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childbirth and vasectomy(13 Posts)
DH is having a vasectomy next month. I was reading the leaflet from the dr surgery and thinking about the threads on here about pain relief and postnatal wards.
DH's leaflet recommends sitting on the sofa doing nothing for at least 2 days, co-codamol and ibuprofen for pain relief.
Yet IME and from reading threads on here, women are having major abdominal surgery or pushing another person out of their bits, being given 2 paracetamol and expected to either look after their newborn 24/7 or drag themselves down endless corridors to visit their baby in special care. I've heard on here about women who've had to put up with bullying from midwives, rubbish or no pain relief and harrassment from other people's partners. Then there's the bounty lady who is allowed to come in and trick women who are vulnerable and in pain to give away their details to be sold to junk mail companies and cold callers.
I'll be giving birth to DS5 this summer and I think I'd rather have a vasectomy instead. I'm beginning to think the NHS hates women for some reason. I also can't help thinking that if women had vasectomies it would be with no anaesthetic and looking after their DC's straight away and if men gave birth they would somehow work out a way of having a VB under general anaesthetic and there would be free nannies for everyone to do all the difficult stuff while the man recovered.
I do think women are expected to do too much and recover too quickly post birth. However most of the time vasectomy is talked down as a simple procedure and I have heard loads of women on here and in real life suggesting any man that resists it or is scared or finds is very oainful is a wimp. It actually has quite a high complication rate which is not talked about often. My DH's experience was quite traumatic as the op went wrong and could not be completed and left him with severe swelling and a haematoma which took Weeks to get better and he had residual pain for many months. We had no idea what had gone wrong until I googled the symptoms and found a discussion forum on the topic....so I don't agree there is good aftercare!
I do think there is a problem with the NHS not taking women's pain seriously, particularly if its anything gynaelogical (sp?) (including childbirth). I was given a D&C after a mc 2 years ago without any anaesthetic whatsoever and it was the most excruciatingly painful experience of my life (and I've given birth to 3 dcs). I ended up with a prolapsed disc in my back from writhing in agony screaming while the doctor carried out the procedure.
After dc3 I collapsed trying to get to the toilet and was badgered for the next 3 hours by a midwife to get up and in the shower, which I couldn't do. It turned out I was severely anaemic rather than just lazy or a drama queen, which seems to be the first assumption midwives/doctors make.
To be fair though, none of the men I know have spent 2 days sitting on the settee taking painkillers after a vasectomy. My uncle was riding his bike to work the following day, for example.
I think there is quite a lot of pressure to refuse pain relief in childbirth generally amongst women I know of my generation. This may be a location, age, class etc thing... urban, West London, middle/lower middle class, late 20s-mid30s, left wing types (me included). It's like we expect the safety of modern medicine but idealise other elements/make it a competition. It scares me tbh as it just seems utterly no-win unless you're very lucky.
I have always heard words like 'natural' banded about and the backhanded 'don't be ashamed of an epidural'
even though us natural women would be and they'll scissor you fanjo to arsehole and you'll deserve it. Or "too posh to push". Or "it's a good pain" (so if you don't like it you're weak). I think it goes way beyond the NHS. I've had friends get a mouthful of abuse and leave NCT (by other women not the group leader) because they asked too much about pain relief and C sections.
And if she needs intervention or pain relief, it's because a doctor got silly, she coulda done it alone. Not that we have the lowest birth risks in history ... and the guilt piles onto the poor new mum.
I've known a friend who have PTSD because the "good pain" was x1000 what she expected and there were complications (not in the UK, no NHS - same culture). She believed utterly her body was "designed to do that" (another easy thing to say which is over simple): finding out otherwise filled her with shame that needed psychological treatment.
TBH as someone who is a high risk pregnancy it scares me: knowing I'm one of those women who isn't 'natural'. Having been pregnant and lose it- I've lost that innocence and part of me is glad. I know I'll never 'win' the who-can-have-the-perfect-pg-and-birth thing.
Squizita - yes, I agree. Too much crap about how it's natural and your body is designed to do this, it will cope blah blah but we don't even go without pain relief when at the dentist, why are we expected to endure childbirth without some relief? Natural doesn't equal 'comes naturally'. Lots of things are 'natural' but that doesn't make them nice.
I'm particularly sensitive to comments about CSs, because I had an EMCS. I hate this "Too posh to push" bollocks that the media are determined to perpetuate, that assumes CSs are 'easy'. We don't have zips down there, it's major surgery and you're expected to look after a newborn immediately after, when you really need to recover. I used to think I would punch someone if they ever made a comment about my CS being easy or lucky.
OP, I absolutely agree about the Bounty lady - why are they allowed access to such vulnerable patients? You don't, and would never get marketers on any other ward. But we're free game.
