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Thursday
May032012

Cesarean Scar: Heather A.

My son's birth (extraction) story is too long, and probably too graphic to have on the site, so I'll give you links to it and let you decide if you want to link it there (I wouldn't post it outright... WAY too long!).
 
My first son, Jericho, died of a fatal abnormality called Classic Potter's Syndrome. There is no cure or treatment, he was born without kidneys and the cells which make them never developed. He died peacefully, without tubes and wires, in his father's arms. 50% of babies affected with it are stillborn, and the rest pass within hours of birth, mothers carrying babies afflicted do not carry beyond 35 weeks. While my son lived about an hour... I never got to see him alive due to medical mismanagement of my unnecessary cesarean. I fought, but not hard enough, and he was taken from me while I lay unconscious on a cold slab. I was so disconnected from the experience that it took over a year for the grief to truly hit. He was 34 weeks to the day when he arrived. A little early, but chubby and a head full of long black hair.
 
The doctor and nurses that tended to me that night were very unkind, and when I received his handprints the following day it was clear they hadn't even tried to give me something clear. They didn't even bother to unfold his fingers, even inking the top of his knuckles instead. It was pathetic. What I got was partial, smudged and barely classifies as a set of prints. It was devastating.
 
When I was pregnant with him he favoured one side; he always sat there, bum down, pushing against this one spot on my inner hip. I know now that it was his hand that I was feeling. None of my other babies have favoured a spot quite like he did.
When he was taken from my body the only mark that was left behind was an ugly scar. Every time I looked at it I felt angry and depressed: I didn't remember my surgery, I didn't remember his last kicks, his last breath, or see his face while he was still alive. I was angry that it was all I had, and I hated to see it. I still hate it. I wished he'd left something real, like stretch marks, or even padding from the extra weight... instead the surgeons carved me bare and replaced his memory with their disgusting sense of vanity. I desperately wanted something of his to be left on my body; something other than a scar from a surgery that I didn't have any part of, didn't want, and didn't need.
I decided I wanted a tattoo of his handprint in his favourite place. Unfortunately, because the prints were so mangled it took me years of canvasing tattoo artists to find one talented enough to say they would attempt to reconstruct it. Everyone I asked said they couldn't draw the details of a print and at best it would look like a "paint blob" with no definition or individuality... just a generic baby hand.
I finally made the appointment a few weeks ago when I found someone special. The artist I chose took his partial set of prints, and a template that my best friend had provided from her newborn daughter (she was one of the only people present at his birth and death, so having her involved is special to me) and reconstructed his hand using tracings, one little curve at a time. She painstakingly kept all his palm lines in tact (the only part of his prints that was preserved!) and made such a perfect reproduction that it really does look like he pressed his hand into ink and touched me.
 
Now when I look at my stomach, the scar doesn't look quite as bad... It's still horrible to see, and hard to imagine it's really there, but at least now there is a part of my son there too. This is his place, and he has finally made his mark.
 
The first photo, the smaller and uncensored black and white, is one I took less than a month following the surgery: I was trying to show how the scar made me feel.
The second is from the day after I received my tattoo. The scar looks exactly the same as it did almost 5 years ago... but it feels different today.

 

Thursday
May032012

Cesarean Scar: Faye

I've been pregnant now three times, I have an 18 year old, a 17 month old and one on the way in December.

My first Csection was horrible, after being in labor for ten hours the doctor decided that I could not have my son vaginally and being as young as I was I didn't fight it. So I was whisked away to the OR to have my son.

Sixteen years eight months later I delivered my second son via C section, I couldn't find a doctor in my area that would do a VBAC or at least let me try. So there I was again with yet another major surgery. Today I'm with the same doctor because again there are no doctors in my area that will even consider a VBAC for me.

C sections are painful, scarring, humiliating, and sometimes unnecessary. My stomach now has the "Mother's Apron" that fold at the bottom, which will never ever go away.

Good thing is I have two beautiful healthy boys and a daughter on the way.

Thursday
May032012

Cesarean Scar: Kate

My scar is a source of physical pain and emotional torment, it is lumpy and the skin is all in the wrong place.  The rest of my tummy is flat and taught, but the scar has a saggy bit of fat which does not go.
 
I hate my scar, every time I see it it reminds me of the day I was stripped of my rights as a human and physically forced into surgery I didn't want and didn't need...  Worse than that, it reminds me every 
day that in a following pregnancy I had placenta percreta, nearly lost my uterus, nearly lost my baby and nearly lost my life, all because I had a previous section for failure to let nature do its work and the placenta stuck to that scar inside me.  Before that I had three miscarriages, at 6, 10 and 17 weeks.

Even my blissful home birth between the sections does not dull the fear and pain.  My body and my mind are scarred, my children deprived of their mother for the hours they were cared for by a system which does not much care, deprived of that human touch, taught that the world is cruel and they can be abandoned when they need the most support. 

This is my scar, which is considered 'healed well' according to my notes ...  The first is lying down, the second standing. At 8 months old it is probably as healed as it will get, but it is a source of constant pain and irritation, never mind the aesthetic issues.  The two scars are evident and there is considerable tethering of the scar to the underlying tissue and a gap in the fat layer.  The scar is also about 3cm above my pubic bone, and actually was much higher than that when the skin was stretched during pregnancy...  The first section was unplanned but not emergency, so it is not as though there was no time for preparation or to be careful about the position. This is apparently a 'good scar' according to the obstetrician who did it, although I'm not sure how much experience he has of scars well after the event.  I am waiting for a second appointment with a reconstructive surgeon to repair the tethering which is causing pain now I've seen the obs. team to rule out any internal damage.

