No C-Section?! YOU Try Pushing For Three Hours!

You’ll hear plenty of moms complain about their C-sections, but you’ll never hear THIS Babe complain.  I asked them for a zipper in case I decided to go again. But now, doctors want to take this away.  They want women in the midst of the most horrendous pain some will ever experience to enjoy a few more hours of it. They’re calling for us to push for at least three hours before considering a C-section. Holy Christmas!

Here’s what Dr. Oz has to say about what three hours of pushing can do:
“Take a genetic predisposition, add a 9-pound baby and 3 hours of pushing … something is going to give.”

And lots of women are AGREEING with the “push longer” dudes!:
“With an epidural there is really little reason to rush anything. I slept through the worst of it with my first- 17 hours of labor…” (comment on NPR C-section article)

I’d happily Jimmy Cagney-grapefruit that babe right in her kisser.

(Let’s All Pretend This Isn’t Sexist.)

I really get…(deep breath)…irritated when women assume that because THEIR menstrual cramps feel a certain way or THEIR labor pains felt a certain way, that EVERY WOMAN’S cramps or labor pains  must.  be.  exactly.  like.  hers. (Worse when men spout know-it-all sh#t about women’s experiences.)

With my firstborn, a vag delivery, I had only 17 hours of labor–fairly average.  In my case, fourteen of those hours were filled with viciously agonizing 1-minute back-to-back contractions.  

Had there been a loaded gun next to the bed, I would have killed myself gratefully–without one thought for my baby.  No, I am not exaggerating, and this was WITH an epidural.  

I was out of my mind with pain.  I had 20 seconds of each 60 to try to breathe through barely-tolerable pain before a 10-second torture crescendo up to please-God-let-me-die.  The epidural meds had worn off almost immediately, and I couldn’t have more because my blood pressure had plummeted to the point that my teeth were chattering.

Classic. Always Gets a Laugh. I Was Definitely Hysterical At the Time.

Even though my entire body clenched every 60 seconds, my doctor and nurses told me that the pains were FIVE minutes apart.  How could these experts know my pain intervals better than I?  Because a magic belt they’d velcro’d around my middle told them so.   It was only when a nurse accidentally used her eyes on ME instead of on the belt that the discrepancy was explained.

“Oh.”, she said, moving the belt six inches lower.  “You’re one of those non-productive laborers.”  “What does THAT mean?” I gasped out.  “Your uterus contracts at the BOTTOM, pushing the baby IN instead of OUT.  The belt was missing all those low contractions.”

S’Okay. I’m Cool.

Suddenly, the experts agreed with the patient. Everybody starting rushing around to get me to the delivery room.  Too bad that now there wasn’t one available…  Two hours later, we did finally get one, after only another 120 cycles of agony.

By now, the baby had been squeezed by my baby-hating uterus for all those hours, and I had no energy left to push. None. The vaginal delivery of my son was accomplished by the grace of a nurse bearing down on my belly, squeezing him out like toothpaste, and my doctor attaching a silicone yarmulke to his head and sucking him out like a tapioca pearl.

Yes. It Looked EXACTLY Like This.

There was quite a long and tense time getting him to breathe–why do you think THAT would be? As for me, my last resources gone, I was aware of my new baby for only seconds before I passed out.

Yes.  Mine, At 1 5 Days Old.

Yes. He’s mine. 5 days old.

After that single vaginal delivery, it took six weeks until I could sit normally, without cringing. I needed surgery for a partial prolapse of the uterus, a vaginal tear, and a rectocele. A couple of years later, I needed the same again. And then a THIRD time. (Lupus is a connective tissue disease. Once my parts are broken, even if they’re re-glued, they don’t always stay stuck together very well.)

Insert Part A Into Part B and Cross Fingers.

Intl Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics on causes of rectoceles:
“Increased labor duration and weight of the fetus directly influence perineal damage and denervation of the pelvic floor. This neuropathy can lead to weakening of pelvic floor muscles and development of a rectocele.”
Fast forward a year to my second delivery. At the hospital at 7:30, delivered by 8:30, happily nuzzling my new son–both of us wide-awake and pain-free. I felt so terrific that, when no nurse responded to the call button that night, I got out of my own bed and moved the furniture in the room because it felt too cramped. (I popped a couple of the surgical staples. Who cares if my scar’s a wee bit “off”?) The incision hurt a little, but I could sit and bend and take better care of myself than after my vag delivery. No tearing, no prolapse, no aching every time I had to use the john.

Yes.  Mine Also.  2 Days Old.

Yes. Mine also. 2 days old.

Is it coincidence that the new guidelines come out just as the pendulum is swinging toward more accountability of costs for hospitals? Could C-sections be more expensive for them?

My dears, we don’t live in the effing dark ages. In pain? Worried about the effect of drugs on your baby? Worry about the effect of your pain’s STRESS on the baby! Hellish, unproductive labor, or hours of pushing? Think about the stress and physical damage these might cause. Possibly even long-term. (Google “epigenetics”.)

“Saves time. Saves wear and tear. Gives me a place to put my keys afterward.”

What the Heck is a “Rectocele”?

A rectocele big enough to matter is when your vaginal/rectal wall gets so stretched (usually from childbirth trauma) that when you try to poop, instead of going down and out, the poop bulges forward inside your vaginal canal (tube). You might have to reach up your vagina with a finger and push backward to push the poop down and out. Totally gross. Surgery can fix it, if you can afford your share of costs (another way single and divorced women get f’d). If it isn’t fixed, it can turn into a fistula, which is when the wall tears, and poop comes out your vagina. Talk about gross.

