Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dear C-section Doctor

Dear C-section Doctor.

I had a cesarean with you in June 2010 after a failed induction at 41 weeks.  I pushed for 15 minutes before you came in and told me my daughter wasn’t “coming out this way.”  I continued to push for over 2 hours.  I was finally told that my daughter was posterior and that I had made zero progress.  It was time for a cesarean.  I was not given an option for vacuum suction, episiotomy, forceps delivery, or the option to push longer.  I understand there are risks involved with every procedure, but I had no idea how much of a fight I would have ahead of me because of that cesarean.

At my six week follow up, you asked me if I was depressed.  I sat there with tears in my eyes and shook my head, whispering no.  You didn’t even lift your head from your paper as you wrote “no”.  I went through months of depression.

I found the ICAN network (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and started planning my VBAC.  I found a supportive provider despite the fact you used a single layer suture.  I beat PPD by reliving my cesarean over and over and sharing my story.  I found out that there are thousands of women who feel the same way I do.  

I had an epidural free, intervention free VBAC in April 2012.  Her head circumference was just as large as my first daughters.  

I made a lot of mistakes the first time around.  I didn’t watch my weight, I didn’t exercise, I wasn’t educated in general.  But my biggest mistake was going to a practice with a 44% cesarean rate.  You are a surgeon.  Not someone who believes in the birth process.  I think any doctor with that high of a cesarean rate should rethink their career path.  

Did you know the phrase by Edwin Craigin “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean” was to meant to warn doctors against cesareans because one of  the risks of a primary cesarean is that repeat operations may be necessary?  It has been almost 100 years since that article was published and we’ve done nothing but regress.  

I wrote this letter because I’ve wanted to ever since I left your office a broken shell of a woman.  I’m very lucky I have such a supportive network of people that have made me whole again.  Now, almost three years later, I’m grateful for the experience because it has shaped who I am today.  I hope that in the future you remember how important the birth process can be to some women and how much of a vital part you play in that process.  

Jessica Franks
ICAN of Phoenix Co-leader


  1. I LOVE this post! I had a c-section with my son in January 2011 and am still suffering from ppd and ptsd, even after a successful vbac in October 2012. I really wish that doctors would wake up and realize how their treatment of pregnant women as medical specimens affects us.

  2. This is incredibly brave and awesome! I would have never thought to do such a thing but I don't think these Dr.'s out there fathom how life changing and altering birth is or the lack of is for us. I'm still very emotional and devastated by my c-section and am not sure even 17 months later when I'll ever come to terms and get over it. Bravo to you!

  3. Wow, Jessica! What a brave, honest, and well-worded letter. I hope it makes an impact on this doctor and I'm so proud of what you've gone through to be where you are helping so many C-section mamas today.

  4. Wow! I love this! I feel so cheated by everything that happened during my son's birth which was then only compounded by losing him two days after his birth. Over confident doctors who refuse to listen to us women, the mothers whose instincts naturally tell us what is best for our child, need to be held accountable for their decisions. You should definitely send that letter.

  5. I'm amazed at how many women have the same feelings and experience that I do. Congratulations for coming so far and standing up for what you believe in.


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