Wednesday
May022012

Cesarean Scar: VBA3C

Danielle Arnold McKenny would love to share her Victory: VBA3C story. Read and cheer with her!

Wednesday
May022012

Cesarean Scar: Amelia

Wednesday
May022012

Cesarean Scar: Kay

My first cesarean scar would have a different story- a sad, traumatizing tale resulting in months of awful postpartum depression and over a year of blaming myself for my first sons “unnecesarean”.  But this is a  story of my second scar! 

When I look at this scar, it says to me “Hey mama, you ROCK!”  After a horrible birth experience with my first son, resulting in a c-section, I had no doubt when I found out baby number two was on his way that I wanted a VBAC!  I had my midwives and a Doula, and my awesome husband for support.  When labour arrived, I was so excited and so ready!  I was not expecting a repeat of my first sons birth- so when the same things started happening the second time around- I was determined to do everything I could to make sure this baby had a chance to come out vaginally!  I got to 10 centimeters...I pushed for hours but my baby kept pulling out of my pelvis.  I danced, squatted, did lunges…pleaded with my unborn son, please come out baby, please!   Watching my belly…seeing his little butt snuggle his way into my ribs…just like his brother had done 22 months prior…I felt peaceful.  My baby wasn’t going to come out the way nature had intended.  He just didn’t fit.  My first son just didn’t fit- IT WASN’T MY FAULT.  My first sons entire life, I blamed myself for  his traumatic birth thinking things like “I didn’t try hard enough”, “It’s because I got the epidural” “I didn’t give him the best chance to position himself correctly” and now…my second baby who definitely had the “best chance to position himself correctly” wasn’t coming out either!  I leaned back in my bed and told my midwives “I’d like to have a c-section please!”  Peace washed over me.   My son was born shortly after…it truly was a very empowering experience!!    

When I touch my scar, it reminds me that I *am* a strong woman.   I grow beautiful babies!  Baby #3 is due in 5 months and I am so excited to meet him!  Even if our first meeting is in the Operating Room! 

Wednesday
May022012

Cesarean Scar: UK Reader

Dear Barbara, 

Thank you for your site, it gives me the power to share my story, and it even made me cry; the sad stories of the mother who werent as lucky as me and lost their babies. My heart goes out to them. 

I will try and be as articulate/concise as possible... 

MY Scar 

It is almost five years to the day that my scar decided to become part of me. I refer to it like a stranger, as i can still remember the time of navel gazing youth when i would look down to see smooth milky skin, and a flat tummy. 

I did not expect to have a C-section, and i wasted an inordinate amount of time planning how to deal with natural birth; the breathing, the positions, the gadgets, every possibility covered except one... 

I think i read all but two paragraphs on the way i actually gave birth, before having that slightly scary chat with my lovely surgeon a little after midnight. The surgery was i guess as good as it gets ( i don't really have a comparison)  the way i describe the feeling is; you (i.e. the patient) is like a handbag, and the surgeon is like the person trying to find their keys inside that bag. 

Anyway, I got through it with the help of partner and family, and low and behold there was a little baby boy hiding inside me! He is now a fully formed personality worth every single millimetre of my rather dramaticly red scar. 

I went for a check up the other day, and the doctor i saw was rather surprised at the redness/angriness of my 5 yr old scar. My feelings are mixed; partly worried it will make me less attractive to those i wish to seduce, but also partly proud, like a war wound, I suffered but i overcame it; a winner in the end. 

Looking at other peoples' scars they are all different, but they are definately not signs of failure. They are signs of how strong women can be, and what lengths of love & battle they will go to for their children. Thank you all for sharing.

Wednesday
May022012

Cesarean Scar: Peggy

My son was born November 21, 2009. After 12 hours of labor and progressing to 6 1/2 centimeters, my OB told me the baby had not budged an inch! She'd checked me numerous times over the course of the labor and he was still as high up in my belly as he had been a month prior to my water breaking. I like to think he was just 'comfy'. She told me if it were up to her, she'd do a C-section. She said she'd done lots of natural deliveries that she regretted, but never a C-section that she'd regretted. That sealed the deal for me. The only things holding me back from being completely on board the Cesarean train were my own fears of having surgery.  I was being selfish. After thinking about it for an hour or so, I told the doc to go ahead. If it was best for the baby, then who was I to complain. Before I knew it, I was in the OR... and then the recovery room... and I was holding my 8 pound little pumpkin. He was perfect. My recovery from the C-section was smooth but painful, as to be expected. I made midnight calls to the "on-call" emergency OB twice in the couple weeks following the delivery and both times, I was pretty certain that I was dying.- And of course I was told that the symptoms I was having were in fact normal. They were right. When I went to the OB for my 6 week post partum check up, my body had healed nicely and my son is almost 2 years old now and my scar has all but vanished. I'm currently pregnant with my second little boy and will be having a repeat C in 3 1/2 weeks. I'm nervous but excited. I have faith in my doctor and I know that she will take the absolute best care of me. My second incision may leave a scar more permanent than the first, but I don't mind. I'll wear it with pride. Bring it on!

Wednesday
May022012

Cesarean Scar: Payton's Mom

When I touch my scar I hate it. I wish I could have had a "normal" delivery. You see I didn't conceptualize a delivery other than a normal one. Like many others, my sister, and mother had normal deliveries, so I thought I would too. I did not know 1 in 3 have C-sections, and I did not know my baby was big. My OB never mentioned it.

I labored for many hours. She wouldn’t drop into the canal. The nurses said I would have to go by cesarean, I was horrified. I cried. I didn’t agree to it. For many hours maybe three or four I continued to push. The nurses tried to tell me it was ok. One even showed me her scar and said see it’s not that bad. She was skinny and not built like me. I am 5’1” and 145lbs regular. Not bad, but never skinny. I knew I would never be that lucky. It hurt so badly I finally agreed. She was 10lbs 3oz.

