"My C-Section was not a Walk in the Park!!

Tonya had wanted to try a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). She had done her homework, read the pros and cons and felt confident that she would do well. Her OB was supportive and reassuring. "We'll be here for you, watching you and the baby carefully. If there is any danger, we can then do surgery."

Unfortunately, her doctor had a family emergency the week before Tonya's due date. On Tonya's last office visit she saw a new physician in the practice. The doctor was unrelenting. "Why would you want to put yourself through all that, he said. "We can be in and out with a c-section in 2o minutes." Tonya saw the diplomas hanging on the wall, the white coat, and the stethoscope around the doctor's neck. "And, wouldn't you feel terrible if something went wrong because of your choice," the doctor added.

The section was planned and executed. And, it was NOT a walk in the park!

Listening to Mothers, a survey just released by Childbirth Connection (http://www.motherfriendly.org/pdf/Lothian_NMSO_2009_CIMS_Forum.pdf), confirms the fact that women are often (or usually) not given accurate and adequate information about the risks and complication of c-sections. Like 1/3 of the women in the survey, Tonya had significant pain at the incision which interfered with breastfeeding. Since 38% of women reported it "too hard to get breastfeeding going" Tonya found out that placing a baby right on an incision site does not help! When the area healed she was left with itching and numbness for two months as were 61% of women in the survey.

Tonya is determined to be a breastfeeding mother. Fortunately, she has a supportive family and a doula next door who keeps checking in on her. Tonya is proud of her persistence, her commitment to do the right thing now! She wants to trust her intuition about parenting more often in the future. Diplomas on the wall matter, but Tonya believes a mother can trust her body and her spirit and know when medical help is needed.

Tonya's son is thriving and Tonya is back to her exercise class. Though busy as a new mom, she takes special time to volunteer to tell her story at a local prenatal class. She helps other moms find their voice and the ability to say to the medical community just what they want and need.