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Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors?

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
This woman's story made me sick to my stomach .
A few things she says rubbed me the wrong way, but interesting read.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38129344...lth-pregnancy/
post #2 of 72
Just...wow. I can't believe the behavior of the staff at the hospital (especially the last doctor who broke her water). Very disturbing story.
post #3 of 72
Wow! What a powerfull and disturbing story. I can't even imagine... Can you sue a doctor for malpractice for the things he did? I understand why it was so hard for her to come to grips with the natural mothers approach to childbirth. Most people are told, their entire lives, not to question authority, and doctors are about as officially authoritative as our society gets. They are the ones who make us better and keep us safe, right? I can't believe how this story affected me. I am feeling a little sick and terribly disgusted. It is so unfortunate that stories like hers exist, and that for so many years women were told this is the way things were done. (not exactly like this, but my bp's mother can tell some horrible birth stories!)
post #4 of 72
BBM: Your point about suing the doctor's an interesting one. I was just on the phone with DH, who is a lawyer, telling him about the story, and he also mentioned that the doctor's actions might make him liable for legal repercussions...
post #5 of 72
Depressing story, but maybe since she is stopping her preconceived notions of how us hippie-dippies do it, she might get her VBAC.

Goes to show that just showing up at the hospital, figuring birth just happens, is NOT a good idea, nor is blindly trusting any doctor.

So my answer is doctors control birth in the hospital, but women are responsible for birth everywhere. A good birth is rarely handed to you.
post #6 of 72
Haven't read the link, but the thread title made me smile:

"Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors?"

Neither, although both would like to. I think the only person in control of childbirth is the baby.
post #7 of 72
This article has made me angrier and angrier all morning.

Angry at the medical system, for making it impossible for a woman to trust that her doctor will do right by her.

Angry at the author/mom, for being so dismissive of us crazy hippies with our prepared approach to birth. So angry at her attitude and that of her new doctor: "Women who have a birth plan or do Bradley always end up with a c-section b/c they're uptight." Uhhh... right....
post #8 of 72
Thats not a normal hospital birth at all in my eyes...

Ive had two hospital births and neither of them involved stupid decisions despite them being informed of possible side effects (with DD I told them when admitted that I cannot have an IV due to anxiety about it... I was never even offered one after that) or them making decisions on my behalf without asking me (even my induction with DS, they explained to me what they were going to do and why... and in the middle of the night they woke me up to put an oxygen mask on me... explaining to the very tired laboring mother what it was and why and that it was not actually something to worry about.)
post #9 of 72
Huh.

I guess mostly, it seems to me a very poorly-written article. The author is obviously still processing her ideas, and maybe that's the point, but she goes back and forth between a respectful discussion of NCB and ridiculing, doubting comments about it all. She still doesn't seem like she's read a whole lot, and instead is reacting to very specific comments or ideas that seem pretty unrelated to each other or to a typical approach to NCB.

And the Dr. Gregory character is...just.... Seriously. It makes me so sad when characters like that are held up as a representative of the hospital/ob model of care. My hospital births were nothing like what Dr. Gregory or the author described...and the idea that preparation (beyond a hospital course) or a birth plan will somehow make it more likely for you to get a c-section is laughable.

My birth plan was so respected at both of my births, it makes me proud to say I had a hospital birth. I LOVED it. I loved my OB and the nurses for advocating for me, for respecting me, and for respecting our wishes as a couple. It was an incredibly warm atmosphere. Not once have I ever been given the impression that the doctors or nurses view birth plans as the realm of anxiety-ridden, control-freak mothers, nor do I think anyone is under the illusion that a birth plan is anything more than a birth wish, should birth go as births normally do.

The author, unfortunately, seems to be one of those people that is deliberately uneducated about childbirth. She admits as much for her first birth, and based on how she discusses some of her new "knowledge" of NCB and homebirth, my guess is that she still hasn't cracked the spine of many books about birth or natural birth. When you're deliberately uneducated, what do you expect? That a natural birth, free of interventions, will just be handed to you? Sorry, lady, that's not how it works. Not with midwives or homebirths, either. Especially not with OBs, or any health care provider, you don't trust or really know all that well.

