Question About Repeat C-Sections

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I had a question a little while back in the comments section, and just recently realized that I'd overlooked it. I think it's a good question, and it's something every woman should know about. So Faraja, I apologize, and here is your question and my response:

"How did you find it having 4 c-sections (and will you need one again for the 5th?) I've had 3, and we'd love another baby but so many people (including my doctor) are saying I shouldn't do another c-section."

Well, as far as my experience with four c-sections, I hated having them. I desperately wanted to have a child normally, but let them talk me into the first one, even though I believe it was NOT necessary. This is very common. Doctors would rather do a c-section because it is quicker and easier for them, so they can get back to their office and back home, plus they consider it safer (for them) than being bothered to continue with a vaginal birth that isn't going as easily as they had hoped. It is definitely not safer for you and the baby, unless there are real signs of distress or some true need for it. "Failure to progress" and "cephalo-pelvic disproportion" (baby's head won't fit through your pelvis) are the two catch-phrases often used (and abused) as reasons for c-sections. There's no reason to be worried about "failure to progress" unless there are problems with you or the baby, such as fetal heartbeat dropping significantly. Doctors are in a big hurry nowadays. They do NOT want to let you labor. They want to get it over with, and the hospital wants that room available for the next mom.

CPD was the supposed reason for my c-section. The doctor said the baby's head wouldn't fit. Now I am more educated. After birth my son's head was perfect...there was no molding of the head at all as there should have been if my son's head had actually tried to go through my pelvis. I knew at the time the whole thing was bogus, but I was exhausted, in excruciating pain, and the nurses told me I couldn't have any more drugs unless I agreed to a c-section. Basically they blackmailed me. (All I'd had was a small dose of demerol--NEVER get that--and a half dose of an epidural.) Later after talking it over with my husband, we both believe that I wasn't fully dilated at the time they told me to push. There wasn't even a nurse in the room for about 99% of the time I pushed. It was a nightmare.

My second birth was an emergency c-section, because I had pre-eclampsia. That one I think was necessary, because as it turned out, there were also two knots in the cord. The third one I wanted to have a homebirth with a midwife, but where I lived at that time, state law prohibited midwives from attending VBAC births where there had been a c-section within less than 18 months, and I had had only thirteen months between those births. For the last birth, I had given up on finding a midwife to accept me, then heard that in this area, there are some women who have had safe home births after three or four c-sections. I found a couple of midwives who would have done it, but because of my other health risks (weight, gestational diabetes, etc.) and the fact that I was so far along (in my third trimester) they decided against taking me. I was pretty devastated. But this time I actually found a holistically-based hospital, and (as c-sections go) it was very enjoyable. The staff was great, the room was great, they even doulas and masseuses on staff. I had to travel an hour to get to the hospital, but it was worth it.

I was fortunate that my recovery from all of my c-sections has been relatively easy compared to some women, and my pregnancies haven't been bad either. However, I will say that each successive pregnancy and each surgery has been a little harder each time. Not only am I having more children than the average mom today, but I'm having them closer than most women (who breastfeed) do. So with the stress on my body, plus my age (almost 35), I guess it's to be expected that each pregnancy and surgery might be a little tougher.

I'll comment more on the risks (and the exaggerations about them) of c-sections in the next post.

10 Responses to "Question About Repeat C-Sections"

Chrissy Says :
6:41 PM

Hi! I'm a mom who's had three c-sections and doctors have strongly suggested that be my limit.

My first baby was born after 21 hours. I never dilated past 2cm and she went into serious fetal distress. I was so nervous (and uninformed) the second time that I opted for a c. The third time I was told I didn't have a choice. After it was all said and done, the doc warned that my uterus was so thin and had so much scar tissue that another birth would endanger both baby and I. Classic. Hubby and I were devastated but have pretty much come to terms with it now. Sometimes we wonder, though, if we should try again. I just turned 36 so time is probably getting short. Neither of us feels particularly done, if you know what I mean.

