Cesarean section births are on the rise in the United States. In 2012, 32.8 percent of all births in the US were by c-section. C-sections have been on the rise in the US for the past two decades. As a percentage of total US births, c-sections have increased every year from 1999 to 2013; the c-section rate has not seen a decrease since 1994. In the past, c-sections were reserved for emergency situations; situations were a vaginal birth might imperil the life of the mother or the child. In recent years, c-sections have become much safer, and more and more women have chosen to have the procedure in lieu of delivering vaginally.
My partner, Laura, was set on having a c-section from the very beginning of her first pregnancy. Laura was extremely excited by the prospect of having our first child. However, she was filled with intense anxiety over the looming delivery process. By her own admission, Laura has an exceedingly low threshold for pain tolerance. Laura was terrified by the pain that she would have to experience during a vaginal delivery. Laura’s fear was coupled with a feeling of guilt; she viewed vaginal birth as a sort of ‘right of passage’ that a woman must go through as she entered into motherhood. After months of contemplation, Laura decided to have a vaginal birth as her guilt ultimately won out over her fear.
Laura enjoyed a very healthy pregnancy; however, complications arose during the labor process. Laura’s blood pressure rose significantly which prevented our daughter from dropping into the proper position for delivery. After nearly twenty hours, the doctors recommended that Laura have a c-section. Laura was disappointed, but was ultimately relieved. Laura was relieved that her lack of full consciousness during the procedure enabled her to bypass the pain that she had feared.
After the birth of our first child, Laura concluded that the longer and slightly more arduous recovery she had experienced outweighed the fear of pain that she perceived to be involved in a vaginal delivery. As a result, Laura opted to birth our next two children by c-section.
It is not the intention of this article to be medical advice or to advocate a birthing method. The intention of this article is tell the story of my family’s experience with c-section deliveries.