I attended a large gathering of women from church last night. During the dinner portion, one of my table-mates asked me, "So you're into the au naturale birth stuff, right?" I responded, "Yeah, actually it's more of an obsession. You probably don't want to get me started." But then the conversation topic remained with birth for most of the rest of the evening. Over the course of the conversation, I was shocked (but not really) to discover that I was surrounded by cesarean moms. Here were the stats at our table...
Friend A: one primary emergency cesarean (general anesthesia) prior to start of labor for reduced fetal activity and distressing heart tones.
Friend B: three planned cesareans for breech, transverse, etc.
Friend C: one primary cesarean during pushing phase for non-reassuring fetal heart tones, posterior presentation, "stuck" baby.
Friend D: one emergency cesarean for her second baby (I'm not sure the details).
Friend E: currently pregnant with her second baby (I don't know the details of her births).
Friend F: four unmedicated vaginal births attended by nurse midwives.
Me: three unmedicated vaginal births (two of them attended by midwives).
So... four (possibly five) out of seven women at that table had scars on their uteruses. I was almost tempted to get the attention of the rest of the women in that large gathering and ask, by the show of hands, how many others had cesarean scars. But I'm almost too frightened to find out the answer.
Friend A described how strange it was to be put under and then have her baby brought to her several hours later... "Who is this?! Where did you come from?" She said she kind of wants to have the childbirth experience, having her baby placed immediately on her chest and all... but wonders if it's "stupid" to feel like she wants to experience that. I shook my head and told her "No, it's not stupid." But I didn't feel comfortable getting into it too deeply for fear of offending all the women at the table. I think it's sometimes hard for cesarean moms to hear about the magic of normal birth. All births are miracles, of course.
I spent quite some time, later in the evening, discussing the dinner discussion with my carpool driver (from another dinner table, Friend G: survivor of three cesareans--one of them an attempted VBAC). We both sadly agreed that, as much as we'd like to see cesarean rates decline, we just really don't think it's going to happen. At least not as long as trained surgeons remain the primary care providers for 99% of pregnant American women.
There's some birth faith for ya, eh?