My Birthing soapbox

as Promised a blog on VBACs will be posted soon. but right now my brain is boiling over after 2 weeks of hearing stories about women being court ordered into c-births, and other women saying women who birth without an epidural are crazy and how could you respect them? and reading about an OB who well to put it kind would NEVER be my ob if i wanted an OB again that is. After all this my brain is boiling and well this is my blog my place to share my opinion and to have my soapbox so here is my soapbox!!!!

This is how i view the US birthing culture and what’s wrong with it.

from the time we can walk our society shows us through TV and movies that labor is painful, traumatic, and just a horrible awful experience. it tells us that we need epidurals and we need hospitals and that birthing at home is the same as illegal. i was fortunate enough to have a mom who got the best of both worlds, she got to labor at home as directed by her doctor and nurse who couldn’t admit her cause one she wasn’t far enough into labor, and two it was her due date and “no baby is ever born on their due date” so she was sent home and labored, when she finally arrived back at the hospital the nurse delivered me in the hall no drugs and tons of back labor. i grew up hearing this story and knowing i would labor just like my mom. i realize that is me that is my choice and its not for everyone, but its not for everyone i think because we as a culture don’t educate women on what childbirth is really like. so you have two kinds of women in this country. women educate themselves and who decide they are gonna be different they are going to do what they are made to do and then there are women who trust their doctors with their life and they dont see any reason to labor any way but the way the doctor tells them to.

Here is the problem with that, their doctors are OBs. and what is an OB? an OB is a trained surgeon, who often has never seen a low risk, natural, drug free labor before finishing school and going into practice. rather he has seen c-sections, knows indepth how to perform them, he knows about highrisk deliverys and the medical interventions necessary to save both mom and baby in such births. so whats the problem you ask, he is educated afterall. Yeah he is educated but he is educated to handle only about 2% of births. the other 98% are low risk and therefor his training is over doing it and the problem there is he is doesn’t know what to do so he makes something outta nothing. its like when your in school and your taking precal and the bonus question is 2+2 you know its 4 but you will stare and stare at the question trying to solve it with proofs and therams because well if its on the test there must be something more to it right, it can’t possibly be that simple. Well the way i see it the OB is doing the same thing. he is looking at the mom laboring without drugs who is talking, calm, not screaming, sleeping, and is thinking there must be something i’m missing something MUST be wrong, she must not be progressing fast enough, or maybe her contractions aren’t strong enough, she must need pitocn to speed it along i don’t want to be here all day and she obviously isn’t laboring hard enough or she would be loosing her head without an epidural.

Now these same OBs have formed a trade organization that in this country has a lot of pull in the medical field, they are the ones afterall who solely deliver babys in hospitals, they use the drugs out there that they claim are safe in labor. They are called the ACOG. ACOG publishes their opinions on different birthing drugs, methods, procedures just like the WHO, the CDC or the AAP. but its important to remember that they are a trade organizations made up of OBs, so obviously their opinions are going to be skewed, one to benefit them and two to fit within their standard of practice which remember is based on their training of delivering high risk babies. and generally their opinions are great when taken in context, however, in our culture we take them as GOD on the topic of birth and we apply their opinion to all labor practices. and well that is just wrong in my opinion because as i said their opinion is obviously skewed they are a trade organization made up of OBs!

Ok so now we have movies, TV, and our OBs telling us that we need medical interventions so its no wonder in this culture women who want to labor the way God intended us to feel like the hospital is the worst place in life, they know that with the OBs running the scene their wishes will hardly stand a chance. so the alternate? well labor at home with midwives.

well unless you have an amazing insurance provider, have some extra cash lying around, and are ofcourse fortunate enough to have a midwife in your area and know about her, your screwed! we have to fight and fight to even try to have a home birth in this country. and then ofcourse whether you have a home birth or choose to birth naturally in the hospital you are looked at as if you are nutso! and well i think thats a problem. Now as a doula i believe everyone is entitled to the birth they desire drugs or no drugs, home or hospital. but i do find a problem in so many running to the hospital to get their epidural and here is why…..

you spent the last 10months (yes its 10 not 9, 40 weeks divided by 4 is not 9!) avoiding every drug, coffee/soda, second hand smoke, lifting objects, roller coasters, pretty much everything only to in the last 10-12 hours (average) load your child up on every drug known to man to alter labor. why? what is the point? you mine as well have changed nothing in your life. i know they say the drugs are safe but no drug is safe, if it was you wouldn’t need a doctor to administer them with you on monitors and having your blood pressure taken every 15min! come on women we are smarter than this!

