Archive for the ‘CBAC’ Category

A woman’s voice birthed into fullness

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

This is a personal post written 10 years to the day of my third son being born. I was also birthed that day into my fullness of voice as a woman and as a full throated advocate for mothers and babies.  You see my son was a CBAC (cesarean birth after cesarean) after a failed natural VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

I had a VBAC with my second son, though by other peoples standards might not be said to be wonderful because at the very end of a totally natural, spontaneous labor after arriving at the hospital at 9cm’s with waters having broken on the way in the car,  forceps were used by an impatient on call doc after merely an hour of pushing. I was thrilled though it was ultimately less than ideal with a baby overnight in the NICU. I was not broken. An impatient doc who gave me an awful episiotomy could not take it away from me. But I digress. We can talk heinous episiotomy at another time.

Of course when I became pregnant with my third some 14 months later I assumed of course I would have another VBAC this time with no forceps. Of course I didn’t have to think about another cesarean I already disproved the need. There is a piece  of information that I was missing though………

My pregnancy goes well. I am terrifically healthy though more fluffy than I should have been. You see  my dear husband was laid off during pregnancy and well, I clearly didn’t exercise and eat properly the second half of the pregnancy.  A very dear friend and her children were flying in from out of state near my due date.  She arrived and I was contracting already. I must have been waiting for her to arrive to round out the support team.  She has clinical skills so I ask her to check me and allow her to sweep my membranes (okay stop groaning at me I was already in the beginnings of early labor). I was a few centimeters dilated and well effaced. She wasn’t sure of baby position though.

The membrane sweeping helped move labor along. I was 5 centimeters before very much time once contractions became nicely regular. My husband had gotten a job two weeks prior and was scheduled for work so off he went though I knew I would be calling him before too long. Sure enough contractions picked up very nicely and I could no longer tend to any of the children.  I decided to call my husband home.

Around this time I was about 6 cm’s dilated… good news right? WRONG! I also began having severe back labor. I had this with my first and he had an acynclitic head ending in cesarean after 4 hours of pushing. After my husband got home it was so much worse. You see I am a natural birther but this caused a panic stricken heart. I really freaked out. Not from the pain, but thinking OH no not another cesarean. How could this be happening? I was screaming inside my head. Sheer terror actually. I had not prepared at all for a malpositioned baby – I mean I had gotten him to turn vertex at 37 weeks from frank breech on my own. OP how could this be? In my panic I insisted that we go to the hospital though my dear friend and husband thought we should stay home longer. I was about 7 cm’s at this time. My friend now suspected an OP baby but didn’t tell me. Why did they not insist we stay home? I mean I was in no condition to drive myself the 15 minutes to the hospital. I don’t know.

We arrive at the hospital, I am indeed about 7 cm’s and yes baby is OP. No one worries though that I am a VBAC again. Basic monitoring, no saline lock, all is well in l&d land (so it would seem). In my head I am still in sheer terror though from the outside apparently it was not visible. That is still tough for me to comprehend. I was screaming through my eyeballs but I made no noise at all from what I am told.

I tried many positions to get him to turn, and probably would have but……..

At some point during a vaginal exam, my water was broken without my consent. This my dear readers is what caused the downhill slide to a repeat unexpected cesarean. I have since learned I have an android pelvis and without intact waters rotating a poorly positioned baby is near impossible if possible at all.  Back to the story.

I cannot say how much time went on for sure, a couple of hours I believe. Somehow in this room filled with two nurses, my dear friend and husband, a complete breakdown of emotional care took place. I felt totally and utterly unsafe, scared, terrified, and without hope. My husband too was overwhelmed and felt displaced in the situation though he admits he allowed it to occur. I did blame him and to some degree my dear friend in the beginning, but I do not now. I didn’t prepare well. I assumed. I didn’t define the roles of support between my husband and dear friend. I was a Pollyanna.

I was now complete and still trying everything possible to get baby to rotate. Nothing worked. I was desperate. By the way, I was unmedicated and only on intermittent monitoring for most of the time. So cannot blame the epidural or being strapped down.

I pushed for over three and a half hours in varying positions. During pushing (I am pretty sure of timing) an internal monitor was put on my son and a scalp sample was taken to check his stress level. Oh, the SAME on call doc that was impatient and used forceps on me during the last birth was my attending. That very much did not make for a safer, happier birth space.  At the end of the hours of pushing, she again pulled out forceps to see if she could rotate him or help me deliver him, but my dear friend discouraged it highly since he was still higher up (forgive me the station escapes me without my records in front of me).   I was then told the scalp sample came back showing my baby was becoming acidodic, which means he was getting very stressed. His FHT’s were fluctuating quite a bit as well.

At this point I could hardly keep my eyes open. I was in despair, heart broken, and becoming very angry. The doctor presented me with a cesarean consent form. I refused to sign it. I said I wouldn’t sign it but my husband had a power of attorney. I made him do it. I could not do it. I could not agree to another cesarean. Somehow having my husband sign it helped me face it better. Perhaps because then it was out of my control.

So another cesarean for a “stuck” and this time fetal distressed baby. So I was told. I was taken to the OR where the anesthesiologist would eventually place the epidural. I begged and begged and begged for a dose of terbutalin to slow the contractions as I still had the uncontrollable urge to push.  He essentially told me I was being a baby. To man up. He would get my epidural in soon enough. He was mean. He was verbally hostile. In between intense contractions, I actually thought over and over as I sat on the metal table with feet dangling of how I could take a swing at him without falling and hurting my son. I wanted to make this anesthesiologist feel pain. Punching him in his condescending, smug face would have been extraordinarily satisfying. I was so angry at how I was being treated. I will never know if he was punishing me for being a natural birther or a failed VBAC mother.  Maybe both.  He still is in practice and no I cannot be in the room if a client of mine gets an epidural with him as the anesthesiologist. My response is still visceral to his mere presence.

