I haven't read any birth blogs for a long, long time--probably months. I have really missed it, but my life is so crazy-busy that I just haven't had the time to indulge in it.
I'm happy and sad today. Happy that my niece gave birth to a healthy baby, but sad that I procrastinated on my intentions to encourage and educate her on how to have a natural birth (well, at least a vaginal delivery.) I don't know all the details but I'm pretty certain she ended up scheduling an elective c-section. Her first baby was a necessary c-section (placental deterioration at 37 or so weeks). My mom had told me that she was trying for a "natural" delivery. After seeing the documentary "Pregnant in America" I knew that "natural" to many people just means not a c-section. Anyway, when I heard that she wanted to try for a natural birth, I wanted to give her some encouragement and tips on how to avoid a repeat c-section. Such as, let labor start on its own, don't go to the hospital til labor is well established so they can't push pitocin, avoid an epidural if possible, push in upright positions, etc.
In fact, yesterday morning I kept thinking about her and that I really needed to write to her but I had so much to do that I told myself I'd write to her before going to bed that night. Well, it didn't happen (I can't stay up all night doing things.) This morning the urgency in contacting her was gone. I thought maybe it's too late. Then, no, I'm just making that up. Well, I finally allowed myself to get on my computer this evening and check Facebook. She had a chubby 8 1/2 pound baby boy this morning. Yesterday she had posted that she was going to have her baby the next morning. To me that says scheduled c-section. If it was just a labor induction, she wouldn't have said morning. I'm truly happy for her that she had a healthy baby, but I can't help feeling like I failed her in her original desire to have a natural birth. She may not have listened to me anyway (my family thinks I'm a nutcase when it comes to birth, especially her mom.) But I would have at least felt like I tried.
I get so mad when I think about our screwed up obstetric profession and the lies/exaggerations they must have told her to convince her an elective c-section was for the best. Such as, c-sections are so safe nowadays, your baby is getting too big, your cervix won't dilate on its own, since you've had a previous c-section you are at risk for uterine rupture, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
What makes it worse is that exactly one year ago to the day (Oct. 13, 2008) my neighbor and friend gave birth to her second boy by scheduled c-section. I had also procrastinated talking to her even though I felt prompted to because I was afraid of offending her or having her feel like I was butting into her life uninvited. When I learned she had an elective c-section I had felt sick about that (especially since she had breastfeeding problems and weaned early) and vowed to not ignore promptings like that again. I obviously haven't learned that lesson yet. =(