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Nov 15 2012

Aaaaaieee! Why did you have to tell me that?

I lived in blissful ignorance, once upon a time. And then people told me about symphysiotomy, a medical procedure in which doctors sawed through the pubic symphysis to crack open the pelvis and open it wide…to make childbirth easier. From the comments at that link:

They viewed symphysiotomy (wrongly) as a gateway to childbearing without limitation, seeing Caesarean section – the norm for difficult births – as morally hazardous, capping family size and leading to sterilisation and contraception. Symphysiotomy was promoted as permanently widening the pelvis, enabling an unlimited number of vaginal deliveries, whereas four C-sections was widely regarded as the maximum for safety.

Thousands of Irish women had this done to them. Thanks, Catholic Church, for doing your part to increase pain and suffering all in the name of turning women into better baby-making machines.

Oh, joy…there’s a documentary on the subject. It’s grim.

If you feel like going back and watching that Camp Quest video instead, I don’t blame you.

124 comments

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  1. 1
    rq

    ENABLING AN UNLIMITED NUMBER OF VAGINAL DELIVERIES?????????

    What about walking and caring for the unlimited number of children coming out of that vagina???

    Actually, I’m going to go read about volcanoes because kittens and baby lizards just aren’t cutting it this time.

  2. 2
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Next you tell us that the Catholic Church stole these same babies and sold them for adoption.

    Wait

    oh

  3. 3
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Meh, what’s walking around unimpeded by pain when you can have more babiez!!!

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    @rq #1 – Ambulatory baby-making machines are difficult to keep secure. Just ask any termite.

  5. 5
    rq

    Right, sorry, I should have taken into account the difficulty in attracting and maintaining an ambulatory baby-making machine while being a pompous religious ass. Of course, now it all makes sense and is perfectly acceptable.

  6. 6
    Avicenna

    It used to be a surgery in places with few doctors and no contraception. C-Sections were deadly to those women because they were going to get pregnant again since the women had little to no say in the matter.

    If you had an old school c-section and got pregnant again there was an increasing chance you could die during childbirth. This procedure may have cost women the ability to walk properly but saved lives.

    It however is not meant to be used for this purpose. It’s “ghetto medicine” and the lesser of two evils.

  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    I used to work with a guy who was cranking out his religion-inspired gene-line, and he used to joke, “maybe they can put a zipper in”

    He never understood why everyone ignored him and he was always grubbing for more money to feed his herd. When I left that job he had 9 kids and was planning to keep going. His wife had 2 c-sections. Whenever I think of “christian nutbar birth programme” I remember Pete Kuzmak and feel angry.

  8. 8
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    *shudders*

    I had a pubic symphysis dysfunction in my first pregnancy, where the ligaments that hold the pelvis together loosen too much and too soon, causing pelvic pain and instability, particularly in walking, even finding out that symphysiotomy exists makes me cringe in horrified sympathy.

    I was in pain, the women that underwent this had to be in agony. My pain went away once my pelvis had recovered from childbirth (about a year after each pregnancy) – theirs could never just go away. And there’s little-to-no treatment for pelvic instability, regardless of cause. Exercise, crutches, pain-killers, that’s it.

  9. 9
    steve84

    I have to say it – Godwin be damned: those were Joseph Mengele type “doctors”. Torturing patients for their own ideology and amusement

  10. 10
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Now, now. As nolajim has so patiently explained (in the Sativa thread), the Roman Catholic Church is powerless in Ireland so we need to focus on the true culprits.

    Posts like this depress the hell out me. There are so many people on earth who view women only as wombs. And treat them as such.

  11. 11
    blogofmyself, writer of papers

    …Wow.
    I think I need to take some time off the internet for a bit. I don’t know how many more things like this I can read without losing my faith in humanity.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    In and of itself, symphysiotomy is a valuable medical technique: C-sections, in the absence of a skilled surgeon and surgical suite, a symphysiotomy can be done to relieve obstructed labor.

    But this? Done deliberately as an alternative to C-sections, to get around the “problem” that repeated C-sections are harmful, in a country and a time that did have skilled surgeons and quality equipment? *shudder*

  14. 14
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    andrewlee:
    We have an entire thread already devoted to Savita’s tragic death: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/11/14/its-time-to-abort-the-catholic-church/comment-page-1/#comments

    Warning: there’s a very annoying and dense individual there by the name of nolajim who has difficulty reading and understanding words.

  15. 15
    noastronomer

    “…doctors sawed through the pubic symphysis to crack open the pelvis…”

    /retch

    Thank you, that’s my day ruined. I’ll skip the video.

    I assume PZ meant ‘doctors’ in the sort of very general sense of people who work at hospitals and do things to people as opposed to ‘Doctors’ that look after their patients welfare.

    Mike.

  16. 16
    hypatiasdaughter

    “Ambulatory baby-making machines” is NOT hyperbole in this case.
    Symphysiotomy was used (in the Irish cases) to prevent uterine scaring that made more than 4 C-sections dangerous.
    It was used to ensure that women who shouldn’t have continued to get pregnant could continue to have pregnancies past the recommended four.
    In a sane world, these women would have been able to decide not to get pregnant any more. In the insane world of religion, they had no right to refuse the sex with their husbands, no right to use birth control and no right to decide on the medical procedures used in childbirth.
    Proof that there is no Intelligent Design. God kills off children, before and after birth at a horrific rate (Possibly 50% of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortions, and until science stepped in, up to 50% of all born children died of childhood diseases.) Nice going, god – killing off half the human race before they are even old enough to believe in your existence.
    God also flubbed ID by giving his sex toys and baby machines a human brain. We don’t Intel chips into robots on an assembly line that weld the same spot over and over again. Simple functions only need a simple mind.

  17. 17
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    The Church also objected to C-sections on the grounds that when a woman’s abdomen has already been opened in that area, it is easy enough to tie her tubes or perform a hysterectomy. So it is easy to “sneak in” a sterilization. And Babby Jebus cries if a woman gets sterilized, because that means that she isn’t popping babies out annually.

  18. 18
    busterggi

    I will never think of the ‘jaws of life’ the same.

  19. 19
    skeptifem

    From what I understand this procedure is still used to resolve some cases of shoulder dystocia that cannot otherwise be handled (the very last ditch effort is usually breaking the kid’s collar bone).
    There aren’t any reliable ways to predict or prevent shoulder dystocia.

  20. 20
    Amphiox

    Ugh.

    Hey, I thought their god deliberately made the female pelvis narrow and childbirth painful either as punishment for that apple thing or part of some other incomprehensible grand plan. Who do these heretics think they are, to interfere with their god’s perfect plans and designs in this way?

