Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April is Cesarean Awareness Month

So, after Caiden was born via c-section because of her breech (non-head down) position, I joined a group called International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) to help me get a handle on the emotional and physical challenges of delivering a baby this way. ICAN is an organization that works to educate woman about c-sections, their prevalence, how to avoid them, and how to prepare them for future vaginal births after a c/section. (VBAC) They also offer chapters all over the US which work like support groups and often work to advocate for the rights of birthing women in their area. You may be wondering why it is important to advocate for the "rights" of birthing Mama's....isn't that what our Dr.'s are for? Well, I'll answer that question with one of my own: When one in THREE women deliver by cesarean section and the national c-section rate in American is double the recommended number allowed by the World Health Organization and within the top 5 countries for c-section rates, should we perhaps take a closer look ourselves at our birthing choices?

I did a survey of my friends and found that of 15 of my friends, 5 had regular vaginal births in a hospital (one was a homebirth transfer last minute), four had homebirths (one had 2 of them!) and 9 of us had cesarean sections. And that's not even counting the girls I know from my Orlando chapter of ICAN who have ALL had at least one c/s.Those are not good odds.

The rise in c-sections has been explained by a few factors: litigation, malpractice insurance making demands of the Dr. to stay with a laboring woman during the ENTIRE duration of her VBAC labor, and also to have a anesthesiologist on the premisis the entire time in case of an emergency c/s, as well as convenience issues of a Dr. to be able to schedule an hour surgery vs. a 20 hr labor, and not have to waken in the middle of the night. There are also doctor and hospital protocols about inductions- after a certain number of hours if you do not progress according to their time table, you're an automatic c-section. Also, most hospitals have imposed VBAC bans (yes, I did really say BANS) on their patients. They have made them "illegal" because of insurance carrier's demands on their staff for VBACS. These are REAL factors, I didn't just make them up. They aren't pretty, but they are real.

I feel that Caiden's arrival via c-section was necessary. She was a footling breech with the cord wrapped around her neck keeping her high in my uterus (she would not descend on her own) and she was experiencing a marked deceleration in her heart rate during contractions.

I also DO believe that there are times when c-sections are necessary, life-saving and beneficial medical interventions.

However, I am guessing that a vast majority of births this way would have been unnecessary had there been less intervention by the medical professions who are "managing" our labors. With this in mind, I think it is important to help educate women about their choices, and about the risks involved in such a complicated surgical procedure. That's why I just want to point out that April is Cesarean Awareness Month. My hope is that if women are more informed before they go into labor (or better yet, before they get pregnant and have "baby brain") perhaps we will have better outcomes for Mama's and babies. Because who would choose to go through unnecessary major abdominal surgery while they're adjusting to a new baby and learning to breastfeed?! Not I!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Garden Baby

During the days you have not heard from us, we have been enjoying our garden and the lovely weather. I wanted to share some cute pictures with you. The first one is Caiden checking on her sunflowers. They were small here, but now are double her size. Pretty soon we will have blooms...when we do, I'll be sure and share them!

This is Caiden's first real experience planting in the garden. I would drop in the seeds, and she would cover theory. =) This season we have planted organic squash, beans, garlic, onions, lettuce, carrots and eggplant. Everything is doing quite well. We gave up on the FL tomatoes least for this year.

The last two pics are from Easter- the first is a picture of playing in the leaves with Aunt Kris, Aunt Sarah, and Uncle Tim- it's my favorite!

Notice the yellow flower in her hand. At our church on Easer they have a wire framed cross that you can stick fresh flowers into. It's beautiful at the end of the morning when it's full of colorful reminders of new life. Caiden took her flower and then decided that it was too pretty to leave behind. She carried the poor crinkled, wilting bloom around for at least an hour.

I am loving this stage of our journey together. Caiden is so much fun exploring the world around her. Her favorite thing is to go "ut-sai" (outside) and everyday she exults in the chirp of a bird (Mama, BUD), croak of a frog (Mama, FOG), a cricket's song (oh, oh!), or the joy of wind blowing in her hair. That is the funniest part, she throws her head back and fluffs her hair in the back when the wind precious! So, if you don't hear much from us right now, you know why! Life is too short to spend it all blogging! =)