Sunday, May 09, 2010

What real care for life-threatening pregnancy complications looks like

I Chose Life – Had Emergency C-Section at 32 Weeks

This 19-year-old mom, dealing with a surprise pregnancy, experienced the reason third trimester abortions are required to be legal -- her life was in danger.

As you read her story, imagine that her doctor had responded to her crisis by packing her off to Wichita with a friend, where she'd have spent three days in a motel room while her life-threatening problem was dealt with. You'll pretty quickly see what a bogus crock the whole "Third trimester abortions to save the mother's life" thing is.

As soon as my doctor called me in the room and took my blood pressure. Immediately I could see something was wrong. She instantly called an ambulance to take me the one block to the hospital. I was scared and did not know what was happening, I just knew it was bad. At the hospital, I was informed that I was having complications and at 32 weeks they were going to delivery my baby. I called my sister and told her what was going on! I needed her to be my rock. It took hours to get my blood pressure manageable. It had previously been 215 over 180, which easily can be deadly! I was going to have my baby in the next 24 to 48 hours. The doctors would give me 12 hour notice so my family can be here for the birth, my parents lived 7 hours away. My mom was ready to leave as soon as the doctor gave me my twelve hours notice. So, I sent my sister home to get sleep and I tried to rest and prepare myself for my baby. Unfortunately, two hours after sending my sister home, my condition had gone from stable to deadly. Both my baby and I were in trouble and there was NO to wait! I had to have the baby now. If not neither of us would make it. I called my sister and she rushed to get back. I was alone and in serious trouble. I had begun vomiting, and was in severe pain. The doctors did there magic and worked on settling me down. They gave me a shot for the pain and nausea! Somehow, Seven minutes later, my sister was at my side and suiting up for the C-section. I was taken into a room and was tied down to the table. My sister was with me in the room. The doctors were moving fast. There was no time to waste. It took about 5 minutes, my beautiful 3 pound 7 ounce baby boy was born! But, before I got to hear him cry or even see him the doctor had to put me under because I was becoming gravely ill! I was out for three days.

Yeah, clearly when a woman's life is in danger late in the pregnancy, it's perfectly reasonable to avoid sending her to the nearest fully equipped hospital. It's perfectly reasonable to have her travel past any number of hospitals to another state, to spend three days in a motel room with her freshly-killed baby rotting inside her, under the care of whatever friend or relative she brought with her. Clearly mothers with life-threatening late pregnancy complications don't need nurses or blood banks or operating rooms or any of that stuff. Just a fetus-killing jab through the abdomen on Day 1, packed repeatedly in the cervix with seaweed sticks, and then squat over the toilet and push! SO much safer than being taken straight to a properly equipped hospital!


OperationCounterstrike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MoonChild02 said...

What does it matter who payed the hospital bills? Maybe she did, maybe her family did, maybe her insurance did, maybe Medicare or Medicaid did. It's childbirth! What, you would rather have the government pay to kill her child than to save both lives?

Any OB/GYN knows s/he has TWO patients: the mother and the child. If the child is viable, then that doctor should save both lives, because s/he can. The mother's life can be saved by delivering the baby, whether he's alive or dead. Why kill the child when you can just deliver him? It's better to save both than to kill one needlessly. Abortion of a viable child is a betrayal of the Hippocratic Oath.

OperationCounterstrike said...

More to the point, this hospital visit and surgery was MORE dangerous, MORE traumatic to the woman.

Pushing a dead baby out is nasty but it's much less traumatic and dangerous than having your belly and uterus slit open.

Christina is clearly not an ob/gyn. C-section is major surgery, a last-resort measure.

OperationCounterstrike said...

RE: "Any OB/GYN knows s/he has TWO patients: the mother and the child."

Wrong. Everyone who has ever done an OB/GYN rotation knows: when a patient comes requesting an abortion, then SHE and only she is your patient. The fetus is not the patient. The fetus is the patient's chief complaint.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Christina, you are confused about the meaning of the phrase "life-threatening pregnancy". It doesn't mean the pregnant woman is in danger NOW. It means she WILL be in danger IF she completes the pregnancy. Until labor, she doesn't need to be in a hospital; an hotel room will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

Christina -
Do you believe that in some cases a woman should be forced to have a C-section? Does a woman have a right to refuse a C-section, or should she be convicted of a crime if she refuses and the baby is born unhealthy or stillborn?

I would argue that there's a big difference between saying that (1) abortion is wrong versus (2) that women should be compelled by the state to undergo serious surgery that threatens her life (and leaves her with a hefty medical bill despite her refusal.)

Abortion and cesarean sections are both unnatural procedures, and neither should be forced.

Suzanne said...