  21. 21
    Bronze Dog

    I remember when reading The Dragons of Eden, the fact about human babies having heads too big for their mother’s pelvis was brought up. I started to wonder if a woman’s pelvis could be surgically widened for easier births, and if this could lead to even larger human skulls and brains since it removes one genetic restraint, turning the surgery into a requirement for later generations. Just a thought experiment in my head.

    Of course, I didn’t know it’s been done, and that it causes pain and loss of mobility.

    The Church also objected to C-sections on the grounds that when a woman’s abdomen has already been opened in that area, it is easy enough to tie her tubes or perform a hysterectomy. So it is easy to “sneak in” a sterilization. And Babby Jebus cries if a woman gets sterilized, because that means that she isn’t popping babies out annually.

    I find it disturbing that this sounds so plausible and in-character that I’m willing to believe it without a citation. Though it’d probably be nice to have one, anyway.

  22. 22
    jumpinjoeski

    Skeptifem @ #19 is correct. A symphysiotomy can be done if the head is delivered but the shoulders cannot be, and all other maneuvers have failed. The urethra is pushed to one side (ideally having already placed a catheter before delivery of the head in anticipation), and then a scalpel is used to cut the 2-3 cm wide band of ligament holding the two halves of the symphysis together. No bone is being cut! The baby is then completely delivered, and the woman wears a pelvic binder after delivery to allow the ligament to re-fuse. This can be a life saving procedure for babies, and is performed rarely in the US, but more commonly in areas without a quick resort to C section.

    In the US it is also done when there is a breech vaginal delivery with an entrapped aftercoming head. There is a case series from California where symphysiotomy was used in 4 cases to save the baby.

    Every obstetrician, hopefully, knows how to do this procedure. Lay midwives in third world countries are trained to do it as well (Google article “Evolution and the Cesarean Section Rate.”)

    Joe

  23. 23
    jumpinjoeski

    #21 The issue of bigger brains in humans in cultures that can do sections is also raised in that same article in The American Biology Teacher titled “Evolution and the Cesarean Section Rate.” If human technology can remove the constraints of a small pelvis or a big fetal brain, and there is variation in these phenotypic measures, then women’s pelves will get smaller and babies heads will get bigger, because there is nothing to prevent that. Thus, evolution will account for more sections being done, and, since fetal head size does correlate with IQ, humans may get smarter!

    Joe

  24. 24
    chigau (違う)

    If human technology can remove the constraints of a small pelvis or a big fetal brain, and there is variation in these phenotypic measures, then women’s pelves will get smaller and babies heads will get bigger, because there is nothing to prevent that. Thus, evolution will account for more sections being done, and, since fetal head size does correlate with IQ, humans may get smarter!

    Is this an example of how the theory of evolution is taught in American schools?

  25. 25
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    chigau,
    I know it’s not really funny, but… *laughs*

  26. 26
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    This procedure may have cost women the ability to walk properly but saved lives.

    Like in Ireland in the 1970′s and 1980′s *rolleyes*
    We’re not talking about some remote location 200 years ago. We’re talking about an already back then 1st world country in which women were deliberately tortured to make sure they could have more babies.
    It didn’t “save the life” of any of these women. It ruined it.

  27. 27
    Gregory Greenwood

    Using symphysiotomy to try to quite literally modify women into baby making machines? Seriously? It is like something out of a particularly nasty literary dystopia. What the fictional hell-trope is wrong with these people?

    Whenever I think that catholics can sink no further, they always find new and inventive ways to scrape the bottom of that barrel just a little harder.

  28. 28
    Sastra

    rq#1 wrote:

    What about walking and caring for the unlimited number of children coming out of that vagina???

    If this wasn’t seen as a concern, it’s probably because women who have large families almost always make sure that the older children start helping with the younger children and household chores as soon as they can — particularly the older girls. While a little of this is okay, of course, a lot of people who were considered primarily responsible for looking after their younger brothers and sisters grew up hating it, their resentment then coloring their adult relationships with their siblings and their adult choices for their own families (or lack of them.)

    The Catholic Church would of course see nothing wrong with children being forced into caretaker positions. That would even be a benefit of having a disabled mother. She just doesn’t have to be so disabled that a man can’t impregnate her.

    I refused to watch the video. I think I can guess well enough where it’s going to go. I’m not in the mood to go there.

  29. 29
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    And then people told me about symphysiotomy, a medical procedure in which doctors sawed through the pubic symphysis to crack open the pelvis and open it wide…to make childbirth easier.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

    *curls up in fetal position, sobbing*

  30. 30
    Ingdigo Jump

    Female genital mutilation

  31. 31
    Trebuchet

    Like PZ, I had to look the procedure up when I saw it referred to in discussion of the death of Savita. It may be mentioned in the video, but I haven’t noticed in PZ’s post or the comments: The procedure was done to thousands of women WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT! Sorry for shouting.

  32. 32
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh, it should be mentioned that contraception was also illegal in Ireland until 1980(!) and then were strongly regulated (yes, your doctor had to prescribe you a condom) and it took a long time until it was more liberalized.
    Sure somebody will kindly explain to my fuzzy pink ladybrains how
    A) this was not the fault of the RCC
    B) this was actually done to help women

  33. 33
    Rutee Katreya

    Fucking christ, I hate the catholic church and everyone who still supports that beast.

  34. 34
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    this was actually done to help women

    have babies!

    Isn’t that enough to make a woman happy?

  35. 35
    Nepenthe

    Whenever I think that catholics can sink no further, they always find new and inventive ways to scrape the bottom of that barrel just a little harder.

    In this case, with a hacksaw.

    *weeps*

  36. 36
    Ingdigo Jump

    A) this was not the fault of the RCC

    According to Nolasonniejim it’s the fault of the state for letting the powerless RCC influence them! Much like it’s the fault of the state and law enforcement for letting the Mafia influence them. When the Mafia is involved in a ‘tragic accident’ don’t blame them, blame the police they bribed or threatened into allowing them free reign to operate.

  37. 37
    dianne

    @6: If this post were about the procedure being carried out in rural Nigeria or even rural North Dakota, I’d see your point. But it’s not. Ireland is a first world country with a quite sufficient number of doctors to allow women who need c-sections to get them. And if they don’t have birth control, that’s because they don’t want to have birth control. In other words, because they wish to endanger women’s lives and enslave them.

  38. 38
    Matt Penfold

    @6: If this post were about the procedure being carried out in rural Nigeria or even rural North Dakota, I’d see your point. But it’s not. Ireland is a first world country with a quite sufficient number of doctors to allow women who need c-sections to get them. And if they don’t have birth control, that’s because they don’t want to have birth control. In other words, because they wish to endanger women’s lives and enslave them.

