forgotten a lot of it too.

            I thought that wasn’t Moses being punished, though, so much as God accepting Moses’s lack of confidence (in the story he has a stutter) and allowing him to put his older brother forward. Not a punishment, not a reward, just a recognition of human weakness.

          • sdsures

            Interesting! I’ll have to have another read.

          • sdsures

            “A man thinks, and God laughs.”

      • An Actual Attorney

        Abraham later sent Ishmael and Hagar into the wilderness to die. He also did a number of other bad things. For whatever else be was or represents, he wasn’t a very good dad.

        The best I can do is that Abraham was special despite all his screw ups, so I can forgive myself mine, which are much less than trying to kill a kid.

        • Oh, Abraham sucks mightily as a person and as a father! No argument there.

      • mandy jones

        Makes me wonder if that was a lesser god pretending to be the highest god or the only god.

  • WIngfield

    OT: I have a question about semantics and breastfeeding advocacy that I hope someone can help me out with. i’m a grad student doing some work on representations of infant feeding in contemporary fiction. I swear I remember reading somewhere a quote from some lactivist or other saying that we should not use the word “bottle” but “feeding apparatus” or something like that. The argument was that “bottle” is too homey and innocuous and ordinary a word and thus “normalizes” “artificial” feeding, whereas “feeding apparatus” makes it sound more scarily cyborgian and unnatural. I cannot for the life of me remember where I read this. I thought maybe it was in that Diane Weissinger article called “Watch Your Language,” but I didn’t find it there. I just wondered if any of you had come across it and could let me know. Maybe the Fearless Formula Feeder would know?

    • Amy

      Not that term specifically, but I KNOW I’ve read variations of this. Try Mothering (magazine and website), Kellymom, The Natural Child Project, and Attachment Parenting International. I’m sure it’ll show up on or through one of those organizations.

    • BeatriceC

      Sounds more like “1984” to me…

    • Allie P

      I’m imagining trying to teach my ten month old “feeding apparatus.” So instead of saying “ba ba” she will say “fee-pa”?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      whereas “feeding apparatus” makes it sound more scarily cyborgian and unnatural.

      Wish I’d known that before small one was weened. It would have made conversations about whether or not she was willing to take a bottle when the bio-feeding apparatus wasn’t available much more fun. I’ve always been partial to making things sound scary and cyborgian. Alas, we didn’t know about it and just ended up calling it the +2 bottle of comforting and hunger elimination.

    • Glittercrush

      That sounds like something the alpha parent would say. I have no idea which post it would be in. Most likely around the time that she made that stupid meme comparing bottle feeding to cheating on a spouse. Sorry I cant help more.

  • Medwife

    Well… The Old Testament god was a baby killer. Let’s be honest.

    But your point stands πŸ™‚

  • Megan

    OT: Ljttle lady is now two months old and got her first set of shots yesterday. Everyone kept saying to me, “Aren’t you so sad? Poor baby!” I said, “Are you kidding? The two months between birth and when they can be vaccinated make me nervous! I can’t wait til she’s old enough to have her MMR and varicella too!” I think it’s funny that everyone assumes that moms will all be upset about shots. Plus, little lady is apparently just like her sister and mostly just slept for a whole day afterwards. So we get disease protection and a good night’s sleep. Vaccines for the win!

    • guest

      Yeah, I was sad that my babies cried so pitifully when they were stuck with the needles, and when they stopped crying in a minute or so, my sadness was gone. I was way more nervous about them being out in the world without vaccinations than sad that they got them.

    • demodocus

      My husband cried more than our son. ‘Course, he barely gets through his own vaccinations, never mind his baby’s. I just felt relieved that there were a couple diseases kiddo was protected against.

    • Sean Jungian

      The crying didn’t bother me all that much, but that look of “YOU BETRAYED ME!!” stung a bit.

      Doesn’t matter because I’m a card-carrying PROVAXXER. I even had him get his Gardasil vaccinations although it’s not required for boys. And we both get our flu vaccinations every year now.

      The anti-vaxxers have, at the very least, made ME much more vigilant about vaccinations.

      • Megan

        Yeah, my older daughter really gave me that betrayed look too. It broke my heart then for a few seconds. Little lady just screamed loudly but briefly and then it was done and she slept throughout the duration of my doctor’s appointment afterwards. I mean, sure it sucks that they hurt for a few seconds but it’s nothing in comparison to the suffering of the diseases we’re preventing. I’m so glad to hear you got your boy vaccinated for HPV. Almost all parents of boys I see (and a lot of parents of girls) refuse it.

        • BeatriceC

          My boys got the HPV shots as well. It was a no brainer for me.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            At what age?

          • Megan

            I usually offer it at age 11-12 (for both girls and boys) when they get their Tdap and Menactra for school but you can get it as early as age 9 and up to age 26.

          • BeatriceC

            Between 12 and 15, depending on the kid. The oldest was a little later getting it because I was moving around quite a bit for a while and that one just sort of got missed. They all wound up getting them at the same time two years ago.

        • Sean Jungian

          Mine got his when he was 13, last summer/fall. We live in a very rural area (we’re actually very fortunate to have a small clinic and hospital in our town) and the only slight push-back I got was when the nurse said, “You know it isn’t required for him, right?” Yep, I know, but I’m pretty sure he’s straight, and this can help him protect his future partner(s) whomever they may be. The time is now, before he’s active. Prepare the shots!

        • Amy M

          I am planning on having my boys get that, but htey are currently too young. Has it become standard, or will have to specifically request it? and if the latter, what’s a good age, 12?

          • Sean Jungian

            I had to specifically request it, and you probably will, too, since it isn’t on the schedule. I think you have to request it for your daughters, too, since it’s a voluntary vaccine.

            I think the age recommended is between 10 and 15, ideally before they become sexually active, but check with your doctor. 12 would be great, I’d think.

