Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sign Language as a Part of Birth

At Lamaze International's Conference, there was a unique session on using sign language at hearing births. Much of the information and most of the signs was based on the principles that we all sign and we all should know sign, even basically, to help ourselves communicate with one another and help our babies communicate earlier and well. There was an interesting moment when our instructor had us write down words we wanted to know signs for and the first request was for "how is your scar healing". The room broke up in laughter, that slightly manic release of frustration that says "yeah, I know what you mean". The thing is... I wanted to know that sign and even after the session when I asked, there was some discussion about scar healing but the comments from one woman floored me.
"Oh, that area is numb, you can't feel it."
"Oh YES you can"
"I had a cesarean, I didn't feel any pain on my scar"
Wow. Just wow. How many mothers walk away from the hospital still feeling pain? My roommate at the conference still has pain in her scar THREE YEARS LATER. We can be experts in our own situation with a cesarean, but other mothers out there are feeling more or less than we are and we cannot even begin to express totalities. I resisted the urge to ask her how long ago her surgery was and if she wasn't extrapolating her current reality onto what happened in the first few postpartum weeks.
If it doesn't hurt, why are some cesarean moms hooked on oxycodone?

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