As someone who's had three c-sections, the idea that it's more traumatic than pushing out a dead baby is a crock.

C-sections are not always "last resort" measures. They are actually chosen by OB\GYN's precisely because they prevent one from being sued. In fact, some will schedule C-sections at your request. My two last c-sections were scheduled.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Your last two c-sections were scheduled because after you have one c-section it's more dangerous to push out a vaginal birth, you could tear open the scar, so they do another c-section.

That's a DISADVANTAGE of a c-section, not an argument for them!

Christina Dunigan said...

OC, are you seriously proposing that a responsible doctor would have counseled this patient to AVOID a fully equipped hospital, staffed by medical professionals and stocked with blood products and medications, and instead spend three days in a motel room attended by a layman?

Are you seriously proposing that adding an additional intrusive procedure to kill the fetus would have promoted this woman's health?

Are you seriously proposing that delaying the termination of this pregnancy for at least three days would have been a better course of action than to immediately terminate the pregnancy? That making sure that the baby came out DEAD was more important than making sure the baby came out IMMEDIATELY?

Kathy said...

Your last two c-sections were scheduled because after you have one c-section it's more dangerous to push out a vaginal birth, you could tear open the scar, so they do another c-section.

The risk of uterine rupture during a VBAC is less than 1% (about 0.2% in a natural labor), and not all of these ruptures are problematic -- some are symptomless "windows" in the uterus which do not cause problems. The chief danger in a uterine rupture is to the baby -- you know, the patient that OBs "don't have." While any internal injury can cause problems to the mom, VBAC is safer for moms than C-sections, and only slightly more risky for babies. Oh, and the usual time for uterine rupture is not during pushing but during early labor dilation.

Lauren said...


Please explain how waiting an extra 3 days (at least) to end the pregnancy would have been in any way beneficial to the mother.

I'll wait.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Lauren, actually, the patient's story is so incoherent it's hard to say in THIS case. WHAT complications was she having? Doesn't say. Was she already having contractions? Doesn't say. WHY was her blood-pressure so hard to control? Doesn't say. So I can't really speak to this case.

The point is a bigger one. Christina is saying that women with life-threatening pregnancies should have c-sections rather than late-term abortions GENERALLY. That's wrong. C-sections are major surgery, the option of last resort. Exposes you to all the risks of major surgery including general (or full-spinal) anaesthesia, and risk of needing a transfusion which can carry so-far-unknown blood-bourne diseases (that's how the sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov got AIDS--during a surgery in the early 1980s). In spite of what some non-doctors on this thread are saying, c-sect is more traumatic than any number of late-term abortions. Sure some docs do them to avoid being sued, but that's a form of MALPRACTICE called "defensive medicine".

Kathy, you are misquoting me. The baby IS one of the OB's patients IF THE MOTHER WANTS THE BABY. You should have written the baby is the aptient the ABORTION DOC doesn't have.

Christina Dunigan said...

OC, if the mother goes all the way to the third trimester, and the reason for the abortion is life-threatening maternal health issues, it seems pretty straightforward that she wants the baby.

What I want to know is why, as the first step in ending a life-threatening pregnancy, would somebody stop to do extra steps to kill the fetus first? What benefit does stabbing the baby in the heart and killing it confer upon the mother's physical health?

If this pregnancy is threatening to her health and needs to be ended quickly, what benefit can there be to having her travel out of state, rather than keeping her close to home?

If the pregnancy is threatening to her health and needs to be ended quickly, how would it promote her health to have her in a motel attended by a layman, rather than in a hospital tended by trained staff?

OperationCounterstrike said...

Granny Grump, the purpose of doing an abortion rather than a live delivery is, in the abortion you can reduce the size of the fetus' skull, so you don't have to stretch the cervix open as far as for a live birth.

For third trimester abortions, you don't NEED a hospital. A hospital stay is expensive and consumes a scarce resource (hospital bed, care). You try to avoid it if you can.

Maybe I'm misunderstnading your question. Are you seriously asking why you try to avoid hospital time if you can??? When was the last time you went to the hospital? Would you want to be there if you ddidn't need to???

Very puzzling question you have posted.

But I agree with you that no one should have to travel out of state for an abortion. Abortions, including late-term abortions, should be available in ALL states.

OperationCounterstrike said...

We should make it a requirement for certification in OB/GYN in all states, that you prove you are competent to do abortions at all stages in pregnancy. If you can't (or won't) do abortions, then you have no business being allowed to call yourself a GYN.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Let me make a guess, Christina, that you grew up in a wealthy household, right?

