AlJazeera English has created an excellent and concise documentary on the issue of the overuse of cesarean surgery in the United States. I watched it last night after seeing it linked to The Unnecesarean’s Facebook page. Today, I share it with you, not because it is easy to watch. Not because I want to promote fear. I will be honest. The film is in many ways very sad. It is very well made however, and I value its content and the interviews from obstetricians they were able to obtain. Hearing those doctors speak warmed my heart. It gave me hope. This film opens eyes, educates, and shows the pockets of people out there who believe change is necessary.
I share this with you today as a mother who experienced an unnecessary operative delivery. A mother who was not informed of most of the risks involved in cesarean, but only told that my baby was too big to risk vaginal birth. I was told this based on an ultrasound, which is not accurate in determining size in later pregnancy. I’m sharing this with you today as a mother who only knew that pulmonary embolism is a risk of cesarean after my OB suspected it while I was experiencing shortness of breath. (A mother in this film passed away from a dislodged blood clot in her leg.) I was kept in the hospital for five days. I went through several tests. My shortness of breath could have been prevented if I had been encouraged to get up and walk more after my surgery. No one encouraged me and I was experiencing such pain that moving was very difficult. On top of that, I was very sad for myself and my daughter, so I didn’t walk. My daughter had trouble passing meconium and breastfeeding and went through procedures for her bowels and stomach. She was only 8lbs. 13oz. I was told she would be upwards of 10lbs.
No lives were at risk when I had my surgery. No lives were saved when I had my surgery. A healthy mother and a healthy baby were subjected to the risks of major abdominal surgery because of some “what-ifs” that a skilled obstetrician or midwife would be able to address if or when the “what-if” actually occurred. We were allowed to risk a 4 times increase in the possibility of my dying during the surgical birth for a “what-if”.
Am I upset. Not so much anymore. Am I angry. Sometimes. But, what matters to me most is that our birth culture change in the US, so that women like myself and babies like my daughter won’t needlessly be put through the risks of major abdominal surgery without true cause. It is my hope that cesarean section not be used as a means to thwart a fear of litigation or out of convenience. It is my hope that we can look at cesarean section as the life-saving procedure it is, because we can be assured that they are being performed for reasons that are necessary and worth the risks.
Please watch this film. Share your thoughts with us.
Many happy days to you and yours,