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#121 of 144 Old 02-12-2004, 04:35 PM
 
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1)What does it mean to be a "birth advocate"? I'm really confused about this. What does it mean to be an advocate for babies or laboring mothers? Who/what is it that you're advocating for?

For me it means educating and lobbying insurance companies and health care providers about evidence based best practices. I am involved in this through my participation in LLL and by signing petitions and writing letters to my legislators. As an advocate for babies or labouring mothers...which I am not in any professional sense, but as a friend to women who have or will give birth...it means to listen to them, to hear their concerns and their excitement. To answer questions honestly and with real facts if they ask my advice. To support whatever decisions they make about giving birth and if care is "forced" upon them, to hear their stories without judgement on them. AND...to support their decisions even if they don't know all the facts (and clearly don't want to know them). SOME women AREN'T educated about the risks of interventions and don't want to be...I must respect that too. Ultimately I am advocating for women to be given the opportunity to own their power...to have their intelligence and self-knowledge respected. Not everyone is there. We are all on a journey...

2)What are your motivations for this? Are they altruistic, or do you just like being "better" than other people (this is the impression I get from most self-proclaimed "advocates" of any cause).
I firmly believe that the medical establishment/insurance companies are a HUGE example of patriarchy in action. Because I am a feminist, and want to move toward an egalitarian world...I am motivated to change the current system. Much of the medical practices (or a lot...or SOME....but enough for me to want to effect change) has stripped away women's right to make informed choices...stripped away her right to voice her wants and needs...assumes she knows nothing and "they" (the doctors/nurses...and yes, sometimes midwives) know EVERYTHING. I believe even if women are given the opportunity to be partners in their care, some may not want to...but to give the opportunity is important to me, and THAT is what motivates me. Choice is of the utmost importance in being free (which is really important to me). I also admit that my spirituality is influenced heavily by the belief that follwoing the natural rhythms of nature is a very good way to find freedom...you can't fight nature (and I understand not everyone believes this)...but since it is my belief it is a motivator to effect change as well.

3)What is it that you want to change, or see change?
I think I've answered this question above. But again...to give women the opportunity to make choices, to give them access to information, to not have decisions forced upon them...and when women can't or don't want to take on the choices...to have what is done to them and for them based on evidence based best practices.

4)Who is responsible for causing these changes to happen?
Everyone...consumers...health care providers...women...men...me...you.

5)What outcomes are you hoping to see? Natural births, homebirths, unassisted births, what is it that you are looking for?
My ideal would be to stop the climate of fear surrounding childbirth that is perpetuated by the medical establishment convincing women (and men) that birth is abnormal and a state of "an emergency can go wrong at any given second and unless we are here to help you, you will die or at least be in a lot of pain!!!" I would love to see our society move toward a more spiritual and natural view of birth. However, since not everyone shares the same ideals...I would and will be MORE THAN HAPPY if medical practices surrounding birth are based on evidence based best practice. They ARE in some areas...they are most definately not in others. It really depends on the care provider and the woman's history/filter. YKWIM? On the other hand...if a woman does make a choice for care that is outside of the "best practice" model...so be it...but it will be her choice.

So...informed choice first, choice second...if no choice...then decisions made by medical professionals based on what has been proven to give the best outcome in the end. I think we would then see a reduction in medication during labour and birth, a reduction in epidurals...more birth position options and encouragement during labour and delivery (specifically in hospitals), yes...ultimately more natural childbirth...more doulas!!! But if a woman decides she NEEDS or WANTS medication...then so be it. But I truly believe if there was less fear induced by the medical establishment (and the insurance companies that are making a SHITLOAD of money by encouraging more interventions...more money paid out...more money paid in) we would see more natural childbirth. You can see these statistics in action by looking at the climate surrounding birth in countries such as Sweden (where a majority of babies are born through natural childbirth and a great deal at home).

I do not believe homebirth or UC is for everyone. I know that not everyone believes in following the natural rhythms of nature. I believe we all come to birth with our own beliefs and history...our own filter of experience if you will. But SOMEWHERE something has to give (and I believe it is within the medical establishment and the insurance companies) and realise that we pregnant women do not suffer from some sort of disease that must be managed (some pregnancies must, of course...but not the majority). But birth is just the start...we also have to start looking at the practices the medical establishment uses surrounding death as well (but that is another can of worms...isn't it?).