You give evidence over and over again, of having a rich daddy so when you needed money you could just ask him for it. First in the earlier thread, you suggested that ordinary people could afford to raise genetically defective babies, as if the money for that comes from the air, and now you don't seem to understand that hospital time is a valuable, scarce resource which should be concerved.

So I'm guessing you have had money all your life, never had to concerve anything. Am I right? Do tell.

army_wife said...

OC, I'm not a doctor but uncontrollably high blood pressure during pregnancy would make me think of pre-eclampsia/eclampsia.

Also, whether or not someone is "wanted" does not determine their personhood. There were plenty of folks who haven't "wanted" me over the course of my lifetime but it didn't make me less of a person or less deserving of basic human rights.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Army_Wife, you are right, that wanted-ness does not determine personhood. Fetuses are persons, wanted or not. But personhood does not justify banning abortion.

If something is inside your body, then you are entitled to kill it, no matter what it is. EVEN if it's a person. That's part of what we mean by the word "your" in the phrase "your body".

If ALL the people in the whole humping world were assembled inside your body, then you'd be entitled to holocaust them.

If Almighty God himself were located inside your body, then you'd be entitled to kill God.

If something is inside your body then you are entitled to kill it. No exceptions.

Kathy said...

Not according to our Constitution, 5th amendment.

Lauren said...

OC, please back up your assertion that 3rd trimester abortion is safer than c-section or induced labor.


Anonymous said...

If something is inside your body, then you are entitled to kill it, no matter what it is. EVEN if it's a person. That's part of what we mean by the word "your" in the phrase "your body".

And if you are inside my house, I have the right to kill you. Even if you are a person. Even if you are there because I forcibly put you there without your consent. That's part of what we mean by the word "my" in the phrase "my house."

Nice try, in other words.

OperationCounterstrike said...

MaryCatelli, your house is different from your body. We ROUTINELY force people to share external property. But we NEVER force them to share what is inside the body.

Lauren, the fact that ANY abortion is safer than c-sect can be verified in any OB/GYN textbook.

OperationCounterstrike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OperationCounterstrike said...

Or you can use common sense. A c-section involves an incision in the belly and in the uterus, several inches long. An abortion, even a third-trimester abortion, doesn't involve cutting the patient at all.

Kathy said...

OC, you're wrong. According to ACOG's Green Journal there is a 38% increased risk of death for every additional week of gestation. At 17 weeks, it's 2.4/100,000 and at 18 weeks it's 3.3/100,000. Therefore, by 30 weeks, the risk of death is over 80/100,000 while maternal mortality for all causes (supposedly including abortion, although probably not actually doing so) is about 13/100,000.

By 17-18 weeks, the risk of death from abortion (given in this ACOG article as 2.4 & 3.3/100,000 respectively) is the same as or higher than the risk of death in a vaginal birth. Since many women have unplanned C-sections, you can't be sure that you'll have a vaginal birth, but by 23 weeks gestation, the risk of death by abortion is greater than the current official maternal mortality.

And this is using official numbers which, as Christina has pointed out numerous times, and also the other PDF I referenced demonstrates, are falsely low with many abortion-related deaths not being counted at all.

Plus, since this French study demonstrated that all deaths occurring during or after childbirth were reported, most of the abortion-related deaths were not, and were only identified from the survey given to doctors as part of the study. I doubt the situation is much different in America, except perhaps to be worse. If, however, you have some *facts* (as opposed to elephant-throwing and saying "it's in obstetrics textbooks -- which, btw, are only as good as the data on which they're based, and if they're based on the false data from the CDC, that ain't saying much!) to show that abortion mortality is closely watched and identified, I'd like to see it. And I know Christina would like to see it too.

Christina Dunigan said...

OC, most late abortions aren't about collapsing the fetal skull. They kill the baby by stabbing it in the heart. The baby is the same size, just dead. How, exactly, does this improve the mother's chance of surviving the life threatening health crisis?

How does a woman whose life is in such danger that the pregnancy must be terminated have her safety improved by avoiding a hospital?

You're not explaining any of this. You're making excuses, like "a motel is cheaper." Then why don't we deliver all babies in motels? Why only the dead babies of women in the middle of life-threatening health problems?

Anonymous said...

your house is different from your body

Nice try, again. Note the bait and switch -- you tried to claim it was the yourness that was the trick.

But we NEVER force them to share what is inside the body.

Flat out lie. You can not reclaim your kidney once you have donated it. You can chose not to share in the first place, but once you have done so -- by, for instance, conceiving a child -- you must go on sharing if it requires slicing up someone else's body to stop.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Marycatelli, the reason you cannot reclaim a kidney once you have donated it is, after you have donated it, it's not in your body any more.