I like most moms of C-sections have the dreaded flap. I feel as if I was robbed of my normal body. I never get to go back to how I was before being a mom. I am embarrassed when my husband sees me nude, and I try to hide the misshapenness of my midsection with any number of clothing articles. I still get emotional over it. It was almost 5 years ago. I think the shock of having a C-section is the emotion that doesn’t fade.

The scar has begun to fade, and it’s easier to explain to my four year old little girl how she was born because I can just show her the scar, but I still long for the feeling of a natural birth. I still wish I had been emotionally prepared for the possibility of a C-section. I can list a hundred things I wish I could change about my L&D process. I still don’t now fully how I feel about it. I think it will be a process, much like a living organism, that is always in a dynamic state.

I want another child, and don’t know which method I will try to have him or her. I guess that’s between me and GOD.

Tuesday
May012012

"Big, Healthy Babies"

The headline read: “Record Breaking Baby Born at Paoli Hospital” and then the abbreviated story of one mom’s birth of her extra-large child unfolded.

“Six-day-old Blake Alexander Ciarlone is the new biggest baby born at Paoli Hospital, according to available records dating back to 2002.

“Born to Allison and Daniel Ciarlone, he was 12 pounds nine ounces, beating the previous record, set last year, by two ounces.

“Blake is Allison and Daniel’s second child and follows the trend set by his 2-year-old brother, Landon James Matthew Ciarlone, who was born at 10 pounds 13 ounces. Both births were planned Cesarean sections because Allison was getting too big. Blake was born four days early, and his brother Landon was born two weeks early.”

I posted the story on my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page and surely made some comment or another about the mom having Gestational Diabetes. Often when these articles come out, there is a disclaimer inside the piece stating, “Gestational Diabetes can cause babies to be this large, but <mom’s last name> did not.” Or, “Baby Ciarlone was born healthy.” In this article, we get a hint about mom’s diet during the pregnancy, unusual in these stories.

Both were pretty normal pregnancies, said Allison. She ate what she wanted, but it wasn’t anything excessive…. ‘I guess I just carry big babies,’ she said.”

Does she?

Here unfolds the discussion and I’ll answer the questions directed at me as we go along even though it becomes clear I didn’t answer during the discussion. These interjections will be in italics.

JT: Is it just me or are these stories getting more and more common?

KBH: They are! I have seen so many news articles and stories of babies 10lb+ lately who are obviously macrosomic, etc. and it's driving me nuts! Every single one, mom is "I guess I just make them big." Really, really wish people would wake up and realize that this is an issue!

CG: "big healthy baby" /sigh. Big doesn't mean healthy.

TWJ: But big doesn't necessarily mean unhealthy either. Just a thought.

SS-R: There's a difference between a "big, healthy baby" and a "macrosomic baby". Unfortunately, most news stories don't differentiate. I've seen a 10lb+ baby that was lean, stocky and long. Both parents were tall and stocky, with mom hovering around six feet tall and dad towering over her. Baby had great APGARS and perfect blood sugar. THAT is NOT the typical "biggest baby born" you see cropping up in the news.

HH: "Since she was measuring about 40 inches around (t)he waist at 36 weeks, her doctor “didn’t want to take any chances,” said Allison."

I am confused… I was almost 60 inches with my last. What's the big deal. (This was referring to: “Since she was measuring about 40 inches around he waist at 36 weeks, her doctor ‘didn’t want to take any chances,’ said Allison. They planned the cesarean section and were expecting another 10 pound baby, but were surprised by the extra two pounds.”)

Also, not to be rude, but she is a plus size momma. 40 inches isn't that big of a waist. Was she a size 5 before the pregnancy or something?

I can testify... I make big babies. My last was 9'13. I only gained 35 lbs and NO GD. Big can be healthy.

I wonder how much weight she gained.

NgM: It’s important to know that diet is not the only way to control GDM or IR. Sometimes it takes medications as well. I’ve known women to be meticulous with their diets and still have 10+ pound macrosomic babies because their pancreas needed more help than just the dietary changes. The diet certainly helps in these cases… imagine how large the babies would be without that help from mom… but the baby sometimes needs more help than even mom can offer.

KL-D: Is there any indication that this baby wasn't healthy?

NgM: A baby that big is, most assuredly, not healthy. ‎HH: There can be Insulin Resistance long before GDM and IR affects the size of babies, too. The GTT is an archaic screen/test, the best we have at the moment, but it doesn't catch all cases of IR (the lower limits catch some, however). ‎HH: They meant fundal height, not waist measurement.

TS: So, stupid question maybe for NGM-- if a mom is diagnosed with GDM or insulin resistance and is untreated aside from changing one's diet, is it possible to have a normal-sized baby?

NgM: No question is stupid! However, I’m not sure I understand this one totally. Let me try, though. If mom IS diagnosed with IR or GDM and changes her diet, is it possible to have a normal-weighted baby? Absolutely. If mom is diagnosed with IR or GDM and changes her diet, is it possible she might still have an LGA or macrosomic baby? Absolutely, because of the possibility of the pancreas needing more help than diet can offer… mom needing medications to help as well. Did I answer that right?

We don’t talk about it enough, but it isn’t just diet… there is also a huge part of the puzzle with exercise. Exercise helps the pancreas metabolize the food in many different ways. Simplistically, it gives the pancreas more power to shoot out the insulin as well as burning some of the food through energy expenditure instead of it needing to be metabolized with insulin. If pregnant women walked for 15-20 minutes after each appropriately sized meal (and appropriate carbs!), it can make or break an IR/GDM experience.

