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Friday, January 23, 2009

And so it goes

I feel as though I've been holding my breath for six months. I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when. They've been dropping hints of it here and there; asking me leading questions about each of my births, asking what I thought of theirs (both sections), praising their doctors' skills. Do I see accusations in their eyes when they talk to me? I feel so helpless in the face of their stunned realizations.

Sister A laments her scar. She had a bad infection after leaving the hospital and it had to be opened and drained. It's a thick, uneven scar that sort of "sticks out" where it had to be opened. It throbs and burns during her period, so much so that it brings her to tears. Is she crying from the pain or from the question of its necessity?

Her constant refrain these days is, "if they'd have just let me wait a little longer, I know I could have done it by myself!" They couldn't let her "wait" any longer though. After she got the epidural that she was assured carried no major risks, her blood pressure skyrocketed and her temperature shot up.

At a recent visit to the OB who cut her she asked if he "did VBACs". His answer was a pointy boot in the gut. "Oh sure we do VBACs, if your baby isn't too big or too small, if you don't gain too much weight, if you wait 2 years after your cesarean and if you go into labor before 40 weeks." Here response to me said it all: so basically he told me I can't have a VBAC!

Then there's Sister H. While Sister A has always been upset by her section, Sister H is only just beginning to have her doubts. She recently learned that the OB who cut her doesn't do VBACs. She didn't know a doctor could do that. I don't think she's quite brave enough to walk away from "her" beloved OB just yet, but still really wants to labor "to see what it's like." She told me that even if she "has" to have another section that she'd at least like to go into labor first. That doesn't sound like a woman who's afraid of any perceived VBAC risks. It sounds like a woman who's afraid that she might have let her OB make a bad decision for her last time, like a woman who wants to know her body isn't broken, and like a woman who wants to give her baby the benefit of being ready to be born.

By the way, Sister H had a section because her OB said baby was 11 or 12lbs. OB pulled out a 9lb baby.

I feel so absolutely stuck between my sisters! One wants me to tell her she made the right decision and the other wants me to tell her she can VBAC next time.

I won't lie to my sisters.

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break
And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows
~from Billy Joel's "And So It Goes"


  1. Yeah, that's tough -- wanting to be "nice" and just agreeing with your sisters and going along with them... but sometimes it's "kinder to be cruel" -- to be honest so that they don't go along believing in something that cannot be real, only to be rudely awakened to reality -- y'know, like the doc who claims to allow VBACs but schedules repeat C-sections without telling the women, and does the "bait and switch" at the end of the pregnancy, pulling out all these excuses (I mean "reasons") why they can't have VBACs. But it's not easy knowing what to say, and saying it kindly.


  2. That's really tough. I know my passion for this stuff makes it all harder and easier. I know what they want to's another story fighting between what they want to hear and what they may NEED to hear.

  3. I am a big believer of tell it like it is. The truth shall set you free.
    Maybe deep down they already KNOW what you want to tell them. They just want to hear it coming from someone else. Sometimes that's all you need.

  4. Just ran across your blog(again). I don't know if you remember me or not but on a older blog I posted to find info about midwives in Alabama. You responded but from a diffrent blog. Living on Manna I believe.

    Anyway, I am 17 weeks pregnant now! With twins!! We are planning a out-of-town homebirth.

  5. I am a three time c section. My first daughter set it up for everyone. She was 23 1/2 inches long but 6 pounds. My body just would not dialate, plus once they realized just how long she was, they thought it was best. Now because of my first one, I can never have a vbac, and I can't say that I am sad about it. I have had three super positive experiences. The recovery time wasn't the same as a natural delivery, but i have to say i have no regrets. I too get the itchy burning during my period, but my uterus was and is so less for each baby.

    don't lie to your sisters. you won't be able to live with yourself!