Originally Posted by MittensKittens
Personally, I do not at all believe that solely
following intuition, God, or the "self" (which is arguably the same thing as intuition) leads to positive results - I believe that we need knowledge, too. But I simultaneously believe it is not my duty, or anyone else's, to push that knowledge down someone throat where it is unwanted. I do agree that most who need medical help will seek it, but to know you need medical help, you sometimes need knowledge (sometimes not - where there is pain, for instance, it may be obvious to anyone that help is needed).
In my experience, intuition often leads people to information. What I mean is this. At some point toward the end of my pregnancy, I felt "uneasy" about breastfeeding. I couldn't explain the feeling, and I hadn't done a lot of reading on breastfeeding per se because everyone was expressing how it's rather easy, babies just do it, etc. Yes, women have problems, but very few women have problems. No need to worry about things. I was told this on many boards, and most people wanted to focus on the emotional side of my feelings.
So, I spent some time reading about breastfeeding problems -- common issues and their solutions -- and then I amassed a list of LCs, the local LLL group, etc.
My intuition lead me to reach out and ask for information, and when told to just go with it, not worry, my intuition said "no, keep digging" and so I did. Glad I did, because when my son was born, his tongue was strong and he was pushing the nipple out rather than drawing it in. Within a week, we'd trained him and got him on the breast -- but I needed an LC to do it. And it's good that I had a whole list of numbers, because everyone was on holiday, and finally, on Wednesday (he was born on Saturday), I got a return call from one who'd come home from holiday early and could see us right away. By Saturday he was on the breast!
So, the process isn't just "intuition only" in the sense of "you don't need any knowledge" but rather that intuition is going to guide a woman to certain information before she's pregnant, as she's pregnant, etc. For example, I did not spend a lot of time studying PPH. I did get the basics -- what to look for blood-wise, what symptoms to look out for (faint, dizzy, blood pressure issues, etc), and some ways of handling minor problems (herbs, eating the placenta, etc) and when to get help. But, I spent far more time -- oddly enough -- studying malpositioned births, and in particular posterior, which is ultimately how my son was born.
I also agree with Sara that most UCers whom I know are very educated about birth. I was looking over the information to become a doula (DONA and CBI) and their reading list says "choose 5 of these books." Other than the two required doula books (which I haven't read), I'd read every-other book on the list. I did most of this before getting pregnant. I went and visited a friend who is a midwife (just graduated! congrats to her!) and I'd read most of the books on her shelves as well (there were a few physio books I haven't read, but I did borrow one of them to help me out with a pregnancy/yoga thing). I would say that most UCers are probably in the same boat, and I'm well acquainted with online medical and midwifery journals on the topic, too.
So, I assume that following your intuition means that you're already gathering information, that your intuition is leading you to that information, and that if you're asking on the board -- you're already in the process of gathering that information to do the risk assessment.
But the idea that there would be a checklist, that is just nuts. What? We have to read 5 books on this list in order to be ok UCers? who chooses the canon of texts from which to choose from? What if my PPH research wasn't enough (it was about 2-3 articles), but my posterior birth research was not considered relevant? Makes no sense, really.
Which is why I go back to "follow your intuition." I believe it leads people to the information and knowledge that *they* need, for their birth and for their decision making process around it. And at the end, you take that knowledge and you take how you feel, and you come up with a decision. And that may or may not be getting medical help. :)
Quote from Adaline'sMama
The idea that you get to decide if you are okay with living with the consequenses of what could potentially be a child's death or birth defect. It is super strange to me that some people hold the idea that they will trust their bodies or trust god about a problem during birth and whatever happens to the baby is just a consequense that you have to deal with. So its okay not seek medical advice and potentially harm your child, but dont circ because as parents we dont have the right to make that choice for our kid?
I think this is really about a shift in perspective about birth.
People seem to believe that if they go to a doctor or midwife, they are "safer" or that babies won't have birth defects, injuries, or die. This is simply not true.
Foremost, birth defects are not a consequence of birth. They are a consequence of genetics, of developmental issues, etc. Having a doctor or midwife is not going to change the fact that a child has a birth defect. Having an ultrasound can inform a parent of which birth defects their infants may be born with, and some parents may want that information. A large number of UCers do get ultrasounds (and do have shadow care), so it's not as if a UCer is eschewing this information.
Likewise, having an attendant present does not mean that a birth defect would be identified right away. A friend of mine had a hospital birth, and it was four months before the valve situation was discovered. The mother seemed to notice an issue, but everything "looked and sounded fine" to the doctors. Mama finally got baby into her father's cardiologist, who diagnosed the condition, and then sent her to a pediatric cardiologist for consult and ultimately surgery.
In addition, I know of three UCers off the top of my head who had children with birth defects. One's child had a heart defect, another's has spina bifida, and yet another had a different heart defect. In all cases, the parents noticed issues within an hour of birth and ultimately got medical help for their children. All three children are fine -- most now over the age of 4. The mode and place of their birth did not cause these defects. The heart defect was undetected in u/s both cases, so likely that the doctor or midwife would have been just as surprised by the defect as well. And I'm not aware of the situation of care for the SB baby prior to her birth, but after, she had most excellent medical care.
