Post Cesarean Feelings Survey Release

CTBirthAdvocate

What became even more shocking to us were the replies, numbers and information we were able to obtain with this project.  I will go question by question reviewing and sharing some of the results through various posts, but first before getting into each individual question, and the comments and experiences listed, I would like to give a general overview and release of the actual poll results.

When Theresa Shebib and I embarked on a small survery about cesarean section mothers, we never imagined it would skyrocket so nearly 861 mothers worldwide.  Starting as a simple project of two cesarean mothers, and a passion for internet blogging we threw together a survey with 16 questions that peaked our own interests about other mothers experiences.

Over night the project grew a mind of its own multiplying in size a number of times. The information, numbers, and comments.  Much to our surprise many women were more open and honest than we expected. It was amazing to see the impact of social media today on this project.

What became even more shocking to us were the replies, numbers and information we were able to obtain with this project.  I will go question by question reviewing and sharing some of the results through various posts, but first before getting into each individual question, and the comments and experiences listed, I would like to give a general overview and release of the actual poll results.

Starting with question #1 : How many Cesarean Births have you had?
1 Cesarean – 67.4%   580 mothers
2 Cesareans – 23.5%   202 mothers
3 Cesareans – 6.5%    56 mothers
4 Cesareans – 2.6%   22 mothers
1 mother skipped this question

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Question #2 – Your Cesarean Birth was :
Elective or Planned : 14.8%   118 mothers
Unplanned : 39.5%  316 mothers
Emergency : 21.0%   168 mothers
Repeat Cesareans :  15.1%   121 mothers
(First was unplanned cesarean, scheduled subsequent cesareans)
First Birth was Cesarean, VBAC attempt or other births : 5.6%   45 mothers
Always attempted vaginal birth, always ended in cesarean : 3.9%   31 mothers
62 mothers skipped this question

Question #3 – If Elective or Planned, What was the reason?
Previous Birth was Cesarean, Doctor Recommended :  33.9%   112 mothers
Knew what to expect, was the birth I wanted: 10.3%  34 mothers
Fear of labor & Natural childbirth : 2.4%  8 mothers
Previous Traumatic Birth, Cesarean was Less risky : 6.4%  21 mothers
No VBAC Support or availability : 5.5%  18 mothers
Other : 56.1 %  185 mothers
531 mothers skipped this question

Question #4 – What Support did you have During Labor?
Midwife : 18.2%  152 mothers
Doula : 9.3%   78 mothers
Spouce/Partner : 90.7%   758 mothers
Family/Friend : 37.0% 309 mothers
Hospital Staff : 49.2%  411 mothers
25 mothers skipped this question
*Note, mothers were allowed to choose more than one option

Question #5 – Would you describe your experience as :
Wonderful : 27.7%   227 mothers
Empowering : 7.4%  61 mothers
Frusterating : 26.7%  219 mothers
Traumatic : 46.8% 384 mothers
Disappointing : 45.5%  373 mothers
41 mothers skipped this question
*Note, mothers were allowed to choose more than one option

Question #6 – Do You feeling like you were in control and respected through the process?
Yes : 37.4%   318 mothers
Somewhat : 35.3%  300 mothers
No : 31.4%  267 mothers
10 mothers skipped this question

Question #7 – Were you happy with your birth support team?
Yes: 71.1%  601 mothers
No : 28.9% 244 mothers
16 mothers skipped this question

Question #8 – Do you feel adequately informed about interventions, medications, and complications during labor?
Yes : 41.1%   350 mothers
No : 28.3%  241 mothers
Somewhat : 21.6%  184 mothers
Does not apply : 8.9%  76 mothers
10 mothers skipped this question

Question #9 – Do you feel you were adequetely informed about the risks of a Cesarean section?
Yes : 51.5%   434 mothers
No : 48.5% 408 mothers
19 mothers skipped this question

Question #10 – How do you feel now about your cesarean section?
It was necessary, greatful we are all ok : 48.2%   406 mothers
It could have been avoided : 25.4%   214 mothers
I wish I had made difference choices that may have not resulted in a Cesarean : 30.6%  258 mothers
Neautral/No strong feelings : 6.0%   51 mothers
It was a traumatic experience : 31.8%   268 mothers
I am angry : 22.8%   192 mothers
18 mothers skipped this question

Question #11 – Did you discuss your experience with family and friends?
Yes : 90.8%  768 mothers
No  : 9.2%  78 mothers
15 mothers skipped this question

Question #12 – Please rate your physical recovery in 1 – 10 scale.  1 being easy, 10 being difficult, painful, with compications.