Do the work. Read up. Just because, in the end, birth is unpredictable, doesn't mean that preparation is useless. Preparation does not guarantee an easy birth, and goodness knows you can be educated/prepared and still have a traumatic birth...but just because the worst case scenario can happen to the prepared does not mean it gives everyone the excuse to be unprepared. And sheesh...just because you can find a hospital, somewhere, with a Byzantine approach to midwives and Bradley methods....and because you can find an OB that thinks birth plans are crap...that does not mean it excuses you from educating yourself, from preparing, and from learning about what your body needs and does during labor and birth.

She seems determined to be the victim, to find every excuse out there (based on stereotypes of doulas, homebirths, and mean OBs) that says she was justified in not educating herself, having a birth plan, hiring a doula, or doing a homebirth.

PUH-LEEZE.

If I was injured in car accident, but hadn't prepared myself by say...buckling my seatbelt, having safe brakes, or practicing defensive driving....even if I'd been "victimized" by getting hit by a bad driver. Aren't the extent of my injuries, to some extent, my own fault? So no matter if I can go out and find some quack that says seatbelts can really kill you, or safe brakes are over-rated, or people who practice defensive driving are really just anxious control-freaks who end up getting in more crashes...no matter how I try to justify my own bad choices, my own stupidity, the reality is my bad choices led to my injuries.
post #10 of 72
I had a doula, took out of hospital CBE classes, had a birth plan and a CNM and had a horribly traumatic birth with my son. The doctor came in just to see how things were going and did the exact same thing to me that he did to her "Well just let me check you." he then stripped my membranes, broke my water, AND inserted IFM all in one fell swoop. WITH me and my husband yelling NO.

I'm having a homebirth this time. Can't wait!
post #11 of 72
My natural birth wasn't handed to me. I had to work for it. I wasn't a control freak or over anxious when I discussed all my wants and desires with my midwife, I always felt I was raising my chances for the best outcome because there were no doubts with anyone about what I wanted and what I was comfortable with. I knew the midwives and what they believed and so I was able to trust that they could make decisions if I couldn't (like when I hemorrhaged and they needed to act swiftly.)

I'm glad I didn't just walk into a hospital assuming I'd figure it out as I go. Birth is natural and women have done it since forever, but there is still a rhythm to learn and know, still odd but normal things that can happen sometimes and not all the time, and still options that can make the experience better or worse. I can't imagine doing ANYTHING without even a little bit of research, especially where my child is concerned.
post #12 of 72
Hi folks I've returned the thread and I'd like to leave it open so please avoid posting or quoting UA violations. Thanks for your understanding.
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post
Huh.

I guess mostly, it seems to me a very poorly-written article. The author is obviously still processing her ideas, and maybe that's the point, but she goes back and forth between a respectful discussion of NCB and ridiculing, doubting comments about it all. She still doesn't seem like she's read a whole lot, and instead is reacting to very specific comments or ideas that seem pretty unrelated to each other or to a typical approach to NCB.

And the Dr. Gregory character is...just.... Seriously. It makes me so sad when characters like that are held up as a representative of the hospital/ob model of care. My hospital births were nothing like what Dr. Gregory or the author described...and the idea that preparation (beyond a hospital course) or a birth plan will somehow make it more likely for you to get a c-section is laughable.

My birth plan was so respected at both of my births, it makes me proud to say I had a hospital birth. I LOVED it. I loved my OB and the nurses for advocating for me, for respecting me, and for respecting our wishes as a couple. It was an incredibly warm atmosphere. Not once have I ever been given the impression that the doctors or nurses view birth plans as the realm of anxiety-ridden, control-freak mothers, nor do I think anyone is under the illusion that a birth plan is anything more than a birth wish, should birth go as births normally do.

The author, unfortunately, seem to be one of those people that is deliberately uneducated about childbirth. She admits as much for her first birth, and based on how she discusses some of her new "knowledge" of NCB and homebirth, my guess is that she still hasn't cracked the spine of many books about birth or natural birth. When you're deliberately uneducated, what do you expect? That a natural birth, free of interventions, will just be handed to you? Sorry, lady, that's not how it works. Not with midwives or homebirths, either. Especially not with OBs, or any health care provider, you don't trust or really know all that well.

