The Risks (?) of Multiple Pregnancies and Cesareans

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Any woman who decides to have more than the "normal" amount of children is definitely going to hear unsolicited opinions about the wiseness of their choice. This is especially true of your family members and your doctors. Your family members are probably indoctrinated from the television, and believe anything the "idiot box" says. (I am embarrassed to admit that I still haven't been able to completely break my tv habit, but I most certainly do NOT believe what talk show hosts and tv news shows tell me to believe.)

Your mother (sibling/cousin/aunt/etc.) is sure to tell you how dangerous it is, how unhealthy it is, how hard it is, how expensive it is, etc. The ironic thing is that some of these people may have had many children themselves, and got through it just fine. My mom did. We were well-fed, well-clothed, and had more than a lot of smaller families we knew, even on my dad's very small income. They have been taught by the tv and by society that anyone who has more than two or three children (at MOST) is being reckless and taking their lives in their hands. Nothing could be further from the truth. While having more children does take more of a toll on your body, if you are eating right and exercising, you can greatly minimize the impact.

When you visit your obstetrician, be prepared. With each additional child, you will feel more pressure from your doctor to tie your tubes, use contraception, etc. He or she will bombard you with frightening statistics and, if you let your guard down, make you feel foolish for even considering it. This will be even worse if you have had any c-sections...and if you've had multiple sections, they will make it sound as if your uterus will explode if you try to have even one more child.

I urge anyone wanting to have more children to research it for yourself. And not just the typical medical journal studies, either. Visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network for more information. Also read books about cesarean sections. Even women who haven't had one should research this if they plan to have more. Cesarean sections do carry risks with them, and when you have a doctor trying to talk you into your first one, or to talk you into a repeat c-section instead of a VBAC, they will minimize the risks to you in order to get you to do what they want. Once you have your third or fourth child, the doctors will suddenly tell you that the risks are too high.

With even one c-section, you raise your risk for future tubal pregnancies, placenta previa, placenta accreta, uterine rupture, and other complications during future pregnancies. These risks are not high, but they are there. The risks will raise with each c-section, though not as high as doctors often claim. If you do your research, you will find that the studies they quote often lump cases together that should be in separate categories in order to make it an honest, accurate assessment of risks in the study. When you look up studies that appropriately separate cases into more detailed categories, it gives you a more accurate picture of the risks, and you find the risks are lower than doctors often state.

One example is in the case of "uterine ruptures". This is the scare tactic used most by doctors, making it sound as if your uterus will explode and you and your child will instantly die if you get one. This is highly exaggerated. The uterine rupture that is most worrisome is the "catastrophic rupture" where your uterus tears all the way through. This can be very dangerous, and if you are not able to get into a surgery suite very quickly, there can be fatal consequences for both mother and child. However, these are rare. Most uterine ruptures are partial ruptures, where the uterine muscle tears through only part of the uterine wall. In the case of "window" ruptures, the rupture is a very small one that only goes through a layer of the uterus...it does not go all the way through. Many women get these, and they are not at all dangerous, and usually when having a c-section the doctor looks for these and repairs them. The studies often quoted by doctors usually do not differentiate between the serious and non-serious ruptures. Doctors often imply that these studies are referring to catastrophic ruptures when in reality they are lumping all types of ruptures together.

My last doctor used the "exploding uterus" ploy the last time. I expect this new doctor will use the "paper thin uterus" ploy after my next c-section. Your uterus can become thinner after many pregnancies, and this does up the risk of ruptures, but this is often exaggerated.

I cannot tell you how many women I have met who have been told that they should NEVER have another baby again, or they will surely die...and these women ignored their doctors and went on to have six, eight, or ten healthy children. Some of these women had c-sections, some didn't. All were given various reasons, all their doctors were certain that they were doomed, or that their children would be abnormal, etc. and none of their predictions turned out to be true. I met a woman once who had had NINE c-sections...so far. I know someone personally who has had seven...so far. They, like me, are quiverfull-minded.

Now, I don't want anyone to misunderstand me--c-sections can be dangerous. ANY surgery can be fatal. The thing that scares me most is blood clots. Not long ago, I heard of a woman who died three weeks after giving birth, from a blood clot that broke loose. Another mother I heard about online recently died of a blood clot when amniotic fluid leaked into her bloodstream as the baby was lifted out of her stomach. You can get a blood clot after dental surgery. So to me, blood clots scare me more than possible ruptures. My biggest piece of advice is do everything you can to avoid getting a c-section in the first place. Someone I know had one for what I personally believed wasn't a good reason. I warned her she was more likely to have tubal pregnancies, fertility problems, and more c-sections in the future. She chose to have one. Maybe it was the right decision. The next time she got pregnant it was tubal, and then couldn't get pregnant for a long time. The next pregnancy, her doctor was pushing at the end for a c-section, as I predicted. I strongly urged her not to get one. She was going to, but at the last minute was able to have it naturally. She was lucky, but she will face the same pressure from her doctor with each pregnancy.

Here is how I made my decision to keep having children. My faith. I do not believe in controlling my births. How can I say I trust God with everything...except my family size? I feel like I would be saying "God, I trust you with my marriage, my faith, my money, my life...but I know you cannot be trusted to keep my family size down to what I can handle. I just know you're going to give me twenty kids, and I know that I can't handle it. So I'm just going to cut you out of this area of my life. Sorry, but in this area, I know best." Notice all the "I" and the "I know"? I don't think most women think consciously like this, but when you break it down, that's the truth of it. Believe me, I sympathize! There are times I think "hey, just how many kids are you going to give me?!" It's a little scarier when they come close together. I really would like a large family, but in my weaker moments I just don't know how I can handle it.

