Comments from Sarah about the New Yorker article

Sarah’s blog is all about knitting nowadays, but she had a response to my post about the New Yorker article in an e-mail to Aaron, and she’s allowed me to repost it here.  It adequately describes the issues with a C-section from the patient’s point of view, something I’m not able to capture adequately.

I’d like to
point out that the author assumes that the anecdote he uses is ordinary.  It is
in that the woman, a doctor, went to some sort of vague “childbirth class” and
then felt like a failure afterwards.  A lot of the training I did while pregnant
was to do things like a) be able to figure out if my kid was in the right
position in utero before going into labor.  I was 100% sure he was in exactly
the right position, and I knew what that position was, that I had no fear of him
turning sideways or upside down.  My midwife helped me learn that and monitored
my child’s position, but my ob did not!  He said he didn’t care what position
the child was in! 

Shabbir and I were shocked that he wouldn’t use his modern
medical equipment to check on his position while the midwife did that on every
visit in my last month with her hands pressing on my belly.

This is the difference
between obs and midwives.  The ob was so very clearly confident that he would be
able to rip me open (and thus go from having child making being a female
activity to a male activity) that he didn’t care about preventing the rip in me
at all. 

There was other
training, the Bradley method class was great for this, and so was my midwife,
and what she said throughout the birth is that I handled the birth of my child
as if I were very experienced with childbirth. Not, “oh she had an easy labor”
which is what other people said as if some how it was entirely out of my

The article doesn’t
address the difficulties women encounter in future pregnancies after having
Csections.  Once you go Csection, you can’t go back.  Well you can, it’s called
VBAC, but now most insurance providers won’t pay for it.  So the first doctor to rip you open ensures either a limited reproductive life or repeated ripping. 

Also the article
doesn’t address the health benefits of natural child delivery vs. Csection and
epidurals, but it does point out that obs speculate that csections prevent
incontinence.  There are piles upon piles of articles about the benefits of
natural child delivery to both mother and child, including nursing.  Not being
able to nurse is a common problem after Csection, but the article says her “milk
failed” – again blaming the mother – instead of the medical staff who might not have put her
child to her teat after it was born.

A thirty
year longitudinal study of at home births vs. hospital births has shown that
there is *NO* greater risk of
dying or your child dying at home than in the hospital.  I’ve just quickly
tried to look for it and can’t find it, Alice told me about it last
summer.   But here’s what birthcare says: