Friday, February 7, 2014


This goes out to all of those people who are mad at their OB doctors. Mad because they got a c-section. Angry because they did not get the chance to be a “real woman” or something. Oh no, now I’m stirring up turmoil, and I’m going to get nasty e-mails and comments.

I know. I didn’t want a c-section either. I understand. I really do.

I just want you to hear my side of things. My side of things from Africa. Where there are mostly NO doctors to do c-sections.

Where women die from c-sections.

Where women die from labor WITHOUT c-sections.

Where it’s no surprise at all when a child dies during childbirth.

It’s sad.

And I’m sad.

And tonight I feel guilty. I feel guilty for doing a c-section.

Why do I feel guilty?

Because the baby died. Would I have done things differently if I would have known the baby was going to die?

Yes. I would have let her labor longer even though she wasn’t progressing. I would have let her labor longer so that the child could die in labor, and then I could extract the fetus.

I would not put her through the risk of rupturing her uterus during her next childbirth when she refuses to come to the hospital and labors too long at home.

I would not have put a cap on the number of children she could have.

But, I didn’t know whether the baby was going to live or die. I don’t have fetal monitoring here. All I have is a fetal doppler and ultrasound. I can tell if the heart is beating, but I can’t tell how healthy the child is.

This child WAS living. It had a heart beat for about 10 minutes after being born. Ndilbe and Simeon breathed for it, but to no avail. CPR didn’t work. He died. Just like that.

Would he have lived in America? The mom would have come in earlier maybe, and not come in 24 hours after breaking her water with labor. The mom would have been placed on a fetal monitor. It would not have been reassuring and she would have still ended up with a c-section.

But her kid would probably be living. He would be in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Possibly on a breathing machine. Depending upon how early or late she came in labor.

If her kid was living and healthy, would she be one of those moms mad at their OB doctors? I hope not.

All I want today is to be able to give this almost mom a healthy, living child. That’s all she wants too.

But I can’t.

All I could do was give the husband a wife who was still living. And here, they are still so thankful for that.

Tonight I tried to save a child who had some signs of distress and the mom wasn’t progressing. I did a c-section instead of an oxytocin drip. But every time I try to save a child with a c-section, I am reminded that it’s a bad idea here. The kid dies anyways.

And I always feel guilty.

Guilty for trying too hard. Guilty for caring.


  1. Danae, I feel your ache. You can only do your best with the knowledge you have at the time. There is no guarantee the baby would have lived in the states, either. Who knows what was wrong? Fetal monitoring has actually not proven as beneficial to outcomes as it would have seemed, according to some studies I've seen. Also, remember that c-section doesn't always mean a rupture is in her future. I know many women who have had multiple children vaginally after c-section(s), without incident. It happens more often than can be counted. I, for one, am thankful for the OB's who care. No matter what happens, if I know she/he cares, and did the best possible for me and/or my baby, any anger I may harbor will not be directed at the doctor. I say that as someone who's had a c-section, and a VBAC. (((hugs)))

  2. I stumbled across your blog last weekend and I have been truly touched. I am praying for you and your family. I am about to complete my family medicine residency and throughout my short medical life I can say with all certainty that despite all the doubts of medicine and all the twists in life - this is still my father's world. As medical professionals we are called to be God's hands and feet at many times we never quite understand his will. God was with you during that section and he is still in control now. May God grant you peace....

  3. Both, mother and child , may have died without you. Thank God for the life you helped to preserve. The pressure, the guilt, is so real, I know, but may God help you to deal with it by trusting your whole life and self into His hands, believing He sees and is still in control.

  4. But it is harder not doing everything in our power to keep someone alive. Because at the end...what if the baby lives?! What if....

    That's were after we doing our part we let results in God's hands.

    Guilt is a natural feeling. We physicians experience that looooootsssss of times since we were med students throughout our entire career. But truth is "we do everything we can" and that is enough for God. He will at the end got your back and the patient's and family backs too.

    God bless you!