1.I don't actually get the term "birth advocate" as a general concept. Seems to me there's birth, then there's kinds of births. I'm assuming we're not talking about advocating for birth vs non-birth, but advocating for one type of birth over another type.
2.I don't have any particular 'motivations' for feeling the way I feel, or holding the opinions that I do; I've simply come to some conclusions based on my personal experiences and observations. To be honest, I hadn't actually considered myself a childbirth advocate of any persuasion (before this thread), but I guess by showing a willingness to voice the views I hold about natural childbirth (i.e., that it is generally a good thing), that qualifies as advocacy.
3.What I would like to see change is the cultural mindset that maintains, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that birth in general is a dangerous process, and safest when handled within a medical framework. Ultimately, I would like to see the idea of a "safe and normal" birth removed from a medical setting altogether.
4.We as individuals are responsible for effecting changes in our own lives.
5.Since you asked, as a matter of fact I would like to see more natural births, homebirths and unassisted births for healthy women. Leave the medical institutions and their staff to tend to injuries, sickness and disease, not healthy pregnancies. For a healthy well-fed woman, one thing the statistical models do show is that childbirth is as safe (or as dangerous) in your living room surrounded by friends and family as it is surrounded by skilled surgeons and an arsenal of drugs. Even that big ACOG study that showed twice the infant mortality in out-of-hospital births only came down to a tiny fraction of 1% verses an even tinier fraction of 1% (0.36% vs 0.17% )
Really, it's no skin off my nose where or how any woman but me has her baby. I'm at the point where I can finally read a birth story depicting a medicalized birth without having it eat my brain. But it took me 5 yrs to get here, to a place where I realize that everything said around me isn't necessarily about me. I'm bringing that up because I'm a long time lurker, and I've never seen anyone get slammed for choosing to schedule a section instead of a vbac. And the only time I've ever seen a birth story picked apart is when the OP explicitly requests it for her own purposes. I have seen, however, a lot of reading between the lines and not giving fellow posters the benefit of the doubt. I have seen multiple conversations get crossed somehow and end with a rant by a mom who feels under attack.
The first time I ever heard of an HBAC was on a VBAC thread. It was also the first time I witnessed one of these seemingly random c-sect survivor detonations (like the kind I used to have). The OP was an intended HB, transferred to the hospital with an eventual c-sect for FTP, and was mourning the loss of her homebirth:
OP: ...so I guess I have to resign myself to high-intervention hospital births from now on.
P2: Gee, that's too bad.
P3: I agree, that sucks.
P4: They told me the same thing, but I just had my 2nd ten pounder at home. If I had stayed with my original practice, I'd be on my 3rd section by now. CPD my ass. You know what the cure for CPD is? A midwife who knows wtf she's doing, that's what! LOL
OP: Well as a matter of fact, my doctor does know what she's doing and I have faith in her expertise. WE decided a section was the way to go because I had been on a pitocin drip for 2 days with no progress.
Lolla: Wow P4, you had a VBAC at home? Isn't that illegal? Weren't you scared?
P5: Pitocin labor for 2 days! How did you stand it? I only got 2 hrs of it and I thought I'd go insane. By the time I was screaming for my epidural, it was already time to push, so I ended up feeling everything -- including the giant episiotomy I specifically said I didn't want. If they would have let me squat like I wanted, I bet probably wouldn't have needed it at all.
OP: Squatting wasn't an option with me because of the internal monitor, which I have no regrets about at all because it showed decels that weren't showing up on the external monitor. I hate to think of what might have happened if it had continued.
P4: No, Lolla, HBAC is not illegal per se, but it was a challenge finding a midwife to take me. The only thing I was scared of was being transferred to the hospital, but I knew that it would only happen if my midwife saw that I was in real danger. Some midwives will transfer at the drop of a hat, so you have to be careful when you interview.
Lolla: Interview midwives? I know for a fact that there are no CNM's who do homebirths around here. 2 hospitals in my area don't allow VBACs at all any more, even if you've already had one. Who's having all these homebirths? Where are all these midwives doing homebirths?