    His point was just that. I cannot understand why you are objecting to Avicenna when you agree with him.

  39. 39
    ChasCPeterson

    Female genital mutilation

    anatomy fail

  40. 40
    dianne

    Sorry, Avicenna, not parsing what you wrote carefully enough. I agree.

  41. 41
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Chas

    I wasn’t being literal I was drawing an association. As usual though don’t let reading comprehension alter your insistence on being a dick to people.

    Oh wait darn, that’s being a cry baby to point out that you (un)intentionally misread people you don’t like for the purposes of criticizing them and don’t actually contribute much positive at all isn’t it. Shucks I’m sorry.

  42. 42
    Portia

    Fucking shit hell. I can’t stop cringing. Fucking disgusting, and one of the most blatant, telling examples of the RCC’s view of women as wombs with bodies attached. Fucking shit. Fuck fuck. Agh.

    Ok, now that that’s out of my system…

    If you had an old school c-section and got pregnant again there was an increasing chance you could die during childbirth. This procedure may have cost women the ability to walk properly but saved lives.

    Old-school? Like…in the 70s? Are you for real right now? Being crippled by the religiosity of other people who had power over your body and life and didn’t view you as human. That’s what we’re talking about. Not some situation where there was no such thing as safe C-sections.

  43. 43
    Matt Penfold

    Old-school? Like…in the 70s? Are you for real right now? Being crippled by the religiosity of other people who had power over your body and life and didn’t view you as human. That’s what we’re talking about. Not some situation where there was no such thing as safe C-sections.

    You need go back and read what he actually wrote.

    He is pointing out that in some situations, historically, symphysiotomy could be the least worst option. He is not saying that applies now.

  44. 44
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Whenever I think that catholics can sink no further, they always find new and inventive ways to scrape the bottom of that barrel just a little harder.

    With the Catholic Church, there is no bottom.

    Like PZ said… it’s time we aborted them.

  45. 45
    dianne

    I’ve seen pelvises separate spontaneously when someone makes a misjudgement about whether pushing is a good idea or not. It looked painful.

  46. 46
    robro

    Giliell asked, “How…:

    A) this was not the fault of the RCC

    Why, as nolajim has explained…repeatedly…in the Savita thread, the RCC doesn’t make the laws. True enough, but…well, we both know how that goes. They don’t have to enact the laws, just meddle in politics from the pulpit enough to get conservative, pro-Catholic legislators elected, then they pass the laws to the gleeful approval of the clergy. It also helps to “educate” the masses so they obediently follow the twisted teachings and illogic of the Church, and so vote consistently for traditional, conservative, pro-Catholic legislators against their better interest…kind of like working class American’s voting for Republicans. For example, per the usual unreliable source, the RCC controls more than 90% of primary education in Ireland.

    B) this was actually done to help women

    Because birthing babies fulfills a woman’s purpose in life…don’t you know. Having babies is god’s gift (Mourdock). It’s also His punishment of women (see Genius 2). You see how easy it is. You can’t lose when you make the coin and then call both sides. That’s what’s so great about religion. It can’t be wrong.

  47. 47
    Ingdigo Jump

    As a side note I am constantly baffled at the name Mourdock. I guess with a name like that you’re doomed to either be an evil bastard or Daredevil

  48. 48
    Dutchgirl

    But remember folks, suffering is good for the soul! How else are you to know you are righteous unless you have suffered untold misery in your life without complaint, if you are a woman that is. /sarcasm.
    I can’t find the courage to watch the video. I’m going to cuddle with my pet rats now and thank FSM that I have the right to decide over my reproductive health.

  49. 49
    joed

    The humans that think this shit up (symphysiotomy)
    are sick sonsabitches and would be best if they are kept in prison for many many years.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization
    Compulsory sterilization
    In the first half of the 20th century, several such programs were instituted in countries around the world, usually as part of eugenics programs intended to prevent the reproduction and multiplication of members of the population considered to be carriers of defective genetic traits.
    USA had laws on the books till the 1970′s.
    Usually young white women were sterilized because they seemed friendly with black guys.
    Buck vs Bell is a tragic legal finding in US Supreme Court.
    sick sonsabitches.

  50. 50
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    I can actually see the usefulness of the procedure described where the pelvic ligament is severed. In an absolutely worst case shoulder dystocia where EVERY other method has been employed and a C-section is not a viable option, it could save the life of both the woman and the baby. It has the potential to at least be somewhat healed, and it is done on an emergency, last resort basis.

    This… butchery described using hacksaws on unconsenting women… in the fucking 20th century… on women who clearly often had no need of extreme intervention (one of the women interviewed had a 4 lb baby? The chances of a major dystocia seem pretty unlikely) simply because they thought the women should be readily available to breed? Christ on a crutch hacksaws get used on carcasses not women, though I suppose to these fuckers it was the same thing, except the woman needed to be kept alive to pop out another unit in ten months.

    Yeah, going to go hug the horse now. Warm horsie is one of the few things that might make images of this go away for a short while.

  51. 51
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    As a side note I am constantly baffled at the name Mourdock. I guess with a name like that you’re doomed to either be an evil bastard or Daredevil

    or a sailor.

    USA had laws on the books till the 1970′s.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, in some US states (Mississippi, for example), court ordered involuntary sterilization of unwed mothers was not all that unusual.

  52. 52
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    blockquote fail. “USA had laws on the books till the 1970′s” should be blockquoted in my Area 51.

  53. 53
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    dianne@45 – remember the chest-burster scene from “Alien”? It feels like that, only at the front of your pelvis.

  54. 54
    dianne

    If it helps any, I once treated a (white) man who was castrated by the Iowa Eugenics Board. In the 1950s. Post-Nuremburg, in other words. He had no heritable medical or psychological issues. Poverty and mental illness bought him his mutilation. So it’s not only sexism and racism that leads to this sort of thing.

  55. 55
    chigau (違う)

    Because I knew™ that ‘hacksaw’ was an inaccurate description of the instrument used, I googled “surgical saws”, then clicked on images.
    oh my

  56. 56
    raven

    As a side note I am constantly baffled at the name Mourdock. I guess with a name like that you’re doomed to either be an evil bastard or Daredevil

    My theory is that his family Americanized their name when they immigrated to the surface from their subterranean warrens.

    It was, of course, originally “Morlock”.

  57. 57
    raven

    Whenever I think that catholics can sink no further, they always find new and inventive ways to scrape the bottom of that barrel just a little harder.

