Monday, December 21, 2009

Vent on "Birth Day"

Ok, after watching "Birth Day" on Discovery Health I am a little perplexed. The info on it said a look a birth over the past 250 years, and I think it was somewhat that, but QUITE misleading.

For starters, they talk about how in the 1800s homebirth was the only option, and no pain medication was an option. This is true. They then said that when birth moved to the hospital, it gave another option to women (something I am all about). They said that birth has been happening for thousands of years, and that it is not a medicalized "procedure". They then said how the woman is all in control. And how it was a perfect "delivery" (I won't get started on how much I hate that term). All of this is true for the most part and I agree with. But they portrayed something totally different.

1. Yes, home birth was the only option become women back then were (as they are now days) rarely "sick" enough to need medical assistance, and the assistance they got was from women who had been in the birthing business for years and some even had been to over 3000 births with no maternal or infant deaths. That's better than some OBs today, but by FAR better than ANY OB back in their day. When birth moved to the hospital, death, and illness rates went UP. They even talked about how Dr.s didn't wash their hands, and childhood fever spread to laboring women and caused many deaths. This obviously didn't happen at home births because, only one mom was laboring and birthing, not 100s.

2. Yes, birth did move to the hospital and gave another option. Women who were "high" class didn't see it fit to labor the way women did. Kinda like the now day Britney Spears mentality of "too posh to push". They didn't want to be on the same social level as women who were poverty stricken, so they went somewhere more socially fitting. If you don't know much about the history of birth in the hospital and what is "socially fitting", in the 50s and 60s, women were strapped down, gassed, and sent into hallucinations, seizures, and a type of psychosis because of the "pain medication" they used. In my opinion, if one of these "high class" women saw themselves, they would think this is anything but human, which is why we don't do that anymore.

3. Yes, birth has been happening thousands of years and it is not a medical procedure. Yes, complications do arise which every care provider (midwife and OBs) are and should be prepared for. If it is not a "procedure" as this OB stated, why then did he induce with no medical need (which is not FDA approved), attach continuous electronic fetal monitors, break her water, give her an epidural, hold her legs while pushing, and have her hold her breath and beard down, take her baby after he was born away, and then put baby in the nursery to "board"? This seems very medical to me.

4. The nurse said the mom was "in control the whole time". Bolonga! First, she couldn't move, then she was told how and when to push, then her baby was taken away to be weighed and measured and all that, then put in the nursery. Doesn't seem like the control I would want.

5. If you define a perfect delivery as no dead mom or baby, then yes it was perfect. No, the baby didn't have a "non reassuring heart tone", (which by the way has up to a 90% false negative rate, which means that 80% of the time that it says the baby is in "distress", there really is nothing wrong) The mom now has to recover from an epidural, a baby who is most likely sleepy from the epidural (and yes, epidural anesthesia does cross the placenta and it DOES affect the baby, not to mention the Pitocin the baby had to go through)

These are my thoughts, maybe mom's just don't know their options. Maybe they think that this is the best way birth can be in America. So here are my questions, as a mom, would you rather...

have labor induced artificially with all the risks that entails (there is a reason the FDA says DON'T DO IT) or just wait a week or so and go into labor on your own with much less strong contractions, and get all the good feeling hormones in with that (endorphins)?

Have your water broken and deal with a baby head on your cervix, loose that cushion for baby as well, and not have it for the second stage, if it doesn't break on it's own, to help "slide" the baby out, or would you like to keep that handy thing that God made for a reason?

Have an epidural or not have one and see if you can handle it without pain medicine, but at least you would be able to walk around and move and not worry about the baby getting any of the medication?

Push with legs pulled back, stretching perineum more likely to tear, hold breath, bearing down as hard as you can, for most moms it's longer than 4 pushes like this woman had, but for first time moms, it can be up to 4 hrs although most Dr. don't "let" you go more than 3 hrs before a cesarean. Or would you rather, move around, push when it is truly needed, not worry about tear or episiotomy, not hold your breath, and push for what some studies show an average of 10 min, first time moms included?

Have your baby taken away to be weighed and measures, or have that done with you, while he/she is in the bed lying next to you, possibly breastfeeding?

Have your baby put in the nursery, or room in cuddled close to your skin all warm and snuggly?

I know, trust me, me of all people, know that there a NEED for a medicalized birth. There is a need for Pitocin, Epidurals, Cesareans, and everything else. But these are interventions. That means, that the risk of not doing them is too risky than doing them. What would have happened if she waited a week, not needed Pitocin, most likely not needed an epidural, no had her water broken, not had baby taken away?

I'm not saying you have to have a homebirth to have a better birth than this. Your chances are certainly higher, but you have to know your options on what your rights are and what doesn't have to be done to you in the hospital, and what is actually safer, which a lot of times means just waiting, and letting your body do what God made it to do. God doesn't make junk, and this applies to women in childbirth as well. Do you really think he made your pelvis faulty, or your body unable to birth a baby? It made the baby all by itself without a Dr. telling it what to do, don't you think it would make sense that you can birth the baby? Have a caregiver who understands that birth is NORMAL, it's not something a woman needs to be "delivered" from.

I just want people to think. Think about how birth could be. It is beautiful. It is a supernatural thing that Dr.s can't explain but you get to experience. There are ways to even make a cesarean beautiful. A good birth experience doesn't mean you have to go without a healthy baby or healthy mom. They go hand in hand, and if more birth experiences were normalized, I'm SURE we would have healthier babies and moms on MANY levels.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, let me ask you the basic questions that eeryone argues: ( I'm asking because I'm really trying to educate myself on both sides and I feel pretty unbiased):
    1. What if there is an emergency? I know that's a rare case, but in the event there is a genuine emergency is a midwife usually prepared to handle that?
    2. What if you want normal (hospital/OB) prenatal care but a home birth?
    3. How many babies are born anually at home with no problems or mortality? Obviously a Lot more problems occur in a hospital, buy versus the annual hospital births (which are higher).
    4. Is a midwife prepared to know about any after birth problems with a baby? Those to might be rare, but the series of tests available at the hospital seem meritable to have done...are they worth skipping?

    Anywyas, I was just wondering. Those would be the bigger concerns in my eyes, or rather the things that would make me consider home birth vs. Hospital