1 – 16.0 % 136 mothers
2 – 12.9%  110 mothers
3 – 12.2%  104 mothers
4 – 7.0%   60 mothers
5 – 8.7%  74 mothers
6 – 8.1%  69 mothers
7 – 9.9%  84 mothers
8 – 11.5%  98 mothers
9 – 7.0%   60 mothers
10 – 6.7 %   57 mothers
9 mothers skipped this question

Question #13 – Please rate you emotional recovery in 1 – 10 scale. 1 being no issues, 10 being difficult, or PTSD.
1 – 17.9%  152 mothers
2 – 10.2%  87 mothers
3 – 7.5%   64 mothers
4 – 5.5%  47 mothers
5 – 8.7%  74 mothers
6 – 7.1%  60 mothers
7 – 11.8%   100 mothers
8 – 13.5%  115 mothers
9 – 7.7%  65 mothers
10 – 13.3%   113 mothers
12 mothers skipped this question

Question #14 – Did you seek counseling or other support?  (Support group)
Yes : 27.8%  234 mothers
No : 66.7%  561 mothers
N/A : 5.5% 46 mothers
20 skipped this question

Question # 15 – How do you plan on birthing your future children?
Elective/Repeat Cesarean : 23.3%  196 mothers
VBAC : 49.3%  416 mothers
Home Birth : 22.8%  192 mothers
Water Birth : 12.1%  102 mothers
No more children : 26.6%  224 mothers
18 mothers skipped this question

Question # 16 – Would you consider having a VBAC?
Yes : 77.5%  628 mothers
No : 22.5%  182 mothers
51 mothers skipped this question

On top of all the questions we included a box to add any additional comments, in which 302 women used to comment about their experiences and even made comments about the survey itself.
In the following posts, we will start to break this information down question by question providing quotes and comments from the real mothers who took the survey, and opinions on the numbers, and what they say for birth, especially cesarean birth today.

Danielle A. Elwood
&
Theresa Shebib co-founder of www.HealthyBabyNetwork.com

Commentary Politics

On Immigration, Major Political Parties Can’t Seem to Agree on What’s ‘Un-American’

Tina Vasquez

As far as immigration is concerned, neither the Democrats nor Republicans are without their faults, though positions taken at the conventions were clearly more extreme in one case than the other.

Read more of our coverage of the Democratic National Convention here.

Immigration has been one of the country’s most contentious political topics and, not surprisingly, is now a primary focus of this election. But no matter how you feel about the subject, this is a nation of immigrants in search of “el sueño Americano,” as Karla Ortiz reminded us on the first night of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Ortiz, the 11-year-old daughter of two undocumented parents, appeared in a Hillary Clinton campaign ad earlier this year expressing fear that her parents would be deported. Standing next to her mother on the DNC stage, the young girl told the crowd that she is an American who wants to become a lawyer to help families like hers.

It was a powerful way to kick-start the week, suggesting to viewers Democrats were taking a radically different approach to immigration than the Republican National Convention (RNC). While the RNC made undocumented immigrants the scapegoats for a variety of social ills, from U.S. unemployment to terrorism, the DNC chose to highlight the contributions of immigrants: the U.S. citizen daughter of undocumented parents, the undocumented college graduate, the children of immigrants who went into politics. Yet, even the stories shared at the DNC were too tidy and palatable, focusing on “acceptable” immigrant narratives. There were no mixed-status families discussing their deported parents, for example.

As far as immigration is concerned, neither the Democrats nor Republicans are without their faults, though positions taken at the conventions were clearly more extreme in one case than the other. By the end of two weeks, viewers may not have known whether to blame immigrants for taking their jobs or to befriend their hardworking immigrant neighbors. For the undocumented immigrants watching the conventions, the message, however, was clear: Both parties have a lot of work to do when it comes to humanizing their communities.  

