When I first found out that I was pregnant with twins, a friend emailed me, "Don't let your doctor force you into a C-section." This statement meant nothing at the time as the bulk of my brainpower was either being sucked dry by growing babies and/or I was in a complete state of shock. The actual "giving birth" part seemed like it was years away.
Eventually, like most new parents who have no idea what they've gotten themselves into, my husband and I took one of those educational classes offered by our hospital. They showed various videos of the birthing process. I was immediately transported back to seventh grade when our biology class was forced to watch "that movie," which we not only needed parental approval for but also years of therapy. All I recall of that video was closing my eyes when the crowning started thinking that I would never do that.
Apparently my maturity level has not changed since middle school because I did the exact same thing during my birthing class. Watching women grunt and cry and bleed and yuck all over their doctors and husbands was just too much for me. We left the class in silence; I was literally in a state of shock.
"I am not doing that," was all I could muster to say. My husband tried to be comforting, but I knew he was thinking the same thing. Vaginal delivery looked awful. Cesarean, on the other hand, sounded quick, simple, no work on my part and ultimately less disgusting.
This story continues on the next page.This looks awful.
Due to the fact that I was having twins, a C-section was most likely in my future anyway, -- approximately three-fourths of all twin pregnancies end in one - and as such, I figured I would leave it up to the babies.
The more pregnant women I spoke with, however, the more I came to understand that it wasn't just mothers of multiples who were subjected to being cut open; a lot of preggo ladies were having cesareans. And a lot of those women wanted them.
Approximately, one in three women delivers via C-section, according to recent data, but if the ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has anything to say about it, this number will go down. According to the two organizations, doctors perform too many unnecessary cesareans. Why would a doctor insist on a C-section when delivering the regular old way will do? It's easier. It's convenient. You can schedule a C-section around your tee time.
Of course, there are very good, legitimate health reasons to having a cesarean and no one is questioning this. However, according to the recent report on the rise in C-sections, a major reason that they are taking place now is due to time issues. Sometimes labor just takes too damn long and who wants to wait around all day for some baby to be born? Birth times have changed over the years and what was once considered standard time to push out, now takes longer due to the change in women's body weight and age. Even the definition of what was once considered "being in labor" has changed. The new guidelines state that if a woman has the strength, let her push for at least two hours before getting out the knife.
But it's not only doctors who are pushing women in this direction. Another reason for the rise in C-sections is because we have been asking for them more. One would think that begging your doctor to cut you open and pluck out a child from your abdomen would be low on most women's list, but many prefer it to natural childbirth. The same reasoning applies: It's quicker, less painful (during but not afterward), you can schedule it down to the hour, and in our get-up-and-go world, who doesn't want to know the exact moment she is going to give birth? We have so much stuff to do, better to block out a time-slot for that as well. Share it on your Outlook calendar with your co-workers, so they know exactly why you are not returning their emails.
I have an actress friend who scheduled her delivery around her voice-over gigs. On a Tuesday she was opened up, by Thursday she was recording a commercial. Another acquaintance told me she scheduled her cesarean around her pregnancy glamour shots. Hmmm... that sounds oddly counterintuitive. But I won't judge, I wanted to choose my babies' birth dates so that they would be Aquarians rather than Pisces!
Picking your birth date has gotten so popular that the hospital hands out a pamphlet urging mothers to wait to deliver until their 39 weeks are completed. Apparently it's not only an issue of wanting to know the exact date and time but also wanting to get it over with early. There's a reason we cook our babies for 40 weeks - it's called nature.
As I stated from the top, I completely understand why you would want to choose a C-section over traditional childbirth. For me it wasn't so much the timeframe as it was the ick/pain factor. I know, I know, childbirth is a beautiful thing, but let's be real; it's also totally gross.
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When I asked my doctor what date exactly he would want to cut me open, assuming he would want to, his answer surprised me. "Let's just see when they want to come out," he said.
Didn't he want my labor to be easy? Didn't he want to make sure it didn't happen on a Saturday afternoon when he was working on his garden? Didn't he want to get started on my birth announcements (OK, that was more for me)? I had naturally assumed that he would want me to schedule a cesarian, but I was wrong.
"I've never known a baby to stay in," he replied.
And he was right. The babies picked their birth date all on their own (luckily, as Aquarians), and I learned the first lesson of raising kids: They are going to do whatever they want, whenever they want and so you better be prepared to roll with the punches and let your schedule go to hell.