Sunday, March 15, 2009

I think I figured it out. And an apology.

Okay, so obviously, I wrote my last post when I was still a bit upset. :p I did not, by any means, mean to imply that everyone should have a home birth, or at the very least a natural birth at a hospital. Neither did I mean to imply that those who choose medical intervention for their births are all ignorant. So sorry if it came off that way. I also think I figured out why I was so frustrated with the conversation I had with this friend. I felt like I was talking to myself nine years ago! Everything she said, I used to say. I thought I knew everything there was to know about birth. After all, I had a great OB, had taken a hospital birthing class, and had read at least two books on childbirth. Well, birth number one was a very traumatic experience, and it wasn't until years later (and lots of reading the right books) that I realized everything that was wrong with my attitude then. That I saw everything that is wrong with the current maternity care system (namely, the medicalization thereof). The real problem, in my opinion, is the lack of true informed consent. Where women go for information about birth will often define the type of birth they end up having. I was surrounded by women who birthed at hospitals, touted the greatness of the epidural man, and talked about the more-or-less inevitable episiotomy that I could look forward to recovering from. The doctor certainly didn't put any ideas of drug free labor into my head, neither did he make me question routine procedures (like artificial rupture of membranes, IV, being strapped to bed with the monitor, getting an epidural...). In fact, he failed to discuss these procedures, including their risks, with me at all. And who goes to the hospital in labor and actually reads through all of the consent forms and waivers? Sign here, sign there, breathe through a contraction, oh, and sign five more times over here. Thankyouverymuch. Mimi put it well in her comment on my other post. Often, we learn through our own experience. At the time of Tyler's birth, I didn't realize it, but I do believe it caused birth trauma. The way I was completely disrespected during Bryan's birth added to that. It wasn't until I learned more about normal birth, and started taking charge of my own body, that I was able to heal from those experiences. So, knowing all of that, I think it added to my frustration that I felt like my experience really wasn't validated. It was blown off as "too bad, sorry you had a sucky doctor". Which I did, but I didn't. Most women trust and respect their doctors, and that is a good thing. What would make maternity care better, though, and what could prevent experiences such as the ones I had from happening, are doctors who truly care, and take the time to really communicate with women about the choices they have, and what each choice entails. Doctors who would encourage women to do their own research, who would point them to childbirth educators not associated with a hospital. Ideally, women should be able to really weigh all of the benefits and risks associated with birth choices, so they can make a decision that is truly informed. One can dream, right?


denedu said...

Once again I am so lucky with the great experiences I had with my OB/GYNs and all three of my hospital births. With Jerdon I made sure to take the birthing classes offered and read up on all the procedures. I made sure to ask tons of questions in class as well as discuss what my doctors normal procedures were. He was awesome. I know he truly cared for my well being and that of my child. He postponed his vacation a day so he could be there for the delivery of Kaiden. He was really excited. That kind of attitude, I think, really made me excited for Jerdon and Kaiden's births. I was really lucky to have doctors that listened to what I wanted and followed through with my wishes. And though I could never have a home birth, I respect the fact that you chose to do that and you believe that that was the right choice for you. After all...that's the most important thing, right? That we feel safe and secure with all of our choices, etc., and that it all turns out great in the end. :)

Mimi said...

I remember my Provo neighbor who could not sit for 3 months. She got a large episiotomy and then tore through the rectum. What bothered me about the whole thing is that the doctor not once blamed it on the episiotomy but on her body. Sure, our bodies sometimes do unexpected things. But honestly? Just say: "Maybe the cut encouraged the tearing." Nobody will sue them but it's valuable information for the mother (who is scared to death now of the pain) who can make a better informed decision next time.

It feels like all "problems" related to birthing have to be fixed with another new thing. Why not just stop the first thing that caused the problem?

My 2 nursing friends said they both felt lost in nursing school. No one could give them straight on advice or direction when it came to the "birth" chapter.

I feel frustrated about the topic but happy that Jon and I read great books and both feel great about our decisions and our birth experiences.

Mimi said...

I wanted to add:

Only 10-20% of information (that was really valuable to me) came from doctors or birthing classes. I did all the rest. I can check my own weight, blood pressure, I did like the u/s for screening but then what else have they taught me? not much. The nitty gritty things that were really important came from extensive reading and talking to lots of people (Ovusoft).

Has a doctor ever told a mom that breast milk helps with stuffy noses and scratches in the face?
Have they ever showed pictures of those abominable muscles that need to pull open the cervix? If they don't get oxygen from long breaths they start to hurt and so you work against the muscles that want to open...etc. Never heard that in a medical room.
Nobody tells you how wonderful it is to push because the muscles pain/ contraction don't hurt anymore because they have fulfilled their job of opening the cervix and then you work with the other muscles to breath the baby out.

Muttermund sounds so weird to me. Klingt wie ein Zungenbrecher. ha ha

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Your second to last sentence is spot-on. Did I ever send you my first born child birth story? I think you would really love it. Email me if not and I'll send you a copy.

tearese said...

I haven't read your previous post yet..but I've noticed a lot that no matter which side of birthing issues you're on, someone is either going to be offended, or they're going to make you feel like you must be an idiot and made the wrong choice because you don't know anything.
I'm already feeling hesitant about sharing anything from my next birthing story because people are SSOO opinionated about these things!
It seems no matter what you say, it will bother someone. I'm glad you've had experiences in both camps, so at least you can say you know what you're talking about from experience rather than from what others have taught you.

Andrea said...

What a beautiful dream! And, hey, you're not the only one who every had a dream for change. I say stick with it. In fact I admire your willingness to share what you know. I've seen people go full circle with their ideas on birth. I really think you have a great influence.

We have several people in our new ward who are military residents (doctors). One is OBGYN. His wife is really sad to see what is going on in that field. Malpractice insurance is up around $200,000 per year in some areas. Many areas are having a hard time finding OBGYNs that will practice. As a result patients who really need their care are sometimes not getting the right services.

I just want to have them over so I can pick his brain. They study so many things. I wonder what they learn about intervention if everything goes right. It seems like a lot of it is legal. I'm a little nervous though because I'm afraid it might turn confrontational. I need to read some of Karin's communications books or something.

Amanda V said...

Hmmm...the philosophy of all doctor's must not be the same. I was all set to have an episiotomy cause my mom had one with me and the doctors talked me out of it. They said a natural tear would heal quicker. Well they were right, I did tear and once stitched up it healed in a week or two.