With a UU I’m really conscious of the fact that in the last stage of pregnancy, you need to be prepared for an “anything goes” situation. With an increased risk of preterm labor, incompetent or early effacing cervix, low baby birth weight, and breech baby, I think it would be foolish to ignore the possibilities of bed rest, early labor, or c-section. That’s not to say that women with UU haven’t had perfectly healthy, large, full-term babies before because they have – just go to the Yahoo group for a number of those stories. And as much as I may hope for a normal situation, I realize I’m not normal. One of my first actions was to be open to both “childbirth” classes and c-section classes. Yes, believe it or not, my hospital offers a c-section class. I signed up for it and dragged my husband along for the ride.
Apparently the c-section class is not as popular as the “Maternity Information Night” class, which was packed with probably 30 couples. Nope. This one-time class was just two couples (including us), the nurse educator, and a PowerPoint. Hello awkward! But at least when it came time for questions, I didn’t feel so bad asking as many as I could since there were only two of us there. Yet between the two of us, we had two vastly different approaches to this whole birthing process. The other woman in the class, who was maybe 34 weeks at the time, had already scheduled her c-section delivery and admitted that it was elective and entirely her choice. She also admitted that she didn’t want to deal with the pain of childbirth (it was her first child). She had great questions about what to bring, what to expect, because she had clearly thought about how to prepare herself for walking into the hospital calmly and walking out with a newborn a few days later.
Meanwhile, I found that the medical profession faces so much liability that it might actually hinder those of us with special medical consideration to get the kind of information (or plain old confidence) that we might need to make the best decisions for us. I told the nurse that I have a unicornuate uterus, and I asked her how that impacts which kind of incision the doctor makes in the uterus and what other complications might arise from that. “Ask your doctor,” was essentially her answer. And that was her answer for most of my questions. So here is a woman who has worked as an OB delivery nurse for 30 years who couldn’t share with me her experience with women with Mullerian anomalies because, I’m assuming, of liability – because there might be someone out there who says, “But my nurse said most women with this MA don’t have to have a c-section,” and decides to sue the hospital. I’ve found that to be the case with most health care practitioners. Here I am trying to advocate, and here I am running into brick walls.
The evasion aside – after all, she really wasn’t going to tell me someone I didn’t already know or suspect (but a little reassurance would have been nice) – I walked out of that class thinking one thing – I don’t want a c-section if I don’t have to have one. Frankly I don’t understand people who elect for that kind of surgery. Major surgery. MAJOR abdominal surgery. It’s not a matter of just taking something out under the skin – they are cutting another organ open, then have to sew everything else back together. I’ve heard women say that having a c-section is the easiest way to get your stomach back into shape after birth – but do you really want to give up the ability to hold your baby once he or she is born? Do you want to delay establishing breastfeeding within the first hour? Do you want to be in a post-operative recovery room with pressure cuffs on your legs to prevent blood clots the first day after the surgery? Does not driving yourself anywhere for at least 2 weeks, maybe longer, really excite you? Or what about your child having an increased risk of being obese later in life just by virtue of being born through c-section, regardless of your health history? All for an “instant” flat stomach and a baby without a squished face? Sometimes I have to wonder if people have really lost their minds.
My bottom line: if I have to do it, if it’s medically necessary, then that’s just what I have to do. We will just have to wait and see if my body and my baby cooperates!