          • Megan

            It’s recommended for boys but not required, so you may have to ask. Our state health insurance pays for it. I usually offer to to girls and boys when they get their middle school shots (Tdap and Menactra) at age 11-12.

        • Chant de la Mer

          My oldest was the first boy in the region to get the HPV vaccine. I was actually keeping track of the vaccine waiting for it to be recommended for boys and took him in as soon as my provider had it. My younger ones will get it as well. It makes me feel good that my boys are going to be part of protecting women from cervical cancer and will themselves be protected from the ones they can get.

        • Puffin

          We were planning to pay out of pocket for the HPV vaccine for our son since it isn’t covered here for boys yet, but the health minister just announced a few weeks ago that it will be starting this September. My kids will get every bit of protection we can give them and I’m thrilled it’s being extended to boys. I talk to all of my parent friends about it to encourage them to get it.

      • sdsures

        I’m used to that look of “YOU BETRAYED ME!!” I get it from our cats all the time.

      • Daleth

        The crying didn’t bother me all that much, but that look of “YOU BETRAYED ME!!” stung a bit.

        Oh god, I know. That’s what kills me too.

        And we plan to do Gardasil too, when they reach that age.

      • mabelcruet

        I have a photograph of me getting vaccinated back in 1968-I’m sitting on my mother’s lap bawling my eyes out. Sadist parents!

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      Mini’s screams made me cry a bit with her when she got her first round of shots. Then I sang to her about how ‘no one likes polio, ’cause babies like to kick,’ and we both felt better. πŸ˜‰

      • sdsures

        Brilliant!

    • Kelly

      The nurse thought I was weird when I was excited about #2’s first set of shots. I do always tear up with the first set of shots but it is always over quickly.

    • Amazed

      Amazing Niece had a shot today and is currently swinging between being sad and grumpy and sunny and playing with two rattles. (I should really remember to buy earplugs for the Intruder and SIL!) Oh, and she’s playing at, “Let’s spit paci out! Ouch! WHERE IS MY PACI? What kind of monster would take my paci away from me?” And she’s a tad healthier for it. A good thing, I say.

      • Daleth

        Oh, and she’s playing at, “Let’s spit paci out! Ouch! WHERE IS MY PACI? What kind of monster would take my paci away from me?”

        Hee. She will probably progress to doing what one of my 20-mo-old sons did the other night: I was rocking him to sleep (so sue me, we rock them a bit and then lay them down), and I gave him a paci, which he immediately removed from his mouth and threw on the floor. Then we both said simultaneously:
        Me: Oh no!
        Him: Uh-oh!

    • Old Lady

      Relief was my reaction too. I’ve been wary of taking the kids out much because I don’t want her to get sick. This is my second time though so I’m less freaked out by baby crying now.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    I’m considering maternal request c section and getting so tired of the misinformation that other mothers repeat brainlessly about how awful c sections are. I’ve been thinking that similar to the “beauty tax” women are expected to pay in public (expected to be attractive to men or face vile criticism) there seems to exist a “birth tax” that women are expected to pay. A home birth without painkillers being of course the best way to pay your birth tax, and a c section (especially a planned one) as some form of cheating the birth tax. It’s all so biblical and I’m finding that women in particular don’t like the idea of other women escaping Eve’s punishment (and yes I know c section is no walk in the park but I believe this is how many people view it). I pointed out to an online group that this is probably how they were viewing it (perhaps unconsciously) and was told that they were just trying to “make me understand” their point of view, which was both uneducated on the topic and un-asked for. I can’t imagine this online group grilling a mother who said she intended to have a home birth in the same way they have me – why is that? Surely they would consider that a violation of her right to make that choice, but since I’m “wrong” it’s ok to interrogate me about whether my doctor is leading me astray, whether I have medical indications, etc. Such a typical sanctimommy viewpoint to assume I’m making my choice out of ignorance, unlike they who are the only ones capable of caring about babies and mothers.

    Also they can’t even make up their minds between telling me “oh no, your doctor won’t do that”, citing that hospitals are all trying to reduce c section rates, and saying that doctors are pushing c sections on unwitting women to make money and for their own convenience. Well which is it?

    • Megan

      FWIW, my elective RCS was a walk in the park…and there’s not a damned thing wrong with that!! πŸ™‚

      Hope you get the MRCS you want. Ignore the haters.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Thanks! I had to vent somewhere I knew I’d get some support πŸ™‚

        My OB tried to discourage me just a little, saying healing time is longer, but said it’s really my decision. I think it has to be a myth that doctors are pushing women into this. My sister also had planned c section and thought it was a wonderful thing.

        • Daleth

          I agree that it’s a myth doctors are pushing women into CS. My doctors tried over and over to “gently persuade” me to attempt a vaginal birth. They told me all kinds of palaver: shorter recovery time (only true if your VB attempt succeeds with no or minimal complications), supposed risks to the baby (a surgeon who regularly does laser surgery on 22-week fetuses in utero tried to scare me by saying “the scalpel can slip” in a CS, and pooh-pooed my response when I said, “If I have to choose I’d rather my baby get nicked by a scalpel than end up with cerebral palsy”).

          I had to come in with a 1/2″ thick stack of printed-out studies and explain why, based on them, I wanted to schedule a c-section, to get them to relent. And I’m in a major US city with good health insurance. AND I was carrying mono-di twins!!! In other words I wasn’t even asking for a true maternal request CS; I had a medical indication for one.I agree that it’s a myth doctors are pushing women into CS.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            I’m really relieved my OB gave in fairly easily. How long ago was this that you had such trouble? I’m in a major city in Canada. I don’t know if the MRCS climate is different in Canada/US but I would think not much. The last thing I want is an emergency c section which is pretty likely to happen if you’re birthing twins – you likely would have ended up with one.