ok so now lets look at those drugs. they are amazing and are totally necessary when used for their proper purpose. For a women who as been labor for 24 or 36 hours, who is tired worn out and maybe even been denied food because she is in the hospital that epidural can do amazing things to aid her labor. however for the mom who has had all of 1 contraction, is dialated to maybe lets say a 4 and thinks she is already in death like agony and so she needs the epidural, that epidural is going to slow her down!!!! what else is wrong with that epidural well where do i begin… 1) 98% of women will experience some kind of side effect from that epidural ranging from maybe a mild back ache that goes away a few days later, to backache that lasts the rest of their life preventing them from every vacuuming or being able to do simple chores without awful pain, to the women who becomes permenantely paralyzed. 2) labor is not painful, atleast it’s not excruciating pain and if it is that is typically an indication that is something wrong. labor contractions should be intense and a lot of work but if they make you feel like passing out or they change in painfulness at some point during your labor that is your body telling you something is wrong (it’s a built in feature God gave us so we didn’t need monitors during labor) but if you have an epidural you won’t be able to feel those early indications and as a result it might be too late, or cutting it close before you now the problem exists and where you might have had time to prepare or alter something before now you have no time and off you go to a c-section! 3) the part that most people don’t realize for some strange reason, you can’t push when you have an epidural so typically when you hear a mom say she pushed for 2 or 3 hours it’s because she at some point had an epidural and couldnt feel enough to push properly! i could probably keep going but you get the point. and know that most interventions have a long list just like this one. i mean come on people they are called interventions or augmentations because well you are doing just that you are intervening and altering the natural process. and please don’t give me a whole shpeal on how medical interventions have improved our infant mortality rate and therefore are necessary. i agree they have saved many a moms and babies who would have otherwise died but remember those cases typically are only about 2% of births the other 98% who decided to have an intervention are putting themselves at greater risk, why? cause birth has its own risks to begin with, then each individual intervention has its own risk, and every time you use an intervention you add the risks of it with the risks of anything else you have done plus the risks of labor in general. its simple addition!

well that is my soapbox, women need to educate themselves, talk to other women who have labor without drugs, don’t trust your doctors so blindly or the ACOG! do your reasearch, know that stuff is biased and should be taken in context and then decided what is right for you! ok well that’s my soap box, i invite the comments, questions, or debates!

One more thing i wanted to amend this to say is if anyone was interested in any of the stuff i mentioned above there are some great resources out there on interventions, the birthing culture of the US Vs. other countries, and in general the statistics of birth in US. i would recomend for starters watching the business of being born there are some fabulous OBS and MDs who give great support to natural birth (that is where the 98% low risk 2% high risk statistic comes from). an Amazing book on interventions is called Creating Your Birth Plan (this is one source i have for intervention side effects like those i listed for on the epidural-  i also found those same side effects for the epidural listed in Your Best Birth where they talk about how those use to be the guidelines the anesthesiologist practiced under but they have since changed to accomodate women who wanted the epidural earlier or later in labor). anyway even if you don’t actually write a birth plan Creating your birth plan goes in-depth on the most common interventions plus a few more, it gives the valid reasons for such an intervention, its purpose, its history, side effects, alternatives, and it even touches on reasons the doctors or nurses may give that may not necessarily be the best advice and why. and another amazing book that goes into depth on how “much the available research does not support common medical opinion and practice” is called The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. it touches on the common practices in our birthing culture and the available research, as well as labor itself, interventions, VBAC safety, Doulas, and medical practitioners and birth locations. Feel free to email me if you would like more sources on anything i mentioned or anything else birth/baby related. Dr.Sears and Dona.org are also great sites!

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5 thoughts on “My Birthing soapbox

  1. I think that your post is interesting, but I will say that I think it can go both ways. I think that a woman is entitled to the choice of how she wants her labor to go and shouldn’t be judged for using an epidural either. I had an epidural, no pitocin, and deliverd my little girl with only 45 minutes of pushing. I had no problem with knowing how to push the right way even though it was my first. It was an amazing and spiritual experience for me even with the drugs. I am not opposed to natural birth and am interested in it. Thank you for your post!

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    • Bri thanks for your comment. i am glad you had such an amazing labor! i completely agree that a woman is entitled to her choices with giving birth i became a doula for that reason so that women can have the exact birth they desire, drugs or no drugs. I just think its important that they have true and complete information regarding the pros and cons of their birth choices (truly informed consent) the problem is that our birthing culture, although it is changing, contains primarly biased information and that is where i have the problem.and it seems more and more the last few weeks i have been reading and debating commentary that reflects the lack of natural birth supported information that is available. anyway thanx for sharing and i am glad you had a positive experiance.

