Thursday, September 28, 2006

Same Song, Second Verse

It's probably boring to even write about this. But she's my friend's daughter and it's my blog. So here's the story....

First time mom, she wants a natural birth. She hires a nurse-midwife for a hospital birth. The midwife is leaving town on Friday, so, since the mom is 2-3 cm and 40 weeks 5 days, the CNM decides it's time to induce. The mom gets her water broken.... what? You know the rest of the story, you say? [sarcasm] How could you possibly? I haven't told it yet! [/sarcasm]

Yes, you are right. Long labor, goes and goes, pitocin, mom gets to 9 cm, her mom (who has never given birth vaginally) is crying because her daughter is in so much pain. The baby is descending, but "too slowly", her water is broken, so they won't "let" her walk. So she has a c-section.

Why does this upset me? It's not my birth. It's not my daughter. It upsets me because I want to be the superhero of birth, protecting the innocent from the evils of modern medicine and unecessary major abdominal surgery. I want to put on my tights and my cape and make the birthing rooms safe to moan and stand and rock and squat again...

How can I get past these feelings of sorrow and anger every time I hear about a mom railroaded into this same, EXACT STORY!? Sure, when you "buy the hospital ticket, you go for the hospital ride" but what if you wanted the merry go round, but they push you onto the Screaming Meemie, the WORLD'S TALLEST AND FASTEST COASTER.

Why do women not ask questions and stand up for themselves? Why do they not KNOW they CAN ask questions and stand up for themselves???? Why do I care????? Even sometimes when I have a couple go through my classes and I try my very best to use my jedi mind tricks, they still end up with the c-section because "my doctor warned us the baby would be too big, and I'm so glad she prepared us... blah blah blah".

So, it has come out in the open. I am opinionated about birth. I'm a radical. I'm a "birth nazi". I think everyone should choose a lovely, natural birth. I have to bite my tongue until it bleeds when I hear women blathering on about how fabulous their epidural/planned c-section/doctor who gave them a "husband stitch" after the 3rd degree episiotomy was.

I know how birth can be. And I think it's how birth SHOULD be. I think it matters how babies are born. I think as mothers, it matters how we are born as mothers. I think when we give birth naturally, it prepares us for the difficulties and sacrifices that mothering requires.

Sure, there's a time and place for interventions and c-sections. About 3-5% of the time. Not 40% (for c-sections) or 98% (epidurals) of the time like in my town. These are not the times I'm talking about. I'm talking about healthy normal women having healthy normal babies.

When I'm in a group of women hearing them talk about their interventionist births, I say nothing, I squirm, I chew my cheeks and as soon as possible, I talk about the weather. But if they give me a chance to talk about my births? Whew. I will gush on and on like Niagra Falls about my natural births at home and why it's so great.

So, do I judge those women? I guess I do. I guess that is a character flaw of mine.

I think everyone has secret prejudices. For some it is racial, for some religious, for some it's sexual, for others it's political (we had one mom write on her intake form 'No Republicans at the birth'). And now you know mine.


Sage Femme said...


some women know what they're getting when they buy this ticket.

it's what they see as "normal" - it's on every babystory episode, every mothering board, etc.

why would they think they would be any different?

it's hard to hold your tongue, I know. I see women signing up for the same ride over and over.

Sarahthedoula said...

Thanks for being so honest. I don't have children of my own, but agree with what you're saying. I only have 1 friend though who knows that's how I feel.... everyone else gets the "the right decision for you is the decision you are most comfortable with" line. My job as a doula is to provide information, help them figure out which questions they want to ask, and support them through whatever decisions they end up making. But some days it is so hard not to scream and cry and say "It doesn't have to be this way! Trust me! There is something better out there for you!"

Louisa said...

Clearly you've been thinking about the same thing I have been this week.. I posted on exactly the same issue. I have a friend who's bought that particular ticket and looks all set to go for that ride... Pisses me off to no end.
great posts... Oh and I love the pretty boobies :)

Laborpayne said...

I couldn't agree more. I blogged about this recently. Except now, I refuse to keep quiet. When others share their stories, I share mine as well. After all my view is just as valid. I'll keep silent no longer.

Leigh said...

RIGHT ON, earthy birthy sister! I, too, have posted about this topic in the past week. "I detect a great disturbance in the force" in regards to our birth world...
I agree. We can longer keep our mouths shut about this critical topic. If our culture allows women to be loud and open about how "great" their interventive births were, then so can we spout our opionions about the truth and beauty of natural birth. Damn right.

DollyMama said...

I used to lose sleep over this kind of thing. it literally pained me to see women get ripped off in birth. What I finally realized is that almost none of them want anything different from what they got. not really.

So now I have come to the point where I have had to stop caring about people more than they care about themselves. I can't spare the energy wishing people would want different things. The only thing I still get tortured about is circumcision, since the person suffering doesn't get a choice in the matter....