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“No Business Being in This Country”

For context, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence are the decidedly anti-immigrant ticket. From the beginning, Trump’s campaign has been overrun by anti-immigrant rhetoric, from calling Mexicans “rapists” and “killers” to calling for a ban on Muslim immigration. And as of July 24, Trump’s proposed ban now includes people from countries “compromised by terrorism” who will not be allowed to enter the United States, including anyone from France.

So, it should come as no surprise that the first night of the RNC, which had the theme of “Make America Safe Again,” preyed on American fears of the “other.” In this case: undocumented immigrants who, as Julianne Hing wrote for the Nation, “aren’t just drug dealers and rapists anymorenow they’re murderers, too.”

Night one of the RNC featured not one but three speakers whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants. “They’re just three brave representatives of many thousands who have suffered so gravely,” Trump said at the convention. “Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more, nothing even close I have to tell you, than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our borders, which we can solve. We have to solve it.”

Billed as “immigration reform advocates,” grieving parents like Mary Ann Mendoza called her son’s killer, who had resided in the United States for 20 years before the drunk driving accident that ended her police officer son’s life, an “illegal immigrant” who “had no business being in this country.”

It seemed exploitative and felt all too common. Drunk driving deaths are tragically common and have nothing to do with immigration, but it is easier to demonize undocumented immigrants than it is to address the nation’s broken immigration system and the conditions that are separating people from their countries of originconditions to which the United States has contributed. Trump has spent months intentionally and disingenuously pushing narratives that undocumented immigrants are hurting and exploiting the United States, rather than attempting to get to the root of these issues. This was hammered home by Mendoza, who finished her speech saying that we have a system that cares more about “illegals” than Americans, and that a vote for Hillary “puts all of our children’s lives at risk.”

There was also Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a notorious racist whose department made a practice of racially profiling Latinos and was recently found to be in civil contempt of court for “repeatedly and knowingly” disobeying orders to cease policing tactics against Latinos, NPR reported.

Like Mendoza, Arpaio told the RNC crowd that the immigration system “puts the needs of other nations ahead of ours” and that “we are more concerned with the rights of ‘illegal aliens’ and criminals than we are with protecting our own country.” The sheriff asserted that he was at the RNC because he was distinctly qualified to discuss the “dangers of illegal immigration,” as someone who has lived on both sides of the border.

“We have terrorists coming in over our border, infiltrating our communities, and causing massive destruction and mayhem,” Arpaio said. “We have criminals penetrating our weak border security systems and committing serious crimes.”

Broadly, the takeaway from the RNC and the GOP nominee himself is that undocumented immigrants are terrorists who are taking American jobs and lives. “Trump leaned on a tragic story of a young woman’s murder to prop up a generalized depiction of immigrants as menacing, homicidal animals ‘roaming freely to threaten peaceful citizens,’” Hing wrote for the Nation.

When accepting the nomination, Trump highlighted the story of Sarah Root of Nebraska, a 21-year-old who was killed in a drunk-driving accident by a 19-year-old undocumented immigrant.

“To this administration, [the Root family’s] amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting,” Trump said. “One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.”

It should be noted that the information related to immigration that Trump provided in his RNC speech, which included the assertion that the federal government enables crime by not deporting more undocumented immigrants (despite deporting more undocumented immigrants than ever before in recent years), came from groups founded by John Tanton, a well-known nativist whom the Southern Poverty Law center referred to as “the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement.”

“The Border Crossed Us”

From the get-go, it seemed the DNC set out to counter the dangerous, anti-immigrant rhetoric pushed at the RNC. Over and over again, Democrats like Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) hit back hard against Trump, citing him by name and quoting him directly.

“Donald Trump believes that Mexican immigrants are murderers and rapists. But what about my parents, Donald?” Sánchez asked the crowd, standing next to her sister, Rep. Loretta Sánchez (D-CA). “They are the only parents in our nation’s 265-year history to send not one but two daughters to the United States Congress!”

