The Unkindest Cut: Countdown to a C-Section

I don't believe I missed the point, but clearly mine was missed. That is, simply, these doctors and nurses have significantly more childbirthing experience than any of the women cited in the article. And that, as a result, they likely know things these mothers couldn't possibly. Wouldn't a hospital that delivers the most babies under 1,500 grams (that's less than 3.5 pounds, by the way), naturally have a higher c-section rate than other hospitals in the state? And consider that the woman with twins was turned away from a birthing center. Multiples are high-risk births, so they didn't want the liability. She went to Mary Birch, like many other high-risk pregnancies, according to the article. So while I understand the point that these women believe these rates reflect unnecessary C-sections, I wonder how they can be so sure when they don't have the benefit of years of experience nor access to the clinical data behind the numbers. katiakata, I wonder whether your "My baby, my body, my choice" comment also applies to the "too posh to push crowd." Do they not have as much of a right to the birth experience they choose as you do? And perhaps your description of the procedure to turn your baby as being "simple" may be a bit, well, simplified. There are reasons they do that procedure -- an intervention itself -- in the hospital. The cord can get tangled or pinched, cutting off the baby's oxygen supply. It alone could have necessitated an emergency c-section.
— December 15, 2011 8:23 p.m.

The Unkindest Cut: Countdown to a C-Section

I’m disappointed to see such one-sided reporting in this article. After an unexpected complication at the end of an otherwise normal pregnancy meant my daughter needed to be delivered by an emergency C-section at Mary Birch, I have a bit of a different perspective. My condition was very serious, but my nurse spoke to me calmly, held my hand, wiped my tears, and told me she would stay by my side. The neonatologist and nurses who spent what felt like several minutes reviving my daughter after she was born patiently told my husband, “This is why we’re here,” as he asked repeatedly whether she would be OK. This article fails to acknowledge that these are people have devoted their lives to caring for others. Their devotion comes at a price; they have most certainly had to deliver terrible news to parents expecting bundles of joy. This article also misrepresents the risks of childbirth. Sure, it’s natural. It’s also quite natural for women and babies to die in childbirth. After my second daughter was born at Mary Birch, I roomed beside a woman who had nearly done just that. I could hear her husband in the hall as he explained to a relative on the phone what had happened. His wife had started bleeding uncontrollably after an otherwise “normal” childbirth. She seized in the delivery room and then coded three times on the operating table as surgeons performed a hysterectomy that would ultimately save her life. The young father had glimpsed a lifetime without his wife that night, and it tempered his disappointment that they wouldn’t have more children. “She’s going to be OK,” I heard him say, “And so is the baby. And that’s all that matters.” He had come to realize what the nurses and doctors at the hospital also know: nothing impacts a birthing experience more severely than a tragic outcome. And in the end, a healthy baby and a healthy mom are all that matter. Thankfully – and often due to the benefit of the “interventions” this article blasts – these caregivers get to share in new parents’ joy far more often than they comfort unthinkable loss. Ms. Salaam makes these heroes out to be villains. But I know something she doesn’t: the way the blonde curl at the base of my daughter’s neck feels when I run it between my fingers. It’s something I get to experience every day and it’s far bigger and better than any experience I might otherwise have had on the day she was born. I’m forever grateful to the people who made that possible.
— December 15, 2011 9:29 a.m.

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!