It’s all over the news today. All women in the UK now have the right to ask for a c-section if they want one. This has stirred up mixed feelings with me.
The idea is that by offering the choice, many women will make an informed decision and as such the amount of emergency sections particularly those due to mum’s who have fears about the birth, will in turn reduce. It is also suggested that if a woman requests a section and is then given all the facts, she is more likely to decide on a natural birth than a section. There’s plenty of debate going around saying that this just opens up the doors for the “Too posh to push” generation of mums. There is also debate that it is the mothers right to chose exactly what birth she wants and so if she wants a section she should have one. I can kind of see where these guidelines have come from but at the same time it does make me wonder if this will lead to sections that are not medically necessary.
As a mum of 2, both born through sections but in completely different circumstances I have to say I am trying to look at this impartially. B was breech and so was born by elective section 2 days before her due date. With H I wanted to attempt a natural delivery (VBAC). I was told of the risk of a natural birth and the risks were pretty low so I felt safe in my choice. It was only when I came close to my due date that I asked what the course of action would be if I went over due. I was told that I would be induced, they would use a lower dose so as not to start labour too fast but that there was no further risk. I asked about a section and was told that induction would be preferred as there was no medical reason why I couldn’t deliver naturally. I did go on to be induced. I did experience labour. And I was rushed into surgery for an emergency section, putting me and H at risk, as my uterus did tear. I looked into it a few months down the line and found most guidelines state VBAC mothers should not be induced due to it increasing the risk of uterine tearing significantly. Whilst I was dead set for a natural delivery, when I asked the question I should have been given the facts correctly, it may have made a difference. Whilst yes more expensive than a natural birth it would have been easier and cheaper than the 5 days in SCBU, blood transfusions for me and keeping us both in hospital for much longer.
I don’t think the issue is that women have the right, I think the issue is what is termed as medical reason. Up until now, the only medical reasons taken into account have been the physical health of the baby and mother. If you have a mum who has experienced trauma in child birth previously, and has a phobia or post traumatic stress or depression from the last birth this to me is medical reason, yet up until now has not been reason enough. If you have a woman who has previously had a section, whether she wants a section or not she should be given the risks specifically for her. If a woman is offered counselling and support to prepare for the birth but is still too anxious and fearful that she asks for a section, this is a medical reason. Mental health covers phobias, anxiety, depression the lot, and is a medical reason even if not physical. If a woman wants a section to fit in with her diary, this is not a medical reason and I don’t think in this case a woman has the right to this choice.
A woman’s body is designed for child birth. At the same time I wonder if it is advances in medical science which have led to 1 in 4 women requiring a section. I use myself as an example again. My body doesn’t make babies easily. I was on fertility treatment with B and I wasn’t able to safely deliver naturally. H was conceived naturally but my body couldn’t deliver naturally. In years gone by I wouldn’t have had children, but had I conceived naturally the first time, I would have most probably died in childbirth as B was hugging her feet rather than being in the foetal position. Sometimes we do override the bodies natural instinct with medicine and sometimes this can cause further problems. I wouldn’t change my kids and I wouldn’t say I disagree with fertility treatment, but I wonder if my issues are because my body wasn’t actually right for bearing children!
I have to conclude that I am on the fence with this one. I agree that every mum has the right to the birth she wants. I do worry though that some will see an elective section as the easy option as it really is not. H is 3 now and my scar still itches at times. Getting my tummy back is impossible. Recovery straight after the birth is very long. But I know some mums who I believe want a section on medical grounds have in the past been told no for the wrong reasons. So what do you think?
I woke this morning to the sound of my radio alarm as normal. I half heard a news article about new statistics showing that 100 babies a year die due to be born out of normal working hours. I pressed snooze and rolled over.
Driving to work I heard the same news piece and being awake was able to listen. The evidence says babies born out of normal working hours are more likely to die if they need special assistance, in particular due to oxygen starvation. I got a lump in my throat and began welling up with my own horrific flash backs. How poignant this should be mention just 48 hours before H’s 2nd birthday.
This time 2 years ago I was on the countdown, 11 days overdue, I had already had a sweep and was due to be induced the next day. I was apprehensive, although I already had B, she was a planned section due to being breech – I felt like I should have felt the 1st time round, not knowing what was to come.
Those who know me or have read other posts know the story, I was induced and all was going well, but in the early hours of 18th July 2008 things went wrong. It was known by me, something was wrong, I felt it. I was rushed to theatre and put under a general anaesthetic as time was the key. I prayed, let her live no matter what happens to me – the one and only time in my life I have embraced the idea that death could be round the corner.
When I woke, I knew H must be fine, because I was sure I wouldn’t have survived if she hadn’t. I was expecting her to be lying beside me, but she wasn’t there. Panic set in, I didn’t care how I was, I wanted my baby. I was told she was in SCBU due to being starved of oxygen, as my womb had torn and she had been delivered into my stomach cavity. At this point she was breathing for herself. A few hours later she was put on a ventilator and had to be sedated as she was fighting against it. I was told to be prepared as no one knew what would happen.
The first time I saw my daughter she looked like a doll, the only movement being her lungs as the ventilator did it’s job. It didn’t feel real that just 24 hours earlier she was inside me, being active and healthy. It was hard, she was on the ventilator only 12 hours, although we had been told to expect her to be on it for at least 48 hours. I never once let myself believe she wouldn’t survive. The staff were fantastic, they answered all my questions and were completely honest. She could be brain damaged if she survived, she may take a long time to catch up with mile stones. As long as she lived I would deal with anything.
She lived of course and although now my flash backs to those awful, yet joyful days don’t happen so frequently, this is the time of year I feel it most. The memories are as vivid as if they were yesterday. The heart ache is as strong, maybe stronger now than when she was born. I don’t know what I would have done had she been one of those in the statistic that’s come out today. What I do know, is that the the midwifes, paediatricians and SCBU nurses at Peterborough SCBU and Maternity Ward did an amazing thing 2 years ago and they don’t get enough praise. They continue without question, to help new born babies over come what is a very difficult start to life and I for one can’t thank them enough.
Two years on and H is a happy, chatty, well developed little girl. She is very intelligent for her age and has so far hit every development stage early or on time. It amazes me a child who would have most probably been still born only 10 or 15 years ago, now shows no signs of the start she had. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a child, I am so thankful I am not one of those, but I can begin to imagine the awful pain that parents go through.
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