So, birth defects are a straw man in this sort of issue.
The relevant issues, therefore, are injury and death. It is important to note, foremost, that injury and death happens in all settings. This is something that UCers say over and over, and it is true. But those who disagree with UC see it as an extreme and unnecessary risk because you don't know which seemingly low-risk woman is going to have a major issue. Somewhere around the various statistics is that 3-5% of low risk women will have an issue in birth -- that may cause injury or death to them or their children. Of these, a certain percentage will be injured or die no matter what a person does -- even doctors and midwives admit this. But, the greater percentage of these can be saved.
So, the question then arises -- if one doesn't know which woman will have an issue, would you really risk your life on it? your child's life on it? why not have someone there "just in case" so that if it is you, then you could be the one person who is saved by the attendant and technology.
I love the way Laura Shanley put this in her book. Paraphrasing: 5% of women who give birth will have an issue during that birth, therefore ALL women should birth in hospitals/with midwives (choose your chosen community) is like saying 5% of men will be rapists, and since we don't know which ones, ALL men should be imprisoned for life.
A UCer looks at the numbers and goes something like this: 5% of women will need help during birth; 95% of women will not. Those are good odds. Of those 5% of women who need help, 5% of those will die or their child will die or both regardless of medical help, and the remaining will make it with medical help. Those are good odds. Most of those conditions of the 5% of women who will be need medical intervention have a buffer of 30-45 minutes or more before a problem happens (this is a massive generalization, not actual, just the way I thought about it), and i can get emergency medical attention in less than 15 minutes. Therefore, it is a very small risk of death or injury to me or my child.
I literally saw it as 5% of 5% risk of death/injury. It's a very small risk relatively speaking, and particularly in comparison to, say, driving a car.
I felt that it was a risk that I could tolerate.
I also think that an element of this is the real ownership of death/injury. In our culture, we are really, truly freaked out about death. Anything we can do to avoid it, really, and it's very scary (to me). Death is a part of life. For pregnant people, it's a 5% of 5% from natural causes for which no medical care can make a difference. It's that BEFORE you choose to get pregnant.
For me, it's like choosing to go skydiving. You can mitigate the risks, but there is still inherent risk in jumping from a plane. The next question, then, is how you mitigate those risks.
It's ok to choose medical care to mitigate those risks, but medical care (today) also brings it's own risks -- which we see over and over. And, truly, those can also be mitigated. If i needed to birth in a hospital, I would be fine because I would know what I needed to know in order to have a positive experience there -- even down to having a scheduled c-section. I could do it. I could mitigate the risks because I know what the risks are.
I think that UCers do the same. At least, this is my experience of us.
The game -- whether a woman is choosing medical care or UC -- is about mititgating those risks. UCers mitigate the risks of harm from intervention -- which is more likely and quite common if you go through medical care -- by avoiding it. Just as women avoid alcohol during pregnancy. We know the risks, to mitigate, we don't drink alcohol. UCers will also mitigate the natural risks (those 5%) through self education and self reflection. "Am I really at risk? and if I am at risk, what can I do to mitigate *those* risks?" Everything from having shadow care, to making sure she's X minutes from the hospital, to actually getting help as soon as she feels there is need all mitigates these risks.
Another common accusation -- to which you have vaguely alluded -- is that the mother is choosing her birth experience over the child.
For me, as a UCer, I was choosing this mode of birth *for* my child. I truly believe that it was the safest mode of birth for me, unless there was evidence to the contrary (eg, I felt/thought/believed that there was an issue that required medical care).
During my pregnancy and my birth, I never experienced any need for medical care. I truly believe that had I been in midwife or hospital care, there would have been interventions that would have injured me, and interventions that could have inhibited birth and endangered my child. Therefore, my UC was safer, and in fact the safest, birth for my child -- and for me.
And this is part of the underpinning of not understanding why it is ok to 'not care about the child' before birth and therefore UC and then turning around and talking about child autonomy and physical integrity.
Philosophically, I believe that a child's body belongs to the child -- and this is true in utero as well as out. And, it is my responsibility to care for my child as best I can throughout his childhood until he becomes independent and makes his own decisions about his body and his life. Of course, as parents, we realize that there is a process of increasing decision making over time, and that parents do make decisions for their child that impact their health and well being -- nutrition, spiritual life, education.
at each turn, most parents are striving to choose that which they believe will create the best outcomes and experiences for their child. Pregnant women forgo alcohol and sushi so that their infants are healthy in utero. Women choose to birth in specific environments for their own health and that of their children (acknowledging that mothers are also important for children's health and well being). Women and families choose how to raise their children -- including circ, though I personally consider circ to be an unnecessary (and in some cases harmful) practice. I am currently questioning religious freedom vs circ -- even though our culture readily rejects female circ even when done for religious reasons, so I fail to understand why male circ is truly different in such an instance.
The reality is -- i think -- that UCers are choosing UC because they believe it to be the safest mode of birth for their children and themselves. And as soon as they feel that it isn't -- most get care right away.
But with this, we have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, no matter what we do, babies and mamas die.