Mommaroo2 Says :
7:49 AM

Yup, I know exactly what you mean. If I had to live with just having four kids I already have, I would be okay with that. Four I can live with, although I'd be a little sad. I feel that I'd like more. Of course, if I had my say, they'd be a little more spaced out, lol.

Your second c-section situation sounds similar like mine. I was scared, and actually started to go into labor just when the doc said he wanted to do a c-section, and I gave in. In the end, I think it was probably a good idea, but who knows. A VBAC might have been safe.

I'm not surprised that your doc told you no more babies. I'm finding out that it's very common. I wonder if the excuses they give are always the truth, or if they're often just trying to scare us into doing the "right" thing.

What I do know is that I've met dozens of women who were told they couldn't have more children, yet went on to have many more. But I wouldn't tell someone else to make the choices I make. I've made my choices based on my beliefs and my faith in God, and when you do that, you have to be prepared for the consequences.

Losing a mom is a devastating thing, especially if a family is large and the children are all young. It does worry me a bit to think of how my family would make it without me if I died. But then, if it is my time to go, I will go, no matter how it happens. I just have to have faith that God is good and just, and He would not take me without somehow providing what my family needs in my absence. I know He will reward my obedience, and I have to remind myself that and steel myself against fear when the doctors pull out their "bag of tricks" with me. They usually give up after a few minutes of me repeating "it doesn't matter, I trust in God and I will not change my mind." They don't know what to do with a "foolish" person who relies on God rather than science, even the ones who seem to have some belief in God.

It breaks my heart to hear of moms who are told they can't have more children because doctors aren't careful enough when "doling out" c-sections. But everyone has to do what they feel is right. The only advice I can offer is to pray about it.

God bless!

Elinor Dashwood Says :
11:23 AM

You've got to be firm with doctors. In the first place, it's a field that strongly attracts bossy people, and does little to discourage this aspect of their characters. In the second place, the whole trend of the profession is risk-averse, and a three percent chance of a bad outcome is overwhelming reason not to try at all. That said, a good doctor is a great asset. I've had five Caesarians, and been fine every time. At the same time, what with gestational diabetes and hypertension and age (I was thirty-five when my youngest was born in 1995), I decided not to risk it again. The last time, my OB, an excellent man who is very friendly to large families and NFP (he says his NFP patients always know exactly what's going on in their bodies and can spot a problem at once), was scared out of his mind that he'd be summoned to the OR to try to save the baby or me or both of us from preecclampsia or something. In the end he delivered the baby two or three weeks early, and she was fine, a bit sleepy and out of it for a while but healthy and alive. So, on the whole, I'm an advocate for rational optimism: go ahead and have more babies, but get the doctor's instructions (mine said I could leave the house to go to Mass and to come see him, but that was it) and follow them, like a sensible woman.

blessedwith11 Says :
10:42 PM

I hope I can encourage someone with our experience. I have had 9 c-sections. All have gone without complications. I had my last one 3 days before my 41st birthday. I was informed about the risks and was nervous but everything was fine other than being very uncomfortable in the last month probably due to age. I am sure there can be good reasons for doctors to advise people to stop, but sometimes I think it is more the unknown. I have not found anyone else who has had as many as I have even on the internet. God has blessed us abundantly in spite of c-sections. I have also adopted two so we have 11. I am 42 and praying about weather God wants to bring someone else into our family or maybe we are finished. Blessings to all of you and your families.

Mommaroo2 Says :
10:53 PM

Thank you, blessedwith11, and congratulations on all your blessings! It's nice to hear from someone who has been where I am going! I met one woman who had nine cesareans, she didn't mention complications. I don't know if she had more children after that, but I do know that, like me, she didn't believe in birth control.

