Have Knife, Will Give Birth
April 6, 2004 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Woman Performs Caesarean On Herself to Save Baby
Its thought to be the first case where both mother and child survived a self performed caesarean.
From the article, "...a mother's instinct to save her child can move a woman to perform extraordinary acts but said it would not have been necessary if adequate medical care had been available."
Contrast that story with the recent news: Chico Student Allegedly Kills Newborn and then leaves the body in a plastic bag in her dormroom.
An avoidable situation given California's Safe Haven Law that allows new mothers to safely surrender their newborns within three days of birth with no questions asked, no names taken and no repercusions, assuming the child isn't abused or neglected.
And she wouldn't be held on a million dollars bail awaiting trial for murder.
posted by fenriq (9 comments total)
Eh, that's nothing compared to My Self Castration. [Warning] [Testicles]
posted by alms at 3:10 PM on April 6, 2004

The elephant in the room, the Child Abandonment Issue. We live in a horrible time when quick googling brings such tidbits about the erstwhile mother as "she says she likes Chico but she's having no luck with guys."

Eugh, nasty business. Sounds like soon thereafter her luck didn't improve, but she did get her guy...

The act itself is so unthinkable that one wants to Do Something, yet what? I doubt many would want to plumb the thinking of this poor girl's psyche to find out why she didn't bring the child along when she went to the hospital.

Obviously this is why the new law was passed, to give poor panicked folks options in the light of what must be overwhelming personal circumstances. I question whether its a matter of getting the word out more or just that some people are -- even if only at times -- completely fucked up and incapable of rational thought in high-stress situations.

I suppose both stories together should be combined to provide a strong "think before the baby pops out" message to anyone contemplating inter-gender intercourse in the forseeable future.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:54 PM on April 6, 2004

I like the idea of a "safe haven" law; but there is a still major biological problem involved: some women, when pregnant, are hormonally borderline to mental illness.

Hormones are exceptionally powerful chemicals, and during and right after pregnancy can be extreme in variation. And when a woman is in a complex social situation, it can temporarily drive her over the edge--resulting in terrible, but not uncommon actions.

The law can account for hormonal psychosis, in some circumstances, the social environment; but it is in the combining of the two where justice can occur in situations like this.
posted by kablam at 6:24 PM on April 6, 2004

holy mother of god...I've had a c-section...and I can't imagine doing it to myself. Heck, I get queasy from a brazilian wax...That's one hell of a woman, that is.

As to the college girl story, it's unfortunate that we see at least one of these stories a year. Like Kablam mentions, the hormone surge at birth is just insane, and in a situation where you feel like you have everything to lose, perhaps your common sense and your ethics would fly out the window...I don't know, I'm not in her shoes. I do know that I pity her, and the baby...there are so many families who would have been overjoyed to take the baby, and there's so much help available for girls like her.

It's just so sad.
posted by dejah420 at 8:04 PM on April 6, 2004

I think it's less a matter of hormones and more a matter of pathological denial. It's likely that this woman so intensely didn't want to be pregnant that she convinced herself that she wasn't pregnant. I had a boyfriend (ER nurse)that delivered two babies of women who were so in denial that they came in complaining that they thought that they had appendicitis. Total ignorance of basic human reproduction? Maybe, but I'm more inclined to think that it was denial. Perhaps this woman's belief system held that is was a disgrace to have a child out of wedlock but that it also was an equal disgrace to have an abortion.

I'm not sure that knowlege of the "Safe Haven Law" would be of much use to a woman who had convinced herself that her pregnancy didn't exist and actively avoided any outside objective observer who would confirm it's existence. It's magical thinking: if I don't let myself acknowlege all the evidence that confirms that something exists, then it magically goes away.

It's a sad, sad case and as much as I can empathize with the terror and fear of a young woman might have when facing an unplanned pregnancy (having had a few false alarms myself), she needs to face some consequences for what she has done. I hope that the consequence is a very long term stay in an in-patient psych facility (contrary to what is commonly believed, an involuntary psychiatric commitment is no picnic and often is a much longer incarceration than someone sent to a prison would do) where she can get help and face the reality of what she has done.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:46 PM on April 6, 2004

fenriq: about the Safe Haven Law , thanks for linking to its existence. Fact is many laws exists, maybe some too many, but way too many people don't know laws.

Some as echolalia says may not use the Law, but I guess the majority would, the problem is they don't really know.

on a tangent : echolalia ; you think that maybe a woman capable of doing that to herself may fall victim of so called post-partum depression ?
posted by elpapacito at 9:28 AM on April 7, 2004

"Woman Performs Caesarean On Herself to Save Baby
Its thought to be the first case where both mother and child survived a self performed caesarean."

Said baby then crossed the border into California where it immediately applied for welfare, a driver's license, and full health benefits. New baby is said to be doing fine and can occassionally be seen wandering around town with a bag of oranges.
posted by mikhail at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2004

mikhail - what?
posted by agregoli at 11:00 AM on April 7, 2004

elpapacito: I'm not a psychiatrist or a research scientist mind you, but I would think so, given that there is a link between the fluctuations of hormones during pregnancy (and indeed a woman's regular monthly cycle) and mood. Throw in having likely committed the act in a depersonalized mental state (at the bottom of the page), which I seem to remember being a pretty common feature in these sort of situations, and you have one helluva mess. I think she'll be a high suicide risk once the reality of what she has done sinks in, if she's not a complete sociopath altogether.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:32 PM on April 8, 2004

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