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  2. I hate to jump to conclusions but if your desire to be doula is to give woman the birth they want how come your views on a medicated birth are so negative? Would your opinion skew a mother in the wrong direction and perhaps a medical mistake??? I think its fair to say we all have an opinion and a desire to have our own personal birth experience but when it comes to a woman who chooses to have a medicated or assisted birth the opinion is negative and not embraced by the other side. I think its very important to for woman to be educated about all aspects of birth but its also important to know what works best for you and if that’s having a c section because of complications or an epidural because you don’t want to deal with the pain then I think that needs to be met with understanding instead of shunning in the birth world. If woman want to sit at home and suffer through birth that’s their choice and I am not going to bash them for it. Yes I said suffer becasue most woman I have talked to say if they could have they would have had some drugs! I hate to say it but when woman show up in the delivery room with crazy birth plans and a rented bath tub the nurses and doctors tend to think you are nuts!

    I myself am glad I had a c section. My child was in distress and I wanted him to be delivered safe and healthy. Yes I wanted to deliver vaginally but it didn’t happen. SO WHAT!!! I am not experiencing post traumatic birth distress. I carried and nurtured my child for 10 months in the womb and I still will for the rest of his life.I think its fair to say that we all have our personal opinion but its almost as if yours has become an unhealthy obsession. You tend to preach that you “see” the other side but all you talk about is how wrong it is to have a birth with medical assistance. There are some people I respect very much for there life style and choices on birth becasue I truly feel they live this lifestyle and are educated beyond a class and some books.

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  3. To clarify i am not syaing that there is anything wrong with medical interventions they are absolutely necessary and as i said they can save many of lives. if a mom choose an epidural i would 100% support, if her baby was in distress or there was a problem of somekind i would 100% stand by the doctors recommendation for an intervention or c-section (and you can ask my clients i have done so even when they the client didn’t want to hear it). If a C-section was necessary i would fully support the mom in whatver capacity she needed. Medical interventions absolutely have thier place and I am fully appreciative and grateful of the OBs and ACOG who have researched and found what interventions are safest and best in such scenarios.

    My whole complaint and problem resides in the available education for moms not on the choices the moms make or the moms themselves. most information in this country stems for the ACOGs research it is taken to apply to all births rather than the minimal amount of births that actually need the interventions. my point is that we as women need to take the information into context, look at who it is coming from and recognize that it may be biased. and then go find the information from the opposing source. Then once we have educated ourselves make our decision.

    We are entitled to the birth we want whether it is medicated or not, none of us should be made to feel bad for the choices we make especially when they are medically necessary. but that also means we are entitled to the information on both sides to make the right choice for ourselves and i just feel that the birthing culture in the US all though it is changing still primarly supports medicated births and that is not anymore fair to the pro-non medicated mom than it is to say the mom who needed the interventions was wrong to take them.

    I apologize Megan if i offended you, i would in your case absoultely choose the c-section as well! My baby’s health is the MOST important thing to me and i take it into account first and foremost when looking at all interventions. and I apologize if my Soapbox offended anyone elses choice to choose an intervention i in no way would i ever intentionally diminish anyone’s choice or put her down for it. My frustration the last couple weeks was solely resides from biased birthing arguments that are not being recognized as biased and i was trying to point out the biases and other side to such arguments. (although it was fueled by my frustrations so understandably maybe not the best time to do so as my head was filled with such frustrations rather than clarity of words)

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  4. http://www.wikipedia.com : “A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. Based on a particular doula’s training and background, the doula may offer support during prenatal care, during childbirth and/or during the postpartum period. A birth doula provides support during labor. Thus a labor doula may attend a home birth or might attend the parturient woman during labor at home and continue while in transport and then complete supporting the birth at a hospital or a birth center.”

    It doesnt say anything here about doulas making people feel bad for having an epidural or pitocin etc. Just to defend my wife, soapbox means that it is her opinion and if other choose to read then that is up to them. Im sure sherrie didnt mean to be blasting you or anyone else. One of her clients had a csection, and epidural and she was there by her side. She spent time going over to her house before and after her labor, as Support and Help. Not telling her she sucks and is less cool or anything for having interventions.

    I just think this is getting out of hand on all ends. Laura we love you and John and we would hope that one day we will be able to support you guys in this process, holding your child and being supportive friends to you both. Love you two and miss hangin out.

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