    With the Catholic Church, there is no bottom.

    QFT, really.

    The Catholic church is an authoritarian top down organization where the members exist to support the priests and church.

    At least in Protestantism, a lot of them are bottom up organizations. The members choose the minister, and vote on anything and everything.

    Not all of them though. The fundie death cults tend towards the RCC model. As do the Mormons. The Mormons also exist to support the church rather than the church existing to support the members.

  58. 58
    Avicenna

    At no. 55. Those are mostly for orthopaedics. Just because a saw looks scary doesn’t mean it’s scary…

    Portia – The new method of caesarean postdates most of us. It was mainly late 90s when it was invented and came into wide practice. Nowadays c-sections can be done under epidural even (While you are still awake). A lot has improved. It has to do with the shape of the incision and the position. My mother in 1994 got the older one for my brother, so the new one probably is after that.

  59. 59
    ChasCPeterson

    I’ve seen pelvises separate spontaneously

    I know you mean totally separate, which isn’t supposed to happen, but they are supposed to spread a bit during ‘normal’ parturition. There’s even a specialized hormone, relaxin*, that weakens the ligaments to make this possible (it also softens up the connective tissue of the cervix to allow dilation).

    *(not to be confused with the Miles Davis album Relaxin’.)

  60. 60
    dianne

    @Chas: The ligaments are supposed to relax, but the bones on either side of the symphysis pubis are not supposed to be displaced. When the pelvic bones are visibly at different levels with respect to the patient’s body…there’s a problem.

  61. 61
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    BTW, if you want the whole story to round up nicely, one of the guys who happily performed this is the Professor who run the “abortion never necessary to save a mother” symposium and who also taught at the university affiliated with that hospital that killed Savita Halappanavar.
    He also says that the women are inventing the negative effects due to the bad press…

  62. 62
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Giliell:

    Y’all excuse me for a while while I go cry.

  63. 63
    Fern

    Giliell @ 63: Color me shocked.

    Ugh. Just reading about this makes me feel queazy.

  64. 64
    Gregory Greenwood

    Nepenthe @ 35;

    Whenever I think that catholics can sink no further, they always find new and inventive ways to scrape the bottom of that barrel just a little harder.

    In this case, with a hacksaw.

    *weeps*

    Its so utterly sickening. This kind of thing is why I reserve a special hatred for those who cover up the rape of children, murder women, and generally spread pain, death and suffering in the name of their infantile delusions of a magic sky fairy.

    Hell doesn’t exist, which is just as well for them. If it did, the whole putrid lot of them would deserve to rot in it.

    —————————————————————–

    NateHevens @ 44;

    With the Catholic Church, there is no bottom.

    I am afraid you are right. I always want to believe that there is some fundamental spark of empathy – some point at which compassion will reflexively kick in when one person sees another in pain – that will stay their hands, but it’s just wishful thinking. There is no pit of depravity into which these ghoulish death-cultists won’t sink, no horror they won’t perpetrate in the name of their imaginary god.

    It does lead one to wonder – if people like nolajim were listened to, and the catholic church’s agenda went unopposed, how far would these power hungry, woman-murdering priests go? What shape would their ideal society take? I imagine that, at the very least, it would amount to turning back the clock to the days when women had the legal status of chattel rather than people, and could well go even further to a society that openly treats women as breeding livestock, complete with ear tags to denote ownership, bloodline and breeding viability, to be used up and then cast aside. Or maybe rendered down into some kind of Soylent Green-esque foodstuff used to cheaply feed the other brood mares women.

    And so long as the threat of prison was hanging over them if they didn’t do it, the nolajims of the world would be lining up to take jobs administering the breeding centres. Afterall, if one apparently can’t expect someone to risk imprisonment just to avoid killing a pregnant woman, then why should we expect any better in a scenario such as the one I outlined above.

    ‘Just following orders’. It’s the usual excuse in such cases.

  65. 65
    Ichthyic

    If you had an old school c-section and got pregnant again there was an increasing chance you could die during childbirth. This procedure may have cost women the ability to walk properly but saved lives.

    you know what would have saved even more lives?

    the Catholic Church not insisting contraception is teh evil.

    and don’t even TRY to tell me that good contraception wasn’t available during the ENTIRE era that symphysiotomies were being performed.

  66. 66
    Ichthyic

    …hell, let me ammend that:

    you know what would have saved even MORE lives?

    NO CATHOLIC CHURCH, AT ALL.

  67. 67
    Ichthyic

    This can be a life saving procedure for babies, and is performed rarely in the US, but more commonly in areas without a quick resort to C section.

    again, this misses what was actually happening in Ireland, and how the procedure was egregiously abused.

    so, uh, thanks for the obvious lesson that this can be a useful procedure in VERY VERY VERY rare circumstances, but these comments are NOT at all useful in this thread.

  68. 68
    Matt Penfold

    you know what would have saved even more lives?

    the Catholic Church not insisting contraception is teh evil.

    and don’t even TRY to tell me that good contraception wasn’t available during the ENTIRE era that symphysiotomies were being performed.

    He wasn’t. Did you misunderstand this part of what Avicenna wrote ?

    It however is not meant to be used for this purpose.

  69. 69
    Ichthyic

    He wasn’t. Did you misunderstand this part of what Avicenna wrote

    not at all. did you misunderstand why I wrote what I did?

    obviously so.

    try again?

  70. 70
    Matt Penfold

    not at all. did you misunderstand why I wrote what I did?

    Nope, but thanks for confirming your ignorance is deliberate.

    There seem to be two or three people here who are being willfully obtuse, and all of you should not better.

  71. 71
    ibyea

    *cringe* That would be like if a doctor came and sawed my balls off. *shudder*

  72. 72
    Matt Penfold

    Really Ichthyic, you, Gilliel and Portia seem to have totally failed to understand that Avicenna was giving some historical context as to why symphysiotomies were carried out, and then saying that the reason they were carried out historically do not apply to the situation in Ireland as described by PZ. Yet the three of you think he was saying the opposite.

    None of you are stupid, so why pretend you are ?

  73. 73
    ChasCPeterson

    That would be like if a doctor came and sawed my balls off.

    no, it wouldn’t.

  74. 74
    steve84

    @ibyea
    Not exactly. That would be less painful in the long run. But you could do the same procedure on a man.

  75. 75
    vaiyt

    @64: That’s a sci-fi dystopia waiting to be written.