AKS: TS, I believe the answer has to do with tight control of blood sugars, which is sometimes possible via diet and sometimes not.

Also, I have a friend who just had a 9 lb. 2 oz. 23 inch baby. Definitely no GD--she tested her blood sugar 4 times/day before the GTT, which she passed. Baby had heel sticks after birth, zero blood sugar problems. Maybe some women really do grow big healthy babies? They just don't make the news?

NgM: Depending on who you ask, 4000 grams (8lbs 13oz) or 4500 grams (9lbs 15oz) = LGA or macrosomic (two different definitions, by the way, but often used interchangeably), so 9lbs 2oz would barely fit one description and not the other one at all. I hardly waggle my eyebrows unless the baby is over 4500 grams. Unless mom is under about 5’5”.
Also, I’ve read in diabetic literature that testing four times a day is hardly adequate to determine how a person’s blood glucoses are doing in any 24 hour period. Even four times a day and the HgbA1c together won’t track the ups and downs that happen throughout the day. 10-12 times a day is a more accurate number of finger sticks needed.
This is why I’ve wished the three day
continuous monitor might replace the Glucose Screen and GTT. The continuous monitor measures glucoses every 3-5 minutes for three days. Now that’s accurate! Here’s a great explanation about why the four times a day and the HgbA1c aren’t the most accurate ways to gauge BGs.

CS: This is the topic that had me hooked to NgM :) I ended up on her blog a few months ago for something entirely unrelated, and went to bed that night with a sigh of relief. I knew I had big babies and I always knew there was something not right. Hearing that IR can cause macrosomic babies was the light bulb I needed in this pregnancy. It makes sense. I'm 5'2, and both dads are 5'11 and under. So I always questioned where 9lb 2.5oz 23" and 9lb 5oz 24" babies came from. I hated hearing that I just made big babies, but it was a mantra I began to accept. My second son is huge. He's the size of his 4 year old brother. If I was going on just him, I'd agree I made big babies. But his brother normaled out quite quickly after birth. My first had a perfect APGAR, my second had a 7 and they took him to the nursery and his sugars were off. Add that with my dad's diabetes diagnosis at the beginning of this pregnancy, and the pouch around my middle that I can't get rid of, and I believe that I fit the category of IR macrosomic baby maker. Up until getting sick over a month ago, my diet was great. But I've gone off the diabetes lifestyle change as it was harder to maintain while battling chest infections with little sleep and raising my boys. I'm 24 weeks now, so I'm hoping to be healthy enough soon to regain my energy levels so I can change my lifestyle again and hopefully better my pregnancy, delivery, and my daughter's future. Thank you NgM for your logical and informative information on this subject. I wish you were able to reach more women on the subject.

Also, what was the test you recommended again? The one that tests 3 months worth opposed to the blood glucose level test? I'm going for the routine one next week and I don't suspect anything will come of it, but whether during pregnancy or after, I want to take that test just to see.

(Ps. I thought it was funny when my midwife asked if I wanted the glucose testing, I told her yes, but that I already changed my lifestyle based on the information I read on your blog. She smiled at me and nodded. She totally knew who you were and was supportive of the same information you speak of! Just thought it was cool that you are that well known up here in Canada too!)

NgM: Hilarious! And I’m flattered.

KDK: A1c is the more accurate test.

NgM: Yes, the Hemoglobin A1c is another measure of how a woman’s glucoses are doing, but it can only see from the point of the test backwards three months. Therefore, testing in pregnancy is good for observation, but not for diagnosing GDM. The reason the GD screen and GTT are done about 28 weeks is because that’s when the mechanism for pancreatic stress takes effect. While it seems gradual, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a light switch reaction to the pancreas hitting its stress limit. Not diabetic one day and diabetic the next. Doubtful, but sometimes it’s easier to visualize what happens if you think of it that way.

But we know that Diabetes is a spectrum, it’s a ramping up of glucose in the blood because the pancreas gets more and more exhausted trying to keep up with metabolizing food intake. That’s why there can be tight control over food and exercise, but the pancreas still needing more help with medications because mom can only do so much. Diet and exercise are crucial… taking meds instead of changing the diet and exercising is inappropriate and probably pretty ineffective… but together, it can be awesome for the mom and baby.

SS-R: At 60, my mother has no signs of IR or Diabetes, she had four babies ranging from 9lbs even to 9lbs 15.5ozs. Diabetes in all its forms is virtually unheard of in our family at all, in fact. MOST babies born on my mother's side of the family are between 9 & 10 pounds (big, but generally not considered macrosomic). I think we need to be careful to distinguish between the two. There is such a thing as big and healthy, and I think we are going to be seeing more and more of it as people are eating better during pregnancy, as humans get taller with each generation, as smoking decreases- both during pregnancy and prior to it. There are a lot of things known to contribute to SGA babies, even in a good-sized baby, those things- or the lack of them- can cause a variation of a few ounces one way or the other, and when you are talking about people with a family or genetic disposition to babies that are on the upper end of that size bell curve, a few ounces can make a big difference.

That said, I am not one of the people who believe that all big babies are healthy, or that GD doesn't exist. I simply think we need to be cautious not to be diagnosing mothers and babies with medical conditions based on a single factor and without access to their medical information.