            I was a bit annoyed at his “shorter recovery” tactic – sure, if everything goes perfectly – what if I have 3rd and 4th degree tears and end up with serious prolapse and NEVER recover?

          • Daleth

            It was not even two years ago! And I completely agree with you on not wanting an emergency CS. Those are the actual DANGEROUS cesareans, and I don’t even want to imagine how scary it would be to be in the middle of an obstetric emergency, hoping your baby or babies make it while your exhausted medical team frantically tries to save them. A nice, scheduled CS with a freshly rested team is infinitely preferable.

            My doctors kept invoking anonymous patients of theirs who had sailed effortlessly through VB of twins or even, in one case, triplets. I told them, “Look, you can’t guarantee me that MY labor will go smoothly, and the fact that being a mono-di twin mom means you require me to labor IN THE OPERATING ROOM just in case I need a crash CS tells me everything I need to know about how high my risk of an emergency CS is! So let’s just schedule this, ok?”

            As for the fourth-degree tear, yes, that could leave you with something possibly even worse than prolapse: lifelong fecal incontinence. You can’t be continent if the sphincter is torn through; you definitely need surgery to correct it but the surgery doesn’t always work. I feel so bad for women who experience that, and so angry at NCB activists who dismiss that risk. Not to mention, so angry at doctors (like mine) who shepherd women down that path, warning them of every CS risk they can think of but never warning them of the risks of VB.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            My OB did try to sell me on the “shorter recovery” bit, but he also did tell me a story about a colleague who did reconstructive surgery in the pelvic area (I’m not sure what this type of doctor is called) and said when it came time for her to have children, she chose planned c section. That kind of thing tells me just about all I need to know about whether I’m making the right choice πŸ™‚

          • Daleth

            That would be a urogynecologist. *Shudder*

          • Medwife

            OBs are almost universally also practicing gynecology, so they actually do see women throughout the life span, as do full scope CNMs. But a surprising number of practitioners don’t always ask women about pelvic floor symptoms, and patients can be a combo of 1)too embarrassed to say anything and 2)convinced there’s nothing to be done about it anyway.

          • AllieFoyle

            There’s also an attitude that pelvic floor problems are just part of the price of becoming a mother. It’s especially galling as before birth they dismiss the possibility of any damage, but then afterward are like oh yeah, incontinence and prolapse is normal after childbirth, what’d you expect? It’s as though once you’re a mother you’re not expected to have a lifestyle where it matters if you wet or soil yourself or if your sex life is ruined.

          • Dr Kitty

            With my first, my OB was a family friend, and he basically said that in his opinion my chances of a successful VB were slim to none, but we could give it a go if I wanted (provided I was on board with CEFM and an epidural on arrival). This is a man who had the necessary skills to deliver vaginal breeches and twins and still did rotational forceps. If he wasn’t confident, I sure as hell wasn’t, and elective CS it was. The recovery wasn’t horrible, but I babied myself a bit and stayed home for almost two weeks, but I wasn’t in pain after the first week.

            With my son, my former OB had retired and NHS staff kept making noises about attempting VBAC. Until I said that I was unwilling to accept the risks of uterine rupture, shoulder dystocia, pelvic floor injury and foetal hypoxia and had seen a VBAC gone wrong as a medical student.
            Finally saying “oh, and Dr X said he thought I had a greater than 90% chance of needing a CS with my first” was what swung it.
            If the guy who was the go-to guy to deliver the most high risk cases thinks it ain’t going to work, they listen.

            I had my son by ERCS on a Tuesday. I was home by lunchtime on a Thursday, and pushing a pram around IKEA on the Saturday.

            Provided a CS is uncomplicated and you have good pain relief, there is no reason why the recovery needs to be horrible.

            Do insist on good pain relief though.

          • mythsayer

            They sent me home with nothing in Japan (and gave me nothing in the hospital because I stupidly said I was doing okay…which I meant relatively). When I got back home a few days later, I went to the medical clinic on base and since it was a Wednesday, all the doctors were supposed to be out running (they did group exercises on Wednesdays). I threw. Fit that I’d been in medicated for several days and leaving me that way was cruel. They found a nurse practitioner for me to see, and he actually tried to talk me out of pain relief. I found out later his wife was a crazy Ina may follower and he was just as bad. He finally gave me the medicine, though.

          • mythsayer

            I am absolutely positive that if I’d stayed in the us to have the baby, I’d have been forced into a vaginal birth attempt. We ended up with orders to Japan 9 days after I found out I was pregnant and we moved when I was 15 weeks. I had the choice of staying home in my little Japanese village with an OB who was like 76, in a hospital most Americans would be shocked by (totally fine, but not all shiny and new), or going up to a base in Tokyo, which was 5 hours away, at 35-36 weeks (probably without my husband until the very last minute).

            My Japanese OB was cool with me doing a CS. I’m so grateful to him for that.

          • CharlotteB

            Wouldn’t recovery time from a vaginal twin birth be (statistically) more difficult anyway? Seems to me that you can’t compare recovery time for multiples with recovery for singles.

            My mom mentioned that her doctor told her of the possibility of having one twin vaginally and then one via c-section. I thought that sounded like the absolute worst of both, recovery-wise, and possible if you attempt vaginal birth. With planned CS, you avoid that.

        • Cartman36

          My new primary doctor said I could go to a hospital over 600 miles away to do a VBAC when I mentioned I would be RCS at our local community hospital. I was like, naw girl, I’m good with RCS

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Our OB gave us the option of a hospital 45 miles away, and with a different doctor. She said she couldn’t do a VBAC at the local hospital because they couldn’t provide adequate anesthesiology support to do it safely.

            This all happened before I was familiar with the lunacy that surrounds the unnecessarian stuff, and besides, my wife had no interest in a VBACS in the place. But I figured, even so, who could argue? If the hospital doesn’t have adequate resources to do it safely, then why would you want to do it?