What is inside your body belongs to you and only to you. Not to your government and not to your fetus.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Granny Grump, in some late-term abortions you suck out the contents of the skull and make it smaller, after you have induced fetal demise with the intracardiac injection. Don't you remember all the fuss about "partial-birth" abortions??? It was your side that published diagrams of this.

In any case, the skull continues getting bigger right up to delivery (and afterwards). Even a late term abortion spares you a little cervix-stretching, even if you DONT decompress the skull. The skull of a 9-month fetus is significantly larger than that of an 8-month fetus. Not a huge amount larger--a small but significant amount.

You said "in the middle of life-threatening problems" again. I'll say this one more time: you do the abortion as a PREVENTATIVE, you do it BEFORE the pregnancy becomes an immediate danger. A "dangerous" pregnancy only means it WOULD be dangerous if you delivered it full-term; it does not mean the pregnancy is dangerous YET. The idea is to abort it BEFORE it threatens the mother's life. So that she doesn't HAVE to go to the hospital.

You ask why we don't deliver babies in hotel rooms? Because delivering a live baby UNLIKE abortion, is very dangerous and in one out of four or five cases requires immediate major surgery. Abortions, unlike childbirth, are safe enough for hotel rooms.

I have to say I'm starting to wonder if you may just be too stupid to understand something as complicated as gynecology. I have explained why late-term abortion is better than hi-risk delivery several times in several different ways and you keep repeating the same questions. Maybe you should stick to less rigorous, easier-to-understand subjects.

Christina Dunigan said...

So, OC, basically you're saying, "Fuck antibiotics and blood banks and modern surgical techniques and all that. Bring back the CRANIOCLAST! Nothing says High Quality Twenty First Century Medical Care quite like crushing the skull of a viable infant!"

You're calling for a return to pre-antibiotics days, pre blood-bank days, to a day when you just crushed the baby's skull.

If you like crunching noises so much, just eat some goddam potato chips, okay? You don't need to kill viable infants just to get that satisfying crunch.

Kathy said...

OC, it is your ignorance which is appalling and laughable. Most C-sections are not life-saving, for either mother or baby -- the huge increase in C-sections is more due to doctor impatience and/or defensive medicine.

Certainly, there are some women for whom pregnancy is a life-threatening condition; but to say that abortions should be done as a preventive measure would require a 100% abortion rate, since it is possible (though not likely) for normal pregnancies to suddenly become high-risk for one reason or another. Most women who are pregnant actually want their babies to live, so would not choose abortion even if they understand that the risk to themselves is greater if they continue the pregnancy; women who don't care if their babies live or die or who want their babies not to live to be born can choose abortions for several months prior to viability.

Nulono said...

If we're talking about abortions to save the mother's life, we're talking about mothers who want their babies.

OC, if I drugged, shrunk, and swallowed you whole, would that be okay? After all, you'd be alive until you were slowly and painfully digested by stomach acid, at which point you would be inside my body.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Nuolo: re: "OC, if I drugged, shrunk, and swallowed you whole, would that be okay? "


Kathy, you wrote: "say that abortions should be done as a preventive measure would require a 100% abortion rate, since it is possible (though not likely) for normal pregnancies to suddenly become high-risk for one reason or another."

That's a candidate for stupidest thing I've ever read on the internet. Abortion should be done as a preventative measure IF the pregnancy is high risk AND the patient wants the abortion. Otherwise, no. Doioioioiioi!

Nulono said...

1: What would be wrong with that? You're apparently fine with omnicide that takes place within one's body, so why not 1 murder?
2: If it's about the "right to choose", a "life of the mother" exception is irrelevant.

Kathy said...

That's a candidate for stupidest thing I've ever read on the internet.
I was just doing a little Proverbs 26:5 on you. :-)

The point is, that most women who want abortions will get them before a pregnancy becomes high-risk; and those who become high-risk in the middle of pregnancy want their babies, so wouldn't kill their babies then anyway. Talk about "Doioioioiioi!"

Christina Dunigan said...

First of all, Deb, nobody is saying it's "no big deal."

What we're saying is that if the woman's life is in danger, no responsible doctor is going to send her traveling out of state with a friend or family member to spend three days in a motel room, cared for by her companion. He'll deal with the situation in an adequately equipped hospital. And I still can't see why you need to stop and vacuum the baby's brain out if you already have the shoulders -- the widest part -- delivered.

Christina Dunigan said...

BTW, Deb, are you saying that when you started hemorrhaging, your doctor sent you home and told you to make arrangements to travel out of state to spend three days bleeding in a motel room?

Nulono said...

What about your first child turning out disabled made you not be pro-life? Do you love your child less because (s)he is not perfect? Do you wish death upon this child and all similarly "defective" people?

Nulono said...

Wait, so you turned down transfusions?