Namaste,
Abby
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#122 of 144 Old 02-12-2004, 09:22 PM
 
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I know that not everyone believes in following the natural rhythms of nature.

Hmm. I hope I can express what I'm feeling about this statement.
I believe in following the natural rhythms of existence, life, destiny. Two cesarean births were part of the "natural rhythm" existence intended for me. Therefore I have no problem reconciling my cesarean births with my natural/holistic beliefs.

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#123 of 144 Old 02-12-2004, 09:35 PM
 
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I did not mean that those who have a c-section aren't following natures rhythms. I see NO reason why someone who has a c-sec., such as yours lady lee, shouldn't be able to reconcile that with natural/holistic beliefs. I'm certainly not suggesting that just because someone may not be able to have vaginal childbirth that we should just let someone die just to go along with nature!!! NO WAY!!!! Nature has also given us brains and intellect and the ability to figure out ways to survive longer (when medical interventions become medical miracles!!!).

But there are those women out there who believe very strongly that it is silly to feel pain in childbirth and want drugs and epidurals or WANT c-sections even though there is no medical reason to do so. That to me is NOT following nature...but I support the right to choose!!


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#124 of 144 Old 02-12-2004, 11:05 PM
 
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I understand. What I'm suggesting is that perhaps more of those cesarean births are a part of someone's natural rhythm than one might assume.
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#125 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 01:21 AM
 
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Lee, I sure do like you and your thoughts.

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All the positive changes that have been made in hospital care has come from consumer driven desires
I agree that this is generally how change comes about. People insist upon it...for example, right now I'm fighting with the local hospital for a procedure for my daughter. But more than that, I'm fighting for other patients. They've treated my dd (her case, not in real life) terribly, made lots of denials when they shouldn't have, contradicted themselves and even lied, etc. I've gone and gotten her a patient advocate at the hospital (based on a very smart mama's advice on this board) and even thought my first goal is to get her the level of care she deserves, my ultimate goal is to make changes at the departmental level so that other patients who don't have mama bears guarding them and their rights also receive the level of care they deserve...

Back to birthing though. I agree with this pamamidwife, but again, I say that the target audience needs to be more inclusive. Make speeches to larger groups--it takes the personal out of the message and makes it easier to digest and listen to. Go to health clinics and give presentations, go to (ooh, I like this one) health benefits fairs at companies and school districts (I'll tell you when ours is and I bet they'll let you come) and have a table where you can disseminate information. Get to know birthing instructors and give presentations during their birthing classes. I truly believe that you have to plant the seeds and let the people sow them. I think we all have to have faith in the intelligence and motivation of the masses. If we believe no one will ever understand or listen, of course we treat them with less respect and don't listen to them as openly...probably not even consciously.

Leah
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#126 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 01:31 AM
 
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I also don't come into forums I know I will disagree with, such as the vax or family bed forum and tell everyone that they really need to look at both sides of the issue and that what they are saying really doesn't work for everyone
I meant to respond to this too. Greaseball, this is the Birth and Beyond forum. Not the homebirth forum, or the unmedicated birth forum. All babies were birthed, just not necessarily vaginally. So there will likely be more disagreement than in say, the vax forum, where it's known that it's anti-vax, or the Case Against Circumcision--that agenda's pretty clear! :LOL This forum is for all births as far as I can tell, and exclusionary practices won't be helpful for any side of the argument, you know?

Warmly, Leah
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#127 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 02:24 AM
 