Oh, so nice to hear some of these comments! I often get looked at a bit askance if I mention my job (anaesthetist), like I'm peddling some kind of 'unnatural' slightly dodgy trade. The number of women I've seen who feel they're a 'disappointment' to themselves, their babies or their partners because they've 'failed to have a natural birth' is horrible. PND waiting to happen . I've had women begging for me to get the epidural in faster, whilst the partner says 'but she doesn't want one - it says so on the birth plan'. Trying to explain that you don't know what's going to happen and can't plan and that actually nature can be f*king horrible is so difficult once that seed has been sown. So very few women, when you visit them the next day, say anything like 'I wish I hadn't had an epidural'. Most say they'd have another one next time and not wait so long to ask! I'm due in a few months, my birth plan says 'whatever it takes to get it out and both of us safe'. If I can do it on 2 paracetamol and a bit of gas, as some women do (inc other anaesthetic friends) then lovely. If not, no probs. I'm really wary of the natural brigade. If it works, fantastic, but there is a whole other side to reality that seems hushed up and somehow frowned upon. Yes - birth is natural and our bodies have been doing it for ages, but death and pain and injury are also natural and the reason the perinatal mortality statistics are so much better in this country than in the back end of the Hindu Kush is because we sometimes end up doing things UNnaturally. It's not a bad thing!!
There's now a thread on here about how it's possible to 'breathe out' your baby without pushing and you won't tear.
Yet another thing I will probably 'fail' to do because I suffer from anxiety so (my fault) will be tense not like those earth mothers. I anticipated sitting uncomfortably after birth ... but not because this would be yet another thing that's every so slightly my fault.
It would be interesting to find out how the risks of complications in childbirth and the risks of complications with a vasectomy compare.
JCB, you and your colleagues do an amazing job. I'll never forget the anaesthetist at my EMCS who kept me relatively calm and repeatedly reassured me that my legs were still there although I couldn't feel them.
I did the breathing baby out thing with DS3 but only right at the end so pushing until baby is crowning and then breathing so they emerge slowly rather than shoot out like rockets. It wouldn't have worked with DS1 or DS2 but by the 3rd time my fanjo was a lot looser .
I hated it when people said that my C-section was easy. I've had 4 babies and the C-section was definitely the worst. At least with labour you are the focus and you don't have to look after your older dc's or cook dinner in the middle of it. With a C-section you have to look after a newborn while you have just had your tummy sliced open and sewn back together.
I was in the room when DH had his vasectomy done - he's a wimp with no pain threshold anyway but he was nowhere NEAR in as much discomfort as I was even with a straightforward birth.
Then he got to lie around in splendour all weekend (for they schedule them on a Friday for the brave little soldiers to have a weekend to recover) with loads of pain relief... meanwhile after a major 3rd degree tear with my first I was expected to walk a really long distance carrying a bag of my own pee (catheter in) to the NICU to see DD1. Lucky if you got a blooming paracetamol!
DD2 had a pretty "textbook" birth - sub 15 minute actual "labour" (I dont' dilate till the very end and therefore don't get any interesting pain relief) so yep I did that pretty much on not even gas and air (midwife didn't believe I was seriously in the throes of it), and yep I did the not even pushing and just let it happen thing (small 2nd degree tear)... would I have taken pain relief if I'd been allowed it? Fuck YES! Would I brag about it as some kind of amazing proof of my awesomeness as a woman? Nope - I got lucky with that one - she was lying very obligingly and made her way out smoothly - the biology all fell into place... it didn't with her sister - I didn't somehow "fail" that birth - just got unlucky. It's the big thing that pisses me off with the likes of OBEM - that you end up with all the social media full of comments like "oooh the woman in the pink top did so well but the one in the blue was really annoying me screaming away silly cow" - it all feeds into this ridiculous and dangerous idea of childbirth as some kind of competitive, rateable sport or something. Sorry but as someone still suffering PTSD from the birth trauma of DD1 it's a big rant inducing topic for me!
Although rather amusingly (he wouldn't let me scan it in and put it on FB) he's just had to fill his post-vasectomy questionnaire in and there's a question about the level of swelling post-op with various options to use as a comparison going from walnuts up to watermelons!
And as for women's pain not being taken seriously... SPD/PGP. If there was a fairly common condition putting men on crutches for months at a time, making them feel like they'd been repeatedly kicked in the crotch with a steel toecap boot... you bet we'd have fucking well heard about it - there'd be awareness campaigns, bad charity singles, celeb figureheads... but women are just expected to go to a physio session on keeping your legs together and get on with it. As for getting residual problems with it taken seriously post-natally - forget that one (12 months after DD2 and I'm currently sat with a hot water bottle on my hips which are still out of alignment)!
miaow that first walk to NICU and back after my c-section still gives me nightmares. I've got a photo of me holding DS4 the day after he was born and I look terrified. I remember spending most of that visit worrying about how I'd get back to my bed on postnatal. When I talked about it to the midwife she breezily said "well, we do like to get you up and moving" although I didn't see any of the other mums doing laps and men having vasectomies don't have to move at all.
The risk of the serious (ie duration three months plus, significant pain) is 1:10 for vasectomy (some papers actually put it rather higher).
And PVPS is essentially untreatable (other than by reversal). If that doesn't work then that leaves lifetime pain, around 1:100. There is a regular poster here who is one of those. His posts make pretty sobering reading for those who think vasectomy is a low risk procedure.
the reason they make u get up and about after a while is so the muscles heal properly.
You are so right about shoddy aftercare . Especially bad if you've had a section (I didn't but have seen how other mums struggled).
You should have at least one really good sleep to start your recovery before caring for newborn 24/7. It's a massive cause of pnd and they have the cheek to pass it off as combatting the same. It's a money thing but why won't we spend money on women's health?
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