Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why do I keep writing this blog? Because of emails like this...

I receive many emails from women, and especially from those who are facing difficulty in having their cesarean birth choice understood, respected or supported.

But there are other emails too, telling of the devastating consequences of a cesarean birth request that was ultimately denied.

Here are just two of the most recent I've received - from courageous women who are willing to speak out about the often downplayed risks of vaginal birth, and who don't want other women to suffer in the way they have.
I found your campaign online and totally agree with the sentiments.

I would have choosen a c-section if it had been an option. In the later stages [of pregnancy] I requested one when I had gone overdue, but was point blank refused.

Intially I had a fear of childbirth and tried hypnobirthing to help. I went 10 days overdue and was taken into hospital but was waiting around in distress for 6 days.

When I was eventually induced I had an 18 hour induction. I was totally exhausted when it came to pushing and made no progress. I ended up with a forceps delivery to a 9lb 2 baby, a 3rd degree tear and massive blood loss.

I was in hospital for 5 days and told there was a chance I would be doubly incontinent. I noticed the c-sections were up and about long before I was. Additionally, the terror and horror I felt will stay with me.

I think the natural birth fanatics are putting women and babies at risk. An elective c section would have spared an instumental delivery but we all know these are cheaper.

[I'd] like to share my experience with you as I am sure many women do.

I recently had a baby and after a hard vaginal delivery, I ended up with a condition that I had never heard about called bowel incontinence (losing the ability to control gas or bowel).

After suffering this, I started to read about it and about the many women who experience this after a childbirth, especially after a vaginal delivery. It is interesting to me that you are told so much about the risks associated with a c-section or cesarean but are never told what can happen as a result of a vaginal delivery.

As you argue as well, pushing for many hours and/or vacuum or forceps used to pull out the baby are common practices and can result in bowel incontinence. Women it seems, have been experiencing these horrible consequences of the vaginal delivery in silence as no one talks about these even when you are pregnant, not your doctor, not other women, no one.

I think the unusual insistence on a vaginal delivery here in the US, even for women who should be delivered via c-section, maybe due to the insurance companies penalizing the doctors who have more cesarean cases than they like to see as cesarean delivery costs more.

In my case, I had discussed my delivery with my doctor during my office visits throughout my pregnancy. The fact that I like to avoid being torn or cut (Episiotomy) and vacuum or forceps be used to pull out my baby. I had told him that I am quite fine with having a c-section rather than a difficult delivery that would involve these methods.

However, he insisted (and convinced me) that I should have a vaginal delivery even though I am over 40 and had prior surgeries that would have qualified me for a c-section. During my delivery, my doctor was not even there and I ended up pushing for many hours before he finally came over to proceed with cutting extensively (4th degree Episiotomy) and using forceps, the very methods that I had asked him not to use, to pull out my baby.

The day after my delivery, I had the most painful spasms in my colon, the kind of pain that when arrived I screamed loudly and uncontrollably. I ended up with very large hemorrhoids and for the next 2 weeks, I could not function without several pain killers a day. I could not stand or walk without pain or have a bowel or gas movement without excruciating pain and I could not control my bowel or gas movement.

Now after over 5 months, I am still suffering from hemorrhoids and bowel incontinence. I have become isolated and afraid to be around people and have had to reject a job offer with great benefits (that we very much need now) for the fear of being around people and have an embarrassing accident.

Thank you for your time to read this and for the great work you do.


Anonymous said...

Pauline, Thank you so much for sharing the stories of women who suffer from fecal incontinence as a result of forcep assisted birth. There are way too many of us. I would like to encourage those with stories similar to mine to check out my birth trauma blog at Having our stories told is our first step in the healing process. Thanks for all you do. -Lauren

Unknown said...

That is very brave of you. I am so glad I had 5 c. Sections after reading this. Natural birth fanatics over here in Australia demonize c. Sections & one of these women bled to death during Vaginal delivery. The leader of the movement's baby died due to her insistance on vaginal delivery no matter what.