Monday, June 6

Because I Needed To See It Done, With My Own Eyes

Sensitive material. Please be warned. The video shared in the link below is graphic and should be watched with caution. 

A few months ago, I found my self sitting in a room full of pregnant woman who were all preparing for a vaginal birth after having had a previous cesarean birth. We all went around the room and shared our experiences and stories. It felt like a safe haven to cry and let go, to forgive and put the past in the past. To heal, to hug, to rejoice over a birth experience we grieve, but babies we are thankful for. Every time someone would use the phrase "C-section" the doula would correct her and say, "Cesarean BIRTH." I never refereed to my birth as a birth. In my eyes, it was was it was, a surgery. I had no role in my birth other than to lay in fear and wait to hear that first precious cry of my baby boy. I was corrected when I used the term c-section because I DID birth a baby. It was delivered from my body and to call it anything other than a birth is to take away from what it was- a birth. God brought my son into this world in the way he intended to. Period. I needed to give myself credit for birthing my son, even if I never felt like I had a part in it, even if a curtain was up and my eyes never actually saw him come forth from my own body, I did birth him. Cesarean section birthing mothers need to be validated. We also need to know what is being done to our bodies-to be aware, to not be in the dark, the have a hand in the process of birthing our babies-even when they're delivered through cesarean section.

There is a reason my son was birthed by cesarean. His birth, has birthed in me an unquenchable passion to explore the process of birth and in that process, I am taking back my body and healing from the trauma that I experienced, that many woman are experiencing. I need to take responsibility for my birth. I can't blame anyone but myself for not knowing what I know now.

If I knew that I had a medical issue that prevented me from a vaginal birth, I don't think I would struggle so much with having had a cesarean birth. Now that I know so much more about the birthing process, I know that my cesarean was not necessary. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I knew NOTHING about my body or birth when I delivered my son. Looking back in retrospect, I can see how easy it would be to convince an uneducated mother (me) that she "needed" a cesarean.

We have to celebrate one another and validate one another's decisions and birthing experiences. In doing that though, I want to encourage woman to know what their bodies are capable of and to trust their instincts. If your instinct tells you that a cesarean birth is safer and you feel more comfortable with that, by all means, please do what your heart and your research tells you to do.

It hurts my heart to know that so much of what we see on TV, so much of what we expose ourselves and our kids to has become acceptable, but watching a woman give birth is not. Let me explain. Why is it that we can hear the words bitch, dick, ass, (excuse my potty mouth) see tons of nudity and sexuality but one of the most natural things in the world, vaginal birth, is blurred out when watching birthing shows on TV? Most of the time, you end up watching a woman laying in bed hooked up to beeping machines and screaming for drugs than you do a woman who is laboring peacefully and calmly surrounded by woman ***AND her husband who is coaching her, who loves her and who are encouraging her to keep going. Unless we've watched our mothers, sisters, & friend give birth, we will never actually see babies crown and be born because TV deems it explicit. What is so dirty about a woman's vagina during birth? Why aren't they showing it? I want to see it dammit! We do more research when it comes time to buy a camera or a car than we seem to do when it comes time to birth our babies! We need to see this stuff! We need to know how our vagina's work! We need to know how cesareans are preformed! We need to know that our bodies were equipped to birth without cutting our vaginas, speeding up the process, and using vacuums and forceps to pull babies out.

It seems like cesarean birth has become the new normal. The way to birth that we're less afraid of. If more woman saw the birth process, there would be far less FEAR associated with vaginal birth. (I will be posting more about vaginal birth and episiotomy soon. You will see more vagina than you ever wanted to see my friends! Get your pop corn ready! Stuffs' about to get real over on this here blog.)

I've heard cesareans refereed to as "Easier", "a safer way to birth", and after all, "they only take a few minutes and when it's over your baby is in my arms, so why not. " or my personal favorite, "At least your vagina won't get all stretched out!" My doctor said this phrase as she delivered my baby. This didn't bring me as much comfort as I think she was hoping it might as tears welled up in my eyes and the oxygen helped me not spin out of control. Well, doc, we'll never know if I was gunna get "ALL STRETCHED OUT" will we? (Her comment was rather ignorant if you want my opinion. A doctor should know the capability of a woman's body to birth without injury to her vagina. My close friend delivered two babies who were both well over 9 lbs, with the help of her midwife, without a single tear. It can be done!) If I keep my eyes shut and my mind in the dark, Cesarean birth don't seem so bad.

I had a friend who was induced because her water had broken, she labored for 18 hours, didn't progress and was given a cesarean. She now feels robbed of delivering her baby. She knows next time that she has other options to consider. Another friend of mine had gained a lot of weight during pregnancy and the doctors said her baby was going to be very large so they wanted to induce her, which ended up in a cesarean. Her baby was born at 6lbs 2oz. I wouldn't consider that a big baby. Would you? It just seems like all of the medical interventions being done to protect us and "help" us have our babies are doing more harm than good. Can woman not be trusted to birth their own babies without medical help any longer? 2 thirds of all woman in America are delivering by cesarean. Why are so many of our countries woman unable to birth? Are we broken?

I don't want to vilify these births, because they often times save babies lives and mothers lives, but OFTEN times, they're done out of convenience. After Conrad was born, I tried very hard to defend my birth and the necessity of it but after doing research, I realized that I was indeed another statistic. Another mom whose body was broken and flawed, who needed medical help in order to deliver her baby.