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Eilonwy, I think all of your questions can be summed up to one thing: evidence-based medicine.
Most of the obstetrical practices we see today are *not* evidence-based. They are based partly on tradition, partly on distrust of womens' bodies, and partly on the $$$$ made from interventitive births.
If you truly want to learn about this, pick up Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" and "Obstetric Myths Vs. Research Realities". They are all research-based; she has chapters of medical references that you could look up for yourself, if you are so inclined.
That is what birth advocacy is about, for me: to push for evidence-based medicine. Most hospitals have to rush women in and out to make room for the next group; the things they tell women they need to do and need to have done are rarely in the best interest for mom or baby. Women need to KNOW this, whether they choose to act on it or not.
I suggest you look up the birth statistics from Sweden, as well as any and all research done by the World Health Organization. The WHO clearly states that in first world countries, there is a direct link between the amount of unnecessary intervention used on laboring women and infant and maternal morbidity. We rank 23rd; Sweden ranks first. Guess which uses evidence-based medicine, and guess which does not? In Sweden, you cannot get an o.b. to attend a low-risk birth without paying out of pocket! And a third of all babies are born at home.
Most birth advocates clearly understand that some women may not want to hear these things; that has to be respected. Others would like to know these things, but never, ever will because they take a hospital Lamaze class, get *told* what is best by their doctor, and never see the other side of birth (read: trustworthiness and normalcy.) And others may learn about evidence-based medicine, choose a hospital birth and want an epidural, or need a cesarean.......... and that MUST be respected, as well.
Do you get what I'm saying? Sure, there are birth extremists out there. Ones that say "homebirth is the only way to go!" and other such nonsense. But for most of us, it is about having access to the true risks and benefits of all interventions and deciding for ourselves what will work best for us....
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#128 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Leah, I'm working on it. However, in every large group, there will be defensiveness about anything that I have to say. Once again, I cannot control how any one person will react and I will not dilute my passion to meet these varying needs. (Nobody should!)

I am thinking about doing more public speaking with junior high and high school aged groups. It seems like getting it in the early years might plant some seeds of trust.
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#129 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by LiamnEmma
I meant to respond to this too. Greaseball, this is the Birth and Beyond forum. Not the homebirth forum, or the unmedicated birth forum. All babies were birthed, just not necessarily vaginally. So there will likely be more disagreement than in say, the vax forum, where it's known that it's anti-vax, or the Case Against Circumcision--that agenda's pretty clear! :LOL This forum is for all births as far as I can tell, and exclusionary practices won't be helpful for any side of the argument, you know?

Warmly, Leah
Leah- thank you for addressing that, I wanted to address it myself, but I couldn't think of how to say it, you said it very well, I wish all could see that my babies were birthed, and therefore, I have something to add to the discussions here. Also- the tremendous support I have gotten on the cesarean support thread has been so great Also- threads like IOF and Meg'sMom working on their c-birth plans were very valuable to anyone who read them.

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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#130 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 12:06 PM
 
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I read this whole thread and thought everyone had some excellent points. My first birth was a c-section after induction for PIH, perhaps unnecessary, and I feel that I wasn't enough of an advocate for myself. I'm planning a VBAC for my baby due in August and using a CNM who's very supportive of that. I wanted to let you know what has been effective to get me to question the traditional ob advice. I knew all about the risks of epidurals and other interventions on paper prior to my dd's birth, but it was on an intellectual level. I didn't know anyone IRL who had an unmedicated birth. I didn't really know midwives were an option. And I didn't really trust my body or my ability to get through the pain of child birth (my mom is a big weanie about pain and not so confident about the amazing things our bodies can do and I definitely absorbed that from her).

How did all this change (and I'm still working on gathering the confidence for my hopefully unmedicated VBAC)? I heard birth stories from women who had wonderful, natural childbirths and realized that most of the ones I knew from around here chose particular care providers (CNMs or OBs). After that, I KNEW that it was possible, that these women were very similar to myself and THEY were able to do it, why couldn't I be successful? Not one of these women was combative or had an apparent agenda, they just shared their birth experience with me and answered my questions. I also noticed that most of the women I knew (IRL and from MBs) who had more natural births (meaning fewer interventions - some in birth centers, some in hospitals, one at home) generally had MUCH easier recoveries than those who had intervention-filled vaginal births or c-sections (whether necessary interventions or not). With a toddler afoot, it began to make sense to me that my life would be easier if I had the chance of an easier recovery.

