I think it’s safe to say that every woman hopes for a short labor and delivery with no complications — I was blessed to have three such deliveries. I delivered my first born son within 6 hours. My second and third deliveries would prove to be just as easy and progress faster than the first. I naively assumed that my fourth delivery would be the same.
I was induced with my fourth son on my expected delivery date; we hesitantly decided to go with an elective induction for convenience. My sister was in town to watch my 3 boys at home and my OB was going on vacation the following week. At the time, it seemed like the best plan to schedule an induction.
I did not have to search long and hard to better understand what led to the cesarean birth of our fourth son. I knew exactly why the experience impacted me so profoundly. I knew the facts, I did my homework, I studied the statistics and still I ignored them. I became a statistic.
My heart, my instincts, my mother’s intuition led me to believe that I was not ready to deliver. I did not have peace about my decision to induce. My body had not given me any signs that it was preparing or ready for delivering my boy. In spite of the red flags, I pushed back my fears, renewed my calm and went along with the induction. I was not surprised when my labor did not progress, my body was not responding properly to the pitocin. After hours of laboring and baby becoming distressed, my OB decided a c-section was necessary.
I was heartbroken. My worst fear had come to fruition. To make the situation worse, I lost a large amount of blood due to a stubborn vein. I remember observing a very nervous, pale doctor as he called out for blood. In those moments, my only thoughts were with my boys… what would happen to my boys if something happened to me.
When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a life saving technique for both mother and infant. Many experts think as many as half of all C-sections are unnecessary. In 2004, 29 percent of babies in the U.S. were born by C-section, an increase of more than 40 percent since 1996.
Below are 5 helpful tips to avoid an unnecessary cesarean section.
- Let labor take its natural course.
- Educate yourself about labor and birth
- Don’t get induced unless medically necessary – If the body isn’t ready, an induction might fail and a woman may end up having a C-section. This appears to be more likely if the cervix is not yet ripe.
- Stay at home as long as possible
- Have support in the delivery room – Doulas, or birth assistants, can help a mother progress naturally when she’s in labor.
My C-section was by far the most difficult part of my pregnancies. It was not the delivery I had envisioned but I was blessed and thankful to leave the hospital with a healthy baby boy.
Now it’s your turn! What was the best or most difficult moment of your pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant changed my life, and I’d love to hear more about your best or most difficult pregnancy moments. By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an all expenses paid trip to a conference on mothers hosted by the UN Foundation in DC (Jan/Feb 2012), an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs September 19 to October 16, 2011. A random winner will be announced by October 18, 2011.