C-Section: His Story, Part I – Arrogant Ignorance

**My husband asked me if he could write a series of guest posts on my blog… my c-section from HIS point of view, the point of view from the dad. So this is post #1, where he starts with the prenatal care we received and how it probably should have been a sign of things to come…**

Today I’m going to start with the background…I think that like the biggest flaw that the young suffer from is arrogant ignorance, and we were no different with our birth story. Emily had communicated with me how important a natural birth was to her and that’s what we would have. I mean, we both agreed we were doing a natural birth, with no medications or medical interventions, so that’s what we’d have, right (arrogance)? I spent the pregnancy preparing us financially for the changes that would take place and reading plenty about how to be an adequate dad (figuring out how to be a good dad would be a bonus, but I at least wanted to be adequate). I wish I had even taken 15 minutes to search about birth stories and to learn about cases of unnecessary medical interventions on unprepared women who had their opportunity at natural birth taken away. If either of us had even considered what would happen to us as a possibility then there’s no way we would have gone into this so unprepared (ignorance). My biggest error was the arrogance to think that just because we wanted a natural birth, we would get it without a fight.

Our first mistake was in choosing our doctor. We chose a woman with her own private practice who was strongly recommended by a few people close to our families (stupidity on our part, as none of them had babies delivered by her). At first we thought her frankness and to the point attitude was admirable. She would cut us off and finish our sentences for us, giving us the answers that we wanted to hear (she’s snappy! She’ll stick up for us!). I think we both thought that she was legitimately in favor of natural birth and (her and her colleagues) would do everything they could to give us the birth we (Emily) wanted. That’s what she told us, so there’s no way she could have been deceiving us, right (arrogance and ignorance)? I feel like Emily and I were being sexist in assuming that a seemingly strong woman would be able to provide us with the birth that we wanted, simply because she was a woman with kids of her own. I don’t remember for sure, but I don’t think we ever asked her about her own birth story and whether or not she had medical interventions and how that affected her.

As time went on, every visit became less and less pleasant. She was becoming colder and colder. As for that “snappiness” that we liked so much…yea…it turns out she was just a huge bitch who didn’t want to listen. At some point I felt like she started treating us like spoiled children who needed to be put in their place at every visit.  Suddenly, she was on the defensive at every visit (almost like she had some preconceived notion that we were going to sue her if even the slightest thing went wrong), was completely snobby and couldn’t give two shits about our birth plan (when Emily handed her the birth plan she didn’t even look at it for a microsecond before handing it back). All of this made me very uneasy, but at this point we still trusted “the doctor” in spite of her obnoxious character flaws.

At our visit in October, we were diagnosed with the unbelievably tragic and irreversible condition that only the most abused fetuses get: “aged placenta.” I’m sure this is a legitimate medical condition, but it was pretty obvious that the methods the doctor used to determine this were anything but scientific. We had been at Emily’s parents’ house, whose dad smokes in the basement, so we must have smelled like cigarette smoke, so naturally the doctor assumed Emily was smoking and probably in the parking lot on her walk to the office. After accusing Emily multiple times of smoking, the doctor claimed she could tell the placenta looked “aged” just seconds after the ultrasound tech flipped the switch. Aged placenta is a possible side effect of a woman smoking while pregnant. In our case, it was nothing more than posturing by the doctor and for what reason, I don’t know. We were adamant about the fact that Emily realized that there was a baby in her stomach and did not suddenly start smoking to improve the fetus’s health. All I know is that at this visit she made some decision in her mind, most likely wrote it down in her chart (that Emily was smoking) and every encounter with her and her practice after that would be based on this irrefutable fact. Emily and I left that visit, scared shitless with our tails tucked between our legs trying to figure out how we screwed up so bad. Emily wasn’t smoking, so what would cause the placenta to be “aged.” Would our baby be born with 3 arms? A 2nd penis? I knew that I shouldn’t have gotten emily that Wendy’s and all that chocolate on the way home from work, but I didn’t know it would cause this…

We had a decision to make…stick with this doctor who suddenly seemed to be in favor of medical intervention, had absolutely no bedside manner and lied to us without batting an eye or try to move on to someone else. We decided that we were too late in the pregnancy to make a switch, since we were already in the 3rd trimester. We definitely didn’t understand how big of a role this doctor’s practice would play in our birth (our biggest error of ignorance) and thought we could still get the natural birth that we wanted.

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