It seemed like a very long interval of time before the I.V was put in, the epidural was placed, the OR team was fully assembled and my husband was at my side. After reading my records it was a long interval. My husband signed the consent form and my son was not surgically born until more than 45 minutes later. Was he REALLY fetal distressed with that long of a wait in between? 45 minutes when the OR was open and available? I was IN there with the anesthesiologist the whole time. That is not an emergency or even emergent. Plainly he wasn’t coming. Yes he was OP.

I was laying on the table, armed strapped down, husband standing next to me watching the cesarean take place. I have no memory of what the epidural felt like. My eyes were closed out of exhaustion, grief and anger. My son was delivered at 535am.  His APGAR’s were decent not that of a highly distressed baby. I wonder if during the long wait and the rest period, he normalized. I may have been crying but not for the good reasons. My son was waved by my face. I do not remember seeing him. My husband was heading to the nursery with him. I screamed after him at the nurse, “If you give my baby formula, I will sue you.” It seems the woman who wouldn’t send back a wrong order at a restaurant was forever changed. Like a light switch my voice was established.

While I was being repaired. I decide to talk to the doctor (at this point I had no idea she broke my water without consent and had falsified my medical records in a few areas), so I tell her I want another baby. I then asked her if my uterus was good for another VBAC. She said sure you can have another VBAC if you want. No problem. My uterus looked beautiful. Wow, I should have felt wonderful that I am such an amazing healer from previous surgery.  I didn’t. Sigh. I wanted to die except my baby would want to nurse. Oh yes, my baby J.

Once out of recovery and into my room my husband came and gave me report on J. He was being observed, seemed very well. No they didn’t feed him anything. M had to go home and check on our other children who were just 4 and 23 months.  He swapped off with my dear friend who had gone to check on her children. I still hadn’t held my baby. I had no idea what he looked like. I was distraught but no one knew it. I would make a heckuva poker player I think.

Five hours post op and I want my baby. I want him NOW. He must be hungry. He must be wondering where I was.  The thoughts ran through my head. I called my nurse and asked her to bring me my son or take me to the nursery to feed him. She said no to both requests stating various reasons. This did not suit the new me at all. I asked her again. She again said no.  This did go on for a few minutes where we were actually raising our voices back and forth. Finally I noticed the wheel chair by the door, I looked the nurse in the eye (who by the way was no more than 6 inches from my face), and I said “Fine you want me to get up and walk across the room to the wheel chair then you will take me?” She said, “Yes” in a non-believing tone. HM she didn’t know me at all. THAT my dear readers was a dare in her voice. I called her bluff. I took a deep breath, held my belly, stood up and walked right over to the wheel chair on my own.  Needless to say she took me to the nursery to see my son.

My voice was completely in full bloom. Never to go back.

As she wheeled me around my son’s bassinet I grabbed his chart much to everyone’s dismay and horror. Why were they worried, well they had performed several tests, admitted him to the nursery for a minimum of 24 hours, started I.V. antibiotics and put in a central line ALL without consent. All done under implied consent which does not exist once the cord is severed and baby is his own patient. I thoroughly read his chart (no reasons given for the battery of tests), made certain they hadn’t him or given him I.V. fluids to curb his hunger, then I held my precious, sad little boy. Almost 8 pounds. Gorgeous. Very hungry. He nursed beautifully. I was elated and even more stricken. I stayed with him until he fell asleep then instructed them to call me at ANY sign of hunger.

I went back to my room and within another hour I was walking myself back and forth alone to the nursery. They had to ask me to come back for vitals to be taken and implored me to rest. He was MY baby not theirs. Mine to care for, nurse, be with….. Sigh.

When evening rounds took place the I asked the pediatrician to come to my room so we could discuss getting my son out of the nursery and into my room. He went through his whole chart with me and told me exactly what needed to happen for him to be released at 7 a.m.  Yes I noted it all.  He wrote it in the chart everything he told me.

During one of my evening trips to the nursery, the truly decent and kind night nurse informed me that my son never needed to be admitted to the nursery and she was better equipped to take care of in need babies. My son was fine. She said sure he needed to be observed for an hour or two but never should the tests been done or a central line placed for that matter. She encouraged me to stay as long as I wanted but it was good for me to go and sleep to heal best too.

In the morning I was there before the floor pediatrician was doing rounds. You probably guessed it, my son was in my room by 8 a.m. I can be very persuasive. The funny part about the scenario was that immediately when the doctor walked away the nurse implored me to help her get all the leads off and my son unhooked from everything quickly. Why? Because she had never seen a doctor release a baby like that and feared the doc would change her mind.

I finally had my son with me. Finally. I was hurting physically. I didn’t rest enough. I was his mother after all, that is what we do. Had I not done exactly what I had he would have still been in the nursery and breastfeeding could have been a disaster. More ibuprofen please. I do not even remember my husband bringing the other boys to the hospital. I do not remember anything but advocating for me and my son.

By 48 hours post cesarean I was desperate to go home. As I put it not so delicately to the doctor who didn’t want to release me so early after surgery, “I can sit on my own damn couch and I have better cable than you do here.” Seriously the full throated voice was speaking. Yes, she released me though against medical advice. I assured her I knew what infection looked like and I would be back if I needed to be.

My husband was there shortly thereafter with car seat and our other sons in tow. I was traumatized and shell shocked BUT I had well spoken up for the two of us when all was said and done.

Just like the Grinch who’s heart grew in size, I powerfully came into my own as a woman, as a mother and as an advocate.  For this and this alone I am tearfully grateful for my CBAC and though much was lost so very much more was gained.

