|Originally posted by violet
or perhaps NO expert would have been best.
After the birth I called my midwife (who was in complete support of my desire to birth without her help) and described the umbilical cord to her, because I thought it looked odd. She said that I was describing something called a velamentous insertion ("where the vessels insert and separate while still in the membranes and not on the placental disk"); this can be very dangerous because the umbilical cord can detach before the baby is born, causing hemorrhage and probable death to the baby unless the birth is imminent or there is time for a cesarean section.
Ah, my midwife said, it is a good thing you didn't have someone trying to hurry your labor up! The point being that typical labor management for a long labor like mine, i.e., inducing or augmenting the labor, (not to mention obstetrical idiocies such as forced pushing in the lithotomy position,) could have put enough extra stress on my body for the umbilical cord to detach from the placenta.
A medical professional, of course, would probably point to this type of "complication" as the very reason women should give birth in hospitals. Yet, when so many women's bodies are unnaturally stressed with pitocin, drugs, forced pushing, etc., how often is that very "expert" labor management the cause of stillbirth or emergency c-section?
As it was, my body knew just what to do (take it very slow and easy,) allowing the baby's passage to be as gentle as possible. The only force applied to the baby, or to my uterus, was that of my uterine muscles themselves. And they moved my baby out so gently that I didn't even feel the pain of my uterus contracting in the last hour of labor.
How different would it have been after 24 hours, when the contractions were still several minutes apart, if I had been given castor oil, or pitocin; if I had been stressed out by bright lights, people coming in and out, painful vaginal exams, ultimatums ("if your labor doesn't progress soon, we'll have to go to the hospital"); if my body had been stressed by being made to labor in an unnatural position that cut off blood flow to the placenta, or by forced pushing; if it was stressed enough for labor to stall, necessitating the dangerous vacuum extractor or forceps... etc., etc., etc.? (And how thankful would I have been, if I didn't know any better, when after all that my baby went into distress and a c-sec saved her?)
It seems to me that the odds, in my case, were in favor of homebirth unattended by "experts". Because the experts are the only ones who are going to demand that an otherwise normal process be manipulated in such potentially dangerous ways.
Don't get me wrong; I know that medicine saves lives. It saved my husband's, actually, and I'm grateful. But there is no doctor who is going to be able to deny that medical practitioners are at fault for an appalling number of illnesses and complications and deaths every year. And while each will deny that their personal methods are exempt from criticism, clinical studies show differently, condemning the use of routine interventions. They are not practicing, most of them, in a scientific manner. And so it seems to me a little disingenious that they should argue that it is too dangerous to give birth without an "expert" to call the shots.