            With our first who was breach, she offered to try to turn him if we wanted. She also warned that she expected a success rate of 1/6. Of course, my wife had no interest in a vaginal delivery anyway, so there was no motivation to even try it.

            But she didn’t push us at all. She wouldn’t do a vaginal delivery with him breach, but then again, why would you want to take that risk?

          • Eater of Worlds

            My SIL was curious about turning her breach baby. They said they would have to give general anesthesia to her to get him to turn, because there’s something about a nearly 11 pound baby that doesn’t want to turn in there. She decided nah, just go straight to c-section.

        • Megan

          For my pre labor RCA my healing time was very short. I had my catheter out as soon as I could feel my legs to walk to the bathroom, was off of all painless by day 4 and was back to my trail walking routine (starting off slowly) by 2 weeks postpartum. I think a lot of it depends on the circumstances of your delivery whether it’s vaginal or CS. My first CS after four days of attempting an induction had a vastly different recovery.

          • Erin

            Only had the one but my emcs after 75 hours of labour, 2 of pushing, no sleep, far too much gas and air and a forceps attempt was absolutely fine. I don’t actually remember feeling anything I would class as “proper” pain. Certainly my back to back contractions as big headed alien baby attempted to rip his way out of my spine were 1000x worse than healing from surgery. Up after 4 hours, walking around absolutely fine (to the point that the NICU nurses didn’t believe I’d had a section and were trying to withhold the comfortable chairs) after 23 hours. I think actually the bruises from the forceps attempts, the blood pressure checks every 5 minutes for 3 hours in a row during labour and the attempts at an epidural hurt more than my wound.

            Not sure if it was mental breakdown numbing physical symptoms or what but it wasn’t painful at all. My poor sister in law had to sit on ice for six months with her first vaginal delivery.

        • Allie

          Until I gave birth vaginally, I did not know there were two types of incontinence (as in #1 and #2). Wish I still did not know that. It took about two months before I could poop without severe pain. For the first couple of weeks, I had to poop in the shower stall because I had to have warm water flowing to stand the pain. I still have urinary incontinence 3 1/2 years later. That seems to be improving, although I’m sure it will worsen as I age. Sorry for the TMI, but I seriously do not believe “healing time” is longer with a CS.

          • Sean Jungian

            I’m sorry you’re going through such misery. I really hope your doctors or a surgeon will be able to help you at some point. That sounds truly awful.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            Stories like yours are the reason I’m going MRCS. It’s a huge risk to have a vaginal birth, IMO, and the costs if it goes wrong can be serious and last the rest of your life. I don’t like the idea of being cut open while I’m awake at all but I think it’s pretty likely you’ll recover well from abdominal surgery. It’s not TMI at all; I want to know what REALLY happens to people when things go wrong. Can I ask if you know how this happened? I’m not entirely clear on what causes incontinence; is it prolonged pushing or pulling with forceps?

          • Fleur

            I can’t tell you anything about vaginal birth because I’ve never had one, but congratulations on your MRCS! Being cut open while awake is a bit of a strange experience but it’s a vaguely peculiar feeling rather than an actively unpleasant one (and, from what I was told afterwards, I gather I may have felt more tugging than is usual because the baby was large and very low down, so they had some trouble getting her out). To be honest, I don’t remember much about the birth at all, apart from the moment they held her up for me, red in the face and screaming with the most tremendous pair of lungs. We’ve been making new memories every day since then. I can’t help feeling that women who think the birth is a more important moment than their baby’s first smile, or the first time it grasps a favourite toy, are kind of missing the point big time.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            I just can’t wait to meet my baby, that is going to be the most special moment for me. No matter how he/she gets here. My sister said her CS didn’t bother her at all (she thought they may have given her Atavan or something) and also felt pulling sensations (10lb baby, small woman). I’m just hoping by that time I’m so done with being pregnant I just want it OUT and don’t really care how that happens πŸ™‚

    • LaMont

      They wouldn’t grill the homebirth people because those people already “understand their point of view,” presumably. More’s the pity.

      • Daleth

        It’s so bizarre how they’ll grill the woman whose birth choice is literally the safest possible way for a baby to be born, but not the woman whose choice is to risk her baby’s life and brain function in order to have a shot at blissfully giving birth in her own bathtub at home.

    • Glia

      I have mentioned before that I think the narrative changes. My experience was that BEFORE a c section, they mostly point out how very terrible and awful and painful and horrible it will surely be, but AFTER the section, you are a lazy cheater who just didn’t want to go through labor like a good mother and probably ruined your baby forever. Just make sure you tell the right story so CS moms will feel maximally terrible, ok?

      FTR, my CS was wonderful, despite my subconsciously woo-inspired fears. I talk openly about how happy and beautiful the whole experience was, not only because I don’t think there is enough representation of that viewpoint (leading to much more fear of CS than necessary–something that really messed with my head), but also because it could be a wonderful experience for more women if certain steps were taken. But you can’t push for those steps that make a CS better if you assume that a CS just has to be terrible. I expect (and receive) a fair amount of flack for it when I do it, but I have also been thanked by a lot of other women who felt/feel bad about their CS, so I care a lot more about them than the NCB types who insist I am terrible for being honest about my own child’s birth. I hope you get exactly the birth you want. (BTW, there is an evidence-based birth group on Facebook–it is nominally about post-CS birth but has evolved to a general birth and parenting group that supports all evidence-based birth choices. If you aren’t already a member, and you want an online group that isn’t reflexively anti-CS, you might find it there.)

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I admit I say I am “considering” MRCS only because of the strong responses of people like this. Every time I come here people tell me how great their CS was and I’m reassured it’s the right choice (not to mention I’ve studied the risks to death and I KNOW it’s the best choice. I’d love to have an easy normal vaginal birth but there’s absolutely no way to predict if that will happen for me). It is a bit hard when I’m elsewhere and it seems like everyone is being so fatalistic about it.