I guess I'm trying to say that getting the word out there is the best possible thing. And do it with the intent to share your story, not necessarily to convince EVERYONE in the room that you are right and the medical model is wrong. And yes, maybe you need disclaimers that you understand that sometimes interventions and c-sections are necessary, is that such a bad thing? I think it's wonderful that so many women are so passionate about this subject, but I agree with the women who talked about what made THEM defensive about their interventions. I've always had the suspicion that my induction could have been avoided, even as I checked into the hospital after leaving my ob's office. What I didn't know was what I could have done in that situation. That's why getting the message out there is so important. I haven't ever felt defensive, but I didn't really put my story out there to birth activists until I was ready for feedback and acknowledged what I said above. I can see how if I was educated and realized MY c/b was necessary and shared the story only to be questioned by activists that I would be VERY defensive. I guess the point of that comment is to say, don't assume that just bc someone submitted to interventions or had a c/b that they were uneducated about the alternatives. Some are.

And if you're speaking to large groups of people, as suggested by a couple of posters (and which I think is a great idea, BTW), be aware you AREN'T going to reach EVERYONE. But you might reach a few, who will go on to have good birth experiences and share them with possibly other receptive people, and so on.

I hope I made some sense in this rambling post.
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#131 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 02:22 PM
 
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I have been following this thread all of the way through and intended to reply long before now, but have been thinking pretty deeply about what it is that I really want.

(Warning, super long)


I started out working as a doula with teen moms and high risk moms in a local volunteer program. I had been a childbirth educator and a birth activist for about 4 years previous to that, but when I started working with real births, I did so in a hospital environment with moms who were really not well served by my attempts to impose my ideal vision of birth upon them. The teenagers were often very easily led, so that they didn't follow their own instincts, but just listened to me as a trusted leader. The high-risk moms had multiple issues that affected their health and often needed the interventive care that they were getting. So, since I have been working as a doula, my experience has really reinforced the idea that I need to step back and listen to women's stories and try to serve them within the parameters of their own ideals, and also meet them halfway a lot of the time. One of my worst failures occured when I was starting out as a doula and my second client was a young mom who was homeless and pregnant with boys who had severe twin to twin transfusion syndrome. She was pretty heavily mourning the loss of her vision of an ideal birth and I thought I would try and help advocate for her with her doctor for whatever little scraps of it she could keep. What ended up happening, though, is that we had a total break and she stopped returning my calls. I can only guess what happened, but I believe that above and beyond the mourning was a fear for the life of her babies, and that my message that her life and health and wishes were somehow just as important as their well-being set up lots of internal conflict that stressed her out.

I still work with the perinatologists a lot, and have been to too many complicated births to feel like I can hear the short version of a birth story and really know what happened there or what went wrong when a less than desirable result happened. I have also seen some instances (amongst the caregiver population as a whole) of truly incompetent, insensitive, inappropriate and impatient care. The worst of the worst are infrequent, but within the hospital system there are structural flaws that make providing the best care very difficult.

When I talk to mamas about their previous, current and future choices and about their experiences within the hospital system, I will sometimes point out when I think that the standard of care at the hospital or within the medical practice they are with influenced their bad outcomes. I think that it is important for women to know when the practices that they have been told are necessary are not universally practiced and have been discredited elsewhere. I know that when I am talking to someone outside of my own area that the wealth of choices that might be available to me and my clients locally are not available everywhere. I also know just how difficult it can be to walk into a medical practice and judge whether or not it is going to be compatible with your values. My current favorite group of hospital midwives in my area is a group practice of 12. I HATE large practices, but my experience with them has consistently been better than with anyone else. The OB group at my local teaching hospital consists of 14 doctors, some of which are very, very good and who provide good, sensitive prenatal care. I can imagine being a patient in their practice and feeling like I had a very strong bond with my doctor. But I have met clients in that practice in their 3rd trimester who were not told that their doctor was only on call 12 hours per week, that there were 13 other doctors, and that the 13 other doctors varied widely in philosophy (and IMO some of them are EVIL) and that residents were likely to provide all but about 15 minutes of their labor and delivery care. Other small group practices I like in my area practice at archaic, poorly staffed, poorly equipped hospitals. The doctors and midwives are wonderful, but the nurses who care for you, the facility you stay at, the pediatric staff who decides about the care for your baby, the hospital policies you have to abide by and the nursery that might or will take your baby all suck. What kind of average, normal consumer has the time to find all of this out ahead of time? Who can blame the mama if something in this giant machine doesn't work right? So, I do try to balance the info that I give with an understanding that sorting all of this out on your own as a consumer is nigh impossible.

