So Much for Lamaze: A Natural Mama’s Thoughts on
Having a C-Section
Here’s the deal: my first two babies were breech. Frank breech, to be exact. And back then–eight years ago and five years ago–I was still a largely uninformed participant in the traditional model of medicine.
Granted, I do not recommend the pursuit of vaginal birth when a baby is in the breech position–in fact, I’d be surprised if any doctor or midwife would agree to perform such a feat. While I’ve shifted quite a bit in my view of standard, allopathic medicine–considering much of it to be invasive, unnecessary, potentially harmful and inadequately addressing the root cause of disease–I still have a healthy appreciation for modern technological advances.
I am thankful for the safe deliveries–via C-section–of Older Brother in 2006 and Younger Brother in 2010.
My point is that I was leaning toward a natural birth without an epidural and had even begun to look into home birth, but the Frank breech position of both babies led me down an altogether different path.
I did undergo an external version attempt, in which two OB’s tried to turn Older Brother manually from the outside. It was terrible–it didn’t work and was rather traumatic. (Keep in mind that this procedure does successfully turn many breech babies–so if your baby is breech, be sure to do your research and make the best, informed decision for yourself.)
At the time, I accepted the fact that I had no alternatives and thought that a C-section was a C-section, which is obviously completely different from a normal labor and delivery experience. But while I was thankful for my healthy babies, I did feel disappointed and somewhat cheated of a normal delivery.
Fast forward to my current pregnancy. Here I am, most decidedly now a Natural Mama, but once again headed into a most un-natural birthing process: my old friend, the C-section.
I’m not one to dwell on the past or have regrets, but I must admit I’m struggling with a strong sense that I should have researched more and pushed harder for a more natural birth experience this time around.
I did attempt to get in with our local group of midwives, who upon hearing my medical history of thyroid disease, two cesareans, recurring pregnancy loss, ectopic pregnancy and potential blood clotting deficiencies, very politely told me they wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.
And so I resigned myself to the care of my former high-risk OB who thrives on emergency. I’ve come to realize she is skilled as a surgeon and her main goal is to produce a healthy baby. Which is good!
But as my surgery date approaches, I find myself wishing…
- I’d perhaps looked for a different OB–one who would have considered a VBAC, since Baby Brother is not breech.
- I’d researched family-friendly C-sections and local hospitals that allow them.
- I’d better prepared myself to communicate the desire to avoid or delay treatments and vaccinations for our newborn.
And I can’t help but think that if I’d started thinking about all of this much sooner, I wouldn’t be approaching my baby’s birth experience with feelings akin to failure and resignation.
However, I can’t change much of that now. By the time you read this post, I’ll be just days away from Baby Brother’s grand debut. (Stay tuned for my updates!)
So here is what I resolve to do:
- Be thankful for a skilled surgeon, safe delivery and healthy baby.
- Continue to ask for true skin-to-skin time with the baby immediately following delivery, even though I’ve been told “no” by the OB.
- Pray for helpful and sympathetic nurses and hospital staff, since they are the ones with direct influence over the baby’s care.
- Know my rights and communicate my wishes firmly and pleasantly to the nurses and surgical staff via a typed birth plan.
- Enlist my husband’s support–we plan to ask for skin-to-skin time with Dad in the event I am not permitted to do so in the operating room. If Baby must be removed from the O.R. before I make it to the recovery room, Dad can follow him instead of remaining with me.
- Prepare my body for antibiotics by increasing my probiotic intake and using an infant probiotic powder for Baby.
- Use essential oils to calm and treat myself and Baby. I will bring my copy of Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, as well as a hand-typed reference list of EO protocols for Mr. Native Texan.
- Enjoy the initial moments with my new son, rejoicing in his new life and appreciating my ability to care for him.
In my next post (or two), I’ll provide tips for a “natural C-section”–everything I’ve learned about how to plan for a family-friendly birth experience, even when a C-section is the only option.
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…