  76. 76
    rq

    Matt Penfield
    What may be upsetting them is that this is not a discussion about the historical context of the symphiosotomy, but a discussion about its misuse in Ireland, in the recently modern world, where it was willfully used in a horrific matter, not as some last-resort necessity.
    It just seems a bit out-of-place to laud the potential emergency usefulness of an archaic medical practice on a thread meant to show how it has been horribly misused.
    Even if agreeing with the misuse.

  77. 77
    Ichthyic

    Nope, but thanks for confirming your ignorance is deliberate.

    lolwut?

    ok, you’re deliberately being an idiot.

    I get it.

  78. 78
    Ichthyic

    rq gets it.

    thankyou

    Penfold fails.

    not the first time.

  79. 79
    Matt Penfold

    It just seems a bit out-of-place to laud the potential emergency usefulness of an archaic medical practice on a thread meant to show how it has been horribly misused.

    It seemed to be to a useful contribution. Those defending the use of symphysiotomy in Ireland have argued that it is a legitimate operation in some circumstances. Avicenna was providing information to put that claim in context, that historically it had it uses but that the situations that warranted its use did not apply in Ireland.

    Some here seem to have taken that as saying use in Ireland was warranted.

  80. 80
    rq

    Well, in my opinion the relevance was rather vague, or its presentation misleading.
    I can see how some people might not see the relevance at all, without being stupid.

  81. 81
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    @71

    No.

    You can still walk without balls.

    You don’t face chronic, crippling pain that drives you either to take whopping doses of narcotics or to suicide if you’ve lost your balls.

    Chronic pain sucks more than people can possibly imagine.

  82. 82
    Matt Penfold

    Well, in my opinion the relevance was rather vague, or its presentation misleading.

    I found it reasonably clear.

    I can see how some people might not see the relevance at all, without being stupid.

    I can. Ichthyic et al being examples. They are not stupid, but they misunderstood something and they are unable to bring themselves to admit it.

  83. 83
    No Light

    Do you want to hear the what the shit-coated cherry on top of this turd sundae is?

    This was done at teaching hospitals that trained doctors, catholic doctors from communities in developing countries, so that their fertility wasn’t hampered by past Caesarians.

    Here’s the leaked Walsh Report:

    http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2012/06/Walsh-report.pdf

    Here’s a column from the Irish Journal, by the chair of “Survivors of Symphisiotomy”:

    http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/column-symphysiotomy-was-seen-as-a-gateway-to-childbearing-without-limits/

  84. 84
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Matt
    Kindly entertain the idea that you missunderstood it.
    I am entertaining the idea that I’m being uncharitable due to a history with the guy. Still, what I see is just not clear enough. Actually, his reference to “old type C-sections” and “new type C-sections” and the information that the change only happened in the 90′s cn be reasonably interpreted that he considered it a valid idea before that.

    If you had an old school c-section and got pregnant again there was an increasing chance you could die during childbirth. This procedure may have cost women the ability to walk properly but saved lives.

    The new method of caesarean postdates most of us. It was mainly late 90s when it was invented and came into wide practice.

  85. 85
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    BTW, that last comment was directly in response to Portio who remarked that we’re talking about the 1970′s in Ireland…

  86. 86
    Ichthyic

    . They are not stupid, but they misunderstood something and they are unable to bring themselves to admit it.

    you’re an idiot, you know that?

    it’s absolutely fucking clear to everyone ELSE but you that I did indeed “understand” what was being said by Avicenna and by jumpinjoeski. That you keep missing the point of what I’m saying has also not been missed.

    that you keep trying to project YOUR failure on to me is clear.

  87. 87
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    It’s never Catholic doctrine that kills women – that’s just propaganda from baby killers exploiting Savita’s death for their nefarious purposes.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2012/11/15/the-tragic-death-of-savita-halappanavar-should-not-be-exploited-to-sweep-away-irish-abortion-law-under-which-she-could-legally-have-been-saved/

    (Cross posted on Ophelia’s as well. I hate people today.)

  88. 88
    Ichthyic

    Some here seem to have taken that as saying use in Ireland was warranted.

    NO. you idiot. that is NOT what anyone is saying.

    take your strawman and shove it.

  89. 89
    rq

    Matt Penfold

    I don’t see why they should bring themselves to understand the point, given the sensitivity of the topic and also the comment isn’t particularly important to the fact that the procedure was misused in Ireland. It’s just a slight historical elaboration on the procedure. And it was placed at the beginning of the thread, and the denunciation of the misuse was rather short and tacked on at the end, and, really, doesn’t add much to the general argument.
    Why are you so worried about them missing his point? He has bad punctuation, and is easily misunderstood through misuse of commas (I do it all the time when reading his posts, but I like his posts too much to avoid them for bad use of punctuation).
    Anyway, now we’re getting off-topic. Like – completely off-topic.

    Either way, I don’t think anyone needs to particularly clarify one comment by Avicenna, given the broader topic being discussed here.
    Leave them alone.
    And no, I’m not going to continue this conversation with you.

  90. 90
    Matt Penfold

    NO. you idiot. that is NOT what anyone is saying.

    take your strawman and shove it.

    Ichthyic,

    Clearly you are having some kind of issue keeping calm at the moment. I can understand you are embarrassed as making a mistake as you did, but do not take out on me OK ?

    Now until you have gained control, I will have nothing further to say to you.

    And as for your claim that no one is saying it, Gilliel is. Once you have calmed down maybe you will offer an explanation for your lie.

    Kindly entertain the idea that you missunderstood it.
    I am entertaining the idea that I’m being uncharitable due to a history with the guy. Still, what I see is just not clear enough. Actually, his reference to “old type C-sections” and “new type C-sections” and the information that the change only happened in the 90′s cn be reasonably interpreted that he considered it a valid idea before that.

    I have tried to, and I cannot see how you think Avicenna can be taken as defending the situation in Ireland in the 70s.

    His penultimate sentence in his first post makes it clear he does not think it applies. “It however is not meant to be used for this purpose.” By “this purpose” he means the situation as described by PZ.

  91. 91
    Matt Penfold

    Leave them alone.

    Truth matters. If you are not concerned about the truth, fine. But do not tell others they should not be. It is presumptive and rude on your part.

    And if you do not want to continue this conversation fine. You are free to flounce.

  92. 92
    rorschach

    I just had a look in my O&G textbook. Symphysiotomy is not mentioned, and I certainly had never heard of it before. Also, some people here have described this as a procedure that was done in the 1970s or earlier, but my understanding is that at least Prof Dwyer at Galway carried this out until very recently, or might still be doing it.

  93. 93
    Ichthyic

    Clearly you are having some kind of issue keeping calm at the moment.

    yes, because your condescending dishonesty makes me fucking angry.