Shocking quotes regarding maternal choice to VBAC birth

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Joy Szabo has been in the news lately for desiring a second VBAC for her fourth baby (vaginal birth, emergency cesarean, and vaginal birth).  She has been denied locally in her area of Page, AZ to have a vaginal birth. Due to this situation, the International Cesarean Awareness Network has been assisting her in fighting the VBAC ban along with seeking out additional options.

After reading the latest article regarding Ms. Szabo, I am completely dumbfounded by the remarks made by other readers of her story.  I am stunned by how it seems the general populous regards a woman’s autonomy and medical rights.  I am also including positive comments as counterpoint. Where do you fall?  What do you believe? Many of these comments point me in the direction of what is so wrong with the system.  That of physician and hospital trumping patient.

You decide is the comment pro or con?

“…..it seems like many people do not grasp malpractice and insurance companies. This is not about the hospital, but about medical professionals and hospitals not wanting litigation. Can you blame them? After spending tens of thousands of dollars on an education before making a dime, I would do what I needed to to avoid a lawsuit, too! … we go to doctors because they DO know what is best for our health! Like another poster said, in health care, the customer is NOT always right.”

“My son was born by c-section, then my daughter vaginally, with no adverse affects. While I agree it’s the doctor’s decision to take the risk or not, it seems over-the-top conservative. Does the doctor’s insurance premium go up if this procedure is performed? Then charge more and give the patient the option.”

“C-sections are done in the US more routinely than in any other developed country but our infant mortality rate is not lower but higher. Doctors do not want to deliver on weekends, at night, if the mother is one week over her electronically determined due date. Yes complications can happen, more so if you are made to stay in a bed hooked up to monitors, a monitor screwed in to the baby’s head, your water broke prematurely, inducement before the baby or mother are physically ready to give birth. All of this leads to more injuries and deaths than needed. Doctors look upon birth as an illness, not the process that it is – an inexact human birth. I am not suggesting giving birth in a field alone, but a c-section has a greater risk than the V-Bac especially if she has had one already. C-sections for true emergencies yes, otherwise no.”

“Did anyone else notice that when they list the risks of a C-section, they failed to mention that the mother is 4-7 times more likely to DIE than with a vaginal birth.?!?!?! They also fail to mention all the potential complications to her health, the roughly 30% rate of problems following the surgery (some severe enough to require rehospitalization) and the challenges associated with caring for children while recovering from major abdominal surgery.  Good for this mom and I hope more mothers will take courage from her”

“This story is exaggeration. If the woman wants a vbac, she just has to show up at that hospital in labor and refuse a section. They can’t force her to have a c-section no matter what they would prefer she do. You can’t force a woman to have a c-section under any circumstances, so as long as the docs and nurses say she and the baby are tolerating labor, she has no reason to fear being forced into an operation.”

“I worked in the hospital for 5 years and then in a birth center for the last 4 years. I had to get out of the hospital because I started feeling guilty about my complicity in that system in which so much goes on behind closed doors of which the patient is never informed. I’ve had docs tell me in the lunch room that they are doing a c-section because they have an important golf game, fishing trip, or hot date. Then they go into the room, lie to the woman and say, ” oh your baby is too big, your progress is too slow, it’s never going to happen.” the woman believes them and thanks them so much for saving their babies lives. Over and over and over again. In Miami we have over 50% c-section rate, and it’s way more convenient for the docs. If VBACS are not allowed at more and more hospitals, the rest of the country will soon be like it is here…..”

“I find this decision by the hospital(s) to not do a VBAC as a little crazy. My older brother was born (in 1955) by C-section; both me (in 1958) and my younger brother (in 1962) were born vaginally. NO COMPLICATIONS. It could be done 50 years ago, but not now??”

“The risk of MAJOR complication from a second cesarean is TEN TIMES that of the risk of uterine rupture in a VBAC mother. Someone please explain to me how an “elective” repeat cesarean is safer than a VBAC? Especially since more than 75% of uterine ruptures occur PRIOR to the onset of labor. How is a scheduled cesarean at 39 weeks (which is the ACOG recommendation) going to save the mother who ruptures at the dinner table at 34 weeks? Using their logic, we should all go live at the hospital the moment we become pregnant after a previous cesarean, just in case our uterus blows up and we need an OB and an anesthesiologist “immediately available”.”

So what do you think?  It worries me that is seems the mother’s rights do not count for much. That in some of the comments the idea of  forcing a cesarean is no big deal if it makes the doctor’s position safer.

I think that most people are woefully under educated on childbirth and what safety really means.  A conservative physician errs on the side of evidence not defensive practice.  Do your own research. Be your own advocate.

Preparing For Birth – Common Pregnancy and Childbirth Terms

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Below is a compilation of common terms and acronyms that women often will come across during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  Check back as more will be added from time to time.