Belly Sexism?
An ob surgeon later told me that my cut had been done higher than anyone else’s she’d ever seen (almost to my navel). (Outside cut: horizontal; Inside cut: vertical.) Afterward, my abdomen felt “floppy”, and no amount of exercise would hold it in. She said this was because my ob/gyn had not sewn my muscles back together–that this was common practice! But women ob/gyns who had C-sections got THEIRS sewn back together! (If you’re saying “What the frick?!” you should be.) So: Get it in writing that if you have a C-section, your doc will rejoin ALL your abdominal fascia muscles.

‘Fess-Up Time:
Baby #2 had been only 2 lbs. when he was supposed to be 4 1/2 lbs.–my lupus (or Behcet’s) had inflamed and narrowed the umbilical cord–so I’d been experiencing his pregnancy laying on my left side like a lazy seal. I was therefore not in peak physical condition when son #1, especially joyful to see me one day, jumped up on me and broke two ribs. Laying even more still afterward, I got pneumonia. When son #2 was plucked from my body, the combined lung/ribs pain relief was so huge, my C-section was no biggie.

So since no biggie for me–MUST be no biggie for ALL women, yeah?

Not Mine, But Perfect Also

2014-03-10–shrank pics; page takin’ too long to load.
2014-03-01–added rectocele definition; shuffled last paragraphs around.
Leave a comment


  1. franv32

     /  2014/03/02

    Blimey! What a read……and it ain’t fiction. Shocking yet humorous. I’ve learned things about childbirth from this post (after spending more than my fair share of time in delivery rooms – 4 normal deliveries and 1 c section). I agree with you about the fact that we don’t live in the Dark Ages – we don’t need to cope with, quite frankly, inhuman (unhuman, antihuman?) amounts of pain; we don’t HAVE to. It should be a question of choice wherever medically possible (here in France I had to fight to get a planned C section). Either route to Baby Evacuation have their positive and negative points both for the mother and the baby but insisting that an exhausted mother has to keep pushing can only lead to a complicated and traumatic delivery.
    Hang on – I’ve done more than comment, I’ve just written a post. Apologies!

    p.s. love the blog


    • Apologies?! For an interesting, well-written, and highly-flattering-to-this-Babe comment? I SPIT on your apologies!

      Ahem! Rather: Thank you so very much for your kind words.

      Have you seen the recent umpty-teen news items (and spun-off blog posts) with variations on this headline?: C-SECTIONS CAUSE OBESITY. Released around the same time as the new standards. Perhaps coincidentally… Yet the “obesity” study’s authors explicitly state that NO causal link to C-sections is established, but should be looked into.


      • franv32

         /  2014/03/03

        Yep I did hear something of this but thought it was another Nonsense Study so ignored it. I will however, check out the link. Cheers.


  2. This kind of stuff (not your blog, the trigger for your writing) drives me mad. I couldn’t sleep last night I was composing rants in my noggin. It’s the kind of subject for me, anyway, that is so all encompassing, it is almost impossible to land on one single point. But I’m going to give it a go.
    The part that got me the most, from your story, is the floppy abdomen due to “shortcuts” in the stitching up! Is that not negligence? I.e. Criminal?
    I needed a c-section to remove a fibroid-riddled uterus – no kids, so the vaginal route was not an option. Now I wonder, is my “meno-pot” really bad craftsmanship on the part of the surgeon? This might be a tricky question to answer, but could you expand on “floppy”?


    • Hey, Maggie: Totally empathize. You’re feeling the ire I felt then. “floppy”: I am(was) skinny, muscular. After vag delivery, abdomen looked and felt the same as before within 2 weeks–not even stretch marks (yes–for reals). After C-section, felt like it was falling out of me, somehow, and I had nothing with which to pull it in. And it never felt better. I HATED it! (Oh–it also showed a deep center furrow when I tried to do a sit-up.) When ob surgeon told me about non-sewing, I of course asked “Why?”. She said docs felt fascia muscles wouldn’t heal as they had been, anyhow. That’s when I asked “YOU’VE had children–YOU had a C-section. Did you have YOUR fascia sewn back?” “Damn straight I did, and so do all the women ob’s I know.” So, re: lawsuit, keep in mind that, per her, this was considered common, medically-accepted practice. Caveats: (1) My children now adults–don’t know if this is still current practice; (2) Only have this one surgeon’s say.

      See my rant in abortion post for more sexist issues related to childbirth:


      • Thanks for the info – OK, it’s meno pot for me, then. I’ve got the ability to “suck it up” so to speak. Off to read your other post.


  3. Hahaha haha

    The nurse squeezing your baby out like toothpaste?



    • Yeah, I wasn’t laughing much at the time, but it is pretty funny now. I was SO grateful to her–and surprised! Who knew babies could be squeezed out by another person like that without squishing something else important in there? THAT’S what they should be teaching partners in those Lamaze classes:
      “Push harder!”
      “Eff that! You get on down there and push so I don’t HAVE to!”


  4. This comment wins the best comment prize:

    What adorable baby pictures! I can’t BELIEVE no one yet has commented about THAT!


  5. I decided to come here. đŸ™‚

    I would never dream of telling any woman that I knew what her birth was like. If I can have three quite different births myself, how could I possibly compare mine with someone else? I’ve never understood that attitude.

    Thank goodness for the nurse who decided to look at you like you were a person and not a malfunctioning baby-making machine.


  6. Oh, and you produce pretty gorgeous looking babies. I love that newborn, wrinkled old man stage. I was always sad when it passed all too quickly.



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