Ironically my fifth child has been my easiest, and I'm finding having five easier than four, in a lot of ways. Partly because he's a delightful baby and partly because the oldest is old enough to help a bit more. I do hope God plans to give me more children, although I'd prefer at least six more months before getting pregnant again. We'll see! ;-)

luvanurse123 Says :
4:49 PM

Hi I have had 4 c-sections-- the most recent 14 months ago. Well I have a problem I had a tubal and want one more child!! Well there are places that do tubal reversals and im 31 and fertil mertil and they say my chances of getting pregnant again are very high. Well my hubby and I went to the high risk OB to see if it would be safe for me to get pregnant again-- he said I was healthy and he doesnt see anything to keep me from gettin pregnant again --- a little thinned out but he said that was normal--- has anyone else have this??? He did make a comment about the risks and with each c-section they get higher and higher so he almost acted as though he would rather me not-- he said it costs alot of money to have another child lol --- believe me I already know that-- my husband doesnt really want another one!! But I have this desire for another child as if he is suppose to be born--- like I know we would have a boy and that if we dont have this baby that I will grieve his loss hmmm sounds crazy hu??? Is this not a god given desire?? I pray that if the lord doesnt want this that he will let me know or take the desire away-- geez why the desire-- people say ur crazy for wanting another child ??? am I??? Anyhow I would appreciate any feed back that I can get?? Is any one a little thinned out -- lower uterus-- like I said he didnt seem concerned -- he said rupture is very rare unless vbac or pit is used. Does anyone feel that theres this little person that wants to be born?? And if not u would grieve there loss?? so weird

Mommaroo2 Says :
6:15 AM

luvanurse123,

I'm sorry, I never saw this comment until now.

I can't say what you should do, especially since your husband doesn't want more. Maybe if you don't pressure him and just pray for God to open his heart, he'll come around. As for kids costing a lot of money...they can, but if you aren't buying them everything they want, always getting designer clothes, nintendo, etc., then you can often find a way. I'm finding the biggest expense to be food, as they are growing older. I buy my kids' clothes at yard sales and thrift shops, almost new and often name brands. If you start them out that way, they'll think it's normal. If you buy carefully, their friends will never know--and if they're so worried about being like their friends, then somewhere, something went wrong with their value system...which is our responsiblities as parents to shape. We don't buy tons of stuff at birthdays and holidays, just a few things. Too much stuff and they don't appreciate any of it.

I don't think it's crazy that you have a deep need for another child. I think that's how God created us...we've just had that desire brainwashed out of us. Today's society teaches us to value what isn't important. Not to mention that women aren't even taught anymore how to be a good mother (and enjoy it).

As for your doctor...don't let that one go! He sounds unbelievably honest and straightforward with you, and open-minded about larger families. Doctors see me coming and you can see they would love to put me in a rubber room!

Good luck with your decision.

luvanurse123 Says :
7:27 AM

thanks momaroo-- Ive waited a long time for feedback lol My husband kinda wants another child now - his only concern is a bigger house and be able to meet there needs-- I agree they dont need everything they want ect.. As far as my doctor saying that the more kids the more expensive-- I dont want that to dictate my choice- as u may know the financial part of having children always seems to work out-- who truely is ever prepared to have "another child"
Anyhow we are still in the decision process-- im 31 so Id like to make that decision within this next year-- the other 4 kids I have all say they want another brother or sister--- so we will just have to wait and see

Shati Choudhury Says :
3:44 PM

Hi There! I have had three c-sections and i really desperately want one more baby via c secion(i dont want to vbac!) I asked my GP doctor and she asked the OB doctors, and they advised me not to get pregnant again. They also said that it's still up to me..if i do get pregnant then they'll monitor me very closely. I'm really stuck here now! My third c-section was elective. Can anyone who had 4 c-sections explain to me if it was any harder than three c-sections? Pleaseeee help me!

Thank you!
SHati Choudhury

Mommaroo2 Says :
12:46 AM

Shati,

I responded to your question in a new post, dated 11/26/08. I hope it was helpful! Here is the actual page:

http://journeytohomemaker.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-are-multiple-c-sections-harder.html

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