  • AROM – Artificial Rupture of Membranes – using a finger or tool to open the amniotic sac to to allow the fluid to release.
  • PROM – Premature Rupture of Membranes – when the amniotic fluids releases before labor starts.
  • SROM – Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes during labor.
  • ROM – Rupture of Membranes
  • Miso – Misoprostol is the pharmacological name for Cytotec a drug used for cervical ripening and induction though a controversial, off and against label used ulcer Medication
  • VBAC – Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
  • HBAC – Home Birth After Cesarean
  • WBAC – Water Birth After Cesarean
  • UBAC – Unattended Birth After Cesarean
  • CBAC – Cesarean Birth After Cesarean – This is a repeat cesarean after a woman desires and tries to have a vaginal birth after cesarean.
  • ERCS – Elective Repeat Cesarean
  • RCS – Repeat Cesarean
  • Natural Birth – Labor and vaginal delivery free from intervention except for intermittent fetal monitoring. In the hospital only a saline lock and intermittent monitoring.
  • Vaginal Birth – Baby born vaginally with or without medication and intervention.
  • First Stage – Early, Active, and Transition. This encompasses the effacement to 100%, dilation to 10 centimeters/complete, position movement of cervix from posterior to forward as contractions begin while staying longer, strong and closer together prior to pushing and delivery.
  • Second Stage – Pushing phase after cervix is completely dilated to delivery of baby.
  • Third Stage – Delivery of baby to delivery of placenta.
  • Fourth Stage – First hours after placenta is delivered.
  • Oxytocin – A hormone made in the brain that plays a role in childbirth and lactation by causing muscles to contract in the uterus (womb) and the mammary glands in the breast. It also plays a role in bonding with mate, child, and socially.
  • Pitocin (oxytocin injection, USP) is a sterile, clear, colorless aqueous solution of synthetic oxytocin, for intravenous infusion or intramuscular injection.
  • Prostaglandin – Any of a group of hormone like fatty acids found throughout the body, esp. in semen, that affect blood pressure, metabolism, body temperature, and other important body processes such as cervical ripening.
  • Uterus -The muscular organ in which a fertilized egg implants and matures through pregnancy. During menstruation, the uterus sheds the inner lining.
  • Cervix -The lower portion of the uterus that provides an opening between the uterus and the vagina. Also known as the neck of the uterus that softens, effaces, dilates and changes position during labor.
  • Vagina – A muscular canal between the uterus and the outside of the body. Also known as the birth canal.
  • Perineum – The area between the anus and the vulva (the labial opening to the vagina).
  • Pelvis -The basin like cavity formed by the ring of bones of the pelvic girdle in the posterior part of the trunk in many vertebrates: in humans, it is formed by the ilium, ischium, pubis, coccyx, and sacrum, supporting the spinal column and resting upon the legs.
  • Pelvic Floor Muscles -The sphincter mechanism of the lower urinary tract, the upper and lower vaginal supports, and the internal and external anal sphincters. It is a network of muscles, ligaments, and other tissues that hold up the pelvic organs.  Includes bladder, rectum, vagina and uterus.
  • Fundus –  Top of the uterus. During labor contractions the fundus thickens and gets more firm as the strength of contractions increase and dilation increases.
  • Placenta -The organ that develops during pregnancy that transports nutrients to the fetus and waste away from the fetus. The placenta is attached to the uterus and is connected to the fetus by the umbilical cord.
  • Umbilical cord – The cord that transports blood, oxygen and nutrients to the baby from the placenta.
  • Bloody Show – Mucous and blood mixed together as dilation and effacement occurs.  Starts off as blood tinged mucous and becomes heavier as labor progresses.
  • Stripping membranes –  Pressing the amniotic sac away from the inside of the cervix.
  • Mucous plug – The mucous that blocks off the non-dilated and non-ripened cervix for protection.
  • Lochia – Post birth bleeding that though a wound site from the placenta detaching from the uterine wall, it mimics a heavy and long menstrual period.
  • Cesarean – Baby born via a surgical incision made through the abdomen into the uterus.
  • Obstetrician – Is the surgical specialty dealing with the care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate post birth time.
  • Midwife – Is a person usually a woman who is trained to assist women during pregnancy,  during childbirth, and postpartum as well as the newborn post birth.  There are many types of midwives – some work in the home, at birth centers or in the hospital.
  • Doula – Is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. Based on a particular doula’s training and background, the doula may offer support during prenatal care, during childbirth and/or during the postpartum period. A birth doula provides support during labor. A labor doula may attend a home birth or might attend the laboring at home and continue while in transport and then complete supporting the birth at a hospital or a birth center. A postpartum doula typically begins providing care in the home after the birth. Such care might include cooking for the mother, breastfeeding support, newborn care assistance, errands, light housekeeping, etc. Such care is provided from the day after the birth, providing services through the first six weeks postpartum. In some cases, doula care can last several months or even to a year postpartum – especially in cases when mothers are suffering from postpartum depression, children with special needs require longer care, or there are multiple infants.
  • Birth Center – Free standing location usually run by one or more certified nurse midwife. True birth centers are almost always independently run. They are not overseen by a hospital or in a hospital. May be near a hospital. Often set-up like a home birth space and epidurals or other pain medications are not available.   Hospital “birth centers” are labor and delivery floors not birth centers in the true sense of the term.
  • Intervention – Anything that does not exist in a naturally occuring labor and delivery that is done.
  • Saline Lock/Buffalo Cap/ Hep Lock – Is the apparatus that the IV line hooks into.  It is silicone tubing that is lightweight with a plastic needle that stays under the skin to allow easy vein access.
  • Foley – A foley catheter is used to release the bladder if a woman unable to urinate due to an epidural, post surgery, or with a swollen urethra post birth.  It can also be used for successful cervical ripening in lieu of cytotec.
  • Induction – To attempt to artificially start labor usually by pitocin, artificial rupture of membranes with or without cervical ripening (Cytotec or Foley Catheter).
  • Epidural – A medical method of giving pain relief during labor. A catheter is inserted through the lower back into a space near the spinal cord. Anesthesia is given through this catheter, and results in decreased sensation from the abdomen to the feet.
  • Contraction – Tightening and loosening of your uterus. Productive contractions are often felt at the bottom of the uterus, start out like period cramps and progressively grow stronger, longer in length, and closer together.
  • Braxton-Hicks – Practice contractions that do not dilate or efface the cervix often felt at the top of the uterus versus the bottom.
  • Episiotomy – A surgical procedure to widen the outlet of the birth canal to facilitate delivery of the baby and avoid a jagged rip of the perineum. (Natural abrading or tearing is preferred and episiotomies are not evidence-based to be used except under specific circumstances).
  • Ina May’s Sphincter Law -Tapping into the concept that if one sphincter is open and relaxed, the others will also open, relax and be able to handle, quite adequately, the task at hand. This also includes the aspect of birth requiring privacy, sacredness, and honor as well so a woman feels safe, unwatched and supported.
  • Kegel Exercises – Named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, consists of contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor (sometimes called the “Kegel muscles”).

