When friends came over, I would explain to them with a snarky smile that the baby was born in this room. Instead, what I got was a bit of a harsh reality check—a doctor telling me that due to oligohydramnios , or low amniotic fluid, a C-section was imperative. But on the other, very bright side, the result was a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Luckily, I also healed well without complications, aside from my experience with postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder and the definitive realization that I didn't ever want to go through that again.
Postpartum hormone disarray is a heaping hot dish best consumed with company, but I plowed through it mostly alone. My busy husband floated us financially as I recovered and cared for the baby, and my family came from a long distance away for short visits to help when they could. But I spent many months with just my emotions and a tiny infant doubling as a hanky to sop up so many of my tears.
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A week after my pregnancy, I returned to the ER, convinced something was wrong. These symptoms could signal anything from postpartum depression, to a bowel injury, to an infection, as I understood. So I went to the hospital.
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The ER doctor, a woman about my age, explained comfortingly that she had had a C-section a year earlier. Give yourself a chance to heal. Roughly 30 percent of births in the U. Talking to other mothers, I heard similar and comforting thoughts and ideas and a general remembrance of what is so important: Though the surgery is no foosball festival, it thankfully brought this particular group of women much loved children to show for it. Oh, and of course, a sweet scar. C-section operations and their resulting scars are different now than they used to be.
You're unlikely to even get a peek at the scar on a mother in a cropped top or even a bikini. In all my years on the planet, no one has ever boasted their C-section scar to me. I know this for certain, because one of the women photographed is me. Some of the women featured here had complications, others had a relatively smooth ride, and some are still trying to make sense of it all. Here are some of their post-surgery thoughts and perspectives on the operation, their advice to others, and, of course, the physical mark the experience left.
All photos were taken by Alex M. But if I were to get pregnant again, I would ask for a C-section percent.
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I was 11 days late, so they induced me. They were estimating the baby was large. I was also super uncomfortable so I was ready for him to be out. After 18 hours, he ended up getting stuck and both of us went under stress. I remember everything beeping and the doctor saying we need to take this baby out within seven minutes. I told the nurse I was going to throw up. She went to hand me a bedpan and I puked in her hands. I assumed I did everything during the pregnancy so that I could have a vaginal birth. The second time, we went in at 41 weeks.
It was super easy. It was really laid back; we were talking about the summer Olympics. The second one, I was much more at peace with. As long as you trust the doctors and the hospital you should be all good. I tried an ECV at 37 weeks to flip him, along with a bunch of other at-home interventions, but it was unsuccessful. It turns out he was 9 lbs. And knowing now how big he was, thank goodness I did listen. I felt cheated out of this huge part of the journey to motherhood, in addition to feeling like I had failed in some way.
Venable, student and Long's friend, suffered from two small tumors on the posterior neck infected sebaceous cysts but was scared of the pain he would feel to remove them surgically. Long wrote: "I told him in details that I had had contusions while under the effects of ether without feeling pain, that I was used to inhale the drug and that I would suggest to him the possibility of a painless surgery" 1,2,15,17, After an initial refusal, Venable accepted Long's proposal to extract such tumors with no pain whatsoever.
He was placed in the sitting position Figure 2 , surrounded by some ether-parties participants. Long placed a handkerchief soaked with ether on the nose and mouth of the patient and monitored the pulse with one hand while he administered the anesthetic with the other Venable went calmly into sleep, at least as reported. Long confirmed skin insensitivity with a needle and then rapidly removed one tumor placing a dressing on the site.
He removed the handkerchief and slowly Venable recovered total consciousness and could not believe the fact until he saw the tumor 11,14, This was the theater of the first known painless surgical procedure, witnessed by at least three people, namely: Andrew Thurmond, William Thurmond and Edmund Rawls. This way, the office of a young physician in the small city of Jefferson was the place where the "major American contribution to medical science" took place 1,2,9,12,14,19, Two months later Long removed the second tumor 1,12,17, He charged two dollars for each procedures plus 25 cents for the ether, manipulated by Powers and Weightman and supplied by Reese and Ware's pharmacy, in Athens 14,23, But, incredibly enough, Long was in doubt; should he attribute anesthesia to ether or to mesmerian forces he had?
A new opportunity appeared in July when the son of a slave needed to amputate two toes of one foot, seemingly due to burn 1,2,14, The boy agreed in being submitted to anesthesia. Long put him to sleep and amputated one toe with no patient reaction. Incredibly as it may seem, to prove the action of ether he amputated the second toe without anesthesia. This time the boy has desperately shouted and thrashed about so violently that Long was forced to restrain him to finish the procedure; only then he was convinced that ether was responsible for the lack of sensitivity and not the mesmerian forces he thought he had 2,14, But he did not believe that insensitivity would be long lasting because he wrote: "the result of my experiences made me think that ether action duration was so short that could not be maintained unless the patient inhaled it throughout the procedure" 2,11,14, He never had the guts to perform such an important experience" 2.