Do the work. Read up. Just because, in the end, birth is unpredictable, doesn't mean that preparation is useless. Preparation does not guarantee an easy birth, and goodness knows you can be educated/prepared and still have a traumatic birth...but just because the worst case scenario can happen to the prepared does not mean it gives everyone the excuse to be unprepared. And sheesh...just because you can find a hospital, somwhere, with a Byzantine approach to midwives and Bradley methods....and because you can find an OB that thinks birth plans are crap...that does not mean it excuses you from educating yourself, from preparing, and from learning about what your body needs and does during labor and birth.

She seems determined to be the victim, to find every excuse out there (based on stereotypes of doulas, homebirths, and mean OBs) that says she was justified in not educating herself, having a birth plan, hiring a doula, or doing a homebirth.

PUH-LEEZE.

If I was injured in car accident, but hadn't prepared myself by say...buckling my seatbelt, having safe brakes, or practicing defensive driving....even if I'd been "victimized" by getting hit by a bad driver. Aren't the extent of my injuries, to some extent, my own fault? So no matter if I can go out and find some quack that says seatbelts can really kill you, or safe brakes are over-rated, or people who practice defensive driving are really just anxious control-freaks who end up getting in more crashes...no matter how I try to justify my own bad choices, my own stupidity, the reality is my bad choices led to my injuries.
Amen. Again.
post #14 of 72
It bugs me when pieces like this are referred to as "articles." An article is fact-based. This is a personal essay. I think the distinction is important, because an article is something a person can refer to and source for information. There's not a lot of "info" to be found in this essay, just opinions (many of which are second and third hand). I don't see why it's causing such a stir on the net. Who cares what this one rather angry woman thinks?

I mean, I guess it's received some press, but my point is that it's not really press-worthy. It reminds me of that article in the Atlantic a year or so ago by some woman who hated breastfeeding. Opinion masked as fact and presented in a sensationalist package with an eye-catching headline. Meh.

ETA: oops, I saw this in new posts and didn't realize it's in a DDC. sorry! hope i'm not intruding.
post #15 of 72
Eh, I tend to think we need to cut mama a break. I can understand being aggravated by some of her statements, but being wrong about the NCB community and not having done as much reading/educating/homework or whatever, does not mean she deserved to suffer the kind of dehumanizing/traumatizing treatment she received. Not saying that anyone here is saying she deserved it or anything...just making the point that regardless of her views or level of understanding/acceptance...it's incredibly sad that she ended up with such extreme mistreatment.

I also tend to think that the more "mainstream" mamas don't want to seem overly "crunchy" because they are afraid their thoughts will be discredited. She probably feels like she has to have those disclaimers out there to be more credible....silly.

It's true though, people find out I am having a homebirth and stop listening to anything I have to say about parenting/pregnancy etc because I must be a "crazy hippie" lol
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilyn82 View Post
Eh, I tend to think we need to cut mama a break. I can understand being aggravated by some of her statements, but being wrong about the NCB community and not having done as much reading/educating/homework or whatever, does not mean she deserved to suffer the kind of dehumanizing/traumatizing treatment she received. Not saying that anyone here is saying she deserved it or anything...just making the point that regardless of her views or level of understanding/acceptance...it's incredibly sad that she ended up with such extreme mistreatment.

I also tend to think that the more "mainstream" mamas don't want to seem overly "crunchy" because they are afraid their thoughts will be discredited. She probably feels like she has to have those disclaimers out there to be more credible....silly.
Exactly. And it breaks my heart.
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilyn82 View Post
Eh, I tend to think we need to cut mama a break. I can understand being aggravated by some of her statements, but being wrong about the NCB community and not having done as much reading/educating/homework or whatever, does not mean she deserved to suffer the kind of dehumanizing/traumatizing treatment she received. Not saying that anyone here is saying she deserved it or anything...just making the point that regardless of her views or level of understanding/acceptance...it's incredibly sad that she ended up with such extreme mistreatment.
No, she didn't "deserve" such a bad doctor, but her willful ignorance and dismissal of any birth preparation or education directly led to her experience. I agree with ROM that she is acting like a victim, and if she chose to keep her head in the sand, how much of a victim can she be? If you expect other people to do your work for you, then you are volunteering to be at the mercy of others.

