Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Sterilization Issue

I thought I should follow up on my last post about meeting with the consultant.  The specialist who is overseeing my maternity care offered to sterilize me while I'm already cut open for the Cesarean.

I was not expecting him to discuss this and my immediate response was to say no.

After thinking about it further and discussing it with my husband, we definitely decided against it.  Even though I think this will be our last kid, neither of us felt right about me being sterilized (for multiple reasons).

At my next appointment with my midwife, I mentioned it.  She said that the doctor had offered to sterilize some of her other patients as well.  In the midwife's opinion, this was a really bad idea for several reasons.  First of all, it's not fair to ask a pregnant woman to make that decision.  Secondly, the failure rate for sterilizations performed during c-sections is pretty high.  In other words, there's a higher than normal chance that it won't even work.  Thirdly, it makes recovery even more complicated and delays the time until the mother is able to hold/breastfeed/bond with/care for their newborn baby.

Logically, I can understand why it was offered to me.  I don't have a great birth track record as I've had 2 c-sections already (one an emergency and one a no-alternative elective) and an ectopic pregnancy.  Emotionally and morally, though, I feel that it was wrong to suddenly push that decision upon me.  It particularly bothers me that there was no preparation for that discussion and no further information given about it.  Normally for a medical procedure you'll be given information to study beforehand and be able to make an informed decision.  This was a surprise. 

Women who have c-sections often struggle with mixed feelings as it is.  Pregnancy and giving birth is supposed to be such a natural process.  It is, after all, what our bodies are meant to do.  When you have to have a c-section, it can leave you feeling inadequate or like a failure.  It can completely change your birth experience and the way that you begin motherhood (not to mention that the recovery influences your first weeks with your baby).  I'm grateful that they are able to do c-sections as I couldn't have had my kids otherwise.  However, it's taken me awhile to feel completely at peace with having sections.  I really don't need the added emotional baggage of being sterilized at the same time, and I imagine most women would find it difficult as well (even if they want the birth control).

No comments:

Post a Comment