S: as I pointed out in my previous comment (and if someone could link the blog post where NgM discusses this in full) I kind of have a triple threat against me. I may have self-diagnosed, but it's not affecting my life. It's a lifestyle change that really is a billion times better for me. Diabetes can hit anyone at any time, regardless of genetics (although usually they do play a part). I would rather change my lifestyle now and possibly have a smaller baby (less traumatic birth) and possibly avoid becoming full-fledged diabetic later in life. Some women obviously make big babies. Genetics is great like that. But, the 3 strikes were that I had one child who was born large but who normalized after birth (i.e. he wasn't that high in the percentiles, but rather quite normal), diabetes runs in my family with my dad being diagnosed quite recently, and I've had recent weight gain (mainly in waist area). One thing on that list doesn't necessarily mean IR. It doesn't mean that it's not IR either, but I firmly believe that with each checkmark on the list, the chances are increased immensely. I think more needs to be studied on this to help more women. Diabetes is awful on its own, but to know what it does to your heart and the rest of your systems is enough to want to avoid it at all costs. I don't ever think that NgM is throwing everyone under the big babies = undiagnosed IR or worse bus. But I do think that her way of thinking could change the face of pregnancy and even diabetes as we know it for the world over.

LA: Seems to me that generalizations do one thing: hurt mom and babies (yeah, generalizing about generalizations).

There are big healthy babies. There are big unhealthy babies. There are small healthy babies. There are small unhealthy babies. ...There are many in between.

Lumping Mommas and babies into predetermined risk categories based on generalizations and assumptions is killing maternity care in the US. It ties everyone's hands. I don't understand why providers perpetuate one size fits all care. Who benefits? Not me. Not my kids. Lazy, CYA based medicine. Hmmm. There ya go.

I have 10-11 lb babies. In nearly 15 years of having babies I have never shows signs of or tested remotely positive for diabetes or IR (not GD bullshit, real diabetes). I have no family history of diabetes. I have children who have remained in the 90th + percentile to off the charts into their teens.

I grow big, healthy, strong babies and they grow into big, healthy, strong kids. My family has lots of big, healthy long lived adults.

Maybe those providing maternity care need some diversity training and lessons on genetics.

NgM: The size of your babies alone puts you at risk for future diabetes and unless you stay active and normal-weighted, you could very well end up with diabetes, too. It’s great you’ve avoided it so far, but I find it incredibly difficult to believe your babies were that big without any IR issues going on. But, that’s part of your argument, right? That I (and other providers) lump you in with the others… so ‘round and ‘round we go.

SS-R: C- I was in no way directing my comment at you. I was speaking about how quick some people are to call every large baby unhealthy when ALL they know is birth weight. In fact, I would be MORE inclined to give credence to your strong sense that something was off than to the medical professionals that told you everything was fine. If you were my friend and you were telling me this, I would PUSH you to fight for answers and to trust your gut.

I also think that IR does need to be taken into account, especially given the rise we are seeing in PCOS and related issues being diagnosed, and more attention needs to be paid to nutritional counseling prior to and during pregnancy than simply the 'weigh and shame' routine that many moms encounter.

CS: I think the problem is simply the testing for GD doesn't screen for IR which can cause problems much the same. To know that and to see big babies being born and to hear statements like "She ate everything she wanted" (which usually equates to salt and sugars... not many people make that statement when referring to copious amounts of fruits and vegetables and steak), you can't help but wonder. I don't think she is throwing this mom or anyone else under the bus, but raising an important topic of concern. How many babies are born that big where it is genetics? Are they still truly healthy or is there lower APGARS, messed up blood sugars, or even outside of just birth, what are the risks in the future? And if it's genetics, can diet and exercise (assuming there is no true GD that requires insulin) bring the size of the baby into normal parameters to minimize the risks? Or does genetics truly determine that the baby will be large no matter what (and presumably healthy)? In which case how can screening be done accurately to risk out women who do have undiagnosed IR? Can studies be done to prove the risks associated with living a lifestyle that creates a larger baby in that case?

So many questions, so many theories, and I think everyone just wants happy, healthy babies in the end. But I'm happy that someone is asking these questions and getting people talking about it. I'm kind of ill right now and heading to bed, but I'll try to find the link to NgM's blog entry on this. She does mention the 3 strikes rule instead of just focusing solely on the big baby aspect. Like I said, I have 3 strikes against me. It doesn't mean I have IR or will most certainly develop GD or DM, but it does light a fire under my bum to make some needed changes in my life. Do I need pop? Nope. Do I need 4+ teas with 2tsp of sugar every day? Nope. Do I need more exercise? Certainly. Living the lifestyle like I have diabetes isn't limiting at all. In fact I never felt better and I'm sure I was increasing my quality of life as well as my life expectancy. Even if the testing comes back that I'm not even IR and even if I just do make big babies, I'll still be thankful for the motivation to change my life and my habits as it can only be making my life better:)

MM: I had diet-controlled GD with my first pregnancy - my sugar control was spot on and I delivered a healthy 9lb 7oz boy. I figured he was big due the GD but my second, with absolutely no GD was 9lb exactly. My last, again with absolutely no GD, was born at 37 weeks, perfectly healthy weighing 7lb. By his due date he was 9lb. I've come to the conclusion that I do just make big healthy babies. They stay big til about 6 months, and then they even out to average size.

NgM:This was a great conversation, ladies… thanks for exploring it more in-depth. It certainly is one of my favorite topics.

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Cj's Story

I absolutely love this site.  I wish when I was younger there had been something available such as this. I had my first two babies before we ever had the internet. It's nice to see other women go through the same thing.  And also nice to be able to share with others.
 
One thing to note are that my scar changed with each baby! I have three children and have three c-sections. It could have been weight gain, obviously, but even after the first baby my scar did not look very pleasant in the presence of A LOT of stretch marks.  Now I am much heavier than I ever was and it shows in my belly but I am happier with myself that I have ever been. There came a time in my life where I came to terms with my body and my c-sections and birth stories. I stopped obsessing with not getting my vaginal birth a long time ago, so for anyone who feels cheated out of vaginal birth...you may still feel at peace with it later. I feel connected to my children, regardless. They each have their own story of how they came into this world. My stomach was crooked and more pronounced on one side after my first c-section, and it looks like my belly still has that issue! If you look closely you might be able to count three c-section scars, and a tubal reversal scar (which is smaller in width). My scars got much lighter with time.
 