Since I had a cesarean birth, I felt that it was important to see how it was done. I watched the video peeking through my fingers and cringed most of the time, but just as I would If I were getting any other kind of surgery, I wanted to investigate. I wanted to know.

Please click this link to view video. 

We were at Borders a few weeks ago and I saw a book titled, "20 Most Common Surgeries In America" It gave a play by play with photos of how these births are done. I found it very interesting.

Click HERE to learn more about preventing an unnecessary Cesarean.


  1. Wow, this was really informative. I enjoy when you do these posts, I've learned quite a bit already. The video...hard to watch, but also HIGHLY interesting.

  2. Cesareans are done WAY to frequently in the United States, and not frequently enough in most of the rest of the world. I just read an incredibly interesting book (Half The Sky) that exposed and explained the high number of woman (and babies) that die in childbirth across the world, when a cesarean could have saved their lives.Too many here, too few there. It's so frustrating that we can't seem to find a middle ground.

  3. "We do more research when it comes time to buy a camera or a car than we seem to do when it comes time to birth babies! We need to see this stuff! We need to know how our vagina's work! We need to know how cesareans are preformed!"

    I agree with this 100% I watched so many videos while I was pregnant...people thought I was nuts. I love that you are sharing all of this.

  4. Great information posted here - thank you for that

    I love how you want and need to know, I feel like we as mothers need to speak up on our own behalf when it comes to giving birth, its our body and its our baby..

  5. wow.
    the information.
    i love how full of info this post is!
    um, and i cannot believe my mom had a c-section birth.
    i can't believe tons of women go for c-section births....holy crap.
    of course, after her first, she had 5 vaginally.
    but still.
    that video? i was horrified. ay yi yi!
    totally referring your birth info posts to friends!!

  6. I've really enjoyed (well, maybe not the right word, but you get the idea) reading your posts on becoming more educated on the childbirth experience, especially after having to get a c section myself and really wanting to have a VBAC for baby two, whenever that happens. This will be really helpful to look back on!

  7. I watched it.
    I actually freakin watched it.
    I'm guessing this one was done because the baby was breeched. I'm so glad that it here for when we need it, but what irritates the shit out of me is that some women think THAT is more natural than squatting on the floor or laying at the foot of your bed.
    Thank you for informing your readers Chelsea, it's very bold of you and I'm so proud <3

  8. Oh, and can I just say that it pisses me off that they scrubbed all of the vernix off and and clamped the cord before that sweet little baby even took a breath :[

  9. Thank you mae.

    For the record, I support womans choice to decide what is best for her as long as she is educated on the risks. I don't however support unnecessary induction, unnecessary cesarean sections that cater to the doctor rather than the mother, woman being misguided about birth from doctors, and our society's acceptance that it's ok that more than half of our countries woman "need" cesarean sections. It angers me and sickens me.

    I know that these surgeries are life saving for both mom and baby but I also see that they are damaging to a woman's mental and emotional well being when they're done routinely without cause.

    They make it much harder to recover than vaginal birth, in my experience, I couldn't even lower my self to a toilet because my ab muscles were sliced open, I couldn't sit up to nurse my baby and needed help to function (sit, stand, get out of bed, go pee....) for over a week after I had my son.

    Another thing I didn't know is that most doctors are in a habit of doing a single stitch when sewing up the uterus because they figure the mom will just have to have another cesarean and it cuts their time in half. The best way to help a mom be able to have a vaginal birth after cesarean is to double stitch her uterus but as a patient, you aren't given that choice. You get what you get. You might get a really great doctor who takes their time stitching (just in case you want to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean) or not. I had no idea about this before I read Ina May's book.

    AGAIN, IF YOU'RE PREGNANT, READ HER BOOKS. I can't stress it enough.

    Thanks for the comments ladies.
    I know this is sensitive material, and I don't want to take away from anyone whose had a great experience with their cesarean birth and not validate it or your decision. I've just had FAR TOO MANY friends who've been induces and ended up having "emergency" cesareans that they didn't want, and I'd like to shine light on how to prevent that from happening.

  10. You probably don't know me..I'm Candice Meeder's little sis. I just have to say that your blog is SO empowering! Have you ever seen the documentary "The Business of being Born"? It's all about the same things that you are talking about and it's fantastic (I just watched it on instant Netflix last night).

  11. Hey Courtney! Yes! I remember you from when I shot your family photos a few years ago!

    THANK YOU so much for your sweet comment! That means SO much to me!

    Yes, I've seen that movie. It's incredible. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!


  12. I'm not a mother (yet), so it's not something I had thought about. You've totally opened my mind. My mother had to have c-sections, but I never thought of it as anything less than "giving birth." You still carry the child, you still labor, you still I can't believe there would be judgment. No matter how a child comes into the world, it counts.

  13. I totally agree Kelly. I think that what bothers me the most is when woman's hands are tied and they end up with surgeries they didn't want to have because of mismanaged births and labors.

    Sometimes cesareans can have really bad side effects on woman (severe post pardom, emotional and psychological issues and if she wants to try and have a vaginal birth after her cesarean, most doctors won't do them so she has to have a repeat cesarean which means longer recovery and a harder time nursing her baby.)

    That's why I want woman to know what their rights are, know what they can say NO to and how to prevent interventions during labor so that you don't HAVE to have an unwanted cesarean.

    And if she chooses to have a cesarean, she should be supported in her choice.