Cesarean Rate Hits a New High – 31.1%

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Below is the current ICAN press release (http://www.ican-online.org/) in response to the CDC report released today regarding 2006 childbirth data (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_07.pdf ). The latest Colorado numbers (2006) are showing a 25.3% cesarean rate an increase of 2.8% since 2005. Though this is clearly lower than the national average, Colorado is still nearly double the reasonable cesarean rate of 10-15%. By no means should we feel comforted by this, falsely secure or safe knowing that other states have more extreme numbers.  

I hope we are outraged that the current standard and attitude in maternity care is causing needless major surgery, allowing women to be lied to about true risk and benefit, injury to women and babies (even death), future fertility/pregnancy issues, emotional trauma, and financial strain personally and governmentally (I could go on and on).  

It is time for women to take charge of their own care by insisting their provider use protocols and practices that are proven safe (almost always that would be normal unfettered vaginal birth) or vote with their wallets, insurance cards, and feet!  

No peace today. Desirre  

  

Cesarean Rate Hits a New High 

Recent Studies Show Cesareans Can Pose Dangers to Mothers and Babies 

  

Release Highlights:  

  • Cesarean rate at record high in the U.S. 

  • Cesarean rise coincides with CDC report that maternal death rate rising for the first time in decades. 

  • World Health Organization data shows that mothers die at a higher rate in the U.S. than 40 other countries. 

  • Consumer Reports includes cesarean on “10 overused tests and treatments”  

Colorado Springs, CO, December 5, 2007 – The National Center for Health Statistics has reported that the cesarean rate has hit an all-time high of 31.1 percent.  

Cesarean section is major surgery and doctors are overusing it on women and their babies,” said Desirre Andrews. “People tend to think because cesareans are common that they are risk-free, but unfortunately, many women and babies are paying the high price of complications from this surgery.” 

For the second year in a row, ICAN has compiled a list of research from the past year that shows cesarean surgery should be used more judiciously and that VBAC should be used more routinely. (See attached) Currently, more than 300 hospitals across the U.S. ban women from having a VBAC, essentially coercing them into unnecessary surgery and feeding the growing rate of cesarean. In Colorado, all of the western slope hospitals have joined this trend.  

The risks of cesarean were tragically highlighted this year by a rash of deaths related to the surgery, including two schoolteachers and friends from New Jersey, Valerie Scythes and Melissa Farah, who died within two weeks of each other in the spring. Both left behind healthy baby girls. 

In August, the Centers for Disease Control released a report showing that, for the first time in decades, the number of women dying in childbirth has increased. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_19.pdf Experts note that the increase may be due to better reporting of deaths but that it coincides with dramatically increased use of cesarean. The latest national data on infant mortality rates in the United States also show an increase in 2005 and no improvement since 2000. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/prelimdeaths05/prelimdeaths05.htm 

At a time when maternal and infant mortality rates are decreasing throughout the industrialized world, the United States is in the unique position of having both a rapidly increasing cesarean rate and no improvement in these basic measures of maternal and infant health.” says Eugene Declercq, Ph.D., Professor of Maternal and Child Health at Boston University School of Public Health.  

Another report released in October by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, the U.N. Children’s Fund, the U.N. Population Division and The World Bank, and published in the Lancet shows that the U.S. has a higher maternal death rate than 40 other countries. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607615724/fulltext “Women in the U.S. think they’re getting top notch care, but our death rate for mothers shows otherwise,” says Udy. The U.S.’s maternal death rate tied with that of Belarus, and narrowly beat out Bosnia and Herzogovena. 

ICAN’s collection of research highlights from 2007 demonstrates the inherent risks of cesarean including a higher risk of dying in childbirth, a higher chance of suffering from potentially fatal placental problems in subsequent pregnancies, and babies having a higher chance of dying in the first year. Research from 2007 also shows that VBAC continues to be a reasonably safe birthing choice for mothers.  

The research continues to reinforce that cesareans should only be used when there is a true threat to the mother or baby,” said Udy, President of The International Cesarean Awareness Network. “Casual use of surgery on otherwise healthy women and babies can mean short-term and long-term problems.”  

For women who encounter VBAC bans, ICAN has developed a guide to help them understand their rights as patients. The resource discusses the principles of informed consent and the right of every patient to refuse an unwanted medical procedure. The guide can be found at:   Your Right to Refuse: What to Do if Your Hospital Has “Banned” VBAC Q & A.  

Women who are seeking information about how to avoid a cesarean, have a VBAC, or are recovering from a cesarean can visit www.ican-online.org for more information. In addition to more than 90 local chapters nationwide, the group hosts an active on-line discussion group that serves as a resource for mothers.  

About Cesareans: ICAN recognizes that when a cesarean is medically necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved. Potential risks to babies include: low birth weight, prematurity, respiratory problems, and lacerations. Potential risks to women include: hemorrhage, infection, hysterectomy, surgical mistakes, re-hospitalization, dangerous placental abnormalities in future pregnancies, unexplained stillbirth in future pregnancies and increased percentage of maternal death. http://www.ican-online.org/resources/white_papers/index.html 

Mission statement: ICAN is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean. There are 94 ICAN Chapters across North America, which hold educational and support meetings for people interested in cesarean prevention and recovery. 

