Friday, April 30, 2010

Skin to Skin in the OR

In honour of the end of Cesarean Awareness Month, I am posting this picture of my brand new baby, less then ten minutes after his emergency cesarean delivery. As you can see we are skin to skin in the OR. I had no idea how special this was until I started learning more about cesareans. Now I know that, although it should be, having baby placed naked on it's mamas chest is not common practice. I was very lucky to have care providers that made this happen. When I see cesareans on TV ( yes sometimes I am foolish enough to watch "those" birth shows) I am saddened to see babies being excessively handled. Silly things are done, such as having foot prints taken, diapering, and tight swaddling, all before baby gets to meet their mom.

So fellow mothers and fathers, ask for your babies. Don't be afraid to speak up. If your baby is stable there is no reason not to meet them in their birth day suits. One of the most empowering moments of my crazy birth was having the chance to answer "No Diaper".

EDITED 2014 *I have received numerous requests to use this photo for educational purposes.  To this note I give permission for this image to be used for educational purposes in regards to promoting skin to skin contact in the OR during cesarean births.  The photo must be credited to also the use of this photo must be reported in the comment section of this post.  At any time I reserve the right to revoke this permission. THANK YOU for your interest in this subject.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Abbie Dorn

I am saying a prayer for Abbie Dorn.

I read the paper at the coffee shop the other day and there on page 11 a tiny blurb:

"Abbie Dorn's parents are fighting for her right to see her children. She was left unable to move or speak after a botched delivery of triplets in 2006."

"Botched delivery of triplets" I knew that could mean only one thing:cesarean.

A quick web search led me to:

LOS ANGELES -- A Myrtle Beach mother who is unable to move or speak - and possibly to understand - is the focus of an unusual, emotional court case to decide if she has visitation rights with her 3-year-old triplets. (

More in depth article called : "Severely disabled, is she still a mom"

Severely disabled, is she still a mom?
Battle nears over visitation righLinkts of a woman injured in childbirth April 11, 2010|By Maria L. La Ganga

Sure enough one of the articles refers to the doctor accidentally "nicking" her uterus causing massive bleeding and resulting in brain damage. I can't find any mention to "cesarean" but I can't imagine her uterus was nicked any other way.

There is mention that she won a 7.8 million dollar medical malpractice suit.

She can no longer move or talk. Her parents believe she communicates through long blinks and tears. Her ex-husband believes she is vegetative. Abbie's parents and her ex. are in court battling over whether or not she has the right to visitation with her children. So very sad.

There are so many facets to her story, but as this is a cesarean blog I'm going to comment on that.

I can't find anything about her birth story. Does anyone know what happened?

I like to hope that her cesarean was necessary. I'd like to believe that she had a trial of labour and the "difficult delivery of the third baby" refers to a emergency situation.

I hope the surgery wasn't done "just in case", or "to ensure nothing happens to the babies".

I'd like to believe that this medical mishap was come to honestly. That there was good reason to deliver her babies surgically. Mistakes do happen.

I'd like to believe that Abbie was given the chance to birth her babies naturally .

I'd like to believe these things, but I would probably be wrong.

Everyday women are told that the only way to safely deliver multiples is by cesarean.

States one article:

"While for triplets and higher-grade multiples caesarean section is the first-line mode of delivery"

And another asks:

"Is vaginal delivery in twin pregnancy still an option?"

The thing that I find, again and again, is that there are only a few small studies on any birth topic. Risks to the babies seem to be the primary concern. Risks to moms seems to be unexplored.

One thing I know I can believe is that we can birth babies naturally, even multiples. Just because we are being advised against it by the medical establishment does not mean that there is no other way.

Here is an inspiring video about twins and triplets birthed naturally:

And so Abbie Dorn I say a prayer for you. I hope you have peace in your heart.
I pray that you see your children soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New York Hospital Changing Policies.

I just read this great article I got through the ICAN Blog.

It's a New York Times article about two hospitals on Staten Island, one with an increasing cesarean rate and the other with a declining rate.

The article talks about the fact that many hospitals pay lip service to the fact that the cesarean rate is dangerously high, but have not taken dramatic steps to reduce them.

The article gives credit to Dr. Mitchell A. Maiman, the chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department the one of the two hospitals, Staten Island University Hospital, for building the goal of cesarean reduction into policy.

Some of the things that they are doing...

Dr. Maiman and his colleagues do not allow unnecessary inductions for first-time pregnancies at any point before the 41st week.

They also do not allow C-sections for no reason other than the mother wants one, stating:
“I find that most of the time, if you explain to a mother you’ll recover faster, it’s safer,” he said, “then most women will choose a vaginal delivery.”

I found that the following quote from the article to be important as it illuminates the fact that women rarely request cesareans if given good information.

"Mother-demanded C-sections are unusual enough that the policy is probably more useful to Dr. Maiman for the message it sends to doctors and patients..." (bold mine)

Dr. Maiman actively encourages VBACs. -YAY!

And I love this one:

Residents are trained not only to avoid unnecessary C-sections, but to let higher-ups know if they witness another doctor about to perform one. -Go Dr.Maiman!

Change only happens when we DO!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Woman to Woman Videos

So I've been watching some fabulous videos from Birth Matters Virginia's Video contest winners.

I particularly responded to this one called

Prevent Cesarean Surgery
It just says it so well. I love that these videos are made by women for women.

Here is the link to the Birth Matter's page containing all of the finalists:

So many passionate women. It make me feel hopeful to find these beautifully strong voices.
It strikes me that, like a choir, our voices are stronger and fuller together.
Each one of us adding to the harmony.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Story, blogs and

Finally a moment to myself (hmm and the whole wide world I guess...)

I've been really wanting to write lately and have found that I just haven't been able to fit it in.
The reasons seem to be both physical and mental. My 11 month old slept a whole 17 minutes today- all in the car seat. Can't multi-task much from from there. I'm working on excepting that I'm on the "three year chase" part of having a child, especially a boy!

I surrender to reading the same alphabet book 9 times a day.

It's also spring which for me means garden time. A time when I need to plant and weed and ready the soil. I love growing food in my yard. It makes me feel free and whole to eat things I grow myself. Some day I will start a garden blog as I keep promising all my aspiring gardener friends.

But back to this blog. I feel like I'm turning over a new leaf. I've become more self conscious. When I started posting here I had no idea about the world of blogging. I was frantically researching, trying to get some understanding of this totally surreal thing that had happened to me: the surgical birth of my son.

As I was discovering facts and information I realized I felt a need to make the things I was finding available to others. The idea of blogging came from a woman I went to high school with who has a blog about mothering. She sent me a link to it on facebook. So that's how I got here, my technological foot print.

I thought that I would have to try to get people to read what I wrote, that I would have to send them the link. I'd never heard of"google alerts".

Now I know that there are people out there who are reading what I write and I am humbled.
Thank you for those of you who have stopped by and said hello. You have encouraged me to keep doing and lending my voice to this important issue. I have recently learned that my province has the highest cesarean rate in Canada (30.4% during latest reporting period 2005).

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. I've become involved in ICAN by starting a local chapter. Meeting women who have faced these same challenges, who are scarred by their babes' birthing.

Wow(okay that is sarcastic hey it's better then a "bad word"), the more I learn about the state of birthing in the world the more dire the situation appears. Thankfully there are many pushing to keep birth holistic and empowering.

I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to cause change, to get the info out there and the result is less productivity. It seems if I want to I could see almost everything as an analogy for birth -the more you surrender the to your own flow the better.

So I do have a couple of half finished posts that I will work, but without guilt in the speed of their arrival. I will not be cynical. I will believe in change.