Each speech from a Latino touched on immigration, glossing over the fact that immigration is not just a Latino issue. While the sentiments were positiveillustrating a community that is thriving, and providing a much-needed break from the RNC’s anti-immigrant rhetoricat the core of every speech were messages of assimilation and respectability politics.

Even in gutsier speeches from people like actress Eva Longoria, there was the need to assert that her family is American and that her father is a veteran. The actress said, “My family never crossed a border. The border crossed us.”

Whether intentional or not, the DNC divided immigrants into those who are acceptable, respectable, and worthy of citizenship, and those—invisible at the convention—who are not. “Border crossers” who do not identify as American, who do not learn English, who do not aspire to go to college or become an entrepreneur because basic survival is overwhelming enough, what about them? Do they deserve to be in detention? Do their families deserve to be ripped apart by deportation?

At the convention, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), a champion of immigration reform, said something seemingly innocuous that snapped into focus the problem with the Democrats’ immigration narrative.

“In her heart, Hillary Clinton’s dream for America is one where immigrants are allowed to come out of the shadows, get right with the law, pay their taxes, and not feel fear that their families are going to be ripped apart,” Gutiérrez said.

The Democratic Party is participating in an all-too-convenient erasure of the progress undocumented people have made through sheer force of will. Immigration has become a leading topic not because there are more people crossing the border (there aren’t) or because nativist Donald Trump decided to run for president, but because a segment of the population has been denied basic rights and has been fighting tooth and nail to save themselves, their families, and their communities.

Immigrants have been coming out of the shadows and as a result, are largely responsible for the few forms of relief undocumented communities now have, like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows certain undocumented immigrants who meet specific qualifications to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. And “getting right with the law” is a joke at this point. The problem isn’t that immigrants are failing to adhere to immigration laws; the problem is immigration laws that are notoriously complicated and convoluted, and the system, which is so backlogged with cases that a judge sometimes has just seven minutes to determine an immigrant’s fate.

Becoming a U.S. citizen is also really expensive. There is a cap on how many people can immigrate from any given country in a year, and as Janell Ross explained at the Washington Post:

There are some countries, including Mexico, from where a worker with no special skills or a relative in the United States can apply and wait 23 years, according to the U.S. government’s own data. That’s right: There are people receiving visas right now in Mexico to immigrate to the United States who applied in 1993.

But getting back to Gutierrez’s quote: Undocumented immigrants do pay taxes, though their ability to contribute to our economy should not be the one point on which Democrats hang their hats in order to attract voters. And actually, undocumented people pay a lot of taxes—some $11.6 billion in state and local taxes last year, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy—while rarely benefiting from a majority of federal assistance programs since the administration of President Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we know it” in 1996.

If Democrats were being honest at their convention, we would have heard about their failure to end family detention, and they would have addressed that they too have a history of criminalizing undocumented immigrants.

The 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, enacted under former President Clinton, have had the combined effect of dramatically increasing the number of immigrants in detention and expanding mandatory or indefinite detention of noncitizens ordered to be removed to countries that will not accept them, as the American Civil Liberties Union notes on its site. Clinton also passed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which economically devastated Mexican farmers, leading to their mass migration to the United States in search of work.

In 1990, then-Sen. Joe Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act, which passed in 1994 and specifically excluded undocumented women for the first 19 of the law’s 22 years, and even now is only helpful if the victim of intimate partner abuse is a child, parent, or current/former spouse of a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

In addition, President Obama is called by immigrant rights advocates “deporter in chief,” having put into place a “deportation machine” that has sent more than two million migrants back to their country of origin, more than any president in history. New arrivals to the United States, such as the Central American asylum seekers coming to our border escaping gender-based violence, are treated with the same level of prioritization for removal as threats to our national security. The country’s approach to this humanitarian crisis has been raiding homes in the middle of the night and placing migrants in detention centers, which despite being rife with allegations of human rights abuses, are making private prison corporations millions in revenue.

How Are We Defining “Un-American”?

When writing about the Democratic Party, community organizer Rosa Clemente, the 2008 Green Party vice president candidate, said that she is afraid of Trump, “but not enough to be distracted from what we must do, which is to break the two-party system for good.”