  94. 94
    Ichthyic

    And if you do not want to continue this conversation fine. You are free to flounce.

    so are you, fuckwit.

  95. 95
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Matt

    By “this purpose” he means the situation as described by PZ.

    You’re pretty vague here.
    The “purpose” I would suppose is “to keep the baby factory going”, roughly phrased, which he contrasts with the purpose to “keep women safe from the risks of pregnancy after old-style c-sections”
    Or what other purposes do you think of?
    And why does he talk about old style C-sections when the practise was warranted vs. modern type c-sections when it apparently isn’t anymore and draws the line in the 1990′s for when this change happened?

    I quote again:

    If you had an old school c-section and got pregnant again there was an increasing chance you could die during childbirth. This procedure may have cost women the ability to walk properly but saved lives.

    Then Portia expicitly asks:

    Old-school? Like…in the 70s?

    To which he replies:

    The new method of caesarean postdates most of us. It was mainly late 90s when it was invented and came into wide practice.

    Which I think can be reasonably interpreted as him saying that it was still legit in the 1970′s because he doesn’t indicate otherwise

  96. 96
    steve84

    @rorschach
    It seems it had its heyday in Ireland from the 1940s to 1970s, but the latest was performed around 1984 I think :o

  97. 97
    triskelethecat

    As a CNM, I want to jump in here with my take.

    I can’t speak for Ireland. I have never worked there nor do I know any nurses or midwives from there. However, here in the US the “new style” c section (low lateral incision of the uterus) was common from the mid-late 1970′s, with the “old style” vertical incision being used only rarely – usually for emergencies or very premature deliveries. And yes, sometimes a 2 lb premie will lead to a c-section.

    However, I, and every midwife I knew, and most of the doctors, were taught how to do a symphysiotomy (manually) in case of severe shoulder dystocia when fracturing the baby’s clavicle (shoulder blade) didn’t work and you couldn’t do a c-section (it’s almost impossible to do a c-section once the head is delivered. A very few doctors can do a Zavanelli procedure). In the choice of live or dead baby, breaking the symphysis was, and on VERY rare occasions, may still be, the best choice possible.

    That being said: I CRINGED when I read the woman’s description of the doctor taking up a saw. (@Audley – yeah, joined you in the fetal position sobbing). THAT is not a symphysiotomy, that is pure barbaric torture. And those women who had it done were tortured. There was NO reason for the procedure being done like it was.

    There actually was a limit of sorts to the numbers of c-sections a woman could have. Mainly because of 2 factors – with the old vertical uterine incision, you had a much higher risk of rupture with each pregnancy, and also a greatly increased risk of placental problems (previa, accreta, abruption). So most physicians would counsel sterilization after the 4th or so. Although here in the US Ethel Kennedy had 5 c-sections, back in the day.

  98. 98
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Tapetum @53:

    remember the chest-burster scene from “Alien”? It feels like that, only at the front of your pelvis.

    Damn.
    That sounds horrifying and makes the decisions made by these “doctors” all the more abominable.

  99. 99
    No Light

    @Rorschach -

    “Symphysiotomy is a childbirth operation that severs one of the main pelvic joints, sundering the pubic bones and unhinging the pelvis. The operation never succeeded in gaining acceptance from the medical profession and was seen as a surgery of last resort, to be done only in an emergency. By the 1920s in England, Caesarean section was well established as the norm for difficult births; and by the end of the 1930s, Irish obstetricians had caught up with their English colleagues––and the rest of the world–– in this area of practice.

    The National Maternity Hospital revived symphysiotomy in 1944, and the surgery quickly spread to the Coombe. The operation bordered on clandestine, with no information given to patients before or after surgery. No case of informed consent exists. Control of women’s reproductive health appeared to be the goal: obstetricians were hostile to family planning for ideological reasons.

    Believing that repeat C-sections would inevitably lead to women to opt for fewer children, obstetricians arbitrarily revived this mutilating surgery without any concern, seemingly, for the damage wrought by the operation on their patients, damage amply described in the medical literature. The injuries sustained vary, but most of the women were left with truly horrific injuries, including life-long pain, walking difficulties and incontinence.”

    http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/symphysiotomy-walsh-report-survivors-catholic-church-doctors-ruadhan-mac-aodhain-492511-Jun2012/

  100. 100
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ogvorbis:

    Y’all excuse me for a while while I go cry.

    I hear that.
    I think I need to break something. Several somethings. Some fine Catholic china perhaps.

  101. 101
    rq

    Why
    did
    I
    read
    that

    when I could have not read that? :(

  102. 102
    jumpinjoeski

    #99 The Walsh report found that 95% of the symphysiotomies were done in emergency circumstances. The article you reference is written by the lawyer representing his clients. No conflict of interest there! I know who I am going to believe!

    I wrote in prior posts that symphysiotomy is not chain saw surgery and that it is still practiced. See these links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5c4GAxmEgE
    start discussion of symphysiotomy around 7:30
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2189391
    symphysiotomy should be familiar to all ob doctors
    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0040071
    women in Nigeria familiar with both symphysiotomy and C section prefer the former

    Symphysiotomy has nothing to do with abortions, and nothing to do with the tragic septic death of the woman in Ireland.

    As to #24 and #25, I am not sure what part of my post was laughable. If you remove stabilizing selection, the distribution of birth weight becomes platykurtic. Modern medicine has allowed survival of small premies and big babies, both of which were at high risk of death, and both traits are heritable. What part of evolution don’t they teach in your country?

    If it is the big brain/smarter link you object to, then I would encourage you to look at the data. Any association of IQ with a biologic measurable trait has become politically incorrect, more so since SJ Gould cherry picked data sets for his books. I am speaking in geologic time, not one generation, but if we get rid of selection against big fetal brains by doing sections, and there is any advantage to this (compare Homo and Australopithecus), then brains will get bigger. The obstetric dilemma of big brain vs. bipedalism is not the only factor in the limits on brain size at birth, but it is a significant one.

    Joe (a practicing obstetrician who has done several Zavanelli maneuvers and a symphysiotomy with excellent results)

  103. 103
    rorschach

    No Light,

    thanks, very interesting! There is an article behind a paywall from 2010 that talks about symphysiotomies in Ireland here, it says:

    Some 1,500 symphysiotomies are documented as having been performed in Irish hospitals between 1944 and 1983

    Wonder what nolajim makes of it. I can guess, it’s the state’s and the doctor’s fault. Never that of Catholic indoctrination and dogma.

  104. 104
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    I’m still fucked up from reading about symphysiotomies yesterday. Just knowing it exists and Irish Catholic doctors considered it a best practice makes me nauseous.