P4: They're out there. Go to LLL or find a Bradley class and make discreet inquiries. And who says you have to have a CNM? There are lay midwives out there with a broader range of experience than some CNMs. Just don't get discouraged and give up. You still have options if you really have your heart set on a homebirth.
P5: Squatting was the main reason I held off on getting the epidural so long. Fat lot of good that did. I was pushing away and the next thing I knew I was getting cut. No one ever told me the baby was stuck or in danger. They didn't even give me a chance to change positions or anything. Funny enough, the labor wasn't as bad as recovering from at episiotomy. Definitely homebirth next time.
OP: OK, I've had just about enough of this. First of all, I ended up transferring, not because of my ignorant, twitchy midwife but because I felt in my GUT that there was a REASON labor had stalled, and she supported my decision 100%. Yes, I took the epidural because if anyone knows about pitocin, they know the contractions are ten times worse, so I don't think it was particularly selfish to seek a little relief after 2 days without sleep or food. Would I have been able to squat or change positions without the epi? Maybe. Maybe it wouldn't have done any good. Maybe I just would have stayed in labor 2 more hours while my baby suffered irreversable brain damage. And I still would have had to have the c-section anyway. So help me see the point of all this second-guessing. I made the best choice for me and my child under the circumstances and I'm sick of justifying it to people who think they know better than me what's best for me and my child. Sorry if I'm not some superwoman squatting out babies in a wading pool in her kitchen like there's no such thing as uterine rupture, or prolapse, or abruption. Excuse my ignorance for actually believing that it shouldn't take 3 days to have a baby. Maybe I am being naive thinking my ob/midwife team actually knows something about childbirth. Or just MAYBE I'm NOT a moron for believing that a team of medical professionals just might come in handy during a medical emergency. Look, I believe in natural childbirth as much as the next person, but things happen, and c-sections save lives and it doesn't do anybody any good to forget that.
P6: Whooah -- nobody's judging you, OP. But you can't ignore the data that says that most c-sections are unnecessary yadda yadda yadda
P2: OP, I'm with you. There's such an air of superiority on these boards blah blah blah
P4: No need to get defensive just because I, etc, etc, etc
I'm paraphrasing the exchange of course, but I'm sure we can agree that we've all seen it in one form or another. My own detonation happened when a woman with herpes posted about how she went with a c-section because she believed that it would be selfish of her to attempt a vaginal delivery with the stakes so high. I responded with my impression of Godzilla on the rag, and let her know in a scorching, bug-eyed rant how the facts say this and the studies prove that and fyi plenty of women, who love their babies just as much as you do, f-you very much, decide against the surgery because because they don't confuse ignorance with selflessness...and, well, you get the idea. What's complicated is, I myself had a c-section for a diagnosis of herpes, that I believe was completely unnecessary for many reasons (not the least of which was I didn't even have herpes, but that's another thread). At the time, I saw my fiery indignation as totally justified in the cause of correcting misinformation and debunking myths. In actuality though, I was working through my own feelings of victimization and powerlessness, and it was jarring to hear another woman describing essentially the same situation, and yet be so serenely at peace with her decision. Add to that the knife thrust of the word "Selfish" (a term wielded with great skill and precision by the medwives to gain my consent to surgery), et voila.
I don't have much to add here except a plea for understanding and patience. I totally get where Anothermama is coming from. To be honest, I'm there myself. As bad as it was to be dismissed on other boards as another natural childbirth "wacko", I think I prefer it to being dismissed as a "judgmental childbirth advocate", ironically, by people who largely share my views. This is an amazing forum here, and it feels like an oasis for many of us still smarting from experiences on other boards. I don't think it's pessimistic or cynical to say that these flare-ups and attendant hurt feelings can't be helped, but to me, that just illustrates how we could all stand to cut each other a little more slack. Pamamidwife, thank you for starting this awesome thread. It's a daunting task, balancing passionate advocacy with compassionate advocacy, but it's worth the effort.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -- Plato.
: I cannot BELIEVE how long this turned out to be. I swear it didn't look that long in the reply box. Sorry 'bout that.