  

For women who have experienced a cesarean, who are working towards a VBAC, or simply want to know how to prevent a first cesarean, ICAN of Greater Colorado Springs is available to provide resources and support. For more information on how to get involved, contact:f Greater Colorado Springs  

Desirre Andrews Chapter Leader 

719-331-1292 or ICANCOS-owner@yahoogroups.com 

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ICANCOS/ 

www.ican-online.org 

  

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Rising Cesarean Rate Bad for Mothers

Top 12 Studies from 2007 

1. Maternal and neonatal individual risks and benefits associated with caesarean delivery: multicentre prospective study (Villar, et al., British Medical Journal, 2007;335:1025, 17 November) 

Study Design: Researchers assessed the risks and benefits of cesarean delivery vs. vaginal delivery.  

Bottom line: Cesarean carries twice the risk of injury and death for both mother and baby. Women with cesarean experience double the rate of hysterectomy, blood transfusion, admission to intensive care, prolonged hospital stay and death, compared to mother who delivered vaginally. Babies born by cesarean were 45 percent more likely to be in the neonatal intensive care unit for 7 days and 41-82 percent more likely to die than babies born vaginally. 

  

  1. Risk of Uterine Rupture and Adverse Perinatal Outcome at Term After Cesarean Delivery (Spong, et al., Obstetrics and Gynecology 2007; 110: 801-7)

Study Design: Researchers examined the risk of uterine rupture after cesarean and what harms it may have for mothers and babies.  

Bottom line: Regardless of how the baby was delivered, the rate of uterine rupture was low and complications from rupture were also low for both mother and baby.  

  

  1. Maternal outcomes associated with planned primary cesarean births compared with planned vaginal births. (Declercq, et al. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2007 Mar; 109(3):669-77.)  

Study Design: Researcher divided mothers into two groups: women with a planned cesarean after no labor and women who labored and had either a cesarean or vaginal birth and then compared rehospitalization rates.  

Bottom Line: Rehospitalizations in the first 30 days after giving birth were 2.3 times more likely in planned cesarean than with planned vaginal births. The leading causes of rehospitalization after a planned cesarean were wound complications and infection. Hospital costs were 76 percent higher for women with planned cesarean, and hospital stays were 77 percent longer.  

  

  1. Previous caesarean or vaginal delivery: Which mode is a greater risk of perinatal death at the second delivery? (Richter, et al., European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 2007; 132: 51-7) 

Study Design: Researchers compared mothers who had delivered previously by cesarean vs. vaginally, and examined the number of babies who died in the subsequent pregnancy.  

Bottom line: A previous cesarean delivery was associated with a 40 percent increase in perinatal death (the first week after birth) and a 52 percent increase risk of stillbirth. A vaginal or cesarean delivery in the current pregnancy did not impact the death rate.  

  

  1. Postcesarean delivery adhesions associated with delayed delivery of infant (Morales, et al., American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2007; 196: 461.e1e6 

Study Design: A common complication of any surgery is overgrowth of scar tissue, called “adhesions.” Researchers examined the frequency of adhesions with successive cesareans and whether adhesions caused by cesareans could slow down the delivery of a baby in the next pregnancy.  

Bottom line: Researchers concluded that each successive cesarean significantly increases the incidence of adhesions and can slow down the delivery of a baby. One prior cesarean adds 5.6 minutes to the time it takes to deliver the baby, 2 prior cesareans 8.5 minutes, and 3 prior cesareans 18.1 minutes. This delay can compromise the health of the baby, researchers concluded.  

  1. Association of caesarean delivery for first birth with placenta praevia and placental abruption in second pregnancy. (Yang, et al., British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: 2007 May;114(5):609-13.)  

Study Design: Researchers examined the incidence of placenta previa (placenta blocking the cervical opening) and placental abruption (placenta separating from the wall of the uterus prematurely) in women who have had a prior cesarean vs. a prior vaginal delivery.  

Bottom line: Compared to vaginal birth, cesarean increased the risk of placenta previa by 47 percent and placental abruption by 40 percent. Both complications carry the risk of death for both mother and baby. Researchers indicated that complications may be due to the cesarean scar on the uterus. 

  

  1. Risks of adverse outcomes in the next birth after a first cesarean delivery. (Kennare, et al. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2007 Feb; 109(2 Pt 1):270-6.)  

Study Design: Researchers examined the complication rate of women who delivered their first baby by cesarean vs. vaginally. 

Bottom line: Women who had a prior cesarean delivery were more likely to have complications than women who had a prior vaginal delivery. Women with a prior cesarean were more likely to have a placenta previa (odds ratio [OR] = 1.66), placenta acreta (OR = 18.79), and bleeding during pregnancy (OR = 1.23). During delivery, women with a prior cesarean were also more likely to have a prolonged labor (OR = 5.89), uterine rupture (OR = 84.42), and need an emergency cesarean (OR = 9.37). Babies born to women with a prior cesarean were more likely to be small for their gestational age (OR = 1.12), have a low birth weight (OR = 1.30), and to be still born (OR = 1.56). 

  

  1. Safety and efficacy of vaginal birth after cesarean attempts at or beyond 40 weeks of gestation. (Coassolo, et al., Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jan;107(1):205)  

Study Design: Women who attempted VBAC before the estimated due date (EDD) were compared with those at or beyond 40 weeks of gestation. Researchers assessed the relationship between delivery after the EDD and VBAC failure or complication rate.  

Bottom Line: The risk of uterine rupture (1.1 percent compared with 1.0 percent) or overall morbidity (2.7 percent compared with 2.1 percent) was not significantly increased in the women attempting VBAC beyond the EDD. Women beyond 40 weeks of gestation can safely attempt VBAC, although the risk of VBAC failure is increased.  

  

  1. Incisional endometriomas after Cesarean section: a case series. (Minaglia, et al., J Reprod Med. 2007 Jul;52(7):630-4.)