    I can’t even begin to imagine the shrieking terror this bullshit has brought to women. :(

  105. 105
    steve84

    As the article at #99 points that report seems to be largely a sham and the 95% figure is incorrect

  106. 106
    rorschach

    Modern medicine has allowed survival of small premies and big babies, both of which were at high risk of death, and both traits are heritable. What part of evolution don’t they teach in your country?

    “small baby” is a trait? LOL, you’re funny.

  107. 107
    raven

    #99 The Walsh report found that 95% of the symphysiotomies were done in emergency circumstances. The article you reference is written by the lawyer representing his clients. No conflict of interest there! I know who I am going to believe!

    You are an idiot. Governments and other organizations cover things up all the time. Routine. Two friends of mine died in Iraq saving us from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that never even existed and they knew they didn’t exist.

    Journal.ie apparently an Irish journal of some sort.

    ‘Unreserved sympathy’ for women who suffered symphysiotomies

    The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists described the procedure as an ‘exceptional and rare intervention’.
    15/06/12 2,288 Views 9 Comments Share2 Tweet7

    Women who suffered symphysiotomies at the Dáil earlier this year
    Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall IrelandTHE INSTITUTE OF Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has offered its unreserved sympathy and supports to women who suffered complications following symphysiotomy procedures after giving birth.

    The advisory body said that the procedure was ‘an exceptional and rare intervention’ which occurred in less than 0.05 per cent of deliveries between 1940 and 1985, when it was finally stopped.

    An estimated 1,500 symphysiotomies were carried out in Irish hospitals during the period. Rates for the procedure peaked at 1.4 per cent of all births in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda during the 1960s.

    Many of the women who underwent symphysiotomies – a draconian surgical procedure which widened the pelvis for childbirth – suffered life-long chronic pain, incontinence, and other medical problems.

    A draft government report into the practice said that the laws of the Catholic Church played a large role in the continued use of symphysiotomies in Ireland long after they were discontinued in other countries. Symphysiotomy was mostly used in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s at a time when contraception was illegal.

    Survivors yesterday spoke at the Oireachtas Justice Committee about what they had been through.

    The women are seeking the statute of limitations to be lifted so that they can seek redress through the courts.

    There might be very rare times when a symphysiotomy is needed.

    It’s quite clear that in Ireland a huge number of unnecessary procedures were performed based on Catholic barbarianism.

    The proof is blatant to anyone who looks. The procedure was common for a while and then more or less stopped. Why were “emergencies” common in the mid and late 20th century and not later? They weren’t emergencies.

    We know what they are and this is from an Irish government report. A draft government report into the practice said that the laws of the Catholic Church played a large role in the continued use of symphysiotomies in Ireland long after they were discontinued in other countries. It was just the Catholic church being the Catholic church, in other words evil.

  108. 108
    Ingdigo Jump

    No one is questioning the idea of emergency procedcure…they’re asking why not c sections. The point was this was done instead because it preserves fertility. That is an issue just like abortion if they’re taking a route that maims because pope hat.

  109. 109
    No Light

    Steve84 – exactly, thank you!

    Joeski – had you read the accompanying article and the survivor testimonies therein, you might have realised that the Walsh Report was pure fucking fantastical bullshit,

    Tell me, are all of these women just fucking lying? Did they all magically come up with the same story due to some womanly mindmelding magic?

    These were routinely performed, often on primagravidas, as a direct alternative to Caesarian section, Not crash procedures involving dystocia.

    Maybe you missed the fact that some women still required sections after their pelvic girdle had been broken?

    . Zavanelli is a rare procedure, as you know, and only used where a dystocia absolutely cannot be resolved. Same goes for symphisiotomy. The latter only done when the former has failed, and a section is all but impossible if the end result is a live baby.

    So how then, were women given symphisiotomy ultimately followed by a section, and still managing to leave with a live child? That’s arse-backward, no?

    The Walsh Report is a whitewash, a snow job, a tissue of terrible lies designed to exonerate medical staff, and cast doubt on the testimonies of survivors.

    Same shit, different day.

  110. 110
    ibyea

    Yeah, my comparison does underestimate the horribleness. That’s really sick that people would do that to one another.

  111. 111
    raven

    What is driving this unnecessary death and the previous unnecessary epidemic of symphysiotomies is real simple.

    The Catholic church, completely a men’s club, looks at women as baby making machinery and that is it. They are just supposed to produce as many babies as possible until they die.

    As a famous Catholic turned ex-Catholic put it:

    Martin Luther:

    Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child- bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for.”

    There is no compelling reason these days for women to have more than 2 or 3 children. With 7 billion humans in the world, we aren’t going to run out of people!!! And almost everyone knows it. Family sizes in the developed nations run around 2 and that includes Catholics.

  112. 112
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    You’ve got to be fucking KIDDING me.

    I have hypermobility, meaning my ligaments and soft tissues are much more elastic than normal. During pregnancy, my pelvis basically did the non-surgical version of this by itself, the tissues stretched so much that the pelvis halves would grind against each other when I did anything that caused it to move including walking, getting up, sitting down, rolling over in bed, getting in and out of bed, getting in and out of cars… the pain was EXCRUCIATING.

    To have that done and made permanent, with the bones being CUT in order to achieve it, so as to be better able to make babies?

    FUCK THAT NOISE. Seriously. It was AGONY, and mine was temporary.
    (incidentally, it did make childbirth easy. 22 minutes of pushing! NOT. WORTH IT.)

  113. 113
    Socio-gen, something something...

    *cries*

    I just — there aren’t any words. Those poor women….
    — —
    Avicenna @ 58:

    They aren’t that recent. I had the so-called new method or “bikini line” horizontal incision in 1987 with my oldest – and at a USAF hospital, for pete’s sake. Not exactly a hotbed of innovation in obstetric practice. The exact same procedure was used again, at a teaching hospital in northeastern PA, to deliver my two youngest kids in 1989 and 1992, respectively. The only difference was that the non-military hospital didn’t use staples on the outside.

  114. 114
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    I have hypermobility, meaning my ligaments and soft tissues are much more elastic than normal. During pregnancy, my pelvis basically did the non-surgical version of this by itself, the tissues stretched so much that the pelvis halves would grind against each other when I did anything that caused it to move including walking, getting up, sitting down, rolling over in bed, getting in and out of bed, getting in and out of cars… the pain was EXCRUCIATING.

    You’re scaring me.

    I also have hypermobility, and it has caused problems already. I have thoracic outlet syndrome, caused by simply wearing a backpack; shoulders and thumbs pop out and back in frequently, hips sprains are ubiquitous – these things happen so often I have a standing prescription for naproxen to avoid constant visits to the doctor.

