Thursday, March 6, 2008


One popular blogger is expecting a baby very soon, and is having a planned c-section. She asked that people don't post comments with horror stories about c-sections. She doesn't want to hear anything negative, and wrote:

"I'm sure someone somewhere has done a study on the phenomenon I like to call "let's scare the crap out of the poor pregnant girl who doesn't know what she's gotten into but because I've done this at least one time I have all the answers to every question about pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, etc and know EXACTLY the RIGHT THING this poor pregnant girl should do if she loves her baby just a little bit." Have you had any experience with this?"

I thought it was funny at first. And put that way, I do still think it's funny. But I view things differently. I don't know if it's got anything to do with being Canadian, or what, but women never told me horror stories, or gave me unsolicited advice (except for the Italian nona in the greenhouse who said Huey should have a hat was 30C outside the greenhouse...). I NEVER had any backlash or comments about breastfeeding in public either. On line, especially in parenting groups, we share birth stories, and quite often offer unsolicited advice though. But I've never thought of it as a horror story to scare the uninitiated pregnant lady. I view it as that person's story of an important event. I hear they might have unresolved issues, I hear they want to share their experience, perhaps to enlighten me, perhaps to save me from what they went through. And I APPRECIATE everything anyone has ever told me---even if it was a little scary from their view. If my baby was breech, I would be THRILLED to have someone point out the Spinning Babies website to me. If I was going to be induced with Cytotec, I'd be ecstatic if someone told me that it's not approved for use as an induction drug. If I mentioned I had trouble latching my newborn on when my milk came in, I'd have kissed the person who told me about Medela nipple shields. If I planned a c-section before my due date, and someone mentions that it might short-change my hormone system and breastfeeding might have a rocky start, I'd start calling around for LCs and talk to my OB. If these bits of advice came because someone else had a 'horror story', I don't really care--it's not an omen of my experience. It's not casting a shadow on my experience---if anything, I will be more prepared, more educated. And what's wrong with that?

I think it's doing yourself a disservice to ask for only positive comments about something so serious as a surgery. In this case, it's not just a birth; it's a major abdominal surgery with complications possible for baby and mother. Yes, it might be preferred to a vaginal birth in many circumstances, but to get mad because someone mentions that THEY had XYZ happen and they just want to share that so others might be more aware, or because someone shares a website about how to turn a breech baby?
Man, if I hadn't seen photos of breast reductions with incisions that had opened and other complications, I would have been a nutcase when it happened to me.

I wasn't scared BECAUSE others had shared their stories. They weren't horror stories, they were actually lifesaving stories.


Cara said...

You have completely misunderstood my position. Just as I'm sure you have felt I completely misjudged your advice. But that's okay.

I'm going to have a baby. :-)

And to imply that I haven't done tons of research regarding my PERSONAL situation is QUITE judgmental in my opinion.

But you know what they say about opinions.

Have a great day!

~Debbi~ said...

I dunno, I'm kinda conflicted on this, Tracy. I mean, on the one hand, remember when Jim's wife was having bleeding early in her pregnancy and he asked just for positive stories from those of us who had those and still ended up 30+ weeks later with a live, healthy baby? I mean, obviously he KNEW that bleeding can be bad and she could miscarry and there was not a darn thing they could do about it so sometimes, just sometimes, positives are nice to hear.

In the US, everyone is a buttinsky - I get unsolicited (and often ridiculous and useless) parenting advice all the time. I had a friend who literally screamed once in an elevator because every time she got on, with her big ol' 7 month pregnant belly, someone would say "Hope we don't get stuck" and then make some remark about having to deliver her baby. As if she'd let a stranger deliver her baby, she'd sooner catch it herself, thanks!

But it is the phenomenon of scheduling a c-section (a la Christina Aguilera) without a real cause, i.e. raging STD or placenta previa, that is probably at the root of your complaint. And that's valid. Stupid doctors, stupid TV, stupid media make c-sections seem so routine and low-risk and they're not. And there are so many things you can do - like find a new doctor if yours tells you that your pelvis is too small or your baby is too big - which is generally bull. And, yeah, breech presentation, even at 40 weeks along is not impossible to fix. 36 weeks? Plenty of time to try all the techniques, from moxibustion to chiropractic (Webster technique) to swimming to the version. I'm sorry your bloggy acquaintance would rather deal with major surgery and a baby whose lungs will not be fully mature or fully compressed to remove the fluid. She, and her baby, will pay for it in the long-run, but that's her choice, and you gotta bite your lip. You don't have to be sympathetic when she complains of pain or complications later, but you shouldn't say "Told you so!" either!

Kathleen said...

I had two c-sections and none of those baby complications mentioned. My sister had no c-sections and her third child had major issues.

C-Section does not automatically mean dire consequences for the baby, just as vaginal delivery doesn't mean it will be all hunky-dory.

Frankly, I think Cara made the best choice for her. And, given what little (or lot) she has shared with the world on her blog, I would make the same choice if I were her.

Gotta Knit! said...

She asked people not to share their stories. I think all people should have respected her wishes.

Anonymous said...

hey it's her blog and she can do whatever she wants.. just like this is your blog and you can say whatever you want. we all have different birthing stories..but i'm with you..i wanted as much info on everything.. because even then.. I still didn't have it all! viva la motherhood!

Karin said...

I agree with Gotta Knit.

And: I think this whole thing is really sad. Why can't we respect each other? Support each other, instead of starting a birthing war?

gleek said...

this is your blog. say what you want. if you were inspired to talk about your own experiences by what's happening to cara then that's great. people can come here to learn more. when cara asked for people to not share their stories, she's asking for people to not email her or comment on her blog with their stories. she would never tell someone else what to say on their own blog.

if commenters think that you wrote this to diss on cara, then they are reading into it. people gotta chill. what? are we all not allowed to talk about our birth stories now because one blogger doesn't want to hear it? no.

i think that if you hadn't linked to cara, though, then this wouldn't have happened.

Nancy said...

I think it's more about blogs and the artificial intimacy it can create. Cara is very much a person who will share everything and for the most part invite open discussion but there are certain things pertaining to her pregnancy that are all hers. For some of us (and I'm not saying this is true in her case) at least in my case, childbirth was the most frightening thing I had ever contemplated. There's an old saying that when you have a baby you have "one foot in the grave" and some of us feel that more than others.

I am sure she researched and discussed options with her doctors, husband and family. Probably even close friends. She just didn't want 100 comments about the evils of scheduled cesareans or war stories about things that can go wrong. That's not where she is at the moment.

We should all respect that.