Study Design: Patients were identified who were diagnosed with incisional endometriomas (functional endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity, within the incision) after undergoing cesarean section.  

Bottom Line: The overall incidence of incisional endometriomas following cesarean section was 0.08 percent. Optimal treatment is by surgical excision.  

  

  1. Predicting Failure of a Vaginal Birth Attempt After Cesarean Delivery. (Srinivas, et al., Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2007 Apr;109(4):800-5)  

Study Design: Researchers analyzed the records of women offered VBAC in 17 community and university hospitals, to identify any factors that could be used to predict failure in attempting VBAC.  

Bottom Line: Prelabor and labor factors cannot reliably predict VBAC failure.  

  

  1. Caesarean delivery and risk of stillbirth in subsequent pregnancy: a retrospective cohort study in an English population. (Gray, et al., BJOG:2007 March 114(3) 264-270)  

Study Design: Researchers compared the incidence of stillbirth following a previous cesarean section with stillbirths following no previous cesarean section.  

Bottom Line: Pregnancies in women following a pregnancy delivered by cesarean section are at an increased risk of stillbirth.  

  

  1. Predicting placental abruption and previa in women with a previous cesarean delivery. (Odibo, et al., Am J Perinatol. 2007 May;24(5):299-305.)  

Study Design: In women with a previous cesarean section, researchers compared those who had a placental abruption and/or previa with those who did not.  

Bottom Line: Three or more previous cesarean sections was a significant risk factor for placental abruption and previa.  

  

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Individual fit: Who and where you choose during pregnancy and childbirth matter.

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Picture this: An expectant mother is preparing for the birth of her baby. She chooses the care provider her friend, co-worker or family member recommended, she is reading the most popular books on pregnancy and birth (she doesn’t know there are any others to choose from – everyone is reading these), she cannot help herself as she watches hour upon hour of those baby and birth shows on t.v., people tell her their birth stories and to just get the epidural (after watching those birth shows and hearing THOSE stories she is beginning to think it might just be a good idea). Right now, she is pretty sure she doesn’t want to be induced (she heard it hurts more, but knowing when the baby will come is appealing) or have a cesarean but other than that she is leaving it up to her care provider.

Now she starts her childbirth class. This class is based on normal birth and evidence-based practices. Hm those books she was given are SO different than what the instructor says during class. The instructor doesn’t even recommend those books but a host of other books and websites. She begins to wonder what her care provider really thinks and believes about birth. Also, what birth philosophy and practices her chosen birth location has.

I have written a list on choosing a care provider and birth location that is right for you. This is too important to make decisions without extra thoughtfulness and investigation. The key to this information is remembering you are the one purchasing a service. Essentially you are hiring a catcher with medical expertise and renting a room to birth your baby (if you are going to the hospital or birth center).

Choosing the place of birth for your baby – It is incredibly important that you understand where you fit best prior to choosing where to birth your baby. Take hospital and/or birth center tour, call and talk to L&D floor, get facts on home birth by talking to home birth midwives, other moms who have had home births, online and in books.

  • Does the location offer what is most important to you (tubs, birth balls, wearing own clothing, intermittent monitoring, etc.)?
  • What are standard protocols that are followed?
  • Does location routinely use methods that turn a low risk mom and baby into high risk patients?
  • Are waterbirths available?
  • Are birthing stools or non-reclined pushing and delivery positions encouraged?
  • What is the no/low intervention rate?
  • What is the epidural rate?
  • What is the cesarean rate? Does the hospital support VBAC’s?
  • Are mom and baby friendly practices used? (no routine interventions, no separation of mom and baby, breastfeeding is the norm, movement in labor is utilized, etc.)

Points to Ponder afterward

  • Will I be able to have the type of birth I truly desire?
  • What location will I ultimately feel most comfortable in?
  • What location is ultimately safest for my specific needs (I am currently low-risk or high risk)?
  • Is insurance or lack of it the reason I am choosing the location?
  • Do I have realistic expectations for the location?
  • Am I willing to take responsibility for my birth in the location?
  • Is staff open to working with a doula?
  • Is staff willing to work with natural childbirth practices?
  • Are there any compelling reasons to choose one location over another?

Choosing your care provider – Use this as a template for the interview process or to be certain you are of the same philosophy and belief system.

  • What is his/her birth philosophy?
  • What is philosophy of pregnancy?
  • Has provider seen normal labor and birth? How often?
  • What percentage of patients have medicalized births?
  • How is the “due date” approached? When is “overdue”?
  • Will you answer questions over the phone?
  • How much time will you spend with me during each appointment?
  • What if I hire a doula? Are there restrictions on the doula I may hire? If yes, why?
  • Do I need a childbirth class? Breastfeeding class?
    o Are there restrictions on the type of childbirth or breastfeeding class? If so, what and why?
  • What routine tests are utilized during pregnancy? What if I decline these tests?
  • What are routine intervention rates? (IV, AROM, continuous monitoring, etc.) Cesarean rate? VBAC rate?
  • Induction rate? What induction methods are used?
  • Is natural, normal labor and birth supported?
  • What positions is care provider comfortable catching in? Birth stool? Hand/Knees? Squatting? Standing?
  • If I choose an epidural, when can I get it or when is it too late?
  • How often is episiotomy used?
  • When would forceps/vacuum be used? Which method is CP comfortable with?
  • What about a birth plan? Will desires be put into my file at the hospital so the nurse and/or back-up will know what has been agreed to?
  • Are there any protocols that are non-negotiable?
  • What if I choose to decline something after careful consideration?
  • Is an on call rotation utilized or does CP attend all own patients? If there are partners or an on call rotation, do EACH of the others share in the same birth philosophy and approach to birth?