I am not quite 5' tall, 4' 11" 3/4 if we want to be exact. I weighed about 138 pounds at delivery of my first baby and every stretch mark you see on that belly was created during my first pregnancy.  I guess I was stretched out enough for the other two.  My almost 18 year old daughter was born in June of 1992 at 7lbs. 10 ounces and 20 3/4" long, a week late, and I was only 18 years old myself. She was as gorgeous as she is now, with dark hair and blue eyes, and olive colored skin (not like her mama!). She was born in a military hospital, they didn't offer epidurals, and I had 18 hours of labor. Surprisingly I handled the labor pretty well! I was tired but I didn't freak out. I dilated to an 8 but didn't progress and her head was floating, she never really engaged. Thus the c-section. I wish my labor had been different. I was stuck in a cold room, in a hospital bad, catherized, no medication, and unable to move!  I think if I had been in a more natural setting it may have helped me to move around and get her moved into position, but that's just a theory.She was slightly unresponsive at birth, no loud cries, just a little squeak out of her. She was stressed out by that long labor.  Also of note here is that the hospital didnt get me out of bed for two days straight. They didn't have me move and I stayed catherized. It was terrible and I think subsequently made my uterus not heal well and created a lot of scar tissue.
 
My second pregnancy I weighed 142 pounds at delivery. I was 20 years old, going on 21. I wanted a VBAC with him and desperately tried what was within my power to have that happen. They induced my labor 2 days before he was due because I was low in amniotic fluid, very low. 12 hours of labor, an epidural, and a pain that I could never describe that even the epidural didn't seem to take care of. They kept telling me it was his head moving down but it sure didn't feel like that. I dilated to a 6. I did not handle that labor as well as my first.  There was a lot of pain and crying with my contractions. I don't know exactly what made the doctor decide to do a c-section but I know I was sad about it. My Dad called and said to me while I was in labor "Just do this c-section, this isn't a competition". Well, it ended up being a good call, actually. As my doctor was doing my c-section I had a uterine rupture. The doctor and nurses got to witness right before them the spontaneous rupture across my old scar, through a major artery, and down into my cervix. My son was delivered instantly and he was fine, thank the Lord. He had a bowl movement before he was born, and with little amniotic fluid around him it was stuck to him like tar! He came out screaming and it would be hours til I held him (but once I did, it was like I knew him my entire life). There was a lot of blood loss for me, blood transfusion, and four and half hours of surgery. The doctor was actually preparing to do a hysterectomy but my bladder had adhered to my uterus and they had to call in a urologist to come in and do bladder surgery (I had to walk around with a cathater and my "pee" bag for almost 2 weeks after), which actually saved my uterus because by the time they removed the bladder my bleeding had stopped and they didn't want to risk more hemorrhaging. The doctor begged and pleaded with me to get a tubal ligation and I refused. The doctor told me by no means should I try to carry another baby. I was devastated because I was young and wanted more children. He was born 11/1994 at 7lbs 12 ounces and 20 1/2" long.
 
The third baby was a surprise. I managed to make it 5 years without getting pregnant. I was worried about carrying her but I had several doctors tell me that it would be ok and it was. She was a planned c-section, she was born 8/2000 and was 8lbs 6 ounces and 19" long, strong and healthy, and came out screaming like an opera singer. The girld coulda busted some windows with that scream and she still can! I weighed 152 pounds at delivery with her. I had a very uneventful pregnancy and delivery. In fact when the doctor delivered her he told me how great my uterus looked considering what I had gone through and that my scarring was minimal and the uterus was not thin as it was before. I attribute it to doing a lot of moving around after my second c-section, cause this helped not to heal everything into one place and cause scar tissue! Moving around is important, but don't over do it. I made sure I moved around a lot after the third baby too. She was big, she was healthy, and the previous doctor was WRONG. I had proof.  Regardless, I went ahead and tied my tubes reluctantly.
 
June 2009 I had a tubal reversal. I have been pregnant twice, with two miscarriages since. My tubes are very short at 2cm each so I think is part of the reason why it's hard to get an baby to implant correctly. My current doctor has reassured me that I can carry another baby, it will be another c-section, but being under good medical supervision I should be fine. My youngest daughter is 9 years old now, so there is a huge age difference in my children and future child to be. I am now 36 years old. My husband is 43 years old. We will try for one more baby and then I will call it quits. I will start my first round of IVF next month.

 

 

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Ashley

I don't have any pictures but here is my story.

On 5-22-09 I went in just to check to see if I was dilated . As I was waiting to see my OB, I realized I thought I needed to pee and I went to the bathroom and as soon as I closed the door my water broke. My mom went to my appointment with me and they had already called me back to my room and my mom was in there waiting for me. I opened the door and I saw my mom and I was like I think my water broke and sure enough it had.
They made me rush to the hospital , I had nothing with me cause I was with my mom. So I had to rush and call my Husband and tell him to get off work and come on it was time for little Ethan to be here.
I get to the hospital and I got checked in and I started to walk the hallways and outside trying to get my labor started cause I was only three cm. Well I finshed my walking and went back to my room to get monitored for a little while longer.
Well after being there for 3 hours I wasn't progressing at all so they decided to start the pitocin at a low setting and then after awhile I was put to the highest setting. My contractions still weren't consistant and it was working on 15 hours after my water broke so at 3:45 the decided I would need a c-section.
So after the prep work and the bag of antibiotics they sent me to surgery and Ethan was born at 4:26am at 8lbs and 21 inches long.
Honestly it was the best thing to happen because I learned that my pelvis was closed too tight from a fractured pelvis 4 years before and I would never be able to have a child naturally. 
Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Laura

 

38 weeks with my second child and 18 months after my first c section

12 days pp from my second c section

My first c section was horrible cold and sterile although looking back I was more accepting of it (maybe because I didn't know any different), my partner held my hand and I cried the whole time. I had been given too much in my spinal/epi and I was numbed up to my lips unable to move my arms , my blood pressure spiked and I wandered in and out of consciousness . Finally things levelled out and I was left with a massive headache down half the side of my face.  The doctor didn't announce that my son was about to be born the last thing we heard before he was rushed over to the warmer was "oh there's alot of fluid" then my son screaming. I remember trying to turn my head to see him but even that was hard as I was just so numb.

