January 8, 2008

Both Sides of the Csection Divide

Week 35

So what I overheard that night in the ward was one of the two women trotting between the curtained off areas (a bit inconsiderately I thought since the other lady might've wanted to sleep) to share her woes. She was the lady in the corner bed (we'll call her cornered lady, for more reasons than one as you'll see) who was visiting the lady in the other window bed just across from me (we'll call her window lady).

It seems Cornered Lady was eager to discuss her plight with what she hoped was a sympathetic person in the same position as herself. Hence, barely waiting till both their attendant midwives and partners had gone. Her plight was one that is increasingly usual nowadays. She had had one child by emergency c-section a couple of years ago and it was a bad experience. She said the scar hurt for a year after, that it was a raised, ugly scar besides. But for (probably pretty sound) medical reasons the doctors were not in favour of a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) in her case and had scheduled her op the next week. She, however, was determined to go the all-natural way and avoid any intervention if possible. Which is why at the first sign of any contractions, she had booked herself into the hospital. She was obviously hoping for much sympathy and praise for her courage in putting evil medical practictioners in their place. But she was disappointed.

It turned out that Window lady, who had a pleasant voice and a rather posh accent, had chosen to have an Elective C-section. And not her first either. She had been pleased with the elective section she had with her last child. It had healed fast and the scar was negligible. She was all booked in to have her op that Thursday. She only came in today because of very strong contractions and was worried that she might go into labour before the scheduled op.

The two women couldn't be further apart in their approaches to birth. One was close to hysterical, panicked that she might not be able to avoid another c-section; while the other was not taking any chances of missing out on an planned c-section.

As it happened, Cornered Lady was still in the hospital when I was discharged 3 days later. Within that time she had managed to upset two midwives by demanding to be sent up to te Delivery suite, had a public altercation with the senior midwife and a hissy fit with her partner in the ward with all the rest of us pretending not to listen. What the midwives and her partner were telling her was that she was being unreasonable and uptight. That there was a good reason the doctors did not reccommend a VBAC for her. Also that she wasn't anywhere near going into labour and that it would be wrong to induce her against doctor's orders. She sent her husband away and took to arguing with the midwives that they should send her upstairs.

The whole situation seemed messy and unnecessary (perhaps you're thinking I'll see it differently once I go through it all myself?) I blame the atmosphere of distrust that has been created around hospital births and the illogical campaign of misinformation against c-sections.

No comments:

Post a Comment