Points to ponder afterward

  • Did you feel immediately comfortable at the interview?
  • Were or are questions specifically answered or is the answer “only when necessary” without additional information unless pressed?
  • Was or is care provider willing to answer questions in detail without being annoyed?
  • If already with a CP, do you feel comfortable and heard at each appointment?
  • Is choosing your care provider based on your insurance or lack of insurance?
  • What are you willing to do in order to have the birth you really desire? Birth location?
  • How much responsibility are you willing to take for the health care decisions for you and your baby?

Cesarean Avoidance – Tips For Every Woman

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Yes you DO want to avoid a cesarean whenever possible. Cesarean is MAJOR surgery. It is not just another way to give birth. Both women and babies are well designed to give birth often never needing intervention of any type.

Cesarean can be a life-saving technique and used well for some serious medical conditions, including but may not be limited to placenta previa, HELLP syndrome, uterine rupture, placental abruption, cord prolapse, some breech presentations, true fetal distress, vasa previa and high order multiples.

Approximately 50-67% or more of all cesarean surgeries performed in the U.S. are likely unnecessary or become “necessary” from iatrogenic influences (non-medical inductions, AROM, pitocin augmentation, epidural or spinal anesthesia, “fetal distress”, suspected big baby, lack of mobility, continuous fetal monitoring, pushing positions and/or technique).

Here are some tips to help you avoid a cesarean and have a positive vaginal birth.

  • Get educated: Book to start with – The Thinking Woman’s Guide To A Better Birth by Henci Goer, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, The Official Lamaze Guide. Giving Birth with Confidence by Lothian and DeVries. Seek out websites that use evidence-based information and normal birth practice information. TURN off the t.v. from the dramatic birthing shows unless you watch with a discerning eye to figure out what could be done differently and why. Seek out local resources such as La Leche League, Birth Network, Birth Circles and/or a local ICAN chapter to learn from other women. Take a childbirth class that is not a good patient preparation class. Take an independent evidence-based class that gives you tried and true techniques along with the communication skills to use your consumer voice. Study and learn about your rights as a pregnant woman, informed consent/refusal and all the usual interventions and medications (induction, augmentation, AROM, epidural, monitoring, etc.).
  • Interview Several Care Providers: You want to find out what the raw data is for inductions, interventions, epidurals, episiotomy, cesareans, VBAC’s and so on. It is important to get at the core philosophy of the care provider. Email me at desirre@birthingtouch.com to receive my handout on this.
  • Interview several and hire a Doula: You want a doula who will fit into your philosophy of birth and labor/delivery needs. One size does not fit all.
  • Use normal birth practices: Stay home as long as possible in labor (if having an away from home birth), choose a care provider who supports and believes in you, use a variety of natural coping techniques, opt out of routine induction, opt out of continuous monitoring unless high risk, opt out of routine augmentation, opt out of routine epidural or narcotic use, opt out of routine pushing position, limit vaginal exams, use mobility, TRUST yourself, LISTEN to your body and baby, accept responsibility for your decisions, BE confident that you are designed for this task.

I hope this has given you a jumping point to go out and birth!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Desirre

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/prelimbirths05_tables.pdf#1

http://www.ican-online.org/

http://www.lamaze.org/Default.aspx?tabid=171

http://www.birthingtouch.com/

http://www.childbirthconnection.org/

http://www.hencigoer.com/

Visuals that make one go…………….

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Ah the joys of video and the web….

http://youtube.com/watch?v=roFVkDV45MM Question CPD
http://youtube.com/watch?v=2dRF4RtdJdo 1 in 3
http://youtube.com/watch?v=lfoR0fAUD34 Becky’s Birth
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Am0aykTPL2M&feature=related My Unnecesarean
http://youtube.com/watch?v=aQd0hPHWOlQ&feature=related My HBA2C
http://youtube.com/watch?v=3lYAKu8k_T0&feature=related A Birth Story
http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=2a4e81fbf0f66accb8afce HBA3C

These are REAL women and families. This is a very real way our current birth climate takes a toll every minute, every hour, every day, every week, the ripple has become a wave…..

Thank you to ICAN http://www.ican-online.org/ and the women of grit who are taking their power back.

Your body. Your birth. Your life. Use them wisely.

Pass them on!

Pax,

Desirre

Language, birth practices and political correctness.

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

These days political correctness seems to rule the world (at least the United States). We have become so easily offended that we often miss the truth and follow parcels of truth weighted down by vast untruth for someone else to gain from in some way, not for the health and safety of our bodies or our children.

Language matters. Language can affect how we perceive our bodies, our designed in capabilities and our baby. Language has the ability to strengthen confidence or smash it to pieces in one single moment.

Below is a list that is purposed to make you the reader stop and think. Take the almost ho-hum usual and shed new light on it.

Take a scroll down this inaugural blog and tell me what you think?

cesarean = “controlled” uterine rupture (read in Pushed)
planned epidural = planned paralysis
OB = high risk surgical specialist
Family Practitioner/Midwife = low risk normal birth expert
cesarean rate = epidemic
rising induction and cesarean rates = daylight obstetrics (read in Pushed)
induction = forced birth (Ruth Trode)
ACOG = trade union
Formula=stagnant (Ruth Trode)
Breastmilk=life (Ruth Trode)
Failure to progress = failure to wait (Henci Goer?)
Episiotomy = surgical cut
FEAR = a False Education Appearing to be Real (heard from many places)
AROM (artificial rupture of membranes) = artificial readiness of mother
unneccesary cesarean = unnecesarean (heard from many places and Joni)
CPD = care provider distrust

Please email me at desirre@birthingtouch.com if you have a word change up you would like to see on an updated post in the future. For more information on me, go to http://www.birthingtouch.com/.

Thank you to the women of www.independentchildbirth.com for working on this list with me.

Be BOLD, find the truth and spread it!

Until next time,

Desirre