What I want to see as a birth advocate, activist, etc., is more evidence-based practice, better continuing education -- including periodic examinations, reform to the resident training system and a near-universal use of informed consent. I believe that the ultimate power to decide what is appropriate for a patient should lie with the patient herself, even if that means allowing her choices that I don't personally agree with. Evidence-based medicine has to be coupled with a solid right for informed refusal, or women will just be dictated to based on the evidence (like, c-sections produce statistically better outcomes for breech birth, so no vaginal breeches). We all know that studies can be twisted to say just about anything, anyway.

Well, enough for now

Stacia -- intrepid mama, midwife, and doula. Changing the world one 'zine at a time.
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#132 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 03:39 PM
 
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The OP states that a presedential candidate supports c-sections, and I'm just wondering who that is and if there are any articles that I could read.

Thanx
Megan
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#133 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 03:47 PM
 
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What might this mean if he is elected president?
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#134 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 04:00 PM
 
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John Edwards is the candidate. Pamelamidwife posted a thread with the link in Activism (I think) it is probably burried by now, but the title was "John Edwards, he's my man" or something like that.

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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#135 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 04:03 PM
 
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The OP states that a presedential candidate supports c-sections, and I'm just wondering who that is and if there are any articles that I could read.
It's Sen. Edwards. He was a trial attorney specializing in "defective baby" malpractice suits.

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What might this mean if he is elected president?
Oh, I think we're safe.
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#136 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 04:22 PM
 
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Originally posted by pamamidwife
That, before posting, you think about WHY you are posting. What is it that you want to convey? What are your intentions? To tell someone they are wrong - or to offer another viewpoint on the subject? To publicly "one-up" another person or to offer some facts?
I think this is a good idea that could be used on many threads here at MDC, especially by myself...

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#137 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 04:38 PM
 
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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.

eta: : 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.
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#138 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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Originally posted by lollaleeloo
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. [/SIZE]
Bingo!(I added the italics.)

I love the way you summarized the discussion of HBAC. To me it sounds like you really know where all these different folks are coming from.

I don't know if I will be blessed enough to be able to get pregnant again. But I am collecting everything everyone says.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#139 of 144 Old 02-13-2004, 11:17 PM
 
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Okay, I'm going to add one last thought here. On several threads (including this one, I believe) people have likened unnecessary medical interventions to violence against women. I want to quote a fabulous paragraph from "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin De Becker (a book which has nothing to do with childbirth, but which every parent should read nonetheless) which made me think of this thread:

"Over the years, many people have related their stories of vicimization to me, often incorrectly anticipating my response: 'You're probably going to say what I did was very stupid,' or 'I'm sure it was the worst think I could do, but...' I make it a practice to praise people for their management of saftey challenges. Clearly, whatever they did, they survived adequately to be able to relate the story; they were not killed, they were not destroyed by the experience. Since the belief that she failed to protect herself is one of the greatest harms a victim might suffer, when a victim tells her story and people respond with You-should-have-this or You-should-never-have-that, they are often adding to the victimization. (Italics mine) Never be concerned that a victim of violence or domination didn't learn a lesson--she did. What victims need to recover is the belief that they are competent to protect themselves."

Good stuff. And very applicable, I think.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#140 of 144 Old 02-14-2004, 12:17 AM
 
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Originally posted by LiamnEmma

, I say that the target audience needs to be more inclusive. Make speeches to larger groups--it takes the personal out of the message and makes it easier to digest and listen to. Go to health clinics and give presentations, go to (ooh, I like this one) health benefits fairs at companies and school districts (I'll tell you when ours is and I bet they'll let you come) and have a table where you can disseminate information. Get to know birthing instructors and give presentations during their birthing classes. I truly believe that you have to plant the seeds and let the people sow them. I think we all have to have faith in the intelligence and motivation of the masses. If we believe no one will ever understand or listen, of course we treat them with less respect and don't listen to them as openly...probably not even consciously.