This is an election like we’ve never seen before, and it would be disingenuous to imply that the party advocating for the demise of the undocumented population is on equal footing with the party advocating for the rights of certain immigrants whose narratives it finds acceptable. But this is a country where Republicans loudly—and with no consequence—espouse racist, xenophobic, and nativist beliefs while Democrats publicly voice support of migrants while quietly standing by policies that criminalize undocumented communities and lead to record numbers of deportations.

During two weeks of conventions, both sides declared theirs was the party that encapsulated what America was supposed to be, adhering to morals and values handed down from our forefathers. But ours is a country comprised of stolen land and built by slave labor where today, undocumented immigrants, the population most affected by unjust immigration laws and violent anti-immigrant rhetoric, don’t have the right to vote. It is becoming increasingly hard to tell if that is indeed “un-American” or deeply American.

News Economic Justice

Colorado Voters Could Get a Chance to Boost the State’s Minimum Wage

Jason Salzman

A campaign fact sheet cited an April survey showing that 59 percent of the 2,400 U.S. small businesses polled favor raising the minimum wage, and that about 40 percent of those polled already pay entry-level employees "far above" the required minimum wage in their location.

Colorado’s minimum wage would increase from $8.31 to $12 by 2020 if Colorado voters approve a ballot initiative that could be headed to the November ballot.

Patty Kupfer, campaign manager for Colorado Families for a Fair Wage told reporters Monday that Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, a coalition of groups, submitted more than 200,000 signatures to the Colorado secretary of state, more than double the number required to make the ballot.

Hundreds of volunteers and dozens of organizations collected signatures, Kupfer said.

“Raising the minimum wage is fair and it’s smart,” Kupfer said. “It’s fair because people working full time should earn enough to support their families. It’s smart because when working people have more money in their pockets, they spend it here in Colorado, boosting our economy and helping our community thrive.”

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Speaking at the news conference staged in front of stacked boxes of petitions, Marrisa Guerrero, identified as a certified nursing assistant, said she works seven days a week and still relies on subsidized housing.

“Making $300 a week is not enough to pay rent and buy groceries for a family like mine,” said Guerrero, adding that she’d “really like” to see an increase in the minimum immediately, but “2020 would work wonders.”

After 2020, the state’s minimum wage would be adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases under the initiative.

Tyler Sandberg, a spokesperson for Keep Colorado Working, an organization opposing the initiative, appeared at the news conference and told reporters that he was “especially” worried about the initiative’s impact on small businesses.

“The big corporations, the wealthy areas of Denver and Boulder, might be able to afford [it], but small businesses, rural and poor communities, cannot afford this,” Sandberg told reporters. “So you are going to put people out of work with this. You’re going to harm the same people you’re trying to help.”

“It’s one size that doesn’t fit all. It’s the same for a small business as it is for Pepsi Cola,” said Sandberg, whose organization includes the Colorado Restaurant Association, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, and the National Association of Independent Business.

Asked by Rewire to respond to Sandberg’s argument against a higher wage, Kupfer said, “Research shows small businesses support increasing the minimum wage. The truth is, when workers make more, that means more customers in local Colorado businesses. Both in rural and urban parts of the state, when working people do well, our communities thrive.”

A campaign fact sheet cited an April survey showing that 59 percent of the 2,400 U.S. small businesses polled favor raising the minimum wage, and that about 40 percent of those polled already pay entry-level employees “far above” the required minimum wage in their location.

“In my company, we have customer service representatives being paid $15 per hour,” Yoav Lurie, founder of Simple Energy, told reporters at the news conference. “While others might choose to pay customer service reps minimum wage, we have found that higher pay leads to improved performance and better retention and better customer satisfaction.”

Workers who rely on tips would see their minimum hourly wage increase by about 70 percent, from $5.29 to $8.98, while other workers would get a 44 percent increase by 2020. The initiative states that “no more than $3.02 in tip income may be used to offset the minimum wage of employees who regularly receive tips.”

Colorado passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 that bumped the minimum wage to $6.85. It’s been raised according to inflation since then.  The federal minimum wage is $7.25 and has not been increased since 2009.

Colorado’s Republican legislators killed legislation this year to allow cities to raise the minimum wage.