And that, my friends, is the problem. "How will I handle it?" I, again. I, I, I. What we forget is that God will never give us more than we can handle....with HIS help! He will certainly give us more than we can handle alone, because we aren't meant to do it alone! Just because you don't use birth control, doesn't mean you will have twenty children. In fact, unless you are eighteen and very fertile, and don't breastfeed well, that is very unlikely. The only reason I have mine so close is that I don't produce milk well. Once I got a handle on it, I had twelve months between pregnancies, and around 22 months between births. I'm only pregnant now because I was an idiot and didn't try hard enough to do what I needed to to keep my milk production up, and ended up stopping altogether. And even then, God gave me a couple of extra months. Most people I've known personally only had around 6-8. Several I knew had only two or three. That's just all God gave them. Several I knew couldn't have any, and had to adopt. Only a handful of families had eleven or more, and they had married pretty young and had been quiverfull all along, and had babies longer than other women had.

Chances are I won't have more than six or eight. My mom went through the change early, and I may also. We'll see. I truly believe God knows best. And although my mom and my doctors think I'm crazy, I trust God as far as the c-sections go. Doesn't God carry us all in the palm of His hand? Not one hair on our heads will be harmed unless God permits it. If I die during a c-section, it will be because my time has come, not because I was "reckless" or "crazy". If it is my time to go, what better way to give up my life than in total submission to God, while giving life to another? I think that is a far better way to go than getting hit by a bus, suffering a heart attack, dying from cancer, getting mugged, or any myriad of other ways I could die. When God calls me home, I will go, and it doesn't matter if I am driving a car or giving birth. He will choose the time, and if it happens to be while I am giving birth so be it. I can't outrun it by avoiding His will. He will find me wherever I am. And hopefully when He does, I will be doing His will.

I hope everyone reads this and understands this to be an expression of my thinking and my beliefs, and not a criticism. I know others believe differently. My intention is only to express my own beliefs, and to maybe give others a new perspective to ponder.

May God bless you all, and please pray for me and my unborn child.

7 Responses to "The Risks (?) of Multiple Pregnancies and Cesareans"

the doe Says :
10:43 AM

I'm kind of unclear if you are planning another c-section?
(Sorry, I didn't read ALL the details)
I expect you are not, since you talk so harshly of the "procedure."

Anyway, have you looked up "Unassisted Home Birth?"

I had four c-sections, and don't plan to have more children, but I know God can change my heart--he did it before.

So, if I do become pregnant again, I'm going it alone. No doctor, no midwife. I know my body, and I trust God. I know all about emergencies and crisis, and I would not put myself in jeopardy.

Even midwives can get in the way, mine did, and I ended up having that 4th cesarean.

Pray you'll make it, with God's hand.
Leah

Mommaroo2 Says :
11:33 AM

Leah,

Yes, I am planning another c-section. I really want a natural home waterbirth with a midwife, but I don't think I'll find anyone to take me because of my other risk factors in addition to my previous four c-sections. I might, but I don't think I can take the emotional roller coaster and stress of getting my hopes up followed by a big letdown.

I love the idea of an unassisted homebirth, but I don't think it is for me. That's what I tried the first time, but ended up panicking and going to the hospital, which of course ended in a nightmare. If I did a homebirth, it would be with a midwife. I feel that I personally would need someone with experience there to help keep me focused and reassure me that everything is normal.

Deep down I guess I'm hoping that a miracle happens and I'll go into labor without realizing it and have the baby so quick that I can't get worried and go to the hospital. I know, crazy right? There are some women that happens to, but based on my history, I'm not one of them, lol. But God knows best and I have faith that however the baby needs to be born, that is how it will happen. Maybe God knows I am just too weak to do a natural birth. I am not good at ALL with pain. It makes me sad, but I'm just glad to have healthy babies.

But I always warn others about c-sections, because I know from experience that it is best to avoid them.

If you do have another baby, I wish you well. I've heard wonderful, joyful stories from moms who have done unassisted homebirths. They sound great.

Barbara Says :
10:56 AM

I love this post! I have had 4 c-section too (only one was necessary). I've heard all the arguments, especially from family...ugh!

However, I was very fortunate that the Dr. I used this last time was not pressuring me to have a tubal. When asked about uterine rupture, he had only seen 2 partials and never a full blown one. He said that although they can happen, it is rare. He even did some repair work on my right side (which has thinning) incase we should have another pregnancy. He also, saw no reason why I couldn't have another baby.

I too don't think I'll be having too many more c-sections. This is due to the fact that I am 38 yo and like you, the women in my family seem to go through menopause early. I don't think I have to many baby years left.

As far as unassisted homebirths, my DH has said no.

Lines From The Vine Says :
5:07 PM

Thank you for this posting...I'm currently expecting my ninth child...5th following my C-Section.
My deliveries have all been induced and I'm constantly reminded of how "high risk" I am.

Blessings!
Tracy

Michelle Says :
11:32 AM

Just checking in on ya to see how you are doing. Update when you feel like it.

: )

Mommaroo2 Says :
11:14 PM

Well, not only will I not be having another c-section for sure, but it looks like I'm getting a perinatologist too. I'll have to post on this later.

Anonymous Says :
7:45 PM

Hi!
I have 3 c-sections and I am pregnant again. i am scared!!! I have pain on and off. Right there where is my scar. The Dr. said that everything looks normal. But why the pain? he doesn't gave an answer. Do you have the same experience? Please help!

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