    I have no kids yet… And I’m not sure, having already had my share of chronic pain from frequent sprains, that I want any now.

  115. 115
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze–

    Yeah – I’ve been having flashbacks and spells of shaking alternating with incandescent rage all day today since running into this little bit of torture promulgated by the Irish medical establishment. And nobody did this to me with a hacksaw, it was all me (and my mal-presented son).

    At least it’s a change. Usually I have flashbacks of my second childbirth, not my first.

  116. 116
    blogofmyself, writer of papers

    hypatiasdaughter:

    In a sane world, these women would have been able to decide not to get pregnant any more. In the insane world of religion, they had no right to refuse the sex with their husbands, no right to use birth control and no right to decide on the medical procedures used in childbirth.

    *goes back to weeping*

  117. 117
    sceptinurse

    Avicenna, the “newer” procedure for Cesarian section is older than you think. I had it in 78, 80, and 82.

  118. 118
    mildlymagnificent

    My pain went away once my pelvis had recovered from childbirth (about a year after each pregnancy) – theirs could never just go away. And there’s little-to-no treatment for pelvic instability, regardless of cause.

    So you’re the one!!

    When I was in hospital for the last few weeks before #2 was born, I was in deep, dire agony. I shouted and screamed at the fking idiot nurse who caringly extended her protective arm around my back as I struggled in agony, bent in two, my feet were slipping on the tears dropping straight to the floor as I tried to get to the loo – regardless of how healthy you are, 8+ months pregnant means pressure on the bladder. She was ‘soothing my worries’ about leaving my toddler at home. I was in pain!! And not taking anything for it, because baby.

    For that pregnancy I had pelvic pain _before_ I’d even tested positive. The first one I’d had to spend the last twelve fucking weeks! with my hips and pelvis strangled in a physio’s torture device to stop the joints moving. For the 2nd I was in an elastic sleeve from armpit to knee for months. One of the women who shared that ward had been on crutches since week 10. (And for both of them I had bikini line C sections. The first was a million weeks overdue and not in a suitable position for induction. The second because all. the. problems. The crook joints weren’t the only reason I was in hospital.)

    And all of us were told that it would *go away* after pregnancy. Bullshit. 30 years later I still can’t swim or ride a bike or climb more than a few steps – any scissor-style movement of the pelvis, or other forms of lever pressure like pushing something away with my foot – because agony.

    All those poor women with the joint actually separated rather than merely loose. I still suck down codeine like it’s going out of style. I dread to think what they go through.

  119. 119
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    @kemist

    I feel your pain. Literally.

    I can’t lie about it, it really wasn’t at all pleasant. I will clarify though – when I said it wasn’t worth it, I was talking about the hypermobility in relation to easier childbirth, not the whole ‘having a kid’ thing!
    I don’t know if I’d do it again (well, certainly not unless I get into a good, solid, happy relationship and really want to again within the next decade) but it was worth the pain to have my little squishy to bring up. :)

  120. 120
    michaelbusch

    @jumpinjoeski @102:

    It pales in comparison to some of your other butcherings of medical procedure, but let me make something clear:

    That symphysiotomy is still used in some locations as an alternative to caesarian section is in no way an argument for the procedure, outside of the particular emergency situations that have been described here.

    It is an argument for improving access to safe and hygienic C-sections, so that women do not have to suffer such serious side effects for a safe delivery.

    And now we reach the limits of my knowledge of obstetrics. I am not that kind of doctor.

  121. 121
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    @mildlymagnificent – ow, ow, ow! Suddenly I’m feeling much better about my remaining tendency to get sore and achy or the occasional stabbing pains when I do things that make my pelvis unhappy.

    With the first pregnancy I just had pain and trouble walking during the pregnancy itself, the real trouble didn’t start until actual labor, when I kept trying to tell the L&D nurses that the baby was trying to come out the front straight through the bone. About ten hours after I started reporting that, they discovered the asynclitic presentation that had been there the whole time. The fetus was presenting his left temple, rather than the top of his head, and they just don’t fit that way.

    With the second pregnancy, pelvic pain was pretty much the first symptom I had, and it still took that same year to subside afterward, even though I had a planned c-section before I ever went into labor.

  122. 122
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    raven@111, I’ve seen people try to defend that quote by offering the context and a slightly different translation. The context:

    Hence, we see how weak and sickly barren women are. Those who are fruitful, however, are healthier, cleanlier, and happier. And even if they bear themselves weary—or ultimately bear themselves out—that does not hurt. Let them bear themselves out. This is the purpose for which they exist. It is better to have a brief life with good health than a long life in ill health.

    Yeah, I feel so much better now. /sarcasm

  123. 123
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    I can’t lie about it, it really wasn’t at all pleasant. I will clarify though – when I said it wasn’t worth it, I was talking about the hypermobility in relation to easier childbirth, not the whole ‘having a kid’ thing!

    Eh, I may still be crazy enough to attempt to spawn a little evil Sith Lord, if I ever find a suitable father.

    But there’s another thing that scares me about the whole giving birth and potential lifelong orthopedic consequences business.

    It’s that people with hypermobility also tend to be quite insensitive to narcotics. I need twice or thrice the amount of xylocain as normal when I have to have dental work done so I don’t try to strangle dentists. Codein (which I have tried for pain relief as well as migraines) does mostly nothing to me. The best I can do is naproxen, which cannot be taken at chronically high doses without the risk of busting your kidneys.

    I don’t know what I would do if I found myself in constant unrelievable pain. The episodes I have right now are difficult enough as it is.

  124. 124
    poecilia

    Now, that’s what I call irony: While we all learn about the horrific things going on in Irish hospitals in the name of the catholic faith, guess what they do in the Vatican? They are discussing health care and the benefit of adhering to catholic teaching in a hospital setting.

    http://www.vis.va/vissolr/index.php?vi=all&dl=59581d5a-3ff4-c96f-be60-50a24dad0e29&dl_t=text/xml&dl_a=y&ul=1&ev=1

    Just read this crap:

    “hospitals, as important places for evangelisation, … today constitute a crossroads of cultures and religions, areas where the apostolate of mercy, as defined by Blessed Pope John Paul II, finds exalted expression”.

    – Letting women die in pain is an exalted expression of mercy?

    But of course, they are not talking about patients there, it’s about ” full respect for life from conception”.

    And then this:
    “What unites large urban hospitals and the small rural clinics … is the relationship between patients and healthcare workers, … the fact that they belong to the Universal Catholic Church, and necessarily adhere to her principles and teachings”.

    I think I have to throw up now.

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