Easily done, I guess, considering the use of words and what society and the media puts across. Also, if you haven't been put in an elective section position then you aren't going to be fully aware of what it means.
The problem is the term 'elective'. It almost brandishes the woman with the 'too posh to push' - a term I detest so much. This was a phrase that was said to me when I was pregnant with Mini Cheddar in 2009 and due to give birth by elective section. This person was a total stranger! I left the shop feeling really angry with myself for just giving a fake laugh and walking out the shop upset when what I should have done was put this woman right.
You see, Mini Cheddar was a breech baby. She had been breech right from 28 weeks and we tried everything to get her to turn. I played music to my private parts (yes, really!) in an effort to get her to move her head towards the sound. I lay on the sofa with my bottom raised and all sorts of other positions to try and move her. My husband even lit special candles and held them against my little toes every day. If you've not heard that one before, it's called moxibustion. It's supposed to have a great success rate but sadly it didn't work for us.
No, MC was stuck breech and at almost 37 weeks I had to face up to the fact I couldn't have the natural water birth I'd spent months planning. I was completely crushed. I cried for a a week or so.
I had no choice but to have an 'elective' section. There it is again. That word - elective.
To elect is to 'choose' and given the choice I would have chosen natural birth any day. I didn't want to undergo major surgery. I didn't want to risk not being able to have skin-to-skin with my baby and not being able to establish breastfeeding. I didn't want to spend 2 or more nights in hospital. I just wanted my water birth and I spent a good amount of time crying about the fact my dreams were shattered.
There was also that old saying I'd heard 'Once a section - always a section' but the hospital set me straight that if I went on to have another child and everything was okay then I could try for a VBAC.
However, MC's birth turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life and something I hold dear to my heart. I wish I could relive it over again - something that I'm not sure many other people would say. I absolutely loved writing my birth story "My Always Shining Star" and I could talk about the birth forever. It was lovely. We had immediate skin-to-skin and I breastfed her successfully for over 6 months.
So, when I fell pregnant this time around I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. Repeat caesarean or a VBAC.
What to do? What to do?
This baby was in the right position and so the hospital would support me (and encourage me) if I wanted to go for a VBAC.
You know what though. I didn't. Deep down I just didn't want to. Not that I'm 'too posh to push'. Not that I'm scared of the natural birth process. Nothing like that.
I was told that if I wanted a VBAC I would have to be continuously monitored and stay on the bed. I still had hopes of a water birth but I was told that wasn't an option with the VBAC. Also, if I went 10 days over my due date I would probably have to have an 'emergency' caesarean anyway as they wouldn't fully induce me.
Also, I felt pressure to choose a VBAC. Not the hospital but underlying comments from 'well meaning' people and what society would expect me to do. There will always be the 'natural birth brigade' who act holier than thou and consider that you 'aren't a woman until you experience natural birth'.
You know what I say to that?
|My beautiful daughter and son - |
both born by 'elective' section
Also, what about all those women who can't have children? Are they any less of a woman? No.
Knowing someone who underwent a VBAC which went wrong and resulted in a baby with cerebral palsy made my decision a lot easier. I know there were risks to me having a caesarean but I'd rather risk myself than risk my baby. Surely that means I'm not 'too posh to push' but I'm a brave and confident woman who wants to put the health of my baby first?
I don't care what society expects me to do. At the end of the day it's my body, my baby and so should be my choice.
* This post is by no way getting at anyone who may have thought 'elective' always means too posh to push. As I said, it's no surprise as this is what society and the media portrays.
**I very rarely swear on my blog so forgive me but I'm extremely passionate about this subject.