It is really sad that people can't trust their doctors - really sad, and it makes me crazy angry, enough to chuck it all and go to med school - but that means that we have even more of a responsibility as pregnant women to take care of ourselves. Where else in life is it a good idea to just show up with no prep, throw yourself on the mercy of others, and hope for the best? When applying for jobs? When taking a test in school? Women need to wake up to the fact that it is not patchouli vs. modernity and they need to stop falsely framing the debate that way. I absolutely do not wear patchouli, nor burn sage, nor wear flowy skirts, nor chant, nor anything in the stereotype. Yet I do take responsibility for my own health, and to do so is not being a weird hippie - it is being a responsible adult. This does not mean you have to have a OOH birth - but it does mean that you learn about birth and your options and not dismiss it all as being a control freak or a crazy hippie.
post #18 of 72
I think it's interesting, and sad, that what she takes away from it is this:
Quote:
By now, one movie, two books, four doulas and approximately 15 mothers had told me that my traumatic birth was my fault, the problems all stemming from my not believing in my body. But what if my body wasn't meant to do this?
That's not what I get from it. I get that she has partial 'blame' because she didn't get educated. She could have learned that so much of what is done in US hospitals is not evidence-based practice. Simply reading the brief chapter on AROM in "The Thinking Woman's Guide" would have shown her it's rarely, if ever, a good idea. Then maybe she would have discussed it with her OB. Then maybe she would have seen he either thinks it IS good, or shown that doesn't give a hoot what mamas think, he'll do as he pleases. (Granted, he could have deceived her on either counts, but I doubt it.)

The fact that she didn't bother to learn & blindly trusted is, I think, where she went wrong. Of course not that that at all excuses the doc's behavior!!! But, I think she 'went wrong' on that count. It is NOT about the "not trusting your body" business. It's the lack of education.

As DH & I both often say, people spend more time researching, learning about, & planning their nursery decor & their stroller purchase than birth! Call me insensitive & a snob, but I think that's silly & wrong.

Another quote from the article:
Quote:
Would we ever tell someone whose liver has failed that it was because she didn't believe in it?
She just doesn't get it. Her body did not "fail" to birth her baby! The induction failed, so the OB did a CS!!!!!! That's NOT a "failure" of her body! Yeah, it's no guarantee that she would have had a vaginal birth had the OB had a shred of respect for her autonomy & discharged her so she could go home, but still, ya never know. What really "went wrong" was that the induction failed so the OB did a CS. Her body did not "fail" --> Induction failed. It's sad that she doesn't see that & doesn't understand the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post
Just because, in the end, birth is unpredictable, doesn't mean that preparation is useless. Preparation does not guarantee an easy birth, and goodness knows you can be educated/prepared and still have a traumatic birth...but just because the worst case scenario can happen to the prepared does not mean it gives everyone the excuse to be unprepared.
emphasis mine


Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post
I absolutely do not wear patchouli, nor burn sage, nor wear flowy skirts, nor chant, nor anything in the stereotype. Yet I do take responsibility for my own health, and to do so is not being a weird hippie - it is being a responsible adult.


That all applies to me as well, BTW. I'm so 'mainstream' in a lot of ways that I even wear eyeliner, high heels & my DH drives a (OK, small) SUV! I guess we're "closet hippies."
post #19 of 72
Yeah, I daw that, and even blogged about it.

Katielady, if all "articles" were fact based, that would be wonderful. What would you call most of the... pieces that appear in tabloids? Even if there are facts in it, every newspaper article has a certain spin on it, and I have never, ever seen anything that is a 100 percent factual.
post #20 of 72
I actually think it's a good personal essay. Although I agree that I am horrified at the hospital experience as even my very poor one was nothing like that.

Sure, some of her statements are a bit over the top but I agree with her core point which is that last time, her birth was traumatic. This time, she is looking for help - real, solid information and help - and instead she's getting a lot of the trust birth stuff from the NCB community that I personally find unhelpful.

I've personally experienced this myself and I find her experience rings true with me. So go her.

I don't think blaming her for her lack of preparedness around her first birth is right, and I also don't think it relates to her central point which is how do you find your way through a birthing experience after one has gone so badly.
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