My partner went with him over to the warmer and cut the cord (which I didn't get to see) and then he was briefly brought over and I was told I could kiss his head , I wanted to hold him but I couldn't move my arms. Then my partner and son were taken away to another room and I was left in the operating room for 45 mins listening to my baby scream in the next room while he was poked and jabbed. Finally in recovery i was handed my son i could move my arms by this point. My son was placed on me and my breast shoved hastily in his mouth by a nurse he wasn't interested.  I ended up staying in hospital 6 days with a infection that they couldn't explain, my son had issues holding onto his blood sugar levels  and the nursing staff gave him formula so in the end he wasn't interested in breast feeding and after everything I had been through neither was I .

My second pregnancy was a breeze also; I didn't even get morning sickness. When i started going to my antenatal appointments around 20 weeks It was noted I wanted to try for a VBAC at every appointment when I would ask questions I was told different things so subconsciously I probly knew they would never actually let me try. I go to my 38 week appointment and I'm told the head is now not engaged and there is a risk of the cord being lower than the head, I'm told they will give me a week to go into labour on my own and the schedule a c section for 39 weeks. I had educated myself this time i knew better i wanted better but in the end I gave up fighting.

This c section was wonderful I was lucky enough to find myself a dr in a week (family friend) He was great he let us take the sheet down and take photos he even let my partner watch over the curtain and they chatted away at he was performing the procedure . We got to see my daughter be born out of my stomach, as much as I didn't want another c section this was as close as I was going to get to my perfect birth and I'm very appreciative to my wonderful doctor for giving me that. This c section went as well as I could have hoped yet it was harder to accept my belief for this is I think it could have been avoided altogether.

When I touch my scar it is tender at the moment as its only 12 days old, I think it will heal physically before I heal emotionally I'm thankful both my babies are healthy and safe. I just wish I didn't feel like my body has failed me twice over, I never experienced labour not one single contraction I will never know what childbirth feels like.

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Jennifer

 

My scar is still numb, almost sixteen years later. I'm still angry about it all, the whole thing should never have happened.
 
I planned for a normal, unmedicated, midwife assisted delivery and then two full years of unhindered breastfeeding no supplements.
 
That's not what I got!
 
What I did get was a midwife who had no idea how to support me, whom I saw twice throughout two days of being induced! She loved the idea of inducing me for big baby late date fears, then went on to breaking my waters to bring my baby down, she didn't allow me to have food for then entire two full days of induction,(my mother snuck me in a hamburger and fries when they turned off the pit that night!). I didn't want drugs of any kind, so no epidural or narcotics for the intense back to back contractions the pit brought.  IV fluids of course, so swollen feet and legs, no mobility outside of using the restroom, 100% of the time being hooked up to a monitor which really annoyed me! I basically pushed flat on my back with no urge to push at all but being instructed to do so anyway.... for two in half hours! 
I did finally get an urge to push, but I was already rolled into the OR and the doctor was already putting in the spinal, so I was YELLED AT TO STOP because they didn't want to have to shove him back up into the birth canal. They had to anyway, because being upright for the spinal was what I needed to help my baby get down. Nobody talked to me during my surgery or told me what they were doing, I felt like throwing up the entire time, then they sliced my bladder, so I now have chronic UTI's. I got postpartum infections back to back, mastitis so severe that I ended up bottle feeding. That surgery then lead to two more for adhesion's and then the third for a ruptured ectopic that resulted in removal of my right tube, not to mention almost dying.... The top of my left thigh is forever numb as well..... Good times!!
 
There are times however, even with all of that that I am indeed grateful that it did happen. Why? I went on to HBAC four beautiful children (whom were all bigger!). I am now very educated about my body and how it works and help others become educated as well.
 
All in all I'm still pissed........... fifteen, in June 16 years later. I don't believe that will ever change. AND I don't trust OB's as far as I can throw them!
Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Anonymous

I didn't smoke, didn't drink, took my vitamins, ate as healthy as I could, counted kicks, counted hiccups, fantasized about how beautiful and loved my LO is, counted down the days til my c/s date, got excited for every heartbeat, cried at every level two ultra sound (in a good way), read all the books, and just because i had a c/s I'm supposed to be considered a failure as a mom?  Definitely not.  No one loves their babies more than I do and I refuse to believe that just because my cervix wouldn't dilate after 2 days of labor that I am a failure.  Had c/s's not been around I would have died, and my first born would have died, and my other three never conceived....to me a c/s birth is a wonderful thing. 

So when I look at my scar I am forever reminded of the happiest days of my entire life.

