Last week we were talking about nursing past three and I’ve been reading through all of the comments now that Baby Leone and I are back from a hectic week in Boston. Thank you to those who weighed in on extended nursing. I’ve been fascinated to read the discussion that series started and I’m inspired by the stories everyone shared.
On the subject of inspirational stories, maybe you’ve already heard this amazing CNN story of a mom of four who didn’t show up for a scheduled C-section.
The doctors told Aneka that since she had three previous C-sections she would have to have a fourth.
When she informed the doctor she wasn’t coming in, the doctor told her she could die and her baby could die. Then the doctor hung up the phone.
Ten years ago a doctor cut into her belly because her labor wasn’t progressing fast enough.
Fast enough according to whom?
“Failure to progress” is a common reason for C-sections.
“Failure to progress” is a meaningless combination of three words that seldom makes sense in the context of human beings giving birth.
Birth is not a linear process.
Birth is not a fast process.
Often a labor slows down or even stops in the hospital because of doctor or nurse intervention.
That’s what happened during my first birth.
When we went to the hospital after my water broke the doctor on call ordered a speculum exam over the phone to confirm that my water was broken. When we refused (a simple litmus test would have sufficed), the doctor told me that I could have a ruptured bladder and that my baby would die if I did not follow her orders.
I had been contracting regularly.
After the doctor and my usually mildly mannered husband got into a screaming match on the phone, my contractions stopped altogether.
This is a body’s very smart survival mechanism.
When a laboring animal in nature feels threatened, the birth process often slows down or stops until the threat has passed.
How would a birthing bear respond if someone stuck their fingers up her yoni? (Doctors and nurses routinely “check” laboring women by putting their hands up the vagina. I don’t know about you but I find it rather inhibiting when someone I’m not married to tries to put his hands up my vagina.)
How would a through-hiker on the Appalachian Trail make it past the first three miles with nothing to eat? (In most hospitals laboring women are denied food in case they need surgery later.)
I have a friend who was in labor for forty hours. She had an unassisted home birth. If she had been in the hospital, she would have been cut open. If she had had a midwife attending her, she may have ended up in the hospital. She gave birth to a healthy 10 pound 12 ounce baby boy without any interference or problems at all.
I know of another woman who was in labor for four days. Her husband told me he was glad they were delivering at home so no one rushed them.
Labor takes a long time.
It can take such a long time I’m going to write that sentence again.
Labor takes a long time.
But hospital doctors are often in a hurry. They don’t want to sit on their hands and wait for a woman’s body to open up in the time she and her baby need.
Doctors are not trained to sit on their hands and wait.
Doctors didn’t go to medical school to sit on their hands and wait.
Doctors didn’t incur all that debt to sit on their hands and wait.
Doctors aren’t making $250,000/year to sit on their hands and wait.
Doctors are trained to intervene.
As more hospitals refuse to let women have VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), more women who want vaginal births are choosing to have their babies at home with midwives.
That’s what Aneka did.
On December 5, after twenty hours of labor, she pushed out a perfect 9 pound 6 ounce baby boy.
Welcome to the world Baby Annan Ni’em!
Do you think Aneka is a hero who defied the medical establishment and gave birth her own way or an irresponsible risk-taker who put herself and her baby in danger by giving birth on at home?