        I’m in the “Cesarean by Choice Awareness Network” Facebook group but if that’s not the one you’re talking about I’d be interested to join…

        • Glia

          I totally get what you mean. I really, really wanted to avoid a CS (it was like, the top line in my “birth plan” I had to do as part of my childbirth education class). I was A HOT MESS after I found out I’d be having a CS. I just…really wish I hadn’t been so surrounded by people giving me the sad faces and telling me to do woo BS to avoid it. Now, I’m like “if I am lucky enough to have another baby, I will have it however I have to, and be grateful as long as we both come out of it ok”.

          • demodocus

            I just got reminded about being “lucky enough to have another baby.” An elderly friend was giving me a lift and congratulated me on #2. She remembered that we had to do IVF and I remembered that she and her husband also couldn’t have kids. They adopted, and she spent the rest of the trip home talking about the granddaughters. πŸ™‚

          • Glia

            Aww, that is awesome. We ended up only needing a little technological help, but it didn’t come until after two years of mostly failing to conceive and occasionally failing to continue being pregnant. I hope to have another baby or two, but I rarely forget to be grateful for being so lucky as to have the one I do.

        • BeatriceC

          My second surviving child was MRCS. His birth was the only one that wasn’t traumatic. Recovery was actually easier than my first surviving child, who was born vaginally. My third surviving child was a “smash and grab” CS at 24 weeks in order to save my life. The child surviving was a bonus.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I think I found it – “VBAC and Birth After Cesarean Facts — Evidence Based Support”

        Thanks!!

        • BeatriceC

          You found it. I’m a member there, even though I’m long past my childbearing years. It’s a great group. The culture sometimes takes a bit of getting used to, since it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorn farts, but it’s great once you realize that it’s that way because they don’t believe women need to be coddled to protect their fragile feelings.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            Sounds like heaven. I hate unicorn farts!

          • MI Dawn

            BeatriceC: this is totally OT, but since I’ve been recovering from my surgery, if you posted it, I’ve missed it.

            How is your son doing? I’ve been keeping you and yours in my thoughts. Sending hugs and good wishes.

          • BeatriceC

            I’ve updated somewhere. Short version: Kid is out of the hospital though still no clue what’s wrong. Outpatient workup is maddeningly slow. He’s maintaining his weight on a mostly liquid diet, so that’s good, but not really good enough. The need for a complete medical history caused me to track down my ex-husband, whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in 13 years. It went far better than expected in some ways and had a bomb dropped on me in regards to my parents’ meddling and actively sabotaging my marriage. I’m going to update that in a little bit.

        • Glia

          Yes, that’s the one I meant. Hope to see you there. πŸ™‚

    • AirPlant

      Lately I have been thinking that “natural” culture feels awfully similar to beauty culture. Like your entire self worth is determined by a roll of the genetic dice and if you fail you sure as hell need to be apologizing for it wherever you go.

    • Sarah

      That sort of person makes me want a third child purely so I can have an NHS funded entirely elective section.

    • CharlotteB

      I’m really starting to think that if women were given a true list of risks for vaginal birth vs. c-section, many, if not most, would choose c-section. I am NOT a stats person, although I’m working on a humanities PhD, so I’d like to think I’m reasonably intelligent. Looking at some stuff on Wikipedia (you know, “doing my research”), AND actually clicking on the footnotes, I find the following:

      Citing an ACOG paper: “Adverse outcomes in low risk pregnancies occur in 8.6% of vaginal deliveries and 9.2% of caesarean section deliveries”– That doesn’t seem like that big of a difference to me.

      That same paper says that 1-3% of women have 3rd or 4th degree tearing, although the Wiki article on Perineal tearing says that 85% (or more) of mothers have some kind of tearing. According to the study with that figure, 0.5%-7% have anal sphincter tearing.

      Wikipedia cites a study that says the risk of placenta accreta is 0.13% after TWO c-sections.

      So, as a more-or-less well educated, although non-science-y, person, it looks like my risk of having a 3-4th degree tear is much, much higher than placenta accreta.

      I choose those two things because after baby’s health, tearing was the thing I worried about most going into labor, and placenta accreta is usually listed as one of the most terrible risks of a c-section.

      If women were given a list of the risk and benefits of c-section vs. vaginal birth, with all the stats? I think the rates of maternal request c-section would be much higher.

      • mostlyclueless

        3-4th degree tear is more common; accreta is more dangerous. From uptodate.com: ” Poorly controlled hemorrhage related to placenta accreta/increta/percreta is a common indication for peripartum hysterectomy [5,20,21]. Additional potential sequelae of massive hemorrhage include disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, adult respiratory distress syndrome, renal failure, unplanned surgery, and death.”

        • CharlotteB

          Oh for sure accreta is more serious.

          Read (Google University!) accreta occurrence is 3/1000. Read another study that out of 310 accreta cases, there were 11 hysterectomies (3.5%) and ONE maternal death.

          Doing the math I know how to do–which is basic to say the least:

          1 of 310 cases is 0.003%, so out of a general population of mothers, 0.03/1000 will die from accreta.
          Other places say 7% of those with accreta will die.

          7% of that same subset of 3 women is 0.21/1000 mothers (general population) who will die.

          By getting a CS in a current (no accreta) pregnancy, the risk of tearing is 0% AND the risk of dying in this pregnancy due to accreta is 0%.

          However, the risk of death via accreta (in the FUTURE, aka, not right now, may not ever happen depending on future pregnancy) is somewhere between 0.00003% and 0.00021%.

          Point being, how many women would look at numbers like that, and still choose vaginal birth? I realize I’ve pulled these number from god-knows-what, BUT I think that there should be a sheet, given to you at a prenatal appointment with stats and numbers: vaginal vs. CS risks to this baby, risks to future babies, risks to your health, and risks to future health. And then let women decide what they’re comfortable with.

