I have assisted in C-Sections that have been performed on girls younger than 15. I remember thinking "she is two years older than my daughter...how could this have happened?" and feeling a tremendous amount of angst when she was being prepped for surgery and then after the surgery was over and the baby was born, caring for her in postpartum. My daughter hates going to the doctors for fear of being probed and prodded...I could never imagine her belly being awash in Betadine, surgical instruments cutting her pristine skin and a new life emerging...How could this have happened?
I helped register yet another 14 year-old who was in for late care, which means this was her first visit to the doctor's and they immediately sent her to the childbirth center because she had no prior care or visits and needed blood work drawn, ultrasounds performed, the whole lot. Her mother, who works nights, accompanied her. Again, I ask: Why?
I cannot help but think of things as how they relate in comparison to the life of my own daughter...one girl, aged 14 having contractions while my daughter calls me excitedly and tells me about the test she took at school and her plans to stop at McDonald's on the way home with some friends, but that "at least (she's) walking and that's good exercise! right?!?"
One girl, having contractions...the other, hanging out with friends over fries and a soda.
While these seem to be rhetorical questions, I am truly open to dialogue on this because whatever the schools and the churches are doing, nothing seems to be working. If there is anyone out there with a solution to this madness, I would love to hear it.
Here is what I am thinking: I am wondering if anyone goes into the schools and churches and tells these young ladies exactly what happens to their bodies when they undergo a surgery such as a C-Section, or what can happen to your body when you birth a baby at an age where you are barely a *woman* yourself...C-Sections are more prevalent with the young teens because their hips are not wide enough to give birth as their babies won't fit through the birth canal. I am wondering if they witnessed a Section first-hand if it would change their minds?
I am totally serious: Either documentary-style or actually physically go with the expectant teen to her office visits, accompany her to her labor and delivery - if it is a C/S, then when the anesthesiologist interviews the young lady and tells her what to expect to when the surgeon describes what happens before, during, and after the procedure, including any and all unpleasant after-effects of having said major surgery (and there are plenty.)
The baby nurse and potentially the Neonatologist would come in and describe the efforts used to take care of a baby post-C/S because oftentimes they need further assistance because the baby is lifted from the womb instead of pushed out naturally (which helps to express their little lungs of any superfluous fluids and, therefore, render them able to breathe on their own without assistance more readily). Suctions, oxygen, potentially life-saving measures. Not pretty to watch in and of themselves, either.
Then the postpartum issues that accompany every birth, which are really too numerous to count: non-supportive family members, father of the baby denying his responsibility in this matter until DNA labs are drawn; friends no longer coming around to hang out with you because your life is so drastically altered from theirs...hormones trying to get back into place, weight loss coming to a stand-still.
All the things that used to matter don't seem to matter and longer and suddenly, while you are adjusting to your body trying to return to normal, you either have your baby home with you placing demands on you that you never once thought about before you decided to have sex at the age of 13 or 14, or you are visiting your baby in the NICU because it is not ready to come home because there were complications.
Can you even imagine? Do you think this type of *teaching* would have an impact or be a deterrent?
Note: While I know the impact of a teen pregnancy is tremendous on a young man who helped in this matter, I am only speaking on what kind of an impact it has on a young woman who bears the weight of the same both physically and emotionally.