I was at the diner enjoying breakfast and coffee with two of my mommy friends the other day with all three of our babies in tow. As we stood up to leave, a kindly gentleman across the aisle saw our babies and told us that one of his daughters was expecting twins any day. We congratulated him enthusiastically, asked him if they knew the sexes (he didn’t), and asked how his daughter was feeling.
His daughter was tired and uncomfortable, he shared, especially since she had a three year old at home as well.
“Wow!” we all exclaimed. “She’s going to have her hands full!”
“Yes, she is!” he continued. “She’s going to have a cesarean. Her doctor said it’s just easier with twins, instead of doing it natural.”
“Oh?’ I asked, biting my tongue.
“Yeah. I guess with twins one of them could be breech, so it’s easier to do a cesarean.”
After talking a few more minutes, I congratulated him again and told him we hoped everything went well with his daughter’s delivery and that she got some relief soon. I left with one question burning in my mind:
A cesarean is easier for whom?
It’s certainly easier for the doctor (or at least faster). She calls when she feels contractions, comes in, gets her epidural, and he gets the babies out within a half hour. No waiting around for hours, no concern over a breech baby, no having to sit through two vaginal deliveries.
I’ll even give you that it’s easier for mom at the time, since she doesn’t have to go through hours of labor. But it sure won’t be easier for her during recovery (two newborns and a three year old?!?). It won’t be easier for her in early bonding times to pick up, nurse, and care for her babies.
It won’t be necessarily be any easier for the babies’ health, and it won’t be easier for them during recovery since mom can’t efficiently tend to their needs.
It won’t be easier for dad, as he will have to help mom out a lot more during recovery time than he would after a vaginal delivery, since mom will have a much more difficult time getting around.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. If mom needs a cesarean, I think that she should definitely get one and then be prepared with extra postpartum support. Even if she was given the options and all the information, then chose a cesarean, then that would be just fine. At least then it was an informed decision.
But to be told it’s “just easier?” To not give vaginal delivery a chance? To section “just in case” of a breech? To not be told that some OBs will perform vaginal breeches under careful watch? To assume that all twins should be delivered by cesarean?
I didn’t say a word since I didn’t know the whole situation. Perhaps she really does need a cesarean for some other reason, or perhaps this is a completely informed choice. I suppose my rants are only hypothetical. However, I am sure that this situation is not unique, and that there are many women who are not even told that vaginal birth with twins is an option.
Here’s a video on the natural delivery of twins and triplets, for moms who are considering trying for a vaginal birth with multiples. It is inspiring and encouraging to moms of multiples who want to go for a natural birth. I know that not all twins (or triplets) can or should be born vaginally, but I do think it is the doctor’s responsibility to give mom her options and encourage her to choose the best route for her and her babies.