          Plus, this little exercise really puts those MANA stats say into perspective for me, math-wise. 2.06/1000 babies currently die at homebirth? No biggie. You’re ensuring you’re not one of the 0.03-0.21/1000 mothers that will die in future pregnancies.

          • mostlyclueless

            Sure, those are the numbers for accreta. Then you have percreta:

            “Complications associated with this disorder included uterine rupture (3 cases), transfusion of >10 units (44 cases, 40%), ureteral ligation or fistula formation (5 cases each, 5%), infection (31 cases, 28%), perinatal death (10 cases, 9%), and maternal death (8 cases, 7%). Management options included surgical removal of the uterus and involved tissues (101 cases, 93%) and conservative treatment with the placenta left in situ after delivery (8 cases, 7%).”

            Increased risk of uterine rupture:

            “Maternal morbidity was assessed in a literature review of 880 cases of uterine rupture during 142,075 trials of labor after cesarean delivery (TOLAC) [63]. The two major morbidities associated with uterine rupture were transfusion of packed red blood cells and need for hysterectomy; the frequency of these complications after rupture were not reported. Others have reported that 14 to 33 percent of women with a uterine rupture undergo hysterectomy; comorbidities of hysterectomy include operative injuries such as urinary tract or bowel lacerations, blood transfusion, and postoperative infection.

            “The perinatal death rate associated with uterine rupture is 5 to 6 percent [1,64]. In a study by the NIH Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network, the incidence of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy associated with uterine rupture was seven cases among 114 infants born after uterine rupture (6 percent) and two of these seven neonates died [3]. There were no neonatal deaths or cases of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy among women undergoing elective repeat cesarean delivery. Prompt intervention after uterine rupture did not always prevent severe acidosis and neonatal morbidity and mortality [65].”

            Wound complications:

            “wound complications (infection, hematoma, seroma, dehiscence) developed in 1 to 2 percent of primary cesarean deliveries [21].”

            Endometritis:

            “In a review of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network prospective studies of cesarean delivery (n = 70,000 cesareans), the rate of endometritis was 6 percent of primary cesarean deliveries without labor and 11 percent of cesarean deliveries during labor [21].”

            Hemorrhage:

            “2 to 4 percent of women undergoing a primary cesarean delivery received a blood transfusion”

            Surgical injury:

            “a surgical injury (broad ligament hematoma, cystotomy, bowel injury, ureteral injury) occurred in 0.2 to 0.5 percent of women undergoing a primary cesarean delivery”

            Thromboembolic events:

            “A study using claims data from 1.7 million pregnancies reported that the frequency of a thrombotic event (ischemic stroke, acute myocardial infarction, venous thromboembolism) was 246 per 100,000 cesarean deliveries during the first six postpartum weeks [30]. This rate was 20-fold higher than the rate one year later and significantly higher than the rate after vaginal delivery (165 per 100,000).”

            Ileus and colonic pseudo-obstruction

            “Adynamic ileus of moderate and severe intensity has been reported in 10 to 20 percent of postcesarean patients”

            Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN)

            “TTN is more common after scheduled cesarean birth, probably because exposure to labor initiates processes that enhance reabsorption of lung fluid. In a review of 29,669 deliveries, the incidence of TTN was approximately threefold higher after planned cesarean than after vaginal delivery (3.1 versus 1.1 percent)”

            Adhesions:

            “Adhesions β€” Abdominal surgery is associated with long-term risks from development of clinically significant adhesions.”

            Obviously I’m not anti-cesarean, I had one and am likely to need a second in a few months, but there are very good evidence-based reasons they aren’t the first choice for delivery unless they are otherwise indicated. For any individual certainly it is a safe procedure and the risks are relatively low, but at a population level, preventable rare complications will occur.

          • T.

            It depends a lot on how many babies do you want on an individuale level AND how much do you value quality of life on a population level.

            Individually if you just want One or two babies, CS are by far the safest choice. If you plan on more, VB is better.
            This works on a population level too, btw. Places with very low birth rate AND very high CS rate are likely to go quite well. My country, Italy, is One of such places.

            On a population level One data you don’t usually see is how much vaginal birth wreaks awok on tour pelvic floor and surrounding area. I am on mobile, but these consequences can be severe. AND yes, pregnancy itself van cause minor problema, but VB is the wrecker.

          • Dr Kitty

            Endometritis, PPH and wound infections are also risks of vaginal birth (infected non-healing episiotomies or perineal tears happen, and are not pretty).

            Requiring D&C for retained placenta is more common after vaginal birth than CS.

          • mostlyclueless

            Yes but risks are increased for CS vs vaginal delivery for the things I mentioned:

            Endometritis: Compared with spontaneous vaginal delivery, primary cesarean delivery with trial of labor conferred a 21.2-fold increased risk of endometritis (95% CI 15.4, 29.1). Even without trial of labor, women after primary cesarean delivery were 10.3 times more likely to develop endometritis (95% CI 5.9, 17.9) than after spontaneous vaginal delivery.

            http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2004/05000/Maternal_Morbidity_Associated_With_Vaginal_Versus.14.aspx

            Hemorrhage requiring transfusion: The risk of transfusion was highest in women delivered by primary cesarean after labor, 4.2 times higher (95% CI 1.8, 10.1) than spontaneous vaginal delivery. (ibid)

            Wound infection: The risk of abdominal-wound infection was more than one and a half times higher in the elective-cesarean-section group than in the trial-of-labor group.

            http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199609053351001#t=article

            There are risks with vaginal delivery as well for sure. Personally I was happy to avoid any tearing with my c-section and have never had any issues with incontinence, which may be related. But my point is that comparing rates of tearing vs. accreta to determine that c-section is preferable ignores many factors that contribute to both minor and major morbidity (and rarely, mortality) in c-sections. See eg:

            http://www.cmaj.ca/content/176/4/455.short

            “Although the absolute difference is small, the risks of severe maternal morbidity associated with planned cesarean delivery are higher than those associated with planned vaginal delivery.”

            http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2006/09000/Postpartum_Maternal_Mortality_and_Cesarean.12.aspx?trendmd-shared=0

            “After adjustment for potential confounders, the risk of postpartum death was 3.6 times higher after cesarean than after vaginal delivery (odds ratio 3.64 95% confidence interval 2.15–6.19). Both prepartum and intrapartum cesarean delivery were associated with a significantly increased risk. Cesarean delivery was associated with a significantly increased risk of maternal death from complications of anesthesia, puerperal infection, and venous thromboembolism.”