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Stacey

 

My scar shows almost 7yrs of trying and close to giving up to have a baby. It shows the joy the day I found out I was pregnant, the joy I found it was a boy, and the Joy of him coming into this world. My scar shows my preggo belly was so big people could not believe i was carrying one baby and i still was a long way off from having him.  It also says my water broke on its own, I labored with love for 25 hours with only to making it to 3cm. My scars says I tried hard to have in naturally but between having a flat pelvis and a baby with a very big head there was no way he was coming out with out help. It says when he final arrived he showed up with a grumpy look on his face. My scar shows I did a great job carrying for him while he was inside my warm and safe body and now it was time to show him the world. I hate that I still look like I am pregnant even a year later, but I would not trade my scar to redo having my son. I wear the scar with pride just like a great battle wound. It has been almost yr since my son was born and my scar has healed nicely and you can hardly tell it was there. But I know and I have pride in it. 

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Anonymous

My scar says, "Your birth experience was rape and those responsible got paid a lot of money for doing it!  I'll hurt you forever."  I did not consent to surgery.

The thought of my scar being touched makes me ... defensive.

Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Anonymous

I had to go to the doctor today because it is getting infected on the right side... which you can see in the last two pics.  They want me to take antibiotics for it.  Hopefully that is all that is needed and they don't have to open it back up to see what is wrong with the stitching underneath.  I told them in the days following the surgery that there was something wrong with the right side and that the stretching and pulling I was feeling "just wasn't right" and they just keep telling me " oh no.. that's normal", but apparently it wasn't (and it hurt really bad).  I have been showering daily, lightly putting antibacterial soap over the wound and patting dry with a clean towel and keeping covered. I kept the tape on it after the staples were taken out for 5 days just like instructed.  The infection is from the previous layers inside not from the outside. Also they nurse left a staple in my stomach and I had to go back 2 days after going home to get it removed.  I had a 102 fever the day I can home as well... not sure if it was a result from the surgery or not. I have little to no sensation on the right side of my stomach. It is very similar of a feeling as when you go to the dentist and get a shot of novacain, you can't feel your cheek and when you touch it it feels like rubber or plastic.  I called a few days ago to let the nurse know, and was told that is normal and since that is dead tissue now that it is very likely that it will remain numb and never have feeling there again because of nerve damage.

  

I included an passage from the book "Birthing From Within" which is an accurate description in ways of how I feel.  It's sort of sad because I don't even remember when was the first time I even fed my baby... however I believe it was over 2 hours after his birth.  It makes me cry to think about how everything ended up.... yes he's healthy and happy which is good.  But I have really been having problems with the labor and delivery and the care and all of it.  It was and still is hard.  Regarding the surgery itself, I felt quite isolated in a room full of people... It was like I wasn't even there to them... or human really.  Very surreal.  
Excerpt from "Birthing From Within" by Pam England & Rob Horowitz
 
            A WOMAN DOES NOT GIVE BIRTH IN A VOID

When people asked me why I had a Cesarean, I didn't know how to answer. I now realize how unmanageably complex that question is, and that I'll never know the answer.  Yet at the time, I thought understanding what had happened would help me regain control. My zealous search spanned years before pushing my consciousness to a paradoxical place of understanding while not-knowing.
 
Here's what I've come to believe: In the moment a Cesarean birth (or any event) happens, no one can know all the forces which converged to create that event.
 
   Labor and birth unfold within a
    complex, and infinite web,
    Spun by the mother,
     And by everyone who has ever taught her
     about mothering, birth, sexuality, pain,
     control and surrender.
     All the people at her birth
     helped spin the web with threads from
     their histories, beliefs, experiences, fears....
     and recent birth experiences that they have witnessed,
     which empowered
     or terrified them.
 
  
Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Anonymous

In dec 09 i went into labour 4 days early with my first baby, Labour progressed well, i maintained mobility but after 6.5 hours of pushing i was transfered from the community hospital, to a larger hospital. I was assesed and they decided to try the ventouse to no avail, forceps was used and during this my sons heart rate dropped to 38 bpm, it was there and then they gave me the C section. My son was born 7lb 11oz, bruised and battered. He was aparently in the deep transverse arrest postion. I was very ill post birth needing blood transfusion then becoming septic with mastitis needing IV antibiotics 8 days later. The consultant told me i would have to have C sections with my next children, unless i grew smaller ones by taking up smoking!!!!!
 
When i look at my scar i can see it laughing at me...taunting me; everytime i see it, i hear it saying "you failed, you failed",
 
When i touch it i feel the pain of not being able to birth my baby properly....that pain will stay with me forever. But it also gives me the drive to believe i can do it naturally next time, it spurs on my need to educate myself and believe in myself. I believe in my body and will be attempting a VBAC or HBAC next time
Tuesday
May012012

Cesarean Scar: Lori

My scar says I failed. That my body failed to nurture my first baby long enough. It says  they had to take her from me early because my placenta had stopped nourishing her. Says I didn't give birth, that my first daughter's birth was something that happened to me, not something I did. It says that since I didn't do anything but lay on a OR table I have nothing to brag about when my friends tell stories of pushing, and their tolerance for pain. Like they went through a rite of passage I'll never get to experience. It also says I failed my second daughter by not having a VBAC. I was in labor 3 times, and had it stopped by medication twice because my OB wanted me to wait until my scheduled date for my repeat c-section. The 3rd time it didn't work and I was admitted to the hospital. I spent the night in a half-sleep contracting every 5 minutes until finally at 5:30 am my OB showed up to do my cesarean as planned.  It's a daily reminder of my body's failures.

I don't touch my scar. If I did I wouldn't feel it anyway. After my first cesarean I was numb for a year in some places. I'd like to think that it makes me look strong. I wish when I saw or touched it I felt that it shows what I went through to get my babies here. But I don't see it as a mark of my strength, I see as a reminder of my weakness. Maybe  someday I'll be able to join in those conversations other women have about their birth experiences and I feel proud of mine. I think it'll be a long time for me to get to that point though.

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