Leah
I think this is great! When can I help someone in this manner? I'll tell my story! We really do have to have faith that thing can change and offer the respect with our words of wisdom!
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#141 of 144 Old 02-14-2004, 12:56 AM
 
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Our health fair is in late August. For school districts, they'll be held in the last few days before school starts. Other companies have open enrollment periods...you'd have to call them up to find out. But lots of large companies (including my school district) have various health days all the time...my district conducts free screenings all the time for the employees.
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#142 of 144 Old 02-14-2004, 03:12 AM
 
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Since the belief that she failed to protect herself is one of the greatest harms a victim might suffer, when a victim tells her story and people respond with You-should-have-this or You-should-never-have-that, they are often adding to the victimization. (Italics mine) Never be concerned that a victim of violence or domination didn't learn a lesson--she did. What victims need to recover is the belief that they are competent to protect themselves."Since the belief that she failed to protect herself is one of the greatest harms a victim might suffer, when a victim tells her story and people respond with You-should-have-this or You-should-never-have-that, they are often adding to the victimization. (Italics mine) Never be concerned that a victim of violence or domination didn't learn a lesson--she did. What victims need to recover is the belief that they are competent to protect themselves."
Yes. Thanks elionwy. That about sums up what I was trying to say in my post. I think another thing that kind of irks me is the whole feeling that mothers who didn't have a natural birth needed to be 'educated'. But thats already been said.

Try to look at it from this point of view. What if someone who had had five c/s, or epidurals, or whatever, jumped into every homebirth thread with a bunch of info about what its like to give birth at home, and a bunch of info and statistics about homebirth, natural birth, etc... (And I'm sure its been done, but thats not the point) The point is, it would ruffle your feathers because there would be this person giving you a bunch of advice about something *they* had never experienced, but you had.

I believe we should ALL be advocating to the system. Even moms who want c/s or epidurals can be advocating. For instance, like allowing a third person to be in the delivery rooms with mom, so that she's not alone while Dad goes to the delivery room with the baby. There is always something that can be improved. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these are the things that need to be advocated for most of all. Better treatment of women forgoing non-natural labors.

Sometimes it seems to me that labor is viewed as some sort of challenge or something. Its not about whether or not you have an epidural, or a c/s, or how many interventions you had. Its about whether or not the family is supported, physically and emotionally. And whether they feel strong and secure in their birth choices. Yes, that includes education. And it also includes support.

That's what we need to be advocating for. And it needs to happen on *all* ends. Families, physicians, doulas, and yes advocates. Right now, I don't see this happening, and it makes me sad.

I agree with the idea of large groups. Health fairs, companies, even college campuses. Heck what better of a place to make a change than with nursing students. Of course, your not going to convince everybody. If that were the case, nothing would ever get done---anywhere.

Ok, gotta go--- kids pulling each other's hair!!!!

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#143 of 144 Old 02-14-2004, 07:48 AM
 
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I have one thing to add concerning speaking to groups about intervention rates. I took a class from an excellent childhood development professor and she covered from preconception up to parenting adults including birth. Her lecture on interventions was very inclusive (IMO) and included the message that birth ideally should have as few interventions as possible. She opened my mind about “interventions” by including common practices such as having a care provider or fetal monitor and that he vast majority of women (including us homebirthers – or, in my case attempted homebirthers) have some form of intervention during pregnancy, labor and birth.

My child development prof. educated about all the interventions available to women in birth with limited bias. Following this she discussed the risks and complications of interventions but she ALSO included a wise statement, which added to her being perceived by me as rather unbiased and inclusive, that nearly ALL interventions (when used well) are wonderful medical technology that contribute to birth and can even save lives of women and babies.

This small statement was important to me to have included in a discussion mostly “against” interventions because I think it helped include women who either choose interventions and/or women who end up having unplanned interventions.

My thought is that you may want to include the benefits of interventions in a discussion about all the other stats about them, kwim? It may also be helpful to broaden what you refer to as interventions to help women see how very common they are, which I think might take some of the pressure off of women for having chosen to have some.

I have some more thoughts about what people have already said but I feel like most of what I think has been said by wise women.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#144 of 144 Old 02-15-2004, 10:41 PM
 
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I have not read all eight pages of this thread, but I just wanted to say that as a veteran homebirther, I have felt a coward when I have read about unassisted childbirth experiences.

I felt as if since I had to have a midwife help me, I am a coward.

However, I am just glad my children are healthy and I am whole.
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