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095510808000225

            “In comparison with vaginal birth after cesarean, neonates born after elective repeat cesarean delivery have significantly higher rates of respiratory morbidity and NICU-admission and longer length of hospital stay.”

            etc.

            Again just want to emphasize I’m not opposed to CS at all, but I think it’s just as unscientific to ignore evidence of risks of CS as it is to ignore evidence of risks of home birth or other woo.

          • Eater of Worlds

            Dr. KItty, you’re a GP in England, right? I really need to talk to a GP in England about something, is there a way we can send a message privately?

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I think so too. As it is most people learn all they know about c sections from “too posh to push”-toned newspaper and magazine articles. My OB certainly didn’t discuss any of the risks of vaginal birth with me, do they normally do that? I’m still early on yet so I don’t know if they may do that later.

        “Adverse outcomes in low risk pregnancies occur in 8.6% of vaginal deliveries and 9.2% of caesarean section deliveries” – I’m guessing this is also a study of all c sections lumped together, not planned sections vs. vaginal births? So if emergency c sections were removed or moved over into the “risks of attempted vaginal birth” side, planned c section would probably come out ahead.

      • AA

        Here’s the thing I’m most curious about. One of the cited benefits of VB vs CS is an easier recovery. However, how does this actually play out in real life? What I mean is actually taking a prospective group of patients (non-randomized to CS vs VB, that would be really unlikely) and periodic surveys about quality of life, pain medications, and how they are able to complete daily activities. The biggest difference to me seems to be a restriction on lifting objects and typically a longer hospital stay for the mother. So–is there a statistically significant difference in QOL and daily activities for these two groups? In the presence of a maternity leave of at least 8 weeks, I wonder if the recovery is about the same. I think many postpartum women, no matter the method of delivery, restrict daily activities because expelling a baby out of your body is physically traumatic, no matter the method of delivery.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Here’s the thing I’m most curious about. One of the cited benefits of VB vs CS is an easier recovery. However, how does this actually play out in real life?

          Invoke Bofa’s 2nd Law: All else equal, recovery from VB is easier than that for a CS. But all else is never equal.

        • Old Lady

          It was true for me. My VBAC was a quicker and easier recovery than my scheduled c-section. No major complications, I did get a 3rd degree tear with the VBAC and I still say the recovery was easier than my very straightforward section. I couldn’t get out of bed without rolling over and pulling myself to sitting for awhile (a week or two?) with my section. I was able to get up and move around pretty normally several hours after the VBAC.

    • Angie Young-Le

      When I told my good friend that I would be having a second c-section she replied “Oh no! You should find another Dr. or maybe go to a midwife” Fortunately she did not judge me when I explained that I am happy with it and prefer it anyway. But it was startling to me that she found it to be such a tragedy.

      It seems to me that, for the most part, “a woman’s right to choose” only applies if she chooses natural.

      • Roadstergal

        It’s like going to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. There’s a right answer, and it’s one-size-fits-all.

        • Cartman36

          Or how breast is best for everyone, no matter what.

      • Cartman36

        I mentioned my upcoming RCS and had a woman tell me “maybe you’ll get lucky go into labor naturally before”. Ummmm no, I would not consider that lucky!

        • Angie Young-Le

          I’m actually nervous of that happening. Definitely not lucky.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            Me too, I am very afraid of that happening.

        • Maria

          That did happen to me! My breech baby decided to come a week earlier than our scheduled c-section. My water broke and we were calling my parents to come get our toddler ASAP so we could get to the hospital. My labor goes fairly quickly and I didn’t want to end up in an emergency situation!

        • FormerPhysicist

          Had that happen – luckily was in the hospital for overnight observation before the c/s scheduled at 9 am and the nurses called my OB to come in right away.

      • sdsures

        Seriously, when did it become another person’s choice (besides yours and your doctor’s) to decide what does or does not transit your vagina?

      • Eater of Worlds

        All I could think was, good thing you didn’t go with the midwife, because it’s so dangerous to give birth with one, let alone as a VBAC homebirth.

        • Angie Young-Le

          I didn’t even consider it πŸ™‚ I live in Canada and wouldn’t qualify regardless.

    • Sean Jungian

      Brilliant parallel.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Why thank you! It’s just misogyny in another form. Which always gets my goat.

    • Azuran

      Funny how c-section is both the easy way out of birth and a dangerous surgery with all the pain and complications in the mind of NCB advocate.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Funny that!

    • mythsayer

      I had one. Best idea ever. If you want one, go for it. I had zero desire to experience labor and I don’t mind surgeries. I loved it. And I haven’t been attacked for it yet, because I am so unapologetic about it. It’s pretty clear shaming me won’t work.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I’m trying my damndest to be unapologetic. At least one person is upvoting my comments over there, so I’m glad I’m able to speak up for people who may share the same opinion but are uncomfortable saying so.

    • Laura

      I’m having one on July 20th, finalized the the scheduling at today’s appointment. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. So far I haven’t gotten push back from anyone because I haven’t felt the need to share my decision with anyone but my husband and mother, both of whom are supportive. Ain’t nobody’s business anyway.

