Dr. Amy over at the Skeptical OB has a great post about that rare (but unfortunately, not rare enough) creature, the Mater Sanctimonius, commonly known as The Sanctimommy. Amy describes her attributes far better than I could, so go over there and have a look…I’ll wait. .
I’ve come across some Sanctimommy doozies in my day, some of whom have even commented here. But I think this particular specimen takes the cake:
I think many of us walk a fine line between wanting to know what’s going on in the world, and being sorry we ever asked. Thanks to the power of Twitter, I have been able to cyber-witness mothers everyday in hospitals all over this country being rolled off to the OR for their cesareans – all Tweeted live by the expectant father. It’s not hard to tell by a quick glance at the blinkies on the side of my blog that I am no fan of cesarean deliveries, and I’m not one to hide my feelings on the matter either. Science and evidence are on my side, and I know it. I realize this means I’m putting myself in a challenging position by exposing myself to certain Tweets in Twitterland.
Oh, they just make it too easy. If you have a nifty application like TweetDeck or Seesmic, you can perform a quick search on any word, and it will open a column that is continuously populated with tweets that contain that searched word. Right now I have a column open for the term “BFing” (or breastfeeding) and one for the term “cesarean.”
Almost every day I see a tweet or two come in from a dad in a delivery room somewhere in America’s heartland, saying something to the effect of “labor’s a bust, we’re going with the cesarean.” And of course, being who I am, my heart drops just a little. I can’t not say something (more on this later). So here is the transcript from yesterday’s encounter:
TheDad: Thank god for the epidural. She’s in labor getting close! Exciting!
TheDad: Doing cesarean in bout half an hour after no progress from baby with 2 hours of pushing
(Here’s where I come in)
Me: Get rid of the epidural, and she probably won’t need the cesarean (they r bad news). Seriously. That’s what worked for me.
TheDad: it’s only bad whentoo strong to feel anything. Babies head toobig nothing to do with epidural
Me: it’s bad when she can’t move to reposition the baby. If she was able to move, baby’s head is likely to fit. Avoid cesarean.
Me: and btw, “big baby” and “big head” are good excuses for docs to cut, and 90% of the time they are wrong about size.
TheDad: of course she can move to reposition the baby. Epi doesn’t mean handicapped. It’s not rocket science. Some heads are too
TheDad: big and some hip bones are too small and don’t move.
Me: i’m a small woman who birthed a 10 lb baby after the doctors said I never could. Doctors love cesareans. Very sad.
TheDad: great for you. Unfortunately not all womens bones cooperate
Me: we always blame the woman’s body. Our bodies are not a lemon. Good luck with baby, I wish Mom a speedy recovery. Ican-online.org
Now, I realize that it seems completely ludicrous that I would expect some stranger to take my advice over Twitter. I am under no delusion that this man is going to turn to his wife whilst she’s being prepped for the OR and say “Honey, unplug the spinal, this woman on Twitter says you shouldn’t have a cesarean.” And I’d surely die of shock if she actually turned to him and said “Really? A stranger on Twitter said so? Okay, unhook me Doc! I’m delivering this baby through my vagina instead.”
No, no, it’s not like I really think that’s going to happen. So why do I bother? Why do I upset myself, and undoubtedly upset this expecting dad on the most important day of his whole life? I promise this is not nearly as selfish as it sounds. Or at least I hope not.
Yes, I understand that I don’t know any of the details about this couple’s unique situation. Maybe there was a really, really good reason why she needed a surgical delivery. The issue is, though, this situation is hardly “unique.” If people only knew how their cesareans played out like scripted screenplays, they might feel cheated and lied to. The Business of Being Born did an excellent job of creating a cartoon out of this all-too-common situation. Everyone thinks their cesarean was “necessary” and an “emergency” when in reality so few of them really are. I want people to know this. I want to help them avoid this. I want them to avoid the pain and trauma my cesarean caused me.
My intentions are pure – but you know what they say about Intentions and that Paved Road to Hell… The truth is, I can’t help it. I have always felt some unshakeable urge to convince others of my argument, especially that which I am passionate about, even if it may not be the appropriate time or place for such an exchange.
I don’t have anything against VBACs per se. After all, I’ve had two of them. But if my husband (who, thankyougod, isn’t on Twitter and certainly wasn’t on it back in 1997) were to be on the receiving end of an exchange like that, I might find myself – just for an immature, spiteful moment, mind – wanting to sign up for an elective repeat CS right then and there.
If you have any similar examples, feel free to link to them in the comments.