Long has operated six 1 or eight 2,3,8 patients under ether anesthetic action. The discovery of anesthesia, as many others, is considered by many as one more example of serendipity, that is, unexpected fact, good luck, accurate observation spirit, in addition to knowledge and skills to understand the fact and establish consistent deductions Those who had no opportunity to study in depth Long's role in the discovery of anesthesia think that this was totally accidental or totally or partially derived from social experiences with nitrous oxide or sulfuric ether; however it has been a lot more than this As it happened with other science pioneers, Long suffered the interference of radical religious and narrow-minded people.
Jefferson inhabitants began attacking him and spreading that sooner or later he would kill a patient and should be prohibited of going ahead with his novelty to prevent disgraces. Long made enemies who accused him of having a diabolic drug to insensibilize patients and able to affect their mental power.
The whole population started to fear sulfuric ether and Dr. Long himself, which made difficult to him to continue with his anesthetic experience. One day, a committee entered his office asking him to interrupt his audacious practices; the tone of the speech indicated that they liked him very much, but if someone were victim of sulfuric ether, no one would be able to prevent his lynching 2, It is classic that numerous spectacular scientific discoveries, even those bringing huge progresses to mankind, were almost always followed by absurd reactions from people and even from conservative segments of society.
This was also true in Jefferson. Long stopped using ether in his clinic and restarted to operate his patients in the old way, causing them tremendous suffering. From then on, he recovered the trust and esteem of his co-citizens. But Long still believed in the importance of anesthesia and administered ether to his wife during the birth of his second child in and other subsequent deliveries, thus undoubtedly becoming the pioneer of obstetric analgesia 8, Although disclosing the discovery of anesthesia to Jefferson, Athens and surroundings, and although not hiding it 22 , Long has never made anything to make universally known the extraordinary, revolutionary and successful idea of painless surgical procedure, although he was a well trained physician who spoke and wrote very well 12, Not doing so, he deplorably has prevented mankind of the relief of so much suffering for long four and half additional years and if it were not for Wells' attempt and especially the efforts of Jackson and Morton, anesthesia would have possibly died with him 16,23, Long left his explanations recorded 1,2,8,12,14,17,19,23,26,27 :.
On this, many recall that he should have looked for Dr. Paul F. Long knew that if he failed or was considered a charlatan, he certainly would no longer have the positive medical concept and the same comfortable life. In , North-American professor of surgery J. Chalmers Da Costa, wrote: "Morton and Warren informed the world, Long discovered and could have made the world understand its importance if he would have looked for a major medical center as the forum to present his discovery and a for famous surgeon to advocate it". In , the electors of the Pantheon of Fame of the New York University have thoroughly studied the subject and concluded that Long had only published his experience in , being unconceivable, however less probable, that he did not know the importance of the immediate disclosure of the possibility of eliminating surgical pain.
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In fact, it seems unbelievable that after anesthetizing a second patient and using analgesia in his own wife during the birth of his second child, Long still did not understand the beneficial consequences of his discovery. I was anxious to publish, but before it I had to accumulate a number of cases to totally satisfy my concept that anesthesia was produced by ether and not by the effect of my imagination or any other peculiar insusceptibility for pain of people I treated". In this aspect, Long has strictly followed the teachings of Dr.
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Wood, his professor in the University of Pennsylvania, who condemned premature publications based on observation of isolated cases and with inadequate methods. But, faced to this difficulties, Long should have asked physicians with further surgical practice to perform more serious investigations, even in the less evolved South of the USA from the first half of the 19 th century. Long was a good physician, gentle, delicate, distinct, loyal, gentleman, introverted, shy and resisted to impose himself by force.
It is clear that he could not believe that a physician from the countryside, moreover from the South, could compete with medical authorities from the whole world or even from the North of the USA.
In fact, he was almost pathologically modest, or had no imagination. He recorded: "After being totally satisfied with the power of ether to induce anesthesia, I wanted to administer it in a difficult surgical procedure which I had never performed. In my practice, before publishing about ether as anesthetic agent, I never had the opportunity of testing it in a major surgery, because my cases were limited to extirpation of small tumors or amputations of fingers or toes". I was interrupted when I had written some lines and was could not summarize my publication due to a cumbersome rural practice, when I received the January edition.
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A considerable period of time has also elapsed before I could determine the exact period in which my first procedures were performed. Bigellow and J. Warren, from Boston. In a December evening, Long found a report on the success of the first painless surgical procedure, described by H.
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Bigelow 1,2,16,17,24 , where he reports that "the preparation used by Morton Letheon smells like ether and, we have almost no doubts, is an ethereal solution of some narcotic substance". Morton, helped by Jackson, used a secret product and tried to cheat physicians to patent the "discovery" and transform it in source of money. Long has never though of that or made anything hidden, but rather, as we have already reported, disclosed his discovery among the physicians of Jefferson, Athens and surroundings 18, There should have been a dialog between him and his wife 2 : "Look at this, Caroline, the first!
They describe it as a sensational event; a surgery performed last October in the Massachusetts General Hospital which they state having been the first painless procedure!
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