      And my experience definitely provides some anecdotal evidence against this idea that doctors are pushing c-sections (or vaginal birth). When I asked for a MRCS, my doctor paused for a moment and looked at me then told me she had two c-sections and started discussing in realistic terms what to expect that day and of recovery. It was incredible to have my decision respected and to receive straightforward and factual information.

      I live in a major city in the US, and the practice is made up entirely of women in their 30s and early 40s, so perhaps this is why my request was received so well. They’ve all recently experienced childbirth themselves. They all recently moved to a new BFHI hospital that I will now have to deliver at and this is what I am terrified of. Less scared about the lactivists because I have no trouble telling someone to GTFO of my room and leave me alone. More concerned about no well-baby nursery and a policy that says babies cannot leave the room, even for a walk down the hall with dad of grandma. There’s actually an alarm put on their ankle to prevent it. INSANE.

      • sdsures

        That’s NUTS!

      • MI Dawn

        That IS insane. Aren’t the dads, at least, banded also so they could have the baby? For pete’s sake, we were banding dads back 25 years ago where I worked.

        • Laura

          I’m not sure. My friend gave birth there in March and said “they” were not allowed to leave the room with the baby, indicating that her husband couldn’t walk the halls with the baby to give her some breathing room.

          • guest

            When I had my 2 (separate hospitals, US) I could only leave the baby with my husband, not grandparents or others in the room. It was a real pain, when I wanted to shower or take a walk and get out of the room for a bit. With the second, we just sent her to the nursery, which seemed to irritate the nurses, but oh well.

          • sdsures

            That’s what the nursery is for. Don’t let them tell you differently.

          • sdsures

            I repeat, WTH? This is nuts. Dads need time with the baby, too. Gives Mom a break. Jeez!

        • sdsures

          WTH??

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I’m in Canada and I don’t think we have something similar to the BFHI here. I haven’t toured my hospital yet as I’m not due until November. But ANKLE ALARMS?!?! Is baby theft *really* that big of a problem? This seems insane.

        • demodocus

          It isn’t all that common, but it has happened, and everybody gets totally freaked out, understandably. Then come potential lawsuits and certainly bad press for the hospital. The hospital i volunteered at as a kid had had a theft a few years before. Fortunately, the baby was soon recovered safe and sound.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Our hospital had a sensor in the umbilical clamp that triggered locks on the ward doors if you got too close. They only removed the sensor on discharge.

            But fathers had an all-access band and could take the baby within the ward.

          • sdsures

            Phew!

      • Deborah

        At the hospital where I work (Australia) we have regular yearly drills for infant abduction. We use a doll and people dress up as deranged child abductors and try to make their way out of the hospital. A “Code Black Alpha” is activated and everyone immediately swings into action searching wards and manning all exits. We have done it twice so far and both times the “abductor” didn’t make it outside the hospital. It’s kind of fun in a weird kind of way but it’s sad that the society we live in has made these precautions necessary.
        We also have a policy that baby cannot be “walked” along the corridors unless in the little cot as, in times gone past, there were incidents of people falling/tripping and dropping the baby. So it’s not so much about keeping baby locked in the room with mum to enforce breastfeeding but more about safety issues for baby and liability for hospital.

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      I had a vaginal birth in Feb. (In hospital!)
      I was surprised how many women almost apologize to me about their c-sections in conversation- when they are the ones who ask me what type of birth I had to begin with. It’s weird, and I always try to say something encouraging to them in response.

      This view explains it a bit. But it’s still odd.

      • Rose Magdalene

        I bought into a lot of the NCB stuff when I was pregnant with my first. I ended up with an emergency c section anyway. At the time I was embarrass that I had a c section, and was jealous of women that were successful at birthing vaginally. The NCB movement makes you believe that pushing out a baby is always an awesome, empowering, magical experience. It was like there was this awesome party, that all the cool kids got to go to, but I didn’t. Then I read some stories of not so great vaginal births and that set my thinking straight. The real party is leaving as a healthy mother with a healthy baby.

        Also a lot of women feel like they have to prove that they needed the c section because of that stupid “too posh to push” myth.

        • Allie

          I’ve always found it odd that some people think if you’ve had a C-section, you haven’t actually “given birth,” which is just silly. There was a baby on the inside of you who is now on the outside of you. However it got out, you have “given birth” to it.

          • sdsures

            I hope those people never get their hooks into adoptive or surrogate parents.

          • Erin

            I think my hangup with the whole “giving birth” thing is that to me “giving” implies something you consciously do. That does not apply to me and my son’s arrival. I mean I can’t take the credit for something I wasn’t even consciously present for. I did nothing to assist him leaving my body and therefore as far as I’m concerned I didn’t give birth. I gave nothing, I just lay there in an out of body state whilst he was cut from me. I didn’t even notice he was a separate entity for the first 10 or so minutes. He was born from my body sure (although it took me about eight months to accept that, yay for post natal mental illness) but I did not by my definition give birth, have a baby…I’m okay with but when people tell me I “gave birth”, we argue.

            Oddly enough I think it bothers other people more than it bothers me.

            Also, by no means do I think that anyone else who had a c-section didn’t give birth, just that in my unique set of circumstances, I didn’t.

          • Fleur

            Precisely. Though I have no idea why on earth they actually think it matters anyway. The day my daughter was born wasn’t important because it was the day I gave birth (or not), it was important because it was the day I became a mother. It wouldn’t have mattered if the stork brought her or I’d found her under the gooseberry bush in the back garden: I’m her mother because I’m the person who mothers her.

    • Deborah

      That is a very good point. How can it be both? (trying to reduce C-section rate AND